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Old 03-24-2017, 08:39 AM   #1
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Looking at First Gen Focus for a teen driver

My teen is fast approaching driving age and I've been looking at vehicle options for her. I've been looking at Rangers, Escapes, and Focuses. The Focus seems to be the best buy. Looks like I can get a nice looking car in decent mechanical shape in the $2-3K range. Whatever we buy I plan to thoroughly go through it and do fluids, filters, brakes, etc, etc. I'm not afraid to buy something that needs brakes, suspension, steering, etc type work, but would shy away from something that needs an engine. While I could do the work, the logistics of pulling it off in my subdivision garage probably get complicated.

With the Focus any of the 4 body styles are on the table. Even the wagon no one in the house is vehemently opposed though we all think the ZX3 would make a cute car for her. My wife will insist that it be an automatic and I probably tend to agree.

Any suggestions on any particular issues I should watch out for on these cars?


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Old 03-24-2017, 06:35 PM   #2
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Look for a newer focus. At this age, it's just going to be more reliable. 2005+ with a duratec.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:23 PM   #3
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Moved to General Car Chat where the used car purchasing threads can be found.

Early years for first Gen Sedan is mostly SPI for engine - avoid those. Zetec or duratec engines are OK.

High mile automatic without service = you may well need another.
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Old 04-03-2017, 03:10 AM   #4
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I see you're in Michigan.

I would avoid anything that's 10 years older or more that's lived in areas with snow. I had an SVT that lived mostly down south but the guy used it in MA for a few years. I knew the suspension needed a little TLC since rubber bushings starts to get hard and break down after 10 years. Well ALL the nuts and bolts to rear suspension linkages were totally rusted and needed to be cut off. It was a nightmare. We spent 3 times longer than what is usually needed to change anything.

Buy something from California or southwest.

Buy from a Manheim dealer auctions. Guys pay about 300-400 bucks if they win a vehicle. Older american cars on the used market sell for very little at wholesale. You could probably get a 09-10 Focus for about that price.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:56 PM   #5
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Garage kept and washed often to remove salt is OK for cars up North here, if you cant afford to ship or travel.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:58 PM   #6
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with a duratec, you don't have to worry about replacing the timing belt either
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:40 PM   #7
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Just to add some '03-'04's came w/ the 23 dtech's. Like said above pass on a spi motor.
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Bigger brakes then you- D23 crew- D-Tech- Sedan Revolution= #131
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyZX5 View Post
Garage kept and washed often to remove salt is OK for cars up North here, if you cant afford to ship or travel.
My SVT looked immaculate from the leather interior to the paint. Original paint, no bubbling rust that I could see. The under carriage was another story. When I had a mechanic put it on a lift. There was above average rust on the subframes and bolts thread. Nothing that rotted through but that should've been my cue to walk away. I dismissed it and thought some Kroil or Liquid Wrench would take care of that. Boy was I wrong. Not even a torch with MAPP gas worked. EVERY. SINGLE. BOLT. broke off or had to be cut off.

Even if someone up north garaged it and washed it, it may still not be enough. Unless they blast the salt off the undercarriage every time it was exposed with a power washer, the above scenario will eventually happen.

My 2cents for what it's worth.
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Old 04-06-2017, 07:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slappy76 View Post
My SVT looked immaculate from the leather interior to the paint. Original paint, no bubbling rust that I could see. The under carriage was another story. When I had a mechanic put it on a lift. There was above average rust on the subframes and bolts thread. Nothing that rotted through but that should've been my cue to walk away. I dismissed it and thought some Kroil or Liquid Wrench would take care of that. Boy was I wrong. Not even a torch with MAPP gas worked. EVERY. SINGLE. BOLT. broke off or had to be cut off.

Even if someone up north garaged it and washed it, it may still not be enough. Unless they blast the salt off the undercarriage every time it was exposed with a power washer, the above scenario will eventually happen.

My 2cents for what it's worth.
Goes to show you to look/inspect it+ I'd think you'll find rust somewhere. Best to look for a west coast car.
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Old 04-06-2017, 11:12 AM   #10
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this is my go to answer for anyone looking at a reasonable used car.

05-11 Focus. manual or auto.
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