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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

New member, and just posted in that section... hi!

We bought a little '03 Focus to run around town in, leave at work while I'm gone (so my truck doesn't get hailed on), and for our son to learn to drive in. The problem is, I know very little about this car. It doesn't have a manual, but our (aircraft) mechanic I bought it from did provide a Haynes manual.

It recently popped a C.E.L. and has been running rough at times, like it's missing. I/we thought maybe it had some water in the tank from the heavy rains we've had, so I filled the tank and put a fuel treatment in it. It ran great yesterday, but today it had a moment of chugging again, although it ran fine on the way home (after being shut down at the store for a while).

Trouble is, I don't know what engine is in this thing so I can't shop for parts. I can't find any markings on it either. Our mechanic told me it's a "2.3L SFI DOHC," but I'm not seeing it as an option in the AutoZone menu.

Looking in the Haynes manual, it looks like it's one of the two in Ch 2 Part C (2.3L and 2005 and later 2.0L engines). So, on AutoZone's list, would it be the 4 Cylinder Z 2.3L MFI DOCH PZEV 140? It does say "PZEV" in the window, but I didn't trust it as it could be a window from another car for all I know. I'm thinking he meant "MFI" and said "SFI."

The code it came up with is P0316, and secondary codes of P0302 and P0303. The last two look like Cyl 2 & 3 misfires. I was already planning on replacing the spark plugs as it sounds like they're waaay overdue.

Any help on engine ID and/or initial troubleshooting would be appreciated, thanks!
310270
 

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The duratech motor, either came in 2.3 or 2.0 size and thinking 2.3 the first year or so. The 8th digit of the VIN is a code for it and the parts guys are supposed to know that, The codes are duratech ones too, the other engines have coilpacks and cannot detect misfire on individual cylinders like the duratech can because it has 4 individual coils. You can see the 4 round coil tops in a row in the middle of the valve cover in your pic.

They often suffer a bad rough running issue when the PCV hose buried behind/below the intake cracks to leak, intake has to come off to fix usually.

If they run ethanol in your local fuel quit using anything to pull water out, wasted money doing it. The ethanol does that itself, you already have it.
 

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Hey all,

New member, and just posted in that section... hi!

We bought a little '03 Focus to run around town in, leave at work while I'm gone (so my truck doesn't get hailed on), and for our son to learn to drive in. The problem is, I know very little about this car. It doesn't have a manual, but our (aircraft) mechanic I bought it from did provide a Haynes manual.

It recently popped a C.E.L. and has been running rough at times, like it's missing. I/we thought maybe it had some water in the tank from the heavy rains we've had, so I filled the tank and put a fuel treatment in it. It ran great yesterday, but today it had a moment of chugging again, although it ran fine on the way home (after being shut down at the store for a while).

Trouble is, I don't know what engine is in this thing so I can't shop for parts. I can't find any markings on it either. Our mechanic told me it's a "2.3L SFI DOHC," but I'm not seeing it as an option in the AutoZone menu.

Looking in the Haynes manual, it looks like it's one of the two in Ch 2 Part C (2.3L and 2005 and later 2.0L engines). So, on AutoZone's list, would it be the 4 Cylinder Z 2.3L MFI DOCH PZEV 140? It does say "PZEV" in the window, but I didn't trust it as it could be a window from another car for all I know. I'm thinking he meant "MFI" and said "SFI."

The code it came up with is P0316, and secondary codes of P0302 and P0303. The last two look like Cyl 2 & 3 misfires. I was already planning on replacing the spark plugs as it sounds like they're waaay overdue.

Any help on engine ID and/or initial troubleshooting would be appreciated, thanks!
View attachment 310270
That is the 2.3L Duratec. The eighth character of the VIN will be Z. This is the Focus engine that met PZEV requirements for those states that required it.

P0316, P0302, and P0303 are a misfire codes. I would inspect the coils and spark plugs. I would also look at O2 sensor voltages and ST/LT FTs on a scan tool.

Paul
 

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Thanks for the VIN Z prompt Paul, been while since I sold parts and it got dropped in my head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Reporting back, guys. My son and I changed the spark plugs yesterday, and I had a bit of a surprise while doing that. I pulled the #1 coil out and found a pool of oil down in there with the spark plug! I've never seen that before, however, I haven't changed that many spark plugs in my life either.

We're having a sprinkler system installed at the moment, and one of the guys happened to be hanging around while we were working on the car. I mentioned what I'd found, and he said it can be pretty normal for that to happen in higher mileage engines where oil starts to slip by the piston. Said he has owned/worked on tons of small 4cyls, and they all do it, and not to be worried. Sound about right? According to the mechanic I bought it from, he said it hasn't been using any oil and I believe him. I'll keep an eye on it.

Anyway, I got all the oil out as best I could and continued with the replacement. The plugs were all in pretty rough shape. A couple of them, #3 and #4 I think, looked the worst. I looked closely at the #2 and #3 coils as that's where the misfires are, and they looked okay, but not amazing. The car fired up great, and ran like a champ during a quick test drive after. We'll see how things go, but the next step, if the problems come back, will be to replace the coils.

Thanks again for the assistance the other day. I really appreciate that!
 

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Reporting back, guys. My son and I changed the spark plugs yesterday, and I had a bit of a surprise while doing that. I pulled the #1 coil out and found a pool of oil down in there with the spark plug! I've never seen that before, however, I haven't changed that many spark plugs in my life either.

We're having a sprinkler system installed at the moment, and one of the guys happened to be hanging around while we were working on the car. I mentioned what I'd found, and he said it can be pretty normal for that to happen in higher mileage engines where oil starts to slip by the piston. Said he has owned/worked on tons of small 4cyls, and they all do it, and not to be worried. Sound about right? According to the mechanic I bought it from, he said it hasn't been using any oil and I believe him. I'll keep an eye on it.

Anyway, I got all the oil out as best I could and continued with the replacement. The plugs were all in pretty rough shape. A couple of them, #3 and #4 I think, looked the worst. I looked closely at the #2 and #3 coils as that's where the misfires are, and they looked okay, but not amazing. The car fired up great, and ran like a champ during a quick test drive after. We'll see how things go, but the next step, if the problems come back, will be to replace the coils.

Thanks again for the assistance the other day. I really appreciate that!
Oil around the sparkplug is from a leaky valve cover gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oil around the sparkplug is from a leaky valve cover gasket.
Ok, that makes more sense. Is this a "replace soon" or a "can live a while" kinda thing? I'm guessing it's been like this for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It won't get better on its own. How long to live with, is for you to decide.
Oh no, I know it won't get better, lol. I just didn't know if it's a "gonna blow up soon" kinda thing if not repaired right away. It won't get driven a ton, and only around town. Would like to wait for cooler months to work on it, heh.
 

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Oh no, I know it won't get better, lol. I just didn't know if it's a "gonna blow up soon" kinda thing if not repaired right away. It won't get driven a ton, and only around town. Would like to wait for cooler months to work on it, heh.
You should be fine.
 

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#1 coil out and found a pool of oil down in there with the spark plug! ... he said it can be pretty normal for that to happen in higher mileage engines where oil starts to slip by the piston ... Sound about right?
No.

leaky valve cover gasket.
Yes.

Would like to wait for cooler months to work on it
Was an easy job on my car. But I have a 2001 Zetec motor. IDK about yours.
 

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he said it can be pretty normal for that to happen in higher mileage engines where oil starts to slip by the piston
Even if that were true, can it "slip by" spark plug threads into the spark plug well? No, not when the spark plug is fully screwed in. It seals the compression chamber. The oil can only come from above, past a leaky valve cover gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good deal, thank you guys! I'll do some research on removal/replacement.

BTW, drove the car around a bit over the last couple of days and it has run great since changing the plugs. I hope that at least solved the rough running and C.E.L. codes. Thanks again for the help.
 

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Good deal, thank you guys! I'll do some research on removal/replacement.

BTW, drove the car around a bit over the last couple of days and it has run great since changing the plugs. I hope that at least solved the rough running and C.E.L. codes. Thanks again for the help.
Plan on replacing the fuel filter when you replace the valve cover. It is usually never changed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Plan on replacing the fuel filter when you replace the valve cover. It is usually never changed.
Good call. I'll plan on that. And, actually, now that you mention it, I think the seller may have said he did change that. I'll check, or plan on replacing. Thanks!

Just found a YT video on the VCG replacement. Doesn't seem that tough. Unclick a lot of clicked things, unbolt a lot of bolted things, and replace, ha!

Looking at gaskets online right now. Anyone have any preferred go-to brands/items, or any to avoid?
 

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Good call. I'll plan on that. And, actually, now that you mention it, I think the seller may have said he did change that. I'll check, or plan on replacing. Thanks!

Just found a YT video on the VCG replacement. Doesn't seem that tough. Unclick a lot of clicked things, unbolt a lot of bolted things, and replace, ha!

Looking at gaskets online right now. Anyone have any preferred go-to brands/items, or any to avoid?
Felpro or Mahle are what I use.
 

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Reporting back, guys. My son and I changed the spark plugs yesterday, and I had a bit of a surprise while doing that. I pulled the #1 coil out and found a pool of oil down in there with the spark plug! I've never seen that before, however, I haven't changed that many spark plugs in my life either.

We're having a sprinkler system installed at the moment, and one of the guys happened to be hanging around while we were working on the car. I mentioned what I'd found, and he said it can be pretty normal for that to happen in higher mileage engines where oil starts to slip by the piston. Said he has owned/worked on tons of small 4cyls, and they all do it, and not to be worried. Sound about right? According to the mechanic I bought it from, he said it hasn't been using any oil and I believe him. I'll keep an eye on it.

Anyway, I got all the oil out as best I could and continued with the replacement. The plugs were all in pretty rough shape. A couple of them, #3 and #4 I think, looked the worst. I looked closely at the #2 and #3 coils as that's where the misfires are, and they looked okay, but not amazing. The car fired up great, and ran like a champ during a quick test drive after. We'll see how things go, but the next step, if the problems come back, will be to replace the coils.

Thanks again for the assistance the other day. I really appreciate that!
Change the valve cover gasket its leaking oil this will fix your problem mine went at 135k
 
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