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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Focus Group

I’m jotting down these symptoms in order to have the facts at hand and to give this situation some more consideration.

The facts:
My brother-in-law recently experienced a series of electronic failures while driving on the interstate in his 2001 Ford Focus. While going about 65 mph the ABS light came on followed by the air bag deployment light. The ABS light went off and then all of the gauges spazzed out. He limped to an exit, made it through the first light off of the interstate, experienced an engine knock then coasted into a parking lot.

All around I commend him (and his girlfriend who was riding shotgun) for his cool head at a time when your car behaves abnormally. But I wonder about the series of events.

As he described this to me my knee-jerk reaction goes to the car’s main computer, the ECU. But then again the whole job of the alternator is to keep the electrical system operational while the engine is running. Additionally the engine knock might be problematic. That sound coming from an engine usually indicates metal has come in direct contact with another piece of metal. Even though the engine is pretty much all metal, there’s a film of oil protecting the pieces from directly coming in contact with one another.

Since I’m two time zones away, I’ll be curious to see what the final verdict is when a shop looks at it.

In other news:
-It’s spring break now, so on top of bringing order back to our apartment I’ll also bring another new post here.
-One of my instructor’s, A Ford Tech, challenged me to explain the a vehicle’s systems using simple and clean writing. Perhaps discussing the alternator would be a good place to start.