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auto.pilot 01-18-2013 10:13 PM

Tell me why I should get a Focus & what to expect
My 2001 Ford Escort was totaled today, rear ended by a Chevy Suburban. Not pretty. I am in the market for a decent used car and will most likely buy a Focus. I have less than $5000 to spend, realistically $3500. I am in SE Michigan. I am very familiar with repairs on the Escort and common problems. In particular, I know that high-milage Escorts are prone to cylinder head (valve seat) failure. I change my own oil, brakes and do other routine repairs.

Would like some thoughts on what to look for and what to avoid when looking for a Focus. In my price range, most cars are high milage...which makes me wonder if there are any high-milage problems lurking under the hood.

Thanks for any and all replies.


Svt_kid 01-18-2013 10:23 PM

Stay away from the Spi engine they tend to drop the valve seat at around 100k

auto.pilot 01-18-2013 10:34 PM


Originally Posted by Svt_kid (Post 4546645)
Stay away from the Spi engine they tend to drop the valve seat at around 100k

Is it the same SPI engine as the Escort? I just replaced the head on the totaled car due to a dropped valve seat on cylinder 4. What year Focus had the SPI engine?



79mgb 01-18-2013 11:39 PM

Yep. Same engine. They were used from 2000-2004. Just get one with a Zetec engine instead.

04ZTSJelf 01-18-2013 11:55 PM

If you can find a Duratec 23, like I did, I would consider that. 149,000 miles with no issues.

2008 Ford Focus 01-19-2013 04:37 PM

Try to get a 2005+ model year Focus. All the bugs are ironed out of them. They have the 2.0 duratec engine. The folks are right about the 2.3, but may be rare. They are available on the 04 Focus.

Holden 01-19-2013 04:48 PM

^^ Yeah, but the 2005-2007s were hideous inside and out.

mac.mogul 01-19-2013 04:51 PM

16 Attachment(s)
He drove an escort so I don't think 'style' is on his short list...

I would say you could expect basically everything you've already come to know about your Escort; just bigger and better.

Check for rust when you're shopping!

Mr_Ruxbin 01-19-2013 05:35 PM


Originally Posted by Holden (Post 4547307)
^^ Yeah, but the 2005-2007s were hideous inside and out.

i don't find my '06 to be that hideous, however i am a little biased. that said i did enjoy the looks of my '03 SVT much better. My girlfriend's '02 ZTS sedan is decently styled.

whynotthinkwhynot 01-19-2013 07:07 PM

Early Focis had some assorted problems- most are sorted out. 2000 models specifically had TPS problems that were alleviated by replacing the TB with one with a re-designed TPS.

00-04 Focis might have an old style ignition lock cylinder still installed in the car. This lock cylinder can lock up, and the ignition key will not turn. Ford lock cylinders need the key to turn in order to replace the cylinder- so a locked up cylinder is a bad problem in a Ford. To tell the difference, look at the position of the key hole in the lock cylinder. If the key hole is in the center of the lock cylinder- then it has already been changed to the improved type. The old style lock cylinder has the key hole off center towards the bottom. If you purchase a car with this lock cylinder, let us know, and we will direct you how to properly change the lock cylinder before it locks up. It will cost you about $100- well worth piece of mind. If you wait until it locks up- it will cost more like $300.

00-02.5 manual transmission shifters tend to crack and break, but we have a great How-To on how to repair a busted factory shifter.

03-04 PZEV cars come with the 2.3L Duratec engine. To identify your Focus engines, look under the hood. The SPI engine says "Split Port Injection" on the valve cover, and will look just like your old Escort motor. The Zetec engine will have Zetec written on the valve cover, and will have spark plugs going through the center of the valve cover. This engine or the Duratec will be all you will find in hatchback cars. The SPI was only available in sedans (maybe wagons). The Duratec engine will not have anything written on the valve cover, but it will have coil on plug ignition, so you will see 4 coils mounted on top of the valve cover.

05-07 Focis have "lifetime" air filters. This isn't as great as it sounds. Most of us remove the lifetime filter and replace it with an aftermarket CAI filter.

Wagons have alignment problems that require purchasing camber adjustment bolts for the rear otherwise tires will be eaten up very quickly.

That's about all I can think of right now.

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