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Hey, first post and new to forums so here it goes. I bought a 2003 Focus ZX3 and really love it . Halfway going home the check engine light came on and instinctly took it to the nearest auto parts store they diagnosed it & it read as an issue with that catalytic converter, either a $300 part or a $20 fluid they reccomended. There is also a rattling noise that may possibly be my exhaust but after looking at it, it didn't appear loose. But more recently on top of this the check gas cap light came on.

So guys, any idea on what may be wrong before I start tossing money at mechanics?

Thanks.
 

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TARBO-PANDA
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Well, catalytic convert isn't a big deal -- unless you have emissions where you live. There are some easy ways around it if not...don't buy some fluid they are talking about unless perhaps it was fuel injector cleaner or something?

You might be hearing an exhaust leak if you think it's your exhaust. Might be a hole somewhere or a loose bolt. Might be a good idea to find a way to get under your car and check things out.

Did you check the gas cap? haha

If you don't know much about cars, maybe you have a friend (that does) who can help look over the car with you to see what else might need some work.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah I do have emissions and I'll look out for a loose bolt or something. I can't find an exact size gas cap for my car thoug . Walmart misadvised me and the one I got was wayyy too big. And where is a cheap place to get a locking cap? Walmart had the one that was too big for $18
 

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TARBO-PANDA
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Emissions will keep you from removing your cat completley -- which is the quick and dirty fix.

As for the gas cap -- I'd go ebay. You can find actual motorcraft (ford branded) ones as well as some others that should work.

Edit: There appear to be a few on amazon too -- so if you have prime shipping...
Guarenteed fit: LINK
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, awesome I'll get on that soon! Thank you so much for the information. I'll update tomorrow once it gets checked out! Thanks again
 

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Gas cap? Here is the locking one I bought;
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000C5CEKC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Been using the new locking gas cap for 6 months, no problems.

I will give you my OEM one if you want it; trade you for a McD Ice Tea.

In the area of Falcon Field. No cops. No guns. No witnesses. Come alone. Bring the ransom, -Ice Tea.

Your DTC's are likely why the car was sold to you. The car couldn't pass emissions. You got it cheap right? What engine, Zetec or Duratec?
 

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Hey, first post and new to forums so here it goes. I bought a 2003 Focus ZX3 and really love it . Halfway going home the check engine light came on and instinctly took it to the nearest auto parts store they diagnosed it & it read as an issue with that catalytic converter, either a $300 part or a $20 fluid they reccomended. There is also a rattling noise that may possibly be my exhaust but after looking at it, it didn't appear loose. But more recently on top of this the check gas cap light came on.

So guys, any idea on what may be wrong before I start tossing money at mechanics?

Thanks.
Are you saying you bought the car and did not get it home before throwing a CEL code?
Who did you buy the car from a dealer or a private party? Either way the seller knew there were issues and simply cleared the codes before you picked up the car.
I'd have turned around and gone back because someone has some explaining to do.
The gas cap issue is likely not the gas cap but rather some other leak in the EVAP system.
What were the codes?
 

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^^^ We always ask for EXACT codes, because they are a hint to the actual problem.

There isn't a "code" that says you need a CAT for sure for example, but there are a set of ones that point toward that as one possible problem.
 

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A guy several houses down from me just bought a 1998 Volvo S70 for $300. The car is in good shape and should have sold for 2K or more. Poor guy thought he stole it at that price. He's not a car guy. Why so cheap? DTC's and monitors that will not clear and it will not pass emissions testing. -Still a good price tho, dependent on costs to get it fixed.

Off Topic? Who me?

I'm guessing OP has P0420 (Cat Inefficient) and low tire pressure in the front right tire... and no floor mats in the back either.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Are you saying you bought the car and did not get it home before throwing a CEL code?
Who did you buy the car from a dealer or a private party? Either way the seller knew there were issues and simply cleared the codes before you picked up the car.
I'd have turned around and gone back because someone has some explaining to do.
The gas cap issue is likely not the gas cap but rather some other leak in the EVAP system.
What were the codes?
I called him immediately after the light went off and he said come back on my next off day and he'd have his mechanic (who's two buildings down from where he is) and he'd pay for anything needing to be done. This is after I told him the exhaust sounded loose. Looking at craigslist around Arizona I got a deal. Paid $1900 when they averaged well over that. I really hope I wasn't screwed over but the car I had before (88 mercury) engine was done for after being looked at. I have a family friend mechanic looking at the focus as we speak and hopefully its nothing too drastic.
 

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Will they fix it for free or can you get all ur money back? They probably knew about the problem prior to sale... but only 99.3% of the time... these weird and sudden "new' car problems on first day happen less than 1% of the time.

Numbers above are just me guessing of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Will they fix it for free or can you get all ur money back? They probably knew about the problem prior to sale... but only 99.3% of the time... these weird and sudden things happen.
He offered to pay for the repair of the exhaust. But he didn't diagnose it a family mechanic did. If he offers to pay for it I know where the mechanic is and that would save me money, but there's always the possibility that mechanic he has does other things to i . Ya never know nowadays, O'Reillys diagnosed it as that but I unhooked my battery a few times seeing if it remained on and I guess a repair is needed! Gas cap coming in tomorrow on lighter news!
 

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You quoted me just before I edited that post that I did while on my phone; same post, but now has different wording.

Yes, good to be connected with your and "his" mechanic, but your in a slippery slope that can hurt you -and- potentially help you.

Outside & looking in; your getting screwed. Protect your investment and bail out if you can -or- if you think you should.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I got it for a decent price and he offered going half on parts, just has 179k miles. But with maintenance any car can go a fair distance
 

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"Half on Parts" Oh! Wait! Your the guy I just sold the ZX3 to... Never-mind what I said here before this. That car is rock solid. Wheel getter' fixed sorta-kinda n goodnuff fer most. Money back Gair-Rontee plus or minus some cash right? Yep.

-jk
 

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Bummer dude, those things start to happen though once you get up towards 200k.
 

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Update: Computer went out now I'll have to shovel out another $650:/ issues on issues man
Many stories about computers (PCM) going out, needing replacement, got replaced... but very few and rare stories where the PCM was actually bad.
 
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