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Old 01-06-2013, 04:11 PM   #1
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Location: La Prairie, Quebec,Canada, Canada
What I Drive: 2003 Black ZX3

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what to look out for

Hello there i am new to this forum and to focuses, im in the process of buying a focus ive been looking around and i like the zx3 model. what should i be looking out for ? what are the typical problems? im loooking at car made b/w 2000-2004. it wiil probably be a manual . all help is appreciated

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:07 PM   #2
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Location: the armpit of TN, Memphis, TN
What I Drive: 05 ZXW; 02 Windstar; 13 C-Max SEL

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Stay away from 00-01 IMO. Those early years were more problematic. 03-04, you might be able to find a PZEV engine, which was the partial zero emissions vehicle Ford sold to people who wanted to keep the permafrost from melting. Well instead of being a weak run down vehicle, it was a 2.3L 150 hp engine as compared to the 2.0L 135 hp in the non-PZEV vehicles. Those early Duratecs are a little peppier to drive, the engine is also lighter because it's all aluminum.

02.5+ Focis have a different manual transmission shifter setup than the earlier ones.

All 00-04 Focis are suspect for having a factory installed ignition lock cylinder that is faulty. If you have a car with the faulty lock cylinder, you are strongly advised to see about changing that ASAP. You'll want to purchase a new lock cylinder from your local Ford dealer, then have it keyed to your existing key at a locksmith, then installation is a breeze as long as your old lock cylinder still turns.

To identify the bad lock cylinder, look at the key hole inside the "coin" which is the metal that surrounds the key hole. If the key hole is in the center of the coin, then you're ok, that's the good lock cylinder. If the key hole is off center of the coin- then you must replace it ASAP. If you wait until the lock cylinder locks up, the old lock cylinder will have to be drilled out and you risk damaging the steering column. As long as the key still turns- installation of a new lock cylinder is a 5 minute job.

That's all I can think of right now.
Be eclectic.
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Originally Posted by the user formerly known as ZX3_Chick View Post
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:14 PM   #3
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im having exactly the same problem mentioned in my saturn, i had to drill it out thanks for the info ill be making sure to check that
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:18 PM   #4
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what whynotthinkwhynot is pretty true for the 01 HOWEVER. my 01 was very problematic due to lack of maintenance before I bought it. but once I did my own magic to it the car was very dependable. basically when you shop for a old focus make sure you pop the hood first and see the engine is NOT A SPLIT PORT INJECTION motor. you will get valve seat drop no matter what. it was by far the worst thing ford has ever done and multiple people here wish they had never bought it.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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What I Drive: '00 Focus wagon, 96 Cutlass Supreme

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The newer ones are better yes. I have a 2000 wagon I got for 500 bucks. Rear bushings and shocks were shot and I had a horrible miss from a unplugged injector someone for got to fix when they rebuilt the Split port Injection engine. I fixed the rear shock issues and the miss and Im still fixing small stuff (alternator, 02 sensors, tires) on it but I think its a pretty good car for what it is. Its a solid, well made sedan. Fuel mileage kinda sucks for what it is but if I drive it easily I can get 23-25 in town. But yeah it you have the off-center IGN switch replace it ASAP I had to drill mine out and it costed me a steering column. Also watch for rust on the rear rockers, they are really bad about that (especially wagon models) but once they are in good shape they run great and will last for ever if you do basic maintenance on them (oil changes, timing belts, ect) Also they are known for eating rear tires as well. They didn't put on adjustable camber and toe arms on the cars at the factory and if its miss aligned it will eat tires like mad.
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