1997 Ford Escort Electrical Short!

Tiny
BLUESKYGAL
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 FORD ESCORT
  • 4 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 111,500 MILES
Aye, when it rains it pours. I have just replaced radiator, spark plugs and wires, and new battery. The car has been idling rough for about a month - it seems to up and down especially when sitting at a light. Tonight, after getting new battery yesterday I shut off and locked up, then decided to go back out as I needed something.

Car would not start. No battery turn over (on a new battery as of day before yesterday. I had had trouble with another battery and returned it and got this one. The other battery kept dying and had to be recharged - 3 times in 4 days.)

Pushed the key to lock the door and the lights on the inside seemed to light up and go off and on and then off! Did something short?

Thank you.
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Friday, November 14th, 2008 AT 7:52 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
ZACKMAN
  • MEMBER
You need to check which door switch that is giving your trouble. Have to test all of them, one at a time.

As for your rough idle, you have a vacuum leak. Check all your vacuum lines, making sure you have no kinks, frayed, broken, or anything of the sort. Also you may want to check your idle air control motor. That should have controlled your idle.
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Friday, November 14th, 2008 AT 11:36 PM
Tiny
BLUESKYGAL
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Thanks for your reply! I am mechanically challenged so won't be able to do your advice. Is a vacumn leak expensive to fix? If so, rough estimate?

I'm not having trouble with door switches. They all work. The car will not start period. It startled me to see the lights inside the car go haywire. Did I blow something big time?

I should also add that a few weeks back I bought a new battery. After a few weeks use it started to not work and I had to have it recharged 3 times in 4 days. They gave me another new one same thing. I returned the battery and bought another battery (much better made) from my regular mechanic. That was 3-4 days ago. Now the car will not start again. The remote door opener works, and the theft light is on.

Thanks again! I would have paid money but am unemployed and have no income.
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Saturday, November 15th, 2008 AT 9:37 AM
Tiny
ZACKMAN
  • MEMBER
The inside lights of the car are controlled by the door switches. When you open any door, the light should come on, and turn off when the doors are closed. My understanding was that the lights stay on even after the doors are all closed and locked. If that is the case, then one of the door switches is faulty, letting the lights to stay on, and thus draining your battery. That is why you have to keep charging the battery. Have your mechanic friend to test the switches for you. It should only take less than half hour to test all 4 switches.

Keep in mind that it only takes only a couple of amperes to turn all lights and work all accessories, but it requires hundreds to start an engine.
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Saturday, November 15th, 2008 AT 5:40 PM
Tiny
BLUESKYGAL
  • MEMBER
The inside lights of the car are controlled by the door switches. When you open any door, the light should come on, and turn off when the doors are closed. My understanding was that the lights stay on even after the doors are all closed and locked. If that is the case, then one of the door switches is faulty, letting the lights to stay on, and thus draining your battery. That is why you have to keep charging the battery. Have your mechanic friend to test the switches for you. It should only take less than half hour to test all 4 switches.

Keep in mind that it only takes only a couple of amperes to turn all lights and work all accessories, but it requires hundreds to start an engine.[/Quote:793e8214de]

I'm sorry I was not clear. The lights do not stay on when I close and lock the doors - as far as I know. All I was saying was this last time - I had stopped the car and locked it. I then remembered that I had to go get something else. I opened the door using the remote switch on the key ring. The door opened. The car would not start. Dead. This after just driving for at least 15 minutes.

Then I locked the car using the remote again. After I did that, this one time only, lights flashed on and off inside the car like I have never seen happen in all the years I've owned cars. The doors still lock remotely. The battery is dead. The car will not start. I hope I was clearer and more precise this time.

One more thing. I have a habit of hitting the remote lock several times out of habit. Sometimes I hear the locks lock again? Like I missed one in the back?
Thank you again!
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Saturday, November 15th, 2008 AT 9:33 PM
Tiny
ZACKMAN
  • MEMBER
Here is what you need to do.
1. Fully charge the battery. If your mechanic charges you for that service, go to Autozone or Checker O'Reilly, they will do it for free.
2. Once that is done, get a voltmeter and get a reading on the battery voltage. For example, say you get 12.65 volts.
3. Install the battery into the car. Once installed, get another reading. If the new reading drops more than 0.1 volt, then you have an open circuit somewhere. That has to be fixed, if not your battery will get continually drained every day. Most electric drains that I have seen come from door switches, trunk switch, brake light switch, and believe it or not, improperly installed stereo system.
4. If your reading is good, drive the car back to the store and have them test your electrical system (battery, starter, and alternator). If you have a bad alternator, your battery will last you probably about a day and a half (may be), and you will need to recharge.

Let me know.
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Saturday, November 15th, 2008 AT 10:51 PM
Tiny
BLUESKYGAL
  • MEMBER
They did test the alternator when the batteries were installed and it read 14.1 which they said was good. I will do as you suggest - thanks so much for your help. I will let you know the result.

God Bless!
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Sunday, November 16th, 2008 AT 9:43 AM
Tiny
BLUESKYGAL
  • MEMBER
Zackman,
Well, would you believe this? The culprit was a LOOSE BATTERY CABLE - negative. I took the car to the mechanic who deals with my electrical problems and he found it almost immediately. In checking over the battery - he moved the cable and car started! He recommended that I replace the battery cable. Which I did for $20! It fixed the problem. Thanks so much for your help.
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Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 AT 12:15 PM

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