7 Common Ford 1.5 TDCI Problems: Engine Solutions

Even with the most well-maintained vehicles, Ford 1.5 TDCI engine problems can occur. The 1.5 TDCI and other variants can show problems from time to time, no matter their past reliability and track record.

With today’s helpful tips, we will focus on the Ford 1.5 TDCI and the more popular vehicles this engine pertains to, with possible solutions. Some of these problems can be an easy fix, while others will require more specialist knowledge or a visit to your local garage or dealer.

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The tips below will provide you with an excellent starting point for diagnosing your own engine. No matter if your car is brand-new or has a hefty amount of miles on the odometer. We will cover common issues from the TDCI, what to look for, and common part failings.

Common problems with the Ford Focus Mk3

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The Mk3 Ford Focus 1.5-litre TDCi diesel will need a cam belt change every 8 years. Brake fluid will need to be changed every 2 years, with major and minor servicing performed throughout the year. A decrease in power around town can indicate a deficient turbo intercooler. A PCM or ECU update to the engine performed by an authorised dealer can also solve a lot of power issues.

The 1.5-litre TDCi has the best fuel economy of the range, at 74.3mpg, with the advantage of no road tax. These efficient models can show engine warning lights which can be the result of faulty sensors or more serious engine faults. An OBD code reader is an efficient way to diagnose a potentially faulty component such as a crank sensor and oxygen sensor. Faulty sensors can be easily fitted but can be expensive to replace on the 1.5 TDCI. OBD code reader’s are nifty pieces of kit that can save you a expensive trip to the garage. We have put together a list of The 4 Best OBD-II Scanners for 2023 to help you decide which one best fits your needs..

Engine problems with the Ford Focus 2015

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Many Ford 1.5 TDCi engine problems with the Focus 2015 can be solved with an ECU check and upgrade. Zetec to Titanium S trim levels requires regular top-ups to the engine oil,  battery levels, and systematic checks to the diesel system. The 2015 Ford Focus with the 1.5 Tdci engine may be a relatively new model, but there have been cases of bad purge valves within the exhaust system.

Common issues even with EcoBoost vehicles that have driven a lot of miles may suffer from faults from the turbo system, ECM, injection nozzles, or even water pump failure. Once an issue arises where your car does not drive as smoothly as normal, no matter if it is new or used, a trip to your local garage is advisable for a thorough diagnostics check.

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Vehicles that have a manual gearbox are advised to have the clutch tested periodically, generally at a long-term service point. This also applies to the oil filter, performing regular oil changes, and making sure there aren’t any general running issues.

Consumer Reports

Findings from consumer reports show that one of the most likely faults on the Ford Focus mk2 and Ford 1.5 TDCi engine problems is down to a nonworking purge valve. This is part of the exhaust system, which when left unchecked can lead to a damaged fuel tank in a car. There have also been reported problems with the PowerShift dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which will need an inspection by your local dealer.

The Ford Focus mk2 has the older style Duratorq TDCi engine in either 1.6, 1.8 or 2.0-litre variations, but can still throw out the same reliability issues when driving as the newer 1.5 Tdci. While these cars can be driven more than 200,000 miles from new, there’s nothing like a regular inspection or service to highlight a potential problem.

Check your engine every week for unwanted noise issues, fluids and leakages.

Clutch slave cylinder problems with Ford Focus MK3

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The 1.5 Tdci in the Ford Focus mk3 has had reports of the clutch slave cylinder being problematic on older vehicles. Faulty parts or engine leaks can be quickly rectified on a new car under warranty by your local dealer. While older vehicles will need inspecting by a qualified mechanic.

The Ford Focus mk3 featured the 1 5tdci Durotorg engine after 2016, with economy being the main priority over performance. This engine achieves excellent mpg and is generally a fault-free engine in the main. Weekly checks of the engine compartment for leakages and making sure oil levels are topped up should be a regular routine. Stock up on engine oil now while it is on your mind.

The 1.5 Tdci is generally a very reliable engine, but like all diesel engines will need a regular maintenance plan. Prevention is better than cure, so don’t wait until an engine warning light appears or the car starts to run sluggish. The driver’s manual will recommend regular engine checks and maintenance procedures, with specifics for each engine type.

What is the clutch slave cylinder? 

A clutch slave cylinder is a component in a manual transmission vehicle that is responsible for actuating the clutch. It is a hydraulic cylinder that is connected to the clutch fork and is activated by the clutch pedal.

When the driver presses the clutch pedal, it pushes the clutch master cylinder to send brake fluid through the hydraulic line to the slave cylinder. The fluid pressure from the slave cylinder then pushes the clutch fork, which in turn moves the clutch pressure plate and disengages the engine from the transmission.

If the clutch slave cylinder fails, the driver may experience difficulty in shifting gears, or the clutch pedal may feel spongy or unresponsive. In some cases, the clutch may not disengage completely, making it difficult to shift gears. It is important to have the slave cylinder inspected and replaced if necessary, to avoid further damage to the transmission or other related parts.

Why Has My Ford Focus Lost Power?

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A loss of engine power can be the result of a non-functioning fuel filter, fuel pump, clogged fuel lines, or dirty air filter. Other mechanical problems can be the culprit such as the exhaust manifold, faulty injectors, or low compression.

The Ford Focus coupled with the 1.5 Tdci shouldn’t in theory throw up any problems in the first few years of driving. However, mechanical problems such as the ones listed above can crop up from time to time. Typical examples are malfunctioning sensors, such as the camshaft position sensor and malfunctioning actuators like clogged up injectors.

As soon as the car feels like there is a loss of power, a professional diagnosis is the best way forward.

Why Does My TDCi Say Engine Malfunction?

Engine Problems
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If your car is showing any indication of an engine malfunction, through either the check engine light or other dashboard warnings, then there could be problems with your emissions system. A flashing warning light can also indicate more deep-seated problems, which can lead to other engine parts failing or engine misfires.

Generally, you can only drive your car for a short period with an engine warning light highlighted, but only as long as the car is still driving in a normal fashion. However, any warning light means the car and its diagnostic system has found some underlying fault that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. The underlying problem can’t be thoroughly checked unless the vehicle is taken to a dealer of a verified garage for a diagnostic check.

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If you do have a malfunctioning engine, there may be initial warning signs. The mpg or RPMs of the car may change, and the car may drive erratically which could be a fuel or exhaust system problem.

Some reports say that driving your car for a few days can get rid of an engine malfunction light warning. However, any engine warning lights could be the start of a more serious issue. Therefore, a quick inspection can potentially save time and money down the road.

How Do You Fix A TDCi Engine Malfunction

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Image credit: Wikipedia

A Ford Focus engine malfunction can happen on a new Focus vehicle to older models. A fault can be down to a false negative, an ECU fault, small electrical faults, or more serious mechanical problems. Diagnostic tools will be needed to read more serious problems, but simple fixes like a regular oil change can be easily carried out.

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If you don’t have the skills or equipment yourself to fix a problem, then it’s always wise to take your vehicle to a local dealer or garage.

As the engine malfunction warning is a generic message, it can apply to many areas of the engine. Even if the car is running fine, there may be an underlying problem. Without the proper diagnostic tools, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact problem. If you suspect that your Ford Focus engine malfunction message is constantly throwing out a false negative, then it can be reset. Turning the ignition on and off three times with a small pause between each can turn the engine management light off.

Other Common Problems

Additional problems reported with the Ford 1.5 TDCI engine include issues with the diesel particulate filter (DPF), turbocharger failure, and problems with the engine’s timing chain.

  1. DPF issues: The DPF is responsible for removing particulate matter from the engine’s exhaust gases. If the filter becomes clogged, it can cause reduced engine performance and increased emissions.
  2. Turbocharger failure: The turbocharger is responsible for increasing the amount of air that enters the engine, which in turn increases power. If the turbocharger fails, it can cause reduced engine performance and increased emissions.
  3. Timing Chain: The timing chain is responsible for ensuring that the engine’s valves and pistons are properly synchronized. If the timing chain stretches or snaps, it can cause serious engine damage and require a costly repair.

Additionally, some owners have reported issues with the engine running rough, poor fuel economy, and check engine lights.

It is important to note that these are general issues, and it is best to have the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic if you suspect any problems with the engine.

Ford Steering Wheel


How do I know if my Ford 1.5 TDCI engine is experiencing turbocharger failure?

Signs of turbocharger failure in a Ford 1.5 TDCI engine include loss of power, excessive smoke from the exhaust, and a high-pitched whine or grinding noise from the engine.

What causes injector failure in Ford 1.5 TDCI engines?

Injector failure in Ford 1.5 TDCI engines can be caused by a number of factors, including clogging due to debris or contamination in the fuel system or wear and tear due to normal usage.

How can I prevent coolant loss in my Ford 1.5 TDCI engine?

To prevent coolant loss it’s important to check your coolant levels regularly and to inspect your hoses and radiator for leaks or damage. It’s also recommended to have your coolant system flushed and refilled according to the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals.

What is the recommended timing belt replacement interval for Ford 1.5 TDCI engines?

The recommended timing belt replacement interval for Ford 1.5 TDCI engines is typically between 100,000 and 120,000 miles, or every 8 years, whichever comes first. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals to prevent premature wear or failure of the timing belt.

How do I fix an oil leak in my Ford 1.5 TDCI engine?

Fixing an oil leak in your Ford 1.5 TDCI engine will depend on the source and severity of the leak. Common causes of oil leaks include faulty gaskets or seals, damaged oil pans, or worn out engine components. It’s important to have a qualified mechanic diagnose and repair the issue to ensure proper and safe repairs are made.

What should I do if my Ford 1.5 TDCI engine is experiencing power loss?

If you notice a significant loss of power in your Ford 1.5 TDCI engine, it’s important to have it inspected by a qualified mechanic. Power loss can be caused by a number of issues, including turbocharger failure, injector problems, fuel system issues, or engine problems. A proper diagnosis is necessary to identify the root cause of the issue and to determine the appropriate repairs.

Can I continue driving my Ford 1.5 TDCI if it’s experiencing any of these problems?

It’s not recommended to continue driving if experiencing any of these common problems. They can lead to more serious issues or even engine failure. It’s important to have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic and to address any issues as soon as they arise to prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Are there any recalls or service bulletins related to Ford 1.5 TDCI engines?

Ford has issued several recalls and service bulletins related to various issues with 1.5 TDCI engines. It’s important to check with your local Ford dealership or a qualified mechanic to determine if your vehicle is affected by any recalls or service bulletins and to have any necessary repairs or inspections performed.

Ford Focus


The Ford 1.5 Tdci has been reliably used in a variety of cars, chosen for its great economy and mpg. While the engine has had a good track record with reliability, just like any diesel engine, parts can fail from time to time and warning lights can appear on the dashboard.

The next time your Ford 1.5 Tdci starts to run less efficiently than normal or a dreaded warning light appears on the dash, the tips above will give you a starting point for your own investigations. More than likely this will result in an immediate trip to the garage and will incur a cost, but this should be a rarer occurrence than experienced with the petrol counterparts.

If you are currently having issues with your vehicle, an On-board Diagnostic (OBD) scanner will help you diagnose the issue for as little as £25. We have put together a list of The 4 Best OBD-II Scanners for 2023 to help you decide which one best fits your needs.

Please share this article and comment below with your own experiences with the Ford 1.5 Tdci engine problems. Your feedback could help others in the future with their own particular 1.5 Tdci engine problems.


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