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Ford Focus Fusebox Fury!

Can I be a little self indulgent here? Can I get something off my chest? I need to have a shout and scream about my Ford Focus. Won't do any good to my wallet, but it might do some good to my psyche...

fusebox There have been a couple of posts on my blog about the long term ownership of a Vauxhall Astra and a Ford Focus, both diesels, very similar specs, used in a similar way. See here and here.

The Focus is four years younger than the Astra, and has done half the mileage. But recently it let itself down, it let me down, it let my local Ford dealer down, and it let down Ford UK.

See this picture to the left? See the small amount of corrosion on the terminals? That cost me £639. Yes. £639!

(Technically, it's a Ford 1712211 "Gem Module/Fuse Box", "Panel Assy - Fuse")

One wet morning recently (are there any other sorts of morning recently?) I set off in the Focus on the school run only to find the wipers were not working. My local Ford Dealer (understandably) took a day to track down the fault. In the passenger side foot-well, behind the glove box, resides a fusebox. It is a big lump of plastic with fuse holders and some sockets into which plugs the wiring loom. As you can see above, somehow the terminals for the wiper connection had corroded and failed. The dealer didn't give us the choice to just clean up this corrosion, but ploughed on and replaced the fuse box at a cost of £380 odd (or over 2 Xbox360's worth as I like to think of it). They found no evidence of a leak on the foot-well, so how it happened is a mystery.

I have subsequently approached Ford about the resulting alarming bill of £639, but to no avail. The car is obviously out of warranty. They are unashamed of the ridiculous cost of this lump of plastic. The dealership sticks to their idea that no repair could have been attempted. So I've got to take it on the chin. No explanation has been put forward as to how this happened, so there's no reason think it won't happen again. I doubt it, as I think the fault must have originated in the manufacturing process. I'd love to hear from anyone else who has experienced a similar problem. I keep thinking that if this fault had manifested itself on the motorway at 70mph in the fast lane on a very wet day, then I would have had a much harder time of it. At least only my wallet got hurt this time.

"Epic fail", Ford... yet another round in the fight to my reliable Astra!

I wrote this article a few years ago now, and I must say it was a cathartic exercise to try and make myself feel a little better about this, um, misfortune. However, in recent times I have been contacted by several people in exactly the same position - I was not alone!

It seems extremely probable that the fault is caused in fact by condensation produced by the car's air-con dripping from the glove box onto the unprotected fuse box. In other words a serious design fault. For this, Ford are regularly charging somewhere between £700 to £1000 to put it right - this does not seem fair, now does it?

A recent victim has decided to set up a Facebook page on this subject, you'll find it here : Facebook

Could I urge you if you are a fellow sufferer to visit the page, or to contact me here

Ford Focus owners can check on parts pricing with their local dealer, or try Partsgeek for Ford Focus replacement parts online. Whichever Focus model they own, there are always plenty of parts options online, as well as helpful instructions for replacing Ford Focus parts.

Many years have passed since I wrote this particular article, but it is distressing how many time I have been contacted by other sufferers of this problem. You will see below mentions of the Kuga also having this issue. There have been published articles about this and much discussion, but, that I know of nothing from Ford themselves.

I doubt if they will lose sleep at Ford HQ, but I would like them to know that I will NEVER buy another Ford, which is a pity because one of my favourite cars in the past was a Ford - but not a Focus! I was recently fortunate enough to have the chance to buy a new car and after my Ford experience I went for a KIA with a 7 year warranty - I never want a repeat of this sort of event ever again. And I could rant on about how poor my local Ford dealer was subsequent to this fault with another Focus issue, but I'm already on blood pressure tablets, so I'll let it lie. Ford - it's okay if you have a design flaw in your cars, nobody is perfect - but if you do - fess up - pay up - you're just losing customers if you don't.


Comments:

♦ “Orville here from comment 25/08/2020. Update: I took out fusebox as previously mentioned, and screwed a strap across the plugs and eventually found a replacement board on auction site. Luckily, the chap that sold me the board had included the cables cut off from the harnesses, this included the black "handles" that lock the multiplugs in place (these handles cannot be bought separately). So armed with the handle in place, plus the straps across the two plugs, my son set off only to have the car breakdown again at the end of the road. Now Im thinking that it wasnt the plugs at all, perhaps it was a relay, and that putting the plug back in reset the relay and it dr​:ops out at a point where there are bumps in the road. If anyone can shed light on whether or not there are relays connected to the inside of the board, could you let us know-were at our wits end. Thanks. orville1903@yahoo.co.uk”
Submitted on 26/08/2020 15:41 by a visitor
♦ “Hi, I bought my cash-strapped son a 2006 Mk2 Focus a year ago. Having read about the water ingress, I thought that his problem was the same as all yours, but Im now guessing it is slightly different, so keep an eye on this one: The symptoms were that all the lights would come on the dash and the power steering would get heavy.. and other problems. The AA guy pointed out that there are two multiplugs on the underside of the box, one green and one brown/orange. They have black "handles" on them that lock the plugs in place to prevent them falling out. The brown one kept joggling out with road bumps, you dont seem to be able to buy these handles anywhere. I took out the whole box to inspect for water damage but nothing apparent, being a boiler engineer, Im well suited to faulty circuit boards and can fix them, but for the life of me CANT get the board out of its white box (Ive taken the three screws out but it still wont split). Ive ordered a s/h one from auction site and hope its the same for his 1.6Tdi as for a petrol, you see, the problem SEEMS to be that the black clip on the brown plug was cracked, and now its broken, hence buying a replacement s/h board. I did have the idea of screwing a strap across the plugs to stop them wiggling loose. You see, its possible that the loose connection is just a bad connection, and the slight vibration is making that bad connection slightly worse, hence wanting to inspect the board itself. For those that may have seen water in the footwell and are worried about electrical problems, I would get a stout plastic sheet and put it behind the fusebox before you screw it back up, at least that may deflect some of the water until you can source a replacement s/h board, at least the car will be running. If anyone can shed light on opening up the box to look at the board itself please dr​:op me a line, Im really stuck now! Thanks. orville1903@yahoo.co.uk”
Submitted on 25/08/2020 11:49 by a visitor
♦ “Volvos suffering from this issue should contact their dealer! I worked for them years ago there was a re call for this, the water was actually being drawn into the fuse box via the washer pump! The water tracks back into the fuse box there is a two part fix consisting of a few wires and terminals and I belive the washer earth was modified if I remember correctly, it was a VERY common fault but essentially this was Volvos cause of the issue and you could tell usually by checking the washer pump connector if this wire is rotten it will usually have tracked back, hope this helps as volvo put in the effort to identify and fix the True cause”
Submitted on 01/07/2020 13:24 by a visitor
♦ “Here we are in the year 2020, my 2009 ford cmax facelift model with 70,000 miles on the dash and my car alarm has developed a mind of its own. One week it will sound every 2-3 days, then at other times 3 episodes in five minutes. After trying many things I thought lets have a look at this fuse box in the left hand passenger footwell. I Removed all the connectors and the attached bracket and took it into my garage for a look. And there she is......where the large green connector sits is a mosaic of green and brown corrosion. Took photos of the fuse arrangement and stripped the fuse box apart. Underneath the fuse box plastic shroud lives the circuit boards that contain the main fuse board and the GEM module board piggybacked on the top. IMPORTANT.., there are some serious electronics on these boards and an anti static wrist strap grounded to earth is essential to prevent a static zap damaging your intergrated components. Luckily my corrosion was visible on the main fuse board and was a green and brown mush affecting several terminals. One terminal had just about rotted through and required renewal. I purchased a 2nd hand damaged fuse box from a well known auction site and transplanted / soldered the offending terminals into my old box, so that no re-programming needed to be done. The loom connector plug female sockets back at the car were cleaned using switch cleaning spray and fine (tooth pick) cleaning bristle brushes...ideal How the water ingress got there I have no idea, but together with bad joints in the instrument cluster are the 2 main fault finding issues that cause electrical anomalys on these models of ford focus and c-max. Have a look around the next time you change your pollen filter right along side the fuse box, It could well save you a major headache. Mogzy”
Submitted on 15/05/2020 21:03 by a visitor
♦ “The water in the foot well is very common in Mk 1 Kugas It took me an age to find the problem . It is something you can cure yourself if you have patience. You have to remove the glove box which is not easy as it requires a lot of trim removal to get out . Once out shine a torch high up on the left side of the bulkhead. Peel back the sound proofing and reveal what looks like roughly painted on sealant which is a kind of mustard colour . This will have a small crack in it which you will only see if you get an accomplice to hose the screen while you stick your head up to the left . The cure is crude but affective. Squeeze the best part of full tube of clear mastic all over the existing ford mastic rub it in with a rubber glove and that should cure it . It did the trick with mine . Hope this helps. ”
Submitted on 27/04/2020 20:23 by a visitor
♦ “Same thing happened on my Volvo=twice. I can not find how water is getting in there, but it is a very common problem in this very specific location.”
Submitted on 30/03/2020 23:44 by a visitor
♦ “I have a 2012 Kuga, Ive just had windscreen wipers pack in... they say its GEM board, due to a long term water damage. I reported this to the dealership and they could not find a water leak even though passenger footwell was soaking. Now the damage has been done to the GEM board... who is responsible... my fight is just starting....”
Submitted on 24/02/2020 11:27 by a visitor
♦ “I have the exact same problem on a 2009 kuga ”
Submitted on 30/01/2020 13:46 by a visitor
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