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Random Engine Malfunction Warnings


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#1 ratpie

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 03:55 PM

I own a Ford Focus TDCI 2.0 mk2 (2009) and the mileage on it is about 12,000km. I have been getting a warning on my dashboard saying "Engine Malfunction" for a while now. I cannot figure out why this happens because it seems to happen randomly. Every time this warning pops up I will also hear an alarm, but I can still drive normally, and if I step on the brake (about 15% pressed) the warning message disappears and everything goes back to normal. It freaked me out the first few times, so I took it to Ford and told them about my problem, and all they did was do an OBD check and told me everything is normal.

The intervals between each warning seems to be completely random too, sometimes I don't get the warning for a full week, and other times I get the warning more than six times in a short drive. I have no idea what might be causing this problem and I would be very thankful if someone helps me out!

My car has had a few minor modifications only. I've changed the mufflers, the air filter, and the wheels. I don't think these modifications could have caused the problem. In fact, I think I started getting the warnings before I changed the muffler.

In addition, most of the driving I do in under heavy traffic jam because I live in Bangkok (Thailand), so maybe this might have affected the DPF's regeneration? I am open to any suggestions, thank you all very much!

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#2 jeebowhite

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 08:18 AM

What exactly is the warning on the dashboard? if you can give a message from the trip computer when the error is there, and which lights are illuminated that will help. Also if you can pull over with the error still on screen, and access the trip computers on board diagnostics (top thread on the focus forum) you may see the error code...

#3 ratpie

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 11:43 AM

What exactly is the warning on the dashboard? if you can give a message from the trip computer when the error is there, and which lights are illuminated that will help. Also if you can pull over with the error still on screen, and access the trip computers on board diagnostics (top thread on the focus forum) you may see the error code...


wow I wasn't expecting a reply this quick. Thank a lot for the reply!
All it says on my trip computer is "engine malfunction" with a hazard logo and a siren-like noise goes off. Apart from that I don't recall seeing any lights being illuminated. I've uploaded a picture of it for you to see.

And like I said before, when I get the warning everything still functions normally and when I step on the brakes, the warning message will disappear. I've used the on board computer to check for any messages and it says nothing. I've also tried running the diagnostic mode to look for any DTC codes: also nothing. So the only thing I can try is to operate the trip computer while the warning message is still there (before I press on the brake), but if I remember correctly I am not able to use the trip computer while the message is showing.

This is my first car and I really like it, please let me know anything that I can try! thank you so much!

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#4 jeebowhite

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 12:12 PM

hmmm, not great. I cant see what the light is thats illumited between fuel and temp. However, you can always set the car off in diagnostics mode before you start driving, then if an error occurs, and you get something light up, you can continue to drive as safely as possible and circulate through to the DTC Codes... that might get you somewhere.

The fact the engine "malfunctions" yet continues, sounds to me like a sensor giving a duff reading... The fact the brake pedal is pushing the alert, I wonder if its a short out somewhere...

Try sticking the card in diagnostics mode, before you go out for a drive, if possible, try to circulate through the diagnostics, otherwise, if you can let the car roll to a halt on the motorway hard shoulder without losing the alarm, then go through everything...

this is a weird one...

#5 ratpie

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 01:12 PM

hmmm, not great. I cant see what the light is thats illumited between fuel and temp. However, you can always set the car off in diagnostics mode before you start driving, then if an error occurs, and you get something light up, you can continue to drive as safely as possible and circulate through to the DTC Codes... that might get you somewhere.

The fact the engine "malfunctions" yet continues, sounds to me like a sensor giving a duff reading... The fact the brake pedal is pushing the alert, I wonder if its a short out somewhere...

Try sticking the card in diagnostics mode, before you go out for a drive, if possible, try to circulate through the diagnostics, otherwise, if you can let the car roll to a halt on the motorway hard shoulder without losing the alarm, then go through everything...

this is a weird one...



Thanks for your suggestion, I will start my car in diagnostic mode and hope for the warning to pop up the next time I drive. lol. I will let you know if I have any progress over the coming weeks.

By the way, I've just read about a software update for my trip computer, I might take it to the Ford guys and have them update my car, maybe it'll eliminate the problem. Thanks again for your help!

#6 johnH

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:26 PM

at 12k you shouldnt be getting the DPF Fault just yet (if fitted). i can relate to this...i used to get this randomly aswell. untill i changed the fuel filter. i figured it was fuel related as when i got the fault i tried booting the car and it would slightly kangaroo at around 80mph...

im not sure what fuel quality is like in thailand...but maybe your fuel filter has committed it. cheap to fix...cost me 10 for a new one.

#7 jeebowhite

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 03:39 PM

Its the fact that the engine continues to work and doesnt stall that is throwing me, thats why im not too sure its the fuel filter!

#8 Sara Fiesta

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 04:09 PM

I had an engine malfuction warning pop up and i took my TDci 1.6 to ford they found nothing major wrong they did an update so it worth a try it's free under warranty.

#9 johnH

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 05:39 PM

Its the fact that the engine continues to work and doesnt stall that is throwing me, thats why im not too sure its the fuel filter!


mine never stalled during the time. just kangaroo'd a little. fine at slower speeds though.

#10 merlin

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 08:12 PM

Are you or have you recently put shell fuel in??

#11 ratpie

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 06:38 AM

Are you or have you recently put shell fuel in??



I have used shell v-power a couple a times before. why? do you not recommend it?

#12 ratpie

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 06:42 AM

at 12k you shouldnt be getting the DPF Fault just yet (if fitted). i can relate to this...i used to get this randomly aswell. untill i changed the fuel filter. i figured it was fuel related as when i got the fault i tried booting the car and it would slightly kangaroo at around 80mph...

im not sure what fuel quality is like in thailand...but maybe your fuel filter has committed it. cheap to fix...cost me £10 for a new one.



Thanks I will give that a try! I don't know much about the fuel quality in Thailand, but I know that my focus creates a lot of black smoke when I boot it. And Since I've got dual exhaust fitted on my WHITE car, I have to wash the rear of the car every week!

I think you might be right, I really think its down to the type of fuel I use as well.

Also, I don't think I've experienced any "kangaroo"ing

#13 jeebowhite

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 08:20 AM

mine never stalled during the time. just kangaroo'd a little. fine at slower speeds though.


aaaah, mine was just completely fubare'd then! lol!

Good old Fuel Filters...

#14 ratpie

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 08:45 AM

I've fixed the problem! It turns out there is a connection problem with the brake sensor of my car!

#15 jeebowhite

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 12:47 PM

I've fixed the problem! It turns out there is a connection problem with the brake sensor of my car!

Glad it was a simple! Enjoy your new found comfort and renewed trust!

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