Determining the Causes of Your Ford Focus Idle Control Valve Failure
The idle control valve is more commonly referred to as the idle control solenoid when talking about Ford vehicles. It regulates the airflow in the throttle plate to maintain the RPM and is controlled by the engine control module or ECM, which then transmits signals to the valve. These signals cause the valve to make changes to the idle speed, increasing or decreasing the RPM. However, it is inevitable for this part to fail. When it does, several problems may arise. Here are few tips on what you can do should your Ford Focus idle control valve become defective:
If you hear a loud hum or whine coming from the engine bay, it could be an indication of a dirty idle control valve. To be certain, inspect the valve for dirt or carbon buildup. When you turn the valve, you will notice two chambers. One of which has a spring inside, and the other is the sensor where you will most likely find the dirt. Clean this portion with a carburetor cleaner.
When uninstalling the valve, be careful not to break the plastic tang that secures the wiring harness to the sensor. And in cleaning the valve, hold it downward and spray the cleaner on the pointed end of the valve. Remember that you should not let the cleaner drip into the housing.
You would know that your car has a rough idle when it starts vibrating while it is on but not really in motion. This condition is due to a bad idle control valve, which might be stuck open and therefore causing improper airflow into the engine. The valve needs to be replaced in this case. Also, a new gasket would have to be installed along with a new valve. Make sure to clean the mounting surface of the old gasket as well.
Stalling usually occurs when the vehicle is at idle or at low speed. It could be due to a clogged air control valve, which prevents the correct amount of airflow from entering the intake. If you notice that your car is about to stall, press on the accelerator to increase the RPM and keep the car running. However, there are times when your vehicle would run properly upon accelerating but sputters or stalls when you start decelerating. Also, you can check your idle control valve using an ohmmeter. Connect the positive lead to the vehicle power pin and the negative lead to the idle control valve pin. The reading should be within the 7.0-to-13.0-ohm range.