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smokeeater172 11-21-2012 04:26 PM

SVT buying advice
So I never expected to be into the focus; however, I was buying my wife a new car and walked past one in the lot that really caught my eye. It was a newer Focus SVT...

We wanted to buy new and I am the lone paycheck maker of the house with 2 children so we went with the more economical fiesta. Got a hell of a deal and its nice for my wife.
Well, I drive an F-150 and commute a ton, the plan was for me to take her car to work and use my truck around town... well that didn't last, she doesn't like parting with her new car and I am never thrilled about her driving my vehicle SO...

I figured now is my time to swoop in an convince her I need an SVT for commuting, HA!

I had a ton of questions and I never trust dealerships so I thought I'd make an account and get some owners input. Is it worth going SVT over ZX3? I need to go used as I am now broke.. found a sharp looking zx3, 140k for about 4k... says one owner. whats the average life of these? will I regret not going SVT? and I am worried about a used SVT being driven hard and giving me headaches. I don't drive hard but I thought it would be a fun car to drive anyway. Last, any common issues with them that I should expect? My F-150, everytime there was a problem it seemed like it was common with every F-150 of the year. Brake lines wearing out, manifold bolts rusting out, ect.

sorry this was so damn long, but if you kept reading I'd appreciate input. Or if anyone needs a 4x4 I'd be happy to trade... my truck is worth a lot but I'm letting it go cheap.

Chris_HT 11-21-2012 04:37 PM

SVT is an awesome car, and very fun to drive, and I stand by it even tho every day I drive trucks which of course have much more powerful engines.

Maintenance on SVT as you already know, is a headache mostly to the cause of previous owner who trashed the car or didn't maintain it. But when you buy one, just take care of replacing suspension, brakes, it shoudl be less than $1,000 and also timing belt job which is about $200 and you should have a good reliable car.

Just keep always in your garage, or even trunk:

Accessory Belt,
Thermostat Housing,
a bottle of Coolant,
2 hoses and some clamps,
metric toolset,

and you're good :D

smokeeater172 11-21-2012 04:43 PM

haha okay, funny you say that because I carry certain emergency stuff in my truck.. certain tools, extra oil, ect.

I dont mind small jobs, I am pretty handy, have air tools, and enjoy to work on my vehicles... but I commute a long way and really do not want to get stranded... and I def. keep up with maintenance, you just never know about previous owners though.

Chris_HT 11-21-2012 04:58 PM

Let me just say that even tho my car was mechanically in terrible shape already, it never left me stranded. And I pushed my luck on that driving it for 6 months this way. Now it's in my garage and I hope to have it back on the road by new year. If you run into a trouble with SVT it will 95% of a time be cooling system or accessory belt, never heard about stock SVT engine just breaking on the road. I did hear tho about people with modified camshafts or cases where timing belt snapped and sent engine to hell, cause SVT is an interference engine, so better don't mess with timing and change belt every 80k miles and you will be allright.

mainest 11-21-2012 05:22 PM

Read these two threads.
IMO, if you never drive an SVT, you probably won't regret not buying one, BUT I highly recommend that you do drive one, you will love it. I bought an '04 after seeing it in the BST on FJ. I love it.
There isn't much about the SVT, or Foci in general, that you can't find here, or on FJ. For instance, there is a fix for the leaky SVT thermostat housing (I just ordered one for my '04. $115. shipped from Tousley Ford in MN., an FJ sponsor)
As was said above, the timing belt and attendant pulleys are priority one for these cars, and there will be a constant need for attention to something or other, so if you are going to be short of cash, this could become an issue with your wife. On the other hand, you deserve to enjoy your drive to and from work, so if you can find some twisties on Cape Ann, between home and work, you will usually have a smile on your face when you arrive. Good luck.

smokeeater172 11-21-2012 07:41 PM

Thanks for the input... any opinions whether to go svt? Defined. Would be more fun.. but higher risk it was abused. On the other hand I read that the motor is better material?

mainest 11-21-2012 10:32 PM

My '05 ST has the 2.3 Duratec, which I have read is very reliable, and it certainly has lots of very useable torque. Perhaps a ZX3 or ZX5 with the 2.3 and a 5 speed would be similarly quick and responsive, without the onus of higher maintenance (and insurance) costs. Another thing to consider is that Ford no longer fully supports the SVT with replacement parts, so you may be reduced to haunting salvage yards, or worse, or, when Tousley can no longer get spares.
There is always the issue of the prior owner(s), and how well they maintained the car, and even if they scrupulously adhered to the factory maintenance schedule, they may have had their oil changes done, as I did once, by a shop that didn't realize the difference between an SVT, and a regular Ztec, and used the wrong weight oil!
Remember too, that two kids can require lots of time, and money. I speak from experience on that score.
All of this is simply to give you information on which to make your own, informed choices, not to discourage you from getting yourself a fun daily driver.
BTW, that $200 figure for the t-belt replacement is DIY, which, as you may have read, is a very finicky procedure. I would budget $600 to $800 to have a competent mechanic do the job.
Good luck.

sleepyboy 11-21-2012 10:51 PM

A t-belt kit is roughly 70 bucks if ordered from Rockauto. It should be less than 300 for any mechanic to change it, for 600-800 they better be changing the clutch out for that price. I suggest if your broke to not get the SVT. While it is a very fun and entertaining car to drive they can give you a headache once in a while. A normal focus with the zetec or duratec (preferably the 2.3L) are the work mules of the model. You can puts lots of miles on them without much care where's as a SVT needs some attention from time to time. I have both and while I do enjoy driving the SVT a lot the other focus has been my DD for years. SVT parts tend to be more expensive, and if you get one that hasn't been taken care of be prepared to do some maintenance. If you doing everything your self it's really not that much money but if you have to pay someone then it can rack up quickly, of course this is with any car though.

smokeeater172 11-21-2012 11:18 PM

Good points.. I should have figured parts would be but forgot about the insurance aspect... like I mentioned, I drive like a slug anyway and have 2 kids, maybe Svt isnt the way to go, really like the styling though. Had someone tell me they are horrible in the snow, any experience there? Oh sorry to be a pain but also any specific things I should check for when i'm looking at the car or Qatar to ask. Thanks again for those who replied.

sleepyboy 11-21-2012 11:25 PM

If you have kids I highly recommend a 4dr sedan (05-07 ST would be the desirable model) or a ZX5. I have both a ZX3 and ZX5 and right now I'm missing having the extra doors (I need a clutch for the SVT and it's pricey so I have to wait for that). It's a pain getting the kids in and out the back with the 2dr. I have 3 kids 2 in booster seats and one in a rear facing car seat. So much easier getting them in and buckled with the extra rear doors.

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