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Ecoboost low oil pressure

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Hi all, having some issues with my Ecoboost engine (apparently I'm in good company). The car was built in April 2013, it's the 99BHP manual with 84k on the clock and according to ETIS the engine code is probably SFJA (the car is currently with a garage so I need to confirm this). I bought the car as a private sale last September, so no comeback on the seller for the issue.

A little over a week ago, the car started to report low oil pressure for a prolonged period on startup (a few seconds), then on a return journey the pressure warning would sound intermittently when driving; most notably associated with roundabouts and hill descents. Also accompanied by a very occasional and brief increase in engine rattle that made me think definitely not a sensor problem. Obviously checked the oil level when the issue started and it was healthy. Had I had my way we would have stopped and had the vehicle recovered, but SWIMBO was in charge of that decision and we had a youngster with us so nursed the car home instead as mostly it appeared to still be running healthily.

Since recovered the car to a garage, who have confirmed the car has low oil pressure but want a day and a half's labour just to strip it down and investigate the cause. They are recommending fitting a new engine rather than rectifying the fault - a new engine being nearly £3k, plus £600 to fit. I don't fancy that, considering that's pushing three quarters of the car's value. So I'm thinking of getting hold of a low mileage engine off a breaker and fitting it myself (I'm a competent home mechanic with garage space to do the swap). They appear to be readily available and sensibly priced as the car is quite popular. I can then either sell on my engine as spares/repair or refurbish at my leisure and keep a spare. My questions:

1) Is anyone else aware of oil pressure related failures of the Ecoboost? I've heard a lot about turbo pipes and water leaks, but not seen anything on oil pressure

2) Engine codes - there are four variants of the 99BHP engine with codes SFJA through D. I know the A/B are Stage V and C/D are stage VI. I presume from ETIS (above) and the MY that mine is a stage V SFJA. Can, and should, I try and fit a later stage VI engine - I presume there are a number of modifications that Ford will have made through the production run to iron out earlier problems? I am guessing also that the A/C are for manual gearbox and the B/D are for the Powershift - I've never seen this confirmed though

3) Is there anyone on here who has done an engine swap on one of these, and do they have any particular bits of advice for me?

Thanks in anticipation,

Chris

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Have they checked the oil pressure control solenoid valve? Ecoboost uses variable pressure controlled by this solenoid.

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I didn't know about this - thanks very much for the information. I checked with the garage and they hadn't checked this - they basically got as far as confirming the oil pressure is low and concluded the engine is a write-off. I've asked them to check whether the valve is functioning correctly - they didn't seem to know about it (it's at an independent who apparently have a good reputation in diagnostics). I'll report back when I hear more.

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Before looking and anything, step back and look at the oil filter.  If it doesn't say Ford or Motorcraft, then you may never know the true cause as you're not working from the factory spec baseline.

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Thanks - forgot to say I changed the oil and filter when I bought the car about 6k miles ago, parts supplied from local Ford dealer.

 

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i don't know if modern cars have an oil pressure relief valve in them with spring. I had  a Triumph TR7 that had low oil pressure due to the spring in the valve breaking. what Iantt refers to may be the modern day replacement for the old fashioned oil pressure relief valve with a spring in it. (when the pressure was very high it pushed against the spring to open another oil way which allowed some oil to go back to the sump and not right round the engine)

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i don't know if modern cars have an oil pressure relief valve in them with spring. I had  a Triumph TR7 that had low oil pressure due to the spring in the valve breaking. what Iantt refers to may be the modern day replacement for the old fashioned oil pressure relief valve with a spring in it. (when the pressure was very high it pushed against the spring to open another oil way which allowed some oil to go back to the sump and not right round the engine)

yep, still got normal relief valve. ive found broken springs on old cars too.
the variable oil pump is belt driven, still got a pressure relief valve, but also a solenoid valve that controls the pressure depending on temp and engine speed.
normal pumps can give a power loss of up to 10 percent esp at higher engine speeds. reduce the high pressure and you get better fuel economy

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Update from the garage - they apparently remove this valve to fit a pressure gauge for testing. The car is slowly building up to 14PSI at idle, then loses all pressure when revved. So some mechanical problem causing insufficient pressure is suspected. Sounds like it's new engine time unfortunately.

 

Does anyone have information on compatibility of stage 5 and 6 engines?

 

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Numptys . It's the pressure switch they need to remove. Think you need to take it to a garage who knows what there doing.

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Numptys . It's the pressure switch they need to remove. Think you need to take it to a garage who knows what there doing.
Right, thanks! Guess I'll be taking a look at this myself then. I can only find the torque settings for the Oil Pressure Control Solenoid in the Haynes manual, no mention of removal, refitting or testing anywhere. If I buy a short subscription to Etis, will I find what I need in there do you know? Or does anyone on here know where this solenoid is and how to test it?

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Update - towed the car back from the garage on Friday. They confirmed they hadn't looked at the Oil Pressure Control Solenoid - they didn't even know it had one. On test, the car was slowly building oil pressure to ~14psi on idle; as soon as the car is revved the oil pressure collapses. I've ordered a new solenoid from the local dealer (about £30) and got a helpful diagram showing location so I'll have a look at changing this and see if that helps. Apparently the dealer has never known this solenoid to fail, but they have had to change a couple of oil pumps on Ecoboosts in the last couple of months - apparently without needing other major surgery on the engine. So if the solenoid doesn't cure it, then I have one last port of call before looking for a new engine.

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Right, I've changed the solenoid and that hasn't made any difference. So I'm now suspecting the oil pump. If anyone else has to change one, it's not that hard. I couldn't find any information on this, so I took a few snaps below for information.

Access is from below the car. If you look up to the oil filter, you'll see part of the solenoid and its wiring quite easily. Unfortunately, the offside driveshaft is in the way preventing better access.

SolenoidBelow.thumb.jpg.038d8862d6b74316f9b7b5601255adec.jpg

Remove the wiring connector first, it comes off easily enough once you depress the tab on the connector. Ignore the bolt you can see to the right. It's held in place by a Torx T30 machine screw directly above the solenoid, which you can't see. Once you know what you're looking for, it's not too hard with a socket and short extension bar to take off. The below pic was taken with a camera phone, there's no way you'd actually be able to get your head in to see this directly without taking a lot of stuff out.

SolenoidBolt.thumb.jpg.c383e90fb4bfbac92290f32355bc694d.jpg

The solenoid needs quite a tug to pull out - it rotates freely, but the seals hold it in place good and proper. It comes out with about 20ml or so of oil - try not to get covered in it like I did. Old and new solenoids below - note the black rubber sealing ring at the stem of the valve. Make sure the old one has come off the car and the new one is on the new valve.

Solenoids.thumb.jpg.927165e3af10142936031d4969d12394.jpg

The new valve just pushes in. I found fitting it with the machine screw in the solenoid much easier than trying to fit the screw after inserting the valve, since you can't see the holes you're lining up to anyway. The Haynes manual says 10Nm torque. Reconnect the wire, and you're done.

In unrelated matters, my turbocharger looks to have accumulated an unhealthy amount of corrosion on the water pipes. Might be time for a replacement.

TurboRustyPipes.thumb.jpg.2777cb6f227834e2350ac809f2677e8d.jpg

 

TurboRustyPipes.jpg

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as per other posts on this forum, you can not replace those rusty pipes on their own, they are made as part of the turbo so new turbo needed if the rust is too bad. It seems to be a common problem, some quite bad on cars less than three years old. (might be more on focus forum which has same engine in some cars)

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Well the car is now back on the road. I took the sump off the engine, and found the oil pump looking like this:

BlockedPump.thumb.jpg.588f3f398e4b37f05684a7ccc2d0d784.jpg

The inlet has a mesh which is completely clogged up with some form of black debris. This is some of what I removed from the pump inlet:

PumpDebris.thumb.jpg.f63fc73f76f4506440b11fec1afcc9e0.jpg

It's not magnetic. My best guess is that the previous owner used either the wrong oil or didn't change the oil as frequently as they should - odd as I bought the car with a full history. My other theory is that it is some RTV silicone broken off from overspill from the sump gasket.

Having fitted a new pump, the car now drives normally. Oil pressure builds straightaway - noticeably faster than it used to. The turbocharger is still delivering plenty of boost having monitored the inlet manifold pressure during a short drive. I did find about 50ml of oil in the intercooler pipe, so the seals may have degraded - I'll keep an eye on it.

Having had this issue, I'm tempted to get a fibre-scope to check the condition of the oil pump inlet through the sump plug at future service intervals. Given its proximity to the sump plug, I'm toying with the idea of making a thin tube up to facilitate cleaning of the pump inlet without having to drop the sump.

Learning points:

1) Based on the crud I found, it's possible that these engines are not very tolerant to being poorly maintained. Regular oil changes with manufacturers spec oil probably the way to go to prevent this!

2) If your engine oil pressure light doesn't go out immediately, and if the low oil pressure alarm occasionally comes on momentarily when starting the engine, then this is indicative of the oil pump becoming clogged up. Get it sorted before it gets worse

The turbocharger water pipes cleaned up ok with a wire brush on a die grinder:

TurboCleaned.thumb.jpg.df29af20d5efdb819a0f4019bf0a0bce.jpg

I've now coated the pipes with some VHT enamel paint, so I'm expecting further corrosion will be prevented.

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13 hours ago, iantt said:

dont like the look of that black stuff . bit concerning considering the timing belt is bathed in the engine oil! 

I dont like that as well.

Reminds me of the 80's the oil sludge decade affecting ford Pinto engines Kent ohv and the valencia engine oh and CVH lol

 

Jamie

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i know the detergents in modern oil separates and can form sludgy deposits if the engine doesnt get warm enough to reduce water condensation.

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Interesting thread, thanks for sharing this siggy.

 

 

 

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Common problem on Mazda diesels but never seen that on a petrol. How truthful is the service history?

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I didn't much like the look of the crud either. I'm glad it's out of the oil pump pickup - couldn't see wider evidence of crud build-up.

Regarding the service history, I have a few receipts for the car from the previous owners but aside from that very little. I didn't receive a service book with any stamps - I don't think they supply those any more for some reason? The last service receipt I had from before I bought the car was at 74,500 miles done at a Ford dealer (about 3k before I bought it and gave it a full service). It was listed as an "Interim service check" where a few faults were rectified. I can't see any evidence of regular servicing on the bill - no oil etc. Curiously though, the garage lists the next service due on this invoice at 87k.

I'm planning on changing the cam belt a good while before it's due at 150,000 - probably more like 120,000 when I'm intending to do it. It looks like a very involved job unfortunately. What are other people's views on belt change frequency?

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