Head Gasket Questions - Focus Fanatics
Ford Focus Forum
HomeContact UsAbout UsGalleryDiscussion ForumsMarketplace



Go Back   Focus Fanatics > Ford Focus First Generation > ZETEC Performance (2000-2004)

ZETEC Performance (2000-2004) The place to chat about any 2.0L Zetec engine performance, tuning and exhaust related upgrades.

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-11-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
Toother1321
Focus Jr. Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Fan#: 111111
Location: Allentown, PA
What I Drive: 2003 Red ZX3

Posts: 25
FF Reputation: 1 Toother1321 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Head Gasket Questions

Well the saga that is my $600 fun project car continues. Yesterday I was driving, got off the highway, noticed smoke, immediately turned off the car and was lucky enough to coast it into a shop. Before I got to the shop I got the dreaded spray of water/coolant from under the hood and I knew right away the head gasket was gone. I just can't afford the 1300 I was quoted to fix it. So I'm going to have a go at it myself. Time is no issue, shes not my daily driver. So if it takes me a month, so be it! In short, I LOVE MY 10 YEAR OLD CAR!!! I've owned it for less than a year but it is the most fun car I've ever driven. I got this car being a life long fan of racing, and having very little mechanical skills. I'm already super proud of what I've learned and done mechanically (not even a small amount compared to most of you) and although i'm upset at the repair, I'm excited to take on a new challenge. Any help with the following questions would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

1. When the shop did the diagnostic to confirm the head gasket leak they used water to test instead of antifreeze. They then told me I shouldn't take it home and let it sit because the block would freeze (duh). Obviously a ploy to try and get me to keep it there to be fixed. I then told them to drain the block, and fill they system with antifreeze. I'm assuming there will still be some small amounts of pure water in there. Should I turn on the engine and let it run for a little to make sure antifreeze gets into the system?

2. What could cause the overheat in the first place. It has a 2 month old water pump, and the shop said they could not find any sign of what caused the car to over heat. There were no visible leaks during testing. They thought it could possibly have been the head gasket going bad that caused the problem. How likely is that and where else should I look?

3. Is it possible to do the repair using the haynes manual? Or am I way over my head? Like I said I'm not really concerned about how long it takes. I can be very thorough as there is no timeline. I would just like to know if there is any reason I simply won't be able to do the repair in my home garage.

Thanks for the help guys. I appreciate it. And if anybody is in the eastern PA area and would like to swing by my place to help work with me on the project, I would be more than happy to buy a few brewskis and have my wife cook up a nice dinner!!

Take Care,
Steve


Toother1321 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-11-2013, 09:01 PM   #2
JFrye
Focus Enthusiast
 
JFrye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Fan#: 54896
Location: Mexico, MO
What I Drive: 2000 ZX3, 99 Dodge 3500 w/Cummins

Posts: 440
FF Reputation: 3 JFrye Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (6)
How many miles are on the car? It could be possible that the head gasket failed by itself. Previous owners could have ran it low on coolant, and got it hot, but not hot enough to do instant damage. I assume this is a Zetec, and a common issue on these motors is the plastic thermostat housing likes to crack and form a small leak that isnt always noticeable. That too could be a cause for it to get hot. Im sure you can do this with the Haynes manual, but one thing I highly recommend is to get on Massive Speed System website, and order their timing belt tool. Its like $35 and will help you to ensure that you get it back in time the right way.

If you have more questions, just ask, and Im sure everyone will do what they can to help you figure it out along the way.
__________________
2000 Silver ZX3. 2.0 Zetec, Auto trans with 3.90 gears. 14 inch steelies, P185/65R14 Firestone Affinity Touring Tires. Eibach Sportlines, Massive Upper Strut Bar, BBK 65mm Throttle Body, FSWerks 4 to 1 Header, Custom 2.5 inch into 3 inch exhaust.
JFrye is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013, 09:12 PM   #3
Toother1321
Focus Jr. Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Fan#: 111111
Location: Allentown, PA
What I Drive: 2003 Red ZX3

Posts: 25
FF Reputation: 1 Toother1321 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
I should have mentioned 113k on the car. Is this timing belt time since i'm going into the engine anyway? and yes it is a Zetec 2003 zx3
Toother1321 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013, 09:45 PM   #4
JFrye
Focus Enthusiast
 
JFrye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Fan#: 54896
Location: Mexico, MO
What I Drive: 2000 ZX3, 99 Dodge 3500 w/Cummins

Posts: 440
FF Reputation: 3 JFrye Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (6)
If youre taking the head off to put a head gasket on it, then yes you should do the timing belt, and water pump while your there. Make sure you get the timing belt kit which also includes the tensioner and idler pullies as well.
__________________
2000 Silver ZX3. 2.0 Zetec, Auto trans with 3.90 gears. 14 inch steelies, P185/65R14 Firestone Affinity Touring Tires. Eibach Sportlines, Massive Upper Strut Bar, BBK 65mm Throttle Body, FSWerks 4 to 1 Header, Custom 2.5 inch into 3 inch exhaust.
JFrye is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013, 10:10 PM   #5
iminhell
C2H5OH
 
iminhell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Fan#: 36222
Location: Darwin, MN
What I Drive: 2000 & 2001 ZX3's

Posts: 10,245
FF Reputation: 48 iminhell Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (4)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toother1321 View Post
Before I got to the shop I got the dreaded spray of water/coolant from under the hood and I knew right away the head gasket was gone.

...


There were no visible leaks during testing. They thought it could possibly have been the head gasket going bad that caused the problem.


So am I reading this correct in that, they basically found nothing they can prove is wrong?


Pay for their time thus far (diagnosis and shop supplies) and be on your way.

Think about it.
If you see spraying from under the hood but there are no external leaks under testing, then it's a rather safe bet nothing is broken.

Your next process is to verify the cooling fans are working properly.
iminhell is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
Toother1321
Focus Jr. Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Fan#: 111111
Location: Allentown, PA
What I Drive: 2003 Red ZX3

Posts: 25
FF Reputation: 1 Toother1321 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
iminhell,

are you suggesting maybe even the head gasket isn't blown? I used to have an mg midget and the head gasket blew under almost the exact same circumstances. Thats why I wasn't that surprised when they told me that it was blown. I'm going to pick this thing up tomorrow. Is there a link on the forum that I could follow to learn about checking the fans?

When I pick it up, I'm going to ask them specifically what they did to test it. Thermostat housing, water pump, radiator, hoses, and now cooling fans are all things I'm going to ask them about, can anybody think of anything else that I should ask them about their "diagnostics". I want to add it did blow the overflow cap. Not sure how I forgot to put that in the first post but that was also one of my first tip offs that there was a serious problem
Toother1321 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013, 10:44 PM   #7
iminhell
C2H5OH
 
iminhell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Fan#: 36222
Location: Darwin, MN
What I Drive: 2000 & 2001 ZX3's

Posts: 10,245
FF Reputation: 48 iminhell Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (4)
I don't think you need to ask anything about diagnosis.
If it's all sorts of wet on the outside and they can't find an external leak ...


Odds are the radiator cap went bad, the engine got hot and puked coolant all over.

Replace the radiator cap (the black guy on the overflow tank) and go from there. It's a $13 part that may just be the cure all.
iminhell is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2013, 10:56 PM   #8
JFrye
Focus Enthusiast
 
JFrye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Fan#: 54896
Location: Mexico, MO
What I Drive: 2000 ZX3, 99 Dodge 3500 w/Cummins

Posts: 440
FF Reputation: 3 JFrye Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (6)
With my Cummins, the head gasket would only leak externally when it was upto operating temps. Once it was cooled down it wouldn't leak. Lets be honest, nobody wants to work on a hot ass car that's steaming and smoking from under the hood. If the shop he took it to couldn't find a head gasket issue when its cold doesn't mean its not there. Just something to think about.

Basing that on the fact that my 99 Cummins held 15psi of pressure on the cooling system when it was cold. When warmed up, it had a small leak at the corner of the head. Once. We removed the head we discovered boil spot throughout the head gasket.
__________________
2000 Silver ZX3. 2.0 Zetec, Auto trans with 3.90 gears. 14 inch steelies, P185/65R14 Firestone Affinity Touring Tires. Eibach Sportlines, Massive Upper Strut Bar, BBK 65mm Throttle Body, FSWerks 4 to 1 Header, Custom 2.5 inch into 3 inch exhaust.
JFrye is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013, 01:52 AM   #9
amc49
Focus Fanatic
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Fan#: 96610
Location: Fort Worth, TX
What I Drive: 00 wagon, 02 sedan both zetec atx

Posts: 4,198
FF Reputation: 23 amc49 Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Anybody check for coolant in the oil? A compression check may well confirm the gasket good/bad. May have just blown the cap as he says, I sure wouldn't be yanking head without positive proof it needs doing.
amc49 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2013, 05:51 AM   #10
Toother1321
Focus Jr. Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Fan#: 111111
Location: Allentown, PA
What I Drive: 2003 Red ZX3

Posts: 25
FF Reputation: 1 Toother1321 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
picking up the car today. I am going to run the three tests I found on this website to try and make sure it absolutely is a blown head gasket. In short it said do the following....

Check for milky oil,

Check for back pressure with overflow cap off,

Check compression,

I purchased a compression tester at autozone on my way in to work this morning. I'm using the second posters post on THIS THREAD to check the compressoin. The third guy down says to have the throttle to the floor. is this necessary?

Thank you for all the help so far! You guys are awesome! I'll update tonight
Toother1321 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks & Social Networks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not 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 05:12 PM.


Copyright 2002-2014 FocusFanatics.com. All Rights Reserved : Terms of Use : Privacy Policy : Advertise Information : Site Map

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 Acura TLX or Fiesta ST. 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.