2017 NB Focus RS lemon
I am putting this out here so that the next owner of this car (I am assuming Ford is going to recondition and resell it) can get some background information on it. If you are the new owner, hopefully Ford has taken care of the issues and hopefully it will serve you well.
2017 Nitrous Blue Focus RS lemon – VIN# WF0DP3TH2H4118746
The long road to my Lemon Law replacement. This process took four months, though one month of that time was eaten up while my car was being repaired after I was hit on the freeway on my way home from work.
I have come to believe that this process is designed to wear you out and force you in to a buyback, instead of a replacement. I played the long game and did not fall for their instant gratification, because the last thing I wanted was to be stuck without a car and be forced to find one and make a deal on the spot. Throughout this process, my Reacquired Vehicles Rep at Ford continued to try to push me to a refund instead of the replacement I was approved for. I am guessing that the rep did not know what the Focus RS was, and how limited the supply was when she approved the replacement instead of only offering me a refund. I also found out during this process that the RAV department is outsourced and the employees do not even work for Ford.
Throughout this process, I sent and responded to hundreds of emails, probably made more than fifty phone calls and spent hours at night searching for cars in the area to send my reps after.
I believe that the reps I dealt with at the dealership (same one I bought my car at originally) were doing what they could for me, but I don’t think Ford or their RAV department really even helped in my case. I felt like a person with the dealer and a case number with Ford. When things seemed to be going nowhere, I called Ford’s Customer Service 800 number and got the runaround and incorrect information. I called Ford’s Executive Offices and emailed anyone that I could find an email address for in their management. The Executive Offices were of no help to me and would only refer me to the RAV department, and nobody responded to a single email that I sent to them.
I have a daily log of phone calls, emails, responses and lack thereof during these months. This log details roughly 70 days worth of correspondence between myself, my RAV rep, her boss and my dealer reps. The process was very frustrating, and I am not sure I would ever go through this again, I think next time I would go straight to a lemon law attorney. They get to deal with most of the frustration and all of their fees are paid by the manufacturer in my state.
Here is a basic timeline of how things went:
3/12/2018 – Ford agrees that this car is a lemon and transferred my case to the Reacquired Vehicles Team
3/23/2018 – Heard from my case manager that was assigned to my vehicle replacement case
4/13/2018 – a replacement vehicle was found for me
4/17/2018 – the replacement vehicle offer was prepared by Ford and I accepted it
4/19/2018 – My car was hit on the freeway on my way home from work requiring a little over $10,000 in repairs and a new set of tires since one of them had sidewall damage and over 50% of the tread was used up.
4/23/2018 – Found out that the offer I accepted on 4/17/2018 was never a real offer since the dealer that had that car would not allow me to get it via the Ford RAV process and would not trade the car to my assigned RAV dealer.
5/29/2018 – got my car back from the body shop, the vehicle that was offered to me on 4/17/2018 was still sitting on the dealer lot, but they still would not release it to me. I spoke to my replacement dealer rep and told her that I would prefer a blue car, but would accept red if that is what I had to do to stay in a Focus RS. The person at the dealership told me she had a line on two cars, one red and one blue.
6/4/2018 – My RAV rep told me that she would like to switch my replacement vehicle offer to a buyback, I declined and told them to find me a car
6/8/2018 – found out that the dealer that had the second car wanted an Explorer in trade for it, but that the GM of the dealership I was assigned to did not want to lose a sale on any car. They wanted me to get a refund from Ford and buy the RS from them instead of doing a Lemon Law replacement
6/18/2018 – Found out that both blue cars (the original one offered by Ford and the second one that my dealer could have traded an explorer for) sold over Father’s Day Weekend.
6/19/2018 – found out that the transfer dealer I was assigned to has a sister store 70 miles away that had a red 2018 RS sitting on their lot. For around 100 days. I asked them to transfer that one in.
6/26/2018 – My dealer rep found another red one that was at another dealer (now 2 red cars in play) and they were working on getting one of those for me
7/1/2018 – got an email from my RAV rep at Ford (on a Saturday when their department is closed) again trying to push me to a straight refund, which I again declined.
7/2/2018 – heard from my dealer rep that the red car at their sister store would be transferred to them by 7/5/2018 and that I would be able to pick it up by 7/6/2018
7/6/2018 - picked up replacement vehicle
How did the car become a lemon you ask?
I brought it in as soon as the recall was announced for the head gasket (1/23/18 - 1/31/18). The car spent 9 days in service, the day I picked it up, Ford announced the updated recall procedure that included the replacement of the single use fuel line and a few high pressure fuel pump bolts. My car did not get these, but I was assured that it was safe to drive while we waited for the parts that were on backorder. While the parts were on order, I was driving home from work and when I went to accelerate, the car fell flat on its face and then started to idle horribly while spewing unburnt fuel out of the tailpipes. The video below is a shot clip of the idle after this.
As it turned out, the car ate the exhaust valves on Cyl#2, according to the dealer, the head that was sent as part of the recall was defective and this caused the issue. The car went back to the shop on 2/13/18 (about 430 miles after the original recall service) and I got it back 3/7/18 - another 23 days later. I asked for pictures of the pistons and cylinder walls so that I could see that there was no damage to anything other than the head, but never got them.
Total days out of service for the recall was 32 days at this point. That in and of itself qualified the car as a lemon in CA.
Had the car actually been fixed and good to go at this point, I would have dropped the case and kept the car, but it wasn't.
I also had a recurring issue that started with less than 200 miles on the car with drive modes not being available as seen in the video below. This would happen several times a month. But after driving a few miles to warm up the car, if I turned it off and back on, I would have access to all drive modes again. Of course, this was not able to be replicated at Ford.
Only once did this issue trigger a check engine light with stored codes in the computer, but even then the dealer could not figure out what happened.
I left the house the morning of 1/4/2018 and got gas, made a second stop for coffee and when I started my car for the 3rd time that morning and the dash lit up with rapid-fire warnings in this order:
- (I did not catch the first error)
- Drive Modes Not Available
- AWD Not Available
- Service Engine Now
I tried to turn the car off, but the start/stop button did nothing for about 10 seconds. Once it did turn off, I got out and closed the door and waited a few seconds. When I opened the driver door again, there was about a 10ish second delay before I heard the exhaust valve cycle. When I started the car again and got no warnings, but the check engine light was on. Drive modes are all available and everything seemed to be functioning normally, other than the check engine light. I drove to work cautiously and did not push the car because I had loaned my OBDII scanner to a co-worker the day before.
Once I had my OBDII scanner back and could check the diagnostics, it is showing:
P1934 (Manufacturer Defined)
P2610 (ECM/PCM Internal Engine Off Timer Performance)
I did not clear the codes, but took the car to the dealer on the way home...
Got my car back on 1/6/18, the dash warning light seizure it had was a network communication error according to Ford's computer scan, which might explain the difficulty I had turning the car off. Everything was reset and it seemed to be running properly. The drive mode error that did not trigger a check engine light continued to happen and could not be replicated or diagnosed. I believe it was a sticking valve in the exhaust though. When you open the door of the car, you should be able to hear the exhaust valve cycle, the days I would get this error, I did not hear the valve cycle when I opened the door in my garage. I think the valve would stick, but free itself up when the exhaust heated up after a short period of driving. I have nothing solid to base that on other than a gut feeling though.
Shortly before turning the car in under the lemon law, I was driving home from work on 6/28/18 when traffic slowed down. As I downshifted to 3rd, my engine stalled/shut off and I got a service engine now notice on the dash. I was able to coast to the side of the road, but could not start the car right away. There seemed to be no response to the start/stop button, but after opening the door and closing it again, the car fired right up and drove normal the rest of the way home. I kept it out of boost and plugged in my code scanner when I got home and there were no current or pending codes. After checking for codes, I took the car out for a spin and it drove normal and seemed to be making good power and full boost.
When this happened, I was in afternoon traffic, nowhere near redline and did not do anything out of the ordinary. I am not sure what could have caused this, and with no codes, I don't have a clue how to even begin to figure out what happened. This issue occurred twice between 6/28/18 and 7/6/18 when I turned the car in. I never took it in to Ford for this issue as I knew the car would be back in their hands soon.
Accident damage: sheet metal was replaced on the rear quarter panel (inner and outer) a suspension arm was bent (replaced), the left wheel had scuff damage and was repaired, left rear tire had sidewall damage and all tires were replaced.
Wanting another one of these after all that I had been through is a true testament to how much I love this platform and just how much fun this car is to drive. Hopefully the replacement will serve me much better than the first one did.
The vehicle check shows that it was a buyback/lemon law car, but does not report the accident it was in: