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'engine Malfunction' Message But No Warning Lamp


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Hi all,

First post here for me. I'm having a spot of bother with my Focus. Hopefully someone may have some thoughts, but if not then no worries - it's good to share!

2009 Focus 1.6 TDCi

73,000 miles

I've recently started getting an intermittent 'engine malfunction' message on the trip display a few seconds after start-up, but no accompanying warning lamp on the speedo. Engine sounds and runs fine, as best I can tell, with no noticeable reduction in power.

Took the car to my local independent garage, who plugged in the diagnostic laptop and reported a DPF regeneration failure. Advised that I take the car for a 30 minute blast on the nearest motorway, getting the revs up nice and high, but having now completed a couple trips where I've pushed the car more than usual, the warning message is still appearing (but still no engine warning lamp).

Now, I know all about the principles of driving a DPF diesel, and fortunately for me I'm not a town driver. I do a 40 mile journey twice a day, five days a week, and at least 20 minutes of each journey is at 70mph (revs around 2,300 in top gear). I've been doing this commute since I bought the car from new, so it strikes me as odd that I would need to assist with DPF regeneration after 3 1/2 years of long trips, with no warning messages appearing until now. Unless, of course, the DPF unit is throwing in the towel...

I've read conflicting reports about DPF life; some claim they need replacing around the 75,000-100,000 mark, others claim they don't need replacing at all if the driving style is appropriate.

I'll be giving the car another good run tonight and if the message still appears tomorrow then I guess it's back to the garage for a closer inspection. Will report back any findings in due course, but any thoughts welcome in the meantime.


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The DPF is unfortunately replaced at the 75k miles mark. Its known as the £1000 service, for the wonderful cost that Ford share with the owners...

With regards to the warning, it sounds like you could be getting a reading from the sensor indicating that its blocked, however, the EML light wont come on until such a time as the car is pretty much in Limp Home Mode.

It sounds like unfortunately you need the DPF replaced. you could buy a non Ford DPF and get it fitted by an indie, perhaps then just get ford to reset the counter (after you top up the EOLYS fluid?

The latest Focus' are the DPF's that with care and sense, dont require replacement I believe.

As for the revs, you want to be getting higher revs, say 70 in 4th gear, you want to be 3 -3.5 or ideally closer to 4 (closer to the red line the better!) as this ensures a constant source of heat, and helps, 2500 revs is not too laborious for a diesel.

Have you tried the "Dashboard trick" thats posted as a sticky in the focus forums? you can read the error codes that your car has stored, and you can use this to help identify the problem?

Hope this helps!

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Many thanks for the reply, all useful info.

Wish I'd read up a bit more about DPFs before purchasing - I wasn't aware of the '£1000 service'! Definitely sounds like a job for the local garage to help soften the blow to the wallet.

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yeah, its unfrotunate that it is something that is a bit of a shock, I too was caught out by it, along with many others here!

You can buy a JML kind of DPF filter that does the jobbie, and you can replaced for a lot less...same for the EOLYS fluid topup...

I would say google "Focus DPF Filter" and see what you can find, anything has to be better than the cost Ford charge!

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