I have a 2000 Ford Focus SE with DOHC that is losing power and sputtering when it gets hot after driving for 30 min or more. If I shut the car off and right back on going down the highway it will be fine for 5-10 min and then start sputtering again. If the car is not hot this does not happen and I have a new fuel filter and coil pack as those are the two main things that I could think of. I do not have the money to keep guessing as to what it might be so any ideas would be appreciated. I have seen intake valve seat and fuel pump as the two most common fixes with similar circumstances any ideas if either of these fits my symptoms? or any other ideas?
If you don’t want to guess then don’t. There’s no need to, though you might have to spend some money to avoid it.
How old are the spark plugs & wires? Did a new air filter go in somewhere along with the fuel filter?
Is the check engine light on?
Aside from those things the best things to start with are a check of the fuel pressure under load and check of the exhaust system for restrictions. Don’t guess - test. If you’re not going to get involved in these things on a DIY basis just call around and ask for rates on checking these things.
Plugs and wires are less than a year old and a new air filter when in about 4-5 months ago. No the check engine light is not on even when it starts sputtering so I thought most likely it was not a sensor starting to go bad or anything like that. As far as exhaust and fuel system issues wouldn’t those be bad all the time and not be ok for the first 30 min of driving the car and then act up and be fine after turning the car off and restarting 5 sec later?
As far as exhaust and fuel system issues wouldn’t those be bad all the time and not be ok for the first 30 min of driving the car and then act up and be fine after turning the car off and restarting 5 sec later?
Yes/No & it depends.
What you’re describing doesn’t point to some specific thing - so you start with the basics. You’re losing power. Two common causes: a failing fuel pump that can’t keep up with demand; a restricted exhaust system so the engine’s “breathing” is all messed up. Obviously, if either of these things is a problem its not completely bad, but only in marginal condition.
These are just very basic and simple things to check. Personally, I wouldn’t do anything else until I knew those were out of the picture.
I would go from there to putting a good scantool on it while driving.
When you turn the key to the Run position - where all of the dash lights come on - does your check engine light come on then? (I.e. does the bulb work).
Yes the light works I did check that and I had Oreilly’s run a normal codes test on it just in case it wasn’t coming on for whatever reason and it came up with nothing. Will the scantool only pick these up while I am driving and whatever is messing up starts giving up? I am not sure how this works since I have had several things test good and they are just starting to go bad (mostly alternators)
A scantool can track any of the info going through the computer in real time. The basic stuff for running the engine is the air fuel mix (plus ignition, of course) and that is related to all of those “sensors” that you hear about. If its on a scantool one can watch what everything is doing while the car is operating. Without any actual error codes this is one of the best ways to actually find a problem without having to guess. It doesn’t mean you will find a problem that way, but its better than shooting blind.
I’d still be doing fuel pressure & exhaust checks first - but I have tools for that too so it wouldn’t cost me anything but about 1/2 hour of time. That’s why I suggest you just call around to ask about costs on basic checks like these. Or ask around among friends to see if anyone has a fuel pressure gauge & vacuum gauge.
I’m having the same problem with a 2000 Ford Focus SE Wagon. The car has had new plugs and wires, new fuel filter, and new vacuum hose. The stuttering seems more likely to happen when it is hot, but it mostly occurs after longer trips. I have read that there was a recall on the fuel delivery system, but I have not confirmed this with Ford yet. I wanted to do a little more searching before I start talking with a dealership…
Is This A 2.0L Zetec Engine ?
Ford’s got a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) written to help their technicians address problems with driveability in 2000 - 2001 Ford Focus vehicles equipped with that engine.
They describe the problem as a “hesitation/surge at cruise or light tip-in at 45 - 60 mph and/or a cold idle roughness, hesitation/surge and/or long crank times after a hot soak condition.”
Does this describe your experience ? Ford advises technicians to perform normal diagnoses and if the problem can’t be pinpointed then the PCM - Powertrain Control Module (engine’s computer) should be recalibrated with the latest level calibration. They have a bulletin, chart, and other information.
It could just be that your PCM needs to be reflashed. I’d call a few Ford dealers and ask to speak with the Service Manager/Director (not service advisor) and run your symptoms by them and maybe ask if it sounds like a candidate for reprogramming the PCM. Compare the responses you get. You may find one more knowledgeable and more user friendly than the others and possibly a place to get it corrected.