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Diesel Stalls At Junctions After Long Journeys.


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#1 JamesP

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:25 AM

Just purchased a 2007 1.8 TDCi Zetec Focus (39500 miles on clock) and during my first 3 months of ownership I`ve had 3 occurrences of an issue which is proving difficult to pinpoint a solution.

The situation:
After coming off of a motorway/dual carriageway after a long period of higher speed driving (legal obviously) and stopping at a roundabout/junction, the car simply stalls and will not restart. It just dies and attempts to restart fail with what feels like no guts/fuel/spark when the engine is cranked.
After a few attempts the dashboard info-panel reads “Engine system fault” but not error codes are recorded and the starter motor still cranks but no life.

In two of the occurrences, I left the car to sit for 5 minutes and then retried with success although it was a strained explosion into life and not how it usually starts. On the third occurrence, I called the AA who towed me to a lay-by, by which time the car started with a plume of black smoke from the exhaust. The AA diagnostic showed no fault codes and all engine temps/rpm/fuel pressures were normal. The AA speculated that the fuel sensor/fuel system was at fault and highlighted a plug connector on the fuel sensor which may have not been sending signals to the management system.

The car has been fully serviced from new and in all 3 occurrences, the fuel level in the tank was low but not vapours (reading around 70 miles on the range).

The car has been back to the garage that it came from but they could not find anything wrong and explained that without fault codes, there was not much they could do.
Other than these 3 occasions, the car runs very well – averaging 63mpg on motorway, starts first time-every time and is smooth and great to drive.

So, anyone experienced something similar or has any ideas as to what might be causing this infrequent nuisance?

Cheers, James.

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#2 H3lly

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 12:09 PM

It sounds very strange that either the AA or the garage couldn't find any fault. The EGR valve on those diesels are known to act up causing them to smoke a lot and lack power. I would suggest taking matters into your own hands and cleaning it with a can of Wynns EGR 3 cleaner. There is a good video tutorial on youtube showing the procedure. You will need someone to keep the revs up a bit the car whilst you spray it into the valve.



#3 alz

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 12:24 PM

this could be the fuel filter, it all ways a good idea to change this, as they block-up very easy, if you have had some bad fuel..also Check the Air filter as well if it is blocked and the car comes to idle speed the maf sensor could make it stall if it has not got the right amount of air flow passed it, its worth a look.

#4 catch

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 04:26 PM

this could be the fuel filter, it all ways a good idea to change this, as they block-up very easy, if you have had some bad fuel..also Check the Air filter as well if it is blocked and the car comes to idle speed the maf sensor could make it stall if it has not got the right amount of air flow passed it, its worth a look.


I'd agree with the last two posts, but look at the filters mentioned in this post. Filters are always a first port of call, because they are there for a reason but maybe been neglected by previous owners.

#5 JamesP

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 05:02 PM

Thanks for the tips, just ordered me a Haynes manual (always do this when a car has its 3rd birthday!) so i`ll locate the various suggested areas and have a tinker!

Cheers, James.

#6 JamesP

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 05:43 PM

Continuing with the investigation, replaced the air and fuel filters as advised and I`ve attached photos of what I found..... not what I was expecting what with x2 Ford service stamps in my book!!!! Never seen an air filter and fuel filter in such a state, surprised the car ran at all! Have ordered some Wynns Diesel injector and EGR cleaners just to make sure of the other possible causes to the original problem.

So now that I`ve disconnected the fuel system, I need to bleed the air out as the car will not start and was wondering what the best/easiest/common way to do this is?

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#7 mikey007

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 10:26 AM

I have exactly the same problem with my C-Max 1.8 Tdci which is June 2007 with 40k miles and 3 mds which I purchased 2 months ago.

The car has been driving really well but has a tendency to cut out easily at junctions. Having recently taken it on 2 long high speed motorway journeys it has cut out both times having just left the motorway on the return journey and has been very difficult to restart. It seems to be a case of leaving the car for 5/10 minutes when it reluctantly restarts. I had to call out the AA last time but cancelled the call once it started.

Always starts first time on a cold start and the car drives beautifully apart from this problem.

Any advice anyone?

#8 ooGQoo

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 04:49 PM

Hi Guys,

I've got a Focus 1.8 TDCI with 66k on the clock with the exact same fault. Did anyone get to the bottom of the fault because I'm starting to pull my hair.

It left my wife stranded in the middle of a motorway round about the other day, scared the hell out other and now refuses to drive it (which I don't blame her)

I've replaced the fuel and air filter, run redex throught the fuel system and have blanked off the EGR valve and it still cuts out :-(

Can anyone help please.

#9 ooGQoo

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 06:53 PM

Vehical speed sensor???

#10 simcor

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Posted 07 March 2015 - 03:36 AM

I would try unplugging your MAF for a while and see if the problem goes. Also just being picky here but diesels are by detenation of the fuel being compressed patrols have a spark to ignite the fuel. No spark for tractor combustion.

#11 ooGQoo

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Posted 07 March 2015 - 07:55 AM

A MAF sensor wouldn't stop it from starting tho! If the sensor fails the ECU would revert to base settings.

#12 Dee_82

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Posted 07 March 2015 - 09:05 AM

A MAF sensor wouldn't stop it from starting tho! If the sensor fails the ECU would revert to base settings.

what about if it was passing erroneous data back to the ECU, if its covered in oil the air flow wouldn't cool it so the ECU wouldn't have accurate data,

cleaning my MAF cured a rough idle and gave me an extra half a pound of boost pressure. amazing what a little piece of hot wire can do.

#13 ooGQoo

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Posted 07 March 2015 - 09:29 AM

Are you referring to the MAF sensor or the Boost Absoloute Pressure sensor (the small sensor on the metal piping just before it goes into the inlet manifold)?

The MAF sensor shouldn't get anything on it due to all engine breathing pipes etc are after theMAF sensor, but if you mean the BAP sensor then yes it's a very common fault the majority of Diesel engines as that gets covered in moist, carbon/oil from the engines breathing/venting system and yes you should see great results after cleaning it.

I've already had mine out and carb cleaned it.

For the first time today an engine system fault has come up go I plugged in and got P0504, Brake switch A/B correlation. As its a two part brake switch 1st goes to operate the brake lights and 2nd goes to ECU.

Will replace today!

#14 Dee_82

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Posted 07 March 2015 - 09:48 AM

Nope, definitely the MAF, the MAP sensor ive not cleaned but was where I saw the increase on a before and after run.

MAP maxing at 35.8PSI before, cleaned, 36.4PSI.
MAF at idle had fluctuating 8-12 g/s before, steady 10g/s after.

Ill need to give the MAP a clean, I had assumed it wouldn't need it due to how it works but I guess it cant hurt! :)

#15 ooGQoo

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Posted 07 March 2015 - 10:57 AM

Cool, well thanks for the heads up. Il pull my MAP sensor out today and give it a clean too 👍

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