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SuperSandra 12-08-2012 03:01 PM

Unresponsive Engine
Hi all, I've been lurking the forums for a while now but finally just signed up [woot]

I leased a 2012 Focus SE because that was my only financial option but plan on buying it. However, I was driving to work this morning and about halfway down the parkway I noticed my speed drop from 80 to 70. Pressing the gas pedal didn't do anything. I was panicking so I can't remember if the rpm's were going up or down but I do remember that the engine was definitely not responsive. No noise, nothing. It was like I wasn't pressing the pedal at all.

I pulled over, turned it off, checked under the hood for anything funny (I'm a seventeen year old girl with her first car so I probably wouldn't have noticed anything), and started it back up and it ran fine.

A friend of mine who is a mechanic says that I probably just hit a puddle and got something in the engine wet. I'm worried because about a week ago I took off the cover of the air filter just to give my car some nice sound when I rev. Could that be the problem? Should I put the lid back on? I made a service appointment but if it's something as silly as that I'll just cancel it and keep the lid.


whynotthinkwhynot 12-08-2012 04:32 PM

Yes, that could be the problem. That car is equipped with an electronic throttle body. That means that instead of a cable connecting your foot with the engine throttle- there is a just an electrical wire. There's a potential of water getting in there and causing issues with the wiring- then causing the engine to be unresponsive like you described. It could also be a bad TB itself, but you'd be hard pressed to get a dealer to replace that part if it's not completely bad. They might check it out for you, and you can ask them to put some dielectric grease on the connections just in case.

The most likely problem is that it was just a hiccup in the vehicle programming. If you experience it again, then I'd say it's the TB going out on you. Don't worry, that should be covered under warranty.

Secondly, read your lease agreement carefully. You are responsible for damage to the vehicle as far as chips in the paint, and so forth. You're also responsible for any mileage that goes over the agreement. The way it works is that you sign an agreement to pay on the car for 3 years (or whatever it is), and there is a certain limit to the mileage you put on the car in those 3 years. Typically it's 15k per year, but it depends on the agreement. Then you have to turn the car back in, it's checked out, and you're given a fee to pay for any damage to the vehicle. Nobody ever turns a car back in from a lease without being charged for something. It's really a plan for people who have lots of disposable income, and would prefer to change out cars often. It's also a good plan for companies because the lease expense is a tax write-off. Good luck, but I hope you don't learn a hard lesson about lease agreements like my dad did.

Put the air cover lid back on, and yes, moisture in the air cleaner element might cause that too. LOL Don't damage that cover, or if you want to- get another one, then drill holes in it.

SuperSandra 12-08-2012 04:57 PM

Thanks so much! And yeah, I had no credit whatsoever when my old Impala died and needed its third head gasket, so my mom (who has no faith in cars at all) put her foot down on everything but a lease for me.

But thank you for the response, that's really, really good to hear.

whynotthinkwhynot 12-09-2012 08:33 AM

If you do find another cover that you can mutilate to get that sound do this: Purchase a drop in lifetime air filter like a K&N. Then purchase some nylon pantyhose, and stretch it over the holes. Don't pull it so tight that you can see through the holes in the pantyhose, but make sure it form fits the cover. This is an old dirt bike racing trick. Loose nylon pantyhose sheds off water (and mud), but has no effect on air flow.

If you ever install an oil infused filter like a K&N, then you must also purchase some MAF cleaner, and remove and clean the MAF weekly for approximately a month after installing the filter. This is because the oil on the filter contaminates the MAF and reduces fuel economy.

SuperSandra 12-09-2012 08:42 AM

That's a great idea. I remember reading on here about people drilling holes in their covers but I like the pantyhose method. Thank you.

Knew I joined up for a reason :D

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