Sooty Oil in Ford Focus

RW1

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249
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JBLM, WA
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Hi Guys, just wanted to bounce some thoughts. I haven't seriously worked on cars for decades so I know I'm missing something. Daughters 2007 Ford Focus with the 2.0L gas engine. It currently has 156K miles on it. She lives in another state and visits 2X a year. While she's here, I have been changing her oil. I have been putting in Mobil 5W-30 EP for the last few changes. Typically changing between 10 - 13K miles. At her last oil change, I changed the oil at 13K and did an oil analysis. Blackstone said run it 2K more and check again. At 101K, I had the dealership replace the plugs, antifreeze, transmission fluids, brake fluid, etc. So on this last oil change, her oil came out dark black with a sooty smell. This was at the 11K mark and after she drove 250 miles on I-5 to get here. I was really surprised as she drives mostly freeway and the freeway run to get here should have burned off a lot of crap. I replaced the oil with Mobil 5W-30 EP and now trying to figure out my next step. She's coming back for Christmas. So my first thought was to change the spark plugs. Her OEM plugs last 101K and still looked good. So I ordered in some NGK Platinum plugs. Now I know it's impossible to diagnose a problem long distance but wanted to ask what else would you guys be looking at? Thanks
 
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1,890
Location
Somewhere in time
Hmmm. You did a UOA and the results came back good, with Blackstone suggesting a longer OCI. You're also using just about the most robust mass market oil that's available. I'd say keep doing. If you're really that concerned, a UOA is in order, otherwise you're just guessing. It's hard with the car located out of town. I'm also assuming the driver hasn't reported any drivability issues. Maybe change it next time your daughter is in town, whether it needs it or not and do a UOA on that sample. Then plan you actions based on data. This seems like the best comprise given the situation.
 
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599
Location
Ontario, Canada
Your wasting money changing the plugs again, unless there is a issue that for some reason fouled the plugs....but again it would be a waste of money unless the main issue was sorted out.
 
Messages
599
Location
Ontario, Canada
And it's hard to diagnose a problem on look and smell of oil alone unless you get it analyzed and it comes back with some info to confirm your suspicions. It could be oil doing its job and cleaning etc and you are just over thinking this. Run some premium fuel with injector or fuel system cleaner, but unless it is throwing a check engine light, or coming back with some codes you will be running around in circles by just going on look and smell of oil.
 
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1,050
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Berks County/Pa.
What kinda oil filter are you using? Sounds like the oil is doing its job if there telling you that you can run it longer. You did not mention any oil consumption between oil changes. Next time shes home, run a bottle of Techron Complete Fuel System Cleaner as directions on bottle. NGK Platinums would work well and give you a piece of mind moving forward.
 

RW1

Messages
249
Location
JBLM, WA
Thread starter
Sorry if I wasn't clear. The UOA was done on the previous oil change. It was this latest oil change that was sooty smelling and very black. I have never seen that in her car before. Oil filter is the Fram XG3614. My thought about the plugs is that if the dealership used the cheap $3 plugs, then they would be due for replacement around 30K. Had not thought about the injectors. When she comes back, I'll check the appearance of the new oil and also give it a bottle of Techron. Thanks!
 
Messages
599
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by RW1
Sorry if I wasn't clear. The UOA was done on the previous oil change. It was this latest oil change that was sooty smelling and very black. I have never seen that in her car before. Oil filter is the Fram XG3614. My thought about the plugs is that if the dealership used the cheap $3 plugs, then they would be due for replacement around 30K. Had not thought about the injectors. When she comes back, I'll check the appearance of the new oil and also give it a bottle of Techron. Thanks!
Still not sure why you let the dealership change them then if they were the "cheap" plugs, or you knew this going in, they would at minimum use OEM. Which did her well for 150k. Just a waste a time and money especially if you don't get to the bottom of this "possibility" of a issue with this sooty oil. Your going to maybe foul up or run new plugs with a pre existing issue. Make sure there is no issue first then change the plugs.
 
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1,890
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Somewhere in time
Originally Posted by domer10
Make sure there is no issue first then change the plugs.
Agreed. It makes zero sense to throw parts at it based purely on speculation that there may be a problem. Once again, no statements of drivability issues from OP, good results from Blackstone. Just a statement that the oil looks 'dark black' with a 'sooty smell'. Neither of these statements is a diagnosis. Before you throw parts at it, maybe you should figure out if there's a problem in the first place. All objective data/evidence provided by OP leads one to believe everything is ok.
 
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3,899
Location
Canada
I also had an 07 Focus prior to my Lexus. The engine itself is VERY stout and will easily take a beating. I wouldn't worry about it. Just keep doing what your currently doing! thumbsup
 

RW1

Messages
249
Location
JBLM, WA
Thread starter
What? Do you think I told the dealership to use cheap plugs? It's not relevant but my daughter was in town for 6 hours. I was able to get her car in for the 100K service. There was no way I could figure out what needed to be done, round up the parts, do it in 6 hours and spend time with my daughter. So, trying to figure out what the problem is, I asked here if anyone had ideas what direction to go. Okay, well, thanks. I'll figure it out.
 
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