ford focus vibration fix 2003

My 2003 Ford Focus 2.0L hatchback is starting to show its age. It has been a very reliable car but lately, there have been a few issues that I have had to get repaired. The latest problem is excessive vibration at idle and low speeds.

The short version is that I had to replace the 3 engine vibration mounts. This is an easy job that anyone can do with a car jack and a socket set. We will go over this procedure and how to diagnose the vehicle vibration issue if it is coming from the engine, a misfire, a suspension problem, steering, or the wheels.

Ford Focus engine mount symptoms

Ford Focus engine mount 2002 vibration symptoms worn
Example of a Ford Focus 2002 front right engine mount that has worn out causing vibration.

The Ford Focus 2000-2004 model engines sit on 3 rubber mounts that dampen the vibrations of the engine to the vehicle frame. These rubber mounts also allow the engine to rock slightly forward and backward depending on the load and drive gear selected.

The Ford focus engine rubber mounts tend to wear out after 120,000 miles and will cause excessive engine noise and vibrations. This is dependent on driving conditions.

Many people tend to only replace the 2 engine mounts that are easy to reach from the top of the engine bay. The bottom one that needs access from underneath the car tends to get forgotten about.

Ford Focus vibration at idle.

Ford Focus vibration at idle. drink bottle  splashing around
If water bottle water is splashing around the engine vibration at idle is bad.

If your Ford Focus has excessive vibration at idle, it is most probable the engine mounts have failed.

Make sure to replace all 3 of the engine mounts even if some of them look ok. There should be very little vibration in the cabin of the Ford Focus. A good trick is to place a 3/4 full bottle of water in the center console cup holder. Start the car and if the water is splashing all around the engine vibration at idle is bad.

A rough engine idle can also be confused as a vibration problem. Check out this post on how to fix a Ford Focus rough idle.

Ford Focus vibration at acceleration

I have found that if your Ford Focus has vibration at acceleration you most probably have a worn-out rear engine torque strut. This is the bottom-most engine mount adaptor.

If that has worn out I would replace both the left and right engine mounts as well as these usually only last around 200,000km or 124,274 miles.

Ford Focus vibration at high speeds.

If your Ford Focus has a vibration at high speeds it could be a number of issues. If the vibration is coming through the steering wheel then it could be a steering, brakes, suspension, unbalanced wheels, or tire wear issue.

Worn or warped disc breaks can cause vibration at high speeds as the brake pads engage with the rotors.

Excessive heat coming from one of the disc brakes will require further investigation.

If all the above have checked out ok then the high-speed vibration will be worn engine mounts. You should also feel the vibration at lower speeds. As the mounts wear out over time often drivers get used to the ever-increasing vibration and cabin noise.

Ford Focus vibration at low speed.

Vibrations at low speed under 20 miles per hour indicate worn motor mounts. As the car engine speed and revs speed up the vibration harmonics will change.

You will be able to feel the vibration in the cabin of your car with worn engine mounts. The plastic dash will vibrate and rattle and if you have any coins in the tray they will make a lot of noise rattling around.

How to replace the engine mounts in a 2003 Ford Focus.

How to replace the engine mounts in a 2000-2004 Ford focus.

You will need the following tools to replace the Ford Focus engine mounts in a 2000 – 2004 vehicle.

  • Socket Set 3/8 or 1/2 inch drive.
  • Car hydraulic jack
  • WD40
  • round 1/2 hour of your time per engine mount.

You can purchase the full set of 3 engine mounts for the 2000-2004 Ford Focus 2.0L from Amazon. Includes (3pc set) 

  • A2986: Rear Auto Transmission Mount 
  • A3003: Front Right Engine Mount
  • A2939: Rear Engine Torque Strut Mount 
  • Fits 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Ford Focus 2.0L.
  • Reduces Vibration Caused by Engine, Keep Your Car Running Smoothly as New.
  • Interchange Part Number: 2939 A2939 2986 A2986 3003 A3003.
  • All Products are Tested and Will Meet or Exceed Original Mount’s Specifications. Comes with a Six-Year Warranty.

A2986: Rear Auto Transmission Mount Replacement Procedure

Ford Focus motor mount replacement cost hydraulic jack
Use a jack to support the transmission.

Place a hydraulic jack underneath the auto transmission pan. Jack the car so that the jack has just slightly taken the weight of the engine/transmission.

Remove the mass air flow sensor from the engine air intake port. Disconnect the air intake hose from the air filter and plug it with a rag.

remove air intake vent ford focus 2003
Remove air intake vent

Remove the air filter and the associated tubing. Remove the air filter box by spraying some WD-40 into the bolt holes. This will let you slide off the air filter catchment box.

remove air filter ford focus 2003
Remove air filter

I like to use a rattle gun to remove the four 15mm bolts holding on the rear auto transmission mount. The center bolt is 21mm.

A2986: Rear Auto Transmission Mount Replacement Procedure ford focus 2002-2004

This is what the rear left engine mount looks like on a Ford Focus 2003.

Ford Focus vibration at acceleration and low speed fix
Use long sockets and a impact driver to remove the rusted bolts

Torgue Setting for Rear Engine Mount

The Center nut is 98 ft pounds and the four outer nuts are 59 ft pounds of torque.

A3003: Front Right Engine Mount Replacement Procedure

A3003: Front Right Engine Mount 2003 Replacement Procedure

Place a hydraulic jack underneath the engine oil pan. Lift the jack so that the jack has just slightly taken the weight of the engine. It is a good idea to use a block of wood between the engine and the jack to protect the bottom of the engine.

A3003: Front Right Engine Mount Replacement Procedure hydraulic jack under car
Use a hydraulic jack to support the engine

Remove the one bolt holding the coolant reservoir in place and swing it out of the way. There is a tab at the back that will need to be pressed in to lift the coolant tank out.

Ford focus 2003 remove coolant tank
Move the coolant tank to the side

Remove the three 15mm bolts holding on the metal bracket to the frame of the vehicle. Remove the two 18mm bolts holding the front mount to the engine. Remove the front right engine mount from the ford focus. I like to use a deap socket and a rattle gun to remove these bolts. Some penetrating oil or WD40 will help to remove old rusted bolts.

Ford focus 2001-2004 engine vibration fix remove bolts impact driver
I use a Ryobi impact driver to remove the engine mount bolts
how to remove ford focus 2003 engine mount casing vibration at high speed
Installing the new engine mount on a 2003 Ford Focus

Undo the 18mm locking nut and remove the old engine mount from the bracket. Use the same nut to install the new engine mount to the old bracket. Note: You may need a deep socket to remove and replace this nut.

Front Right Engine Mount Replacement Procedure vibration repair
Remove the centre bolt from the mount

Torgue Setting for Front Right Engine Mount

Frame: 66 ft/lbs

Right Engine mount: 59 ft/lbs

Install the front right engine mount in reverse order following the torque settings above.

A2939: Rear Engine Torque Strut Mount Replacement Procedure

A2939: Rear Engine Torque Strut Mount Replacement Procedure

There is not a lot of room under the car to replace the rear engine torque strut. You will need to jack up the car and place the wheels on a few blocks of wood or bricks.

There are only two bolts holding in the engine strut. These are of different lengths so remember where they go when you take them out.

Use a hydraulic jack to hold the weight of the engine while you remove the rear engine torque strut.

The higher you can jack up the car the more room you will have to replace this engine mount and stop your Ford Focus from vibrating.

Ford Focus motor mount replacement cost

Most good mechanics can replace the 3 motor mounts in around 1h. So allow 1-2h of mechanics billing plus parts. It is an easy job and only requires the removal of a few bolts per engine mount.

With parts and labor, you should be able to get your three Ford focus motor mounts replaced for around $250-$400.

I did this job myself and it took around 1.5 hours using only a trolly jack, a 1/2 inch socket set, and a torque wrench. You will need to take the load off the engine using a vehicle hydraulic jack. If you are doing this job yourself make sure to have one handy.

If you are having issues with your trolly jack not raising or lowering check out this post on how to fix your hydraulic jack.

The following video shows the procedure for how to remove and replace the 3 engine mounts on a 2003 ford focus.

Conclusion

Over time the engine mounts in your 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 will start to wear out. These need to be replaced to give your car a smoother ride. Worn engine mounts will give you vibration at idle, acceleration, and at high speeds.

Engine vibration can cause other problems such as coolant leaking from the radiator, engine block, and other areas. Cracks in the exhaust system, electrical cable faults, excessive wear in bushes, and dampening pads.

It was such a relief to change out these engine mounts and have the car run smoothly again. Just like a new vehicle.

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