Ford opens up about exhaust smoke problem of 2016-2017 Focus RS models

Article by Christian A., on December 13, 2017

There may be several owners of the Ford Focus RS who have experienced seeing white smoke coming out from the exhaust of their performance-laden hatchback. Now, the American carmaker has admitted that a version of the engine powering the Focus RS for the 2016 and 2017 model years is causing this issue, Autocar has reported.

The issue became apparent after some Focus RS owners took their predicament to Focus RS forums and even posted videos about their concerns in social sharing site YouTube. Some owners even reported that the engine – an early version of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost mill – couldn’t be repaired by their dealers. Ford confirmed that the engine could develop an issue that causes it to consume coolant fluid. When the engine burns the coolant fluid, it would emit a white exhaust smoke as a result. So far, Ford hasn’t divulged the official cause of the issue, which reported affected cars with as little as 6,000 miles on their odometers.

A spokesman for the carmaker told Autocar that Ford is working on a repair for all customers, which may mean that even Focus RS models not exhibiting the issue would receive the fix. But before Ford rolls this out, it is saying that customers may bring their rides to their dealer – for an inspection and repair under warranty – if their Focus RS are showing the aforementioned symptom of white exhaust smoke. So far, Ford has only replaced affected engines with new mills built to the latest specs under warranty.

Some customers, however, have developed a few theories on what is happening on their Ford RS units. Internet forums have revealed that some Focus RS owners believe that the head gasket is already failing to effectively seal the engine block to the head. This means the defect is on the design of the head gasket.

Other owners, meanwhile, connects the issue to the distortion of the engine block. These owners believe that when the engine goes through multiple heat cycles, its physical shape changes. This block distortion effectively prevents the gasket from sealing the block and the head correctly, allowing the coolant to leak into the cylinders. As a result, the engine develops white exhaust smoke as well as misfires before it gets to its optimum temperature.

Interestingly, the Ford Mustang – or some of its models – is also available with the same 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. In the Mustang, this engine delivers 300 hp of output and 320 lb.-ft. of torque. However, it is believed that the issue doesn’t affect this version of the engine since it employs a different alloy for its block and head. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine in the Focus RS is made from an upgraded alloy with a cast-iron lining and it has its own head gasket design.


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