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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-30-2013 05:51 AM
tmittelstaedt look for coolant leaks on the thermostat housing those go bad on these.

oil leaks from the valve cover gasket the gasket is easy to replace but it's still $35

Make sure when you start the car that during the idiot light test the check engine light does indeed go on.

engine mounts go bad if there's any rattling during the test drive your probably going to need to replace all 3 of them.

Crawl under the car if possible and look for mud kicked up. Say there's probably rust under it if you find any (there almost certainly won't be but the owner isn't going to stick his hands in mud to wipe it off and show you there isn't)

Here is a tip on buying - it sounds incredibly corny but it works - the minute you get out of your car and start inspecting the car you want to buy, start talking a mile a minute about all the stuff on it that your going to have to fix - and don't admit that you do your own work, just keep talking about all the labor costs your mechanic friend will charge for it - take a checklist with you, go though everything - even check the radio and CD player - criticize every last thing on the vehicle you can find that is the slighest bit off -from the paint, to the lack of lube on the door latches, to the trunk struts being weak and allowing the trunk to bang down - just keep it up.

Then, when your completely done - LEAVE. Don't make an offer. Tell them your going to think about it and call them back.

then drive to a burger joint close by and kick back for 20 minutes and then call them and tell them you talked to your mechanic friend and told him everything you found and he said it will probably cost about $600 but to go ahead and buy it - so your going to take a gamble - make an offer and tell them you have the cash and will be there with it in 5 minutes if they accept.

Yes, the seller will think your the world's biggest jerk. Yes he probably will think your trying to BS him. Correction he will KNOW your BSing him.

But, he -won't- be CERTAIN. As long as he thinks you might walk away - your in control. The moment you reveal that you have decided your going to buy it in any way - though body language or whatever - your screwed. And that laundry list of real or imagined problems will be eating away at him, even if he doesen't consciously admit to it or consciously thinks it's BS. The -only- sellers who are immune from this BS are professionals who buy and sell cars all day long.

I did this with my last Focus purchase, and I know that it worked because when I went inside to pay for the car, as I was walking out the sellers girlfriend gave me a glare that would have scraped the galvanizing off a light pole.

I didn't give a crap. This is business.

And yes, your in the right price range and that's the right engine. The unfortunate problem right now is that any 4 cylinder fetches a premium due to gas prices. My father in law works at a dealership and is in shock at how much they have to pay to buy used economy cars.
01-28-2013 11:33 PM
Andrews-bad-SE I got 138k on my '03 Zetec, going up all the time. I've done just about everything BUT the timing belt/tensioner/idler... lol probably should get on that. I read somewhere it should be done every 120k, I think mine might've been changed, but I'm going to get a good one with the kit and do it again anyway. I'll sleep better.
01-28-2013 03:18 PM
freemind At 190k, I agree with the other guys on the importance of maintenance. My Timing belt looked good 6 weeks ago. But I replaced it anyway and I am glad that I did because, the water pump was in very poor condidtion.
01-28-2013 01:34 PM
SkyPilot I have 165,000mi on my zetec with no major issues, just regular mx. The Timing belt is a big one in these engines. They should be replaced between 100 to 150k (the sooner the better) regardless if its been done or not if you buy the car, do a general tune up. Air Filter, Fuel Filter, Plugs & Wires, Oil Change
01-28-2013 01:03 PM
Tundrafoci I have an '03 with the same amount of miles with a zetec runs like a champ no problem. Things i would ask about are fuel filter, timing belt(i would hope this has been replaced), trans oil, coolant flush, just basic tune-up items. I have had surprisingly no issues with my zetec but then again i do the 'preventative' maintenance.
01-28-2013 12:43 PM
mihulka3
Focus SE

Looking at a 2004 Ford Focus SE with 147K. It is identical to my daughters. It needs a tune up as well as front brake pads and struts. It has the issue my daughters had with the engine miss. I will look at it tonight and take it for a drive. They wanted 2900.00 for it but down to 2400.00. Everything works. Is there anything to be on the look out for or just take my chances if I can get it for 2200.00 and fix the issues. The Zetecs engines seem decent but 147K??

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