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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Friends,

New to the Focus Forum, so hi! I'm in the market for a project car (something smaller and manual I can drive on weekends and wrench on, that isn't my daily) and I found a clean, very nice (I think) 2003 ZX3 SVT Focus for sale. I was curious, since you guys are the experts, what you think of the vehicle. I've read forums and I know one of the first questions I need to ask is about the timing belt (which is not mentioned in the listing), but other than that I'm looking for all the basic things one would when buying a used car!

Here's the link to the listing: 2003 Ford Focus 3dr Coupe SVT | eBay

I'm part of another vehicle forum and I always leave a photo, so I hope everyone here is okay if I post a picture of another Ford! Here's my daily driver 2017 F-150!

-Joey
310750
 

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2006 ZX5 2.0, 2004 ZX3 SVT EE. 2004 ZX3 SVT
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Fuel pump, passenger side engine mount, timing belt tensioner, vct solenoid, and many other parts are discontinued from ford, making these cars difficult to keep running. Check for impact marks on the header. One good whack and the front oxygen sensor gets pushed into the oil pan making replacement difficult. That being said, I have 2, and really enjoy driving them. If you are handy with a wrench and dont mind replacing the vacuum lines and the intake couplers and gaskets immediately, then you can probably make a go of it. If you are relying on a mechanic then it can get expensive quickly.
 

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Not sure if I'm an expert, but I can try to offer some advice 😅Welcome BTW!

Timing belt and the entire timing assembly (tensioner, idler, etc.) are critical like you've already mentioned. Unless they can prove with documentation when it was done and what was changed, I would assume it hasn't been done and do it yourself.

Looks like a nice car overall, but that price is VERY high (that looks like a $3-5k car). It has cheap aftermarket headlights and a non-SVT upper grill. On the positive side, it looks like Mondeo ST200 wheels and the interior looks to be in great shape. It is a non-EAP car though (no Recaros).

pbfoot makes good points on discontinued OEM parts, if you want to keep the car totally stock. There are plenty of aftermarket parts to make it work, but agree that if you aren't doing the work yourself, there are so many SVT-specific nuances that will make a mechanic expense.
 

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Ford Focus SE Sport 2003
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I’d go for a zetec 2.0 engine, not the duratec. Your post is a vin 5 so this would be a duratec. The zetec is awesome.

And yes, parts are starting to be a little challenging to find as I own a 2003.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you guys for the replies! I have a list of things to send to the dealer and definitely going to ask for the price down. The fact that parts aren't available also worries me a little bit, but I'm fairly handy with tools and my goal is to have something small and manual to drive and work on so....but it's hard to work without OEM parts....I shall keep the forum updated!
 

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I’d go for a zetec 2.0 engine, not the duratec. Your post is a vin 5 so this would be a duratec. The zetec is awesome.

And yes, parts are starting to be a little challenging to find as I own a 2003.
The car pictured is a SVT Zetec, and VIN 5 = SVT Zetec. VIN 3 = Zetec with the 8th position digit.

With that said, the Duratec motor is about better in every way than the Zetec. It's a shame the SVT didn't have the 2.3.
 

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The car pictured is a SVT Zetec, and VIN 5 = SVT Zetec. VIN 3 = Zetec with the 8th position digit.

With that said, the Duratec motor is about better in every way than the Zetec. It's a shame the SVT didn't have the 2.3.
What was the VIN of the Duratec then? Also VIN 5? I thought there was a Focus produced using the Durtatec.
 

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2006 ZX5 2.0, 2004 ZX3 SVT EE. 2004 ZX3 SVT
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I’d go for a zetec 2.0 engine, not the duratec. Your post is a vin 5 so this would be a duratec. The zetec is awesome.

And yes, parts are starting to be a little challenging to find as I own a 2003.
Only called a Duratec in markets other than the US. The SVT engine has a zetec block with a Cosworth designed head. Why it is considered a zetec here.
 

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What was the VIN of the Duratec then? Also VIN 5? I thought there was a Focus produced using the Durtatec.
pbfoot mentioned it, but some more info as it's not very straight forward when you look at the Focus around the world.

The Zetec was available in all US and Canada sedans and hatches from 2000-2004. All of them in the US were 2.0l engines, same with the earlier ones used in the Escort, Contour, Mystique, etc. In the rest of the world, the Zetec was also used and in smaller displacements (1.6, 1.8).

Where it gets confusing is the SVT. The SVT engine is a tuned 2.0 Zetec engine. In the rest of the world on the ST170... they called this engine the Duratec ST instead. It is the same exact engine as the SVT Zetec, and is a Zetec family engine. It shares nothing in common with the aluminum block and head Duratec Mazda engine we think of in the Focus.

In 2003 and 2004, the 2.3 Duratec engine became available in PZEV states in the hatchback trim. In 2005, the only engine available in the US was a Duratec. The ST from 2005 - 2007 got the 2.3, and the rest are 2.0. This is what we mean when US people say Duratec engine in relation to the Focus. It's the aluminum block and head motor developed with Mazda, intake on the front, chain driven cams, etc.

In Europe, there have been Duratec named engines since the mid-90s. The Mondeo (Contour) V6 was also called a Duratec. It gets really confusing when you look at models/engines outside the Focus, and take into account what Ford called the same engine in other parts of the world.

I believe on 2.0 Duratec VINs, 8th position is "N", and 2.3 is a "Z". Zetec is "3" and SVT Zetec is "5".
 

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Rear chassis components have been sprayed, you can see the over-spray on the factory undercoating.

Obviously, the valve cover & brake calipers have been painted over [yellow].

As someone mentioned, Ford Euro-market rims. Tires are Goodyear Eagle of some type and can't see or verify the tire size installed.

Looks like the driver's side front hub/wheel has a stud & lug-nut missing.

There's an "off-road" pipe installed.
Engine displayed & hood propped, there's a Ford sticker on the front right side... can't tell what was done or changed...
Possibly indicating timing-belt change.
Has "red" aftermarket upper intake silicone couplers. Plus it looks like "Davis Ignition" red spark plug wires.
Also, the airbox is missing the side snorkel that would be next to the windshield washer filler neck.

The owner's zip-jacket/case is not original, they would have had both Ford & the letters SVT stitched. The window sticker paper looks odd and I can't zoom in to verify. It would have the listing on the right in the options section for "cold-weather package", and "audiophile sound" as options.

Aftermarket headlamps installed and the taillights are tinted. Plus the upper center grille with clear lens is aftermarket.
Fog light housing is either yellow or tinted yellow. Windows are tinted.

Front bumper side markers are blacked-out or tinted.

Aftermarket subwoofer [shiny red] installed, can't tell if it's in the original trunk enclosure. Plus in the front door pic, there's an aftermarket speaker of some type [shiny aluminum-grey].
Looks like the rear hatch deck cover is not original. On my SVTF, it's a black/charcoal color not that grey color...

Driver seat has stains/dirt in the red fabric.

On the HVAC controls, specifically the center one, there's black specks all over it. Possibly some "touch-up" work on or around the dash. It's also on the radio's LCD display too.

Overall, the paint appears to match across all panels with the way these photos were taken. Looks good from a distance.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Rear chassis components have been sprayed, you can see the over-spray on the factory undercoating.

Obviously, the valve cover & brake calipers have been painted over [yellow].

As someone mentioned, Ford Euro-market rims. Tires are Goodyear Eagle of some type and can't see or verify the tire size installed.

Looks like the driver's side front hub/wheel has a stud & lug-nut missing.

There's an "off-road" pipe installed.
Engine displayed & hood propped, there's a Ford sticker on the front right side... can't tell what was done or changed...
Possibly indicating timing-belt change.
Has "red" aftermarket upper intake silicone couplers. Plus it looks like "Davis Ignition" red spark plug wires.
Also, the airbox is missing the side snorkel that would be next to the windshield washer filler neck.

The owner's zip-jacket/case is not original, they would have had both Ford & the letters SVT stitched. The window sticker paper looks odd and I can't zoom in to verify. It would have the listing on the right in the options section for "cold-weather package", and "audiophile sound" as options.

Aftermarket headlamps installed and the taillights are tinted. Plus the upper center grille with clear lens is aftermarket.
Fog light housing is either yellow or tinted yellow. Windows are tinted.

Front bumper side markers are blacked-out or tinted.

Aftermarket subwoofer [shiny red] installed, can't tell if it's in the original trunk enclosure. Plus in the front door pic, there's an aftermarket speaker of some type [shiny aluminum-grey].
Looks like the rear hatch deck cover is not original. On my SVTF, it's a black/charcoal color not that grey color...

Driver seat has stains/dirt in the red fabric.

On the HVAC controls, specifically the center one, there's black specks all over it. Possibly some "touch-up" work on or around the dash. It's also on the radio's LCD display too.

Overall, the paint appears to match across all panels with the way these photos were taken. Looks good from a distance.
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Well, damn, I noticed a very, very small portion of all those things you mentioned. So first and foremost, thank you for all the insight.

The vehicle is located in Lombard, IL and I'm out of Jacksonville, FL so this might've been a sight un-seen/fly out, pick up and drive back scenario. At the moment the dealer is NOT budging on the price so we'll see. I've wanted an SVT vehicle for a while but if it doesn't make financial sense I won't do it. A SVT ZX3 just went on sale in NY (NY cars, I know.... shudder) and it's listed as Orange although my eyes are seeing red and it's an EAP (with Recaros) but they're asking...wait for it...14K. But I'll definitely try to go through the photos looking for all the things you pointed out.

Thank you!

edit: some english and I figured I'd link the Orange SVT 2004 Ford Focus SVT
 

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Can I give my two cents on modified cars?

Some say that the Focus will become a collectible car one day. I have always treated my car as such without knowing that it may become a nice antique one day.

Then I went further reading about antiques and insurance, etc. Turned out that antiques have a better value when they are stock rather than modified. Of course, you can buy Ford Mustang OEM parts to customize your car and that is definitely OK.

To have visited several car shows over the years, I have always been more impressed at old cars kept as originals. I saw some owners replacing the old original AM radio and I understand it. I’ve done the same but I kept the original radio, just in case.

To conclude, if you want to buy that car as an antique for future years, you may be disappointed. If you want to buy it to drive a cool car, then buy the cool car (but I would not spend 10 grands on some pictures).

I spent lots of money on my 2003 Focus and I have always tried to put Ford original OEM parts in it. I am a little less concerned with brake pads and shock absorbers but after 18 years, I am still trying to go for original OEM parts although this is coming harder and harder.

Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Can I give my two cents on modified cars?

Some say that the Focus will become a collectible car one day. I have always treated my car as such without knowing that it may become a nice antique one day.

Then I went further reading about antiques and insurance, etc. Turned out that antiques have a better value when they are stock rather than modified. Of course, you can buy Ford Mustang OEM parts to customize your car and that is definitely OK.

To have visited several car shows over the years, I have always been more impressed at old cars kept as originals. I saw some owners replacing the old original AM radio and I understand it. I’ve done the same but I kept the original radio, just in case.

To conclude, if you want to buy that car as an antique for future years, you may be disappointed. If you want to buy it to drive a cool car, then buy the cool car (but I would not spend 10 grands on some pictures).

I spent lots of money on my 2003 Focus and I have always tried to put Ford original OEM parts in it. I am a little less concerned with brake pads and shock absorbers but after 18 years, I am still trying to go for original OEM parts although this is coming harder and harder.

Just my two cents.
I'm completely with you, my goal has been to get the most stock example I could. I didn't even realize some of the parts weren't Ford OEM until pointed out to me...which is why I asked this group in the first place! I saw the painted calipers and valve cover but I hadn't noticed anything else...I have no experience with these vehicles whatsoever besides research and lust lol--but nothing hands on.

Also, I feel it should be noted in no way was I paying ever going the asking price of $9,990 (which was reduced from 12,990) I offered $5.5k and was told no. That on top of all the info I gained from @SVT Enthusiast is putting me off this vehicle. I shall continue my search for a clean SVT Focus, as with most things I know one is out there somewhere.
 

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I have one for sale ;).

 

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The competition orange one looks good-

Driver's side rear wheel/rim has good bit of road-rash or a lot of curb-checks
Driver's side front wheel/rim has some paint scrapes
Hard to tell the condition of the driver's seat side-bolster
NO holes in the front bumper!
Can't tell the tread depth of the tires
Throttlebody cable & cruise-control cable bracket missing cover assembly
Might be an issue with the driver's foglamp housing [foggy]
There's a spot on the rear bumper that looks like damage from someone's license-plate bolt
Aftermarket floor mats with Ford emblems

Of course, wonder if the timing-belt has been completed or can be proven.
Again over-priced; maybe they might be "motivated" to sell though...

 

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The competition orange one looks good-

Driver's side rear wheel/rim has good bit of road-rash or a lot of curb-checks
Driver's side front wheel/rim has some paint scrapes
Hard to tell the condition of the driver's seat side-bolster
NO holes in the front bumper!
Can't tell the tread depth of the tires
Throttlebody cable & cruise-control cable bracket missing cover assembly
Might be an issue with the driver's foglamp housing [foggy]
There's a spot on the rear bumper that looks like damage from someone's license-plate bolt
Aftermarket floor mats with Ford emblems

Of course, wonder if the timing-belt has been completed or can be proven.
Again over-priced; maybe they might be "motivated" to sell though...

This one looks fantastic. Better than mine. My bumpers are not so great, they would need a paint job, maybe even replace the front especially that a child ran his bicycle on it (and his family jewels hit the bar of his bicycle very hard…).

Very low mileage too but way too pricey. As I mentioned, it can look awesome but original parts are now hard to find. I still have the original carpets though…
 

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The competition orange one looks good-

Driver's side rear wheel/rim has good bit of road-rash or a lot of curb-checks
Driver's side front wheel/rim has some paint scrapes
Hard to tell the condition of the driver's seat side-bolster
NO holes in the front bumper!
Can't tell the tread depth of the tires
Throttlebody cable & cruise-control cable bracket missing cover assembly
Might be an issue with the driver's foglamp housing [foggy]
There's a spot on the rear bumper that looks like damage from someone's license-plate bolt
Aftermarket floor mats with Ford emblems

Of course, wonder if the timing-belt has been completed or can be proven.
Again over-priced; maybe they might be "motivated" to sell though...

On second thought, I’ll add another two cents (that’ll be four).

I find very difficult to believe that this car is on the original paint. Doesn’t say in the description. Mine is a 2003 with 64,000 miles with 90% of the paint still original but it was extremely challenging to keep the paint perfect. A little rock here, a scuff there, switching tires, making scuffs on the mags, a kid that makes a scratch on it with his bicycle, etc. And these cars were very very prone to rust. Even with low mileage, I had to do oil treatments even if my car only saw a little bit of bad weather (I am in Canada after all). And for 13 years, it was parked outside with a cover on it as most as I could. I only have a full heated/cooled garage since 2016.

Those rockers were very hard to keep in perfect condition, same thing for the paint on the bottom of doors. Mine has several touch ups and I had go get a few things fixed (like stupid mud guards that were screwed on the metal at the dealer when I bought it. Even tonight I am fixing a very small dent at the very bottom of one rockers, probably due to the car being on a lift recently. I am using this waterborne paint. It is a constant combat as soon as you put it in the street.

If I was interested by that car, I would look at it with a magnifying glass. My car is far from perfect but I was able to keep rust free. I could definitely use some new paint, especially on bumpers. At 14K, I’d have to be perfect. Period.

It may look new, but it isn’t.
 
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