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Discussion Starter #1
I own a 2000 Focus SE 2.0L with about 91k mileage

About 2 weeks ago my idle has gone to crap, the rpms will dip very very low when at idle and my engine literally shakes because of it and will stale at times.
If i apply a bit of throttle it will smooth out and run ok.. When actually driving , the engine seems to run great , no loss of power or hesistation with acceleration. Its only when I come to a stop sign or red light and have to sit.

Over the past 2 years this problem did appear once or twice a year and lasted for a few days and then it would go away. But the idle never got so low to wear it stalled or shook the engine like it is now.

After reading countless threads and various webposts I took a shot at the MAFS. As the car was at a idle I disconnected the MAFS and the revs went up and the idle smoothed out mostly. With it disconnected it doesnt idle down nowhere close to where it will shake the engine or stall. So I thought for sure it was the MAFS... I went and purchased Electronic Contact Cleaner and I sprayed the MAFS down with small amounts of it and let it dry out. It seemed to help a little but my idle is still very rough. So today I purchased a rebuilt MAFS and installed it. And I did disconnect the neg battery terminal and the computer reset. When I started it up, the engine ran much much worse then my previous old cleaned up mafs.

So I returned the rebuilt mafs to autozone and got a refund and put my old cleaned up mafs back in. I just found a few posts about the MAFS relay. Any ideas if the relay could be causing this problem? Or any other suggestions on something a novice can do to test any ideas out. Like most people , I go paycheck to paycheck and I got lucky that they refunded my rebuilt mafs. So I got a few dollars to spend on perhaps spark plugs or something else.
Again, Any input or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
len
 

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Hatch Nation #136
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There are a ton of things that it could be. I'd recommend cleaning out your IAC (there's a how-to), checking the condition of your plugs and wires, making sure that your coil is in good shape, replacing your fuel filter, and running a dash diagnostic to see if your electrical system is up to snuff.

I'd also take a root around to see if the valve cover is leaking, as that will destroy your idle if oil is sneaking into your plugs.
 

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Check the pcv and associated hoses for collapsing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the tips, I will start looking at the hoses and things tomorrow after work and see if I can give the IAC a cleaning. What product would you suggest using to check for VAC leaks? I read WD40 is ok to use, is this true?
I dont have a propane torch and I wouldnt feel comfortable using one either. But I got plenty of WD40 and I also read water is ok to use?
 

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WD40 will make an awful mess spaying it everywhere. Maybe try carb cleaner or parts cleaner, wont make a mess.
 

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You can look for vacuum leaks, but the most common vacuum leak is the PCV valve line. Now, you have a SOHC SPI engine, and with that engine you need to be looking for other problems besides just a vacuum leak or a sticky IAC.

Your first concern should be the condition of the timing belt. Yes, those are supposed to go over 100k miles- but all rubber wears out after 10 years. Even if your car had no miles on it but was 12 years old- the timing belt should be inspected carefully. Look for missing ribs, and cotton showing through the back side of the belt. Inspect all the belt, and use a silver paint marker to check what you've looked at. I'd remove the inspection cover, disconnect the fuel cutoff switch, and disconnect the ignition coil. Then you should be able to bump/crank the engine with the starter and move the belt. That's easier than turning the engine with a socket and ratchet.

If the timing belt checks out ok, you should run a compression test and look for any cylinders that don't have good compression. You might be losing a valve seat. That is common for these engines, and if allowed to completely fall out- you'll be purchasing a new vehicle. These engines are very expensive in salvage yards because most of them have self destructed after dropping valve seats. If you catch it before it completely falls out, then you can have a machine shop install new valve seats after you remove the cylinder head.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When I first purchased my car (used with 40k miles) , My check engine light would come on and stay on. After a few trips back to my dealer, they replaced the head under a ford recall warranty. I cant recall if thats what/why it was replaced. But the head of the engine only has 50k miles on it.

But would that seem to be the problem again? Like I said , when I unplug my MFAS the engine revs back up to normal and the idles smooths out , almost to where it should be.
 

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You can look for vacuum leaks, but the most common vacuum leak is the PCV valve line. Now, you have a SOHC SPI engine, and with that engine you need to be looking for other problems besides just a vacuum leak or a sticky IAC.

Your first concern should be the condition of the timing belt. Yes, those are supposed to go over 100k miles- but all rubber wears out after 10 years. Even if your car had no miles on it but was 12 years old- the timing belt should be inspected carefully. Look for missing ribs, and cotton showing through the back side of the belt. Inspect all the belt, and use a silver paint marker to check what you've looked at. I'd remove the inspection cover, disconnect the fuel cutoff switch, and disconnect the ignition coil. Then you should be able to bump/crank the engine with the starter and move the belt. That's easier than turning the engine with a socket and ratchet.

If the timing belt checks out ok, you should run a compression test and look for any cylinders that don't have good compression. You might be losing a valve seat. That is common for these engines, and if allowed to completely fall out- you'll be purchasing a new vehicle. These engines are very expensive in salvage yards because most of them have self destructed after dropping valve seats. If you catch it before it completely falls out, then you can have a machine shop install new valve seats after you remove the cylinder head.
^^^^Do what he said. Is your check engine light on? BTW I've gotten bad advice from Autozone and recently had to argue with a counter person at O'reillys until they gave me the correct axle that I knew had been ordered and was there. When you unplug your MAF the computer takes over that's why it idles better. It could still be your MAF, just maybe they gave you the wrong one.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It was on , but I cleared it after I cleaned the MAF and it has not come back on yet. Im sure it will in the next day or two. It took a few days before it came on the first time when it started to idle rough.
 

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DTC P0606
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When you unplug your MAF the computer takes over that's why it idles better.
Huh?
You should not run your car with the the MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor) sensor disconnected. It tells the PCM (Powertrain Control Module- the car's electronic brain) how much air the engine is ingesting.
The most common cause of stalling and poor idling, as has already been stated, are vacuum leaks and the PCV hose is a common source on the Focus.
The SPI engine, as whynot mentioned, needs some special attention as well.
You can disconnect the electrical connector on the IACV (Idle Air Control Valve) to see if it makes a difference to the idle speed as a crude, preliminary test to see if that part is malfunctioning. The IACV is a computer controlled throttle bypass opening that is used to set idle speed.
Finally, you shouldn't clear a CEL light without knowing the underlying code; it can help you pinpoint the problem.
 

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It was on , but I cleared it after I cleaned the MAF and it has not come back on yet. Im sure it will in the next day or two. It took a few days before it came on the first time when it started to idle rough.
It could've just been a dirty MAF- and hey, that's a good thing! What I wrote about the SPI is still valid. You should check into that at some point. I would take it up for discussion in the SPI user's lounge, and see what your fellow SPI owners feel about it. In Tech chat we tend to only run into people with problems with their engines- the nature of the beast- so I can't really tell you how many SPIs survive for many miles without the valve seat issue. I do know that these engines are more expensive than the more efficient Zetec in salvage yards. Most people convert their cars, or sell and purchase another car.

You can idle an engine without the MAF, but try moving it or opening the throttle, and you'll have a different response. I haven't tried driving with it unplugged in a Focus, but every other car I've ever done it on just died as soon as you got on the accel.

If you look on the thread list page of this forum (the first one you come to) you'll see a link called "Ford Focus Technical Chat Stickied Threads", click on that and look for "DTC codes and their meanings". Whenever you get your car scanned, write down the number and compare it to what we have listed on there. Keep in mind that these numbers correspond to all vehicles, and definitely mention the code and the explanation in a thread on this site so we can help you diagnose it with our knowledge of what causes those codes in the Focus specifically.
 

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Huh?
You should not run your car with the the MAF (Mass Airflow Sensor) sensor disconnected. It tells the PCM (Powertrain Control Module- the car's electronic brain) how much air the engine is ingesting.
I wasn't telling him to disconnect the MAF. I was telling him why it idled better when he disconnected it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have something new to add , Today on drive home from work, my Speedometer and the mileage read out went dead for about 30-60 seconds, then came back to life, while driving. The mileage read out would show -- -- -- -- , and my speedometer was showing 0mph when I was obviously doing 50ish :p

This happened 3 times on my 15 miles (20min) drive home, and also to add to the mix, this morning on my drive to work.. the outside temp was much cooler outside, maybe low 60's. The idle was perfect until I stopped for a coffee and started it back up.

Also , Im still waiting on the CEL light to come back on to get a readout and I will bring the code back here.

I do appreciate everyone's input thus far , really really do. Hopefully something turns up soon and I can pinpoint this and get it fixed without killing it. If I end up having to buy a new car, just stick a fork in me, im done. Finances wont allow me to do much these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Could that be causing the rough idle? A weak battery or alternator going bad? In my mind, I think at idle the engine draws some power from the battery/alternator to keep it idle and computers going correctly? Im a novice and this is just my train of though :p
If so, is there a way to test this theory?
 

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When I first purchased my car (used with 40k miles) , My check engine light would come on and stay on. After a few trips back to my dealer, they replaced the head under a ford recall warranty. I cant recall if thats what/why it was replaced. But the head of the engine only has 50k miles on it.

But would that seem to be the problem again? Like I said , when I unplug my MFAS the engine revs back up to normal and the idles smooths out , almost to where it should be.
Which engine is this? Do all of these have the head recall warranty? what are the rules with this warranty recall?

Ive seen a few used focus cars on craigs list from time to time that have issues with a valve about to drop and i wonder if i get one of them if the head would be a recall warranty fix?

Are there time limits on recalls? I mean if some one has one but doesnt know or get it fixed does it just expire?
 

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Do you know how to put the odometer readout into test mode? It will give you a realtime readout of voltage output.
 

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Do you know how to put the odometer readout into test mode? It will give you a realtime readout of voltage output.
I have no idea, i will look it up and see if I can do that.


About the valve and recall, I honestly do not know anything about the recall itself and if it was even a recall. I looked up 2000 Ford Focus recalls and I didnt see anything about it. It happened in the first 2 weeks I have the car and perhaps the dealer replaced it under some kind of warranty from ford or something. Its the 2.0L SPI engine,
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I found how to put it into test mode and got some readouts, but keep in mind my instrument cluster is of a 2000 and the only digital readout is the odometer. So I didnt get the abbreviations of what the number represented , just the numbers.

Also, I dont know if this is worth mentioning or not, But as I was leaning in towards the panel reading it, My armhair was standing up. Apparently there is some static electricity built up in the car, and its been sitting for a few hours. It hasnt been driven in the last 5 hours. Is this a sign of a electrical problem?

One thing I noticed was the temp readout,
It showed 38c before I started my car up, then it went up to 50c and stopped around 51c. I only let it idle for a minute or two. But 50c is something like 122f. And it is nowhere near that temp outside. Its actually about 78f here atm. Pretty cool outside. Is the engine supposed to get this hot right away? I mean it showed 50c right after I started it. I cant see that being correct.
So it looks like its not reading temps correctly, what part controls temp readings?


Other then that, I got a bunch of crap out of the readout, i'll list what I got and see if this means anything
R20
E005
A6-H
A6-D
E6-H
C-D1
D-3F
Guessing those are the rom numbers or something

154, 153, 156, on this readout it flucated between 154 and 156

D123 would flicker with D1



then I got a string of 4 digit numbers
1255
2255
3255
4208
5000
6000
7000

P106
P200
P400

Cr-H
F206
B-154

1L-L

Also I dont have a actual Tach, But in that test mode there was one, pretty cool, At least im assuming thats what it was,
On startup it showed 1100 rpms and as I gave it gas it went up and up , then as it idled , it would dip down to 900, 800 and it would fall to 500-600 and thats when the engine is going bonkers with the idle and about to stall.
 

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I think that temp reading is the air temp its pulling in? 38C is only 100F it couldnt be that warm on the drive or around the car? I believe my car had the air intake in the fender, left front fender and im sure since my car is a dark gray it could pull in warmer air then how it feels.

When i cycle threw my dash display it says "bat" for the alternator voltage.

Is your car a auto or manual?

I notice with my car i have a really rough idle when its in "Drive" if i slip it into park or neutral the idle jumps back up and its nice and smooth. I may have some other sensor with issues.
 
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