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Old 02-25-2006, 06:30 PM   #1
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2 months of Focus ownership and abuse...

And I simply could not be more pleased.

This is really long, and encompasses a lot of things not directly related to the car. Sorry about that :P

The story starts way back in October. I'm an IST major at a Penn State University's York commuter campus. I live at home... 40 miles away and across state lines with relation to the campus. All my friends live at least 20 miles in the opposite direction with relation to campus. Where I live, the roads are long, twisty, and fast. My commute is a straight shot along a VERY fast, relatively lightly patrolled highway with all kinds of fun ridges and valleys and massive straightaways. The area encompassing the campus and where all my friends live is a hell-on-earth filled with no-turn-on-red signs, low speed limits, cops out for blood, potholes the size of volkswagens, and other assorted Pennsylvania-specific road hazards. The worst roads in the country are in Pennsylvania. The worst roads in Pennsylvania are in and around York.

I was driving to class one morning in my 1989 Dodge Caravan SE Turbo (Yes, one of the infamous turbovans, and yes, mine was modded) - and suddenly I hear a violent grinding sound from under the hood, all my gauges start flipping out, and as I start moving to the shoulder, BAM. Engine seizes, right there on the highway.

So, from then on, I'm driving the "spare" vehicle - a 1988 GMC Vandura 2500 conversion van as my commuter car. Despite being massive, luxuious, and incredibly fun to drive, I quickly find out that it costs more than $400/month in gasoline alone.

Fast forward to December 23, 2005. I'm on my way to the local Saturn dealership to sign the dotted line on a 2006 Saturn Ion sedan for $16,000. As I'm on my way, I pass by, of all places, the Carmax superstore. Carmax is essentially a massive clearing house for used cars that aren't broken. I figure "Oh, why the hell not" and pull in. I meet with Steve, who proceeds to run me through a database of all their cars to find stuff that I may want to see. Some Chevy Cavaliers, some Saturn wagons, a Crown Victoria, crap like that. But then something amazing happens. Steve's phone rings - one of his other customers has come back with a check to buy a car. He leaves me in the lot, looking at a white Chevy Cavalier. The car disgusts me. I get bored and walk around a little - and stumble upon a gray 2002 Focus sedan - pricetag $9995. SPI engine, alloys, every interior option ticked. From the outside, it looks IMMACULATE. Brand new tires - the colored chalk stuff is still on them. Not a single blemish on the entire exterior. From what I can see, the interior is completely untarnished as well. Steve eventually comes back. I tell him I want to drive it. Now. He obliges - after moving about 10 cars that were double parked out of the way. Mileage is 55,000. The car is apparently an off-lease vehicle, and has been well takencare of and every service and oil change documented.

It was love. I *HAD* to have this car. It has everything but the Zetec engine, ABS, and traction control. Traction control wouldn't be used anyway, I completely fail to see the point of the Zetec, because the SPI performs brilliantly enough and gets downright DANGEROUS in terms of things that I can do with it. ABS would be nice, though. The interior was as immaculate as it looked from the outside. The Mach500 audio system needed a little adjustment, but after fiddling with the dials for a few moments, I had it set up to play my music the way it was meant to be heard. Everything was perfect. After the test drive, during which I determined that everything was properly balanced and aligned, and rode smooth as butter, I literally rushed off to my bank, took out the loan, and rushed back to the dealership with a check.

I never went back to the Saturn dealership. I never returned their calls asking if I was still interested.

Now it's time for me to tell you a little more about what I do with this car. IST is a very real-world-intensive major. Many classes require you to have real-world customers and work on real-world business projects. This means travel. It's also a very fast-paced, study-intensive major, and very group-intensive. This means getting together at various people's houses to work on something, or to study material for the 8 different tests this week. Many days, I'll commute in at 8AM and not leave the general area until 11PM, if not later. So it's also very caffeine-intensive. It's incredibly hard work, but it's also incredibly rewarding. Every single one of us, whether we'll admit it or not, has been driven to the breaking point and cried, thought about transferring, or otherwise escaping.

Add to this that my circle of friends, in addition to being IST majors, are also upper-echelon members of a student organization. Our primary goal is to refurbish computers and reintroduce them into non-profit organizations and other worthy programs. This eats up enormous amounts of time and work, as well.

Add to this real jobs (you know, the kind that pay money), and all this work and stress mounts up - quick. It often happens that we're in someone's basement, trying to hack out some sort of project-related document, one person will be at the keyboard, two people are playing billiards, I'll be huddled over on the couch with the girl, comforting her because she just had another nervous breakdown (this is especially hard on her because she doesn't have nearly as strong an incoming knowledge base as the rest of us do, so she has a lot of extra learning to do, and for whatever reason I'm the only one who can bring her back to a useful state) - and someone will say "Lets go to <insert random convenience store> and get some <insert an energy drink here>" - this is always met with a unanimous decision, because we ALL know we're going to be here until 3AM doing this project, and it's only 11 now. So we'll all pile into someone's car - 99% of the time, it's mine, because my highly aggressive driving style provides entertainment. More on that later.

And then there's the times when we're just sitting around after a long work session, looking at a MASSIVE 12 hour gap where we don't intend to do anything. Someone will say "Lets go duckpin bowling." And so we all pile into my car.... And go duckpin bowling.... 70 miles away.

In 2 months, I've added more than 5,000 miles to the odometer, and these have been light-duty months in terms of mileage. The alignment is now off and the car shakes and shudders as it moves down the road - this isn't any fault of Ford - it's simply the roads I have to drive on, and the way I drive them. There's this one ENORMOUS crater-like pothole on the way into campus. You have to hit it, it's impossible to miss. It had another pothole in the bottom of it. They filled the pothole IN the pothole, but left the big pothole alone. People with low-clearance cars can't park in the parking lot because of that thing. They have to park illegally on the street. And then, in general, the rest of the roads are total crap. The once-immaculate interior is covered in dirt, and piled high with soda cans and energy drink bottles. The perfect paintjob is now masked by a layer of road salt and dust, and my car is now gray with white polka-dots and stripes. I'm sure the engine and transmission hate me, because I autostick through first and second fairly often, will smack the OD-off button at 95mph to engine brake to avoid hitting someone, and on MANY occasions I have ridden the speed limiter (108mph) for my ENTIRE commute. 0-60 time is "too damn short", 0-100 is "too fast for my own good", 0-80 is shorter than a freeway on-ramp. It's also not unheard of for us to load the car with ridiculous amounts of cargo because nobody remembered to get a pickup truck to take stuff over to the warehouse.




..... And I still make payments on this thing until 2009. I hope it survives.


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Old 02-25-2006, 06:39 PM   #2
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take it easy or u'll be posting asking how much a new trans costs
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:53 PM   #3
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take it easy or u'll be posting asking how much a new trans costs
How much *DOES* one cost, anyway? :P

I'm kind of hoping they're built like the trans in my van was, because that thing was indestructible, that thing survived 250,000 miles of abuse worse than this, and the ENGINE gave up before the trans.
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:58 PM   #4
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can someone sum that up for me ? thats like 2 chapters, and i dont wanna read allllll that
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Old 02-25-2006, 07:24 PM   #5
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can someone sum that up for me ? thats like 2 chapters, and i dont wanna read allllll that
I just bought a Focus, and it will have 200,000 of the hardest possible miles (read: High passenger, high cargo, high speed, very poor roads) on it by the time it's paid off.
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Old 02-25-2006, 07:24 PM   #6
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Re: 2 months of Focus ownership and abuse...

Quote:
Originally posted by EyeMWing
0-60 time is "too damn short", 0-100 is "too fast for my own good", 0-80 is shorter than a freeway on-ramp. It's also not unheard of for us to load the car with ridiculous amounts of cargo because nobody remembered to get a pickup truck to take stuff over to the warehouse.

..... And I still make payments on this thing until 2009. I hope it survives.
0-60 time too short.....wow, youd probably faint if you even drove a svt focus. And jesus, how long are your freeway ramps if 0-80 is shorter then one. You sure you dont have a twin turbo under that hood And no offense, but if you keep driving like you do your focus will be in little car heaven long before 2009 or 200,000 miles rolls around.

But im glad you enjoy your focus so much.
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Old 02-25-2006, 08:53 PM   #7
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Re: Re: 2 months of Focus ownership and abuse...

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Originally posted by DrkKnight614
0-60 time too short.....wow, youd probably faint if you even drove a svt focus. And jesus, how long are your freeway ramps if 0-80 is shorter then one. You sure you dont have a twin turbo under that hood And no offense, but if you keep driving like you do your focus will be in little car heaven long before 2009 or 200,000 miles rolls around.

But im glad you enjoy your focus so much.
To be honest, I severely doubt the stockness of this thing for a few reasons. First and foremost, it can play with other cars in Ford's lineup that are supposed to perform ENORMOUSLY better, like the SVT Mustang, and the.... Uh, yeah, the Crown Victoria/Police Interceptor That guy was a little less than happy with me, even moreso because he couldn't actually ticket me. Secondly, it beats the living tar out of the 20PSI turbo setup that I had on my minivan - and the minivan engine was bigger and more powerful to start with (of course, the minivan itself was a rolling box, as opposed to this fairly aero-friendly shape).

... But whatever mods the previous owner may have made have been hidden well enough for me to not spot on my cursory "OMG IT'S FREEZING COLD AND I'M LATE TO CLASS" checks under the hood. Both my oil changes have been done by the so-called professionals because of my busy schedule. To be honest, those checks are so cursory that I may have even missed something as obvious as a CAI.
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Old 02-25-2006, 10:06 PM   #8
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Um someone please tell me this guy is on here playing a huge joke

No offense i think youve lost your mind EyeMwing
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Old 02-25-2006, 10:16 PM   #9
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Um someone please tell me this guy is on here playing a huge joke

No offense i think youve lost your mind EyeMwing
I lost my mind a LONG time ago. Seriously, I bought a car two months ago and have spent maybe 8 seconds looking at the engine. I'll get things sorted over spring break, figure out if I'm just hallucinating the obscene acceleration or if there's actually some parts in there. I'm installing some electronics mods at that point anyway. And if you're referring to the SVT Mustang, I think that can be easily attributed to the fact that I drive like the Stig, and most other drivers will back off around 85, or before the road bends.... And the cop, well, yeah. Let me just say that it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to get a speeding conviction in Pennsylvania unless you're dumb enough to fall into one of the stater's traps.
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Old 02-25-2006, 10:23 PM   #10
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^^^no offense, but theres no way a svt mustang was trying and you were keeping up, and unless you had a f/i under the hood your not going to be hanging with a mustang period really, unless he couldnt drive, probably playing with you. And your probably hallucinating the acceleration man, its definitly all in your head, my brother owns an spi se and that things is slow, i think the 0-60 time of an spi is like 9 seconds or something like that......so its not blazing fast and its definitly not short. But glad your having fun with the car, b/c thats really all that matters.
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