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Ford Focus Has A Rough Idle

Q. Hi Mr. Ciulla, let me start by saying that I love your articles on About.com. I'm 17 and I have a new found passion for automotive mechanics. I'm just starting to learn but so far your articles have been really helpful and even helped me solve some problems I've encountered with my car. Okay here's my question:

Ford Focus Has A Rough Idle

I've been experiencing a rough idle for some time now, most noticeable when I first start my car in the morning and waiting at a stop light (while in gear and pressing down on the brake pedal). It's a little bit worse when cold outside, but also happens when hot. The needle (RPM) barely fluctuates, it's pretty consistent, but I can feel and hear a slight fluctuation. It evens makes the car shake a little bit.

I started by changing my spark plugs and air filter but that didn't help. Ford then changed my alternator because they said the voltage regulator was on it's way and that helped a little. I then changed my fuel filter and it helped a little too. I then changed my plug wires but that didn't seem to change much. I'd say now the problem is like 40% gone. What could it be?

  • 2000 Ford Focus
  • 2.0 liter, 4 cylinders, DOHC 16V Zetec engine
  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 Miles
  • Fuel Injection
  • ABS brakes
  • P/S, A/C, Cruise control
  • Rack and pinion steering

Thanks in advance,
Dave

A. One thing to check for this kind of problem is the EGR valve. I would take it off and clean out the EGR passages. Then use a hand vacuum pump to check that the EGR valve opens, closes and makes a good seal when closed.

Also make sure there is no vacuum to it at idle. Unplugging the vacuum line from the EGR will tell. If the idles smooths out, then you have a problem with the EGR control system.

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