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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, guys and girls. This topic has probably been beaten to death here. But I really need some help. My girlfriend has a 2001 Focus SE with the single cam 2.0. It is doing this sputtering deal and at times even stalling completely. This seems to be mostly at lower speeds, but it will do it at higher ones as well from time to time. I know all about the fuel pump problems . . . took it to a Ford dealer and they said it wasn't covered by the recall. This just doesn't feel like a fuel pump problem. I have replaced the mass airflow sensor. That helped for a little while. I replaced the coil pack . . . that helped the most. The problem almost entirely went away. It never stalled and barely ever ran as badly as before replacing it. But then suddenly the problems were back. It took about a month after replacing the coil pack for it to run roughly again. I highly doubt replacing the coil pack would have anything to do with the fuel delivery system if it were actually that, but I could be wrong. There hasn't beena check engine light at all. My gut feeling is some type of vaccuum or sensor issue. Lurking on this board has generated some good ideas for me, but I can't nail it down yet without finally posting. This one really has me confused so far.
 

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Look at the coil pack electrical connector itself. it's a known problem on the Zetec; don't know about the SPI motor, but it's free to look. You're looking for broken or brittle wires entering the connector. Tug on the individual wires and examine them closely. Perhaps when you replaced the coil pack you moved the connector enough to inadvertently "fix" a intermittent connection.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The first chance I get, I'll take a look. It sounds too simple, but it sure does make sense. Any idea if dielectric grease is recommended on that connection?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Look at the coil pack electrical connector itself. it's a known problem on the Zetec; don't know about the SPI motor, but it's free to look. You're looking for broken or brittle wires entering the connector. Tug on the individual wires and examine them closely. Perhaps when you replaced the coil pack you moved the connector enough to inadvertently "fix" a intermittent connection.
I was able to finally look at this over the weekend. I unplugged the connection, looked it over really well, put some dielectric grease on the contacts. I also inspected most of the wiring as closely as I could. I couldn't see any issue that would tell me why the car is running like it is. It really seems like it would be an electronic problem. On board computer . . . .I'm not really sure. Do those cause this type of problem. I doubt it's an emmsions problem (EGR, O2 sensor etc) but I just can't be sure. Any other ideas?
 

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Just to ask the "stupid" questions.... have you checked the PCV & it's hoses????

Common cause of the issues you mentioned....

Luck!
 

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P.S. - And your guess at "vacuum" issues is a good possibility as well....
 

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Like Sailor wrote, check the PCV for damage, and replace if needed. Often the rubber elbows decay and can leak, or the PCV itself can stick open.

I don't recommend replacing the computer to repair the problem. You'll likely be wasting money like you did on the MAF. When is the last time you replaced the fuel filter? Those are only good for 25k miles or so. Likewise, if you have lifetime warranty plug wires, change those to cross it off the list. One trick to find intermittent misses is tune the AM radio to a place where there is no station, then listen to the engine. If you hear popping sounds in time with a stumble- that's a bad plug wire. Lastly, if you haven't swapped plugs in a while, I suggest getting some cheap non-platinum non-iridium plugs to run for 20k. Plat and Irid plugs don't build up deposits which is great for some things, but not good for diagnosing what's going on inside a combustion chamber. You might get a clue that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise by examining deposit buildup.

If you have a compression tester, you should run a compression test on all 4 cyls. SPIs can have issues with valve seats falling out with age. Low compression in cyl 2 might point to that issue. Hopefully not.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
P.S. - And your guess at "vacuum" issues is a good possibility as well....
I did check the pcv. It was very "gummy" but no parts stores carry them. So I'd probably have to go to a dealer. I used brake cleaner and cleaned it as best I could. I checked over the line. That one and the others all seemed be be intact. It's hard to believe a pcv valve would make it stumble this badly. It's worst under acceleration.

No question is stupid. I don't want to overlook the obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Like Sailor wrote, check the PCV for damage, and replace if needed. Often the rubber elbows decay and can leak, or the PCV itself can stick open.

I don't recommend replacing the computer to repair the problem. You'll likely be wasting money like you did on the MAF. When is the last time you replaced the fuel filter? Those are only good for 25k miles or so. Likewise, if you have lifetime warranty plug wires, change those to cross it off the list. One trick to find intermittent misses is tune the AM radio to a place where there is no station, then listen to the engine. If you hear popping sounds in time with a stumble- that's a bad plug wire. Lastly, if you haven't swapped plugs in a while, I suggest getting some cheap non-platinum non-iridium plugs to run for 20k. Plat and Irid plugs don't build up deposits which is great for some things, but not good for diagnosing what's going on inside a combustion chamber. You might get a clue that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise by examining deposit buildup.

If you have a compression tester, you should run a compression test on all 4 cyls. SPIs can have issues with valve seats falling out with age. Low compression in cyl 2 might point to that issue. Hopefully not.
The fuel filter was replaced a few months ago, If I had to guess, approx 10,000 miles ago. I didn't change it the last time, but I could always just throw a newr one in. Plugs and wires were just replaced a month or two ago. Both were done after this problem started happening. I will check the radio trick. That one is new to me.

Just a quick list of a few other ideas I've gotten from the board. Let me know what you guys think.

Idle air control valve
intake runner control valve?? not sure where this is or even on this engine
any other sensors??
I didn't check all elect. connections, but the ones I did seemed to look fine.

It ran like garbage yesterday morning. It ran well this morning.
 

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Not sure if you have this on your car but your symptoms sound like my car when the EGR Vacuum solenoid went. It caused random poor idle/poor power problems. Could go for a week fine then bam couple times in one day. It's cheap at $20 and takes about 2min to install.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Not sure if you have this on your car but your symptoms sound like my car when the EGR Vacuum solenoid went. It caused random poor idle/poor power problems. Could go for a week fine then bam couple times in one day. It's cheap at $20 and takes about 2min to install.
Parts store had one in stock. It's an inexpensive shot in the dark at the very least. I'll give that a try next, thanks.
 

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I MIGHT go back to the coil pack wiring at this point, the issues seen there are NOT visible by eye, only when testing wiring with a meter & sometimes only when wiggling wires while checking them...

The breakage tends to occur near the connector, so Ford sells a new pigtail to replace the connector & wiring a few inches back...

It COULD be the "random issue" you are experiencing...

(As usual, we're just throwing out guesses at possibilities here..)

LUCK! - seems you need some....
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I MIGHT go back to the coil pack wiring at this point, the issues seen there are NOT visible by eye, only when testing wiring with a meter & sometimes only when wiggling wires while checking them...

The breakage tends to occur near the connector, so Ford sells a new pigtail to replace the connector & wiring a few inches back...

It COULD be the "random issue" you are experiencing...

(As usual, we're just throwing out guesses at possibilities here..)

LUCK! - seems you need some....
This would make sense because when I replaced the coil pack it did run well for a month or so. I had to "mess" with that connection a good deal to replace it. I am going to replace the EGR vac solenoid first since it's inexpensive. Then I will test the wiring like you suggested. I'm open to trying anything right now. This problem really has me confused.....and I've fixed my share of problems on my own cars in the past.

Thanks for the help!!

One other thing. Vehicle electrical is definitlely my downfall. I can figure out a testor and how to use it, but I currently don't have one. What should I look for when buying one, or what type. I'm kind of in the dark there.
 

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Most "good" testers have WAY more capabilities than you need for this, the "cheapest" will do for now - as simple presence of appropriate voltage, or continuity of a circuit is all that's involved...

Luck!
 

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I prefer an auto-ranging auto-selection tester for car stuff, but the one that costs about $30 that they sell at parts stores that has tach capabilities is a good choice if most of what you do is vehicular in nature. Just be sure that it has voltage range for 120v AC (~) before you go testing stuff in the house with it. Leads with alligator clips are really handy for car testing stuff too.

The best way to test that coil power connector is simply hold the plug in one hand and pull on the individual wires with the other. You should also inspect the harness around any hot points like the EGR feed tube.

What did those spark plugs look like? Did you see any evidence of deposits? Did you try the simple spark plug wire test with the AM radio? How long does it take the fuel pump to charge up? If I missed all that sorry, trying to do 3 things at once here. My daughter just left me a brown mess on the couch- yay morning smoothie.
 

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Well, I've got a Fluke 88V, plus a test lead kit from my OLD Fluke (RIP) & a slightly cheaper BluePoint in the toolbox for road use that uses the same leads...

But the "free with $20 purchase" one at Harbor Freight or equivalent is probably all that's needed for quick checks...

My ancient inexpensive analog meter comes in handy at times too, broken case & all....

A GOOD meter is invaluable for ease of use, especially with the optional leads with different clips, things like clips that attach to the points etc.. The BIG advantage is dependable & repeatable readings that actually MATCH the readings the factory gets when specifying things like ohm values for static test of coils & other electric components. It CAN be important enough that Honda for example REQUIRED dealers to have a SPECIFIC analog & digital meter on hand to get test readings that would correlate with the readings their regional service people would get when trying to help diagnose issues over the phone.

That's kind of a special case, but it was nice to use the exact same meter used to get service values noted in the manuals, and the manuals got supplemented with shop readings fro "known good units", and similar readings supplied by regional service reps. from their own testing...

When you are looking for simpler go,no-go type info., like whether voltage is present in the right general range - doing continuity checks for open circuits or excessive resistance in a circuit - and similar basic tests, virtually any functional meter is adequate - even if not as easy to use...

Luck!
 

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P.S. - there are a LOT of handy tools if you get into electrical issues a bit, like my MAC brand test light that'll give a red light for "hot", and a green light for "ground" - GREAT for a lot of quick checks when needed... Or a seldom used specialty tool from Snap On that can trace the location of a dead short INSIDE a wiring harness WITHOUT taking the harness apart... Like looking for where the bloody thing rubbed through & shorted to ground somewhere between the nose & tail of the car.... The CHEAP spark tester from Champion, that's just a pocket pen size item (clip & all) - hold it over a plug wire & watch the neon flashes - gives you a QUICK reference to what's happening throughout the high tension harness.... and an INSTANT check for "spark"... (grin).

Take care...
 

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coil pack electrical

I drive a 2003 ztec focus, and i have noticed my car had the same issues. I changed out the coil pack just for the problems to persist a few days later. I looked at the 3 wires going to it to find out that the ground wire was faulty and partially disconnected. Causing an arc and my engine to miss and stall. I fixed that connector by taking it apart and re-soldering the wire. With all of this going on i talked to a ford tech and he told me that with this problem could have fouled out the plug wires and plugs. Once i changed all those parts the problem quite. And all it was, just a lil'ol loose wire! Well this fixed my problem . I hope that it fixes yours. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have to resurrect this thread, because I have finally noticed a pattern now. Just an update since the last time I posted. I've replaced the EGR valve, EGR vac solenid, the PCV valve, and PCV hose. I didn't not test the connection to the coil pack or try any other electrical related fixes. Lately the pattern I've noticed is that it is fine starting up when cold and going where ever I want. Then if I have to go to a store or something and leave the car off for any amount of time, I'll get in to leave and it will stall 3-4 times and once it finally stays running it will stumble very badly driving for about a 1/2 mile or so.....after that it runs like a champ. I was going to replace the DPFE sensor yet, but I'm having a hard time believing that it's just that sensor causing these problems. One thing that makes some sense is possible air in the fuel line. Like the stumble is the air finally running through the system, and then runs great once its out. The only thing is how would air get in the line? I don't see fuel on the floor, the garage doesn't smell like fuel at all whatsoever. So I'm not sure it could be that. Once again any ideas would be greatly appreiciated.
 
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