04-01-2011, 05:21 PM
I am looking around for a used Focus and can not make up my mind on a 2 or 4 door. Looking at 2001-2003 any suggestions would be great.
04-01-2011, 05:47 PM
5 sp zetec or duritec is a given. 2 doors look better 4 doors are more convienient. i'm getting a hatch next time. the sedans trunk is hard to get big things in.
04-01-2011, 05:53 PM
The newer, the better. Especially if you're considering an automatic. There were changes made in the 03 ATX that benefit the common engines.
Don't get an SPI. If the spark plugs aren't in the center of the valve cover, or that valve cover doesn't say Zetec on it, then skip it. Those engines would only be in sedans not hatchbacks or wagons.
There are common issues with all these vehicles- like with all vehicles, but most of ours are minor. If you see a modified Zetec- with the heat shield removed from the exhaust manifold- be wary of fans that don't work. That will cause the engine to overheat while idling, but not while driving. Excess heat causes damage to the cooling fan resistor and the cooling fan power connector. Both can be replaced and repaired, but it costs money. You're looking at a $100 repair in parts. There is a fairly common slow coolant leak from the thermostat housing which is at the back of the cylinder head. This is due to plastic cracking, and I do think that part has been re-designed. I do know that for a good chunk of change you can get an aluminum thermostat housing that won't crack. That's about a $40 repair. There's also a plastic crossover pipe that is right behind the radiator at the top of the fan housing that sometimes cracks and leaks coolant- so be wary of dried coolant in that area. That's another $40 repair or so, I think the part is $30, and then you'd need some coolant.
Most national parts chain stores alternators are unreliable. It's so ridiculous that we've had a few FF's who've replaced their alternator for free so many times that they seek other options. If you hear stories like that, don't fret, we know where to send you to get that taken care of.
Bad PCV valve vacuum lines cause low idles in Zetec equipped vehicles. The factory installed part has rubber elbows that decay in about 5 years or so. Most people just think it's old car disease and don't repair it. It's so common that most of the time if someone is complaining about engine running problems- someone tells them to check the PCV line. Ford has re-designed this line, and you can purchase the new design part for $20ish, or simply get rubber elbows to fit on the plastic line from a parts store.
That's about all the common issues I can think of at the moment. Like I said, none are going to send you to a shop for a 4 digit repair.
Oh, brakes, I'm not horribly impressed with 00-04 brakes, but if you're used to driving a Honda or Toyota, you'd probably not notice it. If you're used to GMs or Fords, then you might think it brakes like a low priced Japanese car.
04-01-2011, 05:55 PM
Thanks to Firelink, you have a picture of what the SPI engine looks like. It says "2.0L Split Port" on the valve cover, and as you can see- the spark plugs to in the side of the cylinder head not through the valve cover.
04-01-2011, 06:29 PM
Thanks for your suggestions, so a 01 or 02 would be a good choice ? Do any of you have a better picture of the engines I should be looking for or a better way to ID one ? My budget is around 4 G's and I am leaning more on a 2 door 5 speed, I am also in California so there are a ton of smog engines out here !
04-01-2011, 06:45 PM
Is the 2.0L L4 PFI DOHC a good one ?
04-01-2011, 07:17 PM
If you want the first gen get an 03 or 04. The first few years (2000-01) were recall and reliability problems and 02 is hit or miss. They got them right in America in 03+.
04-01-2011, 07:44 PM
As to body style, probably the most versitile would be the ZX5 - the 5-door hatchback. (unless you like wagons, like me...)
04-03-2011, 12:30 PM
Well folks it all done ! I purchased a very clean 01 silver ZX3 Zetec 5 speed with 116,000 miles on it. I Paid a little bit more then I wanted to but just could not pass the car down, it's very clean and one owner. Now the fun begins and thanks for your suggestions. Small oil leak on the pan ( couple loose bolts and not leaking now ) will have to replace the thermostat housing with cold leak. I know what I will be doing today.
Thanks again and any suggestions would be great.
04-03-2011, 06:19 PM
I was gonna make another suggestion for a Wagon. I just got mine a couple weeks ago. I too was driving a big diesel truck and the fuel cost was just killing me each month. I really like my Focus even though I have had to do a few repairs already. I'm really fighting the bug to start "Messing" with it. I have to keep telling myself that I got it as a commuter car and for no other reason. We'll see how long I can fight that urge... LOL