Robbo99

Battery, alternator or starter?

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Hi all, I have a 58 plate Focus Estate 2.0 TD. 

So the last week or so I’ve been having to turn the motor over longer and longer to get it to start until yesterday afternoon, after driving it for 10 minutes in the morning, it was very, very sluggish getting started and when I tried to start it again at home it seemed like the battery was drained. Tried it 4 times and it turned over less and less each time without a start.

Ok time for a new battery I’m thinking, however when I tried it again today it started up 4 times in a row, slightly sluggish, but started non the less. 

What is the most likely cause? 

Recently the battery light has come on too and the front/back windscreen heaters click on by themselves which I thought was a sign of incorrect voltage, again another reason for me thinking the battery needed replacing. 

Thanks. 

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53 minutes ago, Robbo99 said:

Hi all, I have a 58 plate Focus Estate 2.0 TD. 

So the last week or so I’ve been having to turn the motor over longer and longer to get it to start until yesterday afternoon, after driving it for 10 minutes in the morning, it was very, very sluggish getting started and when I tried to start it again at home it seemed like the battery was drained. Tried it 4 times and it turned over less and less each time without a start.

Ok time for a new battery I’m thinking, however when I tried it again today it started up 4 times in a row, slightly sluggish, but started non the less. 

What is the most likely cause? 

Recently the battery light has come on too and the front/back windscreen heaters click on by themselves which I thought was a sign of incorrect voltage, again another reason for me thinking the battery needed replacing. 

Thanks. 

Hi Rob.  Have you got a multimeter?  It can give you an idea on battery condition and whether the alternator is charging correctly.  battery on its own that's been left for a while should read 12.4 - 12.6v.  Then start the car and the if alternator is working correctly, it should be reading around 13.5 - 14.8v. 

My guess would be the alternator as the car can do strange electrical things if it starts playing up.

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some cars have a one way clutch in the alternator pulley, if this fails then the alternator turns too slowly to charge properly (this happened on my brother's 1.8tdci 2008 focus) so it might just need a new pulley and not complete alternator.

If you don't have voltmeter, this is a rough test, engine on tickover, put everything electrical on to give a high electrical load, now rev engine gently, do the headlamps go brighter? if not, then it is a sign that alternator is not charging battery well enough. This is a rough unscientific test but might give a clue to where the problem is, and easier to tell at night than during day

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10 hours ago, Albert27 said:

Hi Rob.  Have you got a multimeter?  It can give you an idea on battery condition and whether the alternator is charging correctly.  battery on its own that's been left for a while should read 12.4 - 12.6v.  Then start the car and the if alternator is working correctly, it should be reading around 13.5 - 14.8v. 

My guess would be the alternator as the car can do strange electrical things if it starts playing up.

Thanks for the reply. 

Yes I’ve just checked it and it’s reading 12.8v engine off and 14.8v engine on. Seems the battery is fine?

I’m sure the previous owner had a new alternator fitted within the last 12 months. 

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3 hours ago, isetta said:

some cars have a one way clutch in the alternator pulley, if this fails then the alternator turns too slowly to charge properly (this happened on my brother's 1.8tdci 2008 focus) so it might just need a new pulley and not complete alternator.

If you don't have voltmeter, this is a rough test, engine on tickover, put everything electrical on to give a high electrical load, now rev engine gently, do the headlamps go brighter? if not, then it is a sign that alternator is not charging battery well enough. This is a rough unscientific test but might give a clue to where the problem is, and easier to tell at night than during day

Thank you, I will give this a try later when it’s a tad darker. Seems the battery is ok so on to the next possibility 😉

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8 minutes ago, Robbo99 said:

Thanks for the reply. 

Yes I’ve just checked it and it’s reading 12.8v engine off and 14.8v engine on. Seems the battery is fine?

I’m sure the previous owner had a new alternator fitted within the last 12 months. 

You're welcome.  Has the car been running/started in the six hours before you checked it's voltage?  If so, that reading won't be accurate (12.8v does seem a bit high), although I don't think that will affect the alternator reading and that seems OK. If it's neither of those, is it possible you've left something on and the battery has just drained ? 

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1 hour ago, Albert27 said:

You're welcome.  Has the car been running/started in the six hours before you checked it's voltage?  If so, that reading won't be accurate (12.8v does seem a bit high), although I don't think that will affect the alternator reading and that seems OK. If it's neither of those, is it possible you've left something on and the battery has just drained ? 

Yeh I had driven it for ten minutes or so. I’ll take another reading in a bit, it’s been parked up for 2 hours now. 

It failed to start twice after that short drive then started on the third attempt.

 

No im pretty certain there’s nothing been left on. I’m quite ocd with checking stuff when I exit the vehicle. 

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Took another reading and it’s at 12.7v

 

Also I tried the rough test on the alternator and the head lights did indeed brighten up. Only slightly but they definitely did. 

Im thinking I may just have to swallow the cost and take it to a professional 😕 

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1 hour ago, Robbo99 said:

Took another reading and it’s at 12.7v

 

Also I tried the rough test on the alternator and the head lights did indeed brighten up. Only slightly but they definitely did. 

Im thinking I may just have to swallow the cost and take it to a professional 😕 

Let us know the outcome 🙂

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I suggest you disconnect the battery and check the condition of the battery terminals and connectors. Than I would check and clean the minus pole connection to the right hand side of the battery and second lead connected to the gearbox casing (I suspect this one may be corroded). After that check the battery voltage (above 12.7V) in no load condition. Try to measure the battery voltage at startup (should be over 10.5 V) and to the 'load test' with the engine running and all electrical load (lights, ventilation, AC, rear window heating, radio etc ) first OFF (voltage should be 14.4 - 14.8VDC) and ON (voltage should be above 14 VDC). 

Also there is a possibility of a clogged fuel filter or air filter, did you replace these recently?

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