sorry about the bad luck.
I wouldnt bother with the seller, in most states private party used car sales are understood to be as-is sales, unless there is writing otherwise, so it is the buyers responsibility to check the car out. And if he was less than honest about the condition of the car, I would not trust him to work on it. its on of those fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me situations.
personally, i wouldn't drop 1500 on a 2300 car. I would see what I could sell it for (maybe put a new sway bar on it, that shouldnt cost much....) and find a new ride. Good luck.
Defending the reputation of the red-headed step-child of the focus world for far too long.