CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2001 Ford Focus - Ongoing Issues!

Help! I am at a loss and don’t know what to do. I recently bought a 2001 Ford Focus (about 4 months ago) and it recently began having a rough idle, check engine light, and stalling. One night, I started and it immediately stalled. When I tried to drive it, it made a grinding noise. Eventually, I made it home and got it to a shop the next day. I was told that it was likely the pistons by a mechanic. He later confirmed it was the pistons, had them replaced, sent my engine off to a machine shop for “smoothing”. 2 days later, I had it back and it seemed to be running great. Took it to work and went up a small grade hill (not even labeled) and it began chugging, making a grinding noise and the check engine light began flashing. I took it back to the shop where the mechanic couldn’t even keep it running and he determined that it was a broken hose. He replaced it, free of charge and the car ran great for a couple days. Next thing you know, it begins the rough idle and random stalling but no check engine light. I took it back in and he asked to keep it for a few days. He said that he determined the machine shop didn’t do things correctly and sent it back in. I got it back this morning and it seemed to be running fine for my husband, but once I got in it, there was a loud rumble and a slightly rough idle. Then, there was the smell of burnt rubber. My mechanic wants it back, but isn’t open again until Monday and I work the next two days. By the time I got it home from work, it had a very rough idle, issues accelerating and I’m still having issues going up hills.

Clearly, my mechanic is really focused on the issue being related solely to my pistons and is only focusing on that. I think something else is wrong and is being missed, but I have no clue what. Help - I’ve been warned I can’t miss any more work, I can’t afford to rent a car anymore and I still have to drive to work 2 more days before I can make it back to the shop.

I Wish I Could Help You.

Unfortunately, since your mechanic and a machine shop can’t seem to sort things out while having the car in front of them, it becomes much more challengine for anybody to make any meaningful suggestions through cyber space.

CSA

@kittykitsune, please post the fault codes

The flashing MIL means you had extreme misfires occurring.

Best have your catalyst checked out afterwards

Has anyone looked at your IAC idle air control valve?

How many miles?

Unfortunately, it does sound like something very critical was missed/overlooked.

I’ll ask if I can get the fault codes from the mechanic.

92,000 miles