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Strange Smell Coming From Focus Zetec S Diesel 1.8!


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Hi All

I would like to start by saying any help is majorly appreciated, Ive had a strange smell coming from my car (Focus Zetec S 1.8 Diesel) since december 2013. I had an initial visit to the garage with my engine light on, Lack of power and the egg/fuel like smell.I was told i required a software update on the PCM as it was over injecting fuel and i was also told this was a common fault with my model.

I was approached with a 120 pound bill which i argued to get down to 60 pound as i only brought the car early 2013!

The smell persisted and the engine light went on and off several times over the next week, It went back into the garage and i was told they could not find any fault and if it happens again they will take it and give me a courtesy car for a few days. It may come to shock some of you but the smell came back and brought its friend the engine light with it, with a assertive and !Removed! off tone i called the Ford garage and they booked me in for a full service as well as checking on the fault.

As the week went on the smell went and the engine light did not come back on, I at first suspected the CAT but then began to think maybe it was the PCM fault they initially fixed meaning fuel was caught in the system somewhere. I did not tell them the smell had completely gone but did say it was much better, They tested the car did a full service and everything seemed fine (600 quid - 4 new tyres and front brake pads as well as service charge) but this week i have noticed the smell again and last friday my old pal the engine light came on for a few hours to make my night a bright one.

I now find myself at a frustrating loss, Am i going mad or is this smell related to the engine light i see so sporadically. I would like to add the guys at the Ford garage are absolutely brilliant but as i said to them it does not bold well for me that i'm on a first name basis with people at the repair shop some 6-9 months after buying a 10 plate car.

Any advice or response is massively appreciated


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Often a noticeable sulfur smell in the cab can be confused for a rotten
egg smell in the exhaust. The only thing under the hood that will likely
emit a sulfur smell would be your battery or batteries, depending on
your vehicle's set up. This will involve looking into your alternator or
generator's performance, as well as the voltage and amperage it should
be supplying. An alternator that is faulty or has a bad external
regulator could be overcharging the battery, causing the electrolytic
fluid inside to boil

There are a couple of things than can cause a sulfur smell to be emitted
with your exhaust gases. The first of which depends on the quality of
the fuel available from your local gas station. If your gas station
supplies the lowest grade of diesel, there could be up to 5000 PPM in
sulfur content, which could cause a light-to-moderate sulfur or rotten
egg smell in your exhaust. Pay attention to the grade of fuel you
purchase, . The only other likely cause for the sulfur
smell, barring fuel quality, is either too much fuel being wasted and
burning off in the catalytic converter or a clogged catalytic converter
that releases too much sulfur. However, your vehicle may not be equipped
with a catalytic converter, since diesel engines release lower amounts
of noxious gases compared to gasoline. If your vehcile has a catalytic
converter and ULSD grade fuel doesn’t solve your problem, you should
probably look into replacing the converter
fords took the mick out of you mate you didnt need the srvice nor did you need the pcm update i would have asked for the money back and an explanation as to how the pcm would have fixed this issue its also worth noting is the smell inside or outside if its inside the pollen filter may need replaced and the aircon given an anti bacterial treatment
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Mate

Thank you so much for the advice and sorry for my late response, I have had "progress" on this fault now and i managed to get the car in this morning with the check engine light on! Ford's conclusion is the EGR (exhaust Gas Recirculation) valve is faulty and is getting stuck shut. I said to the guy could this be causing the bad smell i have continuously complained about? His response was no and he "doubts it" , He did not seem in anyway sure in his response as none of them really are.

They are going to call me this afternoon with an update and conclusion, No doubt it will be sorry its not covered in the Gold AA warranty and you will have to pay......

Regarding your suggestion to the battery causing the bad smell i am going to take the casing off and check it all out, I did fit a double DIN radio late last year, Could this be causing the battery fault?

Thanks again for all the help i really appreciate it


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