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Old 04-07-2009, 07:40 PM   #1
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Question Buying my first Focus (03) what to watch for?

So I'm buying my first Focus on thursday, or should say Im picking it up on thursday. It's an 03 ZX3 MT5 thats pretty well optioned out. The dealer offered me a really good price (family friend) and being in a bit of a bind I couldn't resist. It was owned by one of the financial auditors of the dealership who's an older gentlemen and all servicing has been done by the dealer as well. I checked for any recalls that haven't been done on that model and nothing in particular popped up.

At 95k miles though I know I'm starting to run up on some maintenance problems if past cars are any indications (I've owned a 91 Saturn SL1, 95 Passat VR6 and 96 Saturn SL2) so Im wondering what I should be really watching out for. Already aware of the somewhat weak wheel bearings and fuel pumps (dealer owner pointed it out) and Im probably going to need to replace the timing chain in the next few years (lucky if I do 6k miles a year).

So, collective wisdom of the web...what should I watch out for? Any particular mods I should do first to eek out better gas mileage (primary goal - my Sl2 was hitting 43mpg highway before it shat itself) and better handling and performance (in that order) without breaking the bank?

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Old 04-07-2009, 11:09 PM   #2
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welcome to the focus world
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:41 AM   #3
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Are you aware of the the O-Ring/Thermostatic Housing issue?

However, at 95k, it's most likely been resolved or you never had an issue.

As for mods. I'm about to get myself the SVT Suspension kit to put on my Zx3, Best bang for buck imo. About $230 or something.

As for performance, depending on how far you want to go or if you want to stay modest, start by throwing in a K&N Drop in Air filter. I/H/E if you want to make that foci breathe nice and easy.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:54 AM   #4
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It seems that your well on track, I was going to say make sure all recalls have been sorted out etc. One thing I wanna ask though, the dealer is giving you a good deal...by that you mean, what price?

First mod you should do is a K&N drop in filter.
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:50 PM   #5
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welcome! also be aware that the ignition cyclinder design is screwed up and if it will get stuck on you eventually. there is a redesigned one it may already have been done just trying to think of things that could go by now. also check the front swaybar endlinks, mine just went out at 60K its a cheap fix though, and it makes the car drive sooooo much better when done.
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:53 PM   #6
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EVERYTHING!!!!!, nah, just kidding, i don't really know, how much did you pay for it? there is a real nice one for sell on this site in VA for 6k, real nice, forget which year...

welcome!
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nepafocus03 View Post
welcome! also be aware that the ignition cyclinder design is screwed up and if it will get stuck on you eventually. there is a redesigned one it may already have been done just trying to think of things that could go by now. also check the front swaybar endlinks, mine just went out at 60K its a cheap fix though, and it makes the car drive sooooo much better when done.
Forgot about the ignition cylinder. Yep, had that one.
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:02 PM   #8
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you have to also check the valve cover gasket, because if it leak, it could crack your T-state housing. Timing belt, if it is not in a very good shape, talk the price down or make them fit it. check suspension.

my sway bar end link, valve cover gasket, T-state housing plus O-ring is out when it is around 94k...
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrkKnight614 View Post
It seems that your well on track, I was going to say make sure all recalls have been sorted out etc. One thing I wanna ask though, the dealer is giving you a good deal...by that you mean, what price?

First mod you should do is a K&N drop in filter.
he did link to this in his first post,
if thats the same car(seems to fit the description)
being advertised at $6,995 but im going to assume since he said a good deal and it being from someone he knows, some where south of that price.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:23 AM   #10
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Ugh, sorry for never replying back I never got emailed updates that anyone replied and the past few days have been a bit busy. I knocked the price down to just under $6k which was cheaper than kbb for it but slighty higher than edmunds said it was worth. Debating now whether to extend the dealer warranty past the three months it comes with.

Can't decide whether to get the K&N filter (had them in all my past cars) or just spring for a full intake kit. The difference of $30 or so vs $150+ is making me take a good look at it ;) I do have to say the stock air intake setup is completely borked. Can't help but wonder why Ford designed it that way. If I can find an SVT intake would that be preferred to an after market intake?
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