Late Christmas for Focus RS Owners as Ford Gifts New Head Gaskets (and Maybe More!)

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
late christmas for focus rs owners as ford gifts new head gaskets and maybe more

We told you recently of the tsunami of complaints from Ford Focus RS owners swamping the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — and other agencies — with minor gripes like, say, their brand new car burning engine coolant. Well, there’s a fix afoot.

In a recently released service bulletin, Ford describes the issue plaguing its hottest hatch and vows to replace every cylinder head installed in a Focus RS built between August 3, 2015 to July 6, 2017. That is to say all of them.

Yes, the Field Service Action sent to dealers, first revealed by in template form, does indeed cover the roughly 27,000 Focus RS vehicles sold worldwide for the 2016 and 2017 model year, Jalopnik has confirmed.

It seems the clouds of white smoke emitted from tailpipes upon cold startup and low coolant levels reported by owners were not unlucky flukes. Ford’s dealer notice states “the cylinder head gasket may develop a coolant leak into the engine combustion chamber,” leading to the aforementioned symptoms.

The cure for most vehicles is a new head gasket, though some vehicles, following a mandatory coolant system pressure test, may require the replacement of the 2.3-liter EcoBoost’s cylinder head assembly. Repair costs are covered by Ford, with owners eligible for a car rental while their RS is in the shop. (Note: Drift Mode will be unavailable on the rental.) Depending on scheduling, the work should take less than two full days.

Letters addressed to owners are expected to be mailed out this week, so there might just be a late Christmas present waiting for your at the end of the driveway. Don’t worry, there’s no mileage limit attached to the fix, but there is a time limit. The repair program ends on January 31st, 2019.

For Ford, the admission is an expensive black (Nitrous Blue?) eye for the famed model, through a far worse fate would be to see loyal fans rebell after shoddy treatment. It’s the latest in a line of pricey callbacks for the brand’s models. The last couple of years have seen numerous recalls and TSBs for Blue Oval models with far greater production volume, with issues stemming from weak-willed door latches to finicky seatbelts, wonky transmissions, and engine fires.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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  • OneAlpha OneAlpha on Jan 25, 2018

    "In a recently released service bulletin, Ford describes the issue..." Let's get something straight. Something serious enough to warrant a new head gasket is not an ISSUE, it's a PROBLEM. So sick of dishonest language.

  • Delta9A1 Delta9A1 on Jan 25, 2018

    If white clouds of coolant have run through the exhaust, the cat is likely fried, or at least compromised. Ford should extend the warranty on the emission components. Three years with a GTI and two with a Golf R and the only issue either car has had was the A/C unit on the GTI, which was a warranty fix. But because the early VW 1.8T engine had issues 15 years ago, the internet will say that I am living on borrowed time.

    • Cbrworm Cbrworm on Jan 25, 2018

      14 years ago I bought a new Audi A4 1.8T. Less than 4 years of ownership turned me off to the brand and its cousins forever - despite a previous positive ownership experience with an A8. I am still mad about that A4 and the dealer network. Today's VAG may be totally different, but those of us who were burned will never find out. I find a lot of their new cars appealing, I will gladly rent one, but I will never buy another. Much of the internet feels the same way.

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  • Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
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