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Old 03-06-2013, 06:19 AM   #1
Tacbob
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Crazy to buy SE w/ SPI?

After doing my research on the Focus, learning about the SPI vs Zetec, we thought we found the perfect car until I popped the hood and saw it had the SPI motor.
It's an 03 SE w/ 125k miles and two previous conciencious owners. Excellent condition inside and out. I think it would be a "new car" w/ fresh tires and shocks. Would have paid the $3500 for it but this motor freaks me out.
The current owner has owned the car for ~5 years and bought it from his bro in law who bought it new so I'm convinced it was maintained well. I don't know about the previous owner but this guy's done nothing to the car (timing belt, therm housing, mtr mounts). The car runs and drives nice but obviously needs shocks.
Am I nuts to even consider buying this car?


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Old 03-06-2013, 06:27 AM   #2
sleepyboy
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Welcome to the forum


And to answer your question yes and especially for 3500 bucks. Now for 2000 bucks or less it may be worth it. Personally I wouldn't pay more than 3000 bucks for any 00-04 focus and if I do pay 3000 it better be in the best shape that it could possibly be in. For the simple fact that it has a SPI in it I'd knock off 1000-1500 just for that. Personally I wouldn't even touch it let alone go look at it. Though it sucks that they were available in the SE trim level cause you never know what motor will be in it. The ZX3, ZX5, and ZTS all had the zetec which is a much more reliable and desirable motor. Not saying the the SPI isn't reliable but the issue with the valve seat dropping makes it much more less desirable to have. We tend to recommend people to stay away from those. Though there are owners who are happily still driving theirs with no problems. In the end it's up to you. Though I'm sure majority of the replies you will get will say stay away from it.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:27 AM   #3
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at 125k its a ticking time bomb. the valve seats seem to drop no matter how well its maintained. if you do buy it and keep the SPI swap the head with one that has new seats.

i dont know what the car market is like in your area but $3500 for a 03 w/ a SPI sounds way too much. i paid 3k for my 04 ZX5 thats pw,pl,sunroof,heated seats,abs, tc...ect back in 07 w/ 131k miles.

i would take that 3500. and start subtracting the cost of replacing the head and doing all the maintenance work. personally i wouldn't pay over 2k for it if it came saftied and emissions tested. but then again that could be normal price range in your area.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:36 AM   #4
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With 3.5K-4K buy a 02-03-04 zx3-zx5 or a zts sedan with zetec. The zetec has 23 hp and 21 torque more than the SPI and is stronger.

The only positive point with the SPI engine is the fuel economy. I had one and I'm glad it worked well for me. My friend has it now and it still roling strong at 110 000miles. But it's a very fragile engine.

I paid $5300 for my 05 zx5 SES with the 2.0L Duratec engine last year, fully loaded and only 31k miles.

I think you can find way better ;) good luck with your purchase.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:45 AM   #5
Tacbob
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Thanks... I'm going to move on then. Going to go look at an 03 ZX2 that should have the Zetec in it... but they're asking $4300 (leather, new tires, 100k miles). I think the high cost of fuel and possibly tax refund check season is driving the cost up on these little cars.
Thanks for the feedback.
Guess I should ask what to look for in the ZX2?
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacbob View Post
Thanks... I'm going to move on then. Going to go look at an 03 ZX2 that should have the Zetec in it... but they're asking $4300 (leather, new tires, 100k miles). I think the high cost of fuel and possibly tax refund check season is driving the cost up on these little cars.
Thanks for the feedback.
Guess I should ask what to look for in the ZX2?
Well zx2 would be escort, which I'm sure some on here are familiar with but I am not. Glad you have moved past the SPI, wise man

If you are in the position where you still have a car that works, then take your time searching out a replacement. You are probably right about the price hike but keep searching and if you find something you like, cash is always a great negotiating device
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