focus86

Focus Mk3 Estate Ecoboost 1.0 125 lack of power

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Hi all,

I've typed out an introduction here which has ended up being quite long, so if you want to skip it scroll down to 'Problem' below for the reason I'm posting...

I've been driving Fords for most of my driving career - I started with a Fiesta, I had an Escort at one point and more recently I've owned two Ford Focus Mk1s (post facelift), the first a dark grey 1.8 petrol LX and the second a silver 1.6 petrol Zetec. Both of them I owned for about 3 years and did about 20,000 miles with very little mechanical issues other than normal service items. Great cars, drive really well. I actually preferred the 1.6 engine as the power difference to the 1.8 is barely noticeable but the economy was quite a lot better.

Alas, both my Mk1s were written off by some idiot crashing into the back of me. After the first crash I just went out and bought almost the same car. This time around, the damage was quite minor and I could (and probably should) have bought back the car from the insurer for only £300 (including re-delivery), but decided to take the grand they offered me and get something a bit newer with bluetooth, cruise control etc.

I decided to get an estate as I no longer live with my folks so the extra carrying capacity would be handy, but I wanted a petrol as I do quite a lot of short journeys as my commute is only 3 miles. After looking at various makes and models, I read about the Mk3 with the EcoBoost 1.0 125 engine and thought that it would be ideal - it had all the gadgets I wanted in the price range I was looking in, the tax was cheap, it had good economy but still should have had enough power.

I located some on AutoTrader and went hunting. I test drove one which drove nicely, but had a lot of water under the carpet in the boot and under the rear seats, which I suspected indicated a problem with the seals or a leaking hose so I didn't buy that one.

The second I looked at was a 2012 Titanium X so top of the range with all the gadgets, with 80,000 miles on the clock. Quite a step change from my Mk1 Zetec! The interior and exterior was about as perfect as a 7 year old car can be. I was quite impressed, and gave it a fairly brief test drive. It seemed a bit slower than the other one I had driven, and I had a bit of a gut instinct was that something was wrong, but I was so impressed with the rest of the car I ignored it and bought it anyway. The dealer seemed very genuine, not pushy and the kind that would look after you if something went wrong. The dealer insisted on servicing it before they handed it over as it was due, so I paid my deposit and returned a few days later to pick it up. The garage was a fair distance from home so I would be driving it down the motorway and a mix of other roads to get home.

Problem

As soon as I left the dealership, it became clear to me something was odd. It had very little acceleration or power, especially uphill. I seemed to be needing to floor the accelerator quite a lot. At first I thought I just had to get used to the turbo engine and it required me to use the gears a bit differently and drive at a different rev range. But even at high revs it didn't seem to have much pull. The tyre pressure warning system then came on, and I thought that a flat tyre might be the problem. I needed to fill up anyway, so I stopped at a garage just before the motorway, filled up, pumped up the tyres and set off again.

It definitely wasn't anything to do with the tyres! Getting onto the motorway it took an age to get up to 70mph. I got there eventually and put it into cruise control, in 6th gear. But every time I got to more than a gentle  uphill slope, the cruise control couldn't maintain 70mph and the speed started dropping. I would then change down into 5th, or even 4th, pushing the revs back up, but it was really difficult to accelerate back up to 70mph. At one point I even changed down into 3rd gear, doing about 60mph and about 5,000 revs, and I still couldn't get the speed up. It was actually a bit dangerous - at one point I had just overtaken at 70mph someone who was doing about 65mph, but hadn't pulled back in yet and then we got to a hill and I couldn't maintain 70mph anymore, forcing them to undertake me while I was being overtaken on my right.

I had a lot to do that weekend and did a couple of hundred miles in various roads and conditions and it was the same - the power was atrocious and the car couldn't maintain speed going uphill at faster speeds. I hadn't driven a car this slow since my 1994 Fiesta 1.1!

I contacted the garage at the next opportunity and they agreed to take the car back and have a look at it, giving me a loan car in the meantime. There were also a couple of other minor issues I asked them to fix. I went back today to get the car, and they've fixed the minor issues but they don't think anything is wrong with the car. The dealer drove the car with me in it and demonstrated how he thought it was fine (but not on a motorway or dual carriageway so we didn't go up to 70mph).

I'm not convinced, and let him know this. I've driven it home today and it's the same, just no fun to drive on the motorway at all. I hate having to slow down from 70 as it just takes an age to get back there and I can't just sit and cruise along in 6th gear like I expected. The fuel economy is not that great either - I am only getting on average 40mpg. I was getting 38mpg in my Mk1!

To be fair to the dealer, they haven't told me to do one, they have agreed to get a Ford garage to look at it and will get back to me to arrange this. But I'm a bit worried they're going to turn round and say nothing's wrong. There's nothing obviously wrong to back me up - no engine management light, no smoke, no funny noises and other than the lack of power the car drives really well. But it's just overall a horrible driving experience with no power.

Can someone who's driven a Mk3 estate with this engine please reassure me that I'm not going crazy here? I had expected to be able to cruise at 70mph in 6th without changing gear, and I expect to be able to accelerate from 60 to 70 or 80 fairly quickly, especially if I change down to 5th or even 4th gear! Flooring the accelerator even at low speeds and higher revs, I never feel that kick in the pants when the turbo kicks in. It is just gutless. My dad has driven a Fiesta with a 1.0 EcoBoost - lighter car obviously, but he sat with me while I drove it and agreed it was very slow in comparison. I even tested the 0-60. I'm not Lewis Hamilton and it was a slight uphill, so I would accept if it wasn't quite the 11.5 seconds official figure - but it took 28 seconds to get to 60! TWENTY EIGHT! That was with just me in the car and the fuel tank nearly empty, and the speedo's version of 60 which will be closer to 55. I'd be terrified of driving it on the motorway with 5 people and a full boot!

I'm not that mechanically minded (but I'm happy to change fluids and service items myself with a Haynes manual) but my suspicions are a problem with the turbo, or the electronic throttle. The car also has a towbar fitted - and I've read online that the turbo on the EcoBoosts from this era can get very hot after being driven for long distances under load, and to prevent damage to the turbo the car should be idled for 15-20 seconds or so before being switched off. Later models were fitted with an extra coolant pump which operates after the engine is switched off to prevent this. So that gives me suspicions. The dealer say they had a look and checked the tube hoses etc and couldn't see anything wrong, but they've not really taken it apart and looked properly.

Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any thoughts, suggestions or reassurances! I just want to be happy with this car, like I was with my two Mk1s before they were taken from me by bad driving from other people...

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Hi Matt, I have a 2012 Titanium 1.0L Ecoboost 125ps estate and I can certainly confirm that what you have described is abnormal. Mine will cruise comfortably at the legal maximum in sixth and will accelerate from that if necessary for safe overtaking. This is still true with three people and a bootful of holiday luggage athough I do notice the extra load. I think your suspicions re. the turbo are probably well founded (by the way the turbo on this engine doesn't really 'kick in' because its a very small, light, high-speed unit so comes in quite progressively). It's unlikely to be the throttle as you said the cruise control couldn't maintain speed and this bypasses it when engaged. Did the garage not check for any stored codes?

I was under the impression that models specified with a towbar automatically got the electric coolant pump but perhaps this was an aftermarket towbar.

I would definitely keep pushing your case and don't get fobbed off.

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I have a 2013 125 HP 1.0 ECOboost Hatchback and have also driven 1.0 ECOboost wagons a few times. The performance described by the topicstarter is definitely not normal. The 125 HP version of the 1.0 ECOboost usuallay has more power/torque than specified by Ford. 130+ HP / 200+ Nm of torque is no exception. With these figures the car should perform fine.

My car accelerates to 180 KM/H (112 MPH) in 6th gear (fully legal on the German motorway) without any problem. Above this speed the car accelerates considerably slower. The highest speed I drove with this car is 210 KM/H (130 MPH). 


Regarding the electric coolant pump:

Focus MK3  1.0 ECOboost vehicles that are produced before 05-05-2014 do only have the additional electric coolant pump if  the car has a factory fitted towbar. In case a towbar is installed afterwards the additional electric coolant pump must also be retrofitted as instructed by Ford. Vehicles produced after 05-05-2014 do have the electric coolant pump as standard.

If the car has a towbar (both factory fitted or fitted afterwards) the additional electric coolant pump must also be present. However a lack of knowledge about this subject is a well known reason why people install a towbar afterwards withoud installing the additional electric coolant pump. In this case it is important to check whether the car has the additional electric coolant pump or not. 

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Thanks both. 

Mike, the garage didn't mention checking for any stored codes, but hopefully that's one of the first thing the ford garage will do. 

I think the towbar may be aftermarket rather than factory fitted as it looks quite different to the one in the owners manual. So that's something worth looking into. 

 

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Matt, I have a 1.0 Focus estate 125 and although it's a big car it's pretty quick, only performance mod I made was installing a K&N air filter.  It will do 85mph up hill in 3rd and gets there very quick much to the amazement frustration of some BMW Audi and Merc drivers...😀  Cruising in 6th at 70 on a motorway should be no problem at all.

So there is definitely something wrong with your new purchase.  It would be interesting to see what fault codes come up because I'd imagine there must be some in there.

Only thing I can think of is maybe its still running on the original CAT at 80k and it's failing which would severely reduce performance?  Definitely needs an obd2 reader to read any codes and look into IM readiness & live data to find out what's going on, hope you get it sorted soon.

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Thanks Gavin - interesting, hadn't thought of the cat as a potential cause.

The dealer has booked it into a Ford garage next week so I'll have to wait til then, but thanks all for your replies - I'm not going to accept being told there's nothing wrong with it! 

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The Ford specialist has now looked at it and diagnosed the issue as a split diaphragm on the turbo recirc valve. Surprise surprise, it's not just my imagination, there's a problem with the turbo as I suspected! 

Waiting for the part to be delivered and fitted and will hopefully get my car back in full working order later this week. Looking forward to seeing how its actually meant to drive with a working turbo! 

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On 8/20/2019 at 10:24 AM, focus86 said:

The Ford specialist has now looked at it and diagnosed the issue as a split diaphragm on the turbo recirc valve. Surprise surprise, it's not just my imagination, there's a problem with the turbo as I suspected! 

Waiting for the part to be delivered and fitted and will hopefully get my car back in full working order later this week. Looking forward to seeing how its actually meant to drive with a working turbo! 

Keep on at them mate until you're happy.  I had 18 months commuting from Barnsley to Milton Keynes via various hire cars (many of which were MK3.5 Focus) and can definitely vouch for the performance of the 1.0 125 BHP engine.  Once it's running properly I'm sure you'll be well happy with the performance.

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Well done Matt, glad your perseverance payed off and looking forward to hearing from you that the car drives as it should do.👍

And when its all sorted please do have a look at this thread about upgrading the coolant hoses to MK 3.5 to safeguard yourself from a potential disaster: https://www.fordownersclub.com/forums/topic/96502-ecoboost-degas-hose-question/#comments

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Got bad news and good news.

The bad news - the replacement recirc valve didn't fix the problem. The dealer got the car back and it was apparently running completely different to before, but then the dealer drove it down the road to test it out and the problem happened again. Back it went to the Ford specialist, and they realised the entire turbo needed to be replaced. So I am still without the car. 

The good news - when I get the car back later (hopefully later this week) it'll have a brand new Ford turbo in it... 

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On 8/27/2019 at 9:23 PM, focus86 said:

Got bad news and good news.

The bad news - the replacement recirc valve didn't fix the problem. The dealer got the car back and it was apparently running completely different to before, but then the dealer drove it down the road to test it out and the problem happened again. Back it went to the Ford specialist, and they realised the entire turbo needed to be replaced. So I am still without the car. 

The good news - when I get the car back later (hopefully later this week) it'll have a brand new Ford turbo in it... 

Excellent, keep us all posted mate 👍

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Well, I got the car back on Friday last week. It seemed OK around town, but I wanted to give it a drive on the motorway before passing judgement. This weekend I needed to make a long trip so this was an opportunity to test it properly. 

Unfortunately not good news - it's still not driving properly. Still struggling to hold 70/80 on uphills, barely any acceleration even dropping down to 4th.

Bizarrely, at one point after I had stopped at a services, the car felt normal for about 5 minutes. Plenty of power and I accelerated to nearly a ton going uphill. I could feel the power, especially above 3000rpm. I finally got a sense of how the car is meant to drive! However a short time later I could feel the car lose power again and it went back to being slow for the whole trip. 

An engine fault warning came on on the way home, but has now gone again. I'm not happy at this point and considering asking for a refund. God knows what's wrong with this car. I'm also wondering if it might be a worth seeing if I can connect a cable to the ecu and get one of those apps to see what fault codes there are. I suspect the dealer may deny there's a problem again. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, JONATHAN_11_80 said:

You need to reject this car they have had a chance to repair it and failed.  I suspect this engine has overheated in the past and has been damaged. 

Yes, that's what I'm thinking. They've actually had the car back twice if you count the first time where they claimed there was nothing wrong. I think overall I have had the car in my possession less than 30 days if you stop the clock when the dealer had it back, so I still have the short term right to reject. I need to check all the dates and write a letter... 

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OH such a shame!  😖  Yeah definitely the right choice to go for a full refund, in writing and ASAP.  Hope they don't try and f*** you about.

It would be interesting to know what the fault codes are now.  When the car lost power after its good 5 min run could you hear/feel misfiring - running on 2 cylinders?  The reason I ask is because I recently had that and it turned out to be an electrical fault with the injector harness.

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2 hours ago, 0shiny1 said:

OH such a shame!  😖t would be interesting to know what the fault codes are now.  When the car lost power after its good 5 min run could you hear/feel misfiring - running on 2 cylinders?  The reason I ask is because I recently had that and it turned out to be an electrical fault with the injector harness.

I didn't hear or feel anything that noticeable. I was holding the pedal steady and it just felt like I had lifted off slightly, and then from that moment on it was back to being slow and unresponsive. It feels sort of like only the first half of the accelerator pedal travel does anything and pressing it any harder makes no difference at motorway speeds. The engine generally feels smooth and it's very quiet inside the car.

I have ordered a code reader from amazon so will see what that says. In the meantime I have just sent a letter to the dealer... 

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2 hours ago, focus86 said:

I didn't hear or feel anything that noticeable. I was holding the pedal steady and it just felt like I had lifted off slightly, and then from that moment on it was back to being slow and unresponsive. It feels sort of like only the first half of the accelerator pedal travel does anything and pressing it any harder makes no difference at motorway speeds. The engine generally feels smooth and it's very quiet inside the car.

I have ordered a code reader from amazon so will see what that says. In the meantime I have just sent a letter to the dealer... 

Interesting, sounds to me like an electrical/electronic fault and as you say the engine still sounds smooth so you'd think it would rule out a major engine problem.

I wonder whether it could be the fly by wire accelerator sensor failing or a wiring fault between the sensor and ECU.  If you can understand ROBOT talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBRJdzrGUA4  (from about 1.48 to 2 mins in that video Mr robot says about APP failure being detected by the ECU and putting the engine into limp mode).  Not saying this is a definite by any means but something else they should investigate because the sensors can go bad, had experience of this before on a Transit Connect, different symptoms though. 

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Well, I plugged the ODB2 reader into the car and drove it around for a bit, and there are a whole bunch of codes showing. Furthermore while driving it around, the engine fault warning came on again. I need to spend some time looking up all these codes, but from what I can see so far one of them is engine overboost, and one of them is turbocharger wastegate solenoid A malfunction. So seems there is still something wrong with the turbo. 

Current drive cycle:

C0840 (06)

C0740 (00)

B1440 (00)

B1440 (21)

C2240 (01)

C2240 (01)

Others:

P0040 (21)

P0040 (05)

C3340 (F0) 

B1250 (F0) 

P0339 (2F)

P0243 (13)

P0134 (22)

P1328 (21)

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For want of something better to say, they've sold you a lemon.  I would insist on a full refund and return the car, there are far too many faults with this vehicle, I'd consider it unsafe to drive, you'd have to argue they should never have sold it in the first place.

Just from the easy to look up generic codes:

https://www.obd-codes.com/p0040

https://www.obd-codes.com/p0134

https://www.obd-codes.com/p0339

https://www.obd-codes.com/p0243

https://www.obd-codes.com/p0328

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