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Old 05-14-2011, 03:42 AM   #1
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Introductory Post

Hello,

I've decided to register here because I'm coming into possession of a 2003 ZX5 2.3 liter automatic and I want to learn as much as I can about how best to maintain and modify this car.

It's kind of an interesting story about how this car is coming to be mine. My mother bought it brand new in 2003, and only meant to acquire an economy car to replace her aging Dodge Omni. Since we live in California, she automatically got the 2.3 liter engine at no additional charge, so without even meaning to, my mom acquired the quickest accelerating car she'd ever owned!

Anyway, on April 22 I was driving mom's Focus and got rear ended. The insurance company told her they were declaring the Focus a total loss, so she bought herself a beautiful new Fiesta SES with leather interior.

The only thing is, she loved that Focus dearly, and was very emotionally attached to it, even going as far as to visit it at the auto body shop and stalling and delaying as much as possible the final "good bye."

The thing is, the car really wasn't all that badly damaged. It's just that the rear part of the frame that lives inside the rear bumper was damaged, and shop's estimate to fix everything was over $5800, so the insurance company wanted to just write my mom a check for $7000 and send the car to the crusher.

So instead of accepting the $7000, she's worked out a deal with an auto body shop we trust, and they're going to fix all the damage and get the car back to to normal for way less than the original estimate.

Mom's thrilled because her beloved Focus won't be sent to a junk yard. I'm thrilled because now that Mom's got that Fiesta, the Focus will essentially become my car.

Mom's partially disabled, you see, so although I am a grown adult, I do live with her in order to take care of physical things that are difficult or impossible for her to take care of, and ever since my Camaro Z28's engine blew, we've been a one car family.

So for the first time in years, I'll have my own car, and it's a darned quick little Focus!

I look forward to getting to know the folks here and benefiting from your Focus expertise.

PS: Long before I discovered this Web site, I happened to pick up an issue of Focus Fanatic magazine, the one that had a feature on LSD door kits for Focuses. I always checked the magazine section at Borders for more issues, and was very sad to ultimately find out the magazine had ceased publication. It was a heck of a resource, and I cherish my one copy!


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Old 05-15-2011, 06:33 PM   #2
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Just wondering if my original post was actually viewable to any other members of this forum? I did see some message about it not appearing until a moderator approved it?

Here's what the body shop found underneath my Focus's relatively unscathed rear fascia, by the way:

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Old 05-15-2011, 10:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlightSuit View Post
Just wondering if my original post was actually viewable to any other members of this forum? I did see some message about it not appearing until a moderator approved it?

Here's what the body shop found underneath my Focus's relatively unscathed rear fascia, by the way:

I saw it. And that bumper really looks a little crooked. ;)
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:27 PM   #4
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Wow, that's a nasty ding! I remember focus fanatic magazine, haha, I thought that they did an excellent job with it and it was very unfortunate that it ended.

There are a lot of very knowledgeable people on this site, don't hesitate to ask anything and also keep in mind and try to familiarize yourself with how to use the sites search engine, tons of information!

Btw, welcome to FF!!
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:33 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, FlightSuit. I see you discovered the same thing I did when I first started checking out Foci back around 2003 or so - the basic 2.0 just wasn't enough oomph for me. I don't have a Focus anymore, but up until last October I had a '03 ZTW wagon with the 2.3 and automatic like yours. My daughter still has her '04 ZX3 with the 2.3 and a 5-speed. We bought them in January, 2005 - on the same day. (We also were in California then.)

One thing I would definitely recommend is an upgrade of your wheels and tires to 16" or 17" stock. My wagon had the factory 16" alloys, and I really thought it handled well.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:58 AM   #6
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Thanks for the welcomes, Karguy and Blue2.3! I would have responded sooner, but I don't seem to be receiving e-mail notifications of replies to threads, even though I'm pretty sure I did enable that option.

Anyway, would you believe the guy who rear-ended me got the accident on video? He always drives with front and rear facing, GPS-enabled cameras on, in order to protect himself from people trying to intentionally cause accidents in order to perpetrate insurance fraud.

It's not every day you get to see video of your own accident, but he sent me the clip, and here it is:



Regarding wheels and tire upgrades, at the moment I'm driving a 2011 Focus SES rental car provided by the insurance company, and I must say the wheel and tire combo on that thing is really nice. I'd love to find somebody who had an SES and was selling theirs 'cause they'd upgraded to aftermarket rims.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:13 PM   #7
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Wow - that clip is amazing. Looks like he hit you at about a 30mph speed differential. What happened? Traffic slowed unexpectedly and he didn't anticipate it? As far as your damage goes (I'm a collision damage estimator), Foci seem to take rear impacts pretty well. Did the gaps between your rear doors and the quarter panels close up any? If so, be sure the shop addresses that issue. Otherwise, the vehicle's compromised for the next timeit gets hit. You'll also have to apply for a 'salvage' title in California.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:06 PM   #8
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Thanks, I'll ask the shop about that. And yes, our insurance company already told us the thing will have to be on a salvage title. That sucks, but I don't plan on ever selling it, so it's not too much of an issue.

Regarding how this accident happened, it was caused by the idiot in front of me, who abruptly and without warning mashed her brake pedal to the floor.

Why did she do this?

Because the incredibly slow-moving minivan in the right lane kind of swerved in her direction a little bit, due to the fact that its driver was giving a wide birth to the tour bus disabled on the shoulder of the road.

This woman is a complete idiot for slamming on her brakes. That was a totally stupid, panicky thing for her to do, and a totally inappropriate reaction to the very non-threatening thing that the minivan driver had done.

Honestly, if somebody in the lane next to me swerves an inch or two into my lane, I am not going to slam my brakes on; I'll simply compensate by moving my car over a corresponding inch or two.

Quite frankly, if this woman is going to panic and slam on her brakes for something as trivial as what that minivan did, I find it amazing she ever has the courage to leave her house.
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:44 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum. And I am glad your mom was able to find someone to fix the Focus.

Good luck to you taking care of your mother.

Many people have an attachment to their cars, and especially focuses. I feel it's because the focus is a real safe ride and has saved countless lives in accidents.

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Old 05-16-2011, 04:13 PM   #10
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What sold my mother and I on the Focus is that, prior to buying one, we'd had a few as rental cars. She was always happy with how it fit her proportions, and I was always mightily impressed with their very competent handling, which seemed much more in keeping with a European sports sedan than an economy car.

Since buying her Focus in 2003, the thing that's really impressed us has been its reliability. I'd previously owned a 1988 1/2 Ford Escort GT, and that thing was a lemon from day one.

The fact that our Focus is almost never in the shop for anything other than routine maintenance is testament to just how far Ford has come.
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