starting problems 1999 focus zetec 1800 uk

i looked through a number of sites but have not found this problem listed
when the engine is cold: on start up the dashboard dials (rev counter, speedometer, petrol gauge) the indicators move completely around to the
maximum setting and then back to the normal minimum setting. also the warning dashboard lights flash. the door locks operate and the warning alarm beeps in the car. sometimes i can hear what sounds like the starter motor turning but not engaging the engine.
the end result is the car will not start after a number of attempts sat 10 to 15 the car suddenly starts when the engine has warmed up the starting is as normal any ideas the garage think it may need a new battery!!
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This dash behaviour is the ECU cold booting into the DTC mode. Unless you are pressing and holding the odo-reset button as you turn to position II on the key, the only reason for this is to occur is a poor power connection from the battery (or earth) when the system is put under high load by the starter-motor.
I would suggest you first check the actual battery connections are clean and tight, and then prise the lid off the engine bay fuse box and check the maxi-fuses are tight and intact, and that the battery cable is secure under the nut.
Also check the battery earth to body work connections.
Tim..
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thank you Tim. i have checked what you suggested but found no obvious problems . the car will start eventually, but the dashboard problems as stated still occur
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Time for a visit to the dealer then...
Tim..
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I just had almost this identical problem with my wife's 2000 SE coupe. I saw lots of corrosion on the negative terminal of the battery and thought it might be a problem so I cleaned it, also thinking it might reset the ECU. The wires are in pretty poor shape. Is there a common issue that causes this? Also, there was a major clicking coming from the fuse panel, even after the battery was disconnected. It turns out it was one of the relays, so I removed it and bought a replacement from Discount. When I installed the new one, the clicking started again immediately. Any idea what might be causing this? TIA
Dave.
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wrote

Perhaps you might give us a clue as to which relay it was... And with the battery disconnected, its not possible for any relay to carry on clicking...
tim..
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thanks again tim i will follow your advice
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wrote

clearly visible in the panel. If the number helps I can get it, but it looked exactly the same as the one next to it. I checked the panel for a number but it was dark and I didn't see one with the flashlight. I guess I only disconnected the corroded (negative) side so you're right but the fact that it still clicked then kinda amazed me. Does that mean I have a bad ground somewhere?
Thanks again, Dave.
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