Pulled the trigger on the 04 for focus with possible head gasket issue

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Mar 15, 2013
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Had the car towed to my garage and started looking it over.
Plugs could be changed but don't look like they've had coolant intrusion. The shop said coolant was going into the combustion chamber.
Looking down the spark plug dwells, the tops of the pistons all look like you would expect black carbon, Not super clean like they've been steam cleaned.
A block test showed there was no combustion intrusion into the cooling system. The oil is clean. There is a little bit of milky stuff on the oil cap, but I'm pretty sure it's just for moisture since it's not anywhere else in the engine is just on the cap.
Engine compression is
Cyl1 166
Cyl2 170
Cyl 3 169
Cyl4 169
Haven't looked up what it should be but with 271,000 on it that's probably just fine. Peeking in the valve cover from from oil cap shows the engine is very clean. Definitely has been maintained. Transmission is a newer unit and shifts good tires are brand new less than 1,000 miles on a set of Bridgestone ecopias. No major major body damage or rust has a few chips and a couple minor scratches. Interior is decent no holes or stains everything works. The driver seat is broke down some but again with the miles I'd expect that.
I took some crappy garage pictures will show more later. The thermostat housing is definitely leaking I do see some water out of the exhaust but no smoke I think it's just moisture from sitting but I guess I won't know 100% until I do the thermostat housing. I paid $450 for it. So even if the head gasket is toast I can either fix it or part it out and get my money back. Not a huge risk.
 

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Looks like it could be a good "tax return" flip. get it all sorted out and take advantage of that influx of money people will get in a few months and then immediately spend on cars.
 
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Had the car towed to my garage and started looking it over.
Plugs could be changed but don't look like they've had coolant intrusion. The shop said coolant was going into the combustion chamber.
Looking down the spark plug dwells, the tops of the pistons all look like you would expect black carbon, Not super clean like they've been steam cleaned.
A block test showed there was no combustion intrusion into the cooling system. The oil is clean. There is a little bit of milky stuff on the oil cap, but I'm pretty sure it's just for moisture since it's not anywhere else in the engine is just on the cap.
Engine compression is
Cyl1 166
Cyl2 170
Cyl 3 169
Cyl4 169
None of the tests you described will rule out a HG failure with certainty. As an auto tech, you should know that...
 
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Is that one of the years known for dropping a valve seat?
The zetec is pretty solid, the split port one was the valve seat dropper. A buddy had a split port and it did rust out first at 200k km, so some of them went a while. If this one was the split port it must've been repaired by now to get this far.
 
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What other tests would you do? I mean there isn't many more tests to do. 🤷
Cylinder leakdown test is one I would definitely consider. Also if you have a pressure pulse sensor, you can use it in your diagnosis:


If you want to learn more about that test method, there is a pretty good case study here:
 
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What other tests would you do? I mean there isn't many more tests to do. 🤷
Just drive / idle it . If there's a crack/leak in the cylinder head instead of the gasket, the coolant reservoir will (over!) pressurize & the temp gauge will start fluctuating wildly. Also, it will heat up the coolant twice as fast as a sealed, reliable engine.......
Be careful, rag over any rad/res cap before you even think of turning it.
Think there test strips you use on the coolant too . Good luck. Those are some nasty looking sparkplugs. . . . . .
 

ram_man

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Mar 15, 2013
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None of the tests you described will rule out a HG failure with certainty. As an auto tech, you should know that...

Cylinder leakdown test is one I would definitely consider. Also if you have a pressure transducer, you can use it in your diagnosis:


If you want to learn more about that test method, there is a pretty good case study here:


Just drive / idle it . If there's a crack/leak in the cylinder head instead of the gasket, the coolant reservoir will (over!) pressurize & the temp gauge will start fluctuating wildly. Also, it will heat up the coolant twice as fast as a sealed, reliable engine.......
Be careful, rag over any rad/res cap before you even think of turning it.
Think there test strips you use on the coolant too . Good luck. Those are some nasty looking sparkplugs. . . . . .
The nasty plugs are full of anti seize that's why they look so gross
 
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I like the NGK Laser Platinum spark plugs and the blue NGK wires.

Somebody makes an aluminum thermostat housing for the Zetec. Get it and never have to worry about it again :)

Even with a good head gasket and thermostat housing, the Zetec runs hotter than most engines. The fan doesn't kick in until the coolant temp gauge is near the red line!

Other upgrades you might want to do:
Aftermarket mirrors that fold. In the US, only the SVT Focus had folding mirrors (and were also heated), but they are a direct swap onto other Foci, though the heat won't work since it's not pre-wired.

European tail lights with amber turn signals. Plug and play, no special wiring required.

Rear seat headrests from the SVT also work on any Mk1

Cabin filter:
Mahle LAO78
Valeo 701005
Mann FP3567

Transmission pan from a Mazda using this transmission. Mazda was smart enough to install a drain plug, but Ford was too stupid and cheap to include one on their cars. There used to be aftermarket pans with a drain plug available, but they seem to have been discontinued.
 
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Sep 8, 2005
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15,628
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Canada
Sounds like a good deal, the Zetec is a very solid, peppy, reliable engine. I doubt you have a HG issue.
As said, $30-40 UOA will tell you if there is coolant in the oil.
Easy to flip with gas prices rising steadily.
 

Nick1994

$100 site donor 2023
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Phoenix, AZ
I feel even after reading both threads, there still isn't enough evidence to say there's a problem yet. Drive it yourself. See if you lose coolant or overheat.
 
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I feel even after reading both threads, there still isn't enough evidence to say there's a problem yet. Drive it yourself. See if you lose coolant or overheat.

The Zetec is prone to random coolant losses for any reason or even no reason at all :D
 

ram_man

Thread starter
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Mar 15, 2013
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Drove it all over let it sit and idle ect. Drives great, doesn't overheat, heat works very very well.
Needs a muffler and a wiper relay. That's literally it. Everything thing else is in decent shape......kinda unbelievable 😂
 
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Messages
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Drove it all over let it sit and idle ect. Drives great, doesn't overheat, heat works very very well.
Needs a muffler and a wiper relay. That's literally it. Everything thing else is in decent shape......kinda unbelievable 😂

Get this Trubendz kit, specifically the stainless with the Borla muffler. You'll get a 304 muffler with 304 tubing that will last forever :)
 
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