September 16, 2012, 7:36 pm
I have a 2004 Mondeo TDCI 2.0 130. I’ve driven about 3000 miles since buying it with 126,000 on the clock. When I bought it I took a risk that the black smoke on heavy acceleration would not ultimately cost me dear because for the age the bodywork and inside were both in pretty good condition and the road test of about 40 miles went very well.
Apart from the smoke the only tiny niggle was that occasionally it didn’t start first time and occasionally it took a few seconds after starting for the power to be there. The car ran very well generally and it was a pleasure to drive.
Recently, after 150 or so trouble free miles that day I was slowing down on a motorway slip road approaching a roundabout. I could feel a very slight juddering. It was so slight I couldn’t decide if it was the engine or rough road surface. When I stopped at the roundabout it cut out and was difficult to start. I managed to get it to crawl over to the hard shoulder. It started with difficulty and ran very roughly.
An RAC patrol man diagnosed loss of compression. I had the car towed to a garage local to my home which I’d used a lot for my previous car and felt I could trust them to do a good job. They rejected the RAC diagnosis and said the problem lay with the diesel injectors. They recommended getting them tested by a specialist at a cost of £15 plus VAT each. They warned that 9 times out of 10 if there was an injector problem all 4 failed. This struck me as odd. I approved the testing as I felt I had no option. The recommendation of the specialist was to recondition all 4. My garages quoted £936 for all the work involved. I decide to go ahead. While this was on the high side they had my trust and that was worth something to me.
After refitting the injectors the engine still wouldn’t run properly so the car was sent to the specialist which reconditioned the injectors. They checked their work and claim it was necessary and was done appropriately. The car is back with my garage and I’m trying to decide how to handle this.
Have any of you any advice? Was it a reasonable thing to do to suspect the injectors and do £936 of work on the basis of this suspicion? Should other cheaper things have been tried first? Could all four injectors have failed at the same time and caused a sudden problem such as I had and for there to be simultaneously another fault?
Your help would be appreciated very much.
September 16, 2012, 9:33 pm
yea a compression test would of been cheaper at least it would of crossed out the rac mans opinon
September 16, 2012, 10:20 pm
I think if you have to replace an injector it's worth doing the lot. I went for just two, one that had failed and one that was close on failure. I then had to do the other two three months later.
But you're injectors not functioning correctly is not going to cause loss of compression.
Compression test would have confirmed this or not.
In my mind that would have been the first thing to do as the rac man had diagnosed loss of compression.
September 17, 2012, 3:29 pm
a compression test should have been done first,the garage bill is on the high side, i had four injectors removed and tested (all Failed) recon injectors fitted and coded for around £600.have the injectors been fitted into the same positions as they were removed as if they havent they will need recoding back in, also with the high milage on the car i would be also looking at the egr valve to make sure it has not stuck open or is chocked up that much that it can not operate properly,also check the intercooler hose on the bottom of the egr valve for splits as this can also lead to black smoke and difficult starting.
September 17, 2012, 9:00 pm
Thanks to ppeter7, s.jsutton and mintalkin.
Here’s some more information I discovered today.
The independent garage I took the car to took it to Ford for testing. This revealed a fault code that indicated the injectors were faulty. I asked what the code was and was told that they would need to check with Ford because the information wasn’t retained by my garage.
Now that the injectors work a new fault has been revealed, a mechanical one. Electronic faults have now been eliminated.
The guy I spoke to at the garage dealing with my car said he trusted the diesel engineers that processed the injectors, that they have a good reputation.
I asked for more information about the diagnostic process that was followed. A compression test was done and one cylinder was found to be low, but not enough to be causing the problem. The fuel pressure was fine. A leak off test was inconclusive because the engine wasn’t running well enough for it to be reliable.
It was suggested on this or other forums that the problem might have been a bent con rod or jumped timing chain. I was told by guy at the garage that if either of these was the case then the engine wouldn’t run at all.
To determine the nature of the mechanical fault would entail taking the head off. Is this a big job? Of course, there’s no guarantee that what is found would be economical to repair.
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September 17, 2012, 9:42 pm
Have they reprogrammed the injectors.
September 18, 2012, 12:47 am
Check injector programming, EGR and crank sensor if fitted.
Even slight loss of pressure on one cylinder needs investigating further.
It could be a badly seated valve, leaking stem seals, gasket blow or duff scraper rings.
Black smoke to me means unburnt fuel or oil.
September 18, 2012, 4:43 pm
mmm i would check timing to see 1st if the chain has jumped or not,then maybe head off for inspection normaly cple hours labour to strip down. if its head or valve then about 300 if anythink else worse then if its worth a 2nd hand engine or not worse case
September 18, 2012, 6:15 pm
Thanks Stoney871 and ppeter7 for your advice. I’m not a mechanically minded person so won’t be attempting any of the procedures myself but you’ve given me some things to discuss with the garage.
My biggest concern at the moment is not what remains wrong with my car (though it quickly will be :-) ) but the quoted cost of the work done so far. The garage is not pressing me for payment yet but surely will do soon. I’m loathe to pay them anything given I put my trust in them to fix my car and it isn’t fixed and they don’t know what it will take to fix it. I remain very sceptical that a problem with the injectors caused my car to suddenly start hesitating and then stall in the space of a few seconds after 150 trouble free miles that day. The engine was running fine. I was given no test results from the injector testing, just told they were all bad and needed doing. The guy at the garage said the mechanical fault that remains was not apparent before the injectors were “fixed”. Is that really likely? He suggested that the injector problem might have caused a fault in the engine, such as a damaged piston ring for example. If that was the case wouldn’t the compression test have revealed such a fault? If I had been told that it would cost £936 to fix the injectors and then an unknown amount to fix another problem then I would surely not have agreed to have them done. The garage must know the car is only worth £1500 so trying a £936 repair to see if it fixes the problem wasn’t appropriate, if that’s what was done. Perhaps as someone on another site said, “Sounds like a case of it’s a TDCI the injectors must be knackered by now.” I wonder if I give the go ahead to do some more investigation yet another fault will be found. Should I just write it off; sell it as non-runner? At least it has the value of 4 reconditioned injectors.
It’s likely that the injectors were not in “perfect” condition, but it’s an 8 year old car and nothing on it is perfect. I just wanted it restored to working order as it was before the breakdown, not a general car improvement program.
My garage did do a diagnostics check. They took it to a local Ford deal for that. I didn’t mention that in my initial post because they only told me yesterday. I’m still waiting for them to tell me the fault code.
September 19, 2012, 1:40 pm
I was told this on TalkFord, "If the compression test was showing a cylinder was low then to me this would point to a dodgy valve or piston rings and as these engines run to very fine tolorences this low compression could cause poor running and starting problems.".
Could it be that this was the problem all along, as the RAC guy said, and the work on the injectors has been unecessay?
Can you quantify how low the compression would need to be to cause rough running and the engine to cut out?
September 19, 2012, 5:47 pm
about 20 psi would be enough ie if 3 read 200 and 1 was 183 to like 178 then i would be worried and i think injector could of been waiste of time.they should of done compression test 1st like rac said.but sum garages just want ur money regardless
September 19, 2012, 7:05 pm
A compression test takes very little time to do.
You just warm up the engine, remove the glow plugs and attach the tester to each cylinder in turn.
Diesel engines are far more sensitive to pressure variation due to needing equal pressures to ensure even ignition of the fuel.
If one cylinder is not compressing correctly then it may well not be igniting at all and just dumping the fuel air mix directly out again.
Excessively low engine compression can be piston/cylinder wear, bad valve, bad head gasket, or a cracked engine.
A pressure test is so rudimentary i'm surprised they did not do it first.
You may also like to consider a leakdown test too.
September 19, 2012, 9:03 pm
Hi All. They told me they did do a compression test and one was a little low but not low enough to cause the problem I was having. They didn't give me any figures though.
September 27, 2012, 8:28 pm
I've been ignoring the situation for a couple of weeks. I don't think it's worth getting any more done by the garage. I could do some limited investigation myself.
Oddly, I've heard nothing from the garage. I need to approach them. They quoted £936 to do the injectors and I trusted that this would fix my car and it hasn't. Is it reasonable for them to expect me to pay them this and take back a car that isn't fixed? What is the experience of people here of this kind of situation?
January 17, 2013, 10:09 pm
I paid the garage because it imposed a storage charge. I have the car back. After a few weeks of ignoring it I need to decide what to do. Thanks to all of you who've suggested tests that I could do to check for timing chain slippage, bent con rod and other things. I don't feel confident in my ability to perform these tests. Would anyone here recommend a mobile mechanic who covers Royston, Herts?
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