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I have a 2000 2.0 SOHC Focus SE with about 130,000 miles. A couple days ago as I left work the car had a rough idle and would not accelerate very well at all. It took a long time to get up to 55 miles an hour. I drove home and didn't drive it. I figured it could be spark plugs and wires so I replaced the spark plugs first. The car started but no change, still a rough idle with the RPM's dropping every 2 or 3 seconds then coming back up. I then replaced the wires, and no help. After starting it a couple more times it eventually would not start at all. It would crank but not start. So i then replaced the ignition coil. No help there.

I took each spark plug out and started the car to see if I had a spark...yes I had a spark on each plug. So i have spark.

My fuel pump is working, i can hear it filling up and sending gas. So i tried spraying starter fluid down the throttle body to see if gas was the problem (possibly the fuel filter) No start whatsoever.

Anyone have any ideas. I guess the timing belt could have broke. But wouldnt I have heard something when it broke? Is there anything else it could be?

And it wasn't like the car got progressively worse over time. It worked great since I have had it and when I left work that day this started.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 

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You have an SPI. These engines are known for dropping valve seats, and the symptoms are similar to what you've described. You should go to a parts store and rent or purchase a compression tester. You can rent a leak down tester kit, which has a compression tester in it, or the last time I bought one CT's were only $10.

A compression tester will also tell you if the timing belt is broken- if you haven't removed the timing belt inspection cover to check it. If you're not familiar with compression tests, you remove the spark plug, and thread the tool into the spark plug socket. Disconnect the coil to remove spark, and unplug the fuel cutoff switch- or key off, push accel to floor, then crank to start, turn key off again- that is to prevent fuel from being wasted. I don't know what SPIs should read, but the trick it to see if all the compression readings are similar to each other. For example, you read 130, 140, 135, and 128 psi- I'd call that normal. Now if you read 130, 130, 40, and 128 psi- that engine won't run. With a bad timing belt, you won't be likely to find good compression in any cylinder. IIRC SPIs should have compressions around 145 psi, but don't be dismayed if you only end up in the 130's. It might be the gauge, or it might be that the engine is just old.

From what you described, you're most likely to find a bad timing belt, but it still could be the dropped valve seat.
 

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I just check my compression the other day.
Cylinders 1-4:
175, 172, 170, and 180
I think the head must have been done at some time in the last year.
2000 SPI, 150k miles
 

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Discussion Starter #9
well.....i just checked the compression on all 4. 30psi about for each one. I guess its the timing belt? any other possibilities?
 

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Remove the timing belt cover to see if it's broken. If it's not broken rotate your engine to see if your missing teeth off your belt. Just did this & a little more on my 02. Different engines but same principles.
 

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ok i will.. this seems like a big job to change myself. anyone happen to know how much approx this would cost for a shop to do?
 

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Typically it's about a $1200 repair, sometimes less. It's mostly labor since the parts are around $200. I don't know what to advise you to do about the valve seat problem. That would add considerably to the cost of the repair.
 

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I don't know your level of experience, do some research on how to replace the timing belt. I think you'll find it's not that difficult. If it's your dd or you don't feel you can do it then you shouldprobably have it done by a professional. There are some great how to's on here. Do a search.
 

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Not too hard on an spi motor. set the crank to TDC for cyl 1, set the camshaft and install the belt. There are a few more steps in there, but shouldn't take you more than an afternoon at the most. Get yourself a service manual and go for it.
 

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Hi, new to the forum. Curious to see how the story ended?
I would add that it is usually a good idea to change the waterpump and idler pulley while changing the timing belt. Since you are in there and the car has so many miles it will likely save you doing much the same work over a few miles down the road.
 
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