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Ford confirms Focus RS head case

Head ache: Ford’s Focus RS has run into head gasket woes, although only one case has been reported in Australia so far.

One Focus RS owner set to return car to Ford as company works on engine fix

23 Nov 2017

THE first confirmed case of head gasket failure on Ford’s highly strung Focus RS has surfaced in Australia, with a New South Wales owner negotiating to return his RS to Ford after serious engine damage grounded his car for seven months.

Online reports in the United States and Europe have revealed that upwards of 500 owners have been affected by the failure of the head gasket, leading to cylinder head overheating and warping.

Contacted by GoAuto, the NSW Focus RS owner declined to be interviewed but confirmed the story.

Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Martin Gunsberg confirmed the company was aware of one Focus RS case in Australia and was working with the customer.

“It’s an issue that Ford globally is aware of, and we’re working on it right now,” he said. “If any Aussie RS customer has a concern, we encourage them to call 13FORD.” The Spanish-built 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine in the Focus RS is also found in the Mustang EcoBoost, albeit in a lower state of tune.

Ford’s long-time engine partner Cosworth developed a new alloy head for the engine, which is a bored-out version of the 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine found in several other Ford models.

Ford Performance vehicle engineering manager Tyson Johnson, who headed the Focus RS project, told GoAuto at the vehicle’s Australian launch in June 2016 that the tune of the 2.3-litre engine was “pretty high”, with 1.8bar or 26PSI of turbo boost. The four-cylinder Mustang runs about 1.2bar or 18psi.

According to reports, the suspect gasket was updated earlier this year, receiving additional sealing material and a new design with fewer holes.

Mr Gunsberg told GoAuto he could not confirm if a running change had already been implemented in manufacturing.

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