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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone

I have a 1999 Focus, 1.8 zetec engine. I have a problem with my engine, it feels very sluggish, especially driving up hill, and it jerks a lot, similar to the feeling just before a stall. When I leave the engine running and look under the bonnet the engine sounds like it keeps dropping off, I mean it makes its usual sound, but every 1-5 seconds the sound will deepen in pitch for a second or so, as if it is going to stall. It is idling at about 750 RPM.

I have replaced the air filter, oil filter, fuel filter, spark plugs and renewed the engine oil. Although the engine feels smoother, I am still getting the same effects.

I am only a novice at all of this, so if you have any advice or ideas that would be great.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, when idling and when the engine is under strain I would say, for example going up hills, or changing up a gear too early. I've been reading around, and it seems I need to change my HT leads and then maybe the coil pack. Do you agree?
 

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Tune your AM radio to a WEAK station around 770 or so and drive the car. If you hear a crackle in the radio that corresponds to the miss, there's an HT leak. Try the wires, then the coil pack.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK, the plot thickens... I did the radio thing, and it sounded to me like it was following the engine, so I replaced the HT leads... no difference, BUT one lead, the one furthest from the coil pack was covered in brown deposit on the head that covers the spark plug (powdery looking). I drove home from Ford, when I got home I looked at the brand new lead and it was already covered in brown deposit.

I have fitted a new coil pack, but that again has made no difference. Here is something strange that may mean something to someone who knows more than me, with the engine idling, when I press on the rubber caps of the HT leads that cover the spark plugs, going from right to left in turn (the coil pack being on the right), I don't feel anything until the last one, the one that is getting the brown deposit, when I press on this one I feel a knocking.

I am only a novice, but I would really like to get this fixed myself if I can. Has anyone got any advice for me??

Bigjordan, I will also post about this on a UK forum, I have found one called FFOC.

Thanks for your help so far!
 

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Grasping at straws now... Could you have missed a plug when you put the new wires on? The plugs are way down there, and if you don't go straight down with the boot, it can miss the top of the plug. Look at the top of the boot where it seals on the valvecover. The boot should be absolutely straight and even all the way around. If it's off, even a little bit, you probably missed the plug.

If you missed the plug, the boot would have a good charge on it and attract all kinds of dust, thereby accounting for the brown dust you mention. The spark MIGHT still leap across to the plug, so you wouldn't necessarily have a consistant miss, according to my latest guess-- er... I mean my new theory.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Embarrassing this but... the spark plug wasn't seated well enough. I have learnt a valuable lesson in this, always use the right tools! I went out and bought a long spark plug wrench, instead of using a spark plug socket taped to a screwdriver! Unscrewed it, cleaned it off, replaced it, it now runs great - really smooth.

Thanks for your help!
 
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