Jump to content
Do Not Sell My Personal Information

1.8 Tcdi No Start After Head Off

Derek Oliver

Recommended Posts

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this. 02 Focus 1.8 CDI (Duratorque)

This is my daughter's car and for the past few months while it ran well once started it was
getting more and more difficult to cold start. I have brought the car the 100 miles to home to sort it and on the run it stormed along both at dual carriageway and town speeds. Next morning total refusal to cold start.

So easy (relatively) things to begin - glow plugs out and tested - all 4 fine but replaced
with new as I had a set to hand.

A basic check of compression by turning the crank with a socket - only 1 really good
compression. Cam cover box off and valve clearances checked - all
within limits

So head off (what a sod of a job !!!!) Nothing obvious at first glance but filling each
port with diesel showed significant leakage of valves of 3 cylinders.
Light valve grind to clean up the valves and seats and head back on
with new gasket. Cam re-timed carefully. Both the throttle and EGR
flaps are clean and free moving

While the injectors were out I contemplated having them at least checked but at £25
each (and as it had been running well) I decided the cost wasn't
justified - the car isn't worth much more !! Refitted all the bits
and pieces other than the intercooler & pipes and cranked away
but not a sign of firing. Kept recharging the battery (which is
good) between cranking sessions.

I had bled the fuel system starting by sucking (yuck) the diesel through the filter which
is fairly new. After a few cranking sessions I cracked open the
injector pipes and a dribble of diesel came out so it seems to be
fully bled. As common rail systems run at very high pressures I
would have expected the diesel to spurt out from residual pressure so
perhaps that's too low at cranking speed ???

As the glow plugs are controlled by the ECM and only run for a couple of seconds, if at
all, I have even tried direct feed to those for about 10 secs before
cranking but still no joy.

My hand held code reader doesn't reveal any stored codes, and the servicing self test
only brought up 9318 - battery voltage low which is almost certainly
just historic. During the latest cranking session (no GP direct
feed) after several seconds the glowplug light flashed which seems to
indicate a fault state.

My thoughts are leaning towards low fuel pressure at cranking speed. As it won't start I
can't get to a garage to have that checked but it might just be worth
changing the pump from a scrappy on spec.

Haynes does say remove the engine for this but it looks to me that it might just be possible
in situ. The chain drive will have to come off and that looks just
about feasible.

Any thoughts ????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You said you had the glow plugs out, tested and then replaced with new. Have you checked that there is power to them during start? Otherwise, I'm not sure what to suggest except perhaps using your car to tow the Focus to get it started initially.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you have a scanner that reads fuel pressure I think it has to be in the region of 4000 psi to fire I,ll dig mine out and let you know what it should be around but I'm sure that's atound the ball park figure .did you re check the compression ? .and re checked all the timing .re conected any earth leads you took off .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies


Glow plugs - yes, I even bypassed their timing system and wired a supply direct from the battey and ran them for 10 secs or so pre crank so that they would be fully up to temp, Trying a tow start is climbing up the priorities list.


My basic scanner shows no stored codes and I don't know if it could be configured to read fuel pressure. Certainly don't have a gauge that could cope with the pressure and can't get it to my local trusted indi with it not running. All plugs & leads carefully checked for damage while working and about to recheck that timing although I was very careful during the head off. Oh the joy of village life 8 miles from the nearest "civilisation"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Update and conclusions.

I don't like to see threads just left "hanging" so here's the final result of my endeavors.

I now have it running "adequately" to be able to sell it. ( It's our daughters car and she has gone off to India to re visit her hippy youth with no firm return date so it's not worth storing it).

The core problem was inability to get the air out of the fuel line. I resorted to inserting a clear plastic section to see what was happening and followed that by adding a priming bulb. Then eventually with an independent feed to the glow plugs and 10 secs pre heat run before cranking it eventually started.

Clearly only running at tick over on 3 pots - the faulty one identified by unplugging each injector; swapped over 2 injectors and the "missing" cylinder moved with the injector. So one exchange injector (ouch) and it now ticks over on all 4. In view of the age/miles I did a leak off test and the 3 old ones matched the new on so that seems OK

It still needs the glow plugs pre-run for a cold start so perhaps the pump is a bit low on pressure at cranking speed and not atomising the spray properly, or it could be due to the new head gasket being the wrong no of "notches". 3 notch was originally fitted but the supplier sent a 4 notch by mistake. I should have sent it back but reasoned that I would be on the "safe side" to fit it (more haste - less speed) but it will have lowered the CR marginally and reduced the "squish/swirl".

Finally I have properly engineered a 70 A relay and push switch to be able to pre-heat the glow plugs and "it will do" !!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...