Ford Focus Speedo cutting out, warning lights on dash then engine cutting out

2000 Ford Focus Problem

CarFord Focus 2.0 16v ghia
OwnerGary Fielding
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I have an intermittant fault in my focus where i'm driving a long and the car suddenly feels heavy then the speedo cuts out and about 10 to 15 seconds later the engine management light, oil light and battery warning light come on and then the engine cuts out. I have had a diagnostics check carried out and nothing was discovered about what the fault was. Any help would be great thanks
Problem Category
Engine, Cooling System & Drivetrain

Electrics, ECU, Warnings & Lights

Running Rough, Starting & Power Loss

Solution 1
whittingehame | Legend | Since: Oct 2009 | Posts: 444 | Fixes: 11950 | View Garage
Suggested Solution

This article might be of interest to you ,

Sun 30 Jan 2005 15:51 Ford Focus engine problem - mikej
Hi - I came across this thread when searching for exactly the same problem (speedo dropping to zero) that was happening to my Focus, so it was good to reinforce my theory that the vehicle speed sensor was at fault.

I managed to fix it myself and thought it might be useful to let you know how to do it. However, I'd only recommend that you have a go yourself if you have a basic supply of tools and are used to crawling around under a car and can do it safely ! (NB. I did need some help at one stage to remove the retaining pin - see below)

Summary of problem : speedo drops to zero, for any length of time from a few seconds to a few minutes. This sometimes leads to loss of odometer reading (changes to dashes) and even complete loss of power/engine shutdown on a couple of occasions too.

You'll need to get a new vehicle speed sensor (mine was about £25 including VAT from a Ford dealer), axle stands and a few basic tools (pliers, mole grips, hammer etc)

Here are the instructions I followed :

Vehicle Speed Sensor - removal and refitting

1. Access to the speed sensor is easiest from below. Apply the handbrake, then loosen the left hand (passenger side) front wheel nuts. Jack up the front of the car and support it on axle stands.
2. Remove the left-hand front wheel and the wheelarch liner - the sensor is located next to the right-hand driveshaft, at the rear of the transmission.
3. Disconnect the wiring plug from the top of the sensor.
4. Using thin-nosed pliers, pull out the retaining pin at the base of the sensor, noting how it is fitted.
5. Pull out the sensor and be prepared for a bit of oil spillage.
6. To fit the new sensor, just reverse the procedure - lightly oil the rubber o-ring on the new sensor first.

Here are some helpful tips for the above points :

2. I think I could have possibly done this job without removing the wheel or the liner. Removing them did, however, help us with removing the retaining pin which was stuck - see tip 4. To remove the wheelarch liner, there are a total of 6 screws to remove - 2 each side of the suspension, one connecting the liner to the front bumper at the bottom and one bolt securing the bottom rear of the liner to the sill.

3. It'll take you a while to find it, as it's not immediately obvious. The Haynes manual does have a few pictures, but it took me a while to find it even with the pictures ! Have a look at your new sensor - the arm with the hole that protrudes from it makes it easy to distinguish it from the other sensors that you'll be able to see under there. I would actually describe it as being on top of the transmission so you'll need to reach around to be able to grab it. I found a torch was essential.

4. This was the bit that I struggled with. The steel retaining pin has a clip attached to it and tugging on this just caused the clip to break off. It soon became apparent that the pin was well and truely stuck fast. To remove it, I had to break off the plastic arm from the sensor to enable me to be able to grip the end of the pin tightly with mole grips. A friend with a long chisel and hammer was then able to tap away at the mole grips with me tugging with each hit, until the pin came out. He was able to position the chisel through a gap where the wheelarch liner would have been and hammer away from there.

6. Putting the new sensor in was fairly easy - it just needed tapping gently down with a hammer. Despite breaking the clip off the steel retaining pin, I decided to reuse it as it goes back in so tightly that I don't really think that the clip was doing anything anyway. (If you're not sure, then get a new retaining pin before you start the job !) NB. Make sure you leave enough of the pin sticking out to be able to remove it in future !

I've done a few jobs on cars before and didn't find this one too hard - the manual desribes it as 'fairly difficult - suitable for the competent DIY mechanic'

Removing the pin was the hardest part. My Focus is just over 5 years old so you may find the pin easier to remove if yours is newer.

If the dealer price of £100+ for that job is correct, then I guess I saved around £80 by having a go.

Hope this is helpful.

One last thing - even with the plastic arm broken off your old sensor, you still won't be able to remove the sensor until you've removed the retaining pin as it is held in place inside the cavity by the pin too. Trust me - the job would have taken about 20 minutes less if I'd have realised this sooner....

Posted on Wednesday 24th of February 2010
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