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Old 02-20-2013, 04:01 PM   #4
Capt. Urn
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Join Date: Dec 2003
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I am not the most knowledgable person on this forum, but I can give my answers for now...

Originally Posted by b2tamer
So I've been reading around about the spi and about the problems, so here's my question. I have a great running engine right now and I would rather not swap engines, I want to just try to make mine so it doesn't have the valve seat problem. I heard there is a head out there that I can buy that fixes this problem? So if I did this would I just have to replace the head or what? As much information about this as I can get would be greatly appreciated!
replacing the head with a new head prevents the dropped valve seat, if you choose to do so. there is a lot of people who have done this who would be much more knowledgable than me, so search for their info....

I personally have decided not to replace the head. for me, it does not make sense to tear apart a strong running motor to prevent a problem that may or may not happen while I own it. Of course, I have the advantage of being the only owner of my car and knowing it has always been well taken care of, so I hope that will get me a little farther down the road, but only time will tell for sure.

Originally Posted by 2000FordFocusAZ View Post
1. I called a local machine shop that is AERA certified (thanks to a different posting on this forum for the link), and he said that not all heads drop the valves. He also said that the ones that he has seen in his shop don't usually cause damage to the cylinder walls or piston. Is this true? I was under the impression that it was an inherent design flaw and that all of the heads were going to have this issue at one time or another?
The valve seat is a very common fault. There are not some years or models that have the problem and some that do not. But some seem to drop the seat earlier, and some much later. I would dare to say that the actual percentage of SPI's that drop the valve seat appears inflated on the forum simply because people with problems are more likely to post than people without problems. Many intelligent and well informed people will disagree with this statement, but there seems to be no hard proof either direction.

As for damage to the cylinder walls or pistons, that seems to be hit or miss. Some people have had to do full engine swaps, some have gotten away with just new head, pistons, rods, etc.

2. Is there any way to determine whether or not the valve seat job had been done to the head, prior to me owning the vehicle, without removing the head? Can I take the valve cover off and determine that the 'fix' had been performed by comparing the intake seats to the exhaust seats possibly?
you can pull off the valve cover and look to see if the head seems 13 years old or not. but I don't know if you can tell for sure without removing the head.

3. Aside from the head issues, are there any other common issues with these engines that I can correct now to avoid the problem down the road?
Other than the valve seat, this is a very strong and reliable motor. There seems to be only one common flaw, unfortunately, it is a very major (very expensive) flaw.
Defending the reputation of the red-headed step-child of the focus world for far too long.
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