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Ford Focus starting problems, car just won't start

I bought a Ford Focus 1.8TDCi brand new in April 2003 it has now done 22,000 miles with a full Ford service history.  However, on the 14th of May 2007 the car began to have quite pronounced problems starting from cold.

The RAC took my car to a Ford Dealer I didn't get it back until 19 June 2007 (yes it took them just over a month to get it to start and then they had to 'test' it, so they had it almost 5 weeks in total!).

The total bill for the work came to 1919.22 during which they fitted a new battery, PCM module, fuel injection pump, crankshaft sensor etc.  You could have knocked me down with a feather at this point.

Starting problems, dealer blames Ford diagnostics

When I queried the bill they said Ford told us to fit these parts due to readings off the diagnostics on the fault code reader.  On the 27th of June and only a week after I got it back, I had exactly the same starting problems, i.e. after a short run from cold, switched off engine which then just refused to start again.

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I feel that I have been ripped off and the Dealer blames Ford diagnostics, meanwhile Ford says that it is down to the dealer.  Is this just a big game to Ford and am I just caught in the middle?

Can anyone tell me what to do here and does anyone know exactly what causes starting problems on the Ford Focus?  I'm at a loss with this because it would seem that FORD themselves and their experts do not have a clue, so any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

By: GK

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won't amp is a Ford Focus MK1 98 1.6 Alternator petrol 70amps or 80amps

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steve - 7-Nov-13 13:14

The glow plug indicator light is erratic. On switching when Glow plug indicator light of a TDCI diesel car doesn't glow then engine not start, keep the car for sometimes Glow plug indicator light will glow and the engine will start.

-5

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HAZ - 20-Oct-13 08:17

We have had starting problems with our 2009 Ford Focus diesel TDI for a year on 8 occasions. The Ford dealer decided it was due to using super market fuel as it started when they changed the fuel filter. That cost over £200 including the towing to the garage. About 3000 miles later, same again. Different one man business, small local and usually first class, called on to help.
Advised we had used supermarket fuel as it started when filter changed again.
(How come all these cars who queue up at supermarket petrol stations are not stranded too?).
1300 miles later same again, this time we had been careful to fill up at top fuel stations - the inconvenience can be imagined. Change of filter and it started.
Short time later repeat of non starting.
Our man was on holiday so we tried another small local garage. He replaced the fuel filter, it started however he at least applied diagnostic test and said there was still a problem somewhere.
He investigated immobiliser and cleaned and adjusted wire connectors.
Short time after didn't start again.
Finally our small local garage man after working all day on the car has found the EGR valve was faulty, he replaced it and the engine started, put the old one back on and it didn't start.
So hallelujah we think this dedicated garage mechanic may have solved the problem!
So anyone else in same situation go for the EGR valve!

We have spent well over a £1000. The most maddening thing is these Ford Dealers who when they do not really know the cause of the problem just change the fuel filter and say it is "supermarket fuel" rather like a doctor saying it is a virus!

-6

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HD - 16-Oct-13 01:08

I have a 2009 ford focus 2ltr tdci,about four months ago it refused to start just turning over but not firing up,took it to my local garage who tried various things to no avail.They sent it to a diesel specialist who fitted a new fuel pump,the car ran ok for a few months but has developed the exact same symptoms and is back with diesel specialist who fitted fuel pump,they have had the car for a fortnight now and can not pinpoint the problem,sometimes it will start then five minutes later it won't,any help would be greatly appreciated ,this has so far cost me 800 pounds.

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Anonymous - 16-Sep-13 17:21

i have a 99 estate 1.6 petrol ford focus it suddenly wouldnt rev and lost power can any body help

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cheryl - 25-Aug-13 13:53

i have a 2009 focus with 86000 had hot start problem since about 40000 three mechanic no help replaced starter and battery no codes shown

-2

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ananymous - 24-May-13 02:04

I have a 2006 1.6tdi sport Ford Focus the oil pump failed causing the engine to wreck. I have replaced the engine but the car refuses to start or turn over? Different versions depending who you ask are. The brain has to match the key and the fuel pump? Anyone had this problem?

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Anonymous 911 - 15-May-13 15:00

i have a focus tdi 1550 and i am getting fuel or eletric problems with it . as i drive it it feels like ther is water in the fuel you put yor foot down and it will not go no power then it will suddenly go and will blow black smoke just a bit. and when you coast it feels like it is misfireing does anyone know wats causing this problem?

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dave56 - 22-Apr-13 12:59

Had same problem, there is a connection for the fuel pump under the back passenger seat, drivers side, there is a bung with a wire going into it, pull the bung out and fiddle about with the connection clip whilst someone is trying to start the car up, if no joy the clip may need replacing, the fuel tank would have to be dropped for this, or u cud just do the work from inside by cutting into the metal then soldering back. Hope this helps :)

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Stacey - 18-Mar-13 12:38

can anyone help me got a ford focus 1.6 petrol 2000 my car will not start turning over and has fuel going to pump the aa said its the fuel pump but had that replaced about 6 months ago they also said i only had 4 volts instead of 6 which is what i need

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ben - 25-Sep-12 21:25

I have had the same problem an a customers car, Ford main dealers had not got a clue when I phoned them for technical advice, They told me that they had several 1.8 Tdci with this problem,My diagnostics said it was the crankshaft sensor so I fitted a new one cancelled the code, And guess what the same code came back and the engine still would not start,So after racking my brain, I decided to try different things,And the result was faulty EGR valve, When I UN-plugged the EGR valve the engine started up straight away, My local Ford Dealer was very pleased when I called them to tell them that I had cured the starting problem.

Garage owner and technician for 40 years

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Fred - 6-Sep-12 23:51

"Does anyone have any idea what this could be?"

Rough guess, it's screwed.

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Web Mechanic - 10-Aug-12 22:23

Hi, I have a 1999 Ford Focus 18TD. Driving home from work it started to lose power until it finally came to a halt. I waited and after it had cooled, checked the oil and water. This was fine. I tried starting it up again and it started but a huge plume of black smoke belched out of the exhaust. I tried revving the engine. No more black smoke, but the engine was rattling and making a noise like metal on metal, a sort of squealing. Also, I could smell something burning. Only very slightly though. Does anyone have any idea what this could be?

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Debi - 8-Aug-12 19:53

Most diesel starting problems stem from three sources: 1. Lack of or poor delivery of fuel. 2. Faulty glow plugs. 3. Lack of cylinder compression.

Lack of fuel can be caused by a wide range of faults, the most common being a blocked fuel filter, air in the fuel system, poor pump pressure and faulty injectors. A clean looking fuel filter may not appear to be blocked, but if you haven't replaced it yourself before, put a new one in to be certain. You'd be amazed at how many garages don't change these filters at a major service. Make sure the filter seals are renewed at the same time. Air leaks can be hard to track down, but you should be able to tell if you have one because, due to syphoning, there will be little or no fuel forward of the low pressure pump when you first try to start the car, also there may be bubbles present in the fuel line when the car initially starts. They may persist while the car is ticking over if the leak is particularly bad. Almost any part of the fuel system can spring a leak, so tracking it down takes time and patience. Start at the fuel tank and check every seal and pipe joint all the way forward to the injectors. Odds are somewhere along the line you will come across a badly seated O-Ring or loose pipe nut. Unless the leak is really bad you won't see any diesel coming out, it's a fairly viscous liquid and can't always pass through pathways air can travel through easily. If there is no obvious leak, you may need to have the system pressure tested by a diesel specialist. Have the pump efficiency checked at the same time. Don't go to a main dealer, they are worse than useless at diagnostics, plus a specialist will have more experience of other issues that may have effect your particular cars fuel system. If there are no leaks and your pump's fine, then you may be looking an injector problem.

Unliike petrol injectors, diesel injectors work at very high pressures, especially in common rail systems, this means they are more complex and more expensive to manufacture. It also means they are more prone to failure. Most failures are caused by blockages or wear and result in an injector delivering fuel to the cylinder poorly or not at all. Without the right equipment you cannot diagnose injector problems, other than complete injector failure. This would be apparent, because white smoke (not steam) would be billowing out of the exhaust, accompanied by a strong diesel odour, and/or the engine would be very rough. If you suspect the injectors there are a large number of specialist firms that can test them and diagnose any faults, they may even be able to refurbish them for much less than the cost of a new replacement.

At engine start-up glow plugs preheat the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chamber (cylinder) before it is compressed by the piston. This aids the ignition process, after which the glow plugs should not be required except in unusually cold conditions. Faulty glow plugs are not uncommon, but are not easy to diagnose without testing them and their relays electrically. If they are easily accessible, you could remove them and test them with a car battery to see if the tips heat up correctly (they should glow white hot). A faulty plug may not reach sufficient temperature or may heat up at the wrong point on the plug, making them useless. WARNING: Severe burns can result from touching a recently active glow plug. Glow plugs are not expensive, so replacing them yourself could be a cost effective solution to your problem.

Finally, good cylinder compression is a vital component of a diesel engine, without it combustion leaks will occur and this will effect engine starting quite severely, particularly when the engine is hot. An engine may not appear to run roughly even with lowered compression, but it will be less fuel efficient and will likely burn engine oil (blue-black exhaust smoke is the most common evidence). Due to the very high pressures involved, compression testing equipment for diesel engines tends to be quite expensive, so it may be cheaper and easier to seek the help of specialist. A quick, and not very accurate, compression test can be achieved by squirting a small amount (teaspoon) of engine oil into the cylinders via the glow plug ports when the engine is hot, then replace the glow plugs and start the engine. If the engine starts easily there is a good chance you have a compression problem, if not start looking elsewhere. Poor compression can only be remedied by an engine rebuild or replacement.

One last possibility is a blown head gasket. With high compression engines even a tiny breach in the gasket can result in huge losses of pressure in the cylinder and poor starting could be a symptom.

Hope some of this helps.

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Suddenend - 4-Aug-12 20:08

i have a 1999 tddi focus. replaced diesel pump and got it fired up by using easy start. car run for 10 minutes and then stopped and refuses to start. any ideas??

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lobswales - 20-Jun-12 19:56

I took a look at my engine compartment fusebox...im missing R166, R34, F3, R167/285 (taken from Haynes manual) they all have the icon of the heater plug in a water bath? Could this be anything related to my problem?

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Jimbo - 28-Feb-12 15:35

What would cause my 02 focus TDCI to intermittantly not start? she cranks fine but refuses to fire and the glow plug light flashes. Then I turn the key to off and back to on (glow plug light no longer flashes) and she starts on the button no bother. Are there any sensors or relays that could be causing this? No other symptoms such as stalling, poor fuel consumption, rough idle etc. Just the random embarassing ignorance of my car :/ it usually happens when ive drove for a short distance and try to start it a few minutes/hours later, but its really difficult to identify any pattern! any ideas much appreciated

+13

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jimbo - 27-Feb-12 21:03

These Engine management lights, and diagnostic fault readers are just an excuse for manufacturers to rip us off. Did they not inform you of the cost before they carried out the work?. Id have told them to stuff it cuz they are out to rip us off all the time!!!!. I had problems with my car starting. My mechanic checked the engine diagnostics. He said the glow plugs needed replacing and charged me £100. Strangely enough a month later i started having exactly the same problem with my car, in that it wouldnt start correctly and the Engine management light stayed on. Of course my glow plugs would still have been under warranty so the mechanic told me that my glow plugs were fine and that this time it was another problem which would cost me £50. Its my theory that the first time he only renewed 2 glow plugs (although he charged me for 4), and subsequently the other two later died on me. It's rampant in the motor industry. I bet hundreds if not thousands of people are ripped off each week!!!

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wayne - 22-Feb-12 20:23

Hi Ben thanks alot for the tip will try that and see if it helps. Kind Reguards Gary

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manumercer - 10-Feb-12 20:44

problems with starting ford focus 1.8 tdi.gary. similar focus estate 1.8 endura 2000.try taking 3 fuel filter pipes off fuel filter.(under bonnet) pour fuel into largest hole at front, untill full (diesel).check "o"rings for damage. also pour fuel into pipe leading to injection pump for injectors.reconnect fuel pipes locking into place.make sure at each step. we did this and after a couple of longest turns of key engine picked up. drove 150miles on motorway ok.still ok. car had stood 2 days , think diesel fuel had syphoned back into tank.perhaps worn "o" rings .

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ben - 26-Jan-12 20:45

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