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Ford Focus Mk1 Common Problems Thread


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Hi guys,

Just wondering if anyone who either owns or has owned a MK1 or MK1.5 Focus could help us out and list any common faults or things to look for when purchasing one of these cars?

Basically what I am trying to do is eventually put together a comprehensive buyers guide so that if people come to out site looking for info on common faults on the MK1 then they will be able to find everything they need on our site.

Please could you add any common faults you know of on this car and pictures if you have them

We will let it build up for a while and then get it turned into a decent buyers guide.

Thanks for your help :)


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Do we have enough room lol

1.4 is underpowered and best avoided they all suffer from leaking rear lights so check the boot for damp the pollen filter is another common problem so check the passenger front footwell for damp

the central locking can play up locking and unlocking the doors usually due to water removing the top torq screw on the offending door and spraying wd40 at a downwards 45 degree angle can help solve it

many are fitted with incorrect batteries so any electrical issues check the battery is a silver calcium one

Missfires are common due to the coil pack a very common issue giving uneven idle and poor running best to change the plugs leads and coil pack

The cluster can go faulty mainly to poor soldering or damp look for the display light not going out or random lights coming on and going off for no reason

The 1.8 has an issue with the vacume hose at the rear of the throttle body collapsing easy to locate its the only one at the rear with a bend in it this causes poor running poor idle rev the car whilst observing the hose you will see it being sucked together replacements are ford only and easy to replace its best to wrap several layers of tin foil round the new one and secure with a cable tie to orevent the heat destroying it.

the gearbox speed sensor is prone to failing symptoms are the car cutting out when slowing or stopping the speedo drops to zero whilst driving

Smart charge faults are easy to check for enter dash diagnostics by holding the trip reset down then whilst held down start the car it will show test each press scrolls through search for bat it should show 14.4 v at idle with no electrics lower than 13.4 with no electrics indicates a fault

Uneven idle if light is nothing to worry about and normal due to the low idle soeed of the car and the way it balances the emissions

Rear trailing arm bushes go after 5 years or so not easy to do youreself as the whole rear end bolts are usually ceased have these inspected before buying or test drive and feel for wandering at the rear under cornering

2keys there should be 2 keys with the car most only have one so haggle if thats the case blank keys with remotes are cheap enough most mobile locksmiths will come out supply and cut the key for around £100 best to have 2 as the keys wear and can fail to start the car

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Good point rust missed that one no experience of the diesel so cant comment on them rear arches rust badly as do the bottoms of the doors check electrics and aircon if fitted works listen for engine noises loud tapping etc check when the cambelt was done ignore the 10 year 100k rubbish youll be told many rarely get that far

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The wiring loom going into the hatch from the roof has a tendency for the insulation on the wires to get brittle with time, this results in the wires snapping and shorting over, causing problems with the boot electrics.

Common symptoms are-

  1. Rear wiper not returning to it's park position on the intermittent wipe function.
  2. The high-level (third) brake light does not function.
  3. The boot lock opens itself when the engine is running leading on later to the boot lock not releasing when the interior button or keyfob button are pressed due to the lock solenoids burning out because of the constant power via a short circuit.
  4. Rear demister element stops working.
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Should be said moat of these are relevant to the mk2 and 2.5

final one i can think of is the pcm fault where the dash display does not switch off and remains lit constantly cluster faults ecu faults and pcm faults can be fixed by bbareman for a fraction of what ford will charge

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Should be said moat of these are relevant to the mk2 and 2.5

final one i can think of is the pcm fault where the dash display does not switch off and remains lit constantly cluster faults ecu faults and pcm faults can be fixed by bbareman for a fraction of what ford will charge

I will be looking to put together a MK2 and 2.5 guide soon too :)

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Tdci prone to DMF failure.

Sudden cut-out and failure to restart usually Camshaft position sensor.

rear wheel bearings

front spring breakage common

mk1.5s EAT front dip bulbs - leave the bottom bolt out of the headlight. I used to argue with this, but it was also a Ford directive to 'technicians'.

any bulb replacement on RHD nearside means taking the whole light out of the car. Driver side can be replaced by using a mirror and a torch!

4:2 flash front crash sensor under radiator top panel

very prone to front brake wobble/judder even with gen Ford discs

one or other of the 2 grey relays packing in and wipers not parking properly

more when I think of them!

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mark 4 run engine up to normal operating temperature and check that the heater both heats and cools as the Heater control valve is a common failure across the hole Ford range don't know if it is all models but worth checking anyway.

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  • 3 weeks later...

  • 1 month later...

Hi, i have owned a 99 plate mk1 1.6 for 5 years best car i have ever had always had ford but the focus is the best if any thing happened to it i would have another one tomorrow

it add belt dun 80k now dun 124k the only thing i have dun since i have had the car is rear trail arm bushes water pump battery anti roll bar drop link abs senser.

brakes tyres oil change but that's just normal.

never had a coil pack.

it as never let me down yet .

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have mk1 focus 51 plate 1.6 estate and I'm just enquiring I've got a little problem the centrel locking clicks on and off wile driving and the speedo works then just drops I'm just wondering if any one mite know the problem is and how to fix it thanks

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The central locking problem is caused by water ingress into the drivers door central locking module and is quite common.

Liberal spraying with WD40 helps but in the end a new module is usually needed.

The speedo problem is also common.

Next time you're driving have a look to see if the odometer stops increasing, this is a good symptom of a failing speed sensor (VSS), you may also find as the problem reoccurs that you also feel a distinct loss of power when driving.

This usually happens as time goes by while the VSS fails more often.

The VSS is not an expensive part but can be a pain to do, it's stuck quite firmly into the top of the gearbox casing and held in with a fragile pin.

I strongly recommend you buy a VSS and replacement pin at the same time as the pin usually snaps or mangles on extraction-


Before looking to replace the VSS I strongly recommend you check the plug and cable for damage and corrosion as it is pretty exposed to dirt, water and wear'n'tear.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all!!!

Please help!

My Focus 1.8 Zetec is 2007 driving me up the wall - but not properly! The git keeps messing about.

The best way to describe it is to say that it looks like I cant drive in 1st gear, it flies forwards then nearly stalls. When in idle the revs move up and down by themselves, sometimes they go so low the battery sign flickers up, then revs itself back up again!

It also mis-fires.

It really is making it crap to drive n im starting to get bad habits such as slipping the clutch!! Which obviously I dont want to be doing!!

Cant anybody tell me wtf it is!!

😓 Thanks!

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