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Old 10-03-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
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2001 engine compatibility

Hi I recently bought an 01 focus with the sohc engine. I drive from St. Louis to New Orleans every 45 days for my work with the navy. The last trip the engine went out but I love the car and am looking at putting another motor in it. From what I've gathered a 2000-2004 sohc is my only option unless. Anyone know if any other engines would work


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Old 10-03-2013, 11:27 AM   #2
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The spi is known to have problems. You can swap it out with a zetec motor
Here is write up of one that was done - http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=296946
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:51 AM   #3
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The spi is known to have problems. You can swap it out with a zetec motor
Here is write up of one that was done - http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=296946
The SPI is known to have A problem (singular). Besides the valve seat problem, they are very strong, reliable motors.

Momohunter, You can do the zetec swap. and many people do because zetec motors are typically easier to find than SPI. but the swap is much more complicated.

You can swap in another SPI and install a remanufactured head, which will prevent the valve seat from killing the motor again.

The zetec has a bit more HP than the SPI and better aftermarket support. the SPI has one fatal flaw (which you can prevent), but outside of that is more reliable, gets better gas milage and is an easier swap. You have to decide what is right for you.

Check out the SPI and engine swap sub-forums for more info.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:46 PM   #4
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but outside of that is more reliable
Outside of the valve seat issue, what makes the SPI more reliable than the Zetec?
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:25 PM   #5
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Outside of the valve seat issue, what makes the SPI more reliable than the Zetec?
The SPI in the focus is also known as the CVH motor. It was originally developed by Ford in 1974. The 2.0 SPI in the focus is nearly identical to the 1.9 SPI from the late 80's and 90's escorts and the 2.0 SPI from the late 90's escorts. By the time the engine was installed in the first focus, Ford had years to work out the kinks in the engine. This development time weeded out a lot of minor issues that newer motors endure. (Which is also one reason why the valve seat issue is so frustrating to SPI owners... it was also an issue on the SPI escorts, and Ford never bothered to fix it.)

I remember the first 5-7 years of Focus production the zetec owners on here complained of quite a few different minor problems, and the SPI's were seen as practically bulletproof until the dropped valve seats became well known. None of the zetec problems were major or wide spread (except perhaps the fuel filter issues?) but there just seemed to be a lot of different relatively minor problems popping up. Maybe a lot of those have been fixed over the years, either through Ford or simple attrition, The zetec certainly has a better reputation today, but they still have their issues.

Besides the development time, because the technology is older, the SPI is a simpler motor. Less complexity means less potential problems. You are also dealing with the difference of an aluminum block on the zetec vs. a stronger cast iron block on the SPI....

I am not trying to say the Zetec is a bad motor, or that it is unreliable. That is most certainly not true. But if you prevent the dreaded valve seat problem, the SPI is comparatively more reliable than the zetec.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:46 PM   #6
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I know the history behind the SPI. The Zetec (Zeta) had also been around for 6 years (1992) before the Focus went into production (1998), and the main issues had at that time been resolved (sticky valves). I was just wondering if there was some issue in particular about the Focus Zetec that I was not aware of, besides the relatively minor thermostat housing issue. That issue is easily resolved by using an earlier Zetec housing that is still available directly from Ford. I'm not aware of a fuel filter issue, but there was a fuel pump/sock issue. I would not relate the reliability of an in-tank fuel pump or inline filter to the reliability of a Zetec engine, however.

Either way, it's still a rather moot point, because the dropped valve seat issue is a much bigger reliability issue than the Zetec ever had. I don't for a minute believe that just simplicity of design inherently correlates to better reliability. I can give you many examples where that is not the case.

There are some very high-mileage Zetecs around here... I would have a very hard time saying that the SPI or the Zetec is more reliable (ignoring the dropped-valve issue) unless I saw some numbers to back that up.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TboneZX3 View Post
I know the history behind the SPI. The Zetec (Zeta) had also been around for 6 years (1992) before the Focus went into production (1998), and the main issues had at that time been resolved (sticky valves). I was just wondering if there was some issue in particular about the Focus Zetec that I was not aware of, besides the relatively minor thermostat housing issue which is easily resolved by using an earlier Zetec housing.
6 years is a lot different than 26 years. And IIRC, the changes between the zeta motor and the focus zetec were much more significant than between the escort and focus SPIs. The pre-focus zeta was european and was altered for US laws.

Besides the thermostat housing, other problems include fuel filter issues, especially on the early zetecs, and valve cover gasket leaks. Again, nothing major, and nothing widespread. There also seemed to be more minor repairs of different types happening earlier than you would have expected on zetecs.

the zetec and SPI may have coil pack and pcv issues (but they seemed to be more common on the zetecs, but that may have just been because there are more of them).

Outside of the valve seat failure, the other fairly common issue to SPI is rough idle, which I had, but fixed with an aftermarket throttle body.

Quote:
There are some very high-mileage Zetecs around here... I would have a very hard time saying that the SPI or the Zetec is more reliable (ignoring the dropped-valve issue) unless I saw some numbers to back that up.
The reason you do not see as many high milage SPI's is because of the valve seat issue, and because there were much fewer focus SPI's built. I have seen focus SPI's over 200,000. and escort SPI's over 300,000. I'm not saying the zetec can't last that long. It has and does. It just appears to me to have more minor issues along the way.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:27 PM   #8
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All those 26 years, and they still made heads that dropped seats... I don't believe you do recall correctly about the Zeta-Zetec changes, but I'm not sure what difference it makes. More changes to get it right in the beginning certainly doesn't have any bearing on how reliable it was after the changes were made. Nor does the number of years it took to make the changes matter to reliability (the SPI is a great example of that). What matters is the final product we're talking about, and its true reliability.

How do you consider a fuel filter issue a Zetec issue, by the way? Or are you trying to say that "Focus cars with SPI engines are more reliable than Focus cars with Zetec engines", rather than "the SPI engine is more reliable than the Zetec engine"? We are talking about engine swaps here, not car/fuel filter swaps.

I'll come right to the point. Do you have facts/data to back up your claim that the SPI engine (ignoring the valve seat issues) is more reliable than the Zetec engine?
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:38 PM   #9
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I'm not aware of a fuel filter issue, but there was a fuel pump/sock issue. I would not relate the reliability of an in-tank fuel pump or inline filter to the reliability of a Zetec engine, however.
Sorry missed this in my last post....

There were recalls on the filters inside the fuel delivery modules (2000-2001) and for defective aftermarket fuel filters (2002-2004) Guess I got those crossed in my head. IIRC, the fuel delivery module issues just affected zetecs, but I could be wrong (i've already been wrong once in this thread, lol). that was a long time ago, and I can't seem to locate specific enough info on what models were affected.

There was also a zetec specific recall on battery cables in 2001. i found during my search...
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:45 PM   #10
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Sorry missed this in my last post....

There were recalls on the filters inside the fuel delivery modules (2000-2001) and for defective aftermarket fuel filters (2002-2004) Guess I got those crossed in my head. IIRC, the fuel delivery module issues just affected zetecs, but I could be wrong (i've already been wrong once in this thread, lol). that was a long time ago, and I can't seem to locate specific enough info on what models were affected.

There was also a zetec specific recall on battery cables in 2001. i found during my search...
OK, so that answers my question. What you must have meant to say in the beginning was "Focus cars with SPI engines are more reliable than Focus cars with Zetec engines". Instead, you said that the SPI is more reliable than the Zetec (ignoring the dropped valve seat issue).

Battery cables and fuel filters have ZERO to do with the reliability of an engine. Dropped valve seats ARE an engine issue. Again, we are talking about ENGINE swaps here. Not battery cable and fuel pump swaps. Even if you were to go to a boneyard and get a used battery cable and fuel pump, chances are they will be the reliable versions of the parts, because they were recalled. What happens if you go to a boneyard and get a used SPI engine? Likely, you will experience a dropped valve seat.

...and this answers my other question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy_urn View Post
It just appears to me to have more minor issues along the way.
You don't have data to support your statement that the SPI is more reliable than the Zetec.
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