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  1. #1
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    Default Entire electrical system flickering

    I have a 2001 ford focus se.

    My entire electrical system flickers and I look like a strobe light going down the road at night.

    My headlights, dash lights, radio, air, brake lights, EVERYTHING electrical flickers completely off and on. MPH flickers and drops and I don't know how fast I am going, gas gauge flickers, RPMs flicker, the heat gauge drops and stays low... The heat doesn't really work sufficiently anymore. Even my engine kicks off briefly and my car jerks... NOT GOOD! All at the same time. When I use my blinker, heat, or even roll down my window... It particularly acts up like it's possessed by the exorcist.


    I have had numerous wiring problems found on my car that have been corroded and severed such as ground wires and wires for the ignition plug (not sure if that is what it is called, but there are three wires that come out of the plug. the right wire when severed i learned makes your car run and sound like a lawn mower, the middle one severed just completely shuts your car down, and im not sure what the right one does when severed) that have corroded and snapped off. I've gotten the battery cables replaced, the ground wires fixed that were found completely snapped off, and to no avail. I've been told that it's the alternator, but the voltage has been checked 3 different times and that is fine. I've gotten other people to check it as well and I've had some wires that were apparently running too hot, but the wires looked fine and I am not sure if anything was done to fix that problem... At that point I was fed up.

    Someone told me it is the voltage regulator, others say to just try and replace the alternator, but why the hell would I do that when it is just fine, others tell me to check the wiring to the alternator and to check for other wiring issues...

    This has been going on for YEARS and the electrical system of my car has been beyond a headache. It gets worse as the days pass. I absolutely cannot drive at night anymore and when my engine kicked off for the first time and jerked my car it's time take this issue seriously.

    So, WTF should I check and try and replace???

    I do know that I am checking ALL wires tomorrow and looking on going to a bone yard to get a new ignition plug since the one I have was kind of ghetto rigged and I was planning on redoing the wiring for that anyway.

    If nothing improves after that I am going try the voltage regulator... Or should I do that first?

    GARR..!!

    Any other ideas?? Things I should check?? Try? I am trying to keep this as cheap as possible since I am a single mother.

    Again, this has been an issue for YEARS and anything that I have found wrong and fixed, like severed ground wires or even the ignition wires when my car completely died has NOT fixed the problem.
    Last edited by luckyelk; Dec 29, 2010 at 4:37 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    Oh... Don't forget my sensor lights flicker such as the ABS, brake, and such... Check engine light is now on and my car dings randomly when running, the same ding that you hear when you open your car door and your lights are on... I was going to read the code tomorrow as well.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    I had this problem on my '03 SVT. It was one broken wire on the alternator connector. Ford built the wiring harness really short so it was under strain from day 1. Soldered in a new connector w/ pigtail... problem solved.
    2003 SVT Focus 5-door (the wife's car, darn it!)
    1989 Mustang LX 5.0 (the beast)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    I am going to have to check that out. I haven't been able to take a look lately. It's been frigged cold here in MN and the weather hasn't permitted. I will surely take a look at that. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    Alright... Checked all the wiring today for the alternator. All wires are secure and look good to the eye. Also, checked other various wiring throughout car and still found nothing loose or corroded. Tentatively going to still try the ignition plug and replace all the wiring for that.

    Hoping a bone yard has what I am looking for. Does the wiring vary from year to year??? There is a 2002 ford focus (nothing else specific) that got donated at a bone yard sorta close to where I live and I'd hate to drive an hour and a half, pay the yard fee just to find that they don't have the same wiring plugs used.

    Again, I have a 2001 ford focus se with a zetec engine.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    I would hook up an oscilloscope and see what the voltage is doing if it's dimming and then getting bright like a pulse your Voltage regulator is going bad, Yes it will still charge but not efficiently and also cause that pulsing light issue. Maybe a volt meter will tell you the same thing as the oscilloscope. you should be getting 13.5-14.0V while your car is idling with no accessories on. If the voltage is going 11 then 13, and 11 then 13.2 and fluctuating it's the alternator. Those are just made up numbers to illustrate what to look for your experience may differ.

    Then again I don't think an alternator will last "Years" with this problem..... It's just a suggestion though.
    Resident AEM, K&N and Spectre Performance guy.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    I highly doubt that it is my alternator. Voltage to it has been done three different times and it's reading normal. If that was to go bad it would be at a flip of a switch. Voltage regulator still may be the issue. However, it doesn't happen ALL the time. Only when it wants to. I could start it up with the issue, stop somewhere, and start it up again 5 minutes later and it's just fine. Again, it seems like it might be an issue with the wiring itself. Perhaps moister in the new wiring that got put together that doesn't have the best insulation job?? I am STILL working on it figuring it out. Quite irritating. It seems to be an issue that a few people have had with their ford focus's as well. All people have found varying aids to it.. For me, I have found nothing yet, just a worsening issue.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    Check grounds, very important, you may also want to put a small slice in the insulation of the battery cables and check the condition of the wire inside, if it's shiny copper it should be good, if it's white or green it's junk.

    The voltage regulator is part of the alternator so if it's bad you need a new alternator.
    Autonation Ford of White Bear Lake (formerly Tousley Ford) Proudly helping forum members build and maintain their vehicles with OEM and Ford Racing parts since 2004.

    Now accepting online orders here http://parts.autonationfordwhitebearlake.com/

    You can also find us here http://forums.focaljet.com/tousley-ford/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    Check and check... Battery is only a few months old, cables only a few months old...

    Car is now turning over, but won't start... YAY me!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyelk View Post
    Check and check... Battery is only a few months old, cables only a few months old...

    Car is now turning over, but won't start... YAY me!
    Got spark? Fuel? How do the plugs look/smell, is it badly flooded?

    Start with the basics, Spark first.
    Autonation Ford of White Bear Lake (formerly Tousley Ford) Proudly helping forum members build and maintain their vehicles with OEM and Ford Racing parts since 2004.

    Now accepting online orders here http://parts.autonationfordwhitebearlake.com/

    You can also find us here http://forums.focaljet.com/tousley-ford/

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    I know this post is really old, however I am having this exact same problem with my 2001 Focus. Were you ever able to figure out what was the problem?

  12. #12
    Senior TEAM Member theindustrialist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    Since you just replied to an old thread I'll respond here:

    I had a similar problem and it turned out to be poor contact at the negative terminal of the battery (OE terminal was worn and wouldn't fully clamp).
    I got a new negative terminal, and did 2 of the big 3 ground upgrades. No problems since.
    The engine is a living creature. Gasoline is food and oil is blood.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Entire electrical system flickering

    ok my wife's 2004 focus is doing the same thing. We have checked alternator, wiring harness, voltage regulator, battery, battery cables, spark plugs, ignition, even the little crappy plastic piece that malfunctions as part of a theft deterrent system and disables the engine if it doesn't recognize the key. had an error code from a technician say fuel pump module, then replaced it, not a month later it's doing it AGAIN. someone please help.


 

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