Ford Engines and Cold Air Intakes Reliability

The engine is the main and most expensive unit, its reliability largely determines whether or not it will be expensive to maintain the car. This is especially true for buyers of used cars. If only because motors usually begin to require attention after the warranty period has expired – more often with second or third owners.


Four cylinders, up to two liters capacity and turbocharging combined with direct injection. This is what the basic layout of a modern petrol engine with very good dynamics and low fuel consumption looked like in the last decade. Turbocharging made it possible to compensate for the missing litres of working volume, while direct injection ensured economy.

Volkswagen began to apply this solution on a massive scale already in the first half of the last decade. Its direct competitor, Ford, was postponing the mass transition to turbocharging. He still relied on proven solutions – Sigma and Duratec. As for the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine borrowed from Volvo, it did not fit the above concept in terms of number of cylinders, volume and fuel injection (distributed).

In 2010, Ford proposed new four-cylinder 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines, which were commercially called EcoBoost. Since 2012, this series has been supplemented with a small three-cylinder unit with a capacity of 1 liter.


1.6 EcoBoost

1.6 EUR was technically based on the popular atmospheric 1.6 series Sigma, developed together with Yamaha in the nineties. Ecobusta’s unit received an “open deck” design, which involves free-standing cylinders and an open jacket of cooling channels directly adjacent to the unit head. This solution, according to Ford’s idea, should help reduce engine weight and improve temperature balance. In addition, the cast-iron sleeves were retained. But they were not pressed into the aluminium block, but held in the block during casting.

The rest of the engine is different from the Sigma range. The direct injection required a new cylinder head. The manufacturer kept the valve control without segment gap. In practice, the valve gap in these engines is not determined and Ford does not include a gap check in the maintenance plan. In this matter, he relies on the hearing of an experienced mechanic. If the gap had to be eliminated, a total of 36 adjusting washers of different heights would have to be replaced. This also means removing the ductwork and the corresponding camshaft, which is not so easy.

Similarity to the Sigma family is also indicated by the belt type timing belt drive. It must be updated every 150,000 km. The procedure requires some experience and special fixing devices for the shafts. Both camshafts have gas distribution couplings similar to those installed in 1.6 Ti-VCT.

A Borg Warner KP39 turbocharger with a low-inertia rotor is used for supercharging, providing a fast reaction to gas addition. The turbocharger bearing unit is included in the engine cooling circuit, but without additional cooling after shutdown. Currently, 1.6 EcoBoost has been replaced by a 1.5 EcoBoost derivative of the smaller volume.

1.6 EcoBoost
1.6 EcoBoost

Characteristic and CAI problems

In terms of reliability and number of defects, 1.6 EcoBoost cold air intakes and engines lose the fight with his older brother 2.0 EcoBoost from the very beginning.

The biggest problem was overheating due to loss of coolant. For the first engines, it was common for the dashboard to report a shortage of antifreeze every 2000-3000 km. There were several reasons for the loss of coolant: a water pump, defective seals on the heater unit (liquid was found in the front passenger’s legs), and deformation or cracking of the cylinder head. The latter cause was also indicated by oil leaks.

While cooling system vulnerabilities have been corrected, fuel injector malfunctions are still present. Spraying is disturbed, or the injectors start pouring fuel, resulting in melting or even destroying the piston.

Problems with the nozzles are caused by poor quality gasoline. Specialists Ford recommend refueling only with high-octane fuel.

2.0 EcoBoost

Unlike the 1.6 EcoBoost, the 2-liter turbo engine and it’s cold air intake are not only luckier, but also more durable and reliable. The 2.0 EB is based on the Duratec-HE or MI5 series. The ancestor was introduced in 2000 and developed together with Mazda. The Japanese designated their family with the L index. MI5 and L5 combine the same aluminum block, the basic design and features, but the attachments are different. Over the years, the difference between the engines became more and more pronounced.


2.0 EcoBoost, like its founder, has a chain-driven timing system. As with the smaller 1.6 EB, the valve gap adjustment is not part of the maintenance plan.

Up to 2015, the engine was available in a Euro 5 version and afterwards in a Euro 6 version, most parts of which have been reworked. The new cylinder head received an integrated exhaust manifold, the compression ratio was increased from 9.3 to 10:1 and other pistons were installed. Turbocharging has also undergone changes. The Borg Warner K03 single-chamber turbocharger was replaced by a twin scroll. Euro6 is about 4.5 kg lighter.

The larger 3.5 EcoBoost for the Focus RS and Mustang sports cars was obtained from Euro6. The volume gain was achieved by increasing the piston stroke from 83.1 to 94 mm with the same cylinder diameter of 87.5 mm. The large difference between diameter and stroke required the installation of a balance shaft cartridge, which was placed at the bottom of the engine.

2.0 EcoBoost
2.0 EcoBoost

Characteristic problems

Unlike the smaller 1.6, the 2-litre turbo engine is reliable and durable. Especially when compared to the VW EA 888 series – 1.8 and 2.0 TSI. But still, there are some problems. Perhaps the most serious is the cracking of the exhaust manifold in the first generation (Euro 5) engines. It is made of steel and is assembled with a turbocharger, as a result, replacing the manifold is very expensive.

Sometimes, the afe cold air intake for 3.5 ecoboost is brought in – the electric drive of the pressure relief valve, which is located in the discharge line, stops working. The overflow valve on the exhaust side has been given electro-pneumatic control.

2.0 EcoBoost does not use vortex valves as the ancestor of Duratec-HE, where they have often been a source of problems. Oddly enough, the timing chain has a pretty decent service life.

1.0 EcoBoost

Unlike larger units based on older atmospheres, the three-cylinder 1.0 EcoBoost is designed relatively recently. It is a representative of the Fox range. The unit is made of cast iron. Ford has chosen such an unusual solution for modern engines to reduce energy consumption for heating the engine. The ultimate goal is to reduce emissions. In addition, the exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head was used for this purpose.

Unlike other three-cylinder engines, the small Ecobust does without a balancing shaft. It is replaced by a specially designed unbalanced flywheel combined with a torsion damper on the opposite side of the crankshaft. As a result, the engine runs smoothly even at high speeds.

Another interesting feature is the drive of both camshafts by a toothed belt running in oil mist. That’s why Ford only prescribes special oil with an unusual green colour for this engine – Formula-E SAE 5W-20. The stated service life of the timing belt is 200,000 km or 10 years.

1.0 EcoBoost
1.0 EcoBoost

Typical problems

For its characteristics, the small EcoBoost was awarded the title “Engine of the Year”. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem in everyday use.

One of the best known is coolant leaks. The disease concerns units manufactured before 2014. In addition to the leaking coolant pump, broken hoses that deliver the heated antifreeze from the turbocharger back to the expansion tank could cause fatal damage. The spigot material could not withstand high temperatures. In 2015 there was a recall campaign to replace the hoses. And the modified sockets were installed since May 2014.

Another problem is related to the turbocharger. There are errors in the speed control system of the turbocharger. This is due to a vacuum element, whose diaphragm may break. The turbine becomes inoperable. It would be okay if we could just replace the pneumatic part.

After a 100,000 km run, problems sometimes arise with a high-pressure fuel pump. A drop in fuel pressure reduces the engine power. But the problem is not with the pump itself, but with a cam pushed by the camshaft. Ford supplies it as a spare part.


All EcoBoost are at risk of contamination of the inlet and inlet valves. This problem probably affects all engines with direct fuel injection. These engines do not have the ability to self-clean the inlet tract.


Many different engines with a capacity from 1.5 to 2.0 liters were installed on Ford Focus cars during the entire production period. Each successive one was better than the previous, but sometimes it was the other way around. So it would be right to differentiate them by type, type or advantage, so that car owners somehow understand the characteristics.

The Ford Focus engine has the main advantage of reliability. It is conditioned by quality of assemblage, accuracy of calculations and competent selection of characteristics of working surfaces and mechanisms.


Types of engines

The car manufacturer installed on its models both chain and belt engines. Both have their advantages:

  • Chain-operated timing motors are more reliable, but make a characteristic noise during operation. When tensioned and adjusted correctly, they are quiet enough.
  • Belt-type timing motors are quieter, but the consumable component has to be changed more often because it is stretched, which leads to a loss of performance of the entire machine.

As to types of motors, 6 types are installed on this car, and top models intended for sports cars: RS and RS500 are among them:

  • Gasoline engines of Duratec brand with 1.4L and 1.6L liter volume are produced with belt drive. It is an ordinary four-cylinder engine with 80-100 horses.
  • Duratec TiVCT 1.6L engine is also available with a belt. This unit has a power of 116 horses.
  • The 1.8 liter engines also work with a belt drive and can develop 125 hp.
  • As for the 2-litre engines, there are two types, depending on the type of drive: chain and combination engines only. The first petrol engine has a power output of up to 145 hp. The second diesel TDCi is 110 hp from Duratorq brand.

Features of the engine Ford Focus :

ford focus grey

1.4 l Duratec

The Ford Focus 1.6 and 1.4 engines are 16-valve. These Duratec 16V engines with 80-100 hp were installed on small cars. They correspond to the Euro 4 class. This engine is notable for its acceptable service life. As the practice of operation of the engines of this manufacturer shows, they can easily reach the first 100 thousand km. Of course, after this service life it will require qualified maintenance, which includes replacement of the timing kit. The distinctive feature of these motors is their economy. That is why they are preferred primarily for this reason. Of course, there are nuances, which, if observed and performed on time, it will work very long. For example, there are no compensators in this motor, so it is necessary to periodically adjust the valves. It is necessary to change the pump with the replacement of the timing, as it will jam. The thermostat and other most common parts must be replaced in time.

Ford Focus 1.6 l Ti-VCT engine – equipped with a phase control system for the gas distribution mechanism.

Ford Focus 1.8 l engine Duratec HE

It also has the second name Mazda MZR L8. It has a valve control system, direct ignition system from the coils, controlled electronic throttle. As with any other motor, this one needs qualified and timely care.

Ford Focus 2.0 l engine Duratec HE or MZR LF

Engine Ford Focus 2.0 l Duratec HE or MZR LF, in design it is almost the same as 1.8 liters, but there are differences in firmware and larger cylinders. A chain has been used to increase the life span of the machine. If maintenance is carried out in time, it will work long and trouble-free.

New Ford Focus 1.5 liter EcoBoost engine

This type of engine replaced EcooBoost 1.6. Ford 1.5L engines have lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The timing belt is a belt. Although the engine is modern, AI-92 gasoline is suitable for it.

Excellent fuel consumption indicators:

  • By passport: 6.1 l / 100 km
  • In the city: 8.5 l / 100 km
  • On the road: 4.7 l / 100 km

Features of belts and chains


Both the operation and maintenance of all these engines amazes car owners with their unparalleled performance. It is important to understand that an engine will only work long and well if it is provided with timely quality care.

On belt units it is recommended to change it not later than 100 thousand runs, on chain units it is possible to forget about existence of such unit on all 180-200 thousand. Choosing models with a belt, consider that replacement of the consumable is problematic, as the pulley is planted on a cone.

But if we talk about the quality and duration of work, they are unparalleled and have no equal. Therefore, if you want to have the car with really reliable engine, then Ford Focus can quite be it.

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