Akarl

HELP!! Overheating / Power loss / Powertrain light

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Hi all.

Help desperately needed.

I bought a 54 plate 1.8 L Focus zetec about a week ago and it had been fine, a nice smooth drive in fact. This weekend it started playing up. The temperature needle climbs steadily over about 10 minutes of normal urban driving, but which time it's in the red. Then the powertrain and engine management lights come on and the car loses power so it's at a crawl, it also makes quite a shudder / rattle when this happens. If I then switch the ignition off and on it will run for a minute or two until doing the same. If I leave it to cool down the cycle repeats.

I've tried idling it and it idle's fine with the temperature needle in the middle for more than 10 minutes. Once i put it in gear and rev, the temperature will build rapidly over a couple of minutes.

I'm not sure what route to go as I am on an extremely limited budget. I've thought of changing the coolant out but the drivetrain / engine management light and power loss leads me to to wonder if it's a deeper issue.

Any and all help appreciated.

Cheers in advance.

Charlie.

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Take the thermostat out and see if it does it again (it might take a bit longer to get to temperature as there's nothing to regulate the coolant flow). Don't continually drive it though as it is or you'll just warp the head and break more stuff.

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Thanks. If it doesn't do it, what's the fix? Replace thermostat? ... If it does what would you suggest? Change coolant or is that a waste of time?

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Why not go back to the people you bought it from?

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Ah yes I missed that you've just bought it. Of it was from a garage it should really be up to them to fix it or give you a refund (by law for the first 30 days).

I doubt a coolant change would do it (unless you can clearly see in the tank that it's gone brown/rusty). Water is water at the end of the day and it's thermal properties doesn't change over time.

If removing the thermostat fixes it then yes new one needed, but removing it is a temporary fix and a but of a long shot. Otherwise check to make sure you're not losing coolant/ having a smoky exhaust.

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YOG I bought it very cheaply off a mate but he's not aware of any similar issues (and as noted it was fine for the first week or so). He was pretty honest about issues he'd noticed himself.

It had been stood for several months before I bought it though so I'm not sure what could have developed over that time.

Luke4efc - thanks, I'll try that. No leaks whatsoever that I've noticed and exhaust seems ok.

Anyone else have any further ideas in case that doesn't work?

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14 hours ago, Akarl said:

I've tried idling it and it idle's fine with the temperature needle in the middle for more than 10 minutes

If you leave it idling do the fans come on? Also, when you say 'urban driving' does this mean queuing at traffic lights etc.? What happens if you take it for a run on clear roads? It might just be the fans have stopped working.

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OK I have investigated further and found 2 issues.

First issue: I am an idiot. I should know to do my initial checks carefully but I didnt. Engine was hot so I checked the fluid levels by looking at the outside of the bottle. It seemed at the right level.This was actually a stain. It had zero coolant left in it when I checked again.

Second issue. I definitely have a serious coolant leak. It's coming from over the other side of the engine to where the bottle is located. I'm guessing it's a broken hose or pipe. I found this as when I refilled it with coolant it literally lost half of it within a few minutes. After a 10 minute drive home it was all gone again.  I've attached pics of where it seems to be leaking from. They aren't brilliantly clear but I'm wondering if you guys can advise me where to start looking and what the likely culprit is. The leak is under the black plastic part in pic 2. In the first pic you can see where it's leaked down. Same story for pic 3.

Thanks again in advance.

 

Charlie.

engine1.jpg

engine2.jpg

engine3.jpg

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Wash up your engine and make it dry first, then add water to find leak.

Maybe you have the same trouble:

 

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Thanks Cooperf , I'll give that a look. 

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That looks like where the leak is from. Does anyone know the correct name for that part?

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