• 1000's Of Fords For Sale
      1000's Of Fords For Sale
    • Get Your Club gear
      Get Your Club gear
    • Join Premium & Save
      Join Premium & Save
    • Share Your Car Experience
      Share Your Car Experience
    • Savings Up to 15% Off For Members
      Savings Up to 15% Off For Members
    • Huge Range of Ford Parts
      Huge Range of Ford Parts

AdBlock Warning

Parts of this website do not function properly with AdBlock enabled on your device. To get the best user experience on our website, please disable Adblock for this website (domain) on your browser.


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

Recommended Posts

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


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope op got this sorted in the end. As a followup for anybody arriving here more looking for help with something similar, a fully charged silver calcium battery should show about 12.7 to 12.8v after the engine has been stopped for a while. ( after charging batteries can show a sort of surface voltage higher than the real state of the battery)

These cars have a smart charge system as already mentioned which increases the output of the alternator under some conditions - and also as said, jump starting can reportedly cause the alternator to put out in excess of 18v as it tries to recharge a very flat battery. Ideally recharge with a charger, else i'd suggest jump with a standalone battery, and leave both connected for a while, or connect the two batteries together and allow some time for the flat battery to pickup a little charge before attempting to start the troubled vehicle.

If the smartcharge is not working the alternator should by default charge at a steady voltage between 13.8 - 14v. ( it will also do this if the control connector - small plug with three thin wires - is removed as a test). If it is working then voltage can be considerably higher if system management requests it.

A common cause of smartcharge failure is breaks in the wires going to the small plug on the back of the alternator, often some way from the plug. Google tdci smartcharge for more info. In default mode the max alternator output is only about 40% of smartcharge output iirc....

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You might be interested in this kind of product - I'm not recommending a specific example, but this, or its higher-powered twin (see panel on right) might get you out of trouble.

That said, it isn't a cure for your fundamental problem - that you are going to the car, it should start and it doesn't, it is just a means to make the effects of that less severe.

Several possibilities come to mind; your new battery may not ever have got fully charged (you don't mention distances, but it takes a lot more than a five minute run to get the stupid things to fully charged), there may be something discharging the battery (what happens if you disconnect the battery overnight, for example?) or the charging may be faulty (honestly, I wouldn't really trust someone who just said 'that's ok' when you are in this situation; clearly something is wrong, and some voltage readings would be more than helpful).

There are a number of things that you could, helpfully, do, but I get the impression that you don't have a DVM or any expertise with one, or you would have said something about that and actual voltage numbers (that's just a guess, obviously).

In any case, putting the battery on charge, overnight, could help you be sure that the battery has got a decent amount of charge in it (preferably accompanied with voltage readings).

I don't suppose that you have a code reader? Something informative could show up in the vehicle fault codes.

Practically, if you can't solve this yourself in relatively short order, a visit to an Auto Electrician has got to be on the cards; it will hurt, but more bad advice from, say, an RAC man could leave you without reliable transport for far longer and just changing things, at random. (They should be able to test battery capacity and starting current, slightly indirectly, and you could then be assured (or not) about the new battery. Also, they are more likely to do a competent job assessing your alternator than a visiting get-you-going man.)

I think that checking terminal integrity and freedom from corrosion is a 'must do'; you wouldn't want to spend money on replacing stuff, if a clean and grease of the terminals is all that is required. It takes remarkably little corrosion to influence charging and the ability to deliver starting current, so this needs to be done carefully.


Halfords may have one of those starter/compressor type products at half price, but their site is currently offline. Worth having a look, I suppose.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now