I have a base-model 2004 Ford Focus ZX3 5 speed. No bells or whistles. During the last week my battery light comes on when I first start my car. Then after about 1 or 2 minutes of driving it would go off. Every now and then it will come on for a few seconds then go off again. I also noticed that antifreeze was leaking. (I don't know if the two issues are due to the same problem or two seperate problems) I noticed the leak was coming from the underneath of a plactic piece that went across the top front of the car. The piece is like a hard plastic pipe I guess. It has black rubber hoses connected on both sides of it. I'm guessing it's located above the radiator or possibly part of the radiator? IDK. Also, back to the battery light issue, after I put water in my car last night before I left work ( I have to do that every time before I drive anywhere; and no, I dont put it in when the engine is hot) I started the car, the battery light came on again, but this time didnt go off. After about 10 minutes of driving, and the battery light going off and on periodically, all of a sudden my stereo power went off, then all my lights and the power to my whole car! The car started sputtering, I started praying and crying, then pressed the gas pedal like I was revving the engine, then the power came back! I made it home, but dont want to drive it till I know whats wrong. I cant get stranded in the Florida heat with my kids in the car.
I showed my mechanic the leak a few days ago. He first thought it was the hose connection located on the left side (in front of the overflow tank) so he replaced the metal peice that clamps the hose to that plastic pipe thing. But it didnt stop the leak (I told him that wasnt what was leaking!) Then he finally saw what I saw. The leak was dripping from underneath the plastic pipe thing. While driving I guess the antifreeze was also getting blown around, including by the serpentine belt area.
Anyway, my mechanic doesnt know what that part is. He said it was probably a specialty dealer part. I went to Advanced Auto Parts and had a guy come look at it. He also didnt know what it was. So I have been online for HOURS! I cant find anything that remotely looks like the piece that is leaking! Nothing : -( I wish I could find something on line- like a virtual look under the hood-click on the piece and tell what it is. But no such luck. Please help so I can get my car back on the road!
As for the battery light, that means the generator isn't recharging the battery while you're driving. As a temporary measure, you can use a battery charger at home if you only have to go short distances. A good fully charged battery should last you a good half hour with a couple of engine starts.
Look at the back of your generator to see if it looks like the one in the photo. If you have that gray rectangular box, I can walk you through the testing procedure.
April, 12, 2011 AT 9:47 PM
Any chance you can upload picture of the part on your car?
There is a coolant pipe that runs right along the top of the radiator (seperate from the radiator). That is what it is called, a coolant pipe
April, 14, 2011 AT 4:13 AM
Hey guys- thank you so much for your speedy replies. Unfortunately I couldnt get a pic but thanks to PROTECH1980 and your info, I was able to track down the part. Here is a link to the page selling the part in case anyone else comes across this problem. Thanks again and God bless! -Gina http://focus.c-f-m.com/upperradiatordistributiontubefocuszetec.aspx
April, 14, 2011 AT 3:57 PM
Your welcome, glad we could help with the antifreeze leak, also wondering, did you put a new altrnator on the car?
April, 14, 2011 AT 5:15 PM
Actually my car has had a total of 4 altenators since buying it new in 2004. The original lasted til sometime in 2009, then it had to be replaced. But the new one was replaced a few days later-my mechanic said it must have been defective. Then, after the car dying again, he replaced it with another one. We were starting to think of course, that something was draining the battery. So I had to replace those 2 little fans- I think they are by the radiator. If memory serves, that was expensive! I think I got a new battery during this ordeal too. So with that and a new, 4th altenator (which were all still covered by a warrenty) my car was up and running fine. Til now.
April, 15, 2011 AT 2:56 AM
Do you know what kind of alternators are being put on your car, I've ran into some problems with certain aftermarket units that after several comebacks had to put Ford alternators on, a bit more money, but problem solved, also make sure the positive cable to alternator from battery is in good condition, also make sure the negative battery cable is ok and is providing a good ground.
April, 15, 2011 AT 4:24 PM
I'm not sure the brand of alternator he ordered. And I would look but the receipts are in my glovebox in my car, which is at the shop again. Got the antifreeze leak fixed but obviously that had nothing to do w/the battery light coming on. After I picked it up yesterday I drove 30 seconds down the road and the dang light came on again so I turned around, had him check the battery again-he said it was fine-had a full charge. But he cleaned the crap off the battery posts and sent me on my way. It drove fine all the way to work. Then on my way home this morning (at 3 am!) It started losing power. I pulled over just as it quit on me. I tried to restart it but it just made a clicking noise. As I waited the 1 1/2 hr for roadside assistance, I did try restarting it once after about 45 mins. It started but then stalled immediately, so I just left it off. I towed it to the shop again. Hopefully I'll hear something from him soon. I had a look at the cables on the battery last night-the right one was fine but the left one had some small wires exposed on the top part of the cable, but they didnt look torn or damaged. But I have a feeling its the stupid alternator again.
April, 15, 2011 AT 8:16 PM
Ya, sounds like an alternator, I would bring the issue up about the quality of the units he's putting on, would'nt hurt to ask his opinion about trying another brand of alternator, also did a little research on this car and have seen reports of techs finding bad or loose conections on the electrical plug in, on the alternator, might want to bring that up to your mechanic also, A loose conection could cause your intermittent no charging problem that is occuring. Good luck and let me know.