Ford C-Max breakdown, any advice sorely needed ☹️

We have a twelve year old Ford C-Max that we rely on for heavy shopping and essential visits to Vire 14 km distant for health check-ups etc. It is just short of 200 000 km on the clock.

She is marooned on a town car park about 200 metres from our usual garage but they can’t handle the necessary repairs which they say is an electronic failure in the onboard computer, and needs specialist Ford attention to fix.

The car just won’t start and bleeps Defaut Moteur when I try. I am thinking that I shall need to arrange a transporter to carry it to a town about 30 km distant where there is a Ford concession. My breakdown insurance won’t cover this contingency.

Any ideas how much an analysis of the fault and rectification might cost? We are both elderly retirees living on our pensions and have no collateral. The car seems mechanically sound and we can’t afford a ew one, and would be unlikely to get one on lease as I am 82 and my wife 76.

It’s a great worry to us both. TIA of any tips or hints. :hugs:

Wow Peter how frustrating.

Transporting a car the 30km unfortunately will cost a fair amount - hopefully the identifying of the problem will be quick via the cars own diagnostic system. Hopefully the main ford dealer will help you out.

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Hi Peter

Sorry to hear of your problems.

Last time I hired a car transporter… it cost me in the region of 100€-150€ (picked the car up from home… delivered it 45km away… then collected it that evening and brought it back home for me…)

You might well find you can hire one for less…

However, the cost of the work by Ford… that is another matter.

I wish you the best of luck. :crossed_fingers:

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Did they give you any fault codes, they should have been able to pull the fault codes using a reader, maybe give them a call and find out if they did.

The impression I got from the local garagiste (who is pretty reliable) was that the fault code read out was scrambled, and couldn’t be interpreted except, perhaps, by the Ford concession types.

Thanks anyway, Colin.
The problem was at first intermittent and self-correcting, but eventually gave up the ghost, near home, fortunately!

What were the symptoms when it played up.

Sudden and arbitrary reduction in engine revs, no response to accelerator pedal, car trundled along at about 10 kph until brought to a stop. Once switched off, it would usually start and respond normally for a day or so, then ‘play up’. The local garage put it down to a clogged particle filter which they changed, but it didn’t cure the problem.

On one or two occasions the distance warning signal went berserk for no reason, flashing and beeping like it was having a “touch-me-not” hysterical attack, but this has stopped now. I think the computer is having a breakdown.

Sounds especially with it’s age and mileage like it could be poor earth’s.
Had this before with C-Max and B-Max’s, causes problems with the MAF sensors and gearbox ECU’s as well, they are known for it.

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This should sort it out…

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The days when it was funny to watch a grown man bullying his intransigent Austin 1100 now seem sort of pathetic and cringeworthy, but I always found Clees’ antics very uncomfortable to watch.

Mind you, I’m a bit soppy generally… :upside_down_face:

Surprised the insurers breakdown cover wont cover it. Why not ?
It might be that your garage did not have a compatible code reader, or have they been able to read your codes OK before ?
If you just want to get the car moved, look up on Le Bon Coin website under “remorquage voiture” and see if you can find someone cheap in your area.
If you have a towbar you might be able to hire a car trailer with a winch or even a suitable towbar if you can enlist a neighbour prepared to tow you.
Best of luck with it anyway.

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Although not as knowledgeable on the mechanics front as other contributors I do have one simple idea.
Do you have a second ignition key?
I ask as we have a Vectra which sometimes refuses to budge when I leave a shop having happily driven the 15 or 20 Kms to get there. Fortunately I have a second key in the glove box which works just fine. It is not simply a question of using the second key thereafter as a week later the second key will not work when the car decides it likes the first key again. On the rare occasion that it likes neither I sit there for five minutes and eventually it will accept one or the other.
Obviously I have an electrical fault as it would appear do you and we both need the problems sorted but my suggestion just might be enough to allow you to drive the car to a Ford dealer.
Good luck.

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I could be or poor connections (no apostrophe needed Collin :slight_smile: ) to a critical sensor.

However it could be the ECU - the symptoms would fit.

I am afraid it is pointless trying to correctly my punctuation, I have had two strokes and had to learn to read, write and speak English again so my spelling and punctuation are terrible, French is even worse as I understand French but speaking it now is never going to happen which is annoying seeing as I was pretty fluent.

It’s Colin not Collin by the way :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::laughing::grinning:


Missing something? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


In that case bloody well done sir and I a) raise my hat to you and b) apologise unreservedly.

Touché :slight_smile:


So it’s gone into limp mode, modern mechanics are called technicians because they handle a lap top :joy:
Most cannot diagnose an actual fault but rely on changing one sensor or another or when they really don’t know the ECU.
There are lots of possible causes but electronics are way more reliable than mechanical moving parts. vehicles that position electronics in bad places are sometimes to blame like some Merc’s that overheat the ECU and Rovers that put them in the way of water ingress.
You haven’t said which C-max or what fuel but Ford used a lot of variable vane turbo’s and these variable vanes get stuck and put the vehicle into limp mode, fixed a number with a can of WD40 and manual manipulations of the not so variable vanes.
That’s just one of many things from crankshaft position sensors to MAF sensors.
You need to get the fault codes as others have mentioned and a garage without a fault reader for a Ford isn’t much of a garage.

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To be fair to Peter’s garage… our local Peugeot took nearly a year to finally fix an intermittent fault.

Everytime the computer gave the details… (which kept varying… aaargh) the necessary replacement part/whatever was replaced… and we happily drove off.

When it was discovered that the replacement made no difference, my garage put our old part back… and tried again…

Eventually, it was discovered that a wire had broken inside its covering (so could not be seen) and was making/breaking an important connection, as the car warmed up …

We were only charged for the actual thing which was wrong… and the garagiste bore all the other charges… and we breathed a great sigh of relief… :roll_eyes: :hugs:

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Morning Peter

This sounds similar to a problem we had with our Ford Focus diesel , going into limp mode etc.

Fault was knackered fuel injectors. Not cheap.



@Peter_Goble I share your car’s cause… I’ve been in permanent limp mode for some time :wink: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: