05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - barry5050

Could anyone provide me with any information on water in the spark plug hole causing rust and the spark plug to break when attempting to remove the plug.

Are Ford aware of this? as I am currently in dispute as to who should pay for the repair as it broke during a service.

The car has only done 34000 miles and is just under 3 years old and they want to charge me £700 plus the cost of the service

If anyone is aware of any history of the or documented evidence I would be grateful to hear from you as this would assist my argument with e garage



Edited by Pugugly on 18/09/2008 at 21:42

05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - Lud
What does the garage want to charge £700 for?

If it broke a plug while trying to remove it, and then had difficulty getting the remains out of the plug socket, in what way is that supposed to be your responsibility? Sounds like damn cheek if it's a Ford garage, and trying it on if it's an indy.
05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - Hamsafar
I agree with Lud, they broke your car and want you to pay them to fix it.
They should factor such risks into their original price.
You would easily win in a small claims court.
If you had an operation privately and there were complications, you wouldn't expect them to amputate your legs and charge you another £14,000.

Edited by Hamsafar on 18/09/2008 at 20:00

05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - bazza
There was a thread here a few months ago on the very subject. I used to own an 05 1.6 Focus like yours and it had exactly the same problem. It is caused by rain water leaking through the washer jets on the bonnet which happen to sit directly above the spark plug wells. They fill with water and because the plug lead is such a good fit, there is no misfire, so it goes un-noticed until such time as you try disconnecting the lead- and then you find all 4 plugs sitting in an inch of rusty water. I managed to suck out a good half pint with a piece of plastic tube-most unpleasant.
But that's the source of your problem - shoddy build. I think there's a fix available involving new seals on the jets, but I fixed mine by making an engine cover out of an old car mat.

05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - Lud
Fords seem prone to this. I remember a horrible old Fiesta Popular, abused daily by my wife's aunt who was old enough never to have taken a driving test, and warmed it up from cold by revving it flat out for a minute every morning with the choke on, that had rust-seized spark plugs. Mind you that was the least of its problems, the poor unloved little brute.

Surprising though that there can still be water in the plug sockets once the car has been run for a few minutes. I agree it's poor design.

Edited by Lud on 18/09/2008 at 20:09

05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - barry5050
Stripping engine and removing block
sending block away to have the plug removed and new seating fitted (heli coil???) for the plug
re-assembly etc

My agument they broke it so they should fix it just need some evidence if this is a common fault they they should have known about
05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - Lud
Why did they have to send the cylinder head away? What kind of garage are they anyway?

Do 1.6 Focuses have iron cylinder heads actually?

It is usual practice when garages encounter problems to make a phone call and seek authorisation before proceeding. If the garage did that, and you gave tacit permission for these things to be done, you may have trouble arguing with them. If you didn't, they are trying it on. I only hope they haven't messed the car up taking it apart like that.
05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - Lud
It has just occurred to me that those may be the original plugs and have never been removed. If that is so barry I am afraid the garage will have arguments. Also it must have been going very badly before being sent for service.

Apologies if this is wrong and the plugs have been changed on schedule.
05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - barry5050

Vehicle has beeen service in accordance with manufacturers schedule this is the first time the plugs have been changed

05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - Lud
How amazing. My old Escort has an electronic engine (but aluminium cylinder head I think), but its plugs were definitely past it at 20,000 miles or so and needed changing. I seem to remember that they should be taken out and the electrodes looked at at the very least in normal servicing. Or is this all old stuff?

Sorry for doubting you though barry. Had you noticed any falling-off in performance or driveability before the service?
05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - bazza
More on this problem here:

05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - Peter D
I am concerned that they want to send the block away as the plugs are in the 'head' not the 'block'. If the snapped plug has all the parts attached then there is a tool and proceedure to remove the threaded sleve. Regards Peter
05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - Slim75
Sorry I'm a bit late on this one but I too have had the same problem on my Ford Focus Zetec 05 reg..

Driving home one night and heard a big bang, one of the spark plugs had blown completely out of the top of the Engine..! Called the AA and they had a look, the guy told me that the water had built up to such an extent it had rusted the spark plug and the core had blown out leaving the thread stuck in! He told me that there is a high possibility of it breaking if he tried to get it out which it did ! Forget Fords I took it to a local garage who got it out for me, they need to had a specialist tool for the job (some cone like tool that looks itself inside, not technical as you can see).. They got it out and replaced all of the plugs for me for £100 ! !

I was told it could be the core plugs casuing the problem or it could be the washer jets or even getting the car jet washed... I have only very rarely used my windscreen washers and havent had the car jet washed since but upon checking this morning I have found that the rusty water is back ! ! Not sure what to do now to be honest apart from repair the cheapest option first and see what this does.. Cannot believe that Fords know about this problem and have done nothing about it...

This will be the last Ford I ever BUY !
05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - cheddar
>> I was told it could be the core plugs casuing the problem or it could
be the washer jets ......... checking this morning I have found that the rusty water is back >>

Cannot believe that Fords know about this problem and have done nothing about it...

They may have done if you had taken it to one of their dealers, there may have been a good chance of a goodwill repair, a repair that solved the problem. Afterall the water got there somehow, simply changing the plugs was never going to stop the water collecting again.

I would ask for advice from a Ford dealer, if it is a common problem then they could advise as to the cause.

05 1.6 Spark Plugs breaking in Cylinder Block - mfarrow
I agree with cheddar - we don't even know if the OP was talking about a Ford dealer as he never told us!

If the car is just outside warranty then a goodwill from Ford is definately a possibility. Tell them you don't mind paying for the part ;-)

As for being the last Ford you'll buy - that's just the perks of car ownership - you could own any car and have any number of faults which are just as common and known to the manufacturer but equally frustrating (Corsa power steering, Citroen electrics, KA TPSs, any Dual Mass Flywheel ...).
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - bluebluetoe
hi i have a 05 focus 1.6 and had a £100 repair bill in august08 when the engine management light came on.result was rusted spark plugs and the errosion due to water collecting in the spark plug housing. i then get my car serviced in oct 08 and the water was back .Phoned ford customer care they have no awareness of this problem ,and basically fobbed us off. a mechanic told us to periodically toblow water out with compressed air.This is not an acceptable soloution for the wife so any help would be great on how to perminently fix this. regards Bluebluetoe
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - Screwloose

The cure will depend on whether it's coolant or rainwater collecting under the cover?
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - bazza
If you look further up the thread you will see I posted a link to a previous thread and how to cure the problem, which is almost certainly the same as I had, rain water seeps through the washer jets which are strategically placed directly above the spark plug wells. The plugs sit in an inch of rain water, which is obviously rather undesirable. Because there is so much water, it does not boil off (as one might imagine). The mechanic's proposal to blow them out with an air line periodically is complete nonsense as a solution! They fill up again within a couple of days of rain.
Although I solved my problem by making a cover for the area, I believe there is a proper fix in the form of washer jet seals that cure the rain water leak.

05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - sierraman
Further to Lud's comments,another Ford engine prone to siezed plugs,due to their tapered seal, was the Pinto.We used to warn customers of the problem and get them to agree we would not be responsible before attempting removal.This engine also had a stupidly small sump drain plug,13 mm,which would round off or shear if it was a bit tight.
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - b4mug
My daughters KA had 4 plugs that snapped when we tried to remove them after the garage refused to remove them when taken in for a service.
A friend removed the part of the plugs that remained in the head without removing it with a stud extractor which can be purchased as a set from Screwfix £7.99.
The only other requirement is a hardened socket that fits over it to enable a bar to be fitted to give the required leverage a normal socket will split.
So for about £12 outlay you can save hundreds of pounds not having the head removed and remember that we removed all 4 plugs with this method.
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - Number_Cruncher
>>This engine also had a stupidly small sump drain plug,13 mm,which would round off or shear if it was a bit tight.

Yes, we used to keep a number in stock for that very reason. It wasn't unusual to have to use the air chisel on the washer part of the plug to get them to move.
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - Claude
I posted this on another thread last week in answer to snapped plugs in a Ford Endura engine as found in the Ka and (as HCS) in older Fiestas and Focus. Not sure if you have that engine but I'll post it again for interest.

I broke two out of four plugs on a Ford Ka. The problem is that the sparkplugs have tapered seats instead of the more normal washer arrangement and they become rusted in. WD40 will not work, its not really a freeing agent in the way that Plus-Gas is but even Plus-Gas didnt work for me.
I read all the various postings about how to remove these broken plugs, some quite drastic including using a MIG welder. I thought a lot about how to do this, here is my step by step cautious method which turned out to be very successful.

I start from the position of having broken the plug. The top part of the insulator is in my hand, the rest in sitting in the plug itself.

- Make up a vacuum hose small enough to go down the spark plug hole. I put a rubber plug into my normal vacuum cleaner hose, drilled a hole in it and inserted a length of small diameter clear plastic piping.

- Use a small masonery drill and a sharp pick to chip away at the ceramic insulator in the broken sparkplug. I tried turning the engine over to see if it would blow out the ceramic insulator but that didnt work for either plug. On the other hand, as soon as I had chipped away enough to expose the electrode I was able to grip that with a pair of long nose pliers and lift the electrode and the ceramic out in one go. In the case of the other plug I had to chip away much further until I got down to the inner shoulder at which point I was able to draw out the electrode and the last bit of the ceramic dropped down to be held by the earth electrode. So no bits fell into the cylinder but I was careful to use the vacuum after every bit of chipping.

- Put a small twist of tissue down the open plug until it rests on the earth electrode so nothing else can fall down. (If the tissue should fall into the cylinder it will be burnt up anyway).

- Take a 12.5mm drill (B&Q sell that size) and drill down into the sparkplug a distance of about 9mm but definitely not more than 10mm. This measurement is made from the surface of the broken plug to the cutting edge of the drill, NOT the point of the drill. (Make up a rod with a sliding cable tie to act as a depth gauge). Drill a bit and then measure the depth and so on. I cleared swarf with the vacuum cleaner but also magnetised a 6 inch nail in order to lift swarf off the tissue paper at the bottom of the plug hole. (To magnetise a nail put it onto a magnet for an hour)

- the purpose of this drilling is to ensure that the upper part of the broken plug is thin-walled down to a point just BELOW where the plug seats into the cylinder. The 12.5mm diameter means that the drill will remain inside the plug body and will not break out and risk damaging the seating area of the cylinder head. The depth of 9mm ensures that the hole is drilled below the level of the seat but stops just above the threaded part of the plugs. The result is that the wall of the plug at this point is now only about half a millimetre thick.

- Then take a narrow cold chisel/punch/drift etc and bend the top of the plug body inwards. Its very restricted but I found as soon as I had got a bit of each side bent inwards and hence slightly opened from the surrounding cylinder head, the whole of the top half of the plug broke away at the thin walled part just above the thread which I mentioned above. It could then be lifted straight out.

- I removed the thread part of one plug (that still remained in the cyclinder head) by just sticking a screwdriver down into it and turning it out by by hand. The other plug was more stubborn and because of the previous drilling out and also the fact that the upper part had just been broken out, there is very little depth in the plug body before the internal shoulder narrows the internal diameter. So I took an 8.5mm drill and drilled out the shoulder to a point just above the piece of tissue paper. This was enough clear depth to hammer in my extractor and then the screwed part came out straight away, including the bit of tissue paper with one or two bits of swarf on it.

- With a fibre optic cable I checked the inside of the cylinders for any other swarf or debris but there was none to be seen but I stuck down my little vacuum tube just in case.

So the final result worked out well. That was a year ago and since then there has been no sign of any swarf in the engine oil or filter so I count it as a great success and much easier than taking the head off and sending it away to a machine shop.
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - FocusMan858
I have a 2006 Focus Zetec 1.6 climate with less than 20k miles with plug 3 broken off in the block following it being water logged. I followed the procedure given by Claude. This worked very well to remove the top 10mm of the plug but the remains still refused to move. I used a stud extractor with lots of penetrating oil over a period of 5 days with no success. In the end I used 1 meter long bar on the socket head to give a huge turning torque to no avail, (it feels like the plug has been welded in). On maximum torque I noticed coolant seeping out (I can tell this due to the pink antifreeze colour when I soaked it up with a white paper towel). I assume there must be a hairline fracture around the plug which has caused the plug to rust from below and led to the plugs sitting in water.

I assume the head cannot be repaired hence I will have to get a new one. I would like to change the head myself but this will be rather tricky without a manual to give the torque settings, sequence and cambelt refitting etc. Does anyone know if the same 1.6 Zetec engine was fitted to the mark 1 Focus? If so will the mark 1 manual cover this?
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - kellymac
just replying to your thread bluebluetoe, i'm having the same problem with my 05 focus zetec, i took it in to ford after i'd managed to mop up all the water from around the spark plugs and the engine management light came on. I booked it in for a diagnostics and when i arrived at the service center and explained my problem to the mann behind the desk the woman sitting next to him said, " yeah, it'll be the coil pack!" they had both seen this "problem" before. the report came back from the diagnostics that the coil pack needed to be changed as it had blown due to the water getting in the plugs because the washer jets were letting rain water run in off the bonnet!!! The service centre wanted £300 to replace the coil pack, they weren't touching the rusty spark pug that was stuck!!! They did advise me to contact ford customer relationships to see if they would sort it out under "good will" who, when i did, were aware of the problem but said it was not a big enough problem to recall the cars. They would NOT fix my car for me and it turned out that the new revised washer jets, which had rubber seals on them, cost £20 to replace! So for £20 this could have all been avoided. I bought the washer jets and the coil pack and my dad fitted them both at a cost of £70. However since then i have had to replace the coil pack again as blew again and now have another problem where the car makes a loud popping noise and starts to chug when i lift up the bonnett 1,2,3, or even all the ht leads have blown of the plugs! The car is now on its way back to ford for another diagnostic check tomorrow, at acost to me, lets see what the problem is now!!! Safe to say I will not be buying a ford again if this is how they treat their customers! Did you manage to get yours sorted?

Edited by kellymac on 04/02/2009 at 17:50

05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - ST Driver
My wifes 55 plate Focus Zetec had the fault light come on, she took it to Ford in Aylesbury who stated that water in the plugs was a common problem. They changed all 4 and re-sealed the washer fluid jets under Warranty! Good result as we don't use them for anything really.
05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - joe hastings
hi i have an 05 focus. when serviced i was told spark plug holes had water in them. rang my ford dealer to see if there has been a modification to the water nozzles. there has, so i fitted them. they have a seal to stop water entering engine bay. as well as problems with plugs the core pack can be damaged - worse case can damage cpu mfu or wot ever the proper term
is hope this helps joe

{txt talk substituted for proper words as this isn't msn chat or an sms message - hey I've even thrown in some grammar to make for easier reading at no extra cost}

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 29/08/2009 at 20:44

05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - Melgee
I own a 2006 Focus Zetec.

I was noticing a slight misfire on the engine during acceleration and being a retired mechanic I decided to take a look at he spark plugs and to my horror found the spark plug wells full up with rusty water! I immedietely drained off a good half of pint of water and had a spray around with WD40. This was 18 months ago.
I then did some research and found out that this was a common occurance and read the stories and the problems the OP was describing here.
I took the car back to my Ford agent as it was still under the 2 year warranty and had just 2 weeks remaining and I discovered that Fords were well aware of this problem and in my case it was a washer nozzle modification that was required.
It is disgraceful that Ford did not do a recall but I suspect they were quietly doing the modification when the customers car came into the workshop for servicing to avoid publicity.
Many people have been affected by this water-in-the-plugs saga I can tell you
The problem has not reappeared in 18months for me.

If you do not check to see that water is present then you could be heading for a hefty bill!!

Edited by Melgee on 23/09/2009 at 13:38

05 1.6 spark plugs breaking in cylinder block - dm319
Melgree - I had a similar experience to you. About 1 year ago noticed a slight misfire on acceleration, particularly at low revs and low speed. It only happened once every week or so, and while bugging, I ignored it. Then one very wet day on a drive, it started misfiring more and more, and eventually I limped it into a ford garage with not many cylinders firing. They said they couldn't look at it until the next Monday,which left us in a tricky situation. Luckily there was a nationwide autocentre across the road. £100 and 1hr later, I had a new coil pack and leads, which solved the problem for nearly a year. Now I am getting the same symptoms, so thought I'd google it - am glad I did! Will have to have a proper look at the plugs this weekend, though I'm not sure what I should do. Maybe the rubber mat idea is my best option?!


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