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Hey All, so I'm a bit new here but I'm having a serious problem with my Focus. I drive a 2005 Ford Focus zx4 ses, great solid car BUT, my gas mileage is very awful. On a full tank of gas, I get on average about 12 mpg city and almost 16 mpg highway. I have 122,400 miles on the car which I know is kinda high, but this car is like my baby I love it. I bought it brand new in 2004 when it was first released. The maintenence is perfectly up to date. I have a custom cold air intake on the car, that I keep nice and shiny and new. I can't quite figure out what the problem might be. Anyone have any ideas?
 

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When I'm in the city it usually sits about 2500 but on the highway it gets to 3500 at the most. The rpm needle is a little funky sometimes. Doesn't always stay steady though. Sometimes it bottoms out completely but fixes itself immediately
 

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C2H5OH
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When I'm in the city it usually sits about 2500 but on the highway it gets to 3500 at the most. The rpm needle is a little funky sometimes. Doesn't always stay steady though. Sometimes it bottoms out completely but fixes itself immediately

That is a good sign of ignition interference. Which is most often caused by a damaged sparkplug or ignition coil boot ... both of which could contribute to the poor mileage (though I don't think they are alone).

Using twice the normal amount of fuel should throw some type of code, or many. I find it strange that you mention nothing. So I have to wonder what is on the car for wheels and if they have been swapped from stock?

My initial thought because you mention no codes is that something is dragging, wheel bearings and/or brakes. But as pathetic as the MPG is, I would think you'd hear either quite audibly.


Automatic or manual transmission? (3,500RPM on the highway is moving well above any legal speed limit ... which also has me curious on my wheel question)
 

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iminhell- so I just changed my spark plugs about 2000 miles ago, they were pretty badly damaged after only maybe 30,000 miles. Which I thought was definitely strange. Now, there was some sort of sticky brownish fluid that was caked around the spark plug bay, but I had no idea what it could be. And yes, there were no codes that came up, I had autozone check it with their little machine thing, and nothing popped up as well as no check engine lights or other warning lights on the car. The car is an automatic, however there is an option to turn O/D on and off on the gear shift. I leave it so no light is on the instrument panel.
 

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I would suggest you pull the plugs out, check condition, set gap to about .055'. Carefully inspect the spark plug well with flashlight before you pull the plugs out. Any oil in there? Set gap on traditional style plugs, not the platinum kind. What type of plug are you using?

Like iminhell was saying, spark plug boots must be clean and in good condition. That sticky brown stuff might have been oil plus maybe some dielectric grease? Maybe your valve cover gasket is leaking oil into the wells? Maybe clean out the spark plug wells, careful to not drop anything inside engine while plugs are out. Clean boots and apply some dielectric grease to them. Make sure coil springs are in proper condition and snapped onto coil. You can pull apart the coil from the boot and reattach the spring.
 

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iminhell-so the type of tires i have are the minerva tires, i'm not entirely sure which brand it was, but they are 205/50/r15 which is the manufacturer recommended size (according to Midas at least). I think they might be Cooper Minerva, I'm not sure. Midas recommended them for my car. They just have problems staying at PSI. Which I pump up almost daily. Could the wheel studs/lugs have any factor in the crap MPG? They constantly break off, I've replaced them at least 3 times on each wheel. :/
 

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I would suggest you pull the plugs out, check condition, set gap to about .055'. Carefully inspect the spark plug well with flashlight before you pull the plugs out. Any oil in there? Set gap on traditional style plugs, not the platinum kind. What type of plug are you using?

Like iminhell was saying, spark plug boots must be clean and in good condition. That sticky brown stuff might have been oil plus maybe some dielectric grease? Maybe your valve cover gasket is leaking oil into the wells? Maybe clean out the spark plug wells, careful to not drop anything inside engine while plugs are out. Clean boots and apply some dielectric grease to them. Make sure coil springs are in proper condition and snapped onto coil. You can pull apart the coil from the boot and reattach the spring.
Marde- I just pulled out the plugs and they are in good condition still, they just have quite a bit of that brown sticky stuff I was referencing earlier on the outer part of the coil and on the valve cover. This picture is from when i was taking them apart with my husband. You can kinda see where the brown sticky fluid is in that picture. Also, you can't see it there, but on the metal part there is quite a bit of it.
 

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I did know know or read before that "brown sticky stuff" was covered on the outside of the engine. The picture helps, but I can't nail down anything other than the obvious; that you have or had some kind of leak. You or somebody should be able to clean and inspect these areas and figure out where the leak is/was.

Poor MPG mileage can be several things. Start by getting that area cleaned up; get some "brown sticky stuff remover" at your local car parts store. Do a search here for "engine cleaning" and read what others have done. Have you ever replaced ur fuel filter or transmission fluid? Have you had your car inspected by a pro in the past year or two? Have you heard about the PCV hose that sometimes (at your car age) cracks and causes vac leaks?

... They just have problems staying at PSI. Which I pump up almost daily. Could the wheel studs/lugs have any factor in the crap MPG? They constantly break off, I've replaced them at least 3 times on each wheel. :/
Daily PSI problems with tires!? Not good + not normal.

"wheel studs/lugs constantly break off"
What? Please explain what is breaking + when. Who is doing this?
 

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I have not replaced my fuel filter in the life of my car-I never knew it could be an issue honestly. I was told awhile ago by the ford dealer that my tranny fluid did need replaced, but they said that replacing it could do more damage to my car and that they wouldn't recommend it. So, I chose not to do it. As far as being inspected by a pro, yes. In Feb 2014 I had to get major repairs done on the car, the alignment was off, I needed new front struts(or shocks, whichever is in the front) a new set of tires, and a new driver side control arm. When they did all of that, they did a thorough inspection and found nothing wrong other than the obvious issues that they fixed. As far as the PCV hose goes, No mechanic has mentioned it to me as being faulty. About two and a half years ago, I had a hose that popped off and caused my car to not be able to even start up, and it was completely undriveable. They replaced this hose and reconnected it, and haven't had any problems since. As far as the studs/lugs go- I could be driving and notice that my front driver side wheel is making a thudding sound, and then the lugs are loose. And doing nothing more than hand tightening the lugs onto the studs causes them to break off. They are always really rusty, and it could be no more than three months after I had one replaced. If I try to tighten them with an actual torque wrench, they snap before they are even tight. I have to tighten the lugs around every 500-600 miles. Which for me, isn't that long anymore, especially with my two little kids. When they snap, part of the stud is still attached into the lug. Sometimes, they just snap while I'm driving and I don't notice it until it's too late to collect the snapped pieces.
 

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BTW- I tried using goo gone to remove the brown sticky fluid and it came off, it was like trying to wipe honey off with a paper towel. It kept getting stuck and I had to scrub the crap out of it, and I drove my car for a bit and there was more there.
 

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Something is massively wrong with the wheel stud situation.

I've seen badly rusted be locked on bad enough to break when trying to remove the lugs, never an issue trying to screw the lugs on.

How tight are they being torqued to? (95 ft. lb. would be good)

Loose ones will end up breaking & all would need replacement if you run that way for long.

Loose wheels in front also leave the brake rotor loose - extra drag & brake wear affecting mileage.

Living up north where salt is used in the winter, never-seize on studs & the hub center avoids rusted studs & a wheel getting corroded to the hub (aluminum type wheel).

Your tire size looks wrong to me. Check Driver's door pillar sticker for the stock size.

Normal is 195/60-15 or 205/50-16. 205/50-15 would be wider & shorter than stock, speedometer would read higher than normal.

Any fuel smell when you open the hood after driving?
 

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Wow that is one dirty engine. I use purple power to clean the entirety (not the inside) of my car, never have/had issues.

I have a custom cold air intake on the car, that I keep nice and shiny and new.
I find this hard to believe when I see the picture of the engine


@Sailor - whats your suggestion on adding grease to lug/studs? When I pull my tires off I will apply some to the studs and hub center. No issues with rust or seizing.

@raphael05 - http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showpost.php?p=6044722&postcount=7 Check my post. Is this the "goo" you are talking about? Its oil leaking out from around my coil boots. Need to get valve gasket and spark plug seals IMO to stop that if it is oil leaking from around the boots.

Check this post as well: http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=279213
Its from when I had my pvc hose cracked.
 

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For the OP, pull the vacuum hose from the pressure sensor on the fuel rail & check for any fuel in there. If that sensor leaks into the vacuum sensing hose you'd loose a LOT of fuel into the engine making it run rich.

Still can't guess why no "Codes"' have been mentioned, shouldn't be running well & codes should show unless most of the problem is from brake drag.

Humphrey - in AR your issues with rust/corrosion are much less than in Northern states or near the Ocean (salt). Wouldn't hurt to use some never-seize as I described but you aren't likely to need it as much. Up North any bolt/nut where lock-tite isn't used gets never seize on it, particularly on a shaft through a bushing like the suspension bolts you see so many threads on (frozen, need cut out to remove).
 

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Strichmädchen & Koks
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Finding and fixing the wheel stud problem should be priority #1. That's extremely unsafe, and extremely unusual to be breaking that many studs. You need to check that the wheels are a proper fit, that the replacement studs are of good quality and that you are not being ripped off by your mechanic, and that the lug nuts are being torqued to the proper value.

With your tires constantly losing air, and the studs breaking, I am wondering if the wheels are a proper fit for your vehicle. Can you take a picture of just a wheel, on the car? Is it the correct bolt pattern? Is the centerbore correct?
 

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Finding and fixing the wheel stud problem should be priority #1. That's extremely unsafe, and extremely unusual to be breaking that many studs.
Yep! Hey, raphael05? You got your ears on?
 

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iminhell-so the type of tires i have are the minerva tires, i'm not entirely sure which brand it was, but they are 205/50/r15 which is the manufacturer recommended size (according to Midas at least). I think they might be Cooper Minerva, I'm not sure. Midas recommended them for my car. They just have problems staying at PSI. Which I pump up almost daily. Could the wheel studs/lugs have any factor in the crap MPG? They constantly break off, I've replaced them at least 3 times on each wheel. :/


Brand of tire isn't really that important. But as with everyone else, I'm concerned about them loosing air and studs breaking ... is it all studs on 1 wheel or just a stud at a time, is it a different stud each time?
If it's been 3 total and different wheel each time, that's not really abnormal. Age, bolt stretch and salt all take life from them; as do the shop workers not using proper tools to TQ them (generalizing).

I guess I'd stop in to Midas and ask them about the tires.
Why are they loosing air?
Is a rim bent?
Are the valve stems the source of the leak?
Did you pick up a nail?

You can use some soapy water (or that kids bubble stuff works very good too) around the edge of the rim and the valve stem to find a leak. It will blow bubbles if it finds one.



Once the tires are checked off we can move on to what else it might be. But by the sounds of it getting them repaired should at least eliminate a daily headache.
 

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That's a decent picture of it.

Thanks Humphrey!
 

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NP. As I see references to a Focus with a Duratec I will try and locate it in AllData..
 
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