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Ford Focus Electrical Help

  • About a year ago I installed led headlights on my 2005 Ford Focus. They worked great for about a week then they would take turns randomly turning of for a while then turning back on. I didn’t think much of it then I went to replace them so they wouldn’t have a problem and noticed that even though they were the correct type of bulb, they had 14v written on them. I replaced them with regular 12v halogen bulbs. A few days later I was coming home from a stay at my aunts and the headlights went dim, the rpm gauge fell to 0 (was going about 55mph) speedometer fell to 0, mileage meter went blank and radio stopped working. Kept moving untill whole car stopped. Stuck on side of the road I checked the battery terminals and they were a little dirty. Had towed to mechanic where the alternator was replaced. Car worked great for about 4-5 months then same thing happened when coming home from school. Pulled over and was able to restart the car with no problem and make it the 7 miles home. Got home and had the battery and alternator replaced (Napa free under warranty) by a mechanic friend. At this point with the money we had spent and the long commute I had to school we bought a 2017 corolla. I still drove the Ford Focus occasionally. A few weeks after having the alternator replaced I took it for a short drive and noticed the battery light came on. I replaced the battery again, battery light was still on. Drove fine and one day I noticed these two wires that weren’t connected I (idiotically) tried to connect them back with electrical tape thinking that they may not be grounded and drawing extra electricity. Tried to start the car and noting happened at all no crank, nothing. Turns out me connecting those wires blew a 20 amp max fuse that controls the ecm. Replaced and car started again with battery light still on. The two wires turned out to be to a noise filter cable that I replaced. Battery light stayed on but still drove for about 300 miles. Then I went to the lake with a friend and don’t want to take my new car because it would get dirty. Make it there and start to pack up to head home when I left it running for about 5 minutes in idle with headlights on (we couldn’t see well without it as there are no lights in the parking lot). Car started idling and sounding weird but didn’t think much of it because of the exhaust (I should note that 16 year old me thought I would be cool to cut off resonator and put straight pipe, it sounded loud and cool but made the car shake terribly). About a minute of idleing later the car shut off. It wouldn’t turn back on at all. I got out and “gently wacked” the battery terminals and the alternator with some pliers. (I don’t know why, I might have seen it on top gear or something), said a prayer and walked away for 5 minutes. Came back and it started right up. Lights, radio, everything worked fine for the 20 min drive home. This sounded like an alternator problem to me so I put car on jacks and looked underneath car. The plug that connects the alternator to ecu (not to the battery) was just unplugged, plugged it in and battery light was gone. Drove for about 20 miles and it came unplugged. (remember the exhaust makes this whole car shake like crazy)This kept happening untill I super glued the plug in place. Worked great untill I drove it a few days later and when I came outside from shopping it wouldn’t start. Every time it tried to start it the radio would make noise like it was changing cds. Jumped it using my moms car and made it home. I recharged the battery and all was well. Then got in it the other day to go to store and it barely started (long crank about 2 seconds longer than normal) (also the left blinker tick ticked twice as fast and bulb wound not blink) got to store and came back out and even longer crank about 5 seconds of it trying to crank and it finally did. Noticed it did not want to shift at all past first gear on the way home. Also on this drive the RIGHT blinker blinked twice as fast with the bulb not working and the left came back on. Recharged the battery and it shifted and worked perfectly…again and both the bulbs blinked at normal speed and both bulbs worked . I test drove it around the block for about 30 mins when battery light came on then off and finally stayed on and didn’t want to shift again and didn’t want to start(like a dead battery) tested with multimeter and battery read 11.3v. Charged battery again and it worked again. Went to harbor freight and bought a battery load tester. Battery tested fine but the charging system (while car was at 2,000-2,500 rpm) read only 12 volts when it used to read between 13.5 and 14 while the car was running on a brand new alternator. Now it is present day and I think it needs a new alternator as it is not charging right and I don’t know why it went through two alternators in less than 500 miles of driving. I checked the battery terminals, headlights, headlight plugs, it all seems to be fine and clean (minus the super glue on the alternator cable). What could be causing the extra draw. I do think both the alternators Napa gave us were rebuilt.

Why do people do this?

The vehicle didn’t come equipped with LED headlights. But they think they’re smarter than the engineers at FORD.

You deserve it!

Tester

7 Likes

Never claimed I was smarter than the Ford engineers. In fact I called what I did idiotic. This car is 14 years old, at the time it didn’t make sense for Ford to install them in the car. LED Headlights weren’t in any production car until a year later in 2006. I am not smarter than the engineers at ford (and never claimed to be) but driving on rural GA roads is much easier with better headlights.

It’s dark everywhere at night.

Tester

1 Like

Right, hence the desire for better headlights. Apparently I didn’t post my question in the best place to get a good response. Thanks for your help anyways!

They’re not better headlights, they’re illegal headlights.

Last time I checked there were no legal LED or HID conversion kits for use on the road.
Off road or for show use only.

3 Likes

Incorrect. Ga law says they are legal as long as they aren’t blue and they are white. I bought them from autozone.

That doesn’t make them legal.

1 Like

… and it surely doesn’t cause them to function properly…
:thinking:

I realize them selling it at autozone doesn’t make them legal, apparently you didn’t read the part where I said Ga law says they are legal, so what’s your point? You falsely called them illegal. I admitted twice now that it was a stupid choice to buy them and I used them for only a week well over a year ago.

Then what was the purpose of your post ?

3 Likes

That was the purpose of my post. Its not about the headlights, I was just giving a backstory to the cars problems hoping someone could help. I copied my exact post here to two other forums and got helpful responses. Not people saying I deserve these problems, but people actually telling me what might be wrong with the car now. Because as I said in the post, I fixed the headlight problem by putting regular ones in long ago and have gone through another alternator afterwards.

Large current draws can often be sussed out by monitoring the temperatures of the various fuses. If you discover a fuse w/an abnormally high temperature, that suggests the current draw problem is specific to that circuit. A laser-guided IR thermometer gadgets would probably work well for that application.

https://www.harborfreight.com/121-infrared-laser-thermometer-63985.html

Thank you George for your response. I hadn’t thought of that and I already have a laser infrared thermometer so I will give it a try. Thanks!

Check alternator ground connection at engine block.