Ford has finally admitted that there is an issue with some Focus RS head gaskets. Customer Satisfaction Program 17B32 was just released and states that the cylinder head gasket may develop a coolant leak into the engine combustion chamber. As we have previously covered, this type of leak may lead to white smoke from the exhaust and cause coolant level to drop.
As part of the customer satisfaction program, Ford will replace the head gasket and perform a pressure test on all affected cars. If the pressure tests fails, Ford will also replace the cylinder head. These repairs will be completed free of charge and the program will be in effect until January 31st, 2019. The program covers all Focus RS vehicles built between August 3, 2015 and July 6, 2017. There is no mileage limit on eligibility and Ford will even repair branded and salvage titled vehicles. Ford will also reimburse owners for up to four days of rental car coverage while the repairs are completed. However, the automaker will not refund owners for previously completed repairs.
According to the technical information filed in the bulletin (embedded below), dealers are to pressure test the cooling system on all affected cars over a period of five hours. If the pressure drops more than four PSI, technicians are to investigate further, by examining for coolant inside the cylinders using a borescope. If coolant is found inside the cylinders, the cylinder head will be replaced. A pressure drop of less than four PSI means technicians will replace the head gasket only, without replacing the cylinder head.
Since the warranty work affects a large number of vehicles, Ford has updated the cylinder head gasket replacement procedure in order to cut down the time it takes to do the work. The original procedure required removal of the turbocharger and associated plumbing in order to remove the cylinder head. The new procedure, which was published just a few days ago, works around the turbocharger and leaves it installed on the engine while the procedure is completed.
As you can see from the included documents and video, this procedure now requires two technicians to lift and tilt the cylinder head out of the engine bay in order to pull the studs out of the turbocharger. According to the bulletin, Ford is allowing 9.2 hours for cylinder head gasket replacement and pressure testing, and an additional 0.9 hours if the cylinder head has to be replaced. Ford estimates that it will take less than two days to complete the repair on each vehicle.
Ford does state that owners are responsible for having the service action completed in a timely manner, and the automaker will deny coverage on engine damage that results from owners failing to obtain this repair. Letters are being mailed to owners starting this week, and dealers have been instructed to accept customers for repairs even if they have not yet received the letter.
As we have stated in our previous story on the cylinder head gasket issue, the correct part number for the Focus RS cylinder head gasket has a prefix of G1FZ and in the case of this bulletin, it is shown as G1FZ-6079-D for the head gasket kit or G1FZ-6079-E for the kit that also includes the new cylinder head. While Ford has not yet confirmed that incorrect head gaskets were installed, now all owners of affected Focus RS models know that they are covered.