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Old 11-01-2011, 18:53   #1 (permalink)
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2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

My girlfriend has a 2002 Focus ZX3 hatchback, 4-cylinder, and for quite some time she has had some problems with the car starting, particularly after it has sat overnight. Often, when she first starts it up in the morning, it starts up really rough and the RPMS fluctuate up and down very significantly. Its only after she floors the gas for a little bit does it even out and begin to run normally. It has more of a tendency to do this when the fuel level is below a half a tank, but it does occur when it is above a half as well. It doesn't do this every time, but it does it a lot. Also, the other day, her car died on the away. When she tried to start it up right after it died, a similar thing happened where the RPMs fluctuated significantly but when she gave it gas, it didn't seem to respond. The car was low on fuel (but the needle was still above the Empty). I put 5 gallons of gas in it and it started up ok.

What are your guys' ideas?

Thanks so much
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Old 11-02-2011, 03:32   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

Check / replace if needed , plugs / plug leads (wires) and if still having problems , engine coolant temp sensor .
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:40   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

Autozone will pull codes for free.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:54   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

There are no engine codes
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:47   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

How are the plugs and wires? Also fuel filter? Clean the MAF sensor with MAF cleaner may help too. Cleaning the IAC also.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:51   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

I believe the plugs and wires are ok, and I feel like it it were those, the problem would be noticeable during normal driving conditions, not just start up. My first inclination was the fuel filter, but she says its not that old and the car doesn't seem to have the start up trouble when it is warm. I could try the cleaning the MAF, but also the coolant temp sensor sparks some interest in my thoughts. I'm being lazy, but where is the MAF and where is the coolant temp sensor on this car? I haven't done much with this car so I am not familiar with their locations. I am assuming the MAF is somewhere inline on the air intake tubing from the air filter.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:16   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

The engine coolant temp sensor lets the ECU know how much fuel is needed i.e on cold start a rich mixture which then leans out as engine warms up .
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:34   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

The MAF is where you said. Here is some information on one model. You can change it to what your engine is and check it out. | Repair Guides | Components & Systems | Cylinder Head Temperature Sensor | AutoZone.com
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:55   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

That link is to the cylinder head temperature sensor. There also appears to be a coolant temperature sensor at a different location. Which is more likely the culprit?
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:19   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 Ford Focus Starting Problems

If you go to that site and put in what the engine code is, you can check the wiring diagrams for it. Then you'll know which sensor controls it. Some of the 4 cyl. use the CHT sensor.
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