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Focus mk2 TDCI (DPF) query...


bongos
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Hi all!

Long time lurker, first time poster.

 

I have a mk1 Ford focus that I am looking at replacing due to an ever expanding family/the likelihood of some longer journeys on to the continent. It's been unbelievably reliable but at nearly 17 years old it's time for an upgrade.

My in-laws have offered me their impeccably looked after Focus TDCi estate at a very reasonable price. It's a 59 plate with low mileage for the age (49k). It's the model with the DPF fitted and my father-in-law has been getting the oil changed every 6 months to try and reduce the risk associated with contaminated oil from the DPF system.

I live in London and do regular very short journeys (this is my biggest concern). We do head up on the motorways for decent length journeys but might not go very far for a couple of months then maybe make three long journeys in a week.

As far as I can see I have several options:

  • Do nothing and wait for the DPF to break. maybe it won't. It does seem a common problem but there are loads of Focuses out there so maybe it isn't all that common...
  • Get he EGR valve blanked off. Does this require remapping? Are EM faults likely as a result?
  • Get the DPF removed, a remap done and EGR valve blanked off. I know this contravenes Constructions & Use regulations/I need to tell my insurers etc etc...
  • Don't buy it. Stick to a petrol like i always said I would!

I'm leaning towards option 3 at the moment (like the thought of extra power and torque while also removing the DPF risk) but wondered if anyone has done this and if they had any long term problems. I can find loads of posts about people talking about doing it/having just done it but nothing about anyone living with it long term.

If this isn't the best option then I read this very informative thread from Lenny about just having the ERV blanked off. Might this be the better option? No DPF removal no MoT failure. Though blanking off the EGV probably contravenes the same regs technically.

Despite the doomongering popping up in some places, i've scoured the internet and can't actually find anyone who has had an MoT failure as a result of doing any of this work.

Has anyone got any advice basically?!

TIA!

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Hmmm it seems it's possible to get the DPF cleaned instead of replace now also. has anyone tried this option?

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Option 3 is what I have had for over 2 years (maybe 3) and no complaints at all.  Runs more smoothly, better mpg and better reliability that it has ever had.  I might get a Terraclean done sometime soon just as a preventative measure.  I would say I do more highway miles than city so that  helps as well.

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20 hours ago, bongos said:

I live in London and do regular very short journeys (this is my biggest concern). We do head up on the motorways for decent length journeys but might not go very far for a couple of months then maybe make three long journeys in a week.

Based on this driving pattern I'd advise you to go with a petrol. The EcoBoost engines can give quite good economy with decent performance and low emissions and fewer potential problems than modern diesels. That's just my opinion, I know I lot of diesel buffs on the forum wil disagree.

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Ive seen adverts for DPF cleaning using ultrasonics, I'm not all that sure the design of this DPF can lends its self to cleaning, at best it itll just prolong the torture .  To be honest id rather have it re assessed and pay more tax, that should keep the greenies, the police and the tax man happy. (because apparently diesel Cars which never had the DPF to be removed in the first place aren't child killing mosters as opposed to those that had the DPF removed because of the insanely high replacement costs) 

But in any case, short trips is a no no for diesels regardless of where you have a DPF or not.  you have all the added cost of repairs and wont gain anything back in savings.

Stick to petrol.

If you must go diesel for some reason you've not mentioned, then blank off that EGR and gut that DPF, you will need to map out the DPF but you don't have to remap the car at the same time

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I like diesels...but there's no way I'd buy one living in London.  Will be nothing but problems, even without a DPF diesels coke up quickly with short, slow journeys, and you'll find the occasion you do put your foot down there's no power due to stuck turbo vanes and a plume of soot clearing out.  (May already be like that considering the very low mileage and the previous owners lol).

Must admit, I know lots of people that have had decats for years, both on petrol and diesel and not known any to fail MOT, same with DPF removal...  That said, one of the garages that used to pass petrols straight away now fits a cat for MOT and then removes it after, so maybe they are tightening up on it?

Either way, I think you'd be better off sticking to petrol.

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Thanks for the advice guys. So mapping out the DPF wouldn;t be a full remap but presumably there would be some economy/performance increase still.

The main reason i'd decided to go for this specific car was just because I know it's been looked after, and it's going for a song with my father-in-law selling it. Plus it's an estate and that's what we need. The last three cars I owned I have bought from dealers (none of them Ford I should add) and had repetitive problems with all of them, warranties run out and what little interest they showed in fixing a fault has evaporated entirely at this point. The missus's Focus that we currently run has been the most reliable car I have ever driven. 

But yeah, I agree a petrol would suit circumstances better. 

Will have a think about it. Like Dee_82 says it's not about the economy or road tax to be honest, it's about being offered a decent car at a good price. But that doesn't necessarily make it the right car!

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just be careful, 1.6 tdci is a notorious engine, take off the egr pipe at the top where it connects to the manifold and look inside, look for excessive carbon buildup, pop the pipe from the turbo to the airbox and look for excessive play on the compressor, whist your in there look for significant amounts of oil. do an oil change and see if its lumpy (souldnt be if done every 6k tho) take a look under the rocker cover through the oil filler cap, look for build up of carbon blobs.

not much more you can check. the engine is fine if looked after well, but she needs lots of tlc.

yeah you can turn off the dpf and leave the cars maps alone, you should se a small increase in economy but not as much as you can get from a full remap

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Cheers Dee. The car has had 6 monthly oil changes since new by my father in law to try and keep on top of any carbon deposit issue. He says he'd be doing an interim change about now. When i get a chance to get up there ill have a look and see what state its in.

when you say "turn off the DPF" presumably that still has to be done by someone with the software/a laptop such as a remap kind of place? I wouldnt even be able to do that myself as dont have a laptop!

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no, its not a simple job to undertake lightly, it is possible tho, mhhautos is a good website (with some arrogant sods) assuming you have the tools some of them will help you delete the DPF functions from the software then reflash the PCM.  But unless you know your stuff id recommend getting a garage to do it, someone you can rely on to fix it if they balls it up, Big Jimmy down the road who will do it for half the price might sound like a good idea but if he screws it up then good luck getting your car going again.

The full remap they talk about does the car proud but its costly and when you know whats involved in remaping your car, itll make you sick that you paid that much money!  The vast majority of remaps are off the shelf, they are not done on dynos, the chap will plug his laptop in, click a couple of buttons and 5 to 10 min later, its done, very simple and almost no knowledge required, that's why Big Jimmy can do it, the difference is Big Jimmy probably brought his cloned tools for 50 quid from China where as the garage would have spent hundreds on the real deal.

 

 

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When the 'power' map only costs and extra £50 over the £150 or so you're paying for a DPF delete you might as well go with it tbh!

There's a major difference between remapping and tweaking to your engine (specifically turbo vanes) and just flashing someone elses standard map.  This ECU is an awkward one though, I've flashed loads of EDC15 ECUs with a £10 cable.  Not worth the risk on the EDC16 in these though. :sad: 

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Totally agree. Even though i'm interested in how/what is done I wouldn't have the confidence to actually try it myself anyway. Like you say, Big Jimmy fries the ECU and er... big notes time.

Another couple of questions question then - is the general advice when fitting a  blanking plate to delete the EGR from the ECU anyway or is this an personal choice - presumably this makes it just sit there doing nothing and not open/closing?

Also, if you delete the DPF at the same time, would you actually need to remove it? In fact just blanking off the EGR valve must make the DPF redundant as none of that dirty soot goes through it any more? Though I suppose it would still be giving back pressure and so reducing power somewhat.

I certainly agree that for an extra ~ £50 I would probably just get the full remap and enjoy that extra power/torque. Tried looking for remappers in my area (north-east London) to get an idea of cost but there don't seem to be any openly advertising on google which is surprising. Just lots of mobile rempappers. Maybe they don't need a garage, just turn up with a laptop? But I would want somewhere I could actually visit if things went !Removed! oop. 

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The EGR still needs deleting from the ECU on the 1.6, it'll bring up fault codes and possibly limp mode on the later ones if not.  Also you cant blank the EGR if keeping the DPF, it's used to heat up the engine for the DPF regeneration.

Diesel engines always produce soot, its not the EGR that creates it despite what some people write on here lol.  If you delete the DPF from the ECU without smashing it out it'll block up within a fortnight and the backpressure will blow the turbo.

Unfortunately you'll probably have to travel if you want a decent remap, there aren't many about that I'd trust.   Some prices here to give you an idea - http://www.hdi-tuning.co.uk/ecu-remapping/custom-remaps/ford-tuning/focus-1600-TDCI/focus-tuning-1-6-110-TDCI.html

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EGR blanking doesn't cause an EML on mine, that might not be the case on the EuroV engine tho, mines a EuroIV +DPF and its been EGR free since day one, all is good in the world except it doesn't heat up quite so quick! thankfully we have Aux Electric heaters on our diesels!

blanking the EGR via a software patch is more or less the same as blanking it physically, the only difference as Tom said is you might get an EML pop up (I'm not sure you defo will as mine doesn't) the other difference is that if your EGR valve is already causing you problems then physically blanking it wont fix it.

 

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6 hours ago, m1tch said:

I believe that if you also physically remove the DPF it will now fail the MOT - new laws came in as of Feb 2014, so removal of the DPF isn't viable.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-rules-for-mot-to-test-for-diesel-particulate-filter

 

Yep, my cousins car has just failed it's MOT due to the DPF missing on his car. 

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31 minutes ago, Russ said:

Yep, my cousins car has just failed it's MOT due to the DPF missing on his car. 

Missing or did he have It gutted, its impossible to tell if its been gutted without electronically connecting it up

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33 minutes ago, Dee_82 said:

Missing or did he have It gutted, its impossible to tell if its been gutted without electronically connecting it up

Missing completely, the previous owner obviously had it removed. When he went to collect the vehicle & the guy explained the missing DPF my cousin asked how come it passed previous MOT's & was told "because the regulations have now changed"

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What car does your cousin have?

He's now stuck between a rock and a hard place because the cheap ones don't last long and the genuine ones are stupidly expensive.  :sad: Shame the previous owner hadn't don't properly in the first place and no-one would be any the wiser.

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that's unfortunate, if I were him, id get a cheap DPF and gut it, if he knows a man with a welder then he  could even do it himself, the ECU is already patched, with the can fitted they will be none the wiser

:)

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36 minutes ago, TomsFocus said:

What car does your cousin have?

He's now stuck between a rock and a hard place because the cheap ones don't last long and the genuine ones are stupidly expensive.  :sad: Shame the previous owner hadn't don't properly in the first place and no-one would be any the wiser.

It's actually a qashqai he's got. hes always had diesels, just didn't research any problems with modern ones before buying it. Being a lorry driver away from home 5 days a week he hardly uses the car anyway so god knows why he bought a diesel!

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