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I see a 2002 for sale but I see them all the time in my area, mostly up to model year 2005. Is this a cheap reliable commuter? I'm looking for as close to a corolla as possible without the ricetax. slwo and boring is fine for me
 

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I have a 2000 with the dohc zetec. Runs great. I think the sohc had heat issues and could blow up. But not 100% on that. Most of them are dohc though I believe

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They are great little cars. Like any used car, it all depends how it has been maintained over the years.
They are easy to work on and parts are still readily available.
I drive an 06 with Duratec engine

The 02 will have either a Zetec or an SPI engine
 

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Check the engine and you should be ok.

05-07 are duratec (04 ST are as well) which use a timing chain and not a timing belt.

00-04 are either SPI (unreliable and drop valves into the engine, avoid unless it's documented to have the new head installed), Ztec (black valve cover, fairly reliable, make sure timing belt was serviced roughly at 80,000, 160,000, etc miles, do water pump while you're in there and tensioners)
There's also SVT motors which are somewhat uncommon and usually demand a premium due to the limited run of SVT cars.

Ztec and duratec are non-interference, which means should timing go weird, it won't break anything. Not sure if the SPI is, but svt is interference with a timing belt which can be problematic since a bad belt = at least a top end rebuild

The passenger side engine mount is probably bad. eBay ones might work for a while and they're cheap. Ford ones supposedly are good for 50,000+ miles, but they all fail. My 1aauto one is starting to fail at around 15,000 miles but it has a lifetime warranty

Other than that, they seem like fairly solid cars. Mine has 176,000 miles on it (bought it at 155,000 in March of this year) and besides some basic maintenance it's not needed anything crazy



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Main thing is to look for a Zetec or D-tec......For sure pass on the spi.
 

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Check the engine and you should be ok.

05-07 are duratec (04 ST are as well) which use a timing chain and not a timing belt.

00-04 are either SPI (unreliable and drop valves into the engine, avoid unless it's documented to have the new head installed), Ztec (black valve cover, fairly reliable, make sure timing belt was serviced roughly at 80,000, 160,000, etc miles, do water pump while you're in there and tensioners)
There's also SVT motors which are somewhat uncommon and usually demand a premium due to the limited run of SVT cars.
2003 + up to some year had the 2.3L Duratec also... but if a 2002 then it is SPI or Zetec.

Zetec can have belt replaced every 100-125k miles. If it brakes all it will do is leave you on the side of the road needing a tow and new belt and pullies.
 

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Reliability

Bigmansmallcar,

I have owned two Foci with the 2.0L Zetec DOHC and the engine is very reliable. My son owned a 2003 with the SPI engine and it dropped a valve and ate itself. Stay very far away from the SOHC 2.0L engine. Nothing other than normal maintenance and these cars will run and run. Keep up with oil and transmission fluid and change the coolant every four years and they will turn over 200,000 and probably closer to 300,000. Good luck with your search for a commuter.

v/r,

2003FordFocusZX3
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thank you all for the helpful advice, i just saw a vid about the problem with the spi engines. avoid at all costs and get duratec over zetec if possible
 

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Any hatch (zx3 zx5 or wagon) inspect the hatch wiring. At this age it will probably be cracked. Easy fix but can cause problems.

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My early 2000 ZTS Focus with the Zetec engine has been OK at 125 K miles as far as the engine is concerned. Someone mentioned the passenger side motor mount giving way. That happened on mine, and I had a nasty exhaust noise especially in the winter when the mount collapsed more, until I got it fixed. The fuel pump motor back at the tank gave out, stranding me once. Lasted about 18 years until that happened, though. If you buy one of these, replacing the tank unit might be a good idea.
 

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The 05 -07 are a much better car than the 00-04. That being said, I like the looks of the 00-04 better. Keep in mind that these cars are all getting old. Suspension, cooling hoses, fuel filter, spark plugs, air filter., serpentine belt, etc..will need to be addressed on a high mileage car.
 

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Timing belt on my 2000 zx3 went at 60k miles.

The seat adjustment levers are crap and will break eventually if you have anyone going into the back seats. They both broke a couple years after buying it. I now store a pair of pliers in the car to adjust the seats.

It vibrates, likely bad engine mount.

PCV hose is prone to collapse which will cause stalling and bust the valve cover gasket, and whatever other goodness. Cheap to fix. Mine went at less than 100k mi.

Thermostat housing needed replacement at around 80k mi.

Cup holders suck, it's not a good car to drink in.

Door latch/hood latch has been problematic.

That's about it, there were some other issues such as the fuel pump and idle air control valve but I believe they failed from the car mostly sitting for 10 years. It does run fine after that type of abuse though.

Mine currently has 130k on the odo, it's been pretty reliable so far.
 

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If you are looking for cheap, reliable and close to a Corolla, hold out for a 08-11. Great boring quiet commuter. Lots of old people bought them, so there are great specimens out there and they're not expensive.

I see a 2002 for sale but I see them all the time in my area, mostly up to model year 2005. Is this a cheap reliable commuter? I'm looking for as close to a corolla as possible without the ricetax. slwo and boring is fine for me
 

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I picked up an 05 for my daughter to use as she learned to drive. Decent visibility and gutless enough to keep her out of trouble.

Not sure of your location, but use caution if you are in the rust belt. The rockers on our 2005 are just about shot. Take a good look underneath, at the rockers and around the rear wheels. I'm not sure I could even rack the vehicle at this point but that doesn't matter because if it survives another year of teenage driving I'll consider it a success
 

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2005 Ford Focus

I bought my 05 Ford Focus SE ZX3 2.0L in Jan 2015 with 106k miles.
I still have it and use it as my daily driver for over 50 miles a day. It now has 173k and is running great.

I had to replace my engine mounts and clutch master cylinder. Those were the only required repairs. I also replace the struts/shocks but it wasn't required i just wanted to.

I love this car and think it will last at least to 200k if not 250k.
 

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I had a 2002 ZX5 with a Zetec and loved it. Toward the end I had a lot of underside rust issues - gas tank straps, rear brake lines & cylinders, body, etc, but I live in the US Northeast. I let it go @ 220K when it was ready for its 1st clutch replacement. Agree with statements regarding the passenger engine mount.
 

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Score another great thread for Focus Fanatics. My son got an '02 ZX3 with 140K as a go-to-work car. The five-speed manual box had been rebuilt and still has about a year's warranty left, and the belt was replaced about 20K ago, according to the seller. [he's lied about so much else, I wonder :) ] If that is true about the ZTEC not being an interference motor, THAT would be a huge dose of Peace of Mind. I've seen too many horror stories with Hondas and other interference nightmares.

So far the wonky things are the fuel gauge - not working at all. The headlights sometimes stop working - we're trying to run that down now. Two weeks into the damn thing we had to get the starter replaced. :( The clutch - ignition safety switch failed, as did the @*[email protected]# AutoZone replacement, so I rigged a jumper. Yes, it'll start in gear, but if ever it won't start....which might be any day now....at least he can use the starter motor to move the car off the road or out of an intersection.

So....I'v got mixed emotions about the car, but it's probably not fair to judge them all by this one. The previous owner fancied himself a real TUNER, and had put headers on the ZTEC and basically hacked up the electrical so much that a new harness might be the only way to salvation.

I'm thankful for this Forum, believe me. Thanks for all the great feedback!!!
 

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I'm very happy with my 2007 Wagon w/ 160k miles. Previously I had a 2002 ZTW. Ditto what others said regarding the passenger side motor mount, I had to replace it in both cars. It is a relatively easy procedure. Replaced the clutch in my 2002 at 120k, but I attribute that to my sons learning how to drive a stick in that car. No clutch problems so far in my 2007.
 
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