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Old 02-28-2013, 04:40 PM   #1
miazda
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SVTF stalling, surging, MPG drop

Hey I'm Zane, newish to this forum. Anyway about 6 months ago I purchased a 2003 SVT focus here locally with about 80k miles. It seems to be have kept in good repair.

A few issues have presented themselves and despite googling, and reading lots of threads on the subject it seems the standard response is "get a tune." While I may do that eventually, it seems as though these problems could be cured in the interim.

CAR AND MODS:
2003 SVTF
Currently 89k miles,
I believe OG Timing belt (soon to change)
stock clutch (soon to change)
CFM TBi
AEM CAI
Magnaflow cat-back

REPLACED ALREADY:
Plugs with copper ones per peoples recommendations
wires
coil (PO had installed MSD which died and stranded me, at home thankfully)
fuel filter

SURGING:
So mine does the surging thing that I've read so much about. I don't really care too much about it, it's not real noticeable but I bring it up for possible diagnosis only. I can't say if it's better in the wet/dry/hot/cold as our winter is pretty much cold and wet for the entire time I've owned it so far.

STALLING
This one seems to present more when it's raining. Normally with other cars I've owned that have done this has been an ignition problem, coil or distributor usually getting wet and/or reacting to the humidity. I had to replace the coil/wires when the MSD crapped out on me one find day. Yet the problem persists, some days worse than others. I can say it is most prominent at speeds over 20-30mph. If you try and put the car in neutral and coast above that more often than not it will stall.

After that I don't know, I'm going to do the timing belt here in the next 1k or so miles. The IMRC seems to function properly, and I have plenty of power and can hear the change-over happen at around 5200ish rpms. The car's alignment, seems good, I've been an autoxer for years so I have an idea of what alignment does to a car. There's no abnormal tire wear, it accelerates, stops, brakes, all very straight, and handle's exceptionally well. I pay attention to the tires and their PSI, all have been checked every other day on this tank for drop and consistency and have been perfect at 35psi.

MILEAGE DROP
Also, while the mileage has always been IMHO lousy with this car (23-24 consistent), the past 2 tanks have dropped to 21. The 2nd "21mpg tank" I was driving it nicer than the tank before it. This tank looks to maybe be better, I switched my shifting points to 2500 ONLY, zero defrost, minimal lights and blower usage, nothing plugged into electrical outlets, and I imagine I will struggle to get about 22-23mpg with about 50-60% fwy below 70mph. And that's after doing the fuel filter and all the maintenance items listed above.

*Before it gets asked, yes I know how to calculate MPG, I use gallons put in vs miles and don't use the gauge as anything other than a convenience to tell me it's time to get gas. I have 199.7 miles currently and the tank is just a hair below 1/4 tank on the gauge (I know demonstrates little).

Possibilities?
So the only clue I can think of is I got a p0133 o2 slow response code one time about 3 months ago. I reset it, and it hasn't come back. I have a higher end code scanner and the car presents no current, pending, or saved codes for any system including abs and is in emissions readiness mode. My next replace item will be o2 sensor (already bought) just waiting on the right o2 sensor socket to arrive.

After that I don't know, I'm going to do the timing belt here in the next 1k or so miles. The IMRC seems to function properly, and I have plenty of power and can hear the change-over happen at around 5200ish rpms. The car's alignment seems good, I've been an autoxer for years so I have an idea of what alignment does to a car. There's no abnormal tire wear, it accelerates, stops, brakes, all very straight, and handle's exceptionally well. I pay attention to the tires and their PSI, all have been checked every other day on this tank for drop and consistency and have been perfect at 35psi. The car itself seems to present no issues, it idles pretty smooth, is pretty fast for a slow car, drives awesome but I don't know where else to look.

TL;DR Bad mileage, stalling with clutch in/decel, surging on consistent part throttle, done most all the maintenance items, runs good issues still bad, what do?


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Old 02-28-2013, 10:08 PM   #2
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I believe with my car, my mpg dropped ever since I injested water into my engine and flooded it out. This was because of the CAI but only because I didn't have the cover splash guard on the wheel well so driving would sling water off the tire and soak the filter. I made a box to go around my filter and have no issues since then with water.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:14 PM   #3
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Moved to "General Technical Chat".
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:36 AM   #4
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some thicker gauge Ground wires can help with the surging/stalling... Motorcraft O2 sensors have worked best for me, & stock intake box w/K&N filter a good alternative if u dislike the AEM being down low during rain etc.
*32psi Front *29 Rear 215/45/17
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:46 PM   #5
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The AEM sits up pretty high, doesn't seem as though it's ingesting water. I've considered tracking down a stock box and going the k&n route, but didn't think it made much difference either way.

It's not raining today and the roads are dry, yet this morning in a parking lot I put the clutch in and it stalled at like 3mph. I'm left wondering if maybe this is a stock clutch problem? I know that the DM flywheels had issues.

I may have fixed some or all of the mileage issues though. I replaced the fuel filter around half a tank on this last tank (I assume it's been replaced maybe once before by P.O.) and my average jumped to 25mpg. I've driven about 85 miles since that fill up last night and just hit 3/4 tank (big improvement).
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeSVTguy View Post
I believe with my car, my mpg dropped ever since I injested water into my engine and flooded it out. This was because of the CAI but only because I didn't have the cover splash guard on the wheel well so driving would sling water off the tire and soak the filter. I made a box to go around my filter and have no issues since then with water.
Enough said...........
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