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Engine malfunction


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Hi all,

This is my first post here so I will try and give as much info as possible.

We bought a ford Smax second hand back in October and have been very pleased with it until today. We were driving back from a week break and suddenly on the motorway the car started losing power and a few minutes later an "engine malfunction" error message came on the dashboard, along with rattling sounds. 

We were on the motorway at the time and with 3 young children we decided to pull over on the hard shoulder before the car broke down. At this point we were struggling to get to 50mph.

Roadside assistance came and they failed to restart the car and commented that the engine was way too hot. The coolant level was next to non-existant (note the coolant level was checked 4 days ago before we set off on our break and was near the max line). They topped up the coolant level but this did not change anything.

They suspected blown head gasket. The car would not start back at all so had to be towed to our nearest garage. They have called us to let us know they cannot do anything with the car and it needs to go to a ford dealership as they require special tools as the engine is a 1.6l Eco-boost (petrol).

My questions are:

- how common is this problem (head gasket? Even though they cannot diagnose anything they seem to agree with the diagnosis by roadside assistance).

- should we have had any kind of warning lights/signs beforehand? We haven't had anything on the dashboard at all until 5 minutes before it failed completely.

- what are our options? From what we've been told, it will possibly be £2.5k for a new engine and £2k for labour. That's from our garage. I expect ford will be more than this.


Tech details:





1.6l eco boost engine 

53000 miles

full service history


thanks for any help!

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Hi, I have bought a ford S Max titanium sport and have to say we have the same problem :-(

in fact this problem started as we were driving away having purchased the car for £12,000

Not happy. took it to the garage and they said sometimes the sensors around the fuel guage clog up so initially we got that sorted for £60, and now the problem has creeped up after 2 days!!

Let me know how you get on

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That's not good :sad:

we won't find anything out until next week at the earliest - which is a right pain as we are without a car until it is fixed and with 3 kids it is a real problem.

i don't think we can afford to spend £4-5k on repairs when the car cost us £10k already. So disappointed.

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When the EML light came on, was it flashing? If so you are supposed to stop the car immediately to avoid damaging the engine. If the light came on without flashing, then I am surprised you suffered a total failure.

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No literally, it came on and we stopped on the hard shoulder as soon as we could, prob a couple of minutes after. I don't recall it flashing at all.

The car couldn't be restarted by roadside assistance, so I'm not sure what the damage is.

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Ford just looked at it and it's much worse than anticipated. They've basically said the whole engine and turbo need replacing at a cost of £8,400. They found coolant in 2 of the gas chambers apparently and the engine got too hot and basically the whole thing is unsalvageable. 

I have no idea where to go from there. We took a loan out for the car. A loan we still have to repay and we find ourselves without a car now. We paid £10k for it and we just don't have £8.5k spare to fix it.

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More info:


Vehicle has been brought in with a suspect head gasket issue. On inspection we have found several fault codes relating to a miss-fire in cylinders 2 & 3. We have found that the coolant and oil have mixed and there is water in the bores of cylinders 2 & 3 and also, water in the exhaust. This has caused the engine to over heat and has caused internal damage to the engine. We are recommending that we replace a complete engine. 
As to what has caused this failure we are uncertain. Once the new engine has been authorised and fitted we will run further checks to make sure that it is not and engine management problem.
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