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Ford trains 'engine listeners' for Focus RS quality control

by Justin King

Months of training enable the workers to identify audible hints to blocked oil passages, broken gear teeth or other problems.

Ford has trained a team of 'listeners' to help validate production engines for the Focus RS.

Based at Ford's manufacturing plant in Valencia, Spain, the employees receive months of specialized training to identify audible hints of rattling or whistling sounds associated with blocked oil channels, broken gear teeth or other issues.

"Think of it like a doctor who has the most advanced diagnostic technology but still uses a stethoscope to gather vital clues to a patient's health," said Ford of Europe quality VP Gunnar Herrmann.

If listeners hear anything concerning during a series of 18 one-minute intensive tests, the engine is removed and presumably disassembled to identify any potential problems. The tests are performed in special sound-proof cells at the end of the production line, serving as one of the final steps before each engine is placed in the car.

The high-output engine is based on the same 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost mill that powers the new Mustang. Engineers retuned the engine and added a new twin-scroll turbocharger to deliver 350 horsepower and as many lb-ft of torque, enabling the hatchback to launch from zero to 62 mph in just 4.7 seconds.

The team of listeners perform tests for 2,000 vehicles per day at the Valencia plant, scrutinizing engines that will be used for the Focus RS, Focus ST, S-Max and Mondeo.

Live images by Ronan Glon.

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