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What a mess i am in!!!

07-17-2010, 12:16 PM
I have a 1997 Ford Escort with 105,000 miles on it. I have had issues with the transmission and fixed that. But, my main problem now is the wierdest electrical issue i have ever seen on a car. First off the battery light will stay on. It is bright red when at idle or at a stop sign. Then when i take off it will dim a bit. It has a brand new battery. I have checked the alternator by unplugging the positive terminal and the car will still run but will make a wierd chugging sound from the air filter/air intake. I checked the voltage at the alternator and i get 14.7 volts. I checked while it was running at the battery and the same thing, 14.7 volts. which from my understanding is good. but sometimes the positive battery terminal will be very warm to almost hot and the battery will make a gurggling sound. Every so often the lights on my dash will just go out or the air bag light will flash or the coolant light will stay on. It the coolant light stays on the the battery light will be off. sometimes if a passenger gets out of the car from the front seat without touching anything but the dorr handle, the door locks will either lock or unlock. Plus if i hit the door unlock switch the trunk will open up, it is the same on the passenger side front door lock switch as well. Now for the kicker. Last night i was going to my friends house. I was going down the driveway and all of a sudden the car dies while it is in gear and everything goes dead. I stopped the car and put it in park and went to crank it over and the starter will do it's job but the car won't start at all. I checked the fuel pump cut off switch and it is good. I checked for spark, It is good. I open the oil fill cap and looked inside the valve cover and had my friend turn the engine over and the valve are doing what it is suppossed to be doing. So the timeing belt is good. So, i then checked the relays with hand setting on all three of them and all three are clicking when the key in turned to the start position. So, i was thinking that it is the fuel pump. I open up the air filter and sprayed some starting fluid in it and it will run until the starting fluid is used up, just a couple of squirts is all i do at a time. But, i think i can hear the fuel pump kick in. Or at least i hear something making a running sound. If it is the fuel pump? Then that is fine with me. But, i don't wanna replace something that is broke. But, for some reason there is a bad electrical issue, real bad. I don't think it is in the computer or the electric relay control module. Could it be the ignition switch??? Any help on this problem is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


07-17-2010, 12:23 PM
the new battrie may be bad, as for the fuel pump it maybe working but may not have enough pressure to open up the injecters

07-17-2010, 12:37 PM
the new battrie may be bad, as for the fuel pump it maybe working but may not have enough pressure to open up the injecters

I can't even get any fuel pressure at the fuel rail. I even had my friend crank on it while i took a small screw driver and open up the little valve and no fuel at all. I took the battery to walmart and made them replace it even though it is only a couple of months old.

07-17-2010, 01:05 PM
Take a broom handle or a big stick and bang on the gas tank while someone cranks it over,

07-18-2010, 11:03 AM
14.7 volts is a tad high for the alternator to be putting out. If you have a bad ground it could be causing al of these symptoms. Check the ground at the battery by using a digial voltage-ohm meter. Put the meter on the ohm scale. With the negative battery cable hooked up run a lead to the negative battery post and with the other lead put it anywhere on the engine. You should only a few ohms resistance. If more than that clean and tetighten the cable end. To check for a bad ground to the body do the same thing only run a terminal from the neg. battery post to the bodyl. Should have only a few ohms resistance. If more than that run a large gauge wire from the negative side of the battery to the body to establish a good ground.

07-19-2010, 07:56 AM
Are you sure that your battery connections are nice and clean?

07-19-2010, 12:48 PM
I have decided to buy new cable ends and replace them. I am also going to buy and ignition switch and replace that as well. They don't cost too mu8ch and it is a good idea to go ahead and replace them. Plus i am going to redo all of my ground connections as well.

The fuel pump did turn out being bad. So, i bought a new one. It was only $95.00 with the strainer. But, my CCRM (Constant Control Relay Miduale) was bad too. My fan was constantly staying on no matter what. I unhooked the fuse to the cooling fan and heard a terrible high pitch noise coming from the CCRM. Plus when i put my hand on it, i could feel a vibration as well. I can get a remanufactured on for $141.00 shipping included.

So after i get all this done. It may have solved my electrical issue. But, i am not going to run out the alternator just yet. I am going to do a few checks that was recommended and post back what i have found.

Thanks again for everyones help on this issue. It has been greatly appreciated.


07-20-2010, 12:05 PM
I think your alternator is just fine.

07-21-2010, 03:59 PM
I replaced the CCRM (Constant Control Relay Module) and the car is running just fine. I still have an issue with the battery light staying on. I just got the New battery today. So i am going to have to figure this one out.

07-22-2010, 08:00 AM
Battery light on all the time with known good voltage (verified by driving around with voltmeter) is a bad wire connection at the alternator.

07-22-2010, 08:25 AM
I think you need a help from mechanics. Try to ask an advice from them just to make sure.

07-22-2010, 02:15 PM
zzyzzx2 is right about the loose wire on the alternator. Check all the wires on it. Also, the serpentine belt may be slipping. Is it glazed? Did the new battery help at all?

07-22-2010, 02:27 PM
I installed the new CCRM (Constant Control Relay Module) and the new battery, plus, new battery terminals. The car started up just fine. I went over to a friend's house yesterday which is about 2 1/2 miles from me and the car started acting up. It has a miss now and at an idle it will stall. The battery light is still on and now the check engine light comes on once in a while. I was having transmission issues. I posted those in another thread. Now the thing will shift on it's own, but will not go into overdrive. Granted i haven't changed out the solenoids yet, due to lack of funds. But, how does a car go from having to manually shift an automatic to shifting like it it is suppossed to. There is a serious electrical problem with this car, that has me really puzzled. Man, i wish that this bad luck streak i am on will end sometime soon and turn to some good luck. I go from happily married with 2.5 acres and 2 houses to being divorced and loosing both houses, my truck, my sanity, and now this car is hating me and i really and truly cannot afford to take it to a repair shop.

07-26-2010, 02:05 PM
I got a CCRM from a 2001 model. The car will start and run, but will run very poorly. It will also die at slow speeds as well, not to mention my gas milage is no where close to what it was before. I got the right CCRM for my car and now it will start, but, when i give it a little gas, the car will die and not start back up. If i put the one from the 2001 model back in it. The car will run like i have mentioned before. But, i can pull the 2001 ccrm out of in put the 1997 back in it and the car will start and then die once i give it a little gas. This car has an electrical problem that completely baffles me. I have tried everything imaginable except replace the PCM or the ignition. Anybody have any ideas at all???

07-26-2010, 05:17 PM
I know where the EEC (Electronic Engine Control) is located. But, where is the PCM (powertrain Control Module)?

07-27-2010, 10:29 AM
The PCM should be mounted on the floor inside the car behind the center console. It is about 6"x8" in size... can't miss it.

As for the stalling, you may have a vacuum leak.

As for your battery light, you need to check that all the wires are connected tightly and nothing is unplugged.

Get yourself a wiring diagram and trace the circuit.

07-27-2010, 12:30 PM
I finally went out yesterday and bought a Haynes manual for the car. I will do a bunch of checks on this thing and post back what i have found. It is just wierd that the new CCRM will start the car, but die when i give it gas and not wanna start back up at all. If i put the one that is not the correct P/N for the car, it will start and run, but will run very poorly and wanna stall. However, it will start back up. Man i am so confused right now it is unreal.

07-27-2010, 04:57 PM
First off the battery light will stay on. It is bright red when at idle or at a stop sign. Then when i take off it will dim a bit.
Either the voltage output is getting low, (mine did same when brushes were worn,) or the white monitoring wire on top has a bad connection (simply clean and protect). Given the voltage reads fine, likely the latter.

Every so often the lights on my dash will just go out
Ignition switch is bad.

the air bag light will flash
It's flashing out an error or diagnostic code. For instance, 5 flashes, pause, 1 flash, pause, pause, repeat pattern.

Since these problems are all intermittent, DaveEscort97's suggestion about checking ALL of the grounds is spot-on. Electronics can and will do some crazy, unpredictable things when they're low on power. Having a bad or intermittent grounds has a similar effect, except that potentially damaging static-electric discharges can between circuits.

Cars that have been exposed to flood conditions are notorious for the types of problems you're describing. It's illegal to sell those, but it inevitably happens.

Also, check and make sure that your heater core isn't leaking onto the computer beneath the center console.

07-29-2010, 06:12 AM
Well, i have figured out where the problem was. It was definately an electrical problem and it was up under my dashboard. Whoever had the car before me, hooked up neon lights that goes underneath the car. Well whenever they took the neon lights off of the car, they did a real poor job of tapeing the wires that was up under my dash. Yesterday, the car caught on fire and almost burnt to the ground. I was driving down the road and the car started acting all wierd, so i coasted to a good stopping place and quickly got out, when i noticed the smoke pouring out from under the dash. If it wasn't for fast thinking on my part. The car would be a pile of ashes and charred metal. I unhooked the battery by using a pair of bolt cutters and cut the positive battery wire. The car is a total loss and not worth the time, effort or money to repair it. I only had liability insurance on it and will not get a penny for the car from the insurance company. However i will sell it to a junk yard and get a couple hundred for it. My luck has gone from bad to worse.

Thanks to those that has tried to help me out with this car. I consider it a huge lesson learned.

Thanks again.

07-29-2010, 07:57 AM
This is exactly why I'd never buy any used car that had been modded in any way.

07-29-2010, 10:26 AM
Glad you're okay and there was no (other) property damage worth mentioning. It's good you report back because what would otherwise just be your lesson, becomes a community lesson.

Zz, yeah many modding folks have no sense of priority what-so-ever. For example, many folks who install radios, adapt the car to the radio rather the radio to the car. Of course when it comes time to replace it, the next person has to rely on something like a Haynes manual wiring diagram (hoping there are no errors and using a circuit tester to verify) in order to figure out what is what and install a new harness. Installing a radio would otherwise be plug & play if folks didn't regularly do this. :rolleyes: ( - OEM wire harnesses for virtually any vehicle)

07-29-2010, 01:14 PM
Exactly what I was talking about. If buying a used car, one of the things I would eventually do is to undo any mods, if it had any.

07-29-2010, 01:15 PM
You could try parting it out before taking it to the junkyard. Or if you are going to get another Escort, then you have a parts car.

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