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Old 06-29-2015, 09:41 AM   #1
RFVC600R OP
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2004 Focus 2.3L engine whining, coolant loss, and AC smell


The subject is my 2004 Ford Focus 2.3l Duratec ZX3. Last night when I was driving home from work, my AC started to stink and smell like burnt coolant. I shut the AC off and when I stopped, I noticed my car is making a whining noise from the engine bay. It increases with RPM.

The coolant is low this morning. The noise starts about 3 seconds after the engine starts. No check engine light, no power loss, it drives like it always has.

88,590 miles

Last service at 87,253 miles:

New OE clutch and flywheel
New OE drive axles
New OE motor mount, transmission mount, and heavy duty roll restrictor.
New OE engine rear main seal (the original was 12 years old! I'm not letting that destroy my new clutch!)
Oil change, power steering fluid change, and coolant flushed and replaced.


Where do I begin? I ain't afraid to throw a wrench at it.

Alternator??
Waterpump?
Heater core??
All three at once?????


I cross posted this from a Ford Focus forum.... Of course, ADV is much more help than anybody else with my car issues. Thanks guys.
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'83 Honda XL600R 618cc 11:1 Wiseco, XR's Only Exhaust + over sized header
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:13 AM   #2
ragtoplvr
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alternator clutch hub bearings going bad is not uncommon. Or AC compressor could have seized and the smell was the clutch plate for the AC smoking. Idler pulley bearing going bad is common too. The smell could have been slipping belt. I would take belt off, and check condition and freedom of bearings on AC, water pump, alternator, power steering, and the idler pulleys. Suspect belt will be cooked. With belt off you can run engine up to a minute with out water flow, and see if noise gone. I bet it is here.

I have also seen idler for timing belt if it has one seize and stinkup things.
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:23 AM   #3
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I replaced a noisy idler pulley about 20K miles ago... I will pull the belt and see whats up. Thanks for the relpy.
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'83 Honda XL600R 618cc 11:1 Wiseco, XR's Only Exhaust + over sized header
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carter Pewterschmidt View Post
He's the XL600 Jesus, his bike dies for our sins.
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:40 AM   #4
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I used a long screwdriver as a stethoscope and listened for the noise..... The whining is coming from the alternator. The voltages are fine and the belt is definitely toast. Thanks again, easy enough fix.
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'83 Honda XL600R 618cc 11:1 Wiseco, XR's Only Exhaust + over sized header
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Originally Posted by Carter Pewterschmidt View Post
He's the XL600 Jesus, his bike dies for our sins.
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:48 AM   #5
victor441
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My experience is with a Zetec equipped Focus...anyway if you replace the serpentine belt get a good one, Gates is high quality and it would probably be a good idea to do the tensioner too while you are at it (Gates again)
(Autozone among others sells crappy offbrand versions of these parts that are a good bit cheaper but don't last long)
The Zetec has some plastic parts in the cooling system and they started failing at about 10 years, could be that the Duratec is similar.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:40 AM   #6
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I just zipped up the car after replacing the alternator and belt. The A/C blows much colder, the coolant level magically rised to the MAX line and the engine bay is much much quieter, even better than the day I bought the car 3 years ago.

I'm about to go put a couple hundred miles on it today and even more this weekend.

Thanks for help!!!
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'83 Honda XL600R 618cc 11:1 Wiseco, XR's Only Exhaust + over sized header
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carter Pewterschmidt View Post
He's the XL600 Jesus, his bike dies for our sins.
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Old 07-02-2015, 02:48 PM   #7
bogey78
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Is your car a PZEV model and stick shift? I'm asking because my 2004 focus 2.3 alternator is down on voltage and has intermittently made that dieing alternator sound.

I assume you pulled the alternator off from the bottom since it looks about impossible from the top. Did you get a new/reman alternator or get yours rebuilt? My ford parts guy is coming up with "discontinued" when he tries to look it up. I'd really appreciate some info.
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:58 PM   #8
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Ok.... Here's what I learned from the alternator shop I inquired

The stock alternator is crap. Made in Indonesia with poor quality control. When these cars were new he said they were crapping out in large numbers from the extra heat vehicles in my area endure at anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 miles. He was surprised it lasted that long, but it was obviously causing a strain on my engine and belt, killing my A/C, cooling, and gas mileage. The bearings, diodes and connections are all CRAP!! according to him, your best bet is to buy one of the higher end ones on Rockauto or have him or any reputable alternator shops build one. He said if it is done right it WILL last the life of the car.

Put the car up on jackstands, remove the heatshield and unbolt the top nut for the alternator. Get a creeper and from underneath remove the belt gaurd, and remove the belt using a 15mm socket on a breaker bar torqued on the tensioner pulley. Unbolt the lower bolt and nut for the alternator. Remove the engine roll restrictor (lower transmission mount) and have a helper roll the engine forward and pull the alternator out.

Alternatively, you can use a jack and piece of 2x4 to jack the engine up and the car gives birth to the alternator.

You must unbolt the roll restrictor 'cuz the alternator comes out inbetween the subframe and passenger drive shaft.

Need help? Just post. I I did it twice so far. New belt is a BITCH to get on btw.
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'83 Honda XL600R 618cc 11:1 Wiseco, XR's Only Exhaust + over sized header
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carter Pewterschmidt View Post
He's the XL600 Jesus, his bike dies for our sins.
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Old 07-03-2015, 06:42 PM   #9
bogey78
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Thank you so much for the info. I have a local mechanic that is going to remove and replace the alternator and a local rebuild shop to rebuild the alternator. I appreciate the info. I looked at the alternator and crawled up under the car and knew i wanted no part of it. Thanks again.
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Old 07-04-2015, 02:24 AM   #10
RFVC600R OP
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It's pretty easy if you can turn a wrench a 'lil bit.
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'83 Honda XL600R 618cc 11:1 Wiseco, XR's Only Exhaust + over sized header
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carter Pewterschmidt View Post
He's the XL600 Jesus, his bike dies for our sins.
RFVC600R is online now   Reply With Quote
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