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Old 01-21-2008, 12:25 AM   #1
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New To Focus.. Need lil help

Sup everyone.. I have been looking through these threads for about 1 1/2 months trying to get info on the car. I have $4000 dollars to spend and I have found some and I need a lil bit of help deciding... The first is a 2000 SE with 80,000 miles, #2 is a 2000 SE with 93,000 miles, #3 is a 2001 LX with 126,000 or #4 is a 2002 SE with 124,000 miles. If you could tell me which of the four would be the best or list them in order it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance Fanatics!!!


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Old 01-21-2008, 02:03 AM   #2
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Honestly for 4K u could get something with WAy better mileage, guessing ur into the sedan style eh? let me just tell u how useful these hatchbacks are... I've put a dryer in the hatch of mine, with the seats folded down of course... But ur money, im just here to suggest. got my focus new in 2002 116K miles later im buying a new engine for it =) and changing to MTx (manual transmission) I've even seen SVT focus for that cheap hehe. (salvage prolly) didnt look into it.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:49 AM   #3
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yea, for $4000 you can get a nice hatchback with less miles than those you listed. just keep looking a bit more.it will be worth the wait to find a better deal.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:16 AM   #4
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The hatch has a better engine standard as well as being cheaper, buy the hatch.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:38 AM   #5
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Not to mention, If you want to go anything aftermarket. They make everything for the hatch lol.
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:38 AM   #6
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You can find sedans with the good engine for that car, and you really want to look for that. The standard engine in the sedan only is the SPI, the best way to tell the difference is look at the spark plugs. If the spark plugs are going into the side of the engine's head- then it's an SPI. If the spark plugs go into the top of the head, then it's a Zetec. The Zetec is the engine you want. There's a big power difference between the Zetec and the SPI, and fuel economy is the same or slightly better for the Zetec. All the hatchbacks have the Zetec engine.

The other posts are correct. You must be looking at cars from used car dealers- which are overpriced- ALWAYS. I personally only buy cars from people, but I have a lot of experience in determining engine and body problems with cars. I'll try to help you with a few things that are important.

First, pop the hood. Some people clean the engines of the vehicles that they are trying to sell- but I prefer the dirty engine if I see one. Carry an old rag with you, pull the oil dipstick and inspect the oil. Once again, I prefer dirty oil, but what you're looking for here is a peanut butter looking substance on the bottom of the dipstick. FYI: dirty oil and dirty engines mean to me that the person is not trying to hide something with a little flash. After the oil, pop the radiator fill cap and look inside. If you see any oil or black spots on the top of the fluid- that's just as bad as the peanut butter on the dipstick- forget this car.

To inspect the body of the car, look very closely at where the radiator bolts into the front of the engine compartment. IF this metal is not perfectly flat, bent or disturbed at all, then the car has been in an accident. Next look at where the fenders bolt to the body under the hood. You should notice periodic humps in the metal- these are crumple zones. If any of these crumple zones does not appear uniform, or you notice missing/discolored paint on bolts- this car has been in an accident. TO me, ANY car that has been in an accident is not worth purchasing. Other signs of an accident elsewhere on the vehicle are: slight differences in the shade of paint, slight damage under the door, but not on the door, trunk or hood not aligned properly, and a cracked windshield. I'd never purchase a car with a cracked windshield because windshields are an important part of structural integrity on uni-body cars (most everything on the road aside of trucks). You can usually determine that a windshield has recently been replaced by scratches around the windshield- that might not be bad if it's the only damage you find on the car, but taken with other things listed here- it shows an accident.

In the interior, inspect the area around the passenger airbag in the dash for damage and discoloration that might indicate that the airbag was replaced. Also check the fitment of the plastic body panels around the seat belts to see if you can determine if these parts were ever removed. Once again- this alone is not indicative of an accident, but has to be taken with other clues.

If it passes all these body tests- then BE SURE to check for a spare tire and jack, and inspect the spare tire well carefully. I can't tell you how many times owners do not replace the factory jack and spare if it's ever used- but generally if you catch it, they will produce the jack. Also wipe any exposed metal in the spare tire well with your finger. You're looking for a thin layer of dirt or silt. This would indicate that the car was in a flood. You're likely to find cars like this from people who have dealer licenses so they can buy at auction, but don't have a lot to put cars on. Cars like this will be dream buys- very cheap and low miles. They usually forget to clean the spare tire compartment or around the factory jack- so finger test everywhere you can in this area for silt.

Drive the car, be sure to crank the wheel all the way to each side making a tight circle. Listen for clunking sounds when you hit the gas. These would indicate a bad CV axle. Many people sell cars over this repair- but don't be afraid, it's not that bad- just ammunition for haggling later. IF the car is a manual transmission, get up to about 20 mph, and put the transmission in 4th gear and give it gas. If it bogs down, act embarrassed that you can't drive a stick, if the engine revs but the car doesn't move- then the clutch is going bad.

If it passes all these tests, runs and drives good, then haggle. Most people will reduce the price of a car by $500 or so, bid at least $800 less than what they ask and see what happens. If the person is an Arab- bid much less than that- haggling is in their culture, and don't pay attention to their apparent anger at your low bid- it's part of the game. The basic rule of selling a car is that some idiot will always pay what you ask or need for the car, so wait for the idiot to come. The basic rule of buying a car is to not be that idiot, so be very picky and wait until you find a car that passes every test flawlessly.
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:42 AM   #7
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Oh, and it helps to have a checklist until (and even after) you have a system. Don't forget to check the simple things like turn signals (fast flashing indicates a blown lamp or problem), headlights, tail lights, blower motor, AC (listen for the compressor to kick on in cold weather when you can't feel the air through the vents), heater, dash lights, radio, etc.
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:20 AM   #8
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Don't forget to kick the tire
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:25 AM   #9
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^ Very good info there, but there might be an exception to two parts of that.

1. If the person/dealership has all the records of oil changes and maintenance, then you might forgive the dirty oil part. Clean oil is what you want to see in that respect. Also, on the oil dipstick, look for burned areas on it. I had my oil cap pop off (don't ask me how it happened because I don't know) and it discolored the dipstick pretty bad because my engine ran out of oil and was running very hot until I noticed the smoke coming from the engine. My oil light never came on. It sprayed oil over the entire compartment. When it hit the header, that's when the smoke started. That could also be a sign they didn't change the oil much.

2. I had to take the plastic peices around my seatbelts off to remove the rear panels to install speakers. I broke one of the clips so it doesn't sit right. I'd run a Carfax report on each VIN to see if any of them have been in an accident.

Another note, make sure all the recalls have been done on the cars (especially for those years). If they haven't been done and you decide to buy the car, call up the dealership and have them replace all the parts that need it.

Good luck on our search!
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:58 AM   #10
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Thanks guys, I will start looking for a hatch. This is all great information I`m glad I found this site. Ill take all the advice and keep everyone updated with my purchase. I have another question is the hatch a good car to travel in? I drive from here in OKC to Dallas all the time.
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