Help needed

Hi all, While driving home from work today my focus, 00 Saloon 1.6 Ghia, behaved very strangly. Just before reaching home I thought I had a puncture,
something about the way the car was handling, so when I pulled up there was a terrible smell and no puncture, when I drove off the car seemed sluggish and unresponsive to the accelerator. Parked outside my house and switched off, restarted again a few minutes later, no bad smell coming from the exhaust and car seemes to rev okay. As I have no mechanical knowhow whatsoever does this sound as if something major is wrong, would it be ok to take onto the road tomorrow, I can only imagine the call out charge for a tow or mechanic on christmas eve,
anyway any ideas
happy christmas
-- M.See
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Is there any chance that you had left the hand brake on, even slightly? It would account for the smell and the sluggish performance. I don't know what to suggest apart from that. I assume that your clutch is fine i.e. you don't get lots of engine revs without corresponding power.
You said the car was handling oddly. Was it pulling to any one side or was the steering heavy?
I would check your engine oil and coolant level as a matter of course. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
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Paul Giverin
British Jet Engine Website http://www.britjet.co.uk
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writesSNIP

Hi Paul and thanks for the help,
I'm sure that he hand brake was off also it was dealer serviced two weeks ago so the levels should be ok, but I will check
thanks again
-- M.See
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I'd take this as a possible clue. Even dealers can make mistakes. A misadjusted brake can start to bind any time. If it happens again feel the rear hubs and see if one is getting hot.
The adjustment takes only a few minutes if you can find someone open. But if you can't and it is a rear brake the worst you can do is burn out the linings and if it's their fault they should give you new ones anyway.
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Thanks Dave
-- M.See
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Was the smell sulphurous? If so the catalytic converter was probably not up to temperature possible being cooled by road surface water or your journey was relatively short.

Had you just driven through a lot of water hence water in the electrics?

The cat was now up to temperature.

Electrics dried out due to heat in the engine bay?
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Alan
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A cold cat will smell. You've probably never noticed it before but now you have a problem you are checking something you've never checked before. The smell could be a 'red herring' and normal if you haven't been driving for 15 minutes or so (especially in colder weather). It's always a good idea to really warm up the car when taking it for an exhaust test (part of the MOT in the UK)
However..

If the engine isn't firing correctly the catalytic converter may not be seeing hot enough exhaust gasses or it may be seeing unburnt fuel - hence it is running too cold and smelly.
Did the dealer replace the spark plugs a few weeks ago? Perhaps the ignition leads were not put back correctly and one of them has come loose. This would cause erratic revs. Open the bonnet and just check the leads to the spark plugs are securely on the plugs.
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wrote SNIP

Opened the bonnet but couldnt even find the leads , like I said earlier not a clue about cars, everything seems to be covered,
Thanks anyway
-- M.See
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Hi Was there freezing temperatures at that time? The hand brake could have been frozen engaged. When you stop the heat spreads around the brake parts and thaw out the ice and everything is fine when you try again. /per

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