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Old 08-16-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
Deus Machina
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ZX3 running rough.

130k miles. It had a rare, intermittent rough patch when pulling away from stop signs for a little while.
Now it runs rough at idle and speed, and has lost power. It's an 'even roughness', though, like it's only one one or two cylinders. Sounds like an old truck.
The plan for this weekend is to change out the spark plugs, check the wires how I can, clean out the air filter, and replace the fuel filter.
I'd clean the injectors, too, but don't have a kit nor any money.

Am I missing anything that I should look for, or is there one of those "on this car, 90% chance it's this" solutions?
I'm praying for something quick and cheap. I don't mind doing the work and have most of the tools, but I'm also working and back to school, and have literally had to scrape up change for rent, so I can't afford a full cleaning kit or shop time.


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Old 08-17-2012, 09:23 PM   #2
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Checked it out a little more, didn't have the time or light to do much, but since it sounds like an old truck, I'm almost inclined to think it may be a timing thing.

Which I'm unfamiliar with. I've never delved into vehicles with variable cams, and don't even know how to check the timing on a Focus. Heck, I've never had anything without a distributor skip time on me before.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:03 PM   #3
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Your 2000 Focus doesn't have variable cam timing; the SVT model was the only Focus so equipped.
Do the planned "tune up" first.
Check the valve cover gasket. If it's old, it'll leak oil into the spark plug wells and that can cause ignition problems. Easy and obvious fix --> new gasket.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC_ZX3 View Post
Your 2000 Focus doesn't have variable cam timing; the SVT model was the only Focus so equipped.
Do the planned "tune up" first.
Check the valve cover gasket. If it's old, it'll leak oil into the spark plug wells and that can cause ignition problems. Easy and obvious fix --> new gasket.
And once again my limited research misinformed me. Plus side, I'm not a fan of too much variable stuff for a daily driver. :)

That does mean the only adjustment to timing could come from a skipped tooth or stretched belt, then.

I'll do the tuneup after work tomorrow and check back. In my experience, running rough and a gas smell to the exhaust is fixed that way.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:44 PM   #5
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Alright, new spark plugs and fuel filter.
It doesn't seem to run all that bad in park. Probably the new plugs evened that out.
But I put it in reverse or drive, and suddenly it's like an old lawnmower. Rough at idle and speed, lurching a bit under throttle, loss of power.
I'm stumped, and need to go punch something now.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:51 PM   #6
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So the idle drops? Do you have any CEL?

Also have you checked out the usual suspects? The PCV valve and it's vacuum line?
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:13 PM   #7
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The idle drops a little; I'm just used to everything I've owned doing that, when moving from park to drive. No engine light, or I would stop by Advance and pull a code and make it easier on myself. Bah.

I hadn't checked the valve or anything yet, mostly because my experience doesn't include them, and vacuum lines that gave me trouble have been a constant thing.

I'm pretty much completely new to fixing Focuses, and indeed any compact newer than my first 1990 Eclipse. So 'usual suspects' don't come to mind yet. Fixing I can usually do. Diagnosing, not so much.
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Old 08-19-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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I'm going through this problem myself, I have almost replaced the entire egr system and pcv system, I've done the pcv hose dpfe sensor, hoses and checked the egr valve. it's helped a bit I'm hoping the pcv valve helps more
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:19 PM   #9
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You can count me in. I seem to be going through a similar thing on a 2004 2.3 zx3 with 245K miles. About 10K miles ago - last October - I started getting a rough and slightly truck like sound upward of 2000rpm.

I changed out the EGR (didn't solve anything), changed out the PCV and hose (which collapsed flat and developed a tear, but fortunately had not opened yet), and just yesterday put in a FSWerks flexpipe (since I thought that had to be the culprit).

I did notice more power after changing out the PCV, but the sound and rough riding from 2000rpm and up are still there. It doesn't seem like the flexpipe has done anything, except perhaps add in a slight bit more power, since the flexpipe has a bigger diameter than the OEM. (When I replaced the PCV hose, I put in two roughly two-foot long pieces of heavier hose and joined them with a plastic 90 degree joint where they meet in front of the oil filter on the bottom. My reasoning was to prevent the earlier problem and to be able to access the hose without tearing apart the intake manifold. I could also cap off the hose that leads into the intake and put a breather onto the PCV end - just in case.)

I'm still getting 32-33 mpg - what I've always gotten - so I can't complain about that, but response is definitely down and it doesn't pull up hills as strongly as before.

I have had spark plugs and fuel filter changed out about three months ago.

If I figure my issue out, I definitely let you know.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:46 AM   #10
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Same problem here. '06 zx4, 2.0. 179,000 miles. Engine light came on. misfire cylinder 4. Switched coil packs 1 & 4 to see if it was that, still showed misfire on 4. New plugs. Same thing. New fuel injector. Still there. Stumbles below 2000 r.p.m.
Funny thing about living in NC. Once in awhile during daily activities, you'll run into someone involved in racing. Met a man that works for Roush Yates yesterday. They build race engines for Ford. He looked it over and said sometimes it can be the wire connection going to the coil pack so even if you switched coils, it would still miss. It was okay, so it's probably a burnt valve or worn cam lobe. Since the car doesn't smoke, it's not likely to be rings, but to check the compression to be sure. Test the compression dry and wet (squirt a little oil in the cylinder). Low compression on both tests is valve related. A signifigantly higher reading on the wet test would indicate rings or damaged cylinder wall.
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