03 Focus Runs Very Rough- SPI engine - Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum
Ford Focus Forum
HomeContact UsAbout UsGalleryDiscussion ForumsMarketplace


Go Back   Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum > Ford Focus Tech Discussions > General Technical Chat

General Technical Chat This section is for technical discussions relating to general maintenance, electrical issues, engine trouble, and recalls.

Search This Forum | Image Search | Advanced Search    
Ford Focus Tire & Wheels FocusFanatics Merchandise

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-26-2011, 02:20 PM   #1
fdbyrne
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Fan#: 92163
Location: Springfield, MO
What I Drive: 2003 base model

Posts: 4
FF Reputation: 1 fdbyrne Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
03 Focus Runs Very Rough- SPI engine

First, an apology. This is going to be a long initial post but I want to give you everything that I know because I'm hoping somebody out there has had this problem and fixed it.

The situation: The car has 85,000 miles, has an automatic tranny, and the small 2.0 I4. It's run great until about a month ago. Now, it runs very, very rough (most of the time). By rough, I mean it's much louder than normal and there is an intense vibration at all RPM levels. It's most notable at idle but still apparent when driving. It never stalls. The problem doesn't go away once the car warms up but when warm it is slightly better at idle than when cold. The vibration is so intense that the dash rattles. No check engine light yet.

Here's what makes it really weird. Running the car around for a while and then parking it in the garage for about half an hour seems to fix the problem. Under those circumstances it runs like a dream, smooth and quiet. My only guess is that the problem isn't related to operating temperature but to the temperature of the engine compartment itself. Sitting in a garage with no wind, hood down, and a hot engine right in the middle seems to solve whatever is causing my problem.

The background: Less than a year ago we had my mechanic replace part of the EGR system. We were hearing a loud exhaust like noise but the exhaust pipe and muffler looked fine. The mechanic said I had a crack in my exhaust relay pipe. He replaced it and while it was in there we had him change the plugs and wires. It ran fine after that.

Since the current problem started in the last month I've done the following:

1. replaced the air filter
2. replaced the PCV valve
3. inspected the PCV hose and connectors (nothing wrong)
4. ran a tank of gas with fuel injector cleaner
5. tested the EGR valve by pulling the vacuum hose off the top, and blocking the hose. The idle didn't smooth out. I applied a vacuum to the EGR valve manually and the car immediately stalled which tells me that the EGR valve itself is working fine.

All of the online forums pointed to a fault in the EGR system or a hole in the PCV hose as the likely culprit. I'm certain the PCV assembly is not the problem. The EGR system might still be the problem but not with the valve itself. The vacuum pressure going to the valve puzzles me. I read that there should be no vacuum applied at idle and there was a pulsing sort of pressure coming from the vacuum hose. I don't know if that matters or not since the problem didn't seem to get better when the vacuum hose was completely separated from the EGR valve.

At this point I'm guessing that there could be a problem with the EGR sensor itself but more likely I have a pinhole in a vacuum hose somewhere. Maybe when the vacuum hose itself gets warm enough it becomes expands to close off the very small hole that's causing the problem?

Any guesses here would be greatly appreciated.


fdbyrne is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-26-2011, 03:59 PM   #2
whynotthinkwhynot
Captain TMI
 
whynotthinkwhynot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Fan#: 18416
Location: the armpit of TN, Memphis, TN
What I Drive: 05 ZXW; 02 Windstar; 13 C-Max SEL

Posts: 20,219
Points 27,353, Level 98
Points: 27,353, Level: 98 Points: 27,353, Level: 98 Points: 27,353, Level: 98
Level Up 1% Completed
Level up: 1% Level up: 1% Level up: 1%
Forum Activity 17%
Activity: 17% Activity: 17% Activity: 17%
FF Reputation: 270 whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
We really have to know what engine you have. There were 2 2.0L engines offered in that year of Focus. One is DOHC, and one is SOHC. The DOHC has Zetec written on the valve cover. The SOHC has "Split Port Injection" written on the valve cover. If you have a hatchback, it's a DOHC, if it's a sedan, then it's likely to be the SOHC SPI engine.

So what is it- Zetec or SPI?
__________________
Be eclectic.
---The Complete How-To Archive--

Moderating everything now, let me know if I can help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the user formerly known as ZX3_Chick View Post
You're special aren't you.
whynotthinkwhynot is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-26-2011, 04:02 PM   #3
fdbyrne
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Fan#: 92163
Location: Springfield, MO
What I Drive: 2003 base model

Posts: 4
FF Reputation: 1 fdbyrne Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
It's the SOHC.
fdbyrne is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-26-2011, 04:09 PM   #4
whynotthinkwhynot
Captain TMI
 
whynotthinkwhynot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Fan#: 18416
Location: the armpit of TN, Memphis, TN
What I Drive: 05 ZXW; 02 Windstar; 13 C-Max SEL

Posts: 20,219
Points 27,353, Level 98
Points: 27,353, Level: 98 Points: 27,353, Level: 98 Points: 27,353, Level: 98
Level Up 1% Completed
Level up: 1% Level up: 1% Level up: 1%
Forum Activity 17%
Activity: 17% Activity: 17% Activity: 17%
FF Reputation: 270 whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
Oh no

Ok, well it's still running, so that's a good sign. I'm going to have to change your title so former and current SPI owners can give you the low down help you need. First off, you might as well stop spending money replacing parts that may or may not need replacement. You have to save up for a potential larger repair in the near future.

The SPI is known for dropping valve seats, specifically in the #4 cylinder. We don't know what causes it, but we do know that nearly all SPIs have this problem regardless of how well maintained the engine is. All is not completely lost because nobody that has had new valve seats installed has ever had a problem. However, if it is not repaired then the chances that you'll need a new engine are very high. The chances that you won't be able to find a good SPI engine in a junkyard are also very high, and if you do find one you'll wonder why it costs $1500 instead of the $500 you'd pay for a Zetec. This is the problem we've found with SPIs.

Running rough and clattering from the valve train is one sign. Former and current owners can tell you more, but you have some unfortunate news to deal with. You might want to try completely removing the EGR and capping it's exhaust pipe off at the exhaust manifold. It is possible that the EGR is part of the problem since it allows hot exhaust to pass through to the cylinder head near the #4 chamber.
__________________
Be eclectic.
---The Complete How-To Archive--

Moderating everything now, let me know if I can help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the user formerly known as ZX3_Chick View Post
You're special aren't you.
whynotthinkwhynot is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-26-2011, 04:16 PM   #5
fdbyrne
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Fan#: 92163
Location: Springfield, MO
What I Drive: 2003 base model

Posts: 4
FF Reputation: 1 fdbyrne Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
If that's right its certainty very bad news. One question though. Why would it get better periodically and run smooth and fine for hours at a time? The problem you are describing sounds like the symptoms would be fairly consistent. Are there any tests that can be done now to tell me if that's the problem?
fdbyrne is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-26-2011, 04:39 PM   #6
whynotthinkwhynot
Captain TMI
 
whynotthinkwhynot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Fan#: 18416
Location: the armpit of TN, Memphis, TN
What I Drive: 05 ZXW; 02 Windstar; 13 C-Max SEL

Posts: 20,219
Points 27,353, Level 98
Points: 27,353, Level: 98 Points: 27,353, Level: 98 Points: 27,353, Level: 98
Level Up 1% Completed
Level up: 1% Level up: 1% Level up: 1%
Forum Activity 17%
Activity: 17% Activity: 17% Activity: 17%
FF Reputation: 270 whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member whynotthinkwhynot Outstanding Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (1)
No, it will get better, then worse IIRC. I have to change the title. Then someone who has had the experience will tell you what it did to them. The first thing you should do is a compression test to determine if you do have that problem.
__________________
Be eclectic.
---The Complete How-To Archive--

Moderating everything now, let me know if I can help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the user formerly known as ZX3_Chick View Post
You're special aren't you.
whynotthinkwhynot is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-26-2011, 04:51 PM   #7
BC_ZX3
DTC P0606
 
BC_ZX3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Fan#: 48751
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
What I Drive: 2001 Red ZX3 Turbo

Posts: 2,938
Points 2,053, Level 27
Points: 2,053, Level: 27 Points: 2,053, Level: 27 Points: 2,053, Level: 27
Level Up 36% Completed
Level up: 36% Level up: 36% Level up: 36%
Forum Activity 5%
Activity: 5% Activity: 5% Activity: 5%
FF Reputation: 88 BC_ZX3 Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (3)
If your compression checks out - always good to check with the SPI motor as whynot states - your "vibration at cold idle/OK when warm" description suggests to me the front hydraulic motor mount needs attention.
BC_ZX3 is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-27-2011, 07:15 AM   #8
alz focus
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Fan#: 67546
Location: South Lyon, MI
What I Drive: 2002 Blue SE

Posts: 436
Points 975, Level 16
Points: 975, Level: 16 Points: 975, Level: 16 Points: 975, Level: 16
Level Up 75% Completed
Level up: 75% Level up: 75% Level up: 75%
Forum Activity 0%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
FF Reputation: 5 alz focus Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
^^^^^2nd that, motor mounts.
If you were having valve seat issues, you would definitely know it. Very loud rattling in the top end and lose of power.
__________________
Al
2002 Focus SE Zetec ATX
2000 Focus SE SPI ATX
2006 Freestyle SEL AWD
alz focus is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-27-2011, 09:50 AM   #9
fdbyrne
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Fan#: 92163
Location: Springfield, MO
What I Drive: 2003 base model

Posts: 4
FF Reputation: 1 fdbyrne Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Thats what I was thinking, thanks. There are no strange noises and no lost power. There is more noise but its an exhaust sort of noise.
fdbyrne is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-27-2011, 12:13 PM   #10
sailor
"Elder"
 
sailor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Fan#: 57268
Location: Williamsville, NY
What I Drive: 2004 Pitch Black ZTS 2.3 5spd.

Posts: 15,814
Points 11,041, Level 69
Points: 11,041, Level: 69 Points: 11,041, Level: 69 Points: 11,041, Level: 69
Level Up 48% Completed
Level up: 48% Level up: 48% Level up: 48%
Forum Activity 99%
Activity: 99% Activity: 99% Activity: 99%
FF Reputation: 76 sailor Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Compression check first as mentioned, once you know the engine is mechanically sound the first hurdle has been passed....

While doing the compression check, you can see what the recently replaced plugs look like - that can give hints as to other operating problems...

Motor mounts are a common vibration issue (yes, to the point of the dash rattling), and enough vibration can cause exhaust piping to break making even more noise...

Of course if the engine isn't running smoothly as well, ALL of these other problems get that much worse...

Bottom line, as long as the engine basic mechanical condition is sound, the possible other issues can be addressed since they are all common age related maintenance issues that we see often on the forum.

It just gets a bit trickier when more than one problem has developed, since a single fix won't "solve" the problem by itself & each issue makes the others worse...

Luck!
sailor is online now  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Bookmarks & Social Networks

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:35 AM.


Copyright 2002-2014 FocusFanatics.com. All Rights Reserved : Privacy Policy : Advertise Information

Focus Fanatics Ford Focus Forum offers many fun ways for you to engage with other Ford Focus Owners from across the world. Whether it be about the aftermarket performance modifications, technical how-to's, European tuned suspension or awesome fuel economy similar to the Cadillac ATS-V, Ford Fusion and Acura TLX. You can find all Ford Focus and Focus ST related information here. Join our Ford Focus discussion forums and chat with local Focus enthusiasts in your area.