Ford has confirmed to AutoCar UK that they are aware of problems with Focus RS engines using too much coolant due to a metallurgy design in their engine blocks which allow distortion of the head.
For months Ford Focus RS owners have been complaining to Ford about problems with their head gaskets not sealing properly even after just a couple of thousands of miles of ownership and now it looks like Ford is ready to admit they’re design was wrong. According to AutoCar UK on their exclusive report on this global problem they posted about earlier yesterday (Dec. 12,2017) a representative from Ford informed Autocar that some 2016 and 2017 models of Ford Focus RS ( and its 2.3L Ecoboost engine) do produce “white exhaust smoke” as they burn coolant during warmup.
The symptoms of this issue include misfiring under load and on a cold start, the smell of coolant in the exhaust, excessive white smoke out of the exhaust, lower levels of engine coolant, overheating the engine, loss of cabin heating and possible coolant and oil mixing. All symptoms are pretty bad, and if unchecked, will most likely cause irreversible damage to the engine.
A few theories to why this issue happens included a design defect in the head, block, headgasket and coolant passages, manufacturing of said parts or just an assembly issue from the factory.
Many of these symptoms and theories have been documented by Focus RS owners on forums and social media groups numerous times. And it looks like Ford decided to pay attention to these massive amounts of upset owners.
At first, a redesigned head gasket was used as a stopgap, but engines with coolant issues still cropped up.
According to AutoCar,
However, 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.
There was no way on earth a normal car enthusiast would have the tools or the testing equipment to verify a faulty metal alloy was at fault but it doesn’t discount the fact that many RS owners and aftermarket companies tried their best to remedy the issue.
If you’re a Ford Mustang owner with a 2.3L Ecoboost, no need to worry as that particular 2.3L Ecoboost uses a different alloy in its head.
Overall, it’s a bad situation for Ford and its owners. Most likely, Ford will have swap out affected engines with new ones complete with a better head design that doesn’t incorporate the bad metallurgy.