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Old 11-11-2015, 08:44 AM   #1
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'00 Focus Rough idle when warm after timing belt replacement

I have a 2000 Focus ZX3 with 148,000 miles. I decided to replace the timing belt since I was unsure of it ever being replaced. Everything went well for the most part. It drives great. I have plenty of power. It idles great when cold. However, once it warms up and the RPMs drop below 1000, it idles rough and has a putt-putt sound coming out of the tail pipe.

At one point I had pulled an engine light that indicated a misfire. I replaced all spark plugs and wires and the coil pack. Issue still persists, but don't have a light anymore.

I'm thinking in the process of raising and lowering one side of my engine I could have damaged a vacuum hose maybe? Not sure. A friend told me my timing might be off, since I just put a new belt on. However, if the timing was off would it run perfect when cold and have plenty of power on the highway?

I am currently running some sea foam in the gas tank to see if that helps.

Any ideas? Thanks!

Here is a sound clip of the popping from the exhaust. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJj6...ature=youtu.be


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Old 11-12-2015, 11:21 AM   #2
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Check the wiring harness to the coil. I've replaced it on two Foci...they're wired too short, and the insulation cracked right at the plug. Caused misfires but not enough to throw a code for a week or two.

Your timing is good if it idles fine cold and runs okay. Warm-idle issues are often Idle Air Control valves on the early Focus...yours might need cleaning or replacing, and it's a bugger to get to because it's under the throttle body, down behind the intake manifold.

You might also have the common PCV hose problem of sucking flat (eventually creating a hole) that affects these cars. A replacement is maybe $20 and probably needed anyway at its age.
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Old 11-12-2015, 08:39 PM   #3
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Thank you. I hadn't thought of the wiring harness to the coil. I had to move it around quite a bit when I took the battery out recently.
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Old 11-19-2015, 08:18 PM   #4
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Well, I think I found my problem. I let it idle for about 20 minutes and I got a check engine light because of all the misfires. It showed cylinder 2. I pulled the spark plug and discovered the grounding electrode was severely bent to the side. I don't know how I missed this. These were brand new plugs, so it came that way from Motorcraft.

I must not have noticed it above idle. However, it is weird that I only got a check engine light at idle and not when I was driving.

After buying a new spark plug for cylinder 2, it seems to have resolved the issue. I can't hear any other misfires. Lesson learned. Don't always rely on new plugs to be perfect.
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Old 11-19-2015, 08:35 PM   #5
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Checking the gap before installation is always good, that can get changed when dropped in the box even if good to start.

Care when installing of course, can't just drop them down the hole then put a wrench to them. A piece of hose works in place of an official installation tool over the insulator to screw them in before tightening, plug wrench with a good holder inside they won't drop out of can also be used carefully.
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