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Old 01-19-2014, 08:04 PM   #1
8Lugs
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Help Buying 1st focus

Hello all. I am thinking about buying my 1st focus and was wanting some feedback on the good and bad of these cars. The car is a black 2001 ZTS with 133900 miles, 16 valve Zetec, automatic, leather seats. The paint and interior are in great condition. $3100. Do I need to worry about the high miles on this car ? How much life can I expect out of this car. What do I need to look out for ? This will be my first tiny Ford. I need a gas sipper and hope this will do the job. I've always owned V8 crew cab Ford trucks, vans mustangs and thunderbirds.


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Old 01-19-2014, 10:02 PM   #2
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Welcome to FF!

ZTS comes with the Zetec, which is good - SPI for std. sedan you'd want to avoid.

One thing to keep in mind is the Timing belt, if there isn't a record of it's being replaced it's overdue & you'd want to get that done. It's a fairly involved job.

ZTS has sway bars front & rear std., another nice feature. SCORE on the nice seats!

Automatic is, well, an automatic. Check fluid condition & operation for sure! Lack of maint. & issues with solenoids/wiring are the most common problems (electronic trans).

There's a list of potential problems/items that need maint. on these, not a bad thing per se, knowledge base here is extensive by now so there are fewer surprises.

For example, fuel filters are often ignored so changing that if not new is a good idea. (underneath the car) Excessive tire wear is generally from alignment, too much "toe" in the rear being the usual culprit. Seepage from old head gaskets is common, when it leaks onto the thermostat housing it accelerates failure of that plastic part.

Point is that there is plenty of help & info. avail. for these, so you don't have to figure it all out on your own.

They're fun to drive, I've got a newer version of the ZTS and it's been great for me. Relatively minor mods./updates can make it even sportier if you are interested. I went with an SVT suspension kit (slightly lower/stiffer) and used SVT wheels (17" w/low profile tires) for the summer - big improvement in sporty feel for minimal $.

Cheers!
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:12 PM   #3
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Echoing what sailor said about ZETEC vs SPI. Definitely go for the ZETEC. Personally I would try to find one with a manual trans since it will probably get you better mileage and tends to be more reliable. Plus it is more fun too.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:19 PM   #4
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Before you make a decision it might be good to try to compare it with something like this, or this.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:34 PM   #5
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If I had the choice, I'd try to get a 05+ car with the Duratec engine. My second choice would be a Zetec car, which aren't bad. I'd avoid an SPI car like you'd get the clap if you sat in the driver's seat, but that's just my 2 cents.

I've owned Duratec, Zetec, and SPI cars. I would rank them D > Z >>>>>>>>>>> SPI.

The rear suspension can be expensive to keep top notch in my experience. OEM control arms, trailing arms, etc are fairly pricey and if the bushings are crap then your alignment is off and the car eats rear tires. At least this is true on the wagons, but I assume the others are similar.

The people here on the forums are a great resource when something goes wrong with your Focus.

I'd want to know when the timing belt was done last. The more service history/records the better. 130k would not bother me if the car was well maintained. Unless they've already been done, you probably need struts and shocks at 130k. Both are easy to replace on the Focus. Front struts are especially easy compared to many cars. Salvage yards are full of parts donors, which is a plus in my book.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:56 AM   #6
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i owned my 03 focus zts(auto trans) and drove it for 4 years an put over 40k miles on it and i loved it sold it with 160k miles on it and bought me another focus svt, nothing ever went really wrong. all i had replaced in that time was fuel pump fuel filter coil pack tune up shocks and struts tires and brakes and did my oil change every 3k miles. also motor mounts.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:15 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. I saw the car today and it seemed to have been neglected. It needed new tires and my scan gauge was reading ghost codes were present. I probably could have drove it around until the check engine light came back on and got the codes. The pictures were deceiving with dents and crows feet in the paint and the leather on the passenger seat was cut. The hood opener was broken and hanging under the dash. The engine had a pool of oil in the valley at the transmission and all down the back of it. Transmission fluid looked burned. Just asking for to much money ($3100) and he would not budge on the price.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:18 PM   #8
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3100 way to much, i sold my 03 zts 160k miles for 2200, and most go for around 2500ish and with all thats wrong with it i wouldnt you could easily find better for same price
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:38 PM   #9
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Trashed, and being sold by a dreamer.

Better to be had, at least now you have info. on which aren't worth a look.

Luck!
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Old 01-20-2014, 11:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Lugs View Post
Hello all. I am thinking about buying my 1st focus and was wanting some feedback on the good and bad of these cars. The car is a black 2001 ZTS with 133900 miles, 16 valve Zetec, automatic, leather seats. The paint and interior are in great condition. $3100. Do I need to worry about the high miles on this car ? How much life can I expect out of this car. What do I need to look out for ? This will be my first tiny Ford. I need a gas sipper and hope this will do the job. I've always owned V8 crew cab Ford trucks, vans mustangs and thunderbirds.
If you are coming from ford's newer trucks the focus will disappoint you on built quality, overall reliability and general refinement. Ford's trucks are built like tanks, I would consider buying a 2004-present f150 with 150k miles, but not a compact car, no way in hell.

These little focus's have widespread issues from electrical to chassis to transmission and poorly designed parts, whereas the f150's may have a few bugs thought.

I'd only get a 2005 or newer manual focus with under 80-90k from the original owner. Rather pay 4-6 grand for a car that has all its records then some pos that may need half its parts replaced.
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