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Old 01-22-2013, 10:41 PM   #1
Heining17
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Dealer can't fix rough idle?

Hey guys,
I have an 09' Focus se. I've noticed that within the last 2 months or so I have had a pretty rough idle when stopped at a red light or traffic. When I apply gas the roughness or vibrations go away. Even when I turn on the A/C it helps. I've researched online and have seen some TSB's saying it could be some rear engine roll restrictor thing lol. I take it to the Ford dealer today and he said there is nothing wrong with it. They checked cylinders, motor mount, the engine restrictor, etc. He said its just a common problem with our cars and ford has no fix. QUESTION IS: Is this true lol? Anybody else have this problem and fix it?

Thanks a lot!


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Old 01-23-2013, 12:03 AM   #2
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I believe the TSB for the roll restrictor has something to do with rocks being about to get wedged inbetween the mount and the transmission itself causing a more direct path for vibrations into the body than through the rubber.

Its hard to say if your vibrations are normal or not without being there. How many miles are on the car?
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:30 AM   #3
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I believe the TSB for the roll restrictor has something to do with rocks being about to get wedged inbetween the mount and the transmission itself causing a more direct path for vibrations into the body than through the rubber.

Its hard to say if your vibrations are normal or not without being there. How many miles are on the car?
About 38,000.. As far as the vibrations go, they arnt awful. They just are annoying. Some days are worse than others.. like today it was fine? lol
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:53 AM   #4
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It's probably the rear dog bone motor mount. But 38,000 miles? That's quite earley to go out. Ford makes the best mounts, or they find manufacturers that can build a quality part.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:10 AM   #5
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assuming it is an engine problem, I would suggest checking the pcv hose. unfortunately, it pretty much requires the intake manifold to be removed.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:21 AM   #6
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That sounds more to me like it's an engine running problem.

Typically the mount that causes the most problems is the front engine mount- or passenger side. That's the hydraulic mount. You have 3 mounts: the front, the transmission mount, and the torque-strut mount which is also called the lower/ dog bone mount.

I think my front mount went out very early, but I didn't replace it until much later in the car's life. I'm not upset by vibrations at stoplights. I just keep imagining myself as being in a hot rod- yeah, my 4 cyl shakes the car because of all that power! Anyway, go find your front mount, you'll see rubber surrounded by cast metal, with your finger push on the rubber part. It should feel solid. If it doesn't feel solid, then look for signs that the fluid leaked out- which if it doesn't feel solid, the fluid leaked out. That mount is toast if the rubber is not supported by fluid inside it like I described.

The lower dog bone mount is the one that you might hear go "thunk" if you floor the engine from a stop. That doesn't mean it's bad. It breaks several ways, but tends to be the most resilient of the mounts. The bracket that holds the mount to the engine can break. The rubber parts of the mount can wear out over time, and the bolts can rust in place making the eventual repair from normal use annoying. And yeah, rocks can get stuck between the mount and either of it's brackets causing vibrations.

The transmission mount is culprit #2 of vibrations. This one is solid rubber, but that solid rubber tears, and it can be manufactured out of spec so that the rubber part is too thin around the bolt. Imagine a flat piece of rubber bolted horizontally to the car body, then a bolt goes through the center of the rubber vertically, and then into the transmission to hold it in place. That's basically how that mount works. It is located underneath the battery bracket. To visually inspect that mount, the battery and it's bracket must be removed. If any cracks are spotted and verified to be cracks (not rubber left over from casting), then the mount must be replaced.

As far as what I think it probably is- engine running problems- how much do you know how to do, or want to do as far as maintenance on your vehicle? You have low mileage, but the car is old- 4 years now, and only 36k, so about 10k miles per year. That's great for keeping some things going, but it's hell on others. Mounts are one of those things that I feel should be least affected by time. I don't start looking for rubber decay on parts from age until closer to 10 years of age. However, it might be that your mounts sat on a shelf for 5 years before being used- that I don't know, and that's why I listed how to verify the mounts are good or bad for yourself.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:38 AM   #7
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That sounds more to me like it's an engine running problem.

Typically the mount that causes the most problems is the front engine mount- or passenger side. That's the hydraulic mount. You have 3 mounts: the front, the transmission mount, and the torque-strut mount which is also called the lower/ dog bone mount.

I think my front mount went out very early, but I didn't replace it until much later in the car's life. I'm not upset by vibrations at stoplights. I just keep imagining myself as being in a hot rod- yeah, my 4 cyl shakes the car because of all that power! Anyway, go find your front mount, you'll see rubber surrounded by cast metal, with your finger push on the rubber part. It should feel solid. If it doesn't feel solid, then look for signs that the fluid leaked out- which if it doesn't feel solid, the fluid leaked out. That mount is toast if the rubber is not supported by fluid inside it like I described.

The lower dog bone mount is the one that you might hear go "thunk" if you floor the engine from a stop. That doesn't mean it's bad. It breaks several ways, but tends to be the most resilient of the mounts. The bracket that holds the mount to the engine can break. The rubber parts of the mount can wear out over time, and the bolts can rust in place making the eventual repair from normal use annoying. And yeah, rocks can get stuck between the mount and either of it's brackets causing vibrations.

The transmission mount is culprit #2 of vibrations. This one is solid rubber, but that solid rubber tears, and it can be manufactured out of spec so that the rubber part is too thin around the bolt. Imagine a flat piece of rubber bolted horizontally to the car body, then a bolt goes through the center of the rubber vertically, and then into the transmission to hold it in place. That's basically how that mount works. It is located underneath the battery bracket. To visually inspect that mount, the battery and it's bracket must be removed. If any cracks are spotted and verified to be cracks (not rubber left over from casting), then the mount must be replaced.

As far as what I think it probably is- engine running problems- how much do you know how to do, or want to do as far as maintenance on your vehicle? You have low mileage, but the car is old- 4 years now, and only 36k, so about 10k miles per year. That's great for keeping some things going, but it's hell on others. Mounts are one of those things that I feel should be least affected by time. I don't start looking for rubber decay on parts from age until closer to 10 years of age. However, it might be that your mounts sat on a shelf for 5 years before being used- that I don't know, and that's why I listed how to verify the mounts are good or bad for yourself.
Thank you for the very detailed explanation! The dealer told me that another guy came in with the same problem and he replaced everything from mounts to looking at the cylinders.. the whole sha-bang. The guy still have the rough idle even after all of this time and money was put into it. The dealer told me he didn't want to put me through the same thing because it is just a common problem with these cars, but causes no harm. I appreciate him telling me all of this, but seeing as the car hasn't always done this it just makes me feel like something is wrong lol.

I got my focus from a dealer that specializes in fixing damaged cars. My car had minor flood damage. The guy I bought it from said the focus is a great flood car because everything is locked up that is important. He doesn't buy flood cars that were submerged anywhere near the dash because then that causes electrical problems. Seriously, you would never be able to tell it was a flood vehicle. Everything is in excellent shape and it runs like a champ besides the idle lol.

As far as my experience goes... I don't have ... like any lol. I'm 19, but I'm learning.. My father knows this stuff for the most part so Ill def show what you said to him. Does anything that I said make any differences? Like since the car was in a flood.. that's why it is doing this lol?
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:03 PM   #8
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Um, yes, the car was in a flood. No matter what someone tells you, I would avoid flood cars- period. There's a reason why the insurance companies total flood cars. Flood cars are not as bad, IMO, as previously wrecked cars. I'd drive a flood car before a previously wrecked car. There is no such thing as a safe pre-wrecked car- period.

Tell your dad that I think it's time for a "tune-up", and let me explain what that is on this car. You don't have spark plug wires because you have coil on plug ignition. The spark plugs are probably ok- but could use cleaning and re-gapping. We have had people who had engine running problems for a very long time that were due to wackily gapped plugs. Get some anti-seize, remove the plugs, clean, re-gap to .052-55, replace with anti-sieze on the threads. Get some spray MAF cleaner, a new fuel filter, check the air filter and replace if it looks iffy. You'll need a Torx screwdriver to remove the MAF. It is the wired sensor in the air intake between the air cleaner and the throttle body. Typically there is an off colored (red) slide that you pull back, and that exposes a clip you can push in to unplug the MAF. Then you unscrew it with the torx and remove it. There are 2 holes in the sides of the MAF, spray cleaner in these, but don't shove the straw inside. Shake, and re-install. The first thing you have to do to remove the fuel filter is to discharge the fuel pressure. Find the fuel cut-off switch and unplug it. It should be inside the passenger kick panel in the front. Remove the panel, unplug the switch, and start the car. The car will not run, but fuel pressure will be discharged. Failure to do this will get you gasoline in the eyes, ears, mouth- and you'll probably puke. To remove the fuel filter, you need to jack up the back of the vehicle. Be sure to put wheel chocks on the front wheels to prevent the car from rolling. Put MT cars in gear, and AT cars in P- but I would still chock the wheels. The fuel filter is located in front of the passenger rear wheel about 20" under the car. Look for where the exhaust makes a 90 degree turn, and behind that will be the filter. You'll need a 5/16 or 8mm 1/4 ratchet and short extension to reach the screw that holds the fuel filter bracket in place. You'll notice that there are 2 plastic fuel line clips on each side. On one side you'll be able to see the flat white face of the clip insert. Press on the white rectangle of the clip insert and pull. On older Fords, the white insert was removed, but on these new designs you simply press the flat face of the insert into the clip, and pull. Now if you can't see the flat face of the clip on one side of the filter, follow that line back about 6" and you'll see a clip you can easily remove. Pull that small section of line off with the filter and bracket. Installation is the reverse of removal.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:01 PM   #9
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Um, yes, the car was in a flood. No matter what someone tells you, I would avoid flood cars- period. There's a reason why the insurance companies total flood cars. Flood cars are not as bad, IMO, as previously wrecked cars. I'd drive a flood car before a previously wrecked car. There is no such thing as a safe pre-wrecked car- period.

Tell your dad that I think it's time for a "tune-up", and let me explain what that is on this car. You don't have spark plug wires because you have coil on plug ignition. The spark plugs are probably ok- but could use cleaning and re-gapping. We have had people who had engine running problems for a very long time that were due to wackily gapped plugs. Get some anti-seize, remove the plugs, clean, re-gap to .052-55, replace with anti-sieze on the threads. Get some spray MAF cleaner, a new fuel filter, check the air filter and replace if it looks iffy. You'll need a Torx screwdriver to remove the MAF. It is the wired sensor in the air intake between the air cleaner and the throttle body. Typically there is an off colored (red) slide that you pull back, and that exposes a clip you can push in to unplug the MAF. Then you unscrew it with the torx and remove it. There are 2 holes in the sides of the MAF, spray cleaner in these, but don't shove the straw inside. Shake, and re-install. The first thing you have to do to remove the fuel filter is to discharge the fuel pressure. Find the fuel cut-off switch and unplug it. It should be inside the passenger kick panel in the front. Remove the panel, unplug the switch, and start the car. The car will not run, but fuel pressure will be discharged. Failure to do this will get you gasoline in the eyes, ears, mouth- and you'll probably puke. To remove the fuel filter, you need to jack up the back of the vehicle. Be sure to put wheel chocks on the front wheels to prevent the car from rolling. Put MT cars in gear, and AT cars in P- but I would still chock the wheels. The fuel filter is located in front of the passenger rear wheel about 20" under the car. Look for where the exhaust makes a 90 degree turn, and behind that will be the filter. You'll need a 5/16 or 8mm 1/4 ratchet and short extension to reach the screw that holds the fuel filter bracket in place. You'll notice that there are 2 plastic fuel line clips on each side. On one side you'll be able to see the flat white face of the clip insert. Press on the white rectangle of the clip insert and pull. On older Fords, the white insert was removed, but on these new designs you simply press the flat face of the insert into the clip, and pull. Now if you can't see the flat face of the clip on one side of the filter, follow that line back about 6" and you'll see a clip you can easily remove. Pull that small section of line off with the filter and bracket. Installation is the reverse of removal.
Lol. I mean, I could probably get my dad to help me put in a new battery or maybe get him to change my headlight bulb.. hahaha. He knows this stuff.. at least from what he says ...[??? :)]? lol, but he would never help me to this extent. Im better off taking it to ford for that. Actually, I've figured out the problem with the rough idle. I disconnected my battery about a month ago to put in a sub and I never went through the steps to have the car relearn its idle or fuel trim because when you disconnect the battery the computer forgets all of this.

Thank you for all of this help. I appreciate it!
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:36 AM   #10
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That should result in a high idle, not low, but go ahead and try it.

We recommend that people learn how to work on their own vehicle. Nobody is going to treat your car like you will. Very few shops will use anti-seize on the spark plug threads where you're threading steel into aluminum, and over time a galvanic reaction can pull the threads off the aluminum- meaning an expensive repair for the owner. Fuel filters are also so simple that shop people will commonly screw these up. I would think that would change over time since most Fords use this style of clip now. The old clips were made to be removed and replaced, the new clips break if removed- and the old clips won't fit where the new ones go, so unless your fuel filter kit comes with the new style clips- you're screwed. A shop is going to charge you for their mistake, or an embarrassed mechanic will rig something to get you out of there. Even something as simple as gapping spark plugs is often overlooked because most spark plug manufacturers pre-gap plugs now. 90% of the time, you'll be ok, but that one time will leave you running for months eating up too much fuel and needlessly clogging the catalytic converter and exhaust system. The best part is saving money. My dad paid $400 for a valve cover gasket at his Honda dealer. Unfortunately, he didn't get my message not to let them do the job. The part costs $35. I could've replaced it in 1-2 hours if I took my time, and did the plugs and wires at the same time which would've cost about $35 more. Still considerably less than $400.

This stuff isn't that hard if they pay someone $10/hr to do it.
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