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Old 11-04-2011, 11:17 PM   #1
Kenword
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Unhappy 2000 Focus zetec cranks but won't start.

After hours of frustrating Internet searching and conflicting advice I hope someone at Focus Fanatics can give me the right advice!
My 2000 Focus SE wagon with the Zetec engine died last week while idling in my driveway. I had just driven home, about 12 miles, after doing some shopping. The car had run perfectly all day.
After it died, I tried starting it and it turned over fine. but would not start. I let it sit a while just to see if it would start after cooling down a while. It made no difference.
I decided to check for ignition by removing a plug wire and connecting a spare spark plug. I saw good spark at the plug, and thought I heard the engine fire a few times so I re-connected the wire and cranked it some more. Thinking the car might be flooded, I put the pedal to the floor and got it to start but it barely ran. It would only run at half throttle or more and soon died completely.Since then it has not fired at all no matter what I try.
I have a few days off from work and would like to get it going ASAP.
I've done extensive work on older, cars but not this one. I know I need to check if it's a fuel, ignition, or a compression problem but I'm not sure how. I'd like specific information on how to check each system, and can't seem to find it, so here are my questions:
How do I best check the ignition? My brother has a tester with an adjustable spark gap. How wide a gap should I set it for? My brother says it should easily spark across a 1/4 inch gap. Is that realistic?
How do I best check the fuel system? Some sources say I should check the fuel pressure, while others say not to bother. I would like to check the pressure, but I can't get a straight answer as to how. Some say there's a schrader valve for checking fuel pressure, others say there isn't. Who's right?
I do hear the fuel pump run and stop so it sounds like it's working correctly but I'd like to know for sure before I tear things apart, and yes I know I need to check for a clogged filter as well. Finally, what compression readings should I expect? I have 263000 miles but have never had any reason to suspect a compression problem, but one post said to check it regardless.
Also could the cam timing be off? I've heard of engines with high mileage having the timing chain slip a tooth or more. Is this even possible with a timing belt? I have peaked under the cover and my belt looks fine but I'm trying to cover all the bases.
Any advice would be most welcome. Thanks!

Added note: I have read about numerous recalls including a fuel pump problem on early Foci. I have run my VIN number and all the work is supposed to be done on my car, but.... is there an easy way to tell if I still have the early trouble some fuel pump and if so is it still under warranty? I am the second owner of the car.


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Last edited by Kenword; 11-04-2011 at 11:24 PM. Reason: Additional information
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:07 AM   #2
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The gap on the tester is realistic, but all you really need to know for now is if you are getting spark at all - NOT how big a gap it can jump at this time....

Timing belts HAVE been known to "strip teeth" & look fine up top, while not turning the cams at all... Needs more checking - like just cranking it and seeing if it moves for a start. Pulling the plugs & valve cover will let you see if the timing is "ON", but yes - DO that compression check first - should fall between 100 & 200 pounds if done right with the throttle open, one cyl. at a time with a rest for the starter & recharging the battery between testing cylinders for the best readings. You are looking for consistent numbers here, variation of less than 10% between cylinders - actual number not as important as gauges & techniques can vary - just crank each cyl. 'till the gauge stops going up...

Your model engine is one WITHOUT a test valve for fuel pressure, so that can't be checked easily... hearing the pump run is a GOOD thing, and unless the filter is plugged completely you SHOULD have fuel at the engine, BUT the injectors have to work to get it in the cylinders - can you hear them "click"?

That'll give you a start - see what you find out.....

Luck!
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:18 AM   #3
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Just to add; check the fuel safety cut off switch hasn't been triggered somehow. It's the button in the passenger foot well. Not likely, but your problem does sound a bit like fuel starvation.

At 263K, the timing belt should have been replaced twice by now. Compression test, as suggested, would give more info. Was the belt attended to in the past? Timing belts do slip/jump when teeth let go; metal timing chains do not. You have a belt - and an old one, possibly.

Fuel pumps were covered by an "extended warranty" of sorts for 10 years. You're no longer covered.
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:21 PM   #4
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This is my first post here.

My 2001 ZX3, 134K miles, died in much the same way yesterday.

I checked and saw I had spark.

I too could not find a schrader valve on the fuel rail. Is it also not on the 2001? From what I have learned it may depend on what month the car was built in 2001 as there were changes made. I'm not sure what month.

A friend of mine tells me there are 3 recalls on focus fuel pumps, that recalls do not expire (unlike warranties) and that I should call Ford on Monday.

Do any of you have more info on any of this? Should I take off my fuel filter and just see if the pump pumps?

Thanks.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient wedgie View Post
I too could not find a schrader valve on the fuel rail. Is it also not on the 2001? From what I have learned it may depend on what month the car was built in 2001 as there were changes made. I'm not sure what month.
No schrader valve was ever fitted on the Zetec motor, AFAIK

Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient wedgie View Post
A friend of mine tells me there are 3 recalls on focus fuel pumps, that recalls do not expire (unlike warranties) and that I should call Ford on Monday.
No recalls. Ever. Try Google "Ford Extended Coverage Program 03N01". You'll find it's expired, as stated above. It only applied to a limited number of cars built between a certain time period in 2000/01, iirc. If a fuel pump lasted for over ten years, the problem addressed by 03N01 likely didn't apply to the original pump to begin with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient wedgie View Post
Do any of you have more info on any of this? Should I take off my fuel filter and just see if the pump pumps?
First steps with any suspected pump problems generally are to 1) make sure you have fuel in the tank (just sayin') 2) check inertia safety switch 3) check fuses/relays 4) replace filter. Filters are supposed to be replaced every 25K miles and seldom are. If, after you turn on the ignition, you can hear the pump whine as it primes and then stop after 2-5 seconds, the pump is usually working sufficiently well enough to start the car.
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:03 PM   #6
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First I'd like to thank all those who took the time to read through my thread and answer my questions. Ultimately I found the best tool by far for checking my car was my brother who has decades of experience as a marine mechanic and access to sophisticated test tools that work as well on cars as they do on boats. Ultimately I found the following:
1.The easiest way to test fuel pressure is with an engine testing tool that can plug into the test socket ( called OBD II ) that hides under a cover at the left end of the dash. Such a tool can communicate with the engine control computer to read the fuel pressure. Mine was fine at about 40 psi. Another method is to use a mechanical guage that "plugs into" the fuel line with a special "t fitting." My brother said he had one back at the shop but not with him.
2. A quick and dirty fuel test is to disconnect the fuel line at the fuel rail. If there's any pressure a quick spurt of fuel will result. You can then test fuel flow by putting the end of the line in a container and switching the ignition off and on. You should get a small cupfull of gas each time you turn the ignition on.
3. A Focus ignition can easily jump the widest gap possible on a standard adjustable spark tester.
4. Just as Sailor wrote, cam belts can strip or break in such a way that a quick peek under the edge of the plastic belt cover shows a belt that looks fine but does not turn the cams at all!

So the answer to my immediate problem is a bad cam belt. Apparantly the belt slipped just enough to kill the engine while it was idling, but not enough to prevent it from running at all. Later, when I got it running again, the belt let loose completely.

My next steps will be to replace the belt and then do a compression test to see if the valves, head and pistons survived the ordeal. I will keep you all posted as to what I find, and I'd like to eventually create and post a complete early Focus troubleshooting guide now that I know how difficult good info is to find! I think it would be a great addition to the How-To Archive
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Old 11-09-2011, 03:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC_ZX3 View Post
"Ford Extended Coverage Program 03N01". You'll find it's expired, as stated above.
Yep. You were correct. Meaning that this car just passed out of its eligibility. Too damn bad, eh?

Quote:
If a fuel pump lasted for over ten years, the problem addressed by 03N01 likely didn't apply to the original pump to begin with.
Well, from what I've learned, the replacement pump does not fit too well in the mounting bracket. Requires some careful pruning. Just for that reason I oughta get some relief. Too damn bad again.


Quote:
First steps with any suspected pump problems generally are to

1) make sure you have fuel in the tank (just sayin')
OK
Quote:
2) check inertia safety switch
it's down.

Quote:
3) check fuses/relays
Fuse 12 in engine bay is good. And there is 12.5v at its back.

Quote:
4) replace filter. Filters are supposed to be replaced every 25K miles and seldom are.
This one was replaced 15K ago (Nov '09), and still looks clean.

Quote:
If, after you turn on the ignition, you can hear the pump whine as it primes and then stop after 2-5 seconds, the pump is usually working sufficiently well enough to start the car.
Cannot hear a thing.

Additionally, I removed the fuel line from the fuel rail at the two 8mm bolts. Some small amount of fuel leaked out.
I turned on the ignition, and there was no spurting at the line.

I hit the starter and the engine ran again for the first time in days, but less than 2 seconds as I turned it off. Residual fuel in the now open line was apparently able to trickle down on gravity head only.



Anything else I might do before tackling a bigger job?
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancient wedgie View Post
Fuse 12 in engine bay is good. And there is 12.5v at its back.
...
Anything else I might do before tackling a bigger job?
Don't omit checking the relay in the engine compartment box. Swap it with a known good one. Check your owner's manual for the specific relay location.

If that doesn't help, you'll need a multimeter to start testing circuits. You should at least confirm the pump circuit is getting power as far along the circuit as possible before assuming the pump has failed internally. There is a connector under the rear seat cushion.
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:16 PM   #9
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News: I discovered and used another trick that has me worried now.

It was suggested that I hit the bottom of the tank a few times (BTW, it's about 1/4 full) and then crank it.

Voila she started.

However, she didn't stay running for long. Each time I hit it, she starts up again, but then cuts out after 5-10 seconds.

Thanks. I'll do that. I found the box under the cushion, and I'll check on that tomorrow. Is that the EMS?
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Old 11-09-2011, 10:56 PM   #10
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"EMS"?
Ford calls it a Fuel Pump Driver Module (FPDM). Because the Focus uses a returnless fuel system, the PCM regulates the fuel pump output by varying the voltage to the pump via the FPDM.

There should be a chassis ground around there. You can try cleaning it and checking the connector for problems. I posted a FPDM/fuel pump wiring diagram on FF just recently. If the FPDM is getting 12V at the correct wire, then it may just be your pump has failed and is non-responsive. I'm not sure if your "bump" test as a means of identifying the pump as the problem source is valid but it doesn't look promising.
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