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Loud Metallic Engine Noise


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My wife owns a relatively low mileage Focus Mk2 (68k miles) with Auto gearbox.   At the weekend she returned from a shopping trip and advised me "the engine is making a ticking noise".  When I lifted the bonnet and asked her to start it, I was horrified to hear a noise like a ball peen hammer on a welders bench!  The car had been serviced with fresh 5W-30 ford spec oil, new filter etc. only 3 weeks prior, and was running very smoothly.   The oil level is still correct as it should be, and clean in appearance.  There is no smoke (white or otherwise) being emitted from the exhaust.  A very short road test revealed that it didn't seem to be down on power, but automatic gear changes had become very rough.

I note that if the cam position sensor is disconnected from the harness, this has no effect on the engine revs or note.  Starting the engine whilst the cam position sensor was disconnected also had no effect, which confuses me.  Any ideas as to why?

I have removed the valve train cover, and the noise does not seem to be from high up in there, but lower down. How low down is hard to say.  Compression tests were not easy to do, as my threaded adaptor is for BMW and not ford, therefore I could not screw the pressure gauge hose into the head.  However I did manage to use the traditional conical rubber bung and held the assembly onto the open plug port.  Circa 12 bar for all 4 cylinders (not sure if this is a good pressure - please advise).  The inlet and exhaust cam slots could be aligned, but I was unable to verify if this coincided with the flywheel pinning position (is that the same as tdc?).

Could this possibly be a timing belt slip?  A lazy tappet? Conn rod bearing (big/small end)? 

In all my time, spannering away on cars, I've not ever heard an engine as noisy as this one.   I'd be grateful for any pointers or suggestions please guys.  Sorry, there are lots of questions in there, hopefully thought provoking :)

Regards, Deggles.

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A video or recording of the noise would really help. Can you identify where the noise is coming from within in the engine bay?

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Hello Simcor,

First thanks for your reply.  I hope I didn't put my post in the wrong section, but I'm surprised I've only got one response given the number of questions I asked.   I'll try to get a video of it and post a link here, but in short it sounds like a Massey Ferguson tractor on a bad day.   The noise is hard to locate precisely, but I'm certain its mid to lower part of the block - so possibly rings, conn rod bearings or crank journal bearings.   I've had the valve cover off and run it.  All looks ok - no broken or unseated parts.  I did ask about a lazy tappet but had no response.  Just how noisy would a lazy tappet be?  By the way, I was surprised not to see oil shooing around in there, but it was still very well wetted with oil.

I'm still very curious as to why the cam position sensor is seemingly doing nothing.  Perhaps it only has a function when the engine is under load?   I've bought a boro-scope today and will inspect the tops of the pistons looking for any obvious signs of damage.

Anyone know where I might be able to download a Focus Mk2 1.6L petrol engine manual please?  Preferably free, I'm going to strip this engine soon.



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sounds like the bottom end as always a standard code scan is required coil be bottom end oil pump gone a sensor would show up an engine management light if it was that far gone is it a 100bhp or 115bhp engine

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Hi Artscot79.    Thanks for your reply.  I carried out a scan this evening: -

- Misfire on cyl 1,

- Misfire on cyl 4,

- Cam sensor.

I know why the cam sensor code was thrown, (garage left it disconnected and also I removed it whilst engine running).  Not experienced misfiring, but I did pull leads while engine was running to check spark strength, so it could have been that which caused the code to be logged. 

No code for oil pump fault or oil pressure.   No red warning light on dash to indicate oil pressure issue.   My thoughts are bottom end conn' bearings too.   Is that a big job?  I bet the crank bearing surface(s) will be rough by now.

Regards Deggles.


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Did you diagnose the exact location where the noise is coming from? I have seen before that noises were coming from the gearbox instead of the engine. The very rough shifting could also indicate a gearbox problem. Which automatic gearbox does the car have? is it the conventional automatic transmission or the (more problematic) CVT automatic transmission?



Ford does not supply internal engne parts of the lower engine block for this type of engine. Bearings, connection rods, pistons, piston rings, etc. are not avaliable as service parts. In case of engine damage of the lower engine block Ford prescribes to replace the complete lower engine block. The lower engine block is available as a service part and costs between  about €1100,-  and  €2000,- (depending on production date).

There are some aftermarket manufacturers that supply internal engine parts for this type of engine but my experience is that these parts are hard to find. The big end bearings are available in different sizes. You have to buy the correct size of bearings based by the exact measurements of both the crankshaft and the connection rod.  

If the crankshaft is damaged the enige must is basically beyond repair. Machining the crankshaft by a specialist to the measurements of oversized bearings (if you even can find them) will be pretty expensive.

If the engine turns out to be damaged installing a used engine will probably be the cheapest option. Note that the engine with an automatic gearbox is slightly different from an engine with manual shifted gearbox. A major difference is the position of the crankshaft position sensor. If a manual shifted engine is installed into an automatic shifted car (or vice versa) the engine will not start/run.

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