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2017 Ford Focus LZ Sport - Service Engine Now

Wallyb07

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#1
Hi there,
Apologies for the long post.
HELP PLEASE!!

I bought a 2017 Ford Focus LZ Sport Auto from a reputable dealership approx 10 months ago now at just over 30,000 kms on the clock

About 1 month ago, I stopped at a red light and the car suddenly started displaying ENGINE SERVICE NOW and a spanner on the dash with the check engine light on. Car also went into what I would call a limp mode...no power when I pressed the accelerator peddle.

Flicked hazard lights on and left car switched off for about 3 - 5 minutes. Started engine again and it's started fine but still had the check engine light on (no more Engine Service Now message).

Called my mechanic and he came to scan the car...it came up with code P2111..Throttle ACTUATOR 'A' Control system - Stuck open.

He cleared the code and said he wiped around the PTM (PowerPoint module) and asked me to monitor it. He said he wiped around the PTM as it could have carbon and debris or something like that getting in the way of a sensor.

It's now 4 weeks since and it happened again last night.

I am concerned that the car will stop like this on a freeway or middle of intersection and cause serious accident.

Please has anyone experienced or is experiencing this and how is it fixed?

I don't feel confident driving this car anymore.

Other than this issue the car has been so reliable and smooth to drive. Its now cli ked over 40,000kms
 

Handy Andy

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#2
First - Welcome!

Now for some news, it's not all bad...

The throttle in the Ford sounds like is Drive By Wire type - means that the throttle pedal is electronic - the throttle body is electronic.

So the system uses the pedal to determine throttle angle.

There are always checks and balances.

There are several YT vids about how the throttle and the pedal work together using a "dual-rheostat" system of variable resistors on a moving arm that looks at your foots position on the pedal (an angle), and the throttle vane (should be the SAME angle) on the body handling the air intake.

IF these aren't the same - then the system flags it and - usually it means you replace the foot pedal or the throttle body. It can't see the Rheostat value - it's out of range - and since it's a physical connection - the system is sensing a failure and you need to have it serviced - the replacement throttle body on these is not too bad, in costs, but not cheap.

Just buying one and dropping it in is what most mechanics would do, but the wiring to and from both the pedal and the throttle body itself - should be checked by an ohm meter and voltages for verification the wiring is not causing this.

Ask your mechanic to check into this.
 
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Wallyb07

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Thread Starter #3
Thanks so much for your advice @Handy Andy.

So just to confirm, you are recommending I have my mechanic first check the wiring to and from both the pedal and the throttle body using an ohm metre BEFORE even talking about replacing the throttle body?

I will book the car in with my mechanian to check into this.
 
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Wallyb07

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Thread Starter #4
First - Welcome!

Now for some news, it's not all bad...

The throttle in the Ford sounds like is Drive By Wire type - means that the throttle pedal is electronic - the throttle body is electronic.

So the system uses the pedal to determine throttle angle.

There are always checks and balances.

There are several YT vids about how the throttle and the pedal work together using a "dual-rheostat" system of variable resistors on a moving arm that looks at your foots position on the pedal (an angle), and the throttle vane (should be the SAME angle) on the body handling the air intake.

IF these aren't the same - then the system flags it and - usually it means you replace the foot pedal or the throttle body. It can't see the Rheostat value - it's out of range - and since it's a physical connection - the system is sensing a failure and you need to have it serviced - the replacement throttle body on these is not too bad, in costs, but not cheap.

Just buying one and dropping it in is what most mechanics would do, but the wiring to and from both the pedal and the throttle body itself - should be checked by an ohm meter and voltages for verification the wiring is not causing this.

Ask your mechanic to check into this.
 
OP
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Wallyb07

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Thread Starter #5
Thanks so much for your advice @Handy Andy.

So just to confirm, you are recommending I have my mechanic first check the wiring to and from both the pedal and the throttle body using an ohm metre BEFORE even talking about replacing the throttle body?

I will book the car in with my mechanic to check into this.
 

Handy Andy

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#6
The throttle body - it's condition needs to be inspected - does not always mean replacement.

The Throttle Body connects itself to the PCM - so does the Throttle pedal - but they don't directly connect, he needs to check to make sure that a voltage is getting to it, and the ground from it - is working - back to the battery Negative.

He needs to verify that Ground on the Throttle is also the SAME ground the Pedal uses - an ohmic variance above 1 ohm is suspect then to be a faulty connection or intermittent Ground connection.

Same applies to finding a voltage in which to power both devices - needs to be close to the same voltages measured across to their respective ground terminals - at their connectors

They are not infallible though.

The Logic board in them is pretty simple - and the motor itself uses a stepper design - so you don't want to put your finger in the throttle vane - when its' operating - you may not get it back (pinch point).

The gearing it uses from the stepper motor is unique - a reduction of a 360-degree rotation motor to a 90-degree plane - that reduction is 4:1 - so the logic motor itself has a wide level of rotation - and it only has to turn so many degrees or steps - to open the throttle from the rest to the idle. So, it actually has a rather wide angle to turn to make Idle speed open.

1665191351413.png
In the above screen grab - the throttle place "location" is determined by the
that 4-vane cross in its center. - using a Hall-Effect device (magnetic sensor)
- others have a carbon trail using high to low and low to high ohmic measure
- that where they meet, is considered the angle the throttle plate is at.​

To me this has low mileage - so the throttle body and its' wiring should be checked - it's exposed to whatever in the engines' bay so the harness it uses can get abraded by debris.

Actuator circuit A - is the stepper motor controller - but to register the motion, requires it to see the value of the throttle by it's location - so if the gears are showing wear or the intake needs cleaning - this doesn't always set this code - so to me thing may indicate internal issues - not just a simple range issue.

The "limp mode" is a clue.

Also these gears are not perfect, they do break - thru a process of icing or gunk plugging the path the plate takes.

Icing is a condition that used to happen with carburetor models - that the air and fuel with the vacuum pressure - and high humidity with low dewpoints - the bore of the throttle can form ice - preventing the plate from returning to its stop point or in the gunk situation it can "glue" the plate shut, and it can't move. Both can occur in damp conditions above freezing - with the icing condition being the least likely due to required altitude and icing conditions - but it's not impossible - the gunk one seems more plausible.

A link to the Carburetor Icing issue can be found here.

Today's fuels are using more "Ethanol" based for fuel - but it doesn't have what Gasoline does, a lubricity - it's why E85 vehicles use special seals that don't let the aggressive behaviors of alcohols like Ethanol and Methanol - eat away at your investments and ruin your day.

To help you further when something like this happens again, spend the time with this series of steps to help you re-set the throttle or at least get a grip on corrected codes that do get set.

What you're going to perform is a throttle "warm" reset so you can at least be on your way.

The problem sounds like the gears in the throttle assembly slipped a position of gear (a cog) affecting where the stepper motor would stop at once it thought the throttle was closed - or closed sooner than expected - which sets that kind of code. Actuator A is one circuit you can think of that "Drives the motor to this position" once the throttle is released, another actuator and a return spring then work to pull the plate back to the original position of idle - but in the meantime the stepper motor is also sending information about where it's angle of rotation (the known last reset important) is, and the system tries to put it there.

If the gearing slipped a cog (most likely) it can lose aspect of where the stepper motor is, and the throttle angle while driving - which then the system will see this as a logic failure and place it in limp mode until one of two things - the throttle and stepper angles are figured out - or a complete reset and or relearn occurs. You can't do both when the engine is warm, but you can clear the code if you pull the battery cable and using some method to short out the positive to negative cables - but not at the battery.

You just have to do this in a parking lot somewhere out of the way of traffic, so you have time to reset the cars lost aspects.

So, by pulling and shorting the cables (not on the battery) together - the systems keep alive memory can be drained - takes about 10-minutes and then the cables get reattached. Get inside the car and holding the throttle and brake down - and just turn the key to ON as if the engines been running - wait for all the lights including ABS and Air-Bag symbols to wink out - then turn the key to START to start the car - keep your foot on the brake, and let the engine crank - it won't start - it will take over once it's sees the throttle is getting close to idle position - by you backing off the throttle while it cranks.

The car is designed to take over the throttle position when it's started, it can't do this until you release the throttle. As you step off the throttle - that stepper motor will then rotate from WOT (Wide Open Throttle) back to closed as you are backing off the throttle to the idle position, the system can then learn the throttle angle - so it can learn "quickly" where it can safely take over when you back off or release that throttle pedal.

Car should start (keep your foot off the pedal - if it thinks it's flooded) this method should clear the Check Engine light and Orange Wrench - at least to a point where it's no longer in limp mode and you should be able to drive it while it relearns how you drive as you drive.

IF this condition continues to exist - those lights come back on - then you know the throttle body has a broken tooth gear and it can't find aspects - so it will remain in limp mode until you replace the throttle.

You then know where the condition is at - it's in the throttle body and to replace it is about $100 sometimes less.

It's a PITA to do, and it takes time - there's no mercy in pouring rain - but the limp mode is done to help you find a safe spot to get help or fix your car so you can be back safely on your way. The Resetting the condition allows you to move on, with the hopes of it not happening in a debilitating fashion it once did.

Resetting the system quickly doesn't evade a condition - it just helps to resolve a condition so you can move out of the area you're in - like heavy traffic - so you can avoid Limp Mode in drivability issues - a simple glitch can get cleared - but a chronic problem needs to be addressed IF this was a glitch - then "jot it down" in memory because the condition will more than likely occur again, So you're correct to have a tech look into this.

You sometimes have to re-force the error in order to duplicate the code to know the reason for it.

I'll have more in another post...
 

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Handy Andy

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#7
The above was lengthy - and I don't want to be cited for TL; DR moments (Too Long Didn't Read)

You can also read about the Code - Here at this site

I post pics so the thread doesn't get too boring...there's more...
1665268207217.png
First remove the throttle body from the intake.
1665268621593.png
Remove the spring tabs
1665269038468.png
It breaks down to this...
Here's a closer look at the backing plate and the part I wanted to address about another condition
wear, that can generate the same results in codes.

1665269688920.png

The above throttle body you may encounter in your 2017 Focus. Both can be used in specific model and trim lines because they give similar outputs. But the one shown in the EARLIER post is the one most common on earlier model years - they then switched to this construction which has its own problems - one main one being this...

1665270654319.png
Not sure of how this got to be - but I left it alone and just got another Throttle body to replace this one and took care of the problems I had in drivability.

I use the throttle body as a template to help me find dimensions I may need later - the gears appear fine, and the larger central Reduction Gear can be pulled off - it's symmetrical so the gear can be placed back on in any given angle of mesh - the critical components are the throttle gear and the stepper motor and its gear

It's just sad to see something like this. I bought the car new; it raises questions - was this some big experiment for someone to play with? Although speculative - yes, I can't explain the failure except for poor assembly problems or a quality control issue or someone just got funny and swapped out theirs to replace with this.

So as you work on your car, let the tech know of these two types I came across - but both output similar variable voltages for the PCM to figure out where the throttle is and how to control it.

Some more detail photos attached for the readers viewing...just placed here for your enlightenment.

1665351455406.png
You can print this out to help you figure out where two values meet in an X - Y axis.
Then the system sees the two values and plots it - using the inputs as a means to plot where
the throttle is compared to the pedal location - where the two meet sends the system a signal
of what and where the throttle and pedal are and where it needs them to be.​

The Throttle pedals are similar, using a twin carbon trail wiper construction. But please be aware that it's twin output levels - one goes to the PCM, the other set goes to the DASHBOARDS Pod system connector for its display of RPM - it's also got PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) output for the RPM needle to "count" against and display the expected RPM - meanwhile that variable side - the PCM calculates the throttle angle and what it needs the angle to be using the Carbon trail in the pedal and the wiper output from the throttle to determine angle.
1665351382447.png

The failure can be thought of as an assembly issue, but your codes got me to repost data that somehow got removed from earlier times of posting - I was building a set of posts to help me and others find resolution for specific problems - this was one of mine that in my first time dealing with Drive By Wire (DBW).

Knowing what kinds of losses in ability to control - I wished I hadn't bought the car without further information and research for I would have been more prepared. For Drive By Wire systems emulate throttle control by you however do not let you control the throttle plate and air inlet directly but process the input from you to correct emission issues that older systems might become out of tolerance for. I liked the feathering effects I get from a throttle plate attached to my foot - not thru a wire harness and a calculator to make it act like I think what I want to do - a programmable lag I don't appreciate. I drive a Manual and the DBW the Ford Fiesta is programmed with - I'm learning to adjust to, but it's not what I wanted in a car to have to struggle with.

The Throttle Body above, didn't last for 15,000 miles - beyond bumper to bumper - but as a Caveat Emptor moment - they (whomever sold the car to you) - are not required to solve drivability issues when there is no proof of faulty workmanship physically evident to an observer, since this was a manual it could be blamed on the driver - the throttle body was on its' way out but when the failure occurred, was AFTER the warranty for such issues can be enforced - I lost thinking they were right to say - just drive the car even while the throttle body, in such a state, was failing during warranty was not enough to show proof unless it was serious. They were able to test drive and show which it worked to a point - until after the mileage limit, then the erratic behavior the device acted - endangered others - now you know)

Ford Focus? I'd have to say it's thought out better, but it too has those limitations in the DBW systems. It's more sensitive to voltage changes (Regulation) than other models using a similar design. There are also the other factors of TDi-VVTi versus the GDi-VVTi as fuel injection parameters are different - which affect performance. The DCT and the newer Automatic also change the way this kind of problem is approached. There are at least two different throttle types - one connector? No, there are two types - one square the other rounded - but both are 6-pin to act similar but process the data differently.

Since Focus went to GDi type injection - it too, has its own share of issues including drivability and TCM control
  • - many suggestions include - and can apply to all vehicles.
    • make sure the radiator and AC condenser are not plugged with debris blocking airflow,
    • the spark plugs need to be checked and regapped and if good, reinstalled, or replaced as needed. Recommended more frequently as the mileage goes up past 70,000 Miles.
    • The oil changes too, need to be kept up as oil degrades and the motor wears, affects the ability for the cylinder to seal during the compression stroke affecting GDi system more seriously than Intake side injection systems.
    • Flush Radiator coolant after 5 years of it being in there - Water pump, Timing Belt and Thermostat need servicing also - so verify and replace as suggested - but if it were me - when it hits 100,000 Miles please don't wait. Just start doing this in stages to keep the timeliness and impact of downtime less - doing it over a weekend may seem like a chore but with shops charging nearly $150~$200 in per hour Labor costs - it will be worth it.
    • Battery and Electrical - any poor connections show up easily in drivability issues - like shifting and stalling/hesitation problems during acceleration. Weak battery and exposed wiring ground points are many suspected locations causing these faults and most are easily corrected.

(...I Realize that one of the vehicles I describe is not part of this forum - but is part of the whole picture of the Forums. However, I use a Focus every workday to complete my tasks and get the jobs done - so I'm well aware of limitations both designs have and use different means to accomplish the purposes automobiles are made for - moving people and their things from place to place independently without the need for public transport - a personalized experience as a privilege to be in...)
 

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