I have a 2003 Ford Focus SE, manual transmission, and a couple days ago when I started it, it seemed to be acting a bit weird. When accelerating, the car would stutter and choke like it wasn't getting the right amount of fuel. It gave me symptoms the car had given a few years ago, when the spark plug wires had gone bad.

I couldn't accelerate barely and when I did, it responded like I was flooring it. A sudden jolt of energy before shifting and running into the same issue again. Once I got it (towed) home, I changed the fuel filter.

After that didn't work (though it certainly sounded a bit better), I changed the spark plugs and wires to eliminate potential causes. One one of the wires, the plug connecting to the ignition coil/distributor (I'm not 100% sure what it's called) had a chunk of corrosion on it.

The change made a significant difference, but when I was going 70 down the interstate, cruise control engaged, I started having issues again. Engine light was flashing, and when I went to step on the gas, the pedal was completely pressed down by cruise control.

It passed after a bit and I was able to make it to my destination. However taking off from a stop, there's the same sputtering and hesitation as before with jerks and the like as if the car is trying to go but barely can. After a bit, however, it starts driving again normally.

Idle is a bit rough. I can hear distinctive clicks inside my car that sound like those from the fuel injectors.

I feel it could be something with the fuel system, but given the massive change after replacing the spark plugs and wires, it feels like it could be something electronic.

I'm open to ideas. Gonna try the OBD scanner, but if the check engine light isn't on I'm not sure what it'll tell me. I have videos of what it sounds like when I try to accelerate if that'd help at all.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Comments (9)
No. 1-3
ernestoc33
ernestoc33

Paying a diagnostic fee might be cheaper than throwing parts at it. The shop I go to charges $60 flat so it's not crazy expensive and they apply to the invoice if they do the work.

Scotty Kilmer
Scotty Kilmer

Editor

have a pro pressure test it with his special gauge and fittings

dirty dan
dirty dan

Try checking the fuel pump and fuel filter often time a clogged filter or worn pump can cause stuttering