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BillyBoi 01-29-2013 10:38 AM

Problem with Engine:
Hey guys, I'm new here (although I have been browsing for quite some time) and after experiencing this problem for about three months I think it's time to get help from all you guys who seem to be very helpful. Before I explain, I'd like to note I know pretty close to nothing about cars so it's hard to ask whether I checked this/that because most of the time I don't know what it is you speak of, I'll do my best though.

Ok so about three months ago my girlfriend took my 2001 ford focus to the gas station around the corner to grab me a cup of coffee before work, I told her to put two dollars in gas just to hold me off until I got to work because the gas station there was a lot cheaper and I planned on filling up - she forgot to. On the way home she said it started to stutter and instead of going straight, she turned onto a hill and it struggled bad... she made it all the way home though (again, not too far). We had her mom bring us some gas, I put it in and then drove to a nearby gas station and put in yet another five dollars in. The whole time the car stuttered and shook... and tried to die at stop signs/etc. I talked to a buddy and he suggested putting in an engine treatment because of running low might have got some "crud" into the lines, I did so and it seemed as if it worked. The guy at Auto zone said after a few days of driving and a few times of filling up that it would fix the issue, so I left assured.

<<Fast forward to two days later>>
So I'm on my way to work and when i reach a stop sign down the roan and proceed to turn left... the car begins to die... so I go straight and head towards my Gf's house, the car makes it there... up her drive way and then shuts off. Upon talking to a buddy he suggested it was the fuel filter... so a few days later (payday) I went ahead and replaced that and had him put it in. The car started up just fine.... although after driving it around the corner I noticed it wouldn't accelerate past like 30mph... no matter how hard I was flooring it.

<<Fast forward to two weeks later>>
So after about two weeks my buddy then suggests it might be my spark plugs/wires, after looking up symptoms online and stuff it sounded promising. I went ahead and bought the "kit" and had him put those in as well. While he was putting them in he noticed two of the plugs were dead or something (engine didn't change or something, he ran a test) and one was actually filled up with a little bit of oil due to an oil leak I have. So, we assumed that was it and I fired her up and took it for a spin around my block.. it stuttered... wouldn't accelerate past 30mph and would sometimes like "surge" (engine would like growl as if I was pushing a ton of power to it) and then jerk really bad... but still not go past 30mph. Eventually the car died on a road near my house and we pulled it back, oddly enough it would keep starting up if you would unplug the battery and then plug it back in... but my buddy says that's fail safe systems that cars have to prevent damage or something along those lines.

<<Fast forward to month later>>
So after time going by the guys from work are telling me that it's now probably a fuel pump issue, so I buy a fuel pump and they put it in. I fire the car up, drive around the corner... it wont accelerate and then dies, we have to tow it back.

<<Fast forward to now>>
So here I am, I have been without a working vehicle for about three months (bills are tough which explains the long time without repair). I'm still short on money so taking it to a mechanic is not preferred if I can avoid it and considering it wont drive means I'd also have to get it towed, which is even more. People keep telling me it's this and that... but I continue to replace stuff and nothing changes, I just don't understand. One guy said it was my transmission but how can her running out of gas cause that?

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated, income tax time is now and once I file I could bring to a shop although I know it'll cost me a great deal and I don't want to spend my whole return on a car of which I wont be driving for TOO much longer.

jugglethese 01-29-2013 02:35 PM

When i was reading i thought it was the fuel pump but you figured that out. Possibly run a compression test. its like 20$ for it and you plug it into the spark plug hole and let the engine crank over a few times. after you do all 4 cylinders (i dont know what the compression should be, someone here should know) that will let you know if your engines still good. Go to a shop and run a diagnostics check on your car. the person there will know what your talking about if you dont. that will rule out some more problems you think you might have. Thats pretty much all you can do for a cheap amount of money. and if that fails, its time to buy a new car i guess. hope this helps alittle :)

tmittelstaedt 01-30-2013 04:18 AM

A compression test on an engine that has sat cold for a month and all the oil has leaked down is probably going to be so inconclusive as to be next to worthless - and if he has never done one before, he won't know what he is even looking at. Not that this is a bad suggestion - but he really needs to have someone run the test who has done it before.

BillyBoi, you have a 2001 Focus but you didn't tell us the trim level or the type of engine so we cannot even start making any reasonable guesses.

Post the VIN and we can look it up and tell you what you have.

From the description is really sounds like you are running on 3 cylinders. These 4 cylinder engines will shake like the dickens if they lose a cylinder. This could be anything from something simple like your coil is shot or plugs and wires have trouble to something major like you lost a valve seat

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