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2008 Focus 1.4 Style Not Starting


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Hi All. My first post on the FOC forum so here goes.

We have a 2008 Ford Focus 1.4 Petrol which was purchased new from a main dealer that does not start.

It turns over nice and quick, sounds like it want to start but no joy.

This isn't the first time its done this.

First time we took (on the back of a truck) back to the main dealer.

They did their stuff and got it running. What they did was to upload some new calibration code to the ECU for hard starting, this fixed the issue for a good period of time.

Next time it failed to start I got it going (maybe a fluke) by pressing the accelerator pedal a few times then it sprung into life and drove it to the Ford garage. They had a look and could not find the issue and concluded maybe its the battery. But after that it was fine.

So, today (the car has been sitting on the drive for 3 days) the car wouldn't start.

Out with the multimeter and checked the battery voltage, 12.8V so I then tried a set of jump leads from my Land Rover 110 and got a reading of 13.8v, so I left the engine on the LR running to add some juice to the FF battery and with the engine running I tried again. Still no joy.

The lights on the dash don't go dim while cranking over.

Checked the fuses under the bonnet, all OK. Re-seated the relays and no joy.

I was thinking of checking the Cam belt is still OK but haven't done that yet. The car has done <25k miles.

The FF is 4 months out of Warranty :-(

Any ideas people ?

I am thinking some OBD software and suitable interface could be called for. (but thats another topic)



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Hi John.

One thing I always check is are the plugs sparking when its spinning over.

Does the immobilisor light flash when you are trying to start it.

One other trick i use is to disconnect the battery for a good half hour and then try it again. (not ideal every time you need to go out)

as the battery is holding a good charge (12.8 Volts) I dont suspect it is the battery.

Its Either :-


Coil Pack-HT Leads-Plugs

Hope this helps

Jamie :-)

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Cheers for the reply.

I did think of whipping a plug out and cranking it over but wasn't sure if it would blow something. I've done it on older carb engines.

As for the immobiliser light flashing, I don't think it does. Is that the engine management light that comes on when you turn the ignition on?

I could try the removing the battery trick, but will I need to re-enter any codes etc?


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Hi John

If your radio has a keycode you will need to ensure it is noted down in your manual pack.

That is all you need to worry about.

The Immobilisor light is a red led inbetween the speedometer and tachometer.

O * O

You can still check the spark by this method but please observe the usual safety rules as electronic modules pack a massive punch if you touch it when spinning it over (or an assistant turning the key)

Failing this do the following.

Turn off the ignition

Hold in The TRIP reset button

While holding the Trip reset button turn the ignition key to position two and eventually you will see TEST

release the trip reset but leave the ignition on.

You can cycle through the tests by pressing the trip reset until you get to DTC 123 for example If there are DTC CODES please note them down and reply on here

Jamie :-)

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is that with the engine off (12.0)

That is a bit low. (engine off etc)

turn the engine over and tell me what the lowest Voltage figure comes up. (obviously dont flatten the battery or i will be in trouble)


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Yes that's without the engine running. Tomorrow my plan is

remove timing belt cover just in case.

check for a spark

do the test again and see what voltage is shown and then hook up the jump leads and see what's shown

Ring the Ford garage and talk nicely to them and see what they say and then maybe call out the RAC as we have home start.

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Yes the engine is still turning over on the starter.

if its still turning over ok then i would say the timing belt is more than likely still intact, if not the pistons would be smashing off the valves. What is the battery voltage when cranking? If it was a battery issue then i would have said it wouldn't even turn over..

i would be checking for fuel and spark next

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The cam belt was outside thought.

I am more with a lack of spark issue or fuel/

What's the best pipe to remove to check fuel delivery ?

when you turn the key until the lights come on, can you hear the fuel pump priming?

i would turn it over for a few seconds then pull one of the plugs and see if you can see the fuel before i would pull any pipes off.

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Checked the battery voltage using the dash board trick and the voltage was 12.1. Checked the battery voltage with a meter and showed 11.9v

When cranking the lowest I saw the voltage was 9.x V.

Out with the jump leads again. With my jump leads connected I was still only getting 12.03 volts at the battery

and not 14v that was on the main LR battery. A quick fiddle with the leads the voltage on the Focus battery went up to 14v.

So did the dash boards trick again and that show 13.9v.

Cranked it over and the engine sounded like it want to start, so dipped the accelerator pedal and cranked again, engine coughed into life, sounded a little lumpy and some smoke came out the exhaust (un burnt fuel?, certainly smelled like it).

Gave the car a few more revs and held it at 3900rpm,. smoke cleared and then let it idle.

Engine ran smooth.

Turned off the engine and did a dash check and that showed battery of 12.9v and no DTCs :-)

Tried restarting and engine fire up the first time.

I also notice that there was some water that had pooled in the trough where the spark plug rubber caps are.

So in short a bad battery, ECU seeing low voltage and not allowing engine to start ?

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