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2000 Ford Focus wagon stalling

I have a 2000 Ford Focus with approx. 110,000 miles. A couple of seasons ago it started up. I live in CO. and after driving for about 2 hours I would hit a hill and half way up the car would feel like it wasn’t getting any gas and then it would stall. I would roll over to the side of the road, put it in neutral and it would start right up. Some times if there wasn’t much traffic I would slide it into neutral and restart it on the fly. I have brought it to Ford a couple of times for this problem. The first time they said the fuel pump was clogged and it needed a new fuel filter. This worked for a while, but it started up again. The second time they dropped the fuel tank and said there was a 1/2" of dirt in the bottom of it and this was my problem. This fix lasted about 6 months and it has started again. I am ready to get something new, but if I can get another year out of it that would be great. Can you help? Thank you

Was the fuel pump ever replaced?

Yes, about 1 1/2 years ago

Does anyone have any ideas?

No Check Engine light ever comes on before the engine dies?

Does it make a difference if the gas tank is full versus almost empty?

Have you tried replacing the fuel filter again?

John, Do You Know If You’ve Got A 2.0L SPI Engine ? Has The “Check Engine” Light Come On And / Or Have Any Trouble Codes Been Retrieved From The Vehicle ?

Some 2000 - 2002 Focus models with that engine only and trouble codes PO300 - PO304 and problems with rough idling, low power, and / or stalling have been found to have sticking exhaust valves due to excessive carbon build-up between the the valve stems and guides. The condition usually results in the engine misfiring when it returns to idle from an open throttle position.

Ford’s fix is a new cylinder head assembly with revised valve guides and revised valves. No mention is made of any other cleaning method. Proper diagnosis should be performed before proceeding with a rather expensive repair. I think I’d try some kind of chemical valve cleaner you could put in the gas tank. I’d even try some Sea-Foam in the oil, following instructions on the can.

Please respond with your engine designation.


Thank you for the responce. No, the check engine light comes on when the engine dies. It does seem to happen more when the tank is at a 1/4 or less. The fuel filter was changed with the last work.

If you had that much junk in your gas tank, the filter could easily be plugged up again. Who knows if they got 100% of the stuff out of there.

You probably will want to learn how to change fuel filters yourself. They’re cheap if you don’t go to the dealer to buy them and do it yourself. You may find that your fuel filter needs changing every 6 months. Don’t let your tank get less than 1/3 full.

Thank you for responding. The engine light comes on when the engine dies. The engine is a 2.0, but I am not sure if it is an SPI. What does SPI stand for? This is my Daughters car and I am having her check now for me. She lives in Colorado and is disabled. This is why I am looking for help. Ford has tested this and did not say anything about trouble codes just that they can not find anything wrong.

This is my Daughters car. I am trying to help her with this problem. She lives in Colorado and is disabled. I will have her look for a garage in the area who could help her with changing the filter. Thanks for the help.

I Believe SPI Stands For Ford’s Description Of The Engine Having “Split Port Induction”.

The significance of the SPI name is that these are the 2.0L Ford Focus engines that had the valve carbon problems in 2000 - 2002 Models.

Ford dealers have access to a Technical Service Bulletin that discusses this issue and informs technicians how to properly diagnose the condition.

Let’s hope the problem is something simpler and more mundane. A fuel flow problem and plugged filter would be easier to remedy. Maybe a fuel pressure test before replacing the filter could help rule in or rule out that situation.


Thank you for all the ideas. I will try them.