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Ford Focus 1.8 Ghia '99 V

A little while ago a large section of the aluminium heat shield above my exhaust came loose. Being in a situation where I needed to keep going and without tools, I crawled under and ripped the whole thing off. Now (a few months later) there is a suspiciously aluminium like rattle coming from under the car at low rev ranges, which I suspect to be the remaining heat shield around the bolts which have probably worked a bit loose.

My question: is it safe to remove all the heat shield bolts, or do they serve to hold anything important on?

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Should be able to remove the bolts as long as they don't hold anything to them. Even if there is something attached you can remove them to detach the rest of the shield and then reattach. Either way, removing your heat shield is not what you should focus on, but instead installing a new one. Your exhaust gets really hot and the shield is not just for looks.

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A mechanic I spoke to shortly afterwards had told me that it wasn't particularly important, but it did seem strange that there would be shield there if it wasn't needed. I guess this is going to cost money after all, I'd hoped to just sort it myself but a new shield will involve removing the exhaust. –  shanethehat Jul 1 '11 at 8:23
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I had a mechanic remove mine on my focus (2003) (it was half off anyway) and it's been fine since winter. I think the car got louder though.

You might want to check your front coil springs. I thought the problem was the heat shield, but it turned out I had a broken front right coil spring. Fixing that got rid of the rattle.

Don't let a mechanic sell you the whole front end, just get the coil springs (both of them for balance) fixed.

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If you take off the heat shield expect your power to drop slightly, as the area under the bonnet/hood will get hotter, which will also heat up incoming air. This is more of an issue on highly tuned cars, but may still be noticeable on yours.

I would always recommend getting it replaced, rather than removed.

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