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Old 03-28-2013, 04:41 PM   #1
joshh09
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Thumbs up First post (It's kinda long!)

Hey guys,

My name's Josh and I've been lurking on here for a few months while getting some money together. The community here seems really nice so I'm hoping to get some feedback!
A little background: I'm a college student, graduating in December (finally!) and I haven't had a car for almost a year now. I work 2 jobs on top of school so not having a car has been a hassle to say the least. I have about $4,000 to spend on a car now though, so I'm looking for something with low cost of ownership that will last me a few years at least.
I've always loved cars and I've had several. My interest caused me to make some poor decisions with my money in the past (i.e. spending money on mods and then not having the cash I needed for necessities) but I've matured since then.
Looking here and on other sites, I think the Focus is a good fit for me right now, reliable, practical, safe and not a total bore like some cars in its class. I've always LOVED the SVTs, as I'm sure many of you can relate to. But given my current situation, I keep telling myself to stay away. I'm afraid I'll give in to the modding bug with a car like that, plus I worry about high-performance parts costing more to replace/repair and the possibility of them being abused.
So here's my question: Right now I am looking for a 2005, 2006 or 2007 Focus with a manual transmission, preferably the ZX3 but I'm not locked into it. Given my budget, is this a good buy, or is a different year just as good? If that year range is good; what can you guys tell me to be on the lookout for that is car-specific? I've bought used cars before and have a decent track record so I am mostly aware of what to check when looking.
Also, my girlfriend has a 2008 SE Coupe Auto that has treated her fantastic and is what turned me on the Focus in the first place.
Now, because pictures are fun, here are all of the vehicles I've owned since I started driving 6 years ago, in order!

1998 Volvo S70 T5 5MT


1982 Suzuki GS550L


2003 Kawasaki Z1000


1998 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4wd


1994 Nissan Sentra SE-R


1989 Ford F150 5.0 2wd

Bonus!

The girl's 2008 Ford Focus SE

So if you made it this far, I'm sorry your life is so boring but thank you!
Any comments are appreciated, positive or negative!
Josh


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Old 03-28-2013, 05:29 PM   #2
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Go with an SVT if you can. Ive had an 01 focus for 4 years and its been gr8 mechanically. But the power provided in an SVT is far better. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:32 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forums. Honestly the most reliable focus with a descent aftermarket support. Is the 1.5 gen 05-07 focus. With the 2.0 duratec or the ST with the 2.3 in the same years.


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Old 03-28-2013, 06:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGlassMaker View Post
Welcome to the forums. Honestly the most reliable focus with a descent aftermarket support. Is the 1.5 gen 05-07 focus. With the 2.0 duratec or the ST with the 2.3 in the same years.


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Pretty much this however, Look for an 03 with the 2.3 Duratec, that is the most reliable engine with the most aftermarket support for both the engine and the car.

SVT's are nice but can hurt your budget just to maintain. Biggest problem is if your timing belt snaps, your motor is ruined.

ZX3's came with either the Zetec or Duratec but, if you decide to get a wagon or sedan: stay away from anything with an SPI motor!
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyroinsa View Post
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Pretty much this however, Look for an 03 with the 2.3 Duratec, that is the most reliable engine with the most aftermarket support for both the engine and the car.

SVT's are nice but can hurt your budget just to maintain. Biggest problem is if your timing belt snaps, your motor is ruined.

ZX3's came with either the Zetec or Duratec but, if you decide to get a wagon or sedan: stay away from anything with an SPI motor!
I have heard both good and bad things about the SPI, they don't seem to be very common in my area so I haven't even looked at any. The 2.3 is what they used in the 05-07 ST right?
Thanks for the help all!
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshh09 View Post
I have heard both good and bad things about the SPI, they don't seem to be very common in my area so I haven't even looked at any. The 2.3 is what they used in the 05-07 ST right?
Thanks for the help all!
The 2.3 was also used in small numbers in the 03 - 04. If you can find one in one of those years, you'll have found a unicorn! A buddy of mine has a base model 04 sedan with the 2.3, I have been trying for a long time to buy that! Greyscorpion has an LG 04 ZX5 with a 2.3 as well as a lot of others on here. That's what I would be looking for! Better bodystyle than the 05-07 with more aftermarket support!
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:36 PM   #7
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'03 with the 2.3l is the one to hope for! Folks on both sides of THAT coin can wish they'd gotten it!
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:11 PM   #8
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The SPI can be a great motor. If, IF you rebuild the head with new valve seats. I had one for over 6 years great on gas and quite as hell. I wish I would have rebuilt when I had the chance but I didn't.

If you don't go that route and wouldn't blame you go with the 2.3. But to be honest with 4 grand you'll most likly be looking at either a zetec powed sedan or a zetec powered hatch.

Price arent getting lower although the focus are getting older.

You can find a usually find a nice, clean, rust free zetec focus for around 3400 up to 6000

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Old 03-28-2013, 08:57 PM   #9
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@TheGlassMaker,
You're correct, in my price range I've been finding mostly 00-04s. From what I hear it's best to stay away from the 2000s as they tend to be problem-prone.
The Zetec occasionally has issues but nothing major it seems, not nearly enough to look for the lower-powered Duratec.
Could someone point me to a thread dealing with common Zetc issues? I remember looking at one a while back but can't seem to find it, even with the search function.
Does anyone have a specific preference (like the 2.3 in a 03-04) that they are biased towards that I should keep an eye out for? A while back I saw a Kona edition on ebay that was in really nice shape, had the roof rack and everything! Really wish I could have bought that but I didn't have the funds then :(
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshh09 View Post
The Zetec occasionally has issues but nothing major it seems, not nearly enough to look for the lower-powered Duratec.
???
SPI 100hp
Zetec 130hp
Duratec 150 hp
SVT 170hp

Try to get an 03-04, the 00-02's were the more problematic in general.

Most common issues in any 00-04 would be the leaky plastic thermostat housing, rear hatch wiring pinching and breaking.
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