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Help With 10 Yr Old Focus


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#1 Reluctant Ford owner

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post and I'm probably going to get flammed for it, but I'm hoping you'll take pity on me and help me out! :)

As you will see from my username, I'm not someone who is keen on Fords. I had one as a teenager, got so fed up with all its problems I went over to the dark side and have been there ever since (Japanese).

However...recently one of my relatives went to live abroad and thought it would be a nice idea to give me as a "gift" to use (ie keep in good order for them to use when they visit), a 10 year old diesel Ford Focus with 130+ k miles on the clock. They told me it was in good condition. But, it has a lot of issues...

1) Starting with the trivial...the rear tailgate would not stay open, but fall on your head when least expecting. This was solved by fitting new struts from Fleabay for £15 inc delivery. Solved.

2) Poor starting. I think is likely to be the glow plugs. I have bought a set of Bosch ones and I'm waiting for the chance to fit them. Pending...but any advice appreciated.

3) Oil leaks. The main leak of oil occurs from the junction of a small plastic pipe with a metal connector to a plastic housing on the top right hand side of the engine (right hand side when standing in front of the car) The plastic pipe spilts into two pipes after joining a little circular plastic thing (sorry I can't be moer specific at this stage!) Need Advice... How can I sort this? What is it called, what does it do? It does not look like a normal type of pipe with jubilee clip.

3) Wheel nuts. There is a lot of noise coming from the suspension, so I thought I'd take the front wheels off and have a look. The nuts were extremely tight. I managed to get one wheel off ok, then on the second wheel, the official Ford wheel nut wrench that came with the car turned into toffee, no longer being of any use for its intended purpose and in the process rounding off the wheel nut (which was followed by much abuse of the Ford name and questioning of parentage). I eventually got the nut off but it is completely ruined. Any ideas of the best place to get a replacement? It's a bit special as it's not an open ended type and it's for alloy wheels. I don't want to spend a stupid amount of money on just one wheel nut and from what I've seen on the web, it would be cheaper to buy a second set of locking wheel nuts for the price of a toffee metal official Ford one.

4) Squeeling noise from left hand side of engine. When the engine is running there is a loud squeeling noise that changes with engine speed. Need advice... Could this be the water pump bearing?

5) Suspension noise. The car only recently had its MOT, however, there are many troubling clonks and knocks coming from the suspension, front and back. The front seems worst. When I go over a bump, there is a knock. When I turn the steering at low speeds there is sometimes a nasty loud clonk! sound. When turning right at low speeds it sounds like something is scraping and clonking. The rear suspension knocks when going over a bump in the road and the back end feels a bit skiddy in corners. As I mentioned, I took the front wheels off to have a look and all seemed ok, I could not see any movement in the drop links, lower ball joint, tie rod ends or bushes. This is my biggest concern as I don't want to be driving along and suddenly have the suspension fall apart. Need advice... should I replace the drop links/wishbones even though they seem ok? I've seen Meyle branded "heavy duty" drop links on the web, is it worth fitting them?

Sorry this post is so long, but that's my list of concerns for the moment and any advice is appreciated. I could easily spend 100s of £ on this wreck trying to sort it out, but I can't really get rid of it without causing offence to my relative.

Family...don't you just love them? :rolleyes:

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#2 Andy Dibley

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:31 PM

Hi and welcome!

First thing, be positive, you've been given a car, which sounds like it has a long MOT on it, for free. For that fact, you have a years worth of driving to be had. I know a few years ago I would've been pretty blessed to have that option.

Now going through your list. The only thing I would be concerned about is the front end knocking and scraping noise. This sounds to me more likely of a CV joint going.

Easy way to test, drive forward slowly and turn the car onto full lock one way. Then reverse again, slowly, turning the wheel full lock the other way. If you hear a bang or similar, my guess would be the CV joint is going / gone. That isn't a huge job, but can be a pain in the ar$e as you'll have to remove the pinch bolt on the strut and these are notorious for seizing up solid.

The rest of that list would be stuff that they invented a radio volume control for. If you don't wanna spend mega money, don't until you have to. It has a ticket for a year! Unless any of the noises develop into rendering the car undrivable you'll be good to go. Just keep an eye on the oil level and make sure the temperature gauge doesn't rocket.

I was 'gifted' a 2000 Mk2 Mondeo when my mum had enough of it, you would not believe the fun you can have in sheds. You've already got a bargain by not paying for it, so make the most of it.

Have fun!

#3 Reluctant Ford owner

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:07 PM

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the welcome and the advice about the CV joint.

I can see your point about the car being a gift horse, trouble is I'm not rich and I don't have much time to mess about in sheds (much as I'd like too...I'm still trying to build one in the garden, but the weather this year just gone has been so bad I've got no further than putting up the frame!) The thing that worries me most is the suspension stuff since I wouldn't want to have the kids in the car and then have something fall apart in a bad way, especially at higher speeds. The other thing is stuff always tends to get you when you least need it to or expect it...that job you've been putting off suddenly gets you stuck in the middle of nowhere when your mobile battery is flat... :(

Anyway, today I set about the glow plugs. Got 3 in ok but the end one I had to unbolt the plastic dipstick tube and shift it to one side. However, the whole thing came away in my hand from the engine block. The plastic fitting at the end had disintegrated. I don't think it was me, it was completely in pieces, not just sheared off (I suspect the people who replaced the last lot of plugs may have done it).

So the next question is, where can I get a replacement dipstick tube without getting ripped off by a main dealer? I could get a second hand one, but I'm a bit worried the plastic isn't designed to last that long, looks like it gets quite brittle when in contact with the hot engine block.

The other thing I noticed was that the intercooler was full of oil, is this normal?

I was right 3 out of 4 glow plugs were dead, Lucus brand. So that's one job done, but feels like I just opened a can of worms!

BTW, I managed to get another wheel nut from a scrappy, so at least that wheel should be properly secured now! :lol:

#4 Andy Dibley

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:49 PM

I agree completely, these things have a nasty way of catching up with you. But I must say, if I was in your position, rather than spending potentially shed loads on replacing every suspension component, spend about £80 and get the best recovery package you can. It won't fix your car, but will give you piece of mind that should something happen you'll either get home or get to where you're wanting to go.

I know this may not be seen as good economics, but so far, apart from insurance and a set of glow plugs, the car has cost your nothing and I guess is still running.

From my memory of having a 1.8 TD lump in a mondeo, the Glow plugs were a !Removed!, no other way of doing it apart from removing various parts of fuel system pipe work. For the dipstick tube, breakers yard or some online eBay breakers may be your best bit. If you go main dealer, you will get a hiding on the price, no doubt.

Again from memory on my TD, a bit of oil is common, especially with a well warn turbo. I know when I started out uping the performance on mine the first thing I did was remove the intercooler and give it a bath. The amount of crap that came out was unreal, I can only imagine it was struggling to pass much air. The clean did give it better throttle respone as I remember, but hardly made it a snorting turbo beast.

#5 Reluctant Ford owner

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 02:55 PM

I run a few cars so I've got top level personal cover for any car I'm in. But whenever possible, I want to avoid breaking down due to the inconvenience. I've only ever had to use it once and that was my own fault, I tried driving a car with a blown head gasket (which I knew was going). It was freezing cold, I didn't have my mobile on me and I was in the middle of nowhere. It took ages to get recovered and back home.

For now I've improvised with the dip stick tube. I heat welded another plastic tube inside the end and put a load of silicone sealant around it. I think the oil will be at low pressure in the sump, which is quite a long way down from the dip stick tube. So I'm hoping it'll be ok for now. I'll just have to keep an eye on the oil level.

I've found out what the thing is called where the oil is leaking from, it's the brake vacuum pump. I found a reasonably priced one on the web and have ordered it. Is it difficult to fit?

I think my next purchase will have to be a Haynes manual for this car!!

Today I checked the tyre pressures and was shocked to see how low they were. I've pumped them up to 32 psi which is what is written on the fuel filler cap flap and the knocking noises although still there are nowhere near as bad.

#6 Andy H Dibley

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

To be honest, as long as the tube is seated well in the block, I doubt you'll find it leaking oil. And generally in the sump it just gets thrashed around a bit, not under any pressure unless you have a piston ring gone.

Haynes manuals are a pretty good start. Just make sure you by the right edition, I can't remember if the Focus one is manual written around the Mk1 or the Mk1.5, most important things should be the same though.

Tyre pressures do help, but most probably wont be the cause of the knocking, as I wrote, either a CV joint or a bush somewhere is knackered.

Best of luck with it.

#7 FOCA

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:38 PM

.

The other thing I noticed was that the intercooler was full of oil, is this normal?


oil spray/ droplets from the crancase breather get sucked into the inlet (between the airbox and turbo) this coats the boost hoses with oily residue and it especially settles in the intercooler where the "gassy" oil condenses into liquid

is this normal? yes and no, the oil could simply be a build up of "normal" waste from the breather over 1000s of miles (some engines are worse in this way than others) or it could be an indication of cylinder/ bore wear "gummed" piston rings or worn valve guide/ seals

Some have diverted their engine breather and/ or fitted a catch - tank

this oily residue can mix with the carbon from the EGR valve forming an oily gunge

Best to block your EGR valve with a solid (no holes to let gasses through) stainless steel blanking plate

personally i would run the tyres with even more (a couple more) PSI = sharper "feel", better grip, better MPG (lower rolling resistance) but harsher ride (so its a balance) apparently the middle of the tyre traad can wear out but that never happens to me - strangely, i only wear the outside "shoulders"/ edges of my front wheels, whatever the pressure

nuff said

#8 Reluctant Ford owner

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:58 PM

Hi FOCA, thanks for the advice. Blocking the EGR is probably a bit advanced for me at the moment, but it's something to think about. I had another look at the intercooler. Most of the oil seems to have collected in the ends of the hoses, so I've just cleaned that out for the moment.

The braking vacuum pump has gone and is leaking oil into the various systems. I've got a replacement and will try fitting it next week (if the weather allows!) Any advice on fitting one of these pumps will be appreciated.

Fuel economy is not great, probably only about 35 mpg. But the intercooler fins were blocked and the tyres were quite low (25 psi), so we'll see how that goes.

I managed to get a dip stick tube off eBay for a few quid, so that's sorted now.

But last night I got into the car to drive home, turned the ignition and nothing. I thought "oh no, battery's dead" but gave it another couple of tries and it started like normal. Is the ignition key switch going?

I've also got problems with the front intermittant wiper. If I let go of the switch, the wipers freeze wherever they are. Is this another switch problem?

#9 FOCA

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

Off the top of my head only the engine breather - connected into the intake between the airbox and turbo compressor and the turbo (shaft) oil seal can allow oil into the inlet, to find its way to the intercooler

The brake servo pump is driven off one of the cams on the Mondeo diesel, it connects directly to the brake servo, i don't think it is connected to the engine breathers

in the "old days" , on a NA car, the brake servo was connected directly to the inlet manifold (no pump) this cannot be done on a turbo car as the inlet manifold is pressurised

The pistons have 3 rings, , from the top, 2 compression rings and an oil control ring

the crancase may become pressurised in a number of ways, (effectively the turbo boost pressue leaks into the crankcase), if the rings are Gummed or worn, if the cylinders are worn, if the valve guides or seals are worn/ burst, or if the head gasket is blown or leaking, on some cars the breather or PCV falve can also cause this

I agree, the Hanes manual is a worthwhile investment, and to make sure you obtain the right one (there may be several, similar ones)

The wiper switch may be worn, my dad uses a gallon of screenwash every trip, the more he cleans the windscreen(approx every 10 seconds) the dirtier it seems to get, his windscreen is scratched to blazes too, if the motors / switches fail prematurly, it would nt surprise me

there is a windscreen wiper "park" microswitch in the wipers which could be faulty, or it could be the switch in the stalk

I have lots of faults like that on my car, i call it "character" im happy the car gets me home - if stuff like that works its a bonus! (long term Ford owner) :lol:

#10 Reluctant Ford owner

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:12 PM

I have lots of faults like that on my car, i call it "character" im happy the car gets me home - if stuff like that works its a bonus! (long term Ford owner) :lol:


That's the thing about Fords...it seems as if everything is designed to self destruct after 100,000 miles, but parts are relatively cheap and there are a lot of people there to help. My other cars are Japanese and most things just work and don't go wrong. Sometimes things do go wrong, but then you are on your own, no instruction manuals and expensive spare parts. Why can't you have the best of both worlds? :rolleyes:

#11 Reluctant Ford owner

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 02:05 PM

Yesterday I had a go at changing the Brake Vacuum Pump. Very bad design from the point of view of getting the thing off. The worst thing was the bolt underneath the pump body. Pretty much zero access and could not use a socket. I used a ring ended spanner, but the 10mm bolt was stuck fast and with the only tiny bit of spanner movement I could use, it ended up rounding off the head of the bolt (yet more of the Ford Toffee Metal tm :lol: ) I ended up having to break the die cast body of the old pump at its lower end so I could then get a socket on the remains of the nut and get it off.

Then I tried to get the replacement pump on. But it would not go on. How easily should the pump meet the plunger and mate onto the side of the cylinder head? Does it need bolting down for it to engage properly? I didn't want to force anything and it's hard to tell what's stopping it from going on when there is so much stuff around that's in the way. I've taken off the dip stick tube and undone the breather hoses, but it seems to catch on another pipe going to the thermostat housing and also a box like thing which is probably something to do with the oil breather system.

Please help, car is in bits and I'm worrying I won't get it running again! :(

The replacement pump is made by RM, here's the link:

http://www.ebay.co.u...984.m1497.l2649

They told me it was the right one for the car.

#12 FOCA

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:09 AM

does the new pump look like the old pump? you probably gave your reg. no. or chaccis no. to make sure its the right part?

You may have to turn the engine over or turn the pump to get them to engage/ line up - look inside at the angle the "key" is sitting at - if you know what i mean

"Box that is something to do with the breather system" - Air filter? - may be easier if you take this off

Did you get a Haynes manual? - should give you step-by-step instructions

#13 Reluctant Ford owner

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

Hi FOCA, the pump looks the same as far as I can tell. I gave my reg no. and they said it was the right one. When the snow clears up I'll try turning the engine over and see if it helps. Would I be better off turning the engine by hand?

I noticed that the head gasket sticks out a bit just under the pump and the new pump catches on that. I've tried bending it out of the way, but it still does not seem to line up properly.

I looks like a simple rod from the head, there doesn't seem to be a key. It would be so much easier if the pushrod came straight out of the head, instead of going diagonally downwards.

I haven't got a Haynes manual yet. It looked quite straightforward, just a couple of bolts, but looks like I'll have to get one asap.

#14 Reluctant Ford owner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:35 PM

There was a break in the snow today, so I thought I'd give it another go. I found the pump fitted ok, but the bolts had to be tightened to pull it into contact with the head. The plunger from the camshaft seems to need to push a fair bit on the pump internals to get it to go on properly.

Tightening the bolts was where the real fun began. Stupidly, the bottom bolt is directly underneath the downward diagonally sloping body of the pump. You can't get a socket on it and it's a struggle to even get a spanner on it. I wanted to replace the crappy Ford bolt with a larger headed bolt so that it would be easier to get out again in future (the old one rounded off and got stuck) It was poor design to use an M8 threaded bolt with a small 10 mm head. But due to the space constraint, I had no choice but use the 10 mm headed bolt that was originally on the top hole of the pump, then use my nice new 13 mm headed M8 bolt on the top hole.

Even so, I still could not get the lower bolt tightened up. In the end I had to take the thermostat housing off the cylinder head, to give me a little bit more room. Of course, the housing was perfectly placed to gush water out into the open dip stick tube receptacle on the sump! Anyway, this allowed me with great difficulty to get the bolt reasonably tight on the pump. I hope the oil seal there will not leak (Did the gasket fall out when I put the pump on? Not sure, I hope not! I’ll have to check to see if it fell out somewhere!) :wacko:

So the pump is on, now I’ve just got to put the rest of it all back together and hope there are no leaks and that the brakes and cooling system work ok.

One of those jobs I wish I hadn't started! :rolleyes:

#15 jeebowhite

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:54 PM

RFO, let us know how it goes, look forward to hearing sweet success :)

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