I have a 2002 2L Zetec Ford Focus. I have owned the car 18 months with no problems. It has done 80 000 kilometers.
Last week while driving, the battery charge light came on. This only appears to happen when the rpm is below 1000, for example when idling. When I rev the car, the light goes out. The problem then worsened while I continued to drive it. The car suddenly had like a hiccup, because the brakes went hard, all guages on the instrument panel fell to zero, it did continue to drive the couple Km to get me home but it was rough. Coughing and spluttering like one of the sparks was missing.
So far I have replaced the plugs & battery - no joy. Ive bought an OBDII to get an error code - its reads zero - no joy. I cleaned the EGR, MAFF and PCV - still it runs rough. The symptoms now are it idles but the battery light comes on (although it doesn't cut out now!). The emmissions really smell bad like rotten eggs - very strong. There is also a lot of water leaking from the exhaust while the car warms up. Once warm, the exhaust is dry. I have actually noticed small amounts of water in the exhaust over the past few months (I hope its not the head gasket).
From the sound of things if the battery light came on and then the electrical accessories were the first to go and you've replaced the battery and it got a little better, I'd say the alternator is bad. You can take it to an autoparts store and usually they can test it for you for free.
November, 27, 2006 AT 4:10 PM
I suspect that you have an alternator that is failing and the voltage regulator is the culprit. Since it is usually internal to the alternator replace it. Smell of bad eggs can be associated with an overcharged battery.
The moisture you talk about should be normal. That is condensation from the engine that needs to be pushed out the exhaust. Short trips with a car do not let the water evaporate and thus begin to rust the exhaust system out. Rain, etc is not the worst enemy of the exhaust it is the condensation and getting the car good and warm will lengthen the life of the system. Don't worry about the moisture. IF that moisture is sweet like antifreeze you have very serious problems and I would doubt the vehicle would even start.
November, 28, 2006 AT 2:06 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I have since tested the alternator and discovered that it was failing.
I replaced it (what a hassle!) And now the car runs well if not better than before.
FYI: to replace the alternator I practically had to remove all components around the alternator AND pull the engine forward just to get enough space to remove the old one. It was a tight fit even with that.