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Full Version: Speedo Drop To Zero, Engine Man Light, Battery Light And Fuel Light Came On... Help!!
Ford Owners Club - Ford Forums > Ford Models > Ford Focus Club
Hi everyone!

Before I start, I want to say that I have been reading these forums for months and I managed to fit a new throttle position sensor by myself 2 weeks ago based on the ford focus club's posts from years gone by! I really need some help, I'm totally baffled by the faults my car seems to have... I'm scared that they're intermittent 'gremlins' that ill never fix! I'm a total novice but I'm good at DIY (I'm
The 'man' of the house haha) so ill try my hand at anything simple. The TPS job literally took me 5 mins, that was easy enough.

Anyway, can I give you an overview of what my car has been doing and then maybe you can give me some ideas and advice??

1. The car started to hesitate on acceleration, it feels more like something is 'slipping' or misfiring. It does it if I slam my accelerator down. So, slip roads, it hates slip roads. It kind of... Jumps? Such a strange feeling. Revs dip with it too sometimes. I had diagnostics at ford which threw out error code 'TPS RANGE LOW' - so I bought a new one n fitted it myself. All it's done is made my acceleration better for about a week :/ fault remains

2. Speedo keeps randomly dropping to zero, radio cuts out and then after a few seconds or minutes, it comes back on!

3. Today, I was driving along and the speedo dropped. This time, it lasted for about 10 minutes. Then the battery light came on, then my fuel light, then my engine management light came on and then the car literally just gave up and my power steering and brakes failed. I tried with all my strength to drag it into a side road and called the RAC. Critical point here - the car DID NOT cut out and restarted again with no problems.

RAC turned up and said it would be a drive belt or alternator. Checked both and they were in good condition. All levels were fine (oil, power steering fluid, water etc) battery is fine too. So, the RAC man was baffled. He asked me to drive home n if it happened again, he'd stay right behind me. Well, it drove perfectly all the way home!!! Grrrr!

What on earth might have happened to my car??

I thought loose wiring but I'm not sure why that would cause the loss of powered steering?

It's a 2000 plate 1.8 LX ford focus. HELP ME!! :)

Sounds like you may have the dreaded but common speedo sensor failure, because the ECU is no longer getting accurate speed data it believes the car is stationary and drops power to the engine.

This can cause stalling and sluggish handling.

Sounds like your car stalled in slow time.

I recommend you get the sensor replaced or at least get the wiring to it checked as it can break causing an intermittent fault.

When the speedo dropped did you also notice if the tacho stopped counting up?, this would definitely point to the sensor.

The parts required are about £25 on eBay but changing the sensor can be a bit of a pain as it's on top of the gearbox housing and is a sod to remove as it fits in very tightly.

TBH though, the retaining pin is the hardest part as the original ones aren't too sturdy.

Hey! Thank you for your reply! I've recently been reading up about the sensor and yes i think it could possibly be that. Funny you mention a slow stall too because the RAC man instantly asked if the car had stalled but had kind of instantly bump started itself as I'd carried on?? Haha! I said that surely I'd have felt it stall and then bump!?

So are we saying that the loss of brakes and powered steering was possibly from the slow stall of an engine thinking that I aren't needing any power because I'm stationary? Also - yes the tacho stops completely when my speedo dies.

Anyway, other than that, I've had a few people mention the air flow sensor.
had same thing happen it was speed sensor
hard to get them out
Bass Junkie

Speed Pulse Sensor failure. It's such a common fault So common i'm just about to change mine for the 3rd time as I'm having these issues too. Might be an idea to dump and refill the gearbox oil as the failure 9 out of 10 times is due to swarf contamination.

Thank you so much guys. I have a friend that works for a recovery garage, it's going into the garage next week for MOT advisories (normal wear n tear in swing arms/bushes) and the guy I know seems quite happy to have a look at anything that's bothering me and doesn't really charge me any extra.

Maybe I could buy the new sensor and get him to fit it? The TPS was a piece of cake and didn't involve me trusting my body under a jacked up car which scares me slightly! :)
Also - do u reckon this speed sensor would be causing the loss of power/hesitation/slipping/jumping feeling on acceleration?
Ooh - just remembered!

It also idles rough at 700rpm which I think is low. 1100rpm when starting cold and 700rpm once warm after about 10-15mins.
And sometimes the revs don't drop when I change gear or when the clutch is depressed.
All to do with the speedo sensor.
The ECU relies on a lot of sensor inputs to function correctly so duff data reslly confuses it.
Swap out the sensor and you'll definitely see the difference.
Okay guys, just took it out for a spin with my neighbour to see if it would replicate the fault and it did it 4 times in about 2 miles. It cuts out completely at junctions and at slow speed now.
I'm getting a bit emotional now ;) women aren't meant for this diagnostics fun ;)
Definitely the sensor.
Speed sensor faulty or incorrect battery faulty dash cluster all cause the above the speed sensor being the most likely but the radio issue may be down to a faulty cell in the battery or the wrong battery fitted ide say you have more than one fault as the radio doesnt usually go off when its the speed sensor
Hi everyone.

Just thought I'd update you on the fun and games I'm having with this issue.

Mechanic I know has done me a massive favour and picked my car up for me yday morning and took it for diagnostics. No codes/errors found.

He found the 'breather' pipe blocked? Something to do with creating a vacuum in the fuel tank he was saying. He also found the pipe that the TPS fitted to all blocked up with carbon and he said that explains why it was reading the TPS was faulty weeks ago. So essentially it's had a new TPS for no reason.

He cleaned all that out and now it drives like a sports car, really keen and sharp and quick. I was majorly impressed and it feels much happier.

Drove it home today and guess what!? The speedo dropped to zero and I lost about 50% of power, it didn't matter how much accelerator I gave it, the car wouldn't go over about 1800rpm. It just died and it got to about 30mph max. The whole time, the speedo was dead.
Then all of a sudden, the speedo jumps back into action and the car revives itself and got full power back!

What the HELL!??

i would look for a fault in the power supply system...battery/connections/earth leads etc

Definitely the speedo sensor.
Classic symptoms.

Hey everyone!


Got some news for you (touch wood) its fixed!!


Yesterday, the mechanic came to look at it again after the power failure I told you about. Well, he put new spark plugs in it, new air filter and oil filter and he called me to say it was running great! He said he'd drop it off for me before work, but he never arrived.


I got a call from him saying that he got about a mile away from my house, doing about 45mph and it just completely died, all the usual things happened, power steering went, brakes failed etc. He said he caused a huge traffic jam because someone almost hit him as it kind of careered into the other lane. He managed to push it into a bus stop in the end. It wouldn't turn over at all. Nothing. Dead as a dodo. All it showed was an amber engine management light. They towed it back for diagnostics and it came back that the crankshaft sensor had failed!


You should have seen the state of that crankshaft sensor! it was snapped in the middle and had a broken tiny copper wire in it all shrivelled up! Looked a right state!


So, all the work is now done. Air filter, fuel filter, spark plugs and a crankshaft sensor. Drives like a brand new car! CRAZY


@Stoney, i'd give up mate, OP seems to be ignoring you.   ;)


So most likely cause was just crank sensor?

Do I feel a prat now!!

Car died about 20minutes after I posted that last post. Won't turn back on. Again.

Anyone want it £300 spares repairs hahaha!

I'm really worried now that it's crank walk. If the crank is chewing these crank sensors up then it's fooked. The mechanic has said he was 'hoping it wasn't the plate' and I thought... Wonder what he means? So I did a bit of reading n research around it and voila - big fat threads on crank walk. It explains why my crank sensor slowly got smashed to bits and the symptoms got worse and worse over a few weeks.

But if the plate is basically smashing into the sensor with every rotation and that wasn't fixed, it's only took 6 miles of driving to smash through a brand new one.

Think I might full on cry!!
And hey!! I aren't ignoring anyone :) I told the mechanic three times what you guys have said about the vehicle speed sensor and he kept brushing me off. I'm a complete novice and trying to keep up with the mechanics lingo and also trying to understand the theories behind the things that are happening. :)
The symptoms were classic speedo sensor.
The crank sensor would not cause the speedo to drop, they're totally different systems.
Crank sensor would affect the running of the engine but not speed detection.
Your mechanic obviously knows sfa about the mk1 focus.
Or maybe he does and knows what a pain the VSS is to replace and doesn't want the job.
wase16ll would that explain two broken crank sensors then?


crank walk isnt unheard of on a focus, but didnt think it was common...if its that bad then a prybar can show up the excessive endfloat...

if it is excessive, then only option is a rebuild...might get away with careful spacing of crank sensor, but doubt it would run perfect with this get around cure...might be cheaper to source a small block or 2nd hand engine..ouch

Not saying the crank sensor isn't being damaged by crank walk but what i'm saying is the VSS is definitely nackered too.

i agree with stoney the vss is at fault also i would take it to ford yes the crank sensor may be getting mashed up but is it the correct one in the car they are all different lengths if the wrong one was fitted originally and the mech fitted the same as a replacement it will be mashed up never heard of it on ford that much except on really misused engines so i would have the car into a no offence better mechanic having had the mk1 im well aware of the issues and symptoms crank sensors do not cause the speedo to drop out thats the vss failing


What he said ;)


the problem with non ford mechanics is they know little about the cars they will change parts and keep charging money till they stumble on the fix ford will take a look at it and check the cam sensor is the correct part for the car then take a look at it plus they can plug it into the diagnostics toi see what happen s in real time


this is how I got my speed sensor out may help


artscot...sorry bud but that is rubbish

ford mechanics/dealers are no better or worse than any other...including charging for unecessary work, in fact my experience shows dealers are the worse for charging what hasnt even been done.


your all slating a mechanic from over the www, and even the info about the damaged crank sensor wont change your mind...


trust me, diagnostics isnt an exact science, i have had plenty of experience of symptoms that absolutley scream at a certain part being at fault, only to find out by proper diagnosing that fault lies elsewhere. this is why i try and encourage testing first, ahead of just renewing throughout my involvement on this site.


from an early post, if info was correct, i noticed the point about the radio cutting out, speed sensor wont do this, it can change the volume but it wont cut it off, thats why i earlier suggested its a power supply problem, a collapsed crank sensor can affect speedo and rev counter, have seen it happen myself, it can also cause a power failure.


it may very well turn out to be a combination of problems in the end, perhaps a failing vss thats now been overshadowed by the crank problem...either way, its not fair to slate a mechainic purely on the evidence supplied, and complete rubbish to suggest ford mechanics will know and deal with it better than anyone....they have good mechanics dotted about, as does a hell of a lot of so called back street garages and sole traders...


rant over...apologies, just gets my goat when its suggested dealer mechanics know far more than non dealer


and breathe  :D


Jeppers Jessica I know this is a bit late as its been over a year and I had read your first post and was sure you had some type of lectrical short


as I had read some that had similar probs to you but got rid of them by a cable tie


he described how the heat sensor wire to the motor can arch on the motor and cause shorts through the system


and when he tie this wire up to some over head harness or cable with a cable tie it stopped the arching.



but now Im reading theres a whole lota other things happening I have never heard of before like crank walking and smashing crank sensors


really sorry to hear your problems I had seen a Focus around here that was going cheap that has some problems with speedo


so that's where this start me looking up on the net to see what the problem could be.


But these Focus's seem not to be like the old ford and mazda that basically just kept on keeping on


I know we think we have advance with electronic controlled cars but when they go wrong it seems they really go wrong


hope you got it sorted please let us know what happened.


re read again


and still think its electrical short or component that's caused this from start to now and it has got persistently worse


to the point of total lock up of the drive train causing the mech to almost skid into another lane.


Im sure you would of explained how the car stopped and bump started but brakes and steering were still out


that indicates the car not being safe to drive till the problem is fixed and oil, spark plugs and a new air filter were never going to do the trick or even come close to what was causing a major black out of primary systems needed for safe driving being steering and braking.



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