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Old 03-20-2007, 01:34 AM   #1
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If all the TSBs are done are you in the clear?

Hello, im a new member looking at getting an svt focus. 03 zx3 eap red, audiophile, all the cool stuff. I drove it today and really liked it. I have read all the stuff about problems and such and it is my understanding that once the car is "sorted out" they are ok. Is that true? If you run an oasis and all the tsbs have been taked care of what else is likely to break? The svt i test drove had 37,xxx miles on it. I wonder if someone dumped it after the warranty exspired due to problems? Other than the oasis report how can you tell if its been taken care of?
I'm cross shopping this car with a '03 civic si. Any advice, tips, warnings, or opinions on how the two stack up are appreciated.
Thanks


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Old 03-20-2007, 02:44 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by frenchyotc View Post
Hello, im a new member looking at getting an svt focus. 03 zx3 eap red, audiophile, all the cool stuff. I drove it today and really liked it. I have read all the stuff about problems and such and it is my understanding that once the car is "sorted out" they are ok. Is that true? If you run an oasis and all the tsbs have been taked care of what else is likely to break? The svt i test drove had 37,xxx miles on it. I wonder if someone dumped it after the warranty exspired due to problems? Other than the oasis report how can you tell if its been taken care of?
I'm cross shopping this car with a '03 civic si. Any advice, tips, warnings, or opinions on how the two stack up are appreciated.
Thanks
I would look into that Warranty Deal, I thought I read somewhere that the '03s had a 5yr warranty. Somebody here will pipe up.

The only problems I feel the SVT have are the Hokey DSI setup. While most cars use pneumatic actuators, or at least an actuator close to the intake, ours uses a cable to a motor setup and a plastic "DSI" Clip. The clip can be replaced with a billet aluminum setup and pretty much fix half of the problem.
Or you could be like me and drop a s/c, which totally kills the need for the DSI

As for if its been taken care of, get a qualified independent shop to look at it for you. Tell them you want a pre-buy inspection.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:19 AM   #3
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I was in almost the same boat as you... I bought my SVT at ~36k miles and it had most of the TSBs already done. I'm at almost 55k miles now and aside from a few small things, nothing seems to have really gone wrong. The non-TSB problems I've had are a ripped clutch pedal cover, leaking clutch master cylinder (which prompted replacement of my driverside floor mat), broken ignition coil cover, faulty alternator wiring harness, t-stat stuck open, and I preemptively replaced my DSI clip (as an aside, I have no idea why it's called a clip; the actual clip is on the DSI cable).
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:28 AM   #4
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I was in almost the same boat as you... I bought my SVT at ~36k miles and it had most of the TSBs already done. I'm at almost 55k miles now and aside from a few small things, nothing seems to have really gone wrong. The non-TSB problems I've had are a ripped clutch pedal cover, leaking clutch master cylinder (which prompted replacement of my driverside floor mat), broken ignition coil cover, faulty alternator wiring harness, t-stat stuck open, and I preemptively replaced my DSI clip (as an aside, I have no idea why it's called a clip; the actual clip is on the DSI cable).
I searched this forum for a couple of hours last night and the reliability issues are scaring me. How much did the problems you have cost to repair? It is my understanding that the svt is kind of an oddball and has lots of unique parts that may be hard to come by? How much on average do you all spend on maintenance/repairs. I don't want to get a cool car like this and not be able to take care of it properly.
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:25 AM   #5
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Getting as new of a car as you can will certainly help.
As with most vehicles, it takes a couple model years to get the bugs worked out.
For the most part, the 04 owners have had the least amount of problems.

And, as with most car forums, you're only seeing a small sampling of the owners.
The vast majority of owners without any problems never show up.
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchyotc View Post
I searched this forum for a couple of hours last night and the reliability issues are scaring me. How much did the problems you have cost to repair? It is my understanding that the svt is kind of an oddball and has lots of unique parts that may be hard to come by? How much on average do you all spend on maintenance/repairs. I don't want to get a cool car like this and not be able to take care of it properly.
Thanks
Not to scare you further, but the SVT and the Si are niche cars, primarily driven by enthusiasts. There's no telling what has been done to either one of them to cause any potential problems. If you want to take care of a niche car, you have to be a little more involved in that niche community for help (joining here is a good first step). Thanks to all the people I've become friends with over the years in the Focus and Ford community, I've learned how to take care of my car properly (most of it myself), and where to get parts easily and at excellent prices.

I may be profiling on this one, but I don't think you'll find the Si community as tightly knit yet as willing to help as the SVTf community. After getting to know everyone locally and on FF and FJ, I can't imagine myself not getting an SVTf, since I know the cost of ownership will be far lower than anything else thanks to the great community support.

I'd have to break out the receipts to give you some numbers, but I've only spent money on parts, and that's been at 10% over dealer cost. The huge amount of information here has allowed me to do the repairs myself or have a friend help.
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:47 AM   #7
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Hah, 'Frenchyotc' I was wondering if I'd see you here, I'm the owner who posted on ephatch about our cars.

I should reiterate, just so my position on the car is clear. These reliability problems are hit or miss. Generally speaking, the cars are reasonably reliable. However, the SVT specifically is a car you should expect to cost you a lot of money, in maintenance, tires, fuel, insurance, and certainly repairs if it should come up. It probably will not end up being the kind of hands-off ownership experience Honda owners typically expect. What you get in trade is an extremely competent sport compact.

Just to give an example, I have about 1,600 miles fewer on my SVT than 'CaysE' has; I've only had to replace a $6 relay and a ~$10 fuel filter in terms of not-at-fault maintenance, aside from oil changes and a set of spark plugs. That's it. Aside from the rattling clutch, it's running like a top. Some people get so buried in maintenance in the first year they offload the cars.
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:26 PM   #8
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First of all, good luck with your purchase.

Of course, I am biased, but go with the SVT. You'll have a lot more fun with it in the long run. Very capable fun to drive machine that are - UNIQUE.

Civics are like elbows. Everybody has at least one. Myself, when I'm driving and I see another SVT, which is rare, I am craning my neck, moving through traffic to say "hello" and generally being an idiot. Which is pretty much the norm, but I digress...

As for the repair issues and the number of TSB notices. All cars have their quirks and annoying little problems. There are some on this forum that will tell you their repair bills are outrageous and others will tell you virtually no problems. Look closely at those who post with problems and determine which modifications they've done to the car. By exceeding the factory specs, that puts increased strain on the mechanicals and parts fail. That's a fact. I am confident that you will find the same is true with the Civic.

By do the Civic owners have a forum as cool as this one? Do they even have a forum?

As for repair costs. Here are my costs to date:

Broken Throttle Cable - Warranty repair
Transmission - Warranty repair (Grenaded 2nd gear. Dealer claimed that mine was only the 2nd one they'd ever seen fail)
Power steering pump & rack assembly - Warranty repair ( Prone to overheating, I did that at the track )
Clutch, flywheel, clutch slave, and brake master cylinder - $1600

Routine maintenance runs me about $550 (not including brake pads) per year because I use synthetic oil, change the brake fluid at least 3 times per year and flush the transmission twice per year.

That said, I am HARD on cars. This one has 48K miles on it and I would estimate that 10 -15K were spent at AX and track events.

For a bone stock car to withstand that kind of strain without more substantial repairs than listed above is pretty amazing.

The little SVT is pretty bullet proof.

Worth noting that the car is 4 years old and I still have the original rotors on the car. That's important because of all the braking I do for driving events.

I do hope you buy the SVT. I firmly believe that you would regret buying the Civic. Why? It's not unique, it's not a true sports coupe, and everyone has one!

Hope to hear good news from you.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:14 PM   #9
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If you have the vin handy, ill run it for you to see what all has been done as far as Ford is concerned. Especially the TSB's. Be sure to send me your email address so i can send the info. Ill even get you a build sheet for her.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:52 PM   #10
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I'm still confused why everyone thinks the insurance for an SVT is sooo much more expensive... I don't have a clean driving record and I'm not getting raped at all...
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