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Help Please With A Mondeo Mk3 That Is Going Nowhere - Fast!


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#1 faltskog5450

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:57 AM

Hi All,
We have a Mondeo Mk3 2.0Tdci 130 on a 54 plate that is sitting outside of our house going no-where. And we are sick to death of trying to sort this problem out.
it started about a 3 weeks ago when out of the blue it started asking all of the time for the code for the radio. As we already had the code we kept entering it, it was ok for a short while then needed it again and again. At this point we thought we had a problem with the radio. Then one morning we went out to it and it wouldn't start. We got a jump start and it was fine, used it all weekend no problems, but still needed the code entering for the radio. Then on the Wednesday morning, we had two really important appointments and we couldn't get into the car. No central locking at all. Eventually got into it and the was no electrics. All that was happening when you turned the ignition was an electrical click. So we got a jump start and thought ok, this is the battery. Our friend had a nigh on, brand new heavy duty battery which was fully charged so on it went, and they did a quick alternator check which appeared fine, and off we went. We drove around for 45 mins, needed diesel, and pulled onto a pump at Morrisons at the busiest time and day of the week, and it would not start. Got it jumped again, got it home when we switched the engine off, it sounded as though something was still working behind the dashboard. Even though the key was out of the ignition! this was strange as it was something neither of us had heard the car do before. It then wouldn't restart and it hasn't moved since.

But one thing that we had noticed in the final days that when you would switch the sidelights on, the radio start flashing and go off.

We had a problem with our Granada Mk3 about 16 years ago, and our mechanic was climbing the walls for weeks, and it takes us back to the nightmare we had with that.

We are currently suffering from 'Cabin Fever' as we haven't been anywhere for days!

Does anyone know what it may be? The guy who normally does our car is really confused by the symptoms as they are strange, I thought at first it was the radio draining the power from the battery, I looked for a plan of the fuse box, but even that is different from the ones on-line.

Any help so extremely welcome

Thanks to all for taking the time in reading it

Helen

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#2 Lenny

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 02:04 PM

Hi
Sorry to read about the difficulty you are experiencing with your mondeo,
Sounds like it could be a fault with the GEM electronic's control unit that sends power to various parts and controls the central locking etc.
It clicks and makes various noises when performing various functions.
However other mondeo owners maybe able to advise better.

#3 BigD

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 10:07 PM

When you turn the key and it just clicks, do the dials on the dashboard sweep across? That's a classic symptom of a flat battery. Whether it's flat because the battery is past it, or the alternator isn't charging it, is what needs to be investigated.

The Mondeo charging system requires a heavy duty Silver Calcium battery. If the one you have replaced it with is a standard lead-acid battery, it isn't going to last very long at all and you will need to source a new Calcium one. This isn't a matter of preference, a lead-acid battery is just no good for a Mondeo.

With that in mind, I'd get a multimeter on the battery. Without the engine running it should show about 14V or slightly higher. With the engine running it should be about 14.5-14.6V. If the multimeter shows below 14V without the engine running then you probably have a problem - probably not with the battery as you've just replaced that (assuming it's of the correct type), but the prime suspect for me would be the alternator itself.

Other than that, you can also check the condition of the auxiliary drive belt and tensioner. If there is insufficient tension on the belt then it may not be driving the alternator properly, resulting in the battery going flat very quickly. For the record, if you get to the point where you have to change the alternator then you may as well at least change the aux belt for the couple of quid a new one costs, since the belt has to come partially off anyway. That being the case, I'd replace the tensioner too (or at least checked) to save taking everything off again at a later date.

#4 FOCA

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:19 PM

Agreed, the Mondeo uses the smart-charge system and requires a silver- calcium battery - a regular battery can cause problems with the electrics on the mk3 Mondeo, or can be damaged

In the winter a battery is put under a lot more stress - lights are on longer/ heated windscreen (a massive drain on the electrical power) etc are used or used more and batterys are less efficient at low temps- a battery that would bo ok in the summer may not be in the winter

If you disconnect the power to the radio or the voltage drops low enough the code will be lost/ the radio code needs to be reset

If the battery voltage drops low enough the engine will not turn over as there is a "battery saver" bullt into the system (the relay click you hear when you try to start it)

If the battery is allowed to go flat - the battery is "done"/ kaput/ f.... (finished) a lead acid battery needs to keep a charge in it to keep it servicable

Your 1st port of call is to replace the battery with a new one, and the correct silver calcium one for the car, (because your old one is "done" anyway because it was allowed to go flat)

a mains car (trickle) charger is a good investment, (4 quid out of tescos) and jump leads (if you dont have your own) if you keep the jump leads in the car and park it so you can get access to the bonnet/ battery (every time, just in case)

you can also carry a second battery in the car, which can also be kept charged/ "topped up" with the mains trickle charger, it can be kept in a plastic bag (to prevent acid spillages) obviously it needs to be in a safe place/ wedged in to stop it falling over, you may be able to fit it in the passenger footwell and still get a passenger in reasonably comfortably - in this way it can help traction in snow etc and the jump leads may reach without having to move this (second) battery - if you are using a battery in the cabin it should be the sealed / maintenence free ones and not the type with vents

the battery voltage can be monitored with a cheap voltmeter (eg - fiver out of maplins) you can also get neat little digital voltmeters that plug into the cagar lighter

if the battery is the only fault, a correct new one will fix it, there are 2 other basic things that may be wrong, eg there is an extra drain on the battery (like a light etc staying on all the time) or the alternator is not putting out sufficient power

But even if that was the case, the new battery, carrying the second battery, the jump leads and the mains trickle charger should keep you mobile untill you can find out what is wrong (other than the old battery

if there is a constant extra drain on your battery you can dissconect the battery overnight (you will loose your radio code and the ECU will need to "relearn") or plug in the trickle charger

Sorry to hear about you being stuck in the house and i hope it has not disrupted your Christmas too much!

#5 faltskog5450

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 11:44 AM

Hi, thank you to everyone for being so kind. Bought a new battery, the calcium silver as recommended, and still having problems. The alternator is working fine, so at least we know that is ok. 2 Separate tests by different people surely can't be wrong.

the car did start but various problems still. I could scream!

Thank you so much again for everyones help and at least we bought the correct battery which is something to start on.

Take care and have a good new year

Helen

#6 Vade

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:08 PM

I had something like that on an escort years ago, Id turn on the sidelights and the dashboard lights didnt work , shortly followed by the rear lights. Then they would work again, then they wouldnt, I dont remember what exactly it was called but I think it was what Lenny said...........I know it wasnt a Mondeo but theres every chance it could be that. Sorry I cant help any more

#7 mintalkin

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:02 PM

the mondeo mk 3 should never be jump started as the smart charge system can zap up to 18 volts into the system damaging componants while trying to recover the state of the battery, if this has happened it may be a trip to an auto electrictian to find out whats wrong.

#8 faltskog5450

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:19 PM

Hi again, and thanks for replies. Our recovery (through RAC) jumper started our car on xmas eve 2011 and never said it would cause a problem. It appears to me that since being involved with cars for well over 20 years now, some mechanics say one thing and some another.
we have bought the silver calcium brand new battery. Same problem. we have replaced the tensioner yesterday morning, Same problem. It had a new starter in January 2012 and the starter is fine.

And the alternator is fine once again. I am so fed up with this as no-one has any idea what is causing this. Wish we still had our Landie Disco! So easy to fix!

#9 BigD

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:17 PM

You're right about mechanics, but I have personal bad experience with the RAC and would not let them near my car in a fit. I had a flat tyre and the wheelnut had sheared. Called them out, he has a look and says "I reckon it want's drilling out, that". Walks off to his van to fetch a drill I assume, but no, he comes back with a ruddy great hammer and proceeds to beat the crap out of the nut. OK, so he got the wheel off, but in doing so he destroyed the wheel bearing and bent the stub axle - all of which had to be replaced at my own cost. Wouldn't have bothered if I'd known that's what he was going to do - I'd have spent half a day getting it off carefully by some means.

Anyhoo.... I digress...

If it's not the alternator, and it's not the battery (I'm just assuming the people who have checked it are competent because as you say, some mechanics will tell you anything), there may be a corroded earth somewhere that's causing havoc. Do you get any small static shocks from touching the car when getting in out? I had the battery off of mine recently and I think there is an earth under there which is quite exposed, so I'd start there as it's pretty easy to get at.


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