Focus 115

Mk1 Focus 1.8 Tdci (115) - Loss Of Power - Black Smoke

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Hi lads,

I bought a Ford Focus 1.8 TDCI (115ps) for my first car around three weeks ago. I have since given it a service and have renewed the rear brake pads, air cleaner element. oil filter element and done an oil change. The car has close to 90,000 miles registered on it. It's a 2004 MK1 Ford Focus, 1.8 litre TDCI engine. I don't have an awful amount of knowledge on these engines so I thought I'd ask here.

Basically what has been happening is, I have went to start my car in the mornings after turning the key several times to allow the coil light to disappear. When I then proceed to crank the car, it will continue to try to turn over but won't successfully start on first attempt. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. This happens in the afternoons as well, not just during cold mornings.

There's also a mechanical whining noise when the turbo kicks in. This happens in all gears. It sort of sounds like the drill that would be used by a dentist, if that makes any sense. I have checked all hoses and pipes for splits and lose fittings, but all seems to be fine.

This isn't my main concern though. My main concern is there seems to be an awful amount of black smoke coming out of the exhaust. Most of the time this smoke isn't constant, but you can see patches of it in the distance when you're driving away and looking through your rear-view mirror. I was sitting at a junction this afternoon waiting for the traffic to clear before I could make my exit, and when I went to give it some revs, it felt as if the car was down on power and it was about to cut out on me. I then noticed that there was a ton of black smoke when I looked behind me. It continued to come out of the exhaust when I was building up revs in second gear as well.

  • I have used a diagnostic machine and no fault codes are shown
  • No warnings lights appear on my dash
  • Car doesn't seem down on power in other gears and the turbo builds up boost as it should do
  • Checked for split hoses and loose pipes

I also emptied a bottle of diesel system cleaner into the tank this afternoon when I was refueling. I haven't been driving the car enough to be able to tell if it has made any sort of a difference though.

Sometimes the car seems to judder and feel rough when beginning to start up and driving for the first minute or two. It has cut out on me a couple of times, but I'm not sure whether this was a human error and I'm just not giving it enough revs/releasing the clutch too much, but it only seems to occur during start-up and then it seems alright when I'm changing up and down gears after ten minutes or so.

I have looked around forums and search engines and I've heard people experiencing similar problems. Some people have recommended to others that removing the EGR valve and giving it a clean/blanking it off will make a difference. Would this be recommended? Could this perhaps be the issue?

I'm beginning to worry about this now, and it can be embarrassing when this happens, leaving cars behind me in a large puff of black smoke. It's more embarrassing than anything, really. I don't know where to begin looking, and I don't have the money to squander on parts which may or may not fix the issue. The coil light on my dash seems to disappear instantly when the ignition is turned on, so perhaps it could also do with a set of glow plugs while I'm at it?

It's been due a timing belt for quite some time, as it's recommended to replace it at 100,000 miles or at a ten-year interval. This being a 2004 car and having no service history, I'm planning on replacing it so I can be at ease, along with renewing the water pump, tensioner and perhaps the alternator belt as well. It could may have already been done, but there's no indication of it being changed so I'd like to be safe than sorry.

If you have any suggestions or past experiences with these issues, please drop a comment below. I'll upload some pictures upon request if necessary. I'd be glad to hear from you. The sooner I get this sorted the better. :) Cheers.

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Going to take my car into college tomorrow because we have more advanced diagnostic software there. Took it for a spin about 20 minutes ago and it doesn't seem to be as rough as before. I hope that's the diesel system cleaner kicking in. I still noticed quite a bit of smoke though.

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Whining from the engine,lack of power and black smoke are symptoms of turbo failure.I have a engine like yours and this happened to me with 84000 miles last year.

Sent from my iPad using Ford OC

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Hi William, thanks for your response.

It seems as though you're correct; I am experiencing all the symptoms of turbo failure. I'm presuming you had the turbo replaced/repaired on your car and the issue was then rectified?

Many thanks.

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the whining noise could be the alternator on its way out, as I thought turbo was issue on mine(noise only) turned out be the alternator on its last legs.. (new turbo from ford was around the 1k mark fitted)

you could have a leakage on the boost pipe. I recently had 1 on mine no noticeable cracks until I took of the jubilee clip on the 90 degree bend. the clip chewed into the pipe.....

hesitation and black smoke could be indication of a fuel filter needing changing. mine gets done every year but people say its too often....

if your fuel filter has not been done then its worth while attempting it yourself as its easy enough to do

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Yes, went to a good independent and a genuine Ford turbo was fitted for £1150.Different car now!

Sent from my iPad using Ford OC

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Cheers for the responses guys!

I decided I would bring my car into work after hours and have a look for myself. I removed the engine covers, intercooler and all attached pipework/hosing, took a look inside my EGR valve and noticed quite a lot of muck which had built up. Gave it a quick wipe with a rag, cleaned all the parts I had removed and then re-tightened everything.

Not sure what it was that I did, but there doesn't seem to be any excessive black smoke coming from my exhaust anymore, and the turbo sound doesn't sound as loud as it did before. Perhaps someone had been working around that part of the engine before and had left a pipe/hose loose in the process? I didn't check everything for tightness before removing so I can only assume that's what it was.

Bought an EGR blanking plate from eBay a couple of quid which was a bargain! Planning on fitting it when it arrives. Seems pretty easy to access my EGR from my engine bay (remove engine covers and there it is :)).

Probably going to change the fuel filter soon because the vehicle didn't have any history when I bought it. I'm worried about not being able to get the vehicle going again afterwards because a couple of my work colleagues have had that issue before and have had to tow the vehicle a couple of miles to get it started.

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Hey Mike, have you fitted the blanking plate yet? Are you still experiencing problems with starting? I had trouble on starting a couple of years back, then one day my car totally cut out on me when I reached an island. Had to get the missus to tow me back home. Turns out it was the cam sensor (the one that is located on the rocker cover) £30 fix, just unscrew the old and screw in the new, sorted. The next issue I had with starting was fixed by replacing my battery. I'm dreading the day when my turbo finally packs in, as thats the only majorly expensive part that hasn't been replaced on my car yet. I do love the mk1 focus though, mine's been an absolute trooper, it gets used daily and I hate to admit it but I do abuse it a bit, but mainly because I love driving it :D

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Hey Mike, have you fitted the blanking plate yet? Are you still experiencing problems with starting? I had trouble on starting a couple of years back, then one day my car totally cut out on me when I reached an island. Had to get the missus to tow me back home. Turns out it was the cam sensor (the one that is located on the rocker cover) £30 fix, just unscrew the old and screw in the new, sorted. The next issue I had with starting was fixed by replacing my battery. I'm dreading the day when my turbo finally packs in, as thats the only majorly expensive part that hasn't been replaced on my car yet. I do love the mk1 focus though, mine's been an absolute trooper, it gets used daily and I hate to admit it but I do abuse it a bit, but mainly because I love driving it :D

Hey Paul, I fitted the blanking plate earlier at lunch time and haven't been driving it enough to notice any real differences. Starting issues don't really happen anymore for some reason, but every so often I'll have to give it an extra few seconds to crank. Maybe that's because I have left it for about 8-10 hours from when I last drove it.

I heard someone mention a cam sensor being the issue somewhere else, but I think I'll take my chances and wait until the time comes where I need a tow. :lol: I think my car could do with a turbo, but I don't want the hassle and the costs of having to replace it right now. It still boosts as it should do, it's just the odd 'dentist drill' sound, but I've gotten used to it. ^_^

I'm more worried about my timing belt than anything. I don't have any history of the vehicle, so that means it could have been done before its renewal interval or it could be a year overdue. I hate the thought of it being overdue. :unsure: I have the belt, tensioner, waterpump and gasket in my car ready to be fitted, but I think I also need a tool for locking/removing the sprocket which costs £64.

I love the mk1 Focus as well. If anything were to happen to my baby, I'd go out and buy another one! :D

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Are you planning on doing the timing belt yourself? If so, nice one! Thats the one job I never want to get involved in, mainly because I know I might forget something, start the engine and BOOM!!! one fooked engine :D. I would get it done mate, just for your peace of mind really and for the sake of a couple of hundred quid. Have you inspected your timing belt? There are usually tell tale signs that it hasn't been replaced for a while, such as discolouring, cracking, worn teeth. If you've got the parts, then take it to your local independent garage to fit for a bit cheaper and would save you the hassle.

BTW I love your sig :lol:, I've only got the first 4 done :D

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Are you planning on doing the timing belt yourself? If so, nice one! Thats the one job I never want to get involved in, mainly because I know I might forget something, start the engine and BOOM!!! one fooked engine :D. I would get it done mate, just for your peace of mind really and for the sake of a couple of hundred quid. Have you inspected your timing belt? There are usually tell tale signs that it hasn't been replaced for a while, such as discolouring, cracking, worn teeth. If you've got the parts, then take it to your local independent garage to fit for a bit cheaper and would save you the hassle.

BTW I love your sig :lol:, I've only got the first 4 done :D

I was planning on getting a hand from a work mate who has experience because I've never done a timing belt myself and would be worried about making a very pricey mistake. :lol: I inspected my timing belt really quickly the other day but it didn't look worn at all to be honest. No cracking, discolouring or signs of wear. May as well replace it though to be safe!

Put the seat covers in this afternoon. They were a right pain, especially the back ones! :P

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I'd get that turbo checked.

when the seals on a turbo deteriorate it allows some of the lubricating oil to enter the chambers, if it's leaking into the turbine housing then that can account for a dirty EGR valve and black smoke. You mention a lack of service history, failing to change the oil regularly or using the wrong quality/grade of oil can cause carbon to build up on the turbine shaft and thats what buggers the seals.

The whining noise is probably the turbine shaft bearings deteriorating as the seals arent keeping the oil where it should be.

A word of warning, if the seals allow oil to leak into the compression side of the turbine housing it can cause major damage.

The turbo can get pretty hot during hard use or a long run, and it can start burning the oil by forcing it in to the cylinders at an incredible rate. When this happens the engine will continue to run even if the ignition key is removed, and will do so at extremely high revs until all the oil is sucked out of the sump, or the engine siezes.

I have one sitting in my drive that suffered this fate.

I'm a breakdown/recovery driver and have attended cars that have got so hot during the run on that they have actually went on fire.

You can get a refurbished turbo for about £200 or have your own repaired

I'm going to give these guys a go as it's over a grand for a new one

http://www.gap-turbos.com/services/ford-turbochargers/?gclid=COry_dLmysQCFaPJtAodCHgAQQ

I thought about a second hand one from a breakers but you are taking a risk on it being just as bad so refurb is the way I'm going

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