Focus 2.0 TDCi / Ford service technicians

My Focus 2.0 TDCi had a problem in last spring where sometimes when you started the engine, it didn't quite reach idle and didn't respond to throttle inputs. The main dealer replaced the EGR valve but a month or
so later, it did it again. The dealer said there was no fault codes and they couldn't reproduce the fault so nothing was done.
The car has been fine throughout the summer but over the past few weeks the problem has reappeared. Today it took about 8 attempts to get the engine running properly. I drove to my dealer and booked it in for investigation next week. As I got into the car at the dealer..... a lucky break. The engine didn't start correctly. The exhaust was belching out black smoke and it wouldn't respond to throttle.
I dashed back into the dealer and said, "quick, the fault is present now... get someone to have a look". The service receptionist said, sorry our diagnostic technician isn't here at the moment. I pointed to the other Ford technicians working in the workshop and she said they were not trained to operate the equipment. I said that it was important that someone witnessed the fault because I knew that it was unlikely to reproduce the fault when it is booked in next week.
The receptionist came out and witnessed the defect. I told her (politely) that I would not accept any "unable to reproduce fault" excuse when it goes in next week. She said that Ford will not authorise any part replacement without a fault code present. I tried to keep calm because the girl was quite young and I don't like to appear to be threatening but I tried to make it clear that my warranty conditions overrode Ford's instructions to its dealers.
I left feeling quite shocked that these modern, well paid vehicle technicians can't do anything without a fault code. I'm an aircraft engineer working on modern aircraft. As you can imagine, we make high use of built in test equipment and external diagnostic equipment but if the equipment fails to show up a fault and the pilot insists that there is a fault, we don't just give up. We go back to basics, troubleshoot on paper and start replacing bits.
Sorry, rant over. If Tim or anyone else has any idea what the problem is, I'm sure my dealer will be very appreciative :)
--
Paul Giverin

British Jet Engine Website:- www.britjet.co.uk
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Sounds about the right response from Ford dealers.
One thing you can be sure about though, they will give it a good long test drive, trying to remove as much tread as possible from the front tyres during the process.
They think they are doing you a favour by looking at your car, under warrantee or not !
I am not impressed either, great cars serviced and repaired by useless dealers who do not care.
Mike

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errr well paid technician ? I must have missed that part when I picked my wage packet up today !!!! the garage may get the 50+ an hour us technicians certainly don't !!! but then we are all not aircraft engineers.
We go back to basics, troubleshoot on

we don't have the luxury of replacing bits willy nilly, any bits we order nowadays tend to be special order or come in sealed packets, so once opened they are non returnable & the customer certainly isn't going to pay for parts they didn't need.
unfortunately I know how frustrating it can be for yourself & us if a code isn't present or showing a fault at the time of presentation,
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I've seen job adverts for technicians at main dealerships where the salary has been equal or greater than paid to some aircraft engineers. I'm not saying that's the case for all vehicle technicians.

That would obviously be a concern of the customer where the customer was paying for the work carried out but in this case the car is covered by warranty and I just want it fixed. The cost is not my concern. I know that sounds selfish but its the reality of the situation.

Absolutely, but the dealership has witnessed the car demonstrating the fault. There is no doubt that it has a fault and I won't accept any excuses about a lack of fault code. The fault exists and I want it fixed.
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Paul Giverin

British Jet Engine Website:- www.britjet.co.uk
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robinson says...

Utter crap. I diagnosed a faulty ICV valve on a Mitsi without needing a laptop to tell me what it was.
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Conor

I'm not prejudiced. I hate everyone equally.
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steve

You may have been lucky, maybe not.
What's needed is a blend of abilities, rather than "computer says no" or fault-finding without reference to the ECU's stored codes and freeze frame data.
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Not really. The symptoms are typical for a knackered ICV. Which is kind of my point.
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Conor

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steve

For that issue. But not all problems are so easily solved.
The Ka's failed TMAP didn't seem like rocket science. Computer says TMAP failure. But I still checked for a vacuum leak nevertheless...
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Conor wrote:

True - but in my situation (a 306 with idling problems), I self-diagnosed (with help from online) that I needed to replace the stepper motor. Did that and it make little long term difference (came back the 2nd time I started it). Put it into the garage which said it had 2 fault codes - Stepper Motor and MAP Sensor. Replaced the MAP sensor, reset the codes, and now just have 1 fault code - Stepper motor (even though it was only a day or two old).
So, either the (new) stepper motor is faulty, or the ECU is being weird. Considering it was also saying the coolant was -41 degrees after a test drive (-10 or something after starting), and it claimed it was doing 120kph, with 0rpm whilst sitting stationary, I'd go with the ECU...
D
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Hia Paul,
While unrelated, I am a TV engineer (qualified to degree level) but intermittent faults are the same, especally with regard to electronics, but the maths and science are the same in electrical and mechanical systems at that level of engineering. An intermittent fault is very frustrating, and will often will not show up on diagnostics, only while the problem is present. I know nothing about cars suffice what I have said, but the problems are the same. I think that it is very shortcoming of the company that they only have one person trained to use diagnostics. I my job, we all do the same training courses. It's the're problem, not yours.
It seems to me, that they are incompedent. PS I work with an EX RAF technician!
Regards
Rodders

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Hmmm. Tricky one. As Moray has said, first check for any software updates or TSB's that are available and address idling issues. Also have them check the wiring to the PPS, or do it yourself.
The black smoke sounds a different issue, perhaps an EGR one, but without seeing the car it's difficult to say without seeing the symptoms it is producing.
Normally the ECU is programmed such that if base idle rpms arent reached within so many crank rotations of start up, a cut out is effected- the engine cuts out just as it does if you pull rpms down by loading it, but it will restart fine and run ok as long as rpm reaches the target.
Tim..
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The black smoke is only there when it doesn't start properly. When the engine has started properly, its faultless in every other respect. I'm quite impressed by its power delivery.

I do feel that its not getting enough of a crank from the starter. However it never does it from cold. It always does it when the engine has been running and has been switched off for 5-10 minutes. When the fault does occur, I have to turn the engine off again. It will often repeat the fault for the next 6-8 start attempts but I've now found that if I give it about half a boot of throttle when turning it over, it will fire up to 1500 rpm before settling down to normal idle speed.
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Paul Giverin

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As others have suggested and as a good dealership should do, updating the ECU software ought to be done anyway when the car is in the dealer for any work, diagnostics or not.
On a similar note, part of the issue is the dealer. A good dealer can really help the customer when a car isn't quite right, but stubbornly refuses to demonstrate the fault when you take it to the dealer.
When Kermy's TMAP sensor died, I had a pretty good idea what the problem was (mostly because the ECU reported that the TMAP had died, I'd followed through various flow charts to check other issues such as vacuum leaks, which can cause the same error).
The lad was close to undriveable so driving the 100 miles to my preferred Ford dealership wasn't an option. The closest Ford dealer in York were moderately useful but refused to accept that the customer could possibly have read the fault code, so wanted the diagnostic charge to tell me what I'd already told them.
Instead, I took the Ka to a slightly further dealer, where they had a much more pragmatic approach to diagnostics. Shoot, even the Honda dealer in York will rebate the diagnostic fee if you have the work done there.
The long and the short of the above... change the dealer?
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Just as a follow up:- the car went in to the dealer today. As expected... no fault codes present. Technician phoned Ford who said that the problem is known to them. They have provided an updated PCM which they say will make the problem "less likely" but they say that the real problem is owners not keeping the starter motor engaged long enough. Utter bollox in my case but we will see if the PCM update makes any difference.
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Paul Giverin

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Won't over-engaging the starter cause problems with the teeth on the starter gear. I'm thinking of continuing to crank the engine after it has "caught."
-- Don
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Not unless you really overdo it.
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Well the PCM update didn't work and the problem was getting worse. The master technician at the Ford dealership finally got the full story from Ford technical. Apparently the problem lies with the fuel injectors. The PCM update was designed to mask the problem or make it less severe.
As a new set of injectors cost circa 1000, Ford are keen to try any workaround rather than fix the root cause. My engine was put through a comprehensive set of tests including cylinder compression, fuel pump pressure check and injector back leakage checks. Despite all these checks passing with flying colours, Ford have authorised a new set of injectors to be fitted. I should get the car back on Monday so fingers crossed.
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Paul Giverin

British Jet Engine Website:- www.britjet.co.uk
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