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Ford focus 1.6 Zetec - Thermostat jumping to red and back again - mcmac74


I recently put my focus into the garage for a cam belt change at 87K (It is a 51 plate). Whilst the garage were changing it they informed me that the water pump was leaking and duly changed it.

5 days later and I was doing its first decent run after the work and whilst driving on the motorway at 70-80 mph I noticed that the temp gauge was at the max high. I immediately slowed down and looked to pull in at the services. Strangely the gauge dropped to the mid range but then thirty seconds later jumped high again. It did not have this problem before the pump replacement.

The AA did some checks and confirmed it was not leaking. When putting in high revs at a standstill they told me the radiator was remaining cold and the coolant was not circulating.

I have taken it back to the garage and they have spent 3 days with it. At first he said that the coolant was circulating and the next day confirmed it wasn’t. When I spoke to him yesterday he seemed at the end of his tether and was having trouble rectifying the problem.

I have collected it today and he informed me that he has been in touch with ford technicians who could only advise him that some of the dials on the focus are prone to failing? This does not sit right with me. According to the invoice he has changed the Temp sender and thermostat.

I have been given the car back with the advice that the engine is definitely not overheating and that if it was it would be spitting water out and I’d be losing water. The collant level seems stable

I have taken it on the motorway and the problem is recurrent at speed. Once I’ve been at 70 for a few minutes it jumps straight to red (not a gradual climb). It remains in red for a while and then jumps equally quickly down to mid-range. It seems to go make to mid-range more quickly if I drop my speed however it can also drop whilst speed is consistent at 70ish. It is up and down every 2 minutes or so.

He charged me £137 for the latest work which seems to suggest to me that he is acknowledging that the problem still exists but he wants some cash back for parts and some of the labour.

Is the car safe to drive like this? ……and would you cancel the cheque? He is not my regular mechanic and I used him based on a friends recommendation and the fact that he quoted low for the original belt change. He’s a decent enough guy but at the end of the day my car has a problem it did not have before and could potentially cost me a lot more yet.

I'd welcome any replies on what i should be doing next here.



Tags: technical issues cam belts dealers

Ford focus 1.6 Zetec - Thermostat jumping to red and back again - madf

You could have a silted up radiator. Run the car till warm and carefully feel the radiator at the bottom (Engine switched off). If the radiator is cold at the bottom, it could be silted up.

Ford focus 1.6 Zetec - Thermostat jumping to red and back again - mcmac74

Thanks for the reply...The mechanic told me the radiator is heating up ok.


Ford focus 1.6 Zetec - Thermostat jumping to red and back again - Peter.N.

... or a faulty sensor.

Ford focus 1.6 Zetec - Thermostat jumping to red and back again - Collos25

Or an air lock- take it back

Ford focus 1.6 Zetec - Thermostat jumping to red and back again - doofer

Do they have decent diagnostics kit with live data reading? Get it plugged in and check the temperature the ECU is seeing and compare it to the dash gauge reading.

Ford focus 1.6 Zetec - Thermostat jumping to red and back again - Grimps
this is my post on another thread which may help
I am posting this in the hope that I can save others from expense of going through what I have. If you want to just skip to last para the solution is there. Over the past month I have had the same probelms with my 2001 Focus 1.6 Zetec. I have owned the car from new and various members of the fmaily have used it so its taken 11 years for this issue to come out. The temp gauge would shoot to the red mostly when on a motorway or climbing a long hill but it gradually got worse to the extent that even on short journeys it was an issue.

Cut a long story short, change thermostat, then temp sender, then full flush of rad, then had water pump examined by camera, then garage found that head was an issue when tested at high tempertaure as gas was discoulouring test liquid they used. Head was warped probably due to overheating.

After rebuild no better so garage spend hrs on the interent to find solution (I had tried and not found one). like above everyone says they have an issue but no one says what the solution is!!! So thanks to my garage (an independent) here it is for those who feel there is no end to the problem.

Ford in 2001 issued a bulletin on overheating 1.4L and 1.6l Zetec engines. Bulletin TSB 005/2001 which was updated by bulletin no.5 dated 17th may 2001 (1 month after I bought the car). The fix involves new expansion tank and cap, new 74degree thermostat and new coolant hoses to splice into exisiting. Thanks to my indepedent garage they found this - when they spoke to Ford they knew nothing but went and investigated and parts were delivered in 24hrs once they had agreed it was the fix. Ford should be ashamed of themselves for not informing drivers better as there many many drivers out there who seem to have the issue but no one seems to know the fix. Hope this helps, my car to date has not overheated despite my best efforts in testing the garages work.

Ford focus 1.6 Zetec - Thermostat jumping to red and back again - Paddyman

Hello, just read this thread on the overheating focus, its very interesting and I am just wondering if you have had overheating since.

The reason I ask is that I have a suspect head gasket failure on my 02 focus 1.6 auto, but I have no tell tale signs (oil in coolant or coolant loss) just overheating after a short journey and major overheating over 60 mph.

All this seemed to happen after a coolant change, I found a crack in the thermostat housing so I replaced it along with the thermostat and bled the system, it overheated. I have bled the system several times since but with no luck, it still overheats.

I was nervous about driving it while overheating so I decided to run the car with the thermostat removed and to my surprise the coolant circulates freely and does not over heat.

The car has only 67,000 miles on the clock and before I pay £500 on a new head gasket I thought I would have a go at the coolant mod, any advice or pictures would be greatly appreciated.

Regards Patrick

Edited by Paddyman on 17/04/2013 at 19:58

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