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Old 02-25-2013, 04:01 PM   #1
cindy13088
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Newbie needs help cyl 2 misfire

I just bought a used 2001 focus se comfort wagon. The car was running fine until a person test drove it before me and came back and said it hesitated a lot. We think he might have done something to make it run bad to try and buy it cheaper. The car only has 97k miles on it and it was an older couple that owned it. The previous owner was very meticulous about everything. He said he never had any problems at all until this other guy took the car for 15 minute for a test drive.

I'm female so don't know much about these things. There isn't any water or fuel on the spark plug, the wire doesn't have any cracks and looks clean. The check engine light came on when I turned on the defrosters. The car will sometimes idle rough when started and other times runs perfect. The biggest hesitation with some bucking happens as soon as I try to go past 40mph. That doesn't happen every time either.

Cannot hear any hissing noises from a vacumn leak. All wires going to the coil pack look good along with all connections for the EGR and PCV. Have had a few neighbors look at it along with the guy I bought it from but no one can see anything wrong. Auto zone scanned it and gave me the code of a misfire in cylinder 2. He said that was the only code that came up. It had a full tank of gas and the prev. owner had put a can of dry gas in before he sold it.

I don't have any tools to check compression or the coil pack so if anyone has any suggestions on what else we can check before I have to give my right arm to a garage to run a diagnostic check on it I would greatly appreciate it. This now makes 3 vehicles I have that all have something wrong with them. The guy did say he would buy the car back from me because he feels terrible, but I really like the car and am hoping it's an easy and cheap fix. I doubt I will be that lucky though. Help please!!


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Old 02-25-2013, 04:10 PM   #2
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Moved to "General Technical Chat". Have you checked the coil pack for hairline fractures? Are the plugs and wires new? The fuel filter may be a suspect as well. I would thoroughly check the PCV lines as well to make sure there isn't a crack on the underside of the hose. As you can see there are plenty of things that could be wrong but it's just a matter of eliminating them all and finalizing which one is the culprit. Good luck and hope this helps out some.
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:31 PM   #3
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The spark plugs were changed with Motorcraft plugs bought from the dealer in October, the wires were not changed. Will check for cracks on the coil pack, and try to look at the hoses again. Not having a garage to work in makes it hard with all the snow and cold we keep having here in NY. I have an appt. to take it for a diagnostic test on Wed. morning was just hoping I could avoid it if possible. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:27 PM   #4
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You are missing the wires bigtime, simply viewing them means nothing. They come apart inside where you can't see. A simple resistance check with a $10 voltmeter can reveal good or bad. You need 5000 ohms or less per foot of length. Every time someone pulls on wires to change plugs you risk pulling the inside apart, usually why they go bad if plugs are changed more than normally. Everybody wants to sell entire wiresets and no one ever keeps in supply the rubber ends needed for different wires any more. I always check wires and save any good ones when I change a set, later simply using one of the good ones for a bad one can save me mucho on another set not needed. I've bought one plug wire set for 3 cars now, the old ones have fixed other cars twice.

Look at coil close for the myriad fine cracks, if so, you may need a coil, these commonly crack to let moisture in that can mess up spark in different ways.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:34 PM   #5
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Try taking a look at #2 plug wire.....sounds like it is separating at the boot to spark plug area. I have encountered this problem on the zetec, especially when its a misfire on one cylinder.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amc49 View Post
You are missing the wires bigtime, simply viewing them means nothing. They come apart inside where you can't see. A simple resistance check with a $10 voltmeter can reveal good or bad. You need 5000 ohms or less per foot of length. Every time someone pulls on wires to change plugs you risk pulling the inside apart, usually why they go bad if plugs are changed more than normally. Everybody wants to sell entire wiresets and no one ever keeps in supply the rubber ends needed for different wires any more. I always check wires and save any good ones when I change a set, later simply using one of the good ones for a bad one can save me mucho on another set not needed. I've bought one plug wire set for 3 cars now, the old ones have fixed other cars twice.

Look at coil close for the myriad fine cracks, if so, you may need a coil, these commonly crack to let moisture in that can mess up spark in different ways.
You're right on the money, AMC49. You beat me to it.....and explained it to 'perfect' detail......crackers.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:53 PM   #7
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amc49, today the prev. owner hooked the spark plug wire up to a voltage meter of some kind. The number on the readout was around 4.81-5.00. I don't know what kind of meter it was or if that is good or bad but that was what it said. I have thought it could be the wire but the guy and my brother keep saying no. If the misfire is in cylinder 2 would all the wires have to be checked or just that one? As I said I'm a female not a mechanic and looking for some guidance. I have been telling my brother everything you all have said and he gets mad at me lol. He said if there were cracks in the coil pack you would see sparks ...I don't agree with that but am tired of arguing with him. It looks like I'll be paying the 90 bucks to have it diagnosed after all because he won't check the car again and I don't know anyone else in my area that could look at it without taking it to a garage. Thanks for all the suggestions, if I knew how to check the plugs I would go buy a meter and do it myself! Are there any directions or pictures anywhere I could follow? And directions on how to check the coil pack to see if it's working properly? I'm afraid if I take it off I won't be able to get it back on again and really mess something up worse. Sucks to be a female when you have car trouble!
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:38 PM   #8
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Cindy, your problem is in the spark plug, plug wire or the coil. It explains the misfire over 40 mph, and why the MIL came on when you turned on the AC.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FocusRus View Post
Cindy, your problem is in the spark plug, plug wire or the coil. It explains the misfire over 40 mph, and why the MIL came on when you turned on the AC.
This new guy is probably right (although I don't see how the AC operation would effect a single cylinder), the fact that the misfire happens only after a certain engine load and not at all times means it's probably a specific ignition component and not a problem with the voltage feed or input to the ignition system. It's possible the fuel injector for #2 isn't working right but I doubt it, that would be rare.

If you can live without the car a few days all new ignition components (coil pack, wires, and spark plugs) could be bought online for less than $100, and I think would solve your problem without getting into further diagnosis, the existing stuff isn't all bad but further complicated diganosis would be needed to narrow it down.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
cindy13088
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I can still drive the car if I don't go on the highway and stay under or around 40 mph without any bad hesitation. The bucking only happens once or twice and then stops and drives fine once I get over 45mph. As I said before it doesn't happen every single time...sure has me baffled and the other 4 people that looked at it. It has new plugs already, they were put in in Oct and we pulled the one in cylinder 2 today and it still looked like it was brand new. The wires are I believe the original ones that came with the car. I am the third owner. The first guy drove it for 60k, the second for 47k and now me who has driven in about 30 miles lol. I've only had it on the road for 4 days. The guy who I bought it from never had any problems with it hesitating at all (he's in his 70s) thats why we think the person that test drove it before I got there did something to make it run like crap not knowing that I was going to buy it so he could get it cheaper by telling the owner that it needed work. I honestly don't think the old guy would lie and say nothing was wrong because he has offered to give me my money back twice now.
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