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Old 02-19-2013, 11:50 PM   #1
bp944
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What I Drive: 2002 zx3 white, 292k miles

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Brakes are soft, e-brakes broken, and running lean

I traded my crappy old minivan for a 290k mile 2002 focus zx3. It was an upgrade but it needs a bit of work. I think its safe to assume that most of these problems will be caused by parts that need replacement. Its currently 3 degrees outside so I want to spend as little time working on this as possible. If you could tell me the possible sources for these problems, I can figure them out a lot quicker when I'm out there. The car does run and drive wonderfully and the transmission is surprisingly clean shifting.

1. The brake pedal nearly hits the floor when I stop
I'm assuming the brakes have air in them and need to be bled but I'm not sure. They sometimes do make a hissing sound when I depress the brake. Could the master cylinder be shot? If I bleed the system, should I also replace the lines?

2. The ABS light is on.
No clue what it is. The lights just on.

3. E-brake doesn't work.
It feels like its not connected. There just isn't any tension. If someone could give me a diagram of how it feed through the car, I could follow it. I can't seem to find a diagram though.

4. OBD II scan reads "system too lean P0171 Blank 1"
The car also has a slightly rough idle but its not bad. I'm guessing the MAF needs cleaning. Any other ideas? Bad O2 sensor?


4. Exhaust is loose
I haven't looked under but can the rear just be wired back up with some spare metal wire? I'm assuming its the same exhaust as the original so it probably has a clogged cat and the muffler hangs loose so it clangs when I go over bumps. What should I expect to pay for a cheap exhaust replacement? Cheaper the better but I figure opening the cat back up aught to help the power and mpg some more.

Sorry for the long list and I have used the search function but I already solved the issues I could find.


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Old 02-20-2013, 12:08 AM   #2
elsolo
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1.) check brake fluid reservoir, and definitely bleed the system at all four wheels. No special tools or replacement parts here, unless the bleeder screws are rusted in place and break off.

2.) Without troubleshooting, we can only guess at this point. Take a look at the sensors at each of the wheels when you are doing the brakes, if any wheel speed sensors have broken wires or disconnected plugs.

3.) It's just cable actuated. The handle pulls a cable, that pulls on cables that go to the rear wheels. There is adjustment, but seeing you are in MN with a high mileage car, the cables could have very well rusted out and snapped.

4.) I would look at the sparkplugs, if it really is running lean on a cyl or two you should see it on the plug tip. Fuel filters are a recommended maintenance item on these things, like $12 and pretty easy.

5.) Possibly as easy as the rubber hanger being broken. You'll have to look at it and see what the actual problem is. If I wanted a stock exhaust, junkyard time. They might not be any good in MN though, so a couple hundred at a muffler shop might be the answer.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:01 AM   #3
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1.) What are the chances that the bleeder screws will break? I'm guessing I should get some because they will probably break and if they don't, just replace them. I'm assuming that's something O'reilly's should have.

3.) I know the e-brake i cable driven but I'm not sure where the cable is located throughout the car. I know on my 944 its very hard to find and follow.

5.) How does the exhaust on a normal focus compare to the zx3 exhaust? I found a few focus's being parted out on craiglist but none of them seem to be a zx3.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:52 AM   #4
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1.) when a bleeder screw breaks off, you usually just replace the caliper. Not frequent problem, but in rust areas if the previous owner didn't put the rubber caps over the bleeder nipples.
3.) It starts at the E-brake handle, goes to the rear wheels. You can't miss it unless your car is missing it. You will see the cables along the rear control arm blades when doing the brakes.
5.) I think they are all the same, so long as the engine series is the same. Zetec fits Zetec, doesn't matter if 2 or 4 door.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:03 PM   #5
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I can't seem to pull off the top of the air filter box so I can change the air filter. I unscrewed all 4 nuts. Any ideas ?
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Old 02-22-2013, 02:10 AM   #6
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My guess is that the rear brakes are so worn out and that's why the e-brake is not working anymore cause there is nothing to grab. This could also explain why the pedal goes down so far, along with air in the lines. Do a brake job and bleed the brakes and then see where your at from there.
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