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Discussion Starter #1
Symptons:
The car started chugging, as if a plug wire popped off. Had very little power. After a few minutes, car returned to normal. Later, would start chugging again, go back to normal, chug, etc. (The car is now chugging all the time, even at idle.)

Engine code:
P0352 - Ignition Coil B Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction

Attempted fixes:
Replaced fuel filter, spark plugs, valve cover gasket (saw some oil on spark plug #4's threads), ignition coil, spark plug wires. Cleaned connections to ignition coil, cleaned MAF sensor.

I didn't have the engine code until after I tried the fuel filter, plugs, and valve cover gasket (CEL didn't come on immediately.) After I disconnected and cleaned connector to ignition coil and MAF, and replaced the ignition coil, the chugging started immediately and hasn't stopped. Before this, the car would start ok, idle ok...but at soon as I put it in gear and gave it a little gas, it would start chugging. I'd pop into neutral and the engine returned to normal idle. Also, I heard some popping from the exhaust after releasing from a rev while in neutral.

If it's a problem with the wiring to the ignition coil, not sure how to fully test it. Used a cicuit tester on the ignition coil connector (3 contacts) - got a green light on the middle contact, nothing on the right and left. (Tested with key turned to 'power on'.) Could be wiring from coil to ECU...or even ECU? Any ideas?
 

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Check the ignition coil connector. At the dealer i've fixed a few focus's that had the same code. The wires that go into the connector get corrosion and break. Look closely at them. If that is your problem you need to go to the dealer and get a new connector. The new connector comes with new wires to splice into the harness.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
damn. already handed it over to a ford tech (friend of a friend). i'd have been willing to give it a try, depending on cost of course. i looked at and cleaned the connector, but maybe upon closer inspection...

we'll see what the tech says. he mentioned wiring, ecu or pcm.
 

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You might have missed a plug when you pushed the ignition wires down onto them. How's your aim? The rubber boots should be perfectly even against the valvecover all the way around, otherwise you missed the plug.
 

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when I purchased mine a couple of years ago(used), the distributor was worn along with the worn plug wires. Didn't notice any problem until it was extremely humid or raining for awhile then had the same problem but when it was dry everything was ok. Took it in to the dealer because it happend within 2 days of purchase and the problem was one of the plug wires shielding was cracked open and the distributor wasn't sealing completely....replace the plug wires, distributor cap, and plugs....all good since.

As far as diagnostic codes it was different being a misfire in piston 3 but the symptoms were the same.
 

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sbsvt02 said:
Check the ignition coil connector. At the dealer i've fixed a few focus's that had the same code. The wires that go into the connector get corrosion and break. Look closely at them. If that is your problem you need to go to the dealer and get a new connector. The new connector comes with new wires to splice into the harness.
I ran into this same problem. Look at the front of the coil, there's a three-wire plug that connects at the base. There's a voltage wire in the middle and two signal wires that feed the coil timing information. One controls 1&4, the other controls 2&3. When mine broke I was able to repair it myself and then spice the repaired plug back in...total cost was about $3 for a roll of electrical tape, some crimp connectors and a hot glue stick to seal everything and insulate it. That was about 15,000 miles ago and I haven't had a problem since.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow - the bad connector sounds like a likely culprit. Haven't heard back from the tech; actually hoping he wasn't able to get to it (he was supposed to bring it into the dealership yesterday) . Definitely gonna take a closer look at that connector. It all fits: after I disconnected it from the coil, cleaned it and reconnected, the problem continued non-stop (got even worse). I also happened to clean other related connectors and the MAF, so couldn't pinpoint...

2 lessons learned: '1 thing at a time!' and problems with the electical system do not equal 'unsolvable without diagnostics equipment". I should know better - I'm a network administrator for a living. Jeesh. Thanks for the help ya'll.
 
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