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Discussion Starter #1
Hi FFers-

Well my old trusty daily driver 1987 Thunderbird Turbo has broken one time too many. I guess it's time to get in the new millenium, finally. ;) I am a Ford guy and formerly a Ford dealer tech so I know the Focus' pretty well, but when I was at Ford they had a lot of recalls and small issues in 2000-2001.

I am looking for a new daily driver, something inexpensive and good on gas. A Focus ZX3 seems to fit the bill nicely. It would have to be a 5-speed manual as well, and I think a SVT is out of my price range.

What I am asking for is some advice on what the differences between years were, what are the common problems to look for when I'm out there buying, and just some general knowledge that the forum can hopefully bring.

I am torn between the tough-as-nails SPI engine that I know very well from the Escort days, and the better performing Zetec 2.0L engines. The Zetec is nice but seems more fragile and I definitely like the fact that the SPI is a non-interference engine. The new 2.3L is a great powerplant, but I will probably not be getting one that new. It's right on the fringe of my price range.

Anyway, thanks in advance for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Another thing, although this is going to be a daily driver for now, I think it would be a fun car to auto-x occasionally. In that case, should I find a 4 wheel disc model (and how rare are they?), or it it pretty inexpensive to convert a drum to disc. Except for the SVT, are there any major handling differences between the ZX3 models and years.

Thanks again
 

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I guess I'll chime in. I really like my 2003 as well. I think Ford finally worked out most of the bugs from 2000-2001 and made a pretty solid car by the time I bought mine. I haven't had any issues what so ever with my vehicle yet. I also don't recall any recalls for the 2003 model year.

I would suggest picking up a car with the 2.0L Zetec. The SPI may be bullet proof but the Zetec is a pretty sturdy engine in it's own right. The support for the Zetec is also fenominal. The aftermarket still loves the Zetec and hardly touches the SPI.

To address the full disk brake question. I don't think the Focus ever had all around disk brakes except for the SVT Focus. There are kits available from Ford Racing to do a full conversion to disk brakes though.

Something to consider about buying an SVT Focus. Ford no longer makes the SVT Focus. About any SVT Focus you will by buying will be used. If you keep your eyes peeled you could probably find a pretty good deal on a used one. A guy I work with just bought a 2003 SVT Focus for $12,500. That's what I spent on my Focus brand new in 2003.
 
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