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Focus 2.0 Tdci Intermittent Starting Issue

focus diesel tdci 2.0 tdci ford focus starting starting issue intermittent starting issue

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#1 RobK

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 05:56 PM

Hi guys

 

I've been having a bit of trouble for a while now with starting.

 

It's really intermittent, although it has become progressively more frequent.

 

It will happily crank over and sounds as if it's about to start then fails. This can repeat quite a few times (10+ in the worst cases) until it starts. If it's taken a few goes to get it running then you will get some white smoke from the exhaust - this is the unburnt fuel, so it is definitely injecting fuel even though it won't start...

 

As I said this has been going on for a while, maybe 6 months now. Initially it was a case that the problem may happen a couple of times a month and it would always start on the second attempt. More recently it's happening much more frequently, and regularly requires quite a few attempts before it will start.

 

I've had in on the diagnosis machine (I'm quite lucky and have free access to one). No error codes, nothing, nada. Even had the diagnosis machine on it during starting while it was having the issue and everything is as it should be (i.e fuel pressure is good, all sensors are a go). The diagnostics also confirmed that the engine is perfectly balanced when running, no misfires or anything like that.

 

There is not a single issue while the car is running, it's purely a starting issue. Fuel economy is as good as ever, runs perfectly and the speedo rev counter are accurate.

 

I've gone ahead and replaced both the camshaft and crankshaft sensors now but this hasn't helped at all and it's still happening.

 

I'm confident it's nothing to do with the glow plugs (it started fine mostly during the winter) and the issue happens both during hot and cold.

 

As in, the issue is so intermittent that it can occur after a two hour cruise on the motorway when you stop at a service station, or in the morning. It's seems unrelated to hot or cold ambient or engine temperatures and how long you've left it sitting does make a difference either. Wet or dry doesn't make a difference either.

 

I'm all out of ideas and can't think what else could even begin to cause the issue. It appears to be electrical, but what else is involved in the starting process that could affect it?

 

Any ideas / thoughts / experience of the same issue are all welcome!

 

Just to be clear it's a 57 plate 2.0 TDCi Focus with around 70k on the clock.

 

Thanks

 

Rob



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#2 cobalt01

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 10:45 PM

My 1.8tdci is doing something similar. Had new glow plugs, battery, fuel filter (twice), everything been checked (electrics, starter, injectors, pumps, plugs etc) and all coming back fine. Last time it wouldnt start was due to the flung nut was loose on the fuel pump and was letting air in and the system wouldnt bleed. Since then if i take car on a run where get's warm its usually fine but if i don't then it starts and stall's or wont start at all until finally it starts. It getting that way where im like is it going to start or not.

 

Edit: My problem started after got my MAP sensor changed (got a used one). Ordered new one to see if thats what is causing it. I'll let you know how it goes after get it tuesday.



#3 IINexusII

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:30 PM

remote in the keyfob or immobiliser? it could be failing to start due to that and then throwing all the unburnt fuel  out the exhaust once you finally get it running



#4 RobK

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:25 PM

Hi guys

 

Thanks for the responses.

 

I think we probably have different issues cobalt01, I only ever have a problem getting the thing started. When it's running it's as should be.

 

Thanks for the suggestions though - let us know how you get on with yours!

 

I'm confident the immobiliser / key fob won't be too blame. I recently lost my main key and had a new one cut and coded. So the issue has been consistently inconsistent throughout using the original main key, the spare and the new key as well!

 

As it stands the issue does seem to have eased off recently. In my desperation whilst clutching at straws I've stripped down the EGR, not too bad a build up of carbon and nothing that wouldn't be expected, cleaned it all out and while I don't think it made a blind bit of difference I haven't had any trouble starting lately (it had eased before I touched the EGR).

 

Will see how it goes for the next few weeks, but if nothing else the frequency has reduced significantly.

 

As expected the diagnostics never shows anything, and I still haven't a clue as to what could possibly be causing it.

 

The only thing I would hint as is the engine just getting a bit coked up. I've been giving it a bit of the Italian tune up and while the issue still occurred a few times it does appear to have made the difference.

 

Anyone ever had problems like this?

 

Thanks

 

Rob



#5 jeebowhite

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:27 PM

sounds really weird, the fact its not throwing any error codes sounds like a mechanical issue.

 

I would suggest you start off by checking the hoses and make sure there are no breaks in the hoses.

 

The difficult start seems to suggest that the air / fuel / pressure ratio's are not quite correct, and therefore a split hose could be part of the problem, otherwise I would check the fuel filter and ensure that its in good condition, and replace if necessary. Also the fuel filter housing should be checked to ensure that its not damaged, cracked, or split anywhere. These would not cause any error codes to be present but would certainly affect the car's starting.

 

When was the car last thoroughly serviced?



#6 cobalt01

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:31 PM

I've had car serviced already after bought it. It's in the garage again, has won't start at all (second time this has happened). Last time ford said my flung nut on fuel pump was letting air in and wasn't self bleeding. So they tightened that, changed fuel filter (second one had done) and re charged battery (new battery). Costs me 303 for it and said car was fine again. Lasted a week before troubles started again and about a month before went same way. Now its starting and dying again. Sometimes priming after starting and my lights even flash on and off on start up. The light switch is set has Off. Garage where got it from thinking may be electric problem so they looking into it.

#7 jeebowhite

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 12:42 PM

certainly sounds electrical now that you mention flashing lights, normally they flicker and you hear clicking in the glovebox if its a low battery, but if the headlights are flashing, then thats worrying, I fear you may have the suspected diagnosis Ford applied to me - a new wiring harness, for the CMAX it was going to cost me just over £500 and no guarantee of fixing the problem, I would prepare yourself for the same sort of warning!



#8 cobalt01

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 01:13 PM

Luckily electronics are covered under warranty. They have so called come back all clear last time it happened before went to ford. When find out what causing my issues will let you know. I love the car but it's starting being more trouble than it's worth.

Edit: got a call today from the garage. The electrics guy as said alternator is playing up but has it's a new alternator (about 4 months old) maybe due to keep trying it and also the camshaft but not sure which part. Get new part Monday so may get it started afterwards.

#9 RobK

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 01:07 PM

Hi jeebowhite

 

I think my issue is electrical not mechanical.

 

This is based on the fact that there is never any issue while the car is running and the starting issue is so intermittent.

 

I understand what you're saying about the air / fuel mix and compression but if it were a mechanical issue I would expect to find poor running and it's anything but.

 

The car was well serviced recently and has always been well serviced regularly.

 

I personally can't understand how a diesel engine with fuel, crank and compression is failing to start like this is!

 

All the hoses are fine (I've gone through them all).

 

Fingers crossed the issue seems to have disappeared for the time being, but I'm not holding my breath.

 

I'll keep you updated with any progress.

 

Hope you get somewhere with your issue as well cobalt01

 

Thanks

 

Rob



#10 cobalt01

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 02:55 PM

Mine might off been the camshaft all the long. Hopefully yours be sorted soon. I am tempted to sell mine soon has had few things go wrong with it since had it.

#11 RobK

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 07:13 PM

Everyone loves a resolution! So here's mine...

 

Turns out it's the anti-stutter / anti-shudder valve that has been causing all of my woes.

 

Basically it's like a carb on the intlet manifold. It closes when you turn off the engine to prevent it stuttering as it desperately tries to cling on to life.

 

In simple terms it prevents any air getting into the engine.

 

Well mine has been sticking closed, meaning that the next time I try to start the vehicle there's no air getting into the engine, hence it won't start.

 

The vibrations of cranking the engine a few times causes the valve to come lose again, open, and allow the engine to start.

 

There's a vacuum hose which is used to close the valve, and it's spring loaded so it should always return to being opened.

 

While the spring is still good for some reason it's possible to push the valve so that it becomes stuck against the inlet and the spring can't return it to open.

 

Bit surprised it's taken so long to find, but that's due to the extremely intermittent nature. Often there was no issue so the only time you knew was when it wouldn't start, at which point the vibrations from the first cranking attempt had often freed the valve so you couldn't find anything when checking.

 

I've now got a couple of things I can do / try:

 

 - When it doesn't start I can squeeze the turbo hose to cause enough suction to free the valve (might be a useful test for someone experiencing the same issues)

 - I can remove the vacuum hose so that the valve never gets closed, this does have the side affect of introducing a bit of shuddering when turning the engine off, noticeable, but nothing serious

 

I'm now going to try sanding the edges of the valve down a bit so that it doesn't get stuck, there was initially some gunk in the inlet which I thought was the cause of the sticking, but even cleaned out I can get the valve stuck closed with my hands.

 

Hope this helps someone else!

 

Thanks for all of the suggestions.

 

Rob



#12 jeebowhite

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:47 PM

very good find Rob, well done. What was the total cost of the investigation and repair?



#13 RobK

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 06:30 PM

Thanks Jeebo!

 

Well I did go ahead and buy a Crank Shaft Sensor and a Cam Shaft Sensor, in total that was about £50...

 

...but on the plus side I do now have two very lightly used sensors that I could sell.

 

Besides that it's just cost my patience and sanity for a few months!

 

Unfortunately where I am at the moment I don't have any access to decent tools so I'm yet to strip it down and fix it properly... I'm expecting to be able to fix it when I've got it in bits but worst case scenario I'll either disable it's operation (it's much more a convenience thing that anything mechanically important) or replace the valve unit.

 

 

Rob



#14 shamus1

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 08:28 PM

my 2.0 tdci valve will stick open too if I push it right open and if I push it shut but car starts fine but it hunts a bit when cold only start up  could this valve be doing this?



#15 shamus1

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 02:00 PM

Everyone loves a resolution! So here's mine...

 

Turns out it's the anti-stutter / anti-shudder valve that has been causing all of my woes.

 

Basically it's like a carb on the intlet manifold. It closes when you turn off the engine to prevent it stuttering as it desperately tries to cling on to life.

 

In simple terms it prevents any air getting into the engine.

 

Well mine has been sticking closed, meaning that the next time I try to start the vehicle there's no air getting into the engine, hence it won't start.

 

The vibrations of cranking the engine a few times causes the valve to come lose again, open, and allow the engine to start.

 

There's a vacuum hose which is used to close the valve, and it's spring loaded so it should always return to being opened.

 

While the spring is still good for some reason it's possible to push the valve so that it becomes stuck against the inlet and the spring can't return it to open.

 

Bit surprised it's taken so long to find, but that's due to the extremely intermittent nature. Often there was no issue so the only time you knew was when it wouldn't start, at which point the vibrations from the first cranking attempt had often freed the valve so you couldn't find anything when checking.

 

I've now got a couple of things I can do / try:

 

 - When it doesn't start I can squeeze the turbo hose to cause enough suction to free the valve (might be a useful test for someone experiencing the same issues)

 - I can remove the vacuum hose so that the valve never gets closed, this does have the side affect of introducing a bit of shuddering when turning the engine off, noticeable, but nothing serious

 

I'm now going to try sanding the edges of the valve down a bit so that it doesn't get stuck, there was initially some gunk in the inlet which I thought was the cause of the sticking, but even cleaned out I can get the valve stuck closed with my hands.

 

Hope this helps someone else!

 

Thanks for all of the suggestions.

 

Rob

have you tried it yet mate.



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