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Zetec 1.6 starting problems?


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#1 iceman

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 08:37 PM

Hi guys,

My 1.6 zetec seems to have developed a starting issue - and I wondered if it's something anyone else has experienced.

This issue is starting to get more frequent: I get in, turn the key to ignition (position 3?) and... click, click nothing. Prior to this, the locking system works fine, the dash lights up and sets itself, all ok. There's a slight dimming of the interior lights as I get the clicking.

Then I discovered that if I hold the key at ignition for 2, 3, 4 or sometimes 5 seconds, the engine will suddenly burst into life, and from there on all is normal. I'm not getting any misfire or other issues (apart from the fact that I will probably need to change the clutch soon).

I'm not too sure if this might be a battery issue - the car's now 6 years old on 46k, but this problem seems more prevalent in colder weather.

That said, I do a 50-mile round trip to work each day ( sometimes motorway, sometimes slower wiggly lanes depending on the traffic reports), so I'd say there's a reasonable charge going into the battery during the week.

So does anyone have any ideas as to what's happening? I understand that the battery is a specific calcium one, and is around 80 from Ford dealers... :-(

Any advice is much appreciated.

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#2 stef123

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 10:02 PM

Hi guys,

My 1.6 zetec seems to have developed a starting issue - and I wondered if it's something anyone else has experienced.

This issue is starting to get more frequent: I get in, turn the key to ignition (position 3?) and... click, click nothing. Prior to this, the locking system works fine, the dash lights up and sets itself, all ok. There's a slight dimming of the interior lights as I get the clicking.

Then I discovered that if I hold the key at ignition for 2, 3, 4 or sometimes 5 seconds, the engine will suddenly burst into life, and from there on all is normal. I'm not getting any misfire or other issues (apart from the fact that I will probably need to change the clutch soon).

I'm not too sure if this might be a battery issue - the car's now 6 years old on 46k, but this problem seems more prevalent in colder weather.

That said, I do a 50-mile round trip to work each day ( sometimes motorway, sometimes slower wiggly lanes depending on the traffic reports), so I'd say there's a reasonable charge going into the battery during the week.

So does anyone have any ideas as to what's happening? I understand that the battery is a specific calcium one, and is around 80 from Ford dealers... :-(

Any advice is much appreciated.


I would take your car to any good motor parts supplier or even halfords and ask them to load test the battery. What do you mean by a specific calcium one? Im sure the battery for my car(focus 1.6 zetec 2001) is around 60 from motor factors.
The other check you can do yourself is check the battery terminal are clean and tight.

#3 iceman

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 10:55 PM

I would take your car to any good motor parts supplier or even halfords and ask them to load test the battery. What do you mean by a specific calcium one? Im sure the battery for my car(focus 1.6 zetec 2001) is around 60 from motor factors.
The other check you can do yourself is check the battery terminal are clean and tight.


Thanks Stef. Will check out the terminals tomorrow, and get a load test sorted.
Apparently the Focus (and many other Fords since the late 90's) have a 'smart-charging' system that needs a 'calcium' battery, as opposed to a standard lead-acid type. From what I read, if a lead acid battery is fitted, it can cause misfires and ecu issues, and the battery will generally start to kill itself within a few months.

I checked it out with the local Ford dealer who confirmed the need for a calcium battery. I guess it's possible to pick up the correct battery from a factor, and probably cheaper too! My local motor factor didn't have a clue when I called him about it a week or so ago...

#4 stef123

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 10:59 PM

Thanks Stef. Will check out the terminals tomorrow, and get a load test sorted.
Apparently the Focus (and many other Fords since the late 90's) have a 'smart-charging' system that needs a 'calcium' battery, as opposed to a standard lead-acid type. From what I read, if a lead acid battery is fitted, it can cause misfires and ecu issues, and the battery will generally start to kill itself within a few months.

I checked it out with the local Ford dealer who confirmed the need for a calcium battery. I guess it's possible to pick up the correct battery from a factor, and probably cheaper too! My local motor factor didn't have a clue when I called him about it a week or so ago...


Well something I will take on board lol. I have a trade card for halfords and they sell calcium type so I will get mine from there if I ever need to. thanks for that bit of info.
Is your car running the original battery? Load tests are usually free of charge, in hope of a sale.


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