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QUICK RELIEF FROM BAD BATTERY SYNDROME


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28 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   marshtex2

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 01:14 AM

My dear 2013 C-Max SE nuked me with a battery failure Tuesday, March 17, 2015.  (VIN 1FADP5AU0DL511701, odometer 16,859 miles).  This was 14 months and ~10 K miles since the last time it happened and at that time it was "fixed" by "re-flashing the FCDIM 13B12B".  That was January 1014 after peculiar behavior and failing the second time in a week or so.  Basically had zero voltage available.  No reaction to/by anything electrical.  Using a battery charger I had found that the battery seemed to recharge surprisingly quickly.  I had discovered that the emergency fix was easy. 

 

Here's the story.  Nothing wrong with the battery, the problem is in a control module (that had been re-flashed) it cuts off the 12 V supply to everything.  Hooking up a battery charger or jump-start battery isn't recharging a bad battery.  The control module is reactivated by briefly exposing it to 12- 14 V, a minute or so or maybe just for a few seconds and whamo, everything is back to normal.  So I did that again and it is going on a week now and everything is completely normal.

 

So there, folks.  See if this works for you if/when needed and let us hear about it.

 

The next day, with my perfectly running C-Max, I went to my nearby Ford dealership and their service people checked out the battery system.  "Performed 3 battery tests, all passed.  Performed ECC tests, passed.  No codes present.  Uploaded to Ford.  Will contact customer if Ford so advises".  It looks like they got into the high voltage as well as the 12 volt system.  They did not re-flash anything this time.

 

I have just noticed in the latest Consumer Reports auto issue, the C-Max hybrid is rated unreliable in things electrical whereas the Fusion hybrid, after the first year looks very good.  I mentioned this to the service foreman and he said they are not the same system at all.  I thought they were the same.


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#2 OFFLINE   scottwood2

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 08:13 AM

Nice work.  Thx for sharing.  Maybe Ford will learn from your findings.



#3 OFFLINE   ptjones

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 09:16 AM

marshtex2 "I mentioned this to the service foreman and he said they are not the same system at all.  I thought they were the same."

I thought they were the same system too, I don't think your service foreman knows. IMO ;)

 

Paul


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#4 OFFLINE   marshtex2

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 10:02 AM

Paul, but how do you explain the difference shown for C-Max and Fusion in Consumer Reports?



#5 OFFLINE   Plus 3 Golfer

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 10:03 AM

...

Here's the story.  Nothing wrong with the battery, the problem is in a control module (that had been re-flashed) it cuts off the 12 V supply to everything.  Hooking up a battery charger or jump-start battery isn't recharging a bad battery.  The control module is reactivated by briefly exposing it to 12- 14 V, a minute or so or maybe just for a few seconds and whamo, everything is back to normal.  So I did that again and it is going on a week now and everything is completely normal.

 

So there, folks.  See if this works for you if/when needed and let us hear about it.

 

The next day, with my perfectly running C-Max, I went to my nearby Ford dealership and their service people checked out the battery system.  "Performed 3 battery tests, all passed.  Performed ECC tests, passed.  No codes present.  Uploaded to Ford.  Will contact customer if Ford so advises".  It looks like they got into the high voltage as well as the 12 volt system.  They did not re-flash anything this time.

 

I have just noticed in the latest Consumer Reports auto issue, the C-Max hybrid is rated unreliable in things electrical whereas the Fusion hybrid, after the first year looks very good.  I mentioned this to the service foreman and he said they are not the same system at all.  I thought they were the same.

Just a couple of comments.  

 

Virtually all vehicle control modules have 12 V supplied to them continuously (hot all the time).  The Body Control Module (BCM) monitors the "start" sequence (key or push button).  It appears that the BCM then communicates via the CAN to other control modules to start the car and the DC/DC converter picks up the 12 V load and so forth.  There is a relay that puts 12 V to the accessories / accessory modules.  So, IMO either the 12 V battery drops below a threshold level and the BCM won't start the car (but one would believe there would be DTCs in this case or there's a issue with the software that Ford doesn't understand under certain conditions perhaps communications among modules during the starting sequence.   So, perhaps applying a 12 V jumper / charger for a short time raises voltage above a threshold for the BCM or raises voltage sufficiently to remove a condition in other modules that prevented starting. 

 

I briefly looked at the wiring diagrams for the C-Max and Fusion and the diagrams functionally appear the same with respect to starting and modules.  Of courses wiring and location of components may be somewhat different though.  So, I don't know why the Ford dealer would say the systems are different.  Perhaps there's wiring / connector impedance issues to some modules that differs between the C-Max and Fusion that exacerbates the 12 V no start on the C-Max over the Fusion.

 

Also, it wouldn't surprise me if CR for the Fusion Hybrid reversed the Fuel System and Electrical System ratings. :) Did the Fusion Hybrid really have "Black Circle" issues in its Fuel System in 2013?  Since sales of 2014 C-Maxes dropped considerably over 2013, perhaps CR didn't have sufficient data for the 2014 and used the 2013 data.  I don't think we've seen as many 2014 with the battery issue as 2013 but again that may simply be due to numbers on the road.


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#6 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 03:35 PM

Just a couple of comments.  

 

Virtually all vehicle control modules have 12 V supplied to them continuously (hot all the time).  The Body Control Module (BCM) monitors the "start" sequence (key or push button).  It appears that the BCM then communicates via the CAN to other control modules to start the car and the DC/DC converter picks up the 12 V load and so forth.  There is a relay that puts 12 V to the accessories / accessory modules.  So, IMO either the 12 V battery drops below a threshold level and the BCM won't start the car (but one would believe there would be DTCs in this case or there's a issue with the software that Ford doesn't understand under certain conditions perhaps communications among modules during the starting sequence.   So, perhaps applying a 12 V jumper / charger for a short time raises voltage above a threshold for the BCM or raises voltage sufficiently to remove a condition in other modules that prevented starting. 

 

I briefly looked at the wiring diagrams for the C-Max and Fusion and the diagrams functionally appear the same with respect to starting and modules.  Of courses wiring and location of components may be somewhat different though.  So, I don't know why the Ford dealer would say the systems are different.  Perhaps there's wiring / connector impedance issues to some modules that differs between the C-Max and Fusion that exacerbates the 12 V no start on the C-Max over the Fusion.

 

Also, it wouldn't surprise me if CR for the Fusion Hybrid reversed the Fuel System and Electrical System ratings. :) Did the Fusion Hybrid really have "Black Circle" issues in its Fuel System in 2013?  Since sales of 2014 C-Maxes dropped considerably over 2013, perhaps CR didn't have sufficient data for the 2014 and used the 2013 data.  I don't think we've seen as many 2014 with the battery issue as 2013 but again that may simply be due to numbers on the road.

 

Looking at CR, for 2013 they have black circles (much worse than average) for electrical, body hardware, and audio system. Additionally, the 2013 is average for fuel system, body integrity, and paint/trim. Climate and power equipment is rated better than average, everything else is rated much better than average. The 2014 does a little better, but still is much worse than average for electrical and audio system. Body hardware moves up to average and, for some reason, power equipment is rated average (maybe the liftgate issues?). Engine cooling drops to merely better than average (down from much better), everything else (including body integrity and fuel system) are rated much better than average. Overall, both the 2013 and 2015 are rated overall as much worse than average.

 

To compare, the Fusion Hybrid in 2013 was much worse than average in audio and fuel system; average in electrical, paint/trim, body integrity, and body hardware; above average in climate and power equipment, and better than average everywhere else. It was rated overall as worse than average -- a step better than the C-Max. Ratings improved for 2014, no ratings much worse than average, only audio was below average, only fuel system and paint/trim was better than average, everything else was much better than average; and was overall better than average.

 

It would be interesting to know why there is such a difference in the C-Max and Fusion Hybrid, particularly if there are differences in the powertrain -- though everything I've seen indicates that the powertrains are identical. At least one thought I've had is that the difference in rankings might be influenced by sales, that with more Fusions there are more good reviews to balance out the few bad reviews. 



#7 OFFLINE   Smiling Jack

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 03:55 PM

Looking at CR, for 2013 they have black circles (much worse than average) for electrical, body hardware, and audio system. Additionally, the 2013 is average for fuel system, body integrity, and paint/trim. Climate and power equipment is rated better than average, everything else is rated much better than average. The 2014 does a little better, but still is much worse than average for electrical and audio system. Body hardware moves up to average and, for some reason, power equipment is rated average (maybe the liftgate issues?). Engine cooling drops to merely better than average (down from much better), everything else (including body integrity and fuel system) are rated much better than average. Overall, both the 2013 and 2015 are rated overall as much worse than average.

 

To compare, the Fusion Hybrid in 2013 was much worse than average in audio and fuel system; average in electrical, paint/trim, body integrity, and body hardware; above average in climate and power equipment, and better than average everywhere else. It was rated overall as worse than average -- a step better than the C-Max. Ratings improved for 2014, no ratings much worse than average, only audio was below average, only fuel system and paint/trim was better than average, everything else was much better than average; and was overall better than average.

 

It would be interesting to know why there is such a difference in the C-Max and Fusion Hybrid, particularly if there are differences in the powertrain -- though everything I've seen indicates that the powertrains are identical. At least one thought I've had is that the difference in rankings might be influenced by sales, that with more Fusions there are more good reviews to balance out the few bad reviews. 

 

Or perhaps the significance of ANY of CR's ratings is lost in the fog of CR's own errors - biases, uncertainties, insufficient sampling - and their own reliability problems.


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#8 OFFLINE   ptjones

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 04:09 PM

+1 to that Smiling Jack! :)

 

Paul



#9 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 05:59 PM

Or perhaps the significance of ANY of CR's ratings is lost in the fog of CR's own errors - biases, uncertainties, insufficient sampling - and their own reliability problems.

 

The reliability ratings are actually from surveys that CR sends out. If there is bias, it is that of those who fill out the surveys (which, as I understand, are largely CR subscribers). Though insufficient sampling, especially for a car like the C-Max, could be a factor -- and why the Fusion rates better.



#10 OFFLINE   Automate

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 05:59 PM

I briefly looked at the wiring diagrams for the C-Max and Fusion and the diagrams functionally appear the same with respect to starting and modules.  Of courses wiring and location of components may be somewhat different though.

 

This makes sense.  With similar drive trains you would think the wiring diagrams would also be similar  Being different shaped cars the actual connectors and wiring lengths might be slightly different.

 

But one thing that is definitively different is the C-Max is made at a different assembly plant than the Fusions..


Edited by Automate, 20 March 2015 - 06:00 PM.


#11 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 06:03 PM

This makes sense.  With similar drive trains you would think the wiring diagrams would also be similar  Being different shaped cars the actual connectors and wiring lengths might be slightly different.

 

But one thing that is definitively different is the C-Max is made at a different assembly plant than the Fusions..

 

What about the engine, motor, and transmission? Are the powertrains for the C-Max and Fusion made at the same plant, or are they made at the plants where each car is assembled? It would make sense to me if the powertrains are assembled at the same plant but then shipped to each plant for final assembly of the cars.



#12 OFFLINE   marshtex2

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 08:50 PM

Surfing into the Ford Fusion Hybrid forum and looking at their battery complaints one sees that they are very different from ours.  Most all are messages coming up about some system problem.

 

 However, I have a friend who has a Fusion Energi she was just loving until a one-time event going down the road and the message came up to pull off the road immediately something was failing.  She did that.  Shut if off.  Pondering what to do next, then turned it back on it started as usual and was able to drive off like nothing ever happened and it stayed that way.  Later took it to the dealership who checked it all out, got no indication of anything wrong.



#13 OFFLINE   raadsel

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 05:46 PM

From what I can see, the Fusion and C-Max have the same powertrain, it is the HF35 transmission that includes the 2.0L engine and two electric motors connected to the CVT. The HF35 is built in Ford's Van Dyke plant in Sterling, MI, then apparently the powertrain is shipped to the Hermosillo and Michigan (Wayne) assembly plants to build the Lincoln MKZ; the Fusion Hybrid and Energi; and the C-Max and C-Max Energi.

 

That doesn't mean there can't be some minor differences, there could be different "versions" of the HF35 for each car -- though it seems like it would be less efficient on Ford's part. Instead, I would think the differences would be in the assembly of the car, not in the transmission itself.


Edited by raadsel, 21 March 2015 - 05:49 PM.


#14 OFFLINE   marshtex2

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 12:01 AM

Well you are referring to hard hardware, engine, tranny, etc.  What about the control modules and their software?  They may be different and that could make the difference in what we are seeing/experiencing.

 

We should get on Ford's case to put the Fusion hybrid's less troublesome system in the C-Max.  That might even get me to trade in for the upgrade!


Edited by marshtex2, 22 March 2015 - 12:07 AM.


#15 OFFLINE   ptjones

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 09:35 AM

I guess the only to figure this out is to look at the parts lists for both cars.  The last I heard the Hybrid systems are the same. :)

 

Paul



#16 OFFLINE   marshtex2

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 01:25 AM

By the way, at the dealership they also checked the cold cranking amps of the battery, 425 vs. a spec of 390.  The battery is great.

 

Now this discussion has morphed from the dead battery syndrome to all about whether the C-Max and Fusion hybrid systems are the same or different.  Crystal, can't you go to Ford where somebody must really know and get the official answer to that?


Edited by marshtex2, 23 March 2015 - 01:26 AM.


#17 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 10:56 AM

From what I can see, the Fusion and C-Max have the same powertrain, it is the HF35 transmission that includes the 2.0L engine and two electric motors connected to the CVT. The HF35 is built in Ford's Van Dyke plant in Sterling, MI, then apparently the powertrain is shipped to the Hermosillo and Michigan (Wayne) assembly plants to build the Lincoln MKZ; the Fusion Hybrid and Energi; and the C-Max and C-Max Energi.

 

That doesn't mean there can't be some minor differences, there could be different "versions" of the HF35 for each car -- though it seems like it would be less efficient on Ford's part. Instead, I would think the differences would be in the assembly of the car, not in the transmission itself.

The only thing I can think of that the Ford mechanic could have meant is that the connections are different because of the layout of the cars, and the programming is different. The Fusion has a lot more features available. I would expect that 75% (or more) of the CPU programming is common between the two vehicles. The fusion doesn't have mechanical buttons for the seat heaters, for example. There is no BLIS option for the C-Max, as another example.



#18 OFFLINE   marshtex2

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 02:07 PM

Hey stevedebi, you have given us the answer, get deep enough down inside things and they are different.  So there, QED.



#19 OFFLINE   dhouse1946

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 10:14 AM

Seems consistent with my observation that the jump seemed to immediately "reboot" the systems... I drove 10 miles to the dealer, shut it off and immediately restarted it with no problem or hesitation. They only had it a couple of hours so I'm skeptical the battery was fully discharged and then recharged in a 10 mile drive. They said all tests were positive for battery health and "leakage"...

Lots of theories and snake oil, hard to pin down facts, but all of this tells me a "jump" seems to restore life so I'm going to buy one of these small 12v battery jump pack gizmos to keep charged and in the garage (seems to be a first start of the day phenomena reading all the posts) and perhaps take it along on overnight trips until some resolution is forthcoming. I can use it on other vehicles as needed... Not sure the cigarette lighter outlet versions would be a good idea though with all the complexity of the electrical components.

I suppose a "pre-jump" battery test would be a desirable diagnostic but who knows when/if this will occur again...
Has anyone done this?

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#20 OFFLINE   Kelleytoons

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 03:34 PM

The problem is the "battery" on our cars doesn't do nearly as much as batteries on ordinary cars.  It really just gives enough juice to turn the electronics on, so it could indeed still be dead or dying and a jump start is nothing more than a trickle just to get things going (on a conventional car a weak battery, even jump started, won't be enough to keep the car running -- once ours get going everything is powered from our HV battery and you might even be able to disconnect the 12v -- folks here would know for sure).

 

I guess what I'm saying is you may well still have a battery that needs replacement -- repeated starts will indicate that.  If you need more than another one if it were me I'd insist the dealership replace yours at the very least (at the most, with a replacement, you will need then to start tracking down the very basic issues delineated here in many, many threads).








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