I have a similar question to b2tamer. My wife and I just purchased a 2000 Ford Focus with 113K miles on it. It obviously has the 2.0L SPI head on it, and is running well. Previous owner didn't know of any major work that has been done to it. I did notice a Gates timing belt replacement sticker on the timing belt cover, but I don't know if they only replaced the timing belt, or if head work was done as well. I am aware of the remanufactured heads on EBay, and thought about going that route, or possibly pulling the head and having a shop do the repair while everything still runs well.
I have done some research on the topic, and I have a couple of questions:
1. I called a local machine shop that is AERA certified (thanks to a different posting on this forum for the link), and he said that not all heads drop the valves. He also said that the ones that he has seen in his shop don't usually cause damage to the cylinder walls or piston. Is this true? I was under the impression that it was an inherent design flaw and that all of the heads were going to have this issue at one time or another?
2. Is there any way to determine whether or not the valve seat job had been done to the head, prior to me owning the vehicle, without removing the head? Can I take the valve cover off and determine that the 'fix' had been performed by comparing the intake seats to the exhaust seats possibly?
3. Aside from the head issues, are there any other common issues with these engines that I can correct now to avoid the problem down the road?
Sorry for the long post, and thanks to everyone on here, its a great forum!