Last Friday night my 2001 Ford Focus's engine died on me. Apparently,
there is a broken piston rod, which ended up cause a cracked block and
a hole in the oil pan. The kicker is that my 100,000km warranty JUST
expired 1,542 kms ago. This just can't be right! Even the guys at the
Ford dealership I had my car towed to are flabbergasted as to how this
could have happened and are pretty sure it's no fault of mine. I have
NEVER missed any regular maintenance on the vehicle, there were no
oil/fluid leaks, smells, noises and no indicator lights came on to warn
me of any problems. My car was just at Ford in May (prior to hitting
100,000 kms) gettting the fuel delivery module replaced (for free) on a
safety campaign, and at the same time I had them go over my car and do
any maintenence that needed to be done (replaced spark plugs etc...$400
in maintenance). My car was hooked up to the diagnostics computer and
the only problem they found was that they confirmed my engine
hesitation problem was due to the faulty fuel delivery module. I also
had just gotten and oil change about 2,000 km before that, and have had
it done since that service. I always use the reccommended 87 octane
(Chevron), and always check my oil (I've never had to fill it). I am
the one and only owner of this car. I drive it every day to and from
work (about 6 kms each way), plus I make at least one out of town trip
(on the freeway) each week. I park the car inside most of the time and
the weather here (Vancouver, B.C.) doesn't really get that bad that it
would affect anything.
I'm in for a huge battle with Ford as I was advised today by Ford Motor
Company (Canada) that Ford is flat out REFUSING to help me out with the
cost of the repair, which might I add is a hefty $8,300 for a new
engine (including labour), because I am passed my 100,000km warranty
peroid! My family has been long time Ford customers (including using
Ford trucks for my Dad's fleet of work trucks), but that's all changing
now due to the HORRIBLE service I received today on the phone. The
dealership I'm dealing with has been GREAT, but Ford has been nasty.
So, what my question to you is...What in the hell would have caused the
broken piston rod?
If anyone can offer any words that would help me in my battle with
Ford, I would really appreciate it! I don't want to use the lawsuit
card unless I have to.
I don't know that you'd win a lawsuit. The engine was warranted for 100,000 kms
and it went past that before it failed. It's unfortunate but that's the way it
goes sometimes. I would NOT pay Ford for a $8300 for a new engine. Get one out
of a junkyard instead or replace the whole car. The junkyard option should be
your cheapest by far. If you're uneasy about using something like that you
could always buy a long block from a reputable supplier for more than the
junkyard, less than Ford.
Well $8,300 seems excessive for a replacement engine, even in Canadian
Dollars. With Ford offering huge incentives on Foci, a new car would make
more sense. Sometimes parts just fail because they are defective (even if
they are generally 99.999% reliable). To have a connecting rod fail at
100,000 km (just over 60,000 miles) is highly unusual.
However, I think you are battling with the wrong party. You seem to be
blaming Ford of Canada for not rolling over and giving you a new engine. I
think this is the wrong attitude. They (Ford of Canada) don't know you. For
all they know, you have not serviced the engine and/or you have abused it.
The dealer you are so highly praising should be your champion in this
matter. They know you, they have been servicing the car. They should take
your case to Ford of Canada and get you some relief. I have had dealers go
out of their way to work with Ford (USA) to partially compensate me for out
of warranty failures that were clearly related to defective parts. I don't
know the rules in Canada, but many US States have laws that prevent
manufacturers from limiting warranties for failures that are clearly
manufacturing defects. For instance, in your case, a failed connecting rod
would be a clear manufacturing defect (assuming you haven't omitted that you
did something to damage the engine, like over revving it, or running the car
through deep water and sucking water in through the intake). In states with
implied warranty laws, a clear manufacturing defect has no time limit on
coverage. I assume Canada has Consumer Affairs Bureaus or Departments. It
might be worth checking with one of those about implied warranties. See
Defective part, over revving the engine, running the car through deep water
and ingesting water into the engine, a seized piston or rod bearing due to
low oil or low oil pressure, failed piston pin, broken rod bolt, etc. My
Father's employee once ran his lawn tractor out of oil, the piston seized,
the rod broke and poked a hole in the block.
Talk to your good friends at the dealer you seem to hold blameless and press
your dealer for more help. Ask to speak to the Ford zone representative when
they visit the dealer. Call your local Consumer Affairs agency and talk with
them. . Remember, as far as Ford is concerned, the Dealer is their real
Customer, not you. They didn't sell you the car, the dealer did. They didn't
service the car, the dealer did. They don't know you personally, the dealer
Thanks Ed for your response. You gave me some good advice.
The dealership where my car is sitting in storage is not where I bought
the car, so really they are not to blame. I no longer live in the town
where I bought the car. However, I will be asking the dealer who has
my car (and who performed the last service) if they will help me out by
calling Ford for me and pleading my case. Even they agree that this
couldn't have been due to any lack of maintenance, and that it looked
like a faulty piston rod. I have all my service records, thank
goodness, and I had checked my oil a day or two before this happend and
it was fine. I will be providing service records and photos of the
engine to Ford Motor Company. I can't really blame Ford this early in
the game for being jerks to me; I wouldn't just give in to a repair
like that after only one telephone call either. If they want
persistence, they've got it. I'm stubborn.
Canada doesn't seem to have the same laws as the U.S. in regards to
lemons and warrantys, but maybe I just haven't found it yet...I'm still
trying to do my research on this. I think the Sale of Goods Act might
be of help, and in the meantime I will continue my search.
Thanks again for your words of advice.
On another forum I recently read a post from a Honda Civic owner who had
an unusual engine failure at 5 years and 60k miles, outside the warranty
period. Honda without a fight covered all the parts and the customer
paid for labor. A reasonable compromise in that situation.
Ford, like GM and others, seems to focus entirely on eliminating
warranty claim cost whenever possible and could care less about the
damage to it's customer relationships which results.
Consequently, one by one former loyal customers join the NEVER AGAIN
club. Why these big companies spend so much money on advertising and
executive pay packages and so little on customer retention is one of the
mysteries of the modern business world.
I wouldn't put another dime into the vehicle. Ditch it and get
yourself a nice Toyota or Honda.
Oh, yes...the next car I'll buy will DEFINITELY be either a Honda or a
Toyota. Ford called me when they received my letter, and refused to
help me. They basically told me that they don't care if I ever buy
another Ford or if anyone I know ever buys a Ford. Horrible. I
thought they would cover at least a SMALL part of the cost, but NOPE.
Nothing. They just don't care. Sad.
On a side note, I received an email from another Focus owner who
recently had the same thing happen to his car at 96,000km. He even
lives in the same city as me. Very interesting. Hopefully we can band
together on this!
Just a thought but it occurs to me that the mileage difference of 1.542% off
the warranty period could be suspect. I doubt that the odometer accuracy is
that good and/or could be proven to be that good. I think you would be
successful in a small claims action and the cost to file is $100.00+/-.
Dollar limit I believe is now $25,000. Chances are you will get a default
judgment as it is likely that Ford will not even make an appearance for such
a small amount ($8300). But hell for the $100.00 you can have lots of fun if
you're willing to push this matter. Also I believe that all small claim
matters now have a settlement conference process before the matter would go
to trial. Very informal and again I think the judge will most likely side
with you in this phase.
Thanks Richard! I appreciate your encouragement. :) I will be
commencing a small claims action once I manage to finish my demand
letter - assuming Ford doesn't respond favourably. I'd like to give
them at least 14 days to respond so that I don't seem like I'm jumping
the gun on this and running to our court system. You are correct about
the process and the cost to commence the action. It's not very
difficult to do...user friendly for lay litigants. I've represented my
self in court once before (traffic court for a parking ticket. LOL!),
and I mananged to get off. I just want what's right, If they'd offer
to pay for all but a thousand or two of the cost, I'd be willing to
accept it. We'll see what happens - I'll be posting updates!
I don't know if this engine fits your car or not. And maybe the part
has long been discontinued, but: I have a 2004 Motorsport catalog that
has the 2.0 long block (complete with everything, including oil pan,
throttle body, exhaust manifold, flywheel, engine injector harness,
etc) listed for $$2,595. (part number M-6007-ZX3) The short block
assembly is listed for $650. (part number M-6009-ZX3) These are new
production parts and are a far cry from $8300. (I know, labor can be
high) Anyway, maybe your Ford dealer could work with you to get the
price down to an acceptible level.
Description for both of these parts is 2.0 Zetec engine that fits 2002
Focus ZX-3. Would this engine be similar to yours?
If he goes with an outside supplier for an engine, then the Ford dealer
probably won't touch it. If he gets a new short block and reconditions the
head, it should cost around $1000 + labor. And the labor would be cheaper at
a private garage.
The Ford Motorsport catalog lists Ford parts available from the Ford
dealership. The part numbers that I listed are Ford part numbers. The
Motorsport catalog is the aftermarket division of Ford so maybe the
dealer would be leary about ordering it, but I've never seen that.
However......I guess the point is irrelevent because he has a different
The Motorsport catalog is available at most Ford dealer parts counters
although not all Ford dealers are Motorsport dealers.
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