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Ford’s EcoBoost Engine Cam Belt Issue:

Should I Be Worried?


Most sensible motorists know that regular routine servicing of their cars, as dictated by the vehicle’s handbook, is essential for safe, trouble-free motoring. That’s a given. It is recommended that annual servicing be carried out by a professional car servicing garage that can also ensure the car passes the MOT Test without any drama.


Sometimes though, the automotive world throws up a previously unexpected engineering error and one, if it applies, that needs immediate attention. This is the experience of owners of Ford cars with EcoBoost engines.


Cam Belt Or Timing Chain.


Owners of older cars will know that periodically, usually around every 50,000 miles or so depending on model, it is recommended by manufacturers that the external, fitted, toothed rubber-composite cam belt that effectively connects the moving parts at the top and bottom of the engine so that they are synchronised, is renewed as advanced wear and tear and neglect can mean disaster for the engine. These days it’s a job for your local garage.


Some cars have a metal timing chain that does the same job but is within the engine and is lubricated with oil; these should last the life of the engine, although they are a little noisier.


The EcoBoost Cam Belt


Around 2011 Ford introduced a new engine that was smaller, lighter and more efficient; Anyone who has, for example, driven the 1.0 litre version will know that the engine is lively and responsive for such a small unit, hence ‘EcoBoost’. It seemed like a good idea and it was, but over time a substantial flaw developed and that flaw was Ford’s radical idea for the cam belt.


The popular mainstream brand decided to install this rubber cam belt inside the engine (commonly known as a wet belt) and lubricate it with oil. The boast was that the belt would last for 150,000 miles, thus saving drivers money on costs. The reality has proved to be different and, to be fair, Ford have put their hands up to this one. They have admitted fault.


Not Such A Good Idea After All


In fact, the belt can begin to disintegrate prematurely, very prematurely, and start adding particles into the oil and filters. This is not good. Put simply, the system did not work as expected and the belt suffered the same degradation as those fitted to regular engines. Unsuspecting owners, no matter how diligent with car servicing, were caught out. This turned into a major headache for the company.


Is My Engine Affected?


The EcoBoost engine has much to recommend it but motorists need to be wary. Ford in recent years have replaced the belt with a chain so it is likely the issue is resolved in newer models.


What owners of older vehicles need to do is check. Look under the bonnet: If there’s a shiny metal heat shield in front of the engine then it is likely to be at risk as an older unit. Armed with this knowledge, knowing the car is an older model, owners can check for themselves, but, without true mechanical knowledge, it is always likely to be at the back of the mind.


The Solution


The solution of course, whatever the age of the car, is to ask your local car servicing garage for advice and have it properly checked. If there’s a chain then it’s all good to go, if there’s an internal rubber belt then owners should consider having it investigated. In this way peace of mind is restored and there is less likelihood of major engine failure.


Regardless of some schools of thought, most of us like our cars and the freedom and convenience they offer. Yes, these days car ownership is an expensive business but by following manufacturer servicing schedules and maintaining the car fully, then we can rest assured that there’s many miles of trouble-free driving ahead. If in doubt, check that EcoBoost cam belt.

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