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Old 08-30-2019, 04:34 PM   #1
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I just bought a $750 Focus

Well, now...
Last winter, after falling into one too many months of financial troubles (no thanks to working for a company run by 40-year old children), the bank sent a man with a tow truck to take away my lovely Mk. 7 VW GTI. I wound up back in my old '02 Outback, which had (fortunately) stayed in the family. Then I made the engine go "boom" very dramatically (it was such a slow car, the only way to make it go anywhere was to rev the snot out of it, which it didn't like very much). Anyway, I'm still in a "meh" financial position and my credit is screwed thanks to the repo. As much as I love riding bicycles, the 20-mile each way commute to work during a heat wave was wearing on me, so here I am with a Focus! I found a 2004 ZX3 with 199k miles and three pedals on the floor for $750. Its a remarkably well sorted car! The gearbox and clutch feel pretty good, steering is bang on, motor (2.3l) is strong and smooth, the exterior isn't in the best of shape but its not horrendous. Its a great fun little car... for $750!

Its gonna need tires, ASAP. Driving in the rain the other night, I was just so sure they were gonna give up and I was gonna understeer right into a tree. The radiator fan won't turn on... relays look good visually but haven't tested them. I need to check the cables and relay in the fan itself once I get a jack to get under the car (this will be my first real chance to get all wrenchy on a car), but the high speed fan works fine, so leaving the AC on keeps the radiator nice and cool. I yanked the rear seats today, as I'm more interested in cargo space than cramming humans in those dinky things. I'd like to do new plugs and motor wires (do those wires come as a kit somewhere?). The housing on the current wires is pretty nasty looking. Also, what is this sway bar thingy called (see attached image, its right beneath the radiator) and is it replaceable? Its rusted to crap and a light touch made pieces fall off in my hand.

I'm not planning on beating on the car until I can afford a newer daily and turn this into the autocross rat I've always wanted, but is there anything else y'all would suggest looking out for or servicing preventatively, given the mileage and that I sometimes get a little rev-happy in my driving style? Down the road, I'm looking at doing brakes (best performance mod) and suspension (not to slam it, just to make it a bit more taught cornering) and come new clutch time, I'll be looking into a limited slip diff if that's even a doable thing on these cars. But brakes first... is there any reasonably affordable way to convert the rears to discs? The only kit I've found is like $1200 but a "big brake" kit seems silly when the rears are drums (or maybe I'm just a brake snob).

Anyway, my name is Michelle and I'm Boston's newest 5mt Focus ZX3 owner! Its such a fun little car and I look forward to seeing where it takes me!

Last edited by mfratt; 08-30-2019 at 04:56 PM.
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