I am not familiar with this vehicle or engine.
It is a new used car.
After this Zetec engine heats up steam and sometime coolant come up from the plug holes into the space in the valve cover between the two OHCs. There is a hiss and even when coolant is not flooding out you can see steam. There is no foaming present on the dipstick nor excessive white (or blue) smoke from the tail pipe, just the vapor and fluid streaming from around the spark plug wires the center of the valve cover. The spark plug "wells" have residue of coolant and the plugs are coated in a brown/cream crystalline powder, much like the valve cover.
I have new plugs and wires but I won't replace them until this coolant problem is solved.
Similar thread with no conclusion: Head gasket replacement
My guess is that this is a probably a fairly negative situation
that is probably going to put me well over my budget to fix up this "new" used vehicle.
Is this a gasket or even worse?
I'm in for almost $900 already (out of a $1700 total budget). Is this going to be a lost cause with never ending problems? Do I punt?
Attempting to "fix up" a 2000 Focus ZX3 Sport, 3 Door, (90+K miles) -- doing simple things myself (filters, bulbs, wipers, wires/plugs, mats, etc.) and then taking to mechanic for "real work". Invested $880 so far: $700 in body work (fender and hood R&R) and $180 in misc parts and filters. Car body and interior are clean.
Was planning on paying for timing belt R&R, 2 tires, oil and lube, fix sticking throttle, coolant flush, PCV.
Need a car that runs dependably for my daughter at school (4 hours away).