Diesel engine disaster - Menzies
Hi

I've just registered on this excellent site, this is my (rather long!) first post. Incidentally I found you because this site is mentioned in the latest issue of Car Mechanics magazine which I received today (readers letters page).

I wonder if any experts on here can me with a problem I have with my Ford diesel Mondeo? The car is a 2004(04) model and has done 22500 miles. I purchased it from a well known car supermarket which it was just nine months old with about 12000 miles showing. It ran well until the hot weather in early summer when it started to lose power and stutter. Over the summer it went into the Ford dealer for repairs, them keeping the car for a few days on each visit and changing various electrical parts. I think it runs more smoothly now but still not quite right so last week it went into the service department again. On Friday they told me that all the sensors and controls are working properly but they think there has been a problem with contamination of the diesel system, due to either water or petrol getting into the diesel. I am informed that this is not covered by the warranty and that the repair will be costed at ten hours of labour, plus necessary new parts, megabucks in other words.
I have owned diesel cars for the last eight years and never go near a petrol pump, so I know that no petrol has got into it. I cannot imagine how water can get in. Assuming that I go ahead with repairs is there any way that I can get the old components inspected to prove that it is not contamination but simply prematurely worn out or faulty parts?
Diesel engine disaster - PhilW
I wonder why someone got rid of it when "it was just nine months old with about 12000 miles showing."
Just given it a tankfull of petrol perhaps?
--
Phil
Diesel engine disaster - quizman
I wonder why someone got rid of it when "it was
just nine months old with about 12000 miles showing."
Just given it a tankfull of petrol perhaps?
--
Phil



Hertz
Avis
Europcar

These are just 3 firms that sell their cars at 12000 miles, probably for more than they paid for them.
Diesel engine disaster - bell boy
quizman my tongue was very firmly in my cheek when i posted the reply.
However i dont know if hertz van rinkle was the prior owner so didnt want nor do i want to say it was/is-----------
(mouth firmly shut)
Diesel engine disaster - bell boy
maybe the damage was done prior to your purchase by person or persons unknown?
and they chopped it in due to all these problems you now have?
just a thought
Diesel engine disaster - Menzies
Thanks for the incredibly quick replies guys, I though along these lines too, but if it was a problem car would it run without a problem for over a year and 10000 miles without a hitch and then suddenly go faulty? If it had petrol in it before I bought it then surely it would have given problems after a few thousand miles, not after I had done another 10000? What do you think?
Diesel engine disaster - PhilW
My suggestion is just a guess from someone who knows nothing - but there will be some very knowledgeable people along soon - in the meantime, you have my sympathy and hope it is sorted without too much damage to the wallet!
--
Phil
Diesel engine disaster - Xileno {P}
If petrol was put in then it would depend how much was put in and how long the engine was run in this state. The high pressure pump is dependant on the lubricants in the diesel fuel.
Diesel engine disaster - massey
Have you considered the scenario that you filled up with contaminated diesel?

Diesel can be contaminated with water or worse still acid residues ifrom illegal removal of custom & excise red dye colourant.

Unlikely, but just a thought?
Diesel engine disaster - Hamsafar
Sounds like a load of cobblers to me.
The onus on them is to prove contamination, not you to prove that there wasn't.
Diesel engine disaster - Quinny100
What components are they suggesting have been damaged due to contamination, and on what evidence have they come to this conclusion?

Have they identified the actual cause of the symptoms you are experiencing? Ask for it in writing. For example, if they say the cause of the poor running is due to insufficient fuel pressure at the fuel rail shown during a live test using WDS due to a failing HP pump - thats the cause. If they haven't got that far how can they start saying contamination has occured?

Sounds to me like they haven't a clue about TDCi's and want to go down the route of swapping parts on a whim at your expense. Don't let them - take to to another dealer.
Diesel engine disaster - cheddar
Someone could have misfueled before you bought the car or you could have done so inadvertently in the summer before the first problems you mention, otherwise you could have filled up with contaminated diesel. Either way premature wear could have been caused that is now proving problematic.

Quinny 100 is correct in that the dealer should be able to accurately state the cause of the problem, also as has been said above if there is evidence of water or petrol in the fuel system the dealer needs to prove it otherwise they cannot reject a warranty claim on this basis. Does the car have Ford service history?

Where are you, perhaps we can recommend an alternative dealer?
Diesel engine disaster - 659FBE
I have a sneaking suspicion (without any proof) that Ford dealers are using "fuel contamination" as a get out for problems with Delphi pumps caused by poor tolerancing, poor machining and inconsistent hardening and lapping.

Insoluble contaminants capable of damaging a pump should be excluded by the fuel filter. If this is not the case, the installation is unfit for purpose.

659.
Diesel engine disaster - Aprilia
If you have done 10k miles since buying the car then I think we can discount any latent problem from previous misfuelling.
Presumably they have done some diagnostics and found pressure problems, leading them to suspect HP pump problem and possible debris 'downstream'. Ford have had problems with their pumps and it looks like on this occasion they are trying to get the customer to cough-up. There was a post on here (maybe in Technical) a couple of months back where a chap had similar problems, water in fuel was being blamed, warranty voided, and they were trying to sting him for £2000+

Unfortunately I suspect you will have a struggle on your hands. If the pump (or some other part of the HP system) is at fault then failure analysis will involve some fairly specialist lab kit and expertise - it will not come cheap. TBH I don't see an easy way out of your problem - you really have no way of knowing whether you took contaminated fuel on board or not - either way it probably doesn't matter now. If you take it to a non-Ford garage for further checks/diagnosis then the Ford dealer may get stroppy and not want to honour the warranty anyhow. I think you may have to cough up on this one - but consider a 'second opinion' from another Ford dealer.
Diesel engine disaster - Micky
">
but they think there has been a problem with contamination of the diesel system, due to either water or petrol getting into the diesel.
<"

Is there or isn't there contamination? A cynic would suggest that the dealer is making it up as he goes along. If the dealer confirms there is contamination, ask for a copy of the analysis report. If you've got the car now, take a fuel sample, although I don't know you do this on the high pressure side of a TDCi, the days of cracking a pipe joint open have long gone. Clean, resealable container etc.
Perhaps get a second opinion at a diesel specialist but don't tell Ford just yet?
Diesel engine disaster - 659FBE
Fuel analysis after the horse has bolted is of little value. Insoluble contaminants should be in the filter and not in the pump, and water will be "agglomerated" in the bottom of the filter bowl. Only in the case of the most dire neglect will water get into the fuel pump and it would then make the vehicle stop dead or become undriveable as well as damaging the pump.

Soluble contaminants such as petrol will not be there any more. If you want to take a sample, do it from the low pressure side - it's all the same fuel.

659.
Diesel engine disaster - Micky
">If you want to take a sample, do it from the low pressure side - it's all the same fuel.<" {Pedantically} No, no and no ;-) , not if the source of the the contamination is within the fuel system; for example: the diaphragms of elderly SU fuel pumps can break up and contaminate the fuel filter, carb and pipework. I know this from bitter experience.

If ">Fuel analysis after the horse has bolted is of little value.<" then that strengthens the OP's original claim, Ford can't prove that contamination has occurred. I'm sure I've read somewhere that Ford have a standard test for determining contamination.

The OP must state that, to his knowledge, there has been no contamination of the fuel system.
Diesel engine disaster - Aprilia
I would imagine that it is almost impossible to prove, one way or the other, whether there has been petrol contamination. If the problem started in the early part of the summer then any petrol, or possibly water, in the system will be long gone (particularly if its had work done on it and the fuel filter possibly been changed). All the dealer will find is excessive wear in the pump and it will be impossible to say whether this was due to a fault of the material used or due to petrol contamination.

I think what will happen is that the dealer will stick to the contamination theory and then it will be for the owner to take some kind of action against the dealer. Of course once the dealer has done the repair then he's unlikely to release the car until payment has been made. If it went to court then presumably Ford/dealer etc would be able to wheel in an metallurgist who will say that the problem was caused by fuel contamination. Ford will have a lot more riding on the case than the OP!!
Diesel engine disaster - Micky
Ah, but Ford would have to prove in the balance of probability that the failure was due to petrol or water in the fuel, where is the report confirming that? Hopefully, the OP could provide a report stating that "The fuel analysis indicates that there was no trace of contamination. "

As I understand it, a County Court judgement doesn't set a precedent, so it's a one-off loss as far as Ford are concerned. Depends how far the OP wants to take it.
Diesel engine disaster - Menzies
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

Here is a little more information. The car was owned from new by a security company and was used as a company car by one of their managers. It has a full Ford service history and is in excellent condition. There is no evidence of previous repairs.

I have been back to the Ford service department and they have confirmed that there is a problem with the fuel pressure. This is additional to a couple of the other problems that they fixed in the past. The car does now run better than it did, but it is still not right. The problem set in on an extremely hot day in July when I was stuck in queue on the M5. The engine did not overheat, but it did get hotter than normal, which seems to have been the trigger for the fault.
The service department are saying that the cause of the problem most likely is due to contaminated fuel having damaged the injection system components. I asked them how they would be able to confirm this and was told "we will inspect the parts as they come off". They confirmed that I will have to pay for the repair before the car is released back to me and then they will inspect the parts later. Apparently inspection takes some time, maybe they send the parts back to the factory? I am not happy with this situation at all. I am sure that no petrol has been put into it in the last 10000 miles but of course I could have picked up some contaminated diesel.
I have contacted another Ford dealer but when I told them the fault history they said it would be much better to have the original dealer do any future work on the car since they have the background. They obviously didn't want anything to do with the car. Yesterday I contacted the Ford customer helpline but they simply referred me back to the dealer.
This morning I telephoned a diesel repair centre. They said they would have to undertake diagnosis but if fuel system components need replacing the "the clock will start at £1000".

After discussions with my wife I have now concluded that the best thing is to part-exchange the car for another model, I really do not want any more hassle from it. It drives bascially OK so I will visit a few dealers to see if someone will take it off my hands, although Ford dealers will not be on my list!
Diesel engine disaster - massey
When you are part-exchanging will you inform new dealer of your past problems with the car, or is that up to them to find out?
Diesel engine disaster - Collos25
Surely you have a good case against the seller ,Thats who you want to get your teeth into, money back,another car or repaired to your satisfaction.
Diesel engine disaster - cheddar
Menzies, a few points:

You mention the car getting hot on the M5 and the problem being apparent thereafter, did the gauge move above normal? If so it could indicate another problem, perhaps tell the dealer, it might lead to an inexpensive and warrantied solution to you problem. For instance perhaps the coolant temp sensor is playing up and sending dodgy info to the ECU.

Perhaps you should have visited another dealer "cold" though even then they would see the history on the computer.

You are likely to get a good response from Ford Customer relations if you write to them.

Re part-exing the car, any contemporary diesel is going to be as complicated as the Mondeo (there is another thread running re the Honda Accord), and be as susceptible to misfuelling or contaminant related problems (assuming that is the cause) The Mondeo is very numerous so problems are not unheard of however it is at worst average on reliability and has many other excellent attributes. I have done 110,000 miles in my TDCi from new and it has been virtually problem free, I have had excellent service from Ford dealers and also Ford Customer Relations relating to one issue I brought to their attention.

However the dealer's line seems harsh re the warranty, I would take a firm line with them, that you know that no petrol has been put in, it is up to them to prove contamination and until they do you expect the work to be carried out under the terms of the warranty.

Additionally as has been said you have a good case against the seller if it was bought within the last 12 months.

If you do get no luck with the warranty or the seller is it really fair to pass the issue on to someone else? They will surely find out because they will take the car into a Ford dealer and the history will be on their system. Perhaps this is what someone else did to you though two wrongs don't make a right. The car is presumably fine in other respects and you may well lose more in a trade in deal than it would cost to achieve a guaranteed repair so you may be better off simply biting the bullet and having it fixed and having the best out of a good car on going.

Regards.
Diesel engine disaster - Micky
Menzies, part-ex it for a nice 2.0 petrol Mondeo and put all your troubles behind you. The TDCis are just too problematic.
Diesel engine disaster - cheddar
Menzies, part-ex it for a nice 2.0 petrol Mondeo and put
all your troubles behind you. The TDCis are just too problematic.


Not at all, anyway if he does another 25,000 in the TDCi he will have recovered the £1000, 50,000 and he is quids in.
Diesel engine disaster - Micky
Not at all, anyway if he does another 25,000 in the
TDCi he will have recovered the £1000, 50,000 and he is
quids in.


Surprise! Cheddar appears ... as if by magic ;-)
Diesel engine disaster - TurboD
Diesels are too complicated for their own good nowadays so many expensiive parts to go wrong, it is not just the higher initial cost- Turbos, EGR, injectors, particulate filters- go for a 2l petrol of any make!
Diesel engine disaster - Menzies
Thank you all for your interest and comments.

In response to the questions raised above:

1. I have had the car over 12 months so I do not have any case against the seller. The car ran ok for a year after purchase.
2. I am sure that I have not put any petrol in the car, however I have no means of knowing whether I have put in diesel that was contaminated with water or other substances.
3. Over the last three months the dealer has changed a variety of parts on the car, including the engine temperature sensor, the throttle sensor, the EGR unit, and vacuum valve. It has also been put on the computerised tester numerous times.

It is all very well saying that I should insist that it be repaired under warranty, but unfortunately I have no means of doing this. The dealer will not consider it for warranty until they have removed the fuel pump and so on, and inspected it. I would be placing myself in their hands totally and I have no way of knowing if they swapped my faulty pump for a genuinely contaminated pump and then charging me the full price. The Ford helpline simply refers me back to the dealer.

The outcome is that I have decided to get rid of the car in a part exchange. I know it may be possible to argue all of this through in court but my health has not been too good this year and I don't think I could stand the stress. I am very disappointed that Ford sell a car which seems so fragile in terms of its sensitivity to fuel.
Diesel engine disaster - cheddar
however I have no means of knowing whether
I have put in diesel that was contaminated with water or
other substances.


Remains of such contaminants would be within the fuel filter, again the dealer needs to prove contamination.

The dealer will not consider it for
warranty until they have removed the fuel pump and so on,
and inspected it. >>


Perhaps that is not too unreasonable, i.e. you are agreeing to cover the cost of the pump removal and inspection IF the dealer proves contamination. I such circumstances though they could at your instruction simply put the old pump back on.

I would be placing myself in their hands
totally and I have no way of knowing if they swapped
my faulty pump for a genuinely contaminated pump and then charging
me the full price. >>


Perhaps they did that the first time you took the car to them, eh? That is an accusation really not worthy of comment.


The Ford helpline simply refers me back to the dealer.

As I said write to them.

The outcome is that I have decided to get rid of
the car in a part exchange. I know it may be
possible to argue all of this through in court >>


Write to Ford, not a stressful process and/or agree with the dealer a max price for you to pay if they remove the pump, inspect it and refit it, a price you would pay if they prove contamination. After all they may well determine that it is a manufacturing fault and the waranty will cover the cost in full.

health has not been too good this year and I don't
think I could stand the stress. I am very disappointed
that Ford sell a car which seems so fragile in terms
of its sensitivity to fuel.


Any contemporary diesel is going to be as complicated as the Mondeo and be as susceptible to misfuelling or contaminant related problems however by p-exing the car you may well lose more in a trade in deal than it would cost to achieve a guaranteed repair. Also by keeping the diesel over a petrol car it would not take you too long to recover the cost of repair in fuel economy terms.



Diesel engine disaster - Micky
">Perhaps that is not too unreasonable, i.e. you are agreeing to cover the cost of the pump removal and inspection IF the dealer proves contamination.<"

???!!! Definitely not. The OP might as well hand Ford his chequebook

If the OP wants to give up then that's his privilege, otherwise:

Get a fuel sample analysis. If the report is clear then write to the dealer principal, asking him/her to explain why Ford are refusing to repair Mondeo reg ****** under the terms of the warranty. Ask for a written reply within 7 days, cc to whoever is CEO of Ford UK this week. Fax and send by recorded delivery.

If the response is that fuel contamination has occurred, ask for a copy of the analysis report. If there is no analysis report, fax and post your clear report to the dealer principal and Ford UK CEO. State that there is no evidence of fuel contamination. Ask for a written reply within 7 days. If the problem is not resolved then re-send the documentation, cc to trading standards and motoring journos of your choice.
Diesel engine disaster - cheddar
If the OP wants to give up then that's his privilege,


Clearly though he may be doing himself a disservice.
If the response is that fuel contamination has occurred....



I think the point of principal is that it is up to the dealer to prove contamination and not for the OP to prove otherwise however under the circumstances I agree with your approach though a copy of the letter to dealer principal should go to Ford Customer Relations.



Diesel engine disaster - Menzies
A fuel sample analysis would be pointless. The dealer states (and I agree with them) that the fuel contamination is historical, it happened months or even a year or more ago. They are not implying contamination with solid particles (sand etc) but with petrol or water which would no longer be present in the fuel. The dealer is saying that past contamination would be evidenced through the nature of the wear/failure of the fuel system and they will be the judge of this. Given that a repair will cost at least £1500 and I will have to pay first and await the outcome of the dealer investigation to see if I get my money back I am not prepared to risk it.
Diesel engine disaster - Micky
">they will be the judge of this.<"
Errr, no. Ultimately, a County Court judge could be the judge of this.

">Given that a repair will cost at least £1500 and I will have to pay first and await the outcome of the dealer investigation to see if I get my money back <"
I think Ford have won this one {shrugs shoulders, exit stage left} ;-)
Diesel engine disaster - Aprilia
Strangely enough I do understand the dealer's positiion on this. We all tend to equate the dealer with the manufacturer. In fact the dealer is a customer of the manufacturer. The dealer would probably have to send the pump back to Ford to see if they get the part & labour refunded from Ford under warranty.

If the dealer does the repair under warranty, and Ford subsequently don't agree that it was a warranty repairt then the dealer will be seriously out of pocket. More to the point the service manager will get told off and won't get his bonus for that month.

I suspect with the expensive failures that occur on the TDCI systems that Ford are taking a tougher line on what is and what isn't a warranty repair, and if there is a chance that it could be down to contaminated fuel then they will wriggle out of it. I actually think the OP has done the correct thing in getting shot of the car, too much hassle and risk to plough on arguing the case.
Diesel engine disaster - pmh
So if the OP is doing the right thing by trading it in, wouldnt it be nice if he posted the Reg No and Colour so that no unsuspecting backroomer end up with it!

(I suggest not until after he has done the deal).


--

pmh (was peter)


 

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