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Old 01-31-2013, 01:40 PM   #1
Focus Rookie
Join Date: Mar 2012
Fan#: 96637
Location: Woodland, CA
What I Drive: 2002 Black Ford Focus ZTS Zetec-E

Posts: 9
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poor running conditions

I apologize in advance if I'm posting in the wrong place.

I have a black 2002 Focus ZTS, 2.0l zetec dohc, MTX-75 5-speed manual, everything stock except the exhaust was modified on purchase (Magnaflow) and low profile mags. The car has 145,000+ miles with poor to no maintenance done until last year. In the last year, I've replaced therm. housing/therm., pcv hose and valve, DPFE sensor, done 3 oil changes and several coolant flushes, stabilizer links, tie rods and ends (needs alignment), heater hoses and yesterday coolant expansion tank. Dealer replaced steering pump years ago under ext. warranty. Clutch was replaced at 70,000. Computer was replaced 3-4 years ago due to Ho2S wiring, which was also replaced.

To start with, the new coolant reservoir came with a new cap. After taking my boys to school this morning, I popped the hood and noticed there was a tiny whistle coming from coolant cap indicating seal is not tight. Now I'm wondering if this is supposed to be? The new cap is like gas caps, clicks when it's tightened, can't overtighten.

The next problem is I have a very rough idle, computer constantly trying to adjust timing. It sounds similar to a vacuum leak (there's a (very small) leak under therm. housing AGAIN and pcv connectors may be bad) and pcv hose from dealer looks as if it's already giving out (replaced about two weeks ago) but I can't find any vacuum leaks. The car shakes real bad but the motor looks steady under the hood. There's also a slight whine coming from the timing belt end (possibly drivebelt or pulleys). Car still has original drivebelt, timing belt, pullies, etc. Idler pulley on drivebelt looks scarred but it's not scratched that I can tell. Belt doesn't look bad. There is a motor mount bracket bolt right above the pulley. It looks like it's sitting on the pulley. I slipped a strip of paper then a strip of cardboard (1/8" thick) through to check clearance. Paper went through, cardboard did not.

Checked passenger motor mount and rear motor mount, both need replacing as does I"m sure the other mount as well. I can see a very slight draw on the electrical system as the idle pulses. The only thing I can find is the air conditioning seems to have some effect drawing on the idle but not much, maybe not much more than normal. Scanner shows no DTCs, no MIL. The live data shows LTFT 10.9 at idle and around 6-7 while driving. STFT seems to be okay. Numbers are high for pre
Cat O2S, but post sensor number looks good. Other than that, all other scan readings look normal, as best I know.

When car is fully warmed up and driven a few miles, it starts getting better. Runs rough at very low speeds and higher speeds but seems to be steadier between 35-45 mph. It feels like it's bumping all over the place and my dash rattles REALLY bad at low speeds and is the same again at higher speeds. RPMs are hanging up with each shift and when coming to a stop and at idle it hangs the longest, taking a few seconds to level out, as you would expect with a vacuum leak. Don't seem to have any other problems with clutch/tranny. Sometimes it's a stiff shift, but most of the time it's fairly smooth. I've checked all grounds and wiring, hoses, etc...don't see anything that looks suspicious.

As I'm very new at mechanics (self-taught this last year - but I carry my Chilton's with me everywhere I go, can recite it practically verbatim lol - and have utilized this forum numerous numerous times to guide me along the way) I don't have the skills yet to diagnose more difficult complications and am hoping that someone will recognize what's going on and share their wisdom. I am not sure at this point where I should start. Alternator? Motor mounts? Belt(s) and pulley(s)? Clutch? Something else?? Could that motor mount bolt be rubbing on the pulley and dragging it slightly, thereby throwing off the other accessories as well as the timing by dragging slightly on the crankshaft pulley? I should also note that something seems slightly off with the cooling system, water pump? Heater is not blowing hot air all the time, no rhyme or reason to it, temp gauge shows operating temp normal, scanner as well, thermostat seems to be opening, no water leaking into passenger compartment, hoses are holding. Just seems like everything that runs off the accessory belt is somehow slightly off.

Please be kind to this little old lady...I'm feeling puny today

Last edited by katchoo22; 01-31-2013 at 03:23 PM. Reason: added more info
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