Hold on to that feisty Fiesta
Please assist me with the following queries about my 2009 Ford Fiesta ST:
The starter on the car has been replaced twice within the space of three months - the first after the car had repeated difficulty starting. Then, within three months, the second starter just died.
Lately, I have been hearing a slight hissing sound after switching the ignition on. It lasts for less than a minute, and usually happens when the engine has cooled down.
There is also a hissing sound emanating from the left front wheel. I was advised by Ford that it was a suspension shaft and they duly fixed it. However, I still hear it, although it's not as loud as before.
There is a noise like a double knock coming from the rear wheels whenever I go over a speed hump or strike a pothole.
The fuse for the electric windows blew, and I replaced it with an identical fuse, but the new fuse lasted for literally 30 minutes.
Finally, what is your impression of the durability and reliability of the Fiesta ST? The car has just clocked 73000km and I really love it to bits. Would you advise me to get rid of it or should I retain it? - Mpho
Taking the last question first, Mpho, I have heard lots of good things, and very few bad things about the Fiesta ST. Its 2-litre Duratec engine, the same engine fitted to some Focus and Mondeo models, has an excellent reputation for reliability.
You also have the reassurance of Ford's widespread dealer network, and my personal experience has been that Ford's Customer Care service is one of the best in the country.
I therefore think the Fiesta ST is a car worth keeping and worth lavishing some care on. Let's see if we can help you sort out the problems:
Short-lived starter motors are certainly not a normal occurrence. I suspect the original starter failed through overheating caused by prolonged use when the car proved reluctant to restart after stalling. Remember, a starter motor was never meant to work for long periods at a stretch, without being given time to cool off.
Thus the hard-starting tendency was probably the indirect cause of the premature death of the first starter. (I believe on some Fiesta models Ford has issued a software update to overcome this starting problem.)
We don't know anything about the replacement starters fitted under guarantee but it seems the first replacement wasn't up to scratch.
Regarding the three different noises you mention, I have to point out that noise can be one of the most difficult things to pinpoint on a car.
The hissing sound when the ignition is switched on has to come from something that starts working before the starter is activated, and the only thing I can think of is a fuel pump that's running to pressurise the system prior to starting.
The speed-related sound from the left front wheel area is a mystery.
The diagnosis of a "suspension shaft" makes no sense to me. Are you sure this is not wind noise penetrating into the cabin at higher speeds? As for the double knock from the rear suspension, as long as it's a dull bump-bump sound and not a sharp metallic or grating sound, I'd regard it as normal.
The fuse for the electric windows that keeps blowing can be due to one of three things: a seized or jammed winder mechanism on one of the windows, a short in one of the motors, or a short in the wiring. A short in the wiring is unlikely on a relatively new car.
The chances are that the problem lies at the driver's side window, because that's the most-used one.
You can identify the window where the fault lies - fit a new fuse, then operate each window in turn until the fuse blows. The information will be valuable to the technician when you eventually take the car to an auto-electrician.
Incidentally, your experience of the new fuse lasting 30 minutes explains why it's drilled into the heads of trainee auto-electricians that you never replace a blown fuse before you have found out why it blew.