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johnH

Red Battery Light

111 posts in this topic

hi folks,

i was wondering if you can help, i did a search but didn't yield much of a reply etc.

anyways i started the car on sunday morning and got the red battery light on the dash. looked in the owners manual and it says "ignition warning" get the car to a specialist.

well common sense kicked in and went into the diagnotic on the trip and looked at the battery voltage. straight after idle it says 11.6 ( i know it should be 12v) but when i drive it goes up to 13.4v and when i stop it idles at 12.6v

i managed to drive from whitby to darlington, do a few short runs then to gateshead and same on way back to whitby...the lights were on and so was the heaters and radio. no change to voltage when driving (13.4v)...

to me this rules out alternator. but i've been looking and got thinking about the little red wire that goes to the ecu? am i looking at the right place or shall i think battery is dieing?

p.s this light stays on, even before starting the car (normal)

thanks in advance folks.

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If you look at your battery there is a round hole on the top. If the battery is good it will be green, if bad red.

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cheers for that... i will have a look over the next few days as i am at work and go to work whens its dark and leave when its dark with no chance of any daylight. will post up with results...

thanks again

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ok i've just been out and had a look and took a multimeter with me. i could not find this little window you mentioned anywhere on the battery, nothing to lift to check apart from a carry handle...must be a budget "pain in rear end" one!

anyways on connecting the multimeter, the car sat overnight, with nothing on the battery sat at 11.9v-12v.

turned the car on the voltage dropped to 11.86v, revved it to 2000rpm, stopped revving checked again voltage now says 13.46v.

this to me shows the alternator is fine, that and the fact i managed to cover over 150miles, with lights, radio and heaters) goes to show the car is "living" of the alternator when driving. so its down to the harness or battery.

from deductive reasoning i would say its the battery, as the light comes on and stays on when turning the key to start the car. that and it has had a hard few months.

1) more than likely sat idle at a dealership for a few months being cranked to test engine every now and again.

2) sat for 11 hours straight, with hazards blinking, started first time though...in minus temps when the snow hit the moors and i had to abandon it.

3) i drained the battery flat when trying to start the car after a fuel filter replacement, had a few long runs since then to try and charge it back.

would you guys say the same? time to change battery?

thanks

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Have you checked the battery terminals for gunk, grime etc? might be worth cleaning them off and rubbing some sandpaper over them till the clean and shinny. The earth point for the battery might need cleaning too. If none of that helps maybe it's an intermittent weak cell in the battery.

This is the battery indicator thing I mentioned.

FH03SEP_CARBAT_09.JPG

Here is a good guide on looking after the battery: link.

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thanks for the speedy reply...

the terminals are clean, no white powder to show a leak and no corrosion...they look relatively new, and so do the connections for the car.

also thanks for the pic, but nope it definately doesnt have one of those windows. will have a look at the link posted.

cheers again.

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Hi John,

Change the battery! sooner rather than later...

Once you flatten a battery, you tend to upset the acid levels inside, and then you get issues like this. Although the battery is giving correct output, the acid levels / holding current of the cells in the battery are likely to be reduced. the error may just be the battery whinging that its not healthy, hence your ability to drive with all electrics on and still plenty of life.

If im right, I think car batteries tend to have a resiliance built into them that indicates if the battery loses below a certain level of "health" then it warns you in the way you experience. I dont know what the tolerance is, I have always believed it to be 35% health remaining, but there is no evidence of that...

Change the battery, its worth the piece of mind... Even if you get a Halfords or Europarts battery, it may not have the happy healthy window, but for £94 from halfords my car is running like a dream, and I am laughing at Fords quote of £284 for an OEM one...

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thanks jee...yeah i am going to get myself to a halfords, this monday (payday for forces). going to get myself a heavy duty one (link below). not going to be using the car until saturday morning, to get home where it will wait for a battery.

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_780251_langId_-1_categoryId_165762

i will let you know how it gets on. £284!!!!! if they said that to me, they will just get the dial tone haha.

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thanks jee...yeah i am going to get myself to a halfords, this monday (payday for forces). going to get myself a heavy duty one (link below). not going to be using the car until saturday morning, to get home where it will wait for a battery.

http://www.halfords....tegoryId_165762

i will let you know how it gets on. £284!!!!! if they said that to me, they will just get the dial tone haha.

if its not a silver calcium or double calcium battery its likely fried and has dead cells bosch one seems fine as long as its double calcium or silver calcium its fine sounds to me like the cells are faulty perhaps 1 or 2 of them

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thanks artscot, thats 3 users that have said its battery and its got me sold....apparently the silver bosch batteries use silver calcium, so it should be ok, there are plenty of reviews saying they used it in a ford focus and its brilliant.

thanks for you advice folks, i will keep you posted and hopefully this will help others in future.

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thanks jee...yeah i am going to get myself to a halfords, this monday (payday for forces). going to get myself a heavy duty one (link below). not going to be using the car until saturday morning, to get home where it will wait for a battery.

http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_catalogId_10151_productId_780251_langId_-1_categoryId_165762

i will let you know how it gets on. £284!!!!! if they said that to me, they will just get the dial tone haha.

I was going to get that battery but they were out of stock, Since I needed the car there and then I got the £94.00 one.

As for your comment on the dialtone, they got a laugh first, and then they got the dial tone...

Its a common problem on used cars, the batteries tend to last 3-5 years on average! there just isnt anything else in the power cycle that would cause the battery light to come on, its either battery or alternator in my experience!

As I have said before, even if its not the battery, its damn worth replacing it and keeping the old as a spare, but im pretty confident you replacing it will make the car smile and it will be happy again :)

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well the car is 4 years old coming up 5 so it would make sense, from what you said and what sites say about the 5 year lifecycle and the general fault seems to indicate battery...but as you said cant harm to replace it. atleast its simple things and relatively cheap and easy.

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Is the ECU capable of detecting a failing battery and raising an error code?

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Is the ECU capable of detecting a failing battery and raising an error code?

if its a faulty cell then no it wont show a code you just get the battery light coming on for no reason most garages will check it free of charge anyway but a tell tale sign can be the voltage drops when charging since you should see 14.4-14.9 volts on the dash display with no load with load it should drop and when you accelerate it should rise ive noticed with a fair few faulty batteries it wont rise above a set limit

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hi, thanks for the reponses. i was thinking it could of been either battery, alternator or the harnesses for the smart charge (apparently its common).

but i figured if the alternator on the car is knackered, i wouldnt of been able to cover that amount of miles without the car stalling out due to loss of electrical power.

i also figured that the alternator would not of compensated for the loss of voltage, if the smart charge system was faulty.

and from deductive reasoning it leaves battery. it also makes sense to say the battery as when you turn the ignition to position 2, the battery light comes on (normal), turn it position 3 to start engine and it stays on without flickering etc (not normal).

i hope that makes sense

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i'd agree with you on that one - "technology is great until it goes wrong"

well its as quite a few people have said, it wont harm to change the battery. and i always find its the simple things that need rectifying which normally sorts the complicated out.

if it turns out its not the battery then, a harness from ford for the smart charge is apparently around £30. if that doesn't work, then its alternator but in the mean time of buying a new battery and harness im possibly being a little proactive in preventing a fault from occuring, if that makes sense haha. sure im spending money but atleast its not the £150 for a new alternator straight off haha

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The ford alternators are a sham! mine died after only 47000, my father in law had racked up nearly 80000 before his went, but yes, the smart charge is a very common failure, apparently if that goes it can wipe out a lot of the powerboard. When I asked about the battery at Ford, and asked what else it could be, he said the Gem board(?) could be taken out if the smart charge fails, and the bill could rack nearly £500...

a £94 battery fixed it - Ha!

Moral of the story... dont let Ford try to diagnose over the phone as they will ensure you have kittens!

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hahah i think thats the same for all dealers lol i know for a fact peugeot will say we will need £90 just to diagnose it....blah blah blah. and while its there claim that there is something seriously wrong with the car, when there isnt...money grabbing *insert word here* lol

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just had it to a garage who did a free check for me, apparently the light will not come on if it was the battery. but they suspect the alternator as they tested it and it appears when you rev the engine the alternator frees itself and acts normal...so it sounds like a new alternator...why does this have to be so awkward....

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just had it to a garage who did a free check for me, apparently the light will not come on if it was the battery. but they suspect the alternator as they tested it and it appears when you rev the engine the alternator frees itself and acts normal...so it sounds like a new alternator...why does this have to be so awkward....

dont understand what they mean by free itself the alternator when under electrical load will show a lower voltage ie 13.5v when you rev the car it should increase up to say 14.4-14.9v with no electrical load it should read 14.4v -14.9v smart charge charges the battery at a higher voltage based on lots of issues the voltage with a high load on sitting idling will not jump up to 14.4 on its own as the alternator is not spinning fast enough so accelerating spins it faster and it charges ide look for a second opinion particularly if its not a ford garage as most garages dont know anything about smart charge the light doesnt come on if its the battery but can give a flicker showing a low voltage as its not charging fully with a faulty cel. the alternator voltage should be 14.4-14.9 with no load mate so if as you say its 13.4v all the time then summats wrong with the alternator

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thanks, yeah it was a small garage just outside of whitby but know there stuff, been recommended loads around here... im still thinking battery to be honest with you... i couldnt check the load bit as i was by myself. but im going to get a battery anyways to see if that helps and if it works...bonus..if not alternator it is...just hoping it isnt haha

how much do ford charge nowadays for a full diag on this?

thanks again

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when my alternator went, it was a £60 diagnostics fee, and then about £360 for the new alternator, and fitting!

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