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Old 04-06-2014, 07:03 PM   #1
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How bad are these motors?

Hey all. Some of you may know that I recently picked up a 2003 sedan (mtx 5 speed se) with the 2.0 CVH (SPI). It only has 69k miles on her so I think I'm OK for a little while. I'm familiar with Ford and and I'm very mechanically inclined and a soon to be automotive student at Lincoln Tech. I have done minor work on my grandmother's escort waggon with this engine (both the 1.9 and 2.0) but this is my first car with this motor. I have known a lot of people who have had really good luck with the CVH in general. Mostly on escorts though. I know the obvious pitfalls of this engine (valve seats, finicky with oil changes, harsh and noisy). But do the valve seats always drop? Do these engines have any good points? Lol. Anyway, here's mine.


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Old 04-06-2014, 07:08 PM   #2
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The valve seats are pretty much guaranteed to drop. There's a number of places online though that sell heads with new aftermarket valve seats that will not be plagued by that issue. I'd almost recommend just replacing the head with one of those before it detonates. That way you don't risk ruining the pistons or block when the valve seats do drop. Other than that they're great engines!
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:09 PM   #3
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Very great engine. My dad had one given to him because it dropped seats, so we just bought a new engine and fixed it cheaper then buying a car. I think he drove it for the next 6-8 years and he drove it thousands of miles and ran it hard. The only reason he doesn't drive it now is because the radiator busted and he fried the motor.
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:26 PM   #4
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Unfortunately this car was bought for me by my dad and I had no idea. It was a surprise (I had a geo prizm with 226k miles on it) the I loved/hated lol. I absolutely love the focus and I always liked them . Parents think I'm over reacting and that the motor will be fine. But the Internet says otherwise lol. It looks like the Dodge 5.7 hemi suffers from the same problem so bit must be a hemispherical head thing?
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:05 PM   #5
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My Mom's SPI has 156K on it and the only major work done was replace the clutch twice
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandroid View Post
Unfortunately this car was bought for me by my dad and I had no idea. It was a surprise (I had a geo prizm with 226k miles on it) the I loved/hated lol. I absolutely love the focus and I always liked them . Parents think I'm over reacting and that the motor will be fine. But the Internet says otherwise lol. It looks like the Dodge 5.7 hemi suffers from the same problem so bit must be a hemispherical head thing?
There's another guy on here that had a similar situation. His dad bought a Focus with an SPI and said nothing would happen. Then the valve seats dropped and the engine was toast. It's not a hemispherical issue but rather an issue with how the valve seats are designed. If I recall correctly the valve seats on the SPI were manufactured a a tiny bit too small and over time they get worn down due to the slight size difference which causes them to drop.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:37 AM   #7
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I've never owned one myself, but from what I've heard from others, the SPI is a great little engine with the exception of the valve seats. Most that have owned them, love them.

The issue, however, is that they are a time bomb waiting to blow. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. Some have made it past 200,000 before blowing while other don't even make it close to 100,000.

It's up to you if you want to try and remedy this issue or just take your chances and run it till it drops. Considering the "low" miles and if you are meticulous with maintenance, you could get over 100,000 more miles out of the engine without issue. Or it may drop the valves tomorrow.
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Old 04-07-2014, 08:46 AM   #8
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Ok not trying to be mean or disrespectful to your dad but I would definetly fix it before you have to buy a new car or rebuild it. Not sure how much this cost but you could go a couple of $100 or less or you could spend up to $1000 rebuilding it later.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:27 AM   #9
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Reading the "How Many Miles" thread gives the best idea of the ones reported here, from 70,000 to 270,000 for a range so most anything is possible.

Mid 100,000 range seems to pop up more often, not an unusual range for issues with any engine.

You could get all the time you want out of it without an issue, or decide you like it & want to replace the head as a Summer project sometime.

Drive it, enjoy it, don't worry too much. The good fuel economy will be the biggest advantage - driving is cheaper than most with the SPI.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02fordsvt View Post
The issue, however, is that they are a time bomb waiting to blow. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. Some have made it past 200,000 before blowing while other don't even make it close to 100,000.
There is some disagreement about whether or not this happens to every SPI. But it certainly happens to way too many. But forums tend to collect people with problems looking for answers, so it is impossible to know on here what percentage actually fail.

The reman head to prevent the problem costs $250, plus seals and extras, you are probably looking at around $300 to prevent the problem. Repair afterwards, if one seat fails (which is most common) typically costs about $800. Basically you are taking a $500 gamble. That is not a small chunk of change, but it is less than some may assume.

I have chosen to take the gamble, but I am the only person who has ever driven my SPI since I bought it new in 2003, and it has been maintained meticulously.
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