How to Replace the Starter in a Ford Focus

Written by ehow cars editor
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A starter cranks the engine, drawing air and fuel into the cylinders of your Ford Focus and compressing them so they will ignite. It also gets the ignition and crankshaft into place so the spark plugs will fire and the fuel injectors will operate. Therefore, a failing starter will prevent the engine from starting. Follow these steps to replace the starter in a 2000-2005 Ford Focus with a 2.0L (VIN P) engine.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Car jack
  • Wrench
  • Baby food jar
  • Torque wrench

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    Remove the Malfunctioning Starter

  1. 1

    Park your Ford Focus on a level surface and place blocks behind the back tires for safety. Raise the front end of the car with a jack for easy access to the starter motor. Disconnect the negative cable from the battery terminal with a terminal puller. Also, separate and remove the air cleaner outlet tube from the throttle body.

  2. 2

    Detach the two bolts on top of the starter and place them in the jar or another location where you won't lose them.

  3. 3

    Locate the solenoid and disconnect the S terminal wire and B terminal nut and cable. To locate these terminals, refer to your owner's manual. Download your free owner's manual from Ford Fleet.

  4. 4

    Remove the lower bolt on the starter. The starter should easily remove from the engine.

  5. 5

    Take your malfunctioning starter to the parts store with you. Aftermarket distributors remanufacture most of the starters they sell, so you can likely obtain a partial credit toward your new starter by exchanging your old one. Be sure that you take care not to damage the starter in transit, because the better condition it is in, the more you can get for it.

  6. 6

    Purchase a replacement starter that has the same or higher cranking capacity (power rating) as the original starter in your Ford Focus. Also, match the bolt patterns, drive gears and electrical connections. Your owner's manual may list specifications or the auto parts technician will help you determine them.

    Install the New Starter

  1. 1

    Attach the new starter beginning with just the lower mounting bolt. Torque the bolt between 18 to 20 foot pounds (25 to 27 Nm).

  2. 2

    Reconnect the S terminal wire and B terminal cable and nut to the solenoid. Tighten the nut between 80 to120 inch pounds (9 to13.5 Nm).

  3. 3

    Tighten the top bolts on the starter between 18 to 20 foot pounds. Reattach the air cleaner outlet tube and negative battery cable. Start your Ford Focus.

Tips and warnings

  • Always inspect the battery, solenoid and alternator to be certain they are working properly before replacing a starter. When an engine fails to start, many do-it-yourselfers misdiagnose the problem as the starter and replace it unnecessarily, only to find that the vehicle still won't start.
  • If you believe your starter is in the problem, use a bench test to see if the starter motor spins and how well the starter is performing. A Bench test will check the amp load, voltage and RPMs. If the starter is good, it will draw 60 to 150 amps with no load and up to 250 amps under load.
  • If your Ford Focus is older and/or has high mileage, you should also replace the solenoid.
  • Never operate the starter of your Ford Focus for more than 30 seconds at a time. Allow the starter motor to cool for at least two minutes in between starting attempts to prevent permanent damage.

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