My husband's car was diagnosed last April as needing an alternator. We tried to do it the cheap way and have a friend put in a used one from a junkyard. That failed so he tried another one - that failed too. So we bought a refurbished alternator at Autozone, in order to save on the cost because we just could not afford the brand new one or labor too. We were only getting 10.00 readings or so on the Voltmeter when putting in the first refurbished alternator. So today, our two male neighbors who know enough about cars tested the new alternator they put in and the reading was 11.5 or so. We all know that it needs to read 12.5 at least when the engine is running to show the alternator is working properly. The car still is requiring a jump to get it started each time. Before the other alternator was replaced today, we took it to Autozone earlier today and the following Codes were given: PO460, PO171, PO302, PO301, PO304. We have had this car inoperable since last December thinking it needed a new catalytic converter. When my husband had to take me to work last April, the car broke down and he had to be towed to a repair shop. They wanted $500 and we could not afford that. We towed it home - they said it was the alternator. No mention that it could be the catalytic converter as another friend thought. We have tried various things, all these months, as we can afford to, while being unable to use the car since last January. We have replaced the clutch which went bad, changed out the fluids/oil change, changed the air filter, put in fuel injection cleaner, put in the best type of gas, changed the spark plugs and wires yesterday, put in a refurbished alternator today, replaced the battery a few weeks ago, changed the oxygen sensor today, I think we have done other things but have lost count. We are struggling financially and cant afford car repair shops. We are using friends who know a lot about cars to do the repairs. Now the car still has to be jumped when we turn it on - it makes a clicking noise only. If we jump it with battery cables, the car will start and run. But if you turn the car off, the car will not turn back on. The male neighbors think it could be some wire that is bad to the alternator. They said the other refurbished alternator was definitely bad but felt this new one was getting more power and that it was not the alternator this time. I still think this whole problem has to do with the Codes we got from the diagnostic today at Autozone. I think something is related to those issues causing the car alternator not to work properly. But I am only a woman and do not know anything much about cars or how to fix them. I am getting frustrated as we need this car to work and are unable to afford high priced car repair shops. Can you give my neighbors some idea where to start looking and how? They will be back tomorrow afternoon to try to find the problem. As you know, the codes all have to do with the following issues: Faulty spark plugs or wires, faulty coil pack, faulty oxygen sensor, faulty fuel injector, Burned exhaust valve, faulty catalytic converter, poor compression or defective computer. Also, when we went to Autozone, they said by law they are not allowed to clear the codes that were there. We wanted to clear the codes and start fresh new with the new repairs we had done. Is there anything else we can check that might be causing our problem? Could we have bought yet another bad alternator?
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2002 Ford Focus Question: What is causing our 2002 Ford Focus not to start - it has to be jumped to work.
Answer #1Greg's Orange Auto (15188 Answers) , Orange, CA - (714) 361-9386globalhelper September 03, 2012, 21:56Master
your alrt should be charging at least 13.8 to 14.2 to callit good so start there. po171 lean bank one,po301,po302,po305 is eng misfires.auto zone is full of crap they can clear codes people do it all the time.(whats going to happen the code cops gonna arrest them. po460 i believe is catt issues. repl alt and clear codes as you said. low alt will cause misfires if the voltage in battery is low.