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Ford Focus Electrical and Lighting Problems

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Comments

  • gaborsgabors Posts: 5
    Hey!Can i use those popular digital multimeters(cost about 10$-15$) is it gonna do the same job ?Thanks!
  • If i used the multimeter well,the drainage is 2.5 amp .After i pulled out all the fuses and relay (motor side,passenger side) the only change was at the main power sup. (#7)fuse ,droped to 1.2 amp.when i pulled out.Look like the alternator?Could i get a bad one when i changed the alternator last time?Thank you guys!
  • You bet you could have a bad alt. Disconnect the red batt wire from the alt, and check your drain at the battery. If you have a draw of 2.5 AMPS that will draw out 25 Amps in 10 hrs. now you see how fast a batt runs down. You should not have over 1/2 AMP draw. Make sure your key is in your pocket, all doors closed,and hood light bulb disconnected.
  • terryxbterryxb Posts: 2
    Well, my brakes lights stay on whenever they feel like it. Most of the the time they get stuck on after 30 minutes or so. This is only when car is running and in gear ( auto trans ) Will not do it if car is in park or ignition key on. Only when engine is running. It did happen one time after 10 minutes of driving, but only once.This started about two months ago, at that time I started replacing parts. I've read every single post involving the brakelight/hazard problem. I've also read literally 100's on other forums with no resolution. The 2000-01 Focus is the only year that uses the hazard switch to also work the brake lights, tails only not the 3rd brake light. I the stop light switch twice, no change. I have used three different hazard switches, problem returns no matter which one I use. One is factory original, one less then a year old, and one brand new. All are Ford parts, no aftermarket. So those two items are fine. I completely disassembled all the rear wiring and cleaned all contacts and grounds, no change. Not a fuse problem because I do have working brake lights most of the time. Check wiring going into hatch, peeled back rubber boot and repaired any exposed wires. This is quite common in the Focus hatch, so that's the first thing I did. No change. The directionals will flash when lights are stuck on until last night. I went for a 30-40 minute ride and the lights got stuck. I can see the glow from my side mirrors, of course only at night. I never know during the day. The only way to shut them off is to unplug the hazard switch, but that's only cutting the power source. If I wait for 15-20 minutes and plug it back in they will stay off. The switch does get warm but that's because the lights are on, it stays cool when lights not stuck. Back to last night. When I got the car home I put it in neutral and tried the turn signals. I put the right turn on and the left side was blinking. WTF ! I got out and checked, the lights were flashing like a school bus. Each side flashing opposite of the other. Is something heating up after awhile ? I have no clue. This year Focus does not have a separate flasher unit that I could try. It's all through the hazard switch.
    New stop light switch(2)=nothing
    New hazard switch(3)=nothing
    Hatch wiring repaired=nothing
    New multifunction switch=nothing
    All fuses good
  • chirpschirps Posts: 3
    Okay, here's the problem. I purchased a 2003 Focus wagon in FL and drove it back to NY. As I drove up, no problems except a bad tire. I never stopped for more than three hours and never had a problem starting up the car. I get back to NY and park in the street overnight, the next morning I had some difficulty starting the car, real slow turning over like a weak battery. It kicked over and I pulled it into the driveway (running a little rough). Three days later I came back and it barely started. I ran it highway speed for about 45 min. When I arrived home, it started up no problem. It sits for two days, and today it turned over very weakly and didn't start. The battery is 3 yo (8/06) and is presently charging in the basement. What steps should I take to diagnose the problem, i.e. what are the likely problems and what order should I proceed in.

    I was thinking
    1) Charge battery overnight / take it to a local shop to have them check it, replace if necessary.
    2) Since the battery is only 3 years old it seems unlikely that the battery is the only problem. Once I check / replace the battery, I should check the charging system. If the charging system isn't the problem, then I can narrow it down to a bad battery / short in wiring.
    3) If the charging system is bad, the culprit is either the alternator or the wiring. I can remove the alternator and have them check it. If the alternator checks OK then it must be wiring from the alternator to batt.

    What I'm trying to do is avoid replacing the battery & having the "new" battery die like the old one and like others have had on this thread. Tips, Tricks?

    Thanks in advance
    Sam
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    AFTER U CHARGE BATTERY, hAVE IT LOAD TESTED, IT SHOULD HOLD 9.6VOLTS FOR 15 SEC. WHEN LOADED TO 1/2 THE RATED CAP. OF THE BATTERY. A BATTERY THAT IS 3 YEARS OLD COULD WELL BE BAD IF IT WAS A CHEAP BATT TO BEGIN WITH. MAKE SURE YOUR CABLES ARE ( CLEAN AND TIGHT ON BOTH ENDS.
  • chirpschirps Posts: 3
    okay, suppose the battery is bad. I presume you mean check the cables on the alternator side and the positive battery terminal + negative battery terminal + negative ground are tight. Once these are tight, should I just assume the alternator is okay? Any tips for further testing to make sure the new battery doesn't get killed by some other fluke in the system? I'll post after I get results back from the battery test. Just to add the battery is a Diehard Gold. Personally I like interstate MT.
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    A diehard gold should be good, after u have a known good battery installed,to test the alt, get a digital volt meter. your alt should put out 14.2 volts at 1000 rpm with your lights,heater,and wipers on, or pretty close to 14 volts. if it does that then your alt is ok. let me know what u find.
  • chirpschirps Posts: 3
    Turned out to be a bad battery after all. Put in a new battery and everything seems to be ok. There is one other small problem. As I turn the wheel (more pronounced with lower speeds), as it moves back to center there's a little back and forth movement that I feel. Tie-rods? Ball Joints? Axles? Any tips on how to diag. would be great.
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    HOW MANY MILES ON YOUR CAR? TO TEST TIE RODS, JACK UP 1 FT WHEEL , GRAB THE TIRE AT THE FRONT & BACK AND ROCK IT BACK & FORTH. IF U HAVE ANY PLAY,HAVE SOMEONE ROCK THE WHEEL WHILE U LOOK AT THE TIE-ROD END FOR PLAY.( TO REPLACE,REMOVE COTTER KEY,THEN NUT, THEN LOOSEN JAM NUT ON TIE-ROD.NOW SMACK THE DOG-P--- OUT OF THE SPINDLE WHERE THE TIE ROD GOES THROUGH IT. IT WILL POP LOOSE, COUNT THE # OF TURNS IT TAKES TO REMOVE OLD END AND REINSTALL NEW ONE THE SAME # OF TURNS -- ABOUT A 10 MIN. JOB )
    DO THE SAME WITH THE OTHER FT.WHEEL.
    GOOD LUUCK-LET ME KNOW
  • I have a 2000 ford focus and for bout 4 or 5 months now, the back tail,brake and signal lights dont work.And the hazard lights stay on. I have had 5 different people look at it and no one can it me whats wrong with it. I have had the bulbs replaced, fuses changed, new signal switches. They still dont work. If no one can help me PLEASE email me back at [email protected] PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE someone help me.
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    I WORKED AS A FORD TECH BACK IN 2000, WE HAD A FORD CAMPAIGN TO REPLACE THE WIRING LOOM THAT RUNS FROM THE UPPER LEFT CONNECTOR , INSIDE TRUNK, RUNS THROUGH THE TRUNK LID, TO THE LIC.PLATE LIGHTS AND BACKUP LIGHTS, IT WOULD RUB AND SHORT OUT INSIDE TRUNK LID, CHECK W/FORD AND SEE IF THIS WAS EVER DONE TO YOUR CAR.
  • paul2777paul2777 Posts: 1
    Hi all, I have a 2002 Ford Focus which I've had now for almost 5 years. A week ago I noticed that my drivers side tail lamp was not working yet the brake light worked fine. I replaced the bulb and checked all the fuses. The fuses were fine and I replaced the bulb anyway. The problem still persists. The passenger side works fine with both tail and brake lights working as normal. Now on the drivers side the dipped headlight ( again on the drivers side ) has failed which seems strange/odd as its on the same side ( drivers side ) as the failing tail light. Hope anyone can help. Regards Paul
  • scottjnscottjn Posts: 4
    Hello. I am having a problem with my 2000 Focus ZTS. It will very often when idling (in park or drive) or when coming to a stop die on me. It has no problem starting back up. When driving at higher speeds (>20 mph) it will often miss badly. I had this problem before and the dealer fixed it by fixing some ground wires (they didn't say which ones). They've since gone out of business and I would like to try to fix it myself. Any ideas which ground wires I should be looking for? Thanks!
  • purchased this 2005 Focus used in 2007. Was great for the first year-plus and I put about 55K miles on the car. Then I started having auto-electric issues (which are chronicled elsewhere on this thread: battery died mysteriously, anti-theft fuse blew and shut the car down, alternator went up).

    A couple weeks ago, the transmission acted up. Shifted rough, and didn't feel like it was getting out of second. The O/D OFF light started flashing. Took it to a reputable garage who said tranny was shot.. I gulped and put down 3K for a new Jarvis transmission.

    It ran great for about three days. Then it started shifting rough again. Check Engine light came on and the O/D light flashed again. Went back to the garage and they ran the diagnostic codes. Two things came up. One was a possible bad ground in a tail light that will cause the tranny to malfunction. The other was a heat sensor in the transmission that would do the same thing if bad. The garage narrowed it down to the sensor and replaced it (it was under the Jarvis warranty).

    I picked the car up this morning and drove it today with no problem. Tonight? Same thing again. Rough shifts, O/D light is flashing. So, I'm taking it back in the AM. I wonder if the electric problems - which were never really explained - aren't related to the same source as this problem. If there is a bad ground in the tail light, could it have caused all these issues? A bad ground elswhere? Anyone have an experience/opinion???
  • hadjie_21hadjie_21 Posts: 1
    Hey guys! i have 2006 ford focus hatchback and my simple problem is that the cigarette lighter is not working and i dont know how to fix it.. can anyone help me... thanks a lot...
  • pclnpcln Posts: 1
    The temperature gauge of my 2000 Ford focus se wagon goes to red when I drive in slow traffic in the city. Once the traffic moves or when I get on the highway the temp. gauge goes back to normal. What should I do? Do I need to change the fan, radiator or the sensor etc.?
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    test for 12 volts at fan plug in with a test light, with eng running hot, if you have 12 volts but fan not running, replace fan assy.
    let me know if you don't understand this
    Cliff
  • flash103flash103 Posts: 1
    I'm trying to see if there are any responses to the question of the cigarette lighter
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    OK Pay Attn;

    Do u have any other thing that runs off 12 volts ( phone charger,dvd player.work light, ect ? ) if u do, see if any of yhese work in cig outlet, if they do then u have a bad heater elem. the part u light your cig with. if they don't work u have 1 of 2 pos problems. 1. a bad fuse, test with a 12 volt test light. if all fueses test good, reach behind lighter outlet,unplug pigtail ( it pushes on ) stick your test light into this pigtail end, it should light,if it does, unscrew the back of thr lighter outlet, it's like a can that screws onto another smaller can, replace with new socket. if u do all this and u need more help just shout. Cliff
  • shardieshardie Posts: 1
    I have a '01 Focus wagon, the cigarette lighter does not work. I have checked the fuse, it is fine. I have taken the wires of the back of the plug, checked for power, no power there. I checked for power at the fuse location. Did not get any power there. Is there some type of relay? Or other fuses in line?
  • matr2matr2 Posts: 1
    i HAVE A 06' FOCUS W/ A SIGNAL SWITCH PROBLEM. IT JUST STARTED BLINKING FAST WHEN TURNING RIGHT. USUALLY THAT MEANS A SHORT OR BAD GROUND SOMEWHERE OR YOU JUST REPLACE THE SIGNAL FLASHER. WHERE IS THE FLASHER? i'VE TAKEN THE COVER OFF THE STEERING WHEEL, I HEAR IT BUT DON;T SEE IT. HAS iT CHANGED SHAPE? OR IS IT SOMEWHERE ELSE?
  • csmchughcsmchugh Posts: 1
    You may not have a short or wiring problem.
    The quickly flashing signal is also the typical warning sign that one of the signal lamps are blown out.
    I don't recall if the blown lamp is on the same side as the quick flashing, but you can start checking there.
    These are much easier to change out than anything in the steering column.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,287
    Yea, that was my first thought as well... burned out bulb.

    Start with the simple first!

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  • robflarobfla Posts: 4
    My 2007 focus sedan had issues with all the dash lights and guages quit working, coming on and off while driving. Dealer replaced a wiring harness and mentioned something about the brake pedal. Has worked fine ever since. My car is still under warranty. Hope this info helps.
  • rinserinse Posts: 3
    A few days ago my car worked fine. Then I went to start it, and nothing. The car wont respond to jumping. The battery is fine, putting out 12.4-12.5 volts. I hace power to radio, dome light, and parking lights. Key turns fine, but i get no dash lights, no key in ignition dinging. I have good power to starter and alternator, but no click. I have been tracing wires for days. relays and fuses are good. Any advice?
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON ? Your key operates a pinion gear that moves a rod up & down. This rod is connected to your ign switch that is mounted to your steering col down below your dash panel. With that said, remove trim panel under column and lower steering column ( 4 nuts ) to gain access to switch & wiring. Check for any burnt wiring at ign sw. When you turn key to start pos a small (14 Ga) wire should get hot. (test with 12 volt test light) this wire goes to your starter relay on starter or fender well. It sounds like you have a bad ign switch. do these test and let me know. Cliff
  • mickeymouse2mickeymouse2 Posts: 161
    Sounds like a bad maxi fuse for the ignition or main power supply. If I remember right it is either a 80 amp or 100 amp fuse in your power distribution box. Use a test light and verify power going to each side of the fuse. You might not be able to tell if it is blown by just looking at it. No dash lights when key is turned on indicates no power from ignition or mechanism is failing to turn switch ect. Most of your maxi fuses have power going through them even when key is off. If I had to bet money, check the main fuse.
  • rinserinse Posts: 3
    Thanks for your advice. The fuses are all good, but I am not getting power to all of them, including a main power fuse. I found an inline 150 amp (i know it sounds crazy) but even it is good. Power goes into the ignition relay, but nothing comes out. Tried switching it with the other one, and still nothing. My two mechanics are baffled (working pro-bono thank goodness) and I am stumped as well. Know of any other inlines besides between the alternator and starter? Maybe the ignition cylinder? Key turns fine though.
  • rinserinse Posts: 3
    LoL! Good point. Its a 2004 Ford Focus ZX3. I tried replacing the ignition switch already. Was actually my first thought. My mechanics took out the starter in order to check the inline fuse easier. That is fine. However, today i noticed that I am not getting a ground to the ground connection that goes to the starter. There is s ground that comes from the ignition coil housing. At the housing there is ground, but after the connector there is no ground. Should I have ground there even though its not connected to the starter? Im grasping at anything at this point.
  • the_magethe_mage Posts: 1
    Hey all,
    My 05 focus headlight is out. Drivers side.
    I can just get my hand in there on an odd angle and can grab the bulb but cant turn the bulb (arthritis strikes again!)

    Is it normally a hand turn thing? I think it should be, most cars are. Any tricks to get the stubborn thing to turn? , and which way?? the manual is not clear.. When standing in front of the car looking in at the engine does it turn, top to the middle of the car or top the the outside towards the fender?

    Thanks in advance .. Brian..
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,287
    If you can get your hand on it, you should be able to get it out. On some cars now the procedure to change a headlight bulb involves taking the front clip off of the car! :sick:

    But back to your Focus... take a look in there if you can. Sometimes there's a locking ring or wire retaining clip that needs to be released before you can pull the bulb out. I think the Focus might have a wire clip. Also, since the bulb assembly has an O-ring on it to seal out moisture, it may be a bit tight in the hole as well.

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  • katbarkatbar Posts: 1
    My husband was driving our 2006 Focus home from work yesterday and the battery light came on. It went off when he accelerated which to both of us sounded like alternator. Well, we were called this morning and told it was a "bigger electrical" issue. Any advice or wisdom is greatly appreciated.
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    What were you told it needed ?
    1. Check ALL cables to battery and alt. Ground cable also, both ends of cables must be clean & tight.
    2. have battery load tested with proper tester.
    3. Have alt output tested under load with proper tester.
    Let me know what you find out.
    Cliff
  • The car is designed to take power from accessories and leave it for needed components so that you have time to pull over safely I guess. If you had looked at your radio display screen (at least with a stock radio) it should've said "low battery". it happened to me to. And i'm glad it does this, otherwise i would've been stranded unexpectedly when my alternator went out.
  • axelvaxelv Posts: 6
    2001 Focus ZX3 2L Zetec 120k miles. Hi everyone, I'm new here and "enjoy" reading about the Focus problems. Let me start with a short intro. I like my Focus, drove it for 80k miles within a little more than 4 yrs. No huge issues. Had to replace two front springs because they broke (!). A few more suspension issues. Other than that no bigger issues. Until recently. I noticed the same symptoms others have described quite well. But read on as I can add a new bit to the story and have a link to a picture. At about 120k miles I started to have the red battery warning light come on intermittently. This progressed slowly into flickering instrument lights, and also the fan motor slowing to a level one when set to level 4. Also intermittently. This progressed to appear more often but the car was running fine. Idle was ok, power development, starting in the morning, all no problem. Then I decided to look into the issue and held a volt meter to the battery while engine running. 15.3 to 15.8 and lately 16.3 Volts, varying rapidly within the range. My book says that the voltage regulator is definitely bad if there's a voltage higher than 14 at the battery when the engine is running. Can anyone confirm this? Or does this also depend on the regulator's voltage reference? Anyway. I planned to take the alternator out and put a used one in ($50) myself. So I started to work on that. In the process, I tried to pull the connector in the back of the alt (white/blue/red wires) and noticed, that the red wire was loose. Pulling a little and it came off completely. All full with green deposits (see picture below). So now I also need a new pigtail to the main harness there. I guess. So I started the car back up, and now, here's the new bit of information. Now the battery light is on permanently. Also the car started stalling at idle. So anyone with that symptom (permanently lit battery light, and stalling at idle), please check that red cable on the back of your alt. Let me know what you find. Another thing now is, that the max voltage at the battery when engine on has stabilized at 14.6 to 14.65 Volts. WTH? So experts, what do you think? Do I need a new pigtail only? Or also a new voltage regulator/alternator? Any help greatly appreciated. Link to the picture.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,287
    I hate to seem like Mr. Obvious, but if the voltage is higher than what the book says it should be, it's NOT be regulated correctly. So just changing a wire isn't going to change that. The fact that the voltage at the battery has "stabilized" doesn't really seem to mean much since it has done so at a voltage higher than 14. "Less bad" doesn't mean OK.

    Sounds like you're looking at replacing the voltage regulator to me.

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  • axelvaxelv Posts: 6
    You certainly have a good point. 14.6 still appears a bit on the high side. But in automotive it's not all black or white, that's why I put so much time into describing the symptoms. I'm looking for the electrical guru who could maybe tell us what the problem is based on the symptoms. I don't think any more that the regulator is bad. After all, it regulates again. Ok, high, but it does. If it wouldn't, the voltage would increase with rpm. I'm thinking the reference voltage that the regulator uses has now stabilized to zero (because the cable came off completely?) and the regulator regulates to peak output. I'm guessing that before, the loose or corroded wire sent all kinds of wrong signals to the regulator, causing it to put out between 15 and 16.x volts. What doesn't make sense to me though, is why the engine is stalling now. I plan on soldering that wire back on and will check if that makes any differnece. I'd hate to replace the alternator/volt reg just because a wire is bad.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,287
    OK, then change the wire (the simplest/cheapest thing to do) and see where you are.

    My gut is telling me it's the voltage regulator. If you're rationalizing the 14.6 as the regulator functioning again, just that it's getting bad input because of a bad wire, then the regulator was functioning all along.

    Problem with that line of thought is that that's not how voltage regulators work. They are a device that puts out a steady set voltage, period. When they don't, they have, by definition, stopped working and need to be replaced.

    My gut is also telling me that your now permanent waring lights are the result of damage done to electronics by the unregulated voltage you were experiencing. I hope I'm wrong.

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  • axelvaxelv Posts: 6
    Quite honestly, I have no clue how voltage regulators work, I will have to do my homework first. An alternator is a reverse e-motor, so the faster it spins, the higher the output voltage (and I know that). So something has to be there to keep the voltage steady. I've seen up to 16.3V before, now I only see 14.6, steady, regardless of rpm. So something is regulating again, what it is I don't know. Anyway, I got my replacement pigtail 181 today, borrowed a soldering iron, and am ready to put that thing in. Will post my findings later.
  • mickeymouse2mickeymouse2 Posts: 161
    Guru here,

    The loose/bad conection may have been the initial problem of the alternater over charging, Resistance in the system causes the regulator to put out too much. This can also be caused by dirty cable ends, poor grounding, ect. Modern cars have grounding issues due to the number of plastic components. Its important that all those little ground straps that the manufacturer put on there are still there. You also have to understand that you have a computer controled vehicle.
    Sensors do not react well with too much voltage. A damaged sensor might have occured also. You might be lucky and just have to reset the PCM by disconecting the negative or use a scan tool to go through a relearn proceedure to get the vehicle to stop dieing. 14.6v is not too high of voltage, try testing it with the lights on also. If bat light still on, the PCM might be sensing a diod ripple from the alternater and turning your bat light on. Here is an example; Vehicle was overcharging like yours, problem was fixed. Bat light still on. PCM data showed charging voltage at 15.5v when in reality it was now 14.0v. Ya, PCM's can get damaged by too much voltage and then simply be reading it wrong. This is why all manufacturers do not recommend ever jump starting your vehicle, your sending a voltage spike through out the entire system.

    Finish your repair and see what the end result is. Even go ahead and put that other used alt in if you want. Scanning the PCM with a scanner that shows data (like a snap on) may end up being what you have to do. Good luck with it.
  • axelvaxelv Posts: 6
    Thanks Guru, for your insights! I just finished the work on the Focus. See some pictures by clicking here. It was a pain getting that connector off. I think I broke the old connector completely and also the alternator side has suffered a bit. Getting the insulation off the wires on the pigtail behind the alt was a pain too. Then, doing the soldering in that small a space was not easy either! But it was ok. Worst was getting the insulation off. Triple checked to make sure the wire order was correct the way i soldered it on and plugged the new connector in. Took me about 3 hrs total. Needed a lighted dental mirror, a soldering iron, a sharp knife, some tweezers, and a beer. Before the work I checked again. Voltage was 14.2 this time and the battery light still on permanently. Idle was bad, stalling. After the work was done, the battery light was off, voltage stable at 14.7V. With everything on, it went down to 14.3V. I did a short test drive. No issues. The gauges didn't flicker any more. Will drive it to work tomorrow and post my findings. So far I'm happy, but I don't trust it completely yet. Thanks so far guys for all the messages I received. Stay tuned for updates. BTW, the pigtail costs $37.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,287
    "Above 14 volts" means just that. With the voltage out of the regulator varying, I'd wager you're still going to need to replace it.

    The whole idea of the regulator is to provide that rock steady voltage.

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  • axelvaxelv Posts: 6
    So please tell me, what's the actual voltage it has to be at? And what's the tolerance it can move around in? And is that independent of system loading? Thanks for your help.
  • oldfordmecholdfordmech Posts: 124
    14.2 IS THE IDEAL VOLTAGE TO HAVE AT THE BATTERY WITH THE ENG RUNNING AT APPROX 1,000 RPM WITH A GOOD LOAD, ( a/c,wipers and headlights on)
    Are u still having problem w/red alt light still on after doing above test ?
  • axelvaxelv Posts: 6
    14.2, that's good to know, thank you for the information! With everything off except the engine I now have 14.6...14.7, steady. When I add some load (high beam, music, full blower motor) it drops to 14.3, also steady. The battery light was off since the repair, I drove 35 miles since and everything is normal. No flickering, no idle problems, no stalling, steady blower motor, steady headlight output.
    As a quick history of the problem again: first the red battery light (not the orange engine light) came on intermittently. When it was on, I was normally able to shut it off by pressing the clutch pedal completely (it's a manual) or by changing gears, which involves pressing the clutch, so I figured it's probably not rpm related. The the light came on more frequently so I looked in the manual what could be wrong and started reading the forums and measured the voltage (up to 16.3V varying constantly with engine on) and so on. Then eventually the instrument lighting started to flicker and the headlights and blower motor rpm started to vary, and also the rpm and speedometer gauges started to have a life of their own (zeroing, going to max, then back to normal, also all warning lights came on - probably the instrument cluster self-test or calibration, and there was a bell (like when you forget the headlights and pull the key)). Then I looked in my book and the forums also said replace voltage regulator/alternator when voltage is over 14. While starting to work around the alt, I noticed the corroded wire, which then came off completely (the red wire on the 3 pin connector on the back of the alt [blue and white cable were still ok] - see some links to pictures in my previous posts). Once the cable was off completely, the symptoms changed: battery light on constantly, voltage stable at 14.7V, but now it was also stalling when at idle rpm. Then I bought the pigtail #118 from Ford ($37) and did the repair. Car is running normally ever since. (knocking on wood 3 times). Note that I did not change the alternator, and did not change the voltage regulator! Here's the link to the pictures again: Pictures
  • From your pics i would say u found and fixed the problem. Keep an eye on your voltage for awhile, as long as it does not go over 15 at any tme and stays above 14 u should be ok. High voltage can warp the plates in your battery plus a host of problems with other electrical parts.
  • Does anyone know of an electrical wiring issue that can cause alternators to fail? I drive a 2002 Focus ZTS and have replaced the alternator twice already and am now looking at alternator #4. The alternator in the car is barely 7 months old and today the battery light came on and stayed on, not even going off when I revved the engine to higher RPMs as I have usually seen it do when the alternator was the issue. Had the charging system tested at Auto Zone who said the battery was fine and it was the alternator. I find it hard to believe that the brand new alternator just randomly decided not to work at all halfway through today.

    It was also coincidental that one headlight went out yesterday and I had just had a mechanic friend replace the bulb today just before the drive home when the battery light came on. He didn't mess with anything but the light, but I have a hard time believing they aren't somehow related.

    The first alternator went bad in August of 2006, when it started charging intermittently. Replaced it with a remanufactured alternator and got a new battery. Then that alternator supposedly went bad in late December of 2008. The symptoms that time around included some less typical for a bad alternator (i.e. audio system randomly rebooting in the middle of a drive) and I was suspicious of an underlying electrical issue. I mentioned my concerns to the guys at the Tuffy's where I had to take it (car wouldn't hold a charge more than 3 minutes so I had to take it to the closest possible auto shop). They pretty much just patronized me, told me they'd check, and acted like I was an idiot for thinking it could be anything other than the alternator. The alternator they put in is still under warranty so I shouldn't have a problem getting that replaced but I don't want to keep treating this rather expensive symptom if the real issue is something else.

    From what I gather from reading others' complaints, there are a lot of electrical/alternator problems with the Focus, so if anyone has any ideas about what could be causing my '02 to eat alternators, I'd really appreciate it!
  • What is overlooked most of the time is poor grounding or bad or dirty conections at the battery or the B terminal on the back of the Alternater, A clue you gave about the radio resetting is telling me a loose conection somewhere on your battery cables. Try adding some extra ground cables to the engine and fender. An overworked regulator will burn out early due to the heat from any resistance in the wiring.
  • Hi;
    My name is Cliff-an old Ford mechanic. #1.check the wiring plug in at the alt. pull slightly on the wiring at the plug in to see if you have any loose connectors also check plug in wiring for any sign of (GREEN) corrosion. Next check BOTH ends of each battery cable and make sure they are CLEAN & TIGHT. Next check that you have a GOOD ground from the eng to the body. You should have approx 14.2 volts at the battery with the eng at 1000 rpm and a good load on the system, headlights, blower motor on high,wipers on.
    Let me know what you find out.
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