Doctor Diesel

Confused of Cumberworth

New Mondeo Estate Titanium X. (06/13/07)My 2007 Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Zetec Estate, with 97,500 on the clock, has in recent weeks usually needed a second, or occasionally a third, turn of the key to start up. The battery is quite new.

Once started, everything seems fine and there are no noticeable shut down rattles. However, I suspect the early signs of dual mass flywheel (DMF) failure.

I’ve heard that the 2.0 TDCi is prone to this issue. Is it normal to have to replace the starting motor and clutch as well as the DMF when this job is being done?

Tim McCarthy

I think we need a bit of detective work here! You are obviously aware of the signs of DMF problems, and starting problems are not one of them Tim!

Nasty noises when you start up (and shut down) maybe, but there’s no direct association between the engine’s ability to fire up a (hopefully suitable) mixture of fuel and air and the flywheel/clutch part of the driveline. It’s a bit like suggesting that a man arrested with a gun in his possession, but no matches, is a likely suspect for a spot of arson.

However, at your mileage, your Mondeo’s engine is definitely at an age when injector problems are quite likely. It’s also a fair possibility that one or more of your pre-heater plugs could be playing up.

So before you start spending serious money (you are probably going to need to have a diagnostic check at a Ford dealer, or a diesel specialist) I suggest that, before you fill up with whatever juice you normally buy, get yourself some Millers Diesel Power Ecomax and give the next tankful the benefit of a double dose.

Or better still, buy a bottle of Millers Diesel Injector Cleaner and give your injectors the full treatment. Sometimes we’re looking at actual wear of the very small injector nozzles, or sometimes just an accumulation of hard deposits in the critical areas, either of which can destroy the fine spray pattern necessary for good starting, and for the engine to operate at its maximum efficiency.

I would be interested to know if you are aware of any deterioration in fuel economy, which would be more than likely if the injectors are in a bad state. Lots of cold winter running won’t have helped and injector cleaning could well solve your problems and postpone injector replacement for a good while.

Reconditioning of injectors is possible – try asking a local diesel specialist about this. Anyway, you’ve lost very little if the Millers treatment doesn’t solve the problem (starting should be getting easier every week that the weather warms up!) and, if this is the case, you’ll need to either visit a diesel specialist or your Ford dealer for a diagnosis, probably of whether it’s injectors, pre-heater plugs, or some other factor that’s the problem.

Anything else is relatively unlikely, although it could just be a dodgy starter motor solenoid or relay, or simply a bad electrical connection. Anyway, I hope these suggestions put you on the road to recovery Tim.

Doc Diesel

Letter four - Renault Scenic (5)1DPF enquiries – yet again!

I hope to buy a diesel MPV (or possibly 4×4) in the near future. Is there a website (or some other method?) I can use to find out if the vehicle I am interested in has a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) fitted?

I want to avoid approaching the manufacturers, if I possibly can. The reason I want to avoid DPFs is because I could be making too many short journeys, but I would like to enjoy diesel economy. Can you help?

Terence O’Kane

Terence, all Euro V compliant diesels will now have DPFs fitted, which means all new diesels produced since 2010.

I think that I can be of some help by saying that Renault seem to have cracked the regeneration problems better than most manufacturers (they use somewhat different regeneration technology) and for that reason I would take a serious look at the Scenic/Grand Scenic, with either the very economical 1.5 dCi engine or the excellent 1.6-litre dCi unit, which has a chain-driven camshaft and thus no worries with possible cam belt breakage later in life.

After a guarded early reception, the Scenic is now highly rated for reliability, space, and practicality, although it’s not a fun drive if that matters to you. Nissan also shares this technology, so you could look at the Qashqai range that shares the very same engines and technology. As you will know, the Qashqai is well rated by the press and owners.

If you are talking of used cars, then I’m afraid that the situation is far too complex from around 2006 onwards to say which engines have DPFs and which don’t, without getting an engine number and asking the question of a manufacturer or a franchised dealer – and I’m not even confident that you would get a correct answer from the latter!

Hope this helps steer you in the right direction! I’m sure that you don’t really need a 4×4, although you can get a 4×4 Qashqai. You would probably be far better off with a good set of winter tyres!


Doc Diesel

Image converted using ifftoanyRunning report and useful tips

As promised, I am giving you updated details on my Michelin tyres. I have now just changed the fronts at 49,000 miles, after having had them fitted at 24,000 miles.

The original Toyos did 24,000 miles but I had to swap front for backs at about 14,000 miles, so I think that I would have been lucky to have got 18,000 miles.

The rear tyres are at just over 5mm tread depth at present, so hopefully there will be plenty of life in them at about 73,000 miles, when it will become necessary to change the front tyres again.

I noticed that the April edition of Which? magazine has a tyre performance test and I was horrified that the worst tyre in the wet was on a car that was still doing 30mph, while the best tyres on the same car had stopped from an original speed of 60mph.

As my car is now out of guarantee, I have fitted a K&N air filter. I will clean it at 25,000 miles not the 50,000 miles as in their information pack. I expect that that figure is for gasoline engines rather than diesel.

As far as I can tell it is improving fuel consumption by about one or two mpg.

Bob Fisher

Good mileages Bob. You must drive sensibly! I’ve often wondered about the wisdom of swapping front to back if there’s any question that they wear to a different profile.

Certainly sometimes, the front tyres can get ‘shouldered’ from steering and cornering and therefore are maybe a bit short of contact area if put on the back. Likewise, in some circumstances, back tyres switched to the front could be pretty old or have covered a lot of miles by the time that they get switched to the front, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I think what you are doing is probably best – just using three sets of fronts to one set of rear, and leave them all where they start out.

I’ve also seen some reports comparing quality tyres with lesser and cheaper equivalents, where the cars with the cheap tyres were still doing 20mph after braking from 50mph when the other car with the best tyres had already stopped – and quite a good few yards earlier. I hope that Diesel Car readers are aware of the false economy (they often wear out more quickly) and risks they take when buying cheap tyres.

That’s a good result with the K&N filter. Make sure that you drain it very well when you do clean and re-oil it. I’m sure you are aware of this, but any excess oil can contaminate the MAF.


P.S. Bob replied that he runs his tyres at 5psi over standard, as he found that this pressure gave exactly equal wear across the tyre width. Previously the shoulders on all four tyres on both sides were wearing out faster.

I would imagine that the effects vary much from car to car, but it’s certainly something worth experimenting with, if your tyres seem to wear unevenly about the centre point. Of course any differences from side to side of one tyre suggest that you need to get your steering/suspension geometry checked.

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