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Old 09-02-2011, 01:35 PM   #1
Lkunie
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2000 Focus , Very Rough Idle , Any help is welcome

I own a 2000 Focus SE 2.0L with about 91k mileage

About 2 weeks ago my idle has gone to crap, the rpms will dip very very low when at idle and my engine literally shakes because of it and will stale at times.
If i apply a bit of throttle it will smooth out and run ok.. When actually driving , the engine seems to run great , no loss of power or hesistation with acceleration. Its only when I come to a stop sign or red light and have to sit.

Over the past 2 years this problem did appear once or twice a year and lasted for a few days and then it would go away. But the idle never got so low to wear it stalled or shook the engine like it is now.

After reading countless threads and various webposts I took a shot at the MAFS. As the car was at a idle I disconnected the MAFS and the revs went up and the idle smoothed out mostly. With it disconnected it doesnt idle down nowhere close to where it will shake the engine or stall. So I thought for sure it was the MAFS... I went and purchased Electronic Contact Cleaner and I sprayed the MAFS down with small amounts of it and let it dry out. It seemed to help a little but my idle is still very rough. So today I purchased a rebuilt MAFS and installed it. And I did disconnect the neg battery terminal and the computer reset. When I started it up, the engine ran much much worse then my previous old cleaned up mafs.

So I returned the rebuilt mafs to autozone and got a refund and put my old cleaned up mafs back in. I just found a few posts about the MAFS relay. Any ideas if the relay could be causing this problem? Or any other suggestions on something a novice can do to test any ideas out. Like most people , I go paycheck to paycheck and I got lucky that they refunded my rebuilt mafs. So I got a few dollars to spend on perhaps spark plugs or something else.
Again, Any input or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
len


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Old 09-02-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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There are a ton of things that it could be. I'd recommend cleaning out your IAC (there's a how-to), checking the condition of your plugs and wires, making sure that your coil is in good shape, replacing your fuel filter, and running a dash diagnostic to see if your electrical system is up to snuff.

I'd also take a root around to see if the valve cover is leaking, as that will destroy your idle if oil is sneaking into your plugs.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:43 PM   #3
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Check the pcv and associated hoses for collapsing.
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:51 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips, I will start looking at the hoses and things tomorrow after work and see if I can give the IAC a cleaning. What product would you suggest using to check for VAC leaks? I read WD40 is ok to use, is this true?
I dont have a propane torch and I wouldnt feel comfortable using one either. But I got plenty of WD40 and I also read water is ok to use?
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:06 PM   #5
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WD40 will make an awful mess spaying it everywhere. Maybe try carb cleaner or parts cleaner, wont make a mess.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:08 PM   #6
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You can look for vacuum leaks, but the most common vacuum leak is the PCV valve line. Now, you have a SOHC SPI engine, and with that engine you need to be looking for other problems besides just a vacuum leak or a sticky IAC.

Your first concern should be the condition of the timing belt. Yes, those are supposed to go over 100k miles- but all rubber wears out after 10 years. Even if your car had no miles on it but was 12 years old- the timing belt should be inspected carefully. Look for missing ribs, and cotton showing through the back side of the belt. Inspect all the belt, and use a silver paint marker to check what you've looked at. I'd remove the inspection cover, disconnect the fuel cutoff switch, and disconnect the ignition coil. Then you should be able to bump/crank the engine with the starter and move the belt. That's easier than turning the engine with a socket and ratchet.

If the timing belt checks out ok, you should run a compression test and look for any cylinders that don't have good compression. You might be losing a valve seat. That is common for these engines, and if allowed to completely fall out- you'll be purchasing a new vehicle. These engines are very expensive in salvage yards because most of them have self destructed after dropping valve seats. If you catch it before it completely falls out, then you can have a machine shop install new valve seats after you remove the cylinder head.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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When I first purchased my car (used with 40k miles) , My check engine light would come on and stay on. After a few trips back to my dealer, they replaced the head under a ford recall warranty. I cant recall if thats what/why it was replaced. But the head of the engine only has 50k miles on it.

But would that seem to be the problem again? Like I said , when I unplug my MFAS the engine revs back up to normal and the idles smooths out , almost to where it should be.
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whynotthinkwhynot View Post
You can look for vacuum leaks, but the most common vacuum leak is the PCV valve line. Now, you have a SOHC SPI engine, and with that engine you need to be looking for other problems besides just a vacuum leak or a sticky IAC.

Your first concern should be the condition of the timing belt. Yes, those are supposed to go over 100k miles- but all rubber wears out after 10 years. Even if your car had no miles on it but was 12 years old- the timing belt should be inspected carefully. Look for missing ribs, and cotton showing through the back side of the belt. Inspect all the belt, and use a silver paint marker to check what you've looked at. I'd remove the inspection cover, disconnect the fuel cutoff switch, and disconnect the ignition coil. Then you should be able to bump/crank the engine with the starter and move the belt. That's easier than turning the engine with a socket and ratchet.

If the timing belt checks out ok, you should run a compression test and look for any cylinders that don't have good compression. You might be losing a valve seat. That is common for these engines, and if allowed to completely fall out- you'll be purchasing a new vehicle. These engines are very expensive in salvage yards because most of them have self destructed after dropping valve seats. If you catch it before it completely falls out, then you can have a machine shop install new valve seats after you remove the cylinder head.
^^^^Do what he said. Is your check engine light on? BTW I've gotten bad advice from Autozone and recently had to argue with a counter person at O'reillys until they gave me the correct axle that I knew had been ordered and was there. When you unplug your MAF the computer takes over that's why it idles better. It could still be your MAF, just maybe they gave you the wrong one.
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:42 PM   #9
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It was on , but I cleared it after I cleaned the MAF and it has not come back on yet. Im sure it will in the next day or two. It took a few days before it came on the first time when it started to idle rough.
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
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When you unplug your MAF the computer takes over that's why it idles better.
Huh?
You should not run your car with the the MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor) sensor disconnected. It tells the PCM (Powertrain Control Module- the car's electronic brain) how much air the engine is ingesting.
The most common cause of stalling and poor idling, as has already been stated, are vacuum leaks and the PCV hose is a common source on the Focus.
The SPI engine, as whynot mentioned, needs some special attention as well.
You can disconnect the electrical connector on the IACV (Idle Air Control Valve) to see if it makes a difference to the idle speed as a crude, preliminary test to see if that part is malfunctioning. The IACV is a computer controlled throttle bypass opening that is used to set idle speed.
Finally, you shouldn't clear a CEL light without knowing the underlying code; it can help you pinpoint the problem.
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