Originally Posted by William J Toensing
2001 Focus ZX3 5 speed manual, Zetech engine, bought new in Sept 2001. It now has 144,000 miles. Overall, this has been the most reliable car I have ever owned I have found a few poorly designed parts. 1) ignition switch: when it goes bad, call a mobile lock smith to fix it for a cost of around $150 or have it towed to your friendly Ford dealer who will charge you from $500 to $800 for the same job which they likely sub out to the same local locksmith who comes to fix your lock. The local Ford dealer's parts department said Ford has made an upgrade to this switch so I bought it in preperation for the next time it goes out. So far it hasn't.
2) The front link rods from the sway bar to the suspension. This is an easy DIY job. Just take the front wheel off to replace. The OEM Ford is a piece of junk. It is now making noises so this time I ordered some aftermarket ones from RockAuto. The brand is Raysbestes & although probably made in China, they appear to be more substantially built than the OEM Ford part. I don't throw old parts away so I was able to compare it.
3) The cheap plastic thermostat box which holds the thermostat & bolts to the head. If you see antifreeze seeping from that area the likely cause is the ridge that holds the rubber gasket in place. That gasket looks like a rubber band & it forms the seal between the thermostat & the head, until the ridge starts desintegrating.
4)Brake pads. The OEM Ford pads wore out at 60,000 miles & left brake dust over the front wheels. Replaced with Raysbestis pads & 80,000 miles hardly any wear noted on the pads & no more dust. However, I did have to replace the rotors as they had worn beyong acceptable limits.
It has been my experience with every car I have ever owned that certain parts start wearing out due to age and/or use. That is why a form such as this is so useful. With 144,000 miles on the car, I wonder what is coming next? Sofar, I have had no trouble with the starter, altrunator, airconditioner, or clutch, items that usually start failing at 100,000 miles.
Awesome that our problems is pretty much similar, ignition lock started to get stuck at around 80k, thermostat plastic housing was replaced at around 40k, and right side tie rod at around 70k then both at 120k. OEM ford pads, rotors, and rear drum shoes lasted to 100k, still had the life left. Since I needed to replace the transmission, I went ahead to replace clutch disc only, surprisingly it had lot of life left but I went with ACT street disc only for $75 bucks.
AC still blows cold, alternator and starter haven't showed any problems yet.
My best guess is 2001 and 2002 have same share of problems.