Car Mechanics (UK)

En­gine mal­func­tion

- Chris Mack­lin Ford Motor Company · Spain · Belarus · Iceland · Belgium · Austria · Ford Focus 2 · Ford Focus

There is an in­ter­mit­tent fault with my 2008 Ford Fo­cus 2.0 Ti­ta­nium diesel. It has 68,000 miles and has driven fault­lessly un­til just re­cently.

On one oc­ca­sion, there was an alarm while driv­ing and a large tri­an­gle ap­peared on the dash say­ing ‘En­gine Mal­func­tion’. After stop­ping the car then re-start­ing, all was OK. On an­other oc­ca­sion, I was away from the car for a few min­utes, then on restart­ing a large span­ner and a warning tri­an­gle ap­peared. Sim­i­larly, this cleared after I stopped and restarted.

While driv­ing in traf­fic, a large warning tri­an­gle ap­peared with the mes­sages ‘En­gine Mal­func­tion’ and ‘Re­duced Ac­cel­er­a­tion’ and the yel­low ESP light stayed on. This was cleared once again by stop­ping the en­gine then restart­ing after a few min­utes. Later, the same mes­sages reap­peared on the dash. I turned off the en­gine and restarted it after a minute or two, but the same warn­ings re­turned. On press­ing the reset but­ton on the end of the in­di­ca­tor stalk, a span­ner and a warning tri­an­gle ap­peared, but also a warning for ‘Power Steer­ing Mal­func­tion’ and the tachome­ter went down to zero. I turned off the en­gine and restarted, after which ev­ery­thing was OK. A few days later, the span­ner and warning tri­an­gle ap­peared, along with the mes­sage ‘Power Steer­ing Mal­func­tion’. I lost power steer­ing and ac­cel­er­a­tion was re­duced, so I had to stop the car. On restart­ing, ev­ery­thing was OK again.

I have a code reader, but be­cause the EML didn’t il­lu­mi­nate, no codes were stored. Do you think the fault lies with the elec­tronic power steer­ing? There is no fluid loss from the reser­voir un­der the off­side front head­light.

The warning signs you have re­ceived are pos­si­bly due to a prob­lem with the bat­tery or charg­ing sys­tem, so this is the first point I would check. Even though you men­tion no prob­lems with start­ing, if your Fo­cus still has the orig­i­nal bat­tery fit­ted then I would re­place it as a mat­ter of course. It may not be the source of the prob­lem, but it is a likely con­tender. All of the sys­tems you men­tion rely on a con­stant and steady volt­age.

All of the warn­ings you have seen re­late to elec­tronic ac­cel­er­a­tion con­trol, stability con­trol and steer­ing. The span­ner and tri­an­gle seen to­gether in­di­cates that you should have the sys­tem checked as soon as pos­si­ble.

You do not men­tion which code reader you are using, but although your de­vice does not show any stored codes, a ded­i­cated Ford scan­ner sys­tem could re­veal more.

After elim­i­nat­ing the bat­tery and charg­ing sys­tem as pos­si­ble sources of the prob­lem, if the warning signs con­tinue to be dis­played, the fault may be due to the steer­ing mo­tor draw­ing too much cur­rent. This can be checked using Ford di­ag­nos­tic equip­ment, but it would be worth in­spect­ing the con­nec­tions first to en­sure that a high resistance to the mo­tor is not be­ing caused by a poor con­nec­tion at the ter­mi­nal.

By stop­ping and restart­ing the en­gine you are re­set­ting the sys­tems and it might be worth read­ing off any codes with your code reader be­fore turn­ing off the ignition. In these cir­cum­stances, codes ‘P1650’ and ‘P1651’ re­late to power steer­ing. You may find that the steer­ing an­gle sen­sor is at fault and may sim­ply need re­cal­i­brat­ing. It should also be noted that, after chang­ing the power steer­ing pump, you may need to re­cal­i­brate the sys­tem using suit­able di­ag­nos­tic equip­ment.

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