Stophen

Ford Focus Mk2 1.6TDCi Auxiliary Belt Tensioner & Coolant

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Hi All,

I have been changing my timing belt (including the water pump, pulley idler & tensioner) and my auxiliary belt. The instructions in the Haynes manual have kept me right but now I have run into a couple of problems and I was hoping someone could enlighten me .TomsFocus & Albert27 were very helpful when I posted a few weeks ago when I was preparing for this service.

So, problem No.1.

I have run the vehicle for about 20 minutes and towards the end a 'whining' noise accompanied by a small amount of smoke started to come from the vicinity of the auxiliary belt. Would I be right in thinking that the original auxiliary pulley assembly tensioner (Ford part 1690293 ?) can't cope with the tightness of the new belt, causing friction to build up (creating the smoke) and will need to be replaced, or is it something else?

Secondly, my coolant. I drained the coolant at the beginning of the strip down and then decided to flush the system before refilling. I thought it would just be a question of filling up the expansion tank with 5ish litres of water each time, letting the engine run / cool down and drain the system. The problem I have been having is that the expansion tank is getting full after about 1.5litres of water. The water flushing out of the system is becoming cleaning each time I perform the process but it doesn't seem to want to except more than 1.5litres of water. Will this problem disappear when I start to fill up with my 50/50 mixture and bleed the system or is there something more peculiar going on?

Looking forward to hearing from you guys, Stophen.

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Hi @Stophen, if you tag us with the @ symbol before our names we'll get a notification in future. :smile: 

It is likely to be the aux belt tensioner causing your issue, definitely worth removing the aux belt and running the engine to check the noise is no longer there without the belt present.  As said in a previous thread I had the same issue with a failed aux belt tensioner!  If you give it a spin without the belt on you should hear the bearing sound rough like a rollerskate if it's faulty.

Did you definitely drain out somewhere near 5 litres of coolant originally?  There are parts of the cabin heater circuit that won't drain which is why you'll never get the full amount out, but it should be at least 4 litres.  Assuming you did drain a larger amount out than is going back in, there's going to be an air lock in the system.  Be very careful running the engine with only half the necessary coolant in it.  Squeezing the radiator and heater hoses can help force air around and ultimately out of the expansion tank.

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Thanks @TomsFocus for this (including the IT support).

I’ve ordered the new auxiliary belt tensioner, but will turn the engine over to see if the noise ceases (I never though to do that - idiot).

I’ll give the hoses a squeeze and see what happens. When I’m flushing the system how much water roughly should I be putting into the expansion tank?

I also read to run the heaters for a short period, would you recommend this?

Cheers, Stophen.

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3 hours ago, Stophen said:

Thanks @TomsFocus for this (including the IT support).

I’ve ordered the new auxiliary belt tensioner, but will turn the engine over to see if the noise ceases (I never though to do that - idiot).

I’ll give the hoses a squeeze and see what happens. When I’m flushing the system how much water roughly should I be putting into the expansion tank?

I also read to run the heaters for a short period, would you recommend this?

Cheers, Stophen.

If you're running it with plain water to flush it, it should be the same amount as you'd use coolant, brim it first and then keep it somewhere between max & min after initial level drop.  The actual amount you put in will depend on how much originally came out though.

Running heaters is an interesting question really.  Personally I do keep the heaters on max (but fan speed on low) while bleeding out of habit from older cars.  It does two things, firstly makes sure the heater matrix is fully open so any air can get out, and secondly you'll know it's not bled correctly if the heaters don't get hot.  However...the Mk2 Focus runs a constant hot matrix so it can't be 'closed off' anyway, and the diesels have an electric heater that kicks in until the coolant heats up so you can't tell if it's bled by the heaters either.  TL;DR - yes leave the heaters on max with fan speed on low. :smile: 

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On modern cars the cooling system needs to be vacuum filled (this is also prescribed by Ford). This is the only way to fill the cooling system without introducing any air in the system. When properly vacuum filled there is even no need to top up the cooling system after starting the engine.

This engine does not have any bleeding valves to bleed the cooling system. This basically means that there is no way to bleed the system except from running the engine and hope it will purge all air out. This can however take quite a while and if airpockets become trapped at the wrong location it can even cause partial overheating of the engine. 


Flushing the cooling system with water is not the best idea in my opinion. The complete cooling system including the heater hoses and heater core has a coolant capacity of approximately 9 to 10 Liters. By draining the cooling system from the drain valve at the radiator approximately 5 Liter will come out. This basically means that about half of the coolant is still in the system. When flushing with water the coolant becomes dilluted with water and it is pretty difficult to get the water out of the system again. It will take several coolant changes to flush all of the water out of the system.

I Always flush the coolant system with coolant (especially on the ECOboost engines). The type of coolant Ford prescribes is pretty cheap anyway. It usually takes 10 to 15 Litres of coolant to flush the system.

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Quote

Thanks @TomsFocus & @JW1982 for your input.

I wasn't aware my Mk2 1.6TDCi Focus didn't have a bleed screw @JW1982, I guess Haynes messed up there..?

As you can probably guess I am new to a lot of this stuff, so I appreciate your help & patience.

I'm a little confused from what @JW1982 said regarding coolant capacity, as the manual states a capacity of 5.8 litres (including heating / air con)..?

As I've drained the system already (removing approximately 4-5 litres of mixture) and tried to flush the system with water (adding / removing about 1.5 litres each time - 3 times) I need to come up with a plan to complete this job. I have approximately 6 litres of Ford coolant available to me.

At present the three flushes I have tried have produced diluted pink mixture so I guess all the original coolant isn't out of the system yet.

So, how does this sound for a plan:

1. Squeeze all the pipes leading from the expansion tank to the radiator to try and force out as much air as I can.

2. Fill the expansion tank with as much water as I can (our water is VERY soft and the house pipes are only four years old so it is pretty clean).

3. Run the engine for about 5 minutes (or until the electric heater turns off).

4. Let it cool for about 5 minutes, remove the expansion cap and empty from the bottom of the radiator.

5. Repeat this process until I can empty about 5 litres of clear water and then fill with coolant.

As @JW1982 mentioned that my car was original vacuumed filled so could I help the process by using my wet & dry shop vacuum to remove the remaining coolant / air?

Also, when I get to the stage of refilling can I check that to start with I add 2.9 litres of pure coolant and then top it up to the maximum line with water? I figure the remaining water in the system, plus the correct amount of coolant and then filling it up to maximum line with water will create the 50:50 mixture?

Thanks again for your time, Stophen.

P.S. @TomsFocus is it ok to run the engine without the auxiliary belt to carry out this process as I'm waiting for the new tensioner to arrive?

 

 

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1 hour ago, Stophen said:

is it ok to run the engine without the auxiliary belt to carry out this process as I'm waiting for the new tensioner to arrive?

You'll be OK running the engine without the auxilliary belt on but just bear in mind your battery won't be getting charged. . . . .if it's in a good state you'll probably be OK.

I considered flushing the coolant when I did my Timing belt but opted not to bother in the end.  I basically did the following.  Emptied the coolant (this was before I'd started the timing belt job),  re fitted the drain plug, filled the coolant reservoir to the max line.  Left the coolant reservoir cap off and took the car for a drive.  Stopped once it was up to temperature and the level had dropped substantially, topped up with ready mixed coolant, re fitted coolant cap, job done.  Car has been fine ever since.  The reason to leave the cap off is to allow the air to surface and escape when the car's thermostat opens effectively bleeding the system of air.  It's not completely fool proof but has worked for me well.

I was new here and clueless about cars 3 years ago so you're in good company - ask away!  We're all still learning.  A true master is an eternal apprentice , getting a bit philosophical now lol 🙂

 

@TomsFocus  side note on my mk3 that I thought was losing coolant - turns out it wasn't, I just never bled it properly the first time!! Been same level now for a few months* 😄

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Hi @Albert27,

Thanks for this, sounds like a good plan

Just to confirm when you say:

29 minutes ago, Albert27 said:

re fitted the drain plug, filled the coolant reservoir to the max line

you filled it with pure coolant or 50:50?

Also, how long does it roughly take to get the car up to temperature?

I guess I need to get it to the stage where I can put in around 5 litres of anything before I take it for a drive. Any tips on how to allow the system to except more fluid?

Cheers, Stophen.

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14 minutes ago, Stophen said:

Hi @Albert27,

Thanks for this, sounds like a good plan

Just to confirm when you say:

you filled it with pure coolant or 50:50?

Also, how long does it roughly take to get the car up to temperature?

I guess I need to get it to the stage where I can put in around 5 litres of anything before I take it for a drive. Any tips on how to allow the system to except more fluid?

Cheers, Stophen.

50:50 - ready mixed (i think they call it summer coolant, the pink stuff anyway) bought from eurocarparts.  If you've bought concentrate maybe mix it with water in a container ready.

The 1.6tdci is notoriously slow getting up to temp but you have the time of year on your side.  You'll probably find just idling it will not suffice so take it for a drive and take coolant with you!  I would think 10 mins and a bit of revving will do it but just don't go anywhere too busy or stray too far from home with that alternator belt off! 😄 You'll know you've hit temp as the temp gauge will be dead centre and the level will have dropped by a fair bit.

I can't really understand the issue you're having as I don't recall any problems on mine when I did it. It must just be air locks as Tom has suggested, maybe there was already a lot of air in there already and not too much coolant.  With that in mind, you may have to do as I've suggested in bleeding the system and repeat it a few times.  So fill it up to max, up to temp with cap off, top up, repeat until the level doesn't drop any further.  Hope that makes sense.

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Thanks @Albert27, yep that makes sense and sounds like a plan.

I've got the tensioner coming on Monday so I will wait until then to try it out.

I never thought about running the system without the cap off (mainly because of the severe warnings in Haynes) but it makes sense that the air has to escape from somewhere!

Cheers, Stophen.

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Oh, @Albert27 I forgot to say that I did notice that the water temperature gauge was sticking firmly on the left hand side. I guess that meant I wasn't getting it up to a hot enough temperature to flush the system sufficiently? 

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3 minutes ago, Stophen said:

Oh, @Albert27 I forgot to say that I did notice that the water temperature gauge was sticking firmly on the left hand side. I guess that meant I wasn't getting it up to a hot enough temperature to flush the system sufficiently? 

Correct.  Were you just idling it on the drive?  Probably why but it shouldn't take too much time in these warmer temperatures if you take it for a drive. .I do appreciate though you're in Scotland so it could take a while longer even in summer 😋

Always happy to help 🙂

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Ha Ha @Albert27, yeah we don’t always get the best of weather, especially on the west coast!

I was just idling it so that probably explains why I couldn’t get much fluid into the system.

Hopefully this will work!

Thanks again, Stophen.

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1 minute ago, Stophen said:

Ha Ha @Albert27, yeah we don’t always get the best of weather, especially on the west coast!

I was just idling it so that probably explains why I couldn’t get much fluid into the system.

Hopefully this will work!

Thanks again, Stophen.

Let us know how it goes....

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Will do @Albert27.

Oh, last thing. Can I top up the levels with the engine running, or I do I need to wait for it to cool down first?

Cheers, Stophen.

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8 hours ago, Stophen said:

Will do @Albert27.

Oh, last thing. Can I top up the levels with the engine running, or I do I need to wait for it to cool down first?

Cheers, Stophen.

I did it with the engine off and cooled down a bit, probably best practice as coolant gets hot and you don't want it splashing back or steam scalding you 🙂

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10 hours ago, Stophen said:

Will do @Albert27.

Oh, last thing. Can I top up the levels with the engine running, or I do I need to wait for it to cool down first?

Cheers, Stophen.

You should be leaving the cap off with the engine running to bleed the system, the air can't get out otherwise, this may explain why you've got some major air locks!  When the level drops, add more coolant, it won't be massively hot at that point, just don't let the level drop lower than the reservoir otherwise it'll be sucking in more air that you're trying to remove.  You should be squeezing pipes with the engine running to help move air/water around, squeezing them beforehand won't do anything, any air you move will just move straight back when you release the pipe lol.

JW does mention vacuum filling which is the OE procedure and is great if you have access to garage tools but not possible with basic DIY mechanic tools.  Basically the air is sucked out to create a vacuum in the system, the vac line is then switched to a coolant line so the vacuum in the system sucks only coolant in, no air at all.  There's no way to replicate this at home for free, the simple procedures still do the job for most of us... :smile:   

As for the coolant mix, I can't be bothered with mixing concentrate coolant in the correct quantities, I just buy the ready mixed stuff which is so much easier lol.  You could use an empty (and rinsed) screenwash bottle to measure half and half first.

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Ah @TomsFocus, this is where I have been going wrong then!

I blame Haynes entirely for this (and my inexperience) as in the 'System Flushing' paragraph it tells you to replace the filler cap before starting the engine. 

I guess I will have spend quite a bit of time topping up the expansion tap tank while squeezing the pipes (with the engine running) then?

Oh, just to confirm that the filler cap should be off when draining fluid out of the radiator drain plug?

Cheers, Stophen.

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Yep that's right, probably 15 mins or so depending on ambient temp.  The stat doesn't open until 83c so temp needs to be above that.  

Yes, you should definitely have the cap off while draining to avoid a vacuum effect at the top.

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Hi @Albert27,

Great thanks!

I managed to get it all sorted and the coolant indicator is sitting just shy of the middle mark (i'm keeping my eye on it).

Onto clay bar and polish next with some paint repair required.

Thanks again for all your help,

Stophen.

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