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Old 11-22-2008, 05:56 AM   #1
aironjack
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[How-To] Service your car step by step

Hi guys,

This is going to be a brief guide explaining how I serviced my car two weeks ago, on my own. I am a car mechanics and detailing enthusiast from Spain, that is living in San Diego for a year. I have quiet a bit experience on working on cars, but I will try to keep everything simple and easy to follow for those of you that are willing to get your hands dirty.

This work took some effort and some hours. As always I recommend you to work on safe conditions and be really careful, don't never get under your car using only a jack!!!

I bought the car for a really cheap price, knowing that I would have to put some time on it, luckily I have a good American friend that support me on this and let me use his garage and tools. So let's start, I am going to link all the posts that I found useful on the Internet and hopefully add some extra information that will make it easier.

FUEL FILTER

I had the sadly famous P0171 "engine too lean" code in my car. So this was a good shot to fix it. Everything is described in this article Fuel Filter replacement Instructions.

Just to make it easier for the beginners. The fuel lines are hold in place by some weird snaps, you have to press them together and then push them out. It is a two step mechanism, don't force them or you will break them.

Second, once the lines are removed. To take apart the fuel filter, you need to remove the part that holds it in place. There is one hidden bolt, you will not get the last fuel line out till you remove, so don't wiggle them or break them. I am putting some pictures so you can understand it better. When you have removed this, there is another bolt that you have to loose to slide the filter out and put the new one.

Here you see the back part of the right side of the car, under it is what you are looking for. It's hidden and next to the fuel tank, some people might not find it without some help, that's why I took the pictures.



Here there is a picture of the fuel lines removed, and the frame that holds the fuel filter removed too, so you can see where it goes in place.



Here you see the fuel filter with the frame and the two bolts I mentioned.



I am going to continue in another post, just in case something goes wrong and I loose what I wrote.



Last edited by aironjack; 11-25-2008 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:04 AM   #2
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CABIN AIR FILTER

I changed the cabin air filter. You can read instructions in here. You need to remove the clips that hold the cover in place, wiggle the cover up. This is more difficult than in the German cars I used to work on before. You might need to pull the drivers part to get it out enough. Then you will have to release two clips. The car comes from factory with a plastic piece and no cabin air filter. My car had 93.000 miles and the plastic piece was still there, if you value your lungs a little bit, I recommend you do this, it is only around 6 dollars.

Here you have two more pictures:

Removing the factory plastic piece:


Putting the new one in place. Long pliers can be really helpful:
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:30 AM   #3
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CHANGING THE TIMING BELT and PASSENGER ENGINE MOUNT

The level of difficulty of this task is considerable and you should know what you are doing if you start. This will explain how to do it in a 01 SPI 2.0l engine. This is an non interference engine, which means that if the timing belt breaks nothing happens, no valves, headcam or anything screwed. Other Focus are different, I think the Duratec has a chain instead of a belt, and the SVT is an interference engine, so keep this in mind. Ford recommends to change this after 120.000 miles. I change mine in 94.000 miles because I think it will help to sell the car and It was fun, it's my hobby. Don't expect to see signs of wear off in your belt. I was told by a professional that this belts don't have any visual sign of wear off. The difference between the new one and the old one is only the dust and stickers, you need special tools to measure them.

For this task you are going to need a complete set of wrenches. There are some very difficult to reach bolts.

There is a very good how-to by untenops that explains how to change the timing belt step by step. I am going to focus on covering some points that are not very clear in his explanations and adding some extra pictures.

First my engine mount was leaking liquid. The Focus engine mounts in the SPI are hidraulic, so this was a good opportunity to change it. Here is a picture of how it looked like:



And here some pictures while removing the timing belt shields. For removing the engine mount we had to put a long plastic bar into the ratchet to be able to have enough torque to loose it.





Although as you can see the engine mount was severely damaged, there were no vibrations or noises I could notice. The liquid inside the engine mount works with another range of interferences that are not noticeable for us, but the engine suffers. The new engine mount was around 52 dollars in NAPA. Edit: Don't buy a NAPA engine mount, they are a piece of crap. Here you can see it apart:



Removing the shields:





Here you can see how I remove the upper part of metal. I think there were four bolts holding it into place, this is the easy part.





Now I am going to talk about a special bolt in this procedure, it the protagonist of movie, the bitc* of all bolts. I took specially four pictures of it because it is really hidden and difficult to get. Get ready for some kamasutra with the car and some back pain. We removed attacking it under the car:









I am going to submit this part just in case, I have had too many bad experiences with forums. I will continue now.

Last edited by aironjack; 11-25-2008 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:40 AM   #4
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You should have something like this now.



This step is not very clear in the other guide, but we will have to remove the accessory belt too. If you are afraid of this, you should not be doing this, because we are still in the easy part hahaha. So for this we need to release the tension in the tensioner. Here is a picture of what does it look like. You see the arrow, that's the way we have to move the wrench to release the tension.



For this you need to put a square wrench in the square hole (this is like in kinder garden yes). We use a ratchet for this, I did not have the Ford tool for this if it exists (I am pretty much sure that it does exist and it is worth a kidney).





I forgot to mention some stuff. It is a good moment to check if your accessory belt is in good condition and if the tensioner is working properly. You should draw a routing diagram before removing the belt or getting one from the Internet. Beginners take pictures, they can save your ass.

Another thing is that if you think your belt is ok, mine was. You need to draw an arrow on it, I used tipex, to put it back in place the way it was. Engines turn clockwise, don't forget this.



And finally, no more belt:



Now it it is time to save, and continue in another post.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:00 AM   #5
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Now it is time to remove the crankshaft pulley, aka the harmonic balancer. For doing this you need a special tool like this:



That works like this:



This thing holds the engine and avoid it moves, so you can release the pulley bolt. You can loan this tool from Pepboys, Kragen or Autozone. I did not have it and I didn't want to pay extra, so I used an impact gun air tool, this in note very safe and I don't want to hear comments on it, I know what I do. The point is that the impact gun doesn't move the engine counter clockwise and releases the bolt. Here you see the result:





So, now we are ready to remove the timing belt. First you should look for the timing marks very thoroughly. After you remove this belt don't move any pulley, because you will desynchronize the timing. My timing was in the right place, so I just kept everything as It was, so it took less checking and time.



First we release the tension in the timing belt tensioner that we are going to change. Whenever you change the timing belt, due to the effort involved and the importance of this part, you should change anything related to it that is important. For example some cars action the water pump with the timing belt, this is a really bad design, and forces the owner to change it with the timing belt, specially in interference engines, because if the pump gets stuck the belt breaks and the whole engine is fuc*e*!
Luckily this car is not one of those. We only need to change the tensioner and any pulley that is in bad condition. My pulley were ok, but I could not say the same about my tensioner. So I removed the belt and then the tensioner. Only one bolt holds it into place.

New tensioner:


Removing old one:


The new vs the old:


I am going to switch post now.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:09 AM   #6
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So now, reverse the process. Just use a torque wrench and the right torques. To be able to tight the crankshaft pulley up we used a big wrench to avoid it moving, this is the bad way, ok?



We are almost done. We put everything back in place. For changing the engine mount, we put the frame in a work bench and removed it from the frame and put the new one. For this you are going to need something powerful like an impact gun. It is extremely important in all this procedure that you kept the engine hold by a jack stand or big jack. Now raise with a jack the engine a little bit, so you can put the right torque on it. I would recommend to overtorque it a little bit for avoiding noises and vibrations. I didn't do this and my car is vibrating now a little bit till I fix it.

Pictures!




New engine mount in place:


So to sum up. This took us 4 hours, but if this is your first time and you are not experienced it will take you more than 6 probably. I am not responsible of any problem you can have, this is all educative information for helping you. Work safe and use common sense, please.

There are a bunch more of topic I want to cover: PCV valve and PCV air filter, automatic transmission, MAF cleaning... But this is for another day I have more time.

I hope you like this how-to. Now you can post whatever you want, thanks for waiting.
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:23 PM   #7
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PCV VALVE and PCV AIR FILTER

I didn't need any help with this, but you can read this how-to for zetec engines if you need some feedback.

In the SPI the valve is not hidden and is easy to get out. The tube that comes out of the valvecover and goes down under the throttle body intake, is what we have to look for. The valve is right next to the valve cover. Here are some pictures. To get it out you need to turn it and then wiggle it out.

Sorry for the blurry picture:


Now a closer view:


SERVICING TRANSMISSION

There is a really good step by step how-to for this by focusrun. I only want to add some details. When you flush your system like this, you are not doing a complete flush. Most of the liquid is held in place by the torque converter and that's why If you look in your manual for the capacity of the system is not going to match with what you took out.



The cooler lines are really difficult to get out if the car has not been serviced in a while. The steel seems to be welded into the rubber tubes. Be really careful wiggling the tubes, because if you break the steel parts you are going to spend a lot of money on repairing them.

Remove the clamps with pliers. There might be a little piece of plastic that holds them in place, you can cut this with a cutter blade. We could not get them out by hand, even if we tried really hard for more than an hour, so we finally used a heat gun to be able to get them out.



When we did this, we realized that we didn't have tubes to engage into the lines, so we put everything back and used a pump. We used a water pump adapted for this, that worked with a drill. We put a small flexible plastic tube into the dipstick that sucked almost all the fluid out.
Here is an important part. Put the fluid in an empty reservoir, so you can follow the rule of thumb of putting back the same fluid as you removed. There should be around 2 quarts and half or less.

Getting the pan out was really hard. It was sticked there. It is an steel pan (no aluminum) so it is pretty difficult to break or bent. We used a cutter blade and a rubber hammer to put it inside and then leverage out the pan. There was very few liquid inside, but be prepared with a bucket.





Finally when you put everything back. It is really important that you don't overfill the transmission. Getting the fluid out without a pump is a pain in the ass. I put a little bit more than necessary and I had to buy a siphon pump and micro tube for aquariums to be able to get it out, but this is not fun and you don't want to be there, ok?

Checking transmission fluid
To check the level of liquid the transmission has to operate for 20 miles to be hot. Then you have to park in a flat surface, switch gears hesitating for 2 seconds in each one and then putting it in park. Without turning the engine off take the dipstick out and clean it so you can measure.
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:38 PM   #8
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CLEANING THE MAF SENSOR

Here you have a how-to by microtonal. I didn't have a torx wrench with a hole on it, so I remove the whole thing and clean it without taking the MAF out. It is faster and you can not mess up with the right position of the sensor.





And then I sprayed CRC MAF cleaner. Changing the PCV, fuel filter, cleaning the MAF, changing the PCV air filter and checking for vacuum leaks (I didn't have any) fixed the damn P0171 code.

OTHER STUFF

This is the end of the story. I changed the battery, cleaned the terminals, changed the sparkplugs, the air filter, the oil, the oil filter, the plug wires, cleaned a little bit under the car for avoiding corrosion, checked the break pads, rotate tires.... and other stuff that is very documented on the Internet, including websites with videos.

So this is the end of this how-to, I hope you liked it. The only things I might be doing to this car in the future are changing the front wheel bearings, replacing the passenger fender which is a little bit damaged and fixing my A/C. I tried to fill my A/C this time, but the compressor didn't start working. The A/C fan doesn't work either. I checked the fuses and the relays. But I can not get one relay out and the plastic box broke, It might be working good though. I would bet for an electric problem, but I am not an A/C expert at all.

Any tutorial, help or book I can read to be able to troubleshoot my AC system and fix it will be very appreciated.

See you!

Last edited by aironjack; 11-25-2008 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:59 PM   #9
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Very nice write-up on typical maintanence man. Good pictures and explainations.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:29 PM   #10
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Nice work. Great pics so that people can get a better understanding as to what you are talking about.
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