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I am shopping the 2012 Focus. Right now I am looking at a Titanium with a mid July production date. I have been paying a lot of attention to shifts, noise, and steering due to the known issues in pre-August builds. So far it seems OK (have driven it twice now).

However, something odd happened. During first test drive, at beginning of drive, we pulled it from its parking space and stepped out for just a moment to look at the engine compartment before going on the drive. Steering was cut hard to one side or the other, probably left, but not sure. Salesman and myself walking around the car with the hood up. AC is on. Belt (one that goes to the alternator) squeaked very distinctly a few times, then car died at idle. The car had about 32 miles on the odometer at this point. Outside temp was around 75 F, in other words not stressing the car. The car was low on gas, but still enough to read 40 miles to empty after the test drive was over, so we thought that was not the cause.

Has anybody else seen this happen? Any clue why a car with 32 miles on it would die at idle? Would you hesitate to buy a car that died at idle and was built before August?

So the dealer says they put it in service to check it out, and found no problem. I went back a second time myself and recreated the circumstance but could not get it to die during five timed minutes of idling with AC on and steering cut hard either way. The belt had stopped squeaking. They say they did not lube the belt. No one else had driven it since me (odo still at same mileage), and no gasoline had been added.

Overall, after reading this board, I feel like anyone buying a pre-August build is doing both Ford and the dealer a favor, so if I go forward it would be only for a screaming good deal.
 

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the 40mi to empty may not be reliable at all.
A variety of complaints over the issue have been raised, about the unreliability of the XX to empty status.
Some cars are great, some.. the car just runs out of gas before the device says it should.
The wheels don't matter.
Just one of those wierd things... Chalk it up to ghosts in the machine...

New cars have to settle in, break in for a lot of the variables, it just went off the map.
I would not worry about it much.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
... The wheels don't matter...
The reason I mentioned the wheel being cut was just in case the differing tension placed on the motor mount might affect the belt tension slightly, or something like that. I know it's a fringe concern, but I'm just barely old enough to have owned a couple of Fords in which the steering wheel position at park could affect the belt noise, presumably due to changed weighting on the motor mounts :)

But back to the main point about the fuel gauge:

That's interesting. But the odd thing is that we drove the car, between two drives, at least 12 miles, plus the quarter or half mile or so that it moved on the parking lot between my visits.

Would you expect a car that subsequently drove 12.5 miles to die at idle?

If the fuel gauge is the problem, it must be seriously off, because the needle was reading a tick above what Kramer would call "the slash."

Is it normal for the fuel needle (not the electronic readout) to be that far off in these?

... I really like the car, but they are seeming a bit green.
 

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Unless you enjoy picking up all the debris from the bottom of the fuel tank and pulling it into the filter, you should be filling up well before the "slash" which negates any problem with unexpectedly running out of gas. A good rule of thumb is at the 1/4 mark.

That aside, I'd be hesitant as all hell to buy a new car that died during the test drive. Bad omen?
 

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Has anybody else seen this happen? Any clue why a car with 32 miles on it would die at idle? Would you hesitate to buy a car that died at idle and was built before August?
Hi emdeeaitch,

Without knowing the specifics of that car, it's tough to guess why it stalled. I hope you haven't let that sway you from a Focus. Let me know if you decided to purchase one. [:)]

~Natasha
 

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just from exp working in the parts for our shop I'd say a locked up ac compressor. Not a big deal, replace the belt, condenser, compressor and the valve and its good as new
 

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I am siding with azdamay on this one, The problem as I see it is you and the dealer both have no idea what caused this issue. Do you really want to be on the road and have the same thing happen? I don't imagine your idea of a good time is being stuck on the side of the road waiting for the hook to come and get you.

Montana
 
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