Currently reading: Ford Focus RS engine problem: free repairs offered to prevent 'white smoke'
Early version of 2.3-litre Ecoboost unit has a known issue that is caused by coolant leaking into the cylinders

Ford is offering free inspections and repairs on Focus RS engines to prevent a head gasket issue that can cause cars to emit white smoke.

A problem relating to the car's head gasket can cause early versions of the 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine to burn coolant fluid, creating white smoke during cold running.

"Owners of 2016-17 Focus RS vehicles are being offered a free inspection and repair, regardless of warranty or mileage status, for concerns of white exhaust smoke and/or coolant consumption stemming from an issue with cylinder head gaskets," the brand said in an official UK statement.

"Ford dealers will test the cooling system, replace the cylinder head gasket and may replace the cylinder head, as required, at no cost to the customer."

Ford UK has set no deadline for owners to bring their cars in by.

Prior to the statement, Ford had already replaced several affected engines with all-new units built to the latest specification under warranty. No official line as to the root cause of the problem has been released, but a large number of posts on internet forums from Mk3 Focus RS owners have suggested that the head gasket is failing to seal the engine block to the head effectively.

Ford Focus RS long-term test review

Rather than being a design issue of the head gasket itself, the problem has been linked to block distortion. It is believed that the physical shape of the engine changes through multiple heat cycles, eventually preventing the gasket from sealing the two parts correctly.

This, owners have suggested, is allowing coolant to leak into the cylinders when the engine is cold, causing issues such as a smoking exhaust and misfire before the engine is up to its optimum temperature.

A Focus RS owner, YouTube user MarkCup70, claims in a video that he has come across a dealership report stating that another car with the aforementioned symptoms was “losing coolant” due to the cylinder block being “out of tolerance”. The report concluded that the car now had a “distorted cylinder head”.

The problem is not thought to affect Ford Mustangs with the same engine due to the use of a different alloy for its block and head. The Focus RS’s engine is made from an upgraded alloy with a cast-iron lining and gets its own head gasket design – requirements for the car’s higher 345bhp output.

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5wheels 23 January 2018

What repairs?

Leaking corrosive coolant onto the cylinders - its a joke - need a new bloody engine !!!

Will131 23 January 2018

Wrong gasket

I was under the impression that the issue is caused by a few RS engines being fitted with the mustang head gaskets. So not a design flaw but a serious quality control issue

Stewart_Peters 23 January 2018

Will131 wrote:

Will131 wrote:

I was under the impression that the issue is caused by a few RS engines being fitted with the mustang head gaskets. So not a design flaw but a serious quality control issue

Yes,that appears to be the case, RS and Mustang engines have different coolant passage layouts. Something that seems to have been rather overlooked when gaskets were being matched to engines during build process.

A good-hysteria free-overview of the saga is here:  (www removed as it triggered spam filter)

vrskeith 20 December 2017

Ford FocusvRS mk3 Red Edition will the engine last ?