Electrics/battery/wires and no start issues

Tiny
REBEKAHSTAMMERS
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 FORD KA
  • 1.3L
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 48,500 MILES
Last week my battery light came on and then went out, a few days later after giving the car a thirty minute run twice it would not start. Started fine the next day so I drove it to work, when I got home from work (only a fifteen minute drive) I stopped the engine and wanted to double check it would start again and it would not start. Called the AA and the guy said there was a loose wire so he soldered it back together and fixed it, said I may need a replacement battery but to give it a good run and it should charge it up. The next day it had its MOT and nothing showed except welding - which cost me £354 altogether, then a few days later it would not start again, went and got a brand new battery fitted, a few days later the battery died again so I called the AA out again and the guy said the wire which had come loose before (connect to alternator I think) was causing the battery to drain while it was plugged in and then while it was unplugged the battery was charging, he told me I could drive with the wire unplugged for a few days until I got it fixed and to leave the car running on the drive for thirty minutes, when I went to turn the car off it had overheated. I drove it to work the next day, my radio was not working, my heated rear window wasn't working, it was not telling me how fast I was going, every time I changed gear it would make a ticking noise, my battery light, ABS light and engine management fault light were all on and after ten minutes a temperature light came on and the car started to get really hot (would not blow cold air out) and it smelt really bad, luckily this was just before I got to work. I plugged the wire back in and now it will drive but my battery is being drained and my main lights are not working. I know nothing about cars and do not want to be ripped off and do not see the point in paying loads more money on this car when it is causing me nothing but problems!
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Friday, March 3rd, 2017 AT 10:59 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
All of this sounds like it started from a simple charging system failure that was misdiagnosed. Generators often begin failing by not working intermittently. The clues are all the computer-controlled systems that were shutting down. Computers become confused when the electrical system has low voltage. They turn off, then turn on their warning lights to tell you. You need to have the charging system professionally tested, but it is critically important that testing be done while the problem is occurring. The preliminary tests only take a couple of minutes. The important tests are "full-load output current", charging voltage", and "ripple voltage". A few testers provide a printout of the results. For the rest, ask to have the test results printed or written on the receipt.
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Friday, March 3rd, 2017 AT 4:26 PM
Tiny
REBEKAHSTAMMERS
  • MEMBER
Thank you, that sounds like a lot of problems, how much do you think it would cost to get it fixed? Is it even worth it?
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Saturday, March 4th, 2017 AT 12:28 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You read that wrong. Yes, it is a lot of problems, but with potentially common cause that could be minor. The charging system stopped working intermittently on my 1988 Grand Caravan a few years ago. It could have been solved with a replacement alternator, but I repaired it with a nine-dollar part. Took about half an hour. The alternators on a lot of Chrysler products can be repaired in fifteen minutes, with a pair of $3.00 brushes.

Ford used a redesigned generator, ("alternator" was developed by Chrysler, and they copyrighted the term, but everyone will know what you mean), throughout the 1990's that also was real easy to diagnose and repair, often without even having to remove it from the engine. The engineers didn't like that, so by 2000 or 2001, they went to a design that is more involved. It takes longer to diagnose those.

Cost is not something we get involved with here because there is way too many variables. We do not even know for sure yet what is wrong. The place to start is by having the charging system professionally load tested at a repair shop, not at an auto parts store. It is critically important that the testing be done while the problem is occurring, not while everything is working okay.
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Sunday, March 5th, 2017 AT 2:48 PM

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