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Russo2 01-18-2013 02:41 PM

POssibly buying, looking for advice.
Hey guys, I'm new here and don't have a focus yet.
I'm looking at two different ones at a local lot to replace my truck as a cheap dd for school and work. (long commute for school and 10mpg don't mix)
First one is a 2000 focus five speed. 106 thousand miles has a new clutch and blah blah blah, but it's hard to shift first and second gear. Not a normal hard to shift, almost like it's pushing against a gelled up fluid? Is this maybe the cable or the trans itself? Or even just the shifter? Otherwise the car runs great, just a noise rattle box.
Anything else I should know about the 2000 in particular? Any reason to stay away regardless of the low price.
The second is a 2003 five speed. 166k miles. Same rattliness as the 2000, but it shifts better. Runs fine and everything, but has those extra miles and a higher asking price.
Looking for any advice here on either car. Thanks.

matmatician 01-18-2013 02:58 PM

Hi, and welcome to the Site!

Check the engine on the 2000. If it says SPI on the valve cover, dont touch it! The valves are known to go on the SPI motor at high mileage, as early as roughly 120k miles. If the motor says Zetec on it, it's a keeper! The shifting issue is also relatively common on the focus. Mine does that too. There are a few possible causes. Either the shift linkage isn't properly sealed and has allowed water in, which will freeze the cables (the car will shift better once they've thawed) or it could be bad clutch fluid. But bad shifting from 1st to 2nd isn't too uncommon.

With whatever you decide to buy, good luck! And keep us posted!

Russo2 01-18-2013 03:05 PM

Thanks man, I've been reading into the shifter system of these things and I was thinking the same, figured they will either work loose after being driven (the car has been around awhile not being driven much) and if they don't I considered trying new cables.
I did just read about the SPI motor, I didn't even look at the 2000, but I think the 03 was SPI and at 166k.
I'm not looking at these cars as anything more than a commuter, but a shotty engine is the last thing I need.

matmatician 01-18-2013 03:18 PM

Exactly. I'm a college student too, I know how fast money flies out of the wallet! Especially if you want neat things like a place to live or food...

Russo2 01-18-2013 03:23 PM

It's been flying out real fast thanks to my bright idea "this truck needs a lift kit and I should commute to school too!"
Hence the getting a car and I bleed blue, so a focus seemed fitting. I will stop back at the lot soon and see if it's hopefully a zetec motor, if so I'm buying. If not.. I guess I continue on my search.
Thanks again.

Buddy4679 01-18-2013 03:42 PM

What are they asking for each of these cars?

Russo2 01-18-2013 03:49 PM

1800 for the 2000 and 2600 for the 03. The 03 is a little rich for my blood, it has factory disc and all power etc etc, but it's 166k miles and still ten years old. Your thoughts?

gondorian 01-18-2013 04:01 PM

Pull of the air box and the engine fuse cable and look at the shift cables. It should look like this.
And not like this
Also the one with a new clutch may have had the trans filled with ATF or the wrong transmission fluid. Putting in the Ford fluid may help it out.

Russo2 01-18-2013 04:19 PM

I will have to stop in again next week when I have more time and check it out further. How do you fill these transmissions? I know every truck five speed I've dealt with is a pain without any sort of real fill tube.
Also is there anything that can be done to quiet down or smooth out these cars without a big price tag or am I dreaming?
Am I playing with a ticking time bomb if it's a SPI and runs good?

And you guys have been a great help already, this forum is one of the better ones I've been on. Just don't tell the truck guys that.

gondorian 01-18-2013 05:21 PM

Here is a good how-to for the trans fluid. It does help to buy some tubing from the hardware store but that costs maybe $2. What do you mean make it quieter? Road noise or the vehicle itself operating?

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