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Discussion Starter #1
I've spent the last 48 hours trying to find an answer to this question without having to resort to generating a topic here. But I'm frustrated, and figure I must be doing something wrong.

Just bought a used, high-mileage 2009 Ford Focus SE. It sprung a coolant leak that I've traced to a longish, hard-plastic pipe/tubing that seems to run from the coolant pump to the heater core hose, with a nipple attachment at the thermostat. (It's hard to tell since the thermostate housing is buried in a tight space and I'm not familiar with the equipment layout under the hood. I'm also haven't wanted to start disconnecting and removing things just yet.)

Anyway, there's obviously a small pinhole or slit in the plastic hose since coolant under pressure is spraying from there, and the car has lost enough coolant before discovery to empty the reservoir.

I cannot confirm what part that is. I believe it is Motorcraft KM-4966, based on a diagram, but I can't find a picture. Ford Parts didn't have a picture either. They've ordered one, but it'll take a few days, and even then, until I see it I don't know if it's correct.

It's not rubber or silicone. It's plastic, which seems awfully odd to me. It has accordian bends where it makes some right angles and it runs from the water pump, across between the engine and the radiator before turning rearward and disappearing under the air intake and wiring cluster. I believe it has a connection to the thermostat housing before continuing on to what I'm deducing is a heater core hose. It appears to be all one item, though maybe it's composed of several with some shrink wrap sleeves or connectors.

If anyone knows what I'm describing, can he or she tell me what part that is? What is it best to replace it with? I do not like the fact that it's plastic. Is this a known area of failure/leakage and is there a suitable alternative? Any reason why I couldn't replace it (and others like it) with silicone tubing?

Thanks.
 

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Sorry, man, unfamiliar with the '09.

But in case this helps: the earlier Foci were known for splitting the intake pipe (yes, hard plastic) that runs atop the radiator, especially once the exhaust manifold heat shield rotted enough to fall off. Too much heat=degraded plastic. Not sure you want to use an expandable hose in place of rigid plastic, though...it has lots of heat and pressure to deal with.

It sounds like the newer Foci have a similar design based on your description, but with a longer pipe. Ask the dealer to pull up the exploded diagram of the coolant system on his computer, and you should be able to figure out what you need. Just remember that it may come as part of a larger assembly and/or may come with an extortionate price tag.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Here's the part I'm dealing with. It's a hardened plastic length of tubing with accordion bends and three attachment points: coolant pump, t-stat housing and heater core line...at least that's what I think. I'm unfamiliar with the Ford Focus under the hood (though I'm getting a crash course now.)



The car sprung a small leak at one of the corrugated bends, and while removing the assembly, it broke at another bend.

For some reason, I cannot find this part online. No idea what it's called. The KM-4966 part that I got the local Fords parts center to get for me is wrong. I'm tempted at this point to just rig up my own solution with silcone hosing, but even though I can't understand why Ford engineered this part with hard plastic that breaks, I'd prefer to use OEM or suitable replacement just for fitment or for environmental/temp/pressure reasons that maybe I'm not seeing.

I just can't find the dang thing to order it. And there's no mention of this part failing for others that I can find. (Its has a FoMoCo stencil on it, so I know it's legit and not some jury-rigged item, but none of the marking trace to anything in Ford parts inventory that I can find.)

[scratch]
 

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did you purchase the car used? It's possible that the previous owner rigged that plumbing.

Back in the day, auto parts stores sold alot of generic radiator/fuel/vacuum hoses and we just cut them to length. Any tight spots or crazy angles were handled with elbow fittings, screw clamps, and a quick prayer. That might be your easiest/cheapest option.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's what I'm doing. I got a few feet of 5/8" tubing and a few elbow bends and clamps. I'll try to reuse the T-fitting for the thermostat connection and the adapter that fits to the water pump.

I'm pretty sure what was in there came from the factory that way. It had FoMoCo imprinting on the tubing and I don't know anyone who uses those ridiculous spring clamps except for the manufacturer. I had to buy a pair of cable clamp pliers to remove them. I'm reinstalling with regular screw hose clamps.

Not counting the tool purchase, the hose and fittings cost me $23 from O'Reilly's. I'm guessing that if Ford were able to locate the whole tube/hose assembly for me, it would probably cost $40-50. I'm so tired of messing with this. I'd expect this if it was a Saab or a Volvo or something. But not a Ford. I can't believe this tubing assembly hasn't sprung leaks on more people, but I'll be damned if I can find a single other discussion topic or post about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You got me, but I just took the broken bits in to Ford and had them look up the numbers found on the side of the tubing. They found it. The part number has since been superceded (and even they have no pictures in their database of it). It's all one assembly, takes 5-7 days to get and costs $80+.

Forget it. I'm fashioning my own fix for a quarter of that, and one that I think won't be subject to getting brittle and breaking after 4 years like this one was.

Sorry to anyone who may have tired of my whining, but this was a frustrating experience for a DIYer.
 

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Not at all. Your fix and description may well help another Focus owner, which is exactly what this forum is for.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for that. I'll go ahead and post my homemade fix on the chance that maybe somebody else runs into this same issue.

I purchased:
  • 3 feet of 5/8" hose
  • Two 5/8" to 5/8" heater hose elbow fittings
  • Already had hose clamps, but needed 7-10
I wound up reusing 3 of the existing hose connectors from the original assembly: two straight connectors and the one T-connector at the thermostat. I also reused the original 3 hose spring clamps to connect to the points on the car, and using 7 screw-on hose clamps for the home-made assembly, seen here:



I eyeballed the cuts of the hose, making four segments. They wound up being:
  • 2" for the short length out of the water pump connector
  • 17" across the front between the engine and the fan
  • 7" from the elbow to the t-stat fitting
  • 10" from the t-stat to the heater hose fitting
Clamped it all together and then snaked it in place. I had already invested in a pair of cable hose clamp pliers when I removed the original assembly. I used that to reconnect using the original spring clamps.

Reusing the existing hose connector fittings required slitting the hard plastic tubing at an angle at the fitting since I couldn't pry the hose off the fitting otherwise. Must say that tubing was very durable. Where the original assembly was not durable at all was at the bends. Not only is that where the leak sprung, but those accordian bends are also where the assembly broke on removal and inspection. Broke in three different places. But the straight tubing was a bear.

I also did everything without removing anything else from the engine bay. That made for working blind under the cable bundles and ducting covering the thermostat housing through the tight channel on the right side of the engine. As I learn more about the Duratec 2.0 engine, I'm sure I'll discover that there was an easier way to access that area. For now, the price was some straining, craning, a few choice words and some scratched knuckles.

Glad that's over with. Here's hoping this experience isn't going to be a trend with this car.
 

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That will work nicely, just go back over it a bit later, sometimes the hose clamps release grip slightly after reheat several times and then leak a little bit. I replace all plastic parts on my earlier model doing the same trick. $80 hoses don't cut it in my world. Have a close look at where hose runs, you may need to restrain it by a hanger or such if now it's flexible enough to get near hot part like exhaust. You need good air clearance space there. Also beware of possible rubbing/chafing spots.

Ford uses plastic hose on all cars now and to get more parts sales, they justify it by saying the parts are lighter to help car get mileage. More like to keep you going to the dealer for parts that should not have broken and cannot be found elsewhere if you ask me. Or showing you how crappy they can make a car.

Welcome to the party pal...............if the remaining plastic breaks you can always solder up copper tubing like from Home Depot and those will last forever.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hard to see it from those angles, but I think I can see it peeking out in these two areas (circled in red):



If you look vertically downward from the front of the engine bay, you can see it running from left to right before making a 90 degree bend and heading aft, disappearing under the main radiator intake hose, air intake duct and a bunch of other bundles and obstructions. There's a t-fitting that connects to a hose that I believe comes from the thermostat housing, and then the tubing continues back toward the firewall, connecting to one of the heater hoses.

Its rigid, except for the accordion bends, which is where it seems to me the weak points are. We had put about 300 miles on the car after purchasing it used before we noticed a puddle forming under the front center portion of the hood, almost right under the radiator. When then coolant was under pressure, it was showing a thin pinhole-like stream right at the seam of one of those ribbed bends. It got worse as I manipulated the tube/hose. I was thinking I'd wrap and/or epoxy seal it, but since it was right at that non-flat bend, I decided it had to be replaced.

And as I removed it, it snapped completely, so those flex corners aren't really that flexible...at least not with age. Maybe a new one is more durable. But if you do inspect it, be careful not stress those bends.

Thanks, amc49, for the advice. I've already tinkered with the setup a bit, trimming a little over an inch from the hose section between the 2nd elbow and the t-stat fitting. I just felt like it was jamming up against the fan shroud and wanted to have a little more freedom. I do think it needs to be supported midway along the front. 5/8" rubber hose is a bit heavier than that plastic tubing and, by nature, droops and can put weight on the end connectors. I'll figure something out.

I don't see any heat threats, but a sheath might not be a bad idea.

I've never worked on Fords before. I've enjoyed working on my Toyota cars and my old BMW E30. This engine is nice and clean, but sure seems like it's not arranged for easy maintenance. I probably did this the hard way. It would have been so much easier to free up that space on the right hand side of the engine. It's awfully cramped there. And frankly, the area on the left side where the belt is scares me a little. I'm going to have to get a shop manual to help me.

Even though this is a 2009, it's the newest car in the family and, I'm hoping, won't be high maintenance for awhile. Just a little disappointed to have run into this issue so soon after buying it.
 

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I think I saw that you bought it used? If you did honestly you have no idea what could of happened, maybe the previous owner stressed it some how checking something, such as the oil. I do not think you will run into many problems with your Focus as they are generally SUPER reliable. It seems like you got a solid motor head on your shoulders so you should be set!

Thank you for pointing it out for myself, and possibly a future member that might have a similar problem. You could of just saved someone a whole lot of time. I wish you the best of luck with your car my friend, good luck! Thank you again!
 

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Good work with that repair! And thanks for the write-up.

You may be the first to post the issue, but likely not the last, as there was a similar issue with a plastic cross pipe on earlier models (over the radiator).

Cheers!
 

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You just helped me! Thanks for posting this. Same exact thing just happened to me. Now thanks to you I can fix mine!
 
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