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Discussion Starter #1
New guy here, thought I'd say hi. I'm new to the Focus world, but definitely not new to modding cars and forums. I started out with motorcycles, then old junkers, then a jeep, now I'm on to a little hoopty called a Focus ZX3, lol.

This all started out a couple months ago when I was watching Xtreme Offroad one morning, the one where Ian was building a budget rally car out of an old ZX3. I had always liked these little cars, so I started checking out Craigslist, just to see what was out there. I saw an ad for a 2000 ZX3, with no pictures, not much of a description or anything so I shot the guy an email. He replied stating that it was a fixer upper, had been in an accident, both airbags had been deployed and the water pump was leaking. I almost walked away but asked him to send me a couple of pictures anyways. Here's what he sent:






So I think it's not too bad and set up a time to go check it out. First thing I notice is that there is absolutely zero damage to the front end (he stated he rear ended a car). I found out a little later that these things are known to deploying airbags easily - not sure if that's true or not, but seems legit.

Next thing I notice is that the water pump is not leaking at all - it's the thermostat housing. 5 minutes of research tells me that it's probably the most common problem with these cars. Again, no big deal.

So I take it on a quick test drive and discover a few things immediately. First - the engine runs silky smooth, as does the gear box and clutch. Second - the entire interior vibrated like a cheap massage chair, which tells me it's a motor mount. Again, no big deal. Lastly, this thing had been seriously neglected for a long period of time. The interior was dusty and grimy, the thing obviously had not been cleaned in several years. All of these issues tell me I could probably get a good deal. So I offered him $750 and he said yes without even hesitating, lol. Probably could have gotten it cheaper, ah well.

So I get it home and start ordering parts.

First was the thermostat housing. Took me about 45 minutes to replace and no more leak.

Next was a motor mount. 20 minutes later, no more vibration.

3 hours of cleaning the interior and it's starting to feel like a decent car instead of a junker.

Then I turn my attention to the airbags. After a bit of research I find a link on ebay that included everything necessary to replace the bags - both airbags, covers, control module, tensioner's and latches for only $165. Took me a little over an hour. Firing it up after installing everything was a little nerve racking but it started up without drama and haven't had an airbag light since.

At this point I had pretty much resurrected the little ZX3 and was able to drive it around. A couple other little issues flushed themselves out, like replacing the leaky valve cover gasket, replacing the thermostat housing after less than 1,000 miles, new pads and rotors up front and replacing the sway bar end links. Running pretty good at this point.

While I was replacing the valve cover gasket I noticed my timing belt was probably due for replacement so I did that too, lol:



So...here's how she sits now. Cleaned up the headlights, but other than that I just concentrated on getting her fixed up mechanically before anything cosmetic.


(sorry for the crappy interior pic, the other pic I had wont load for some reason).


At this stage, all I'm chasing now is the damn cooling fan issue. Only works with the AC on. I suspect it's the cylinder head temp sensor. The existing sensor measured in the 90's but nothing higher. According to the specs, the fans should come on at 105-ish and mine was only reading 95-97. I swapped it out with a cheapo sensor from Advance and it reads in the 70's. So I'm convinced it's an issue with poor cooling system design by Ford as well has incredibly low quality sensors. I think a Ford sensor is the appropriate fix.


Details:
2000 ZX3 Kona edition
122k miles
2.0l Zetec
Manual

Total Investment breakdown: (I get a kick out of low buck projects, hope you don't mind)
Purchase price - $750
Airbags - 165
Motor mount - 20 (cheapo, I know. We'll see how long it lasts, lol)
Timing belt - 100
Thermo Housing - 50
Coolant - 30
Rotors/pads - 125
Valve cover gasket - 50
Headlight resto - 25
Sway bar end links - 35
tags/title/registration - 135

Total investment - $1485-ish. Not bad at all, in my opinion!

Anyways - sorry for the long post. Just wanted to reach out and say thanks to this forum for educating me through this process.

[ffrocks]
 

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Very nice find! Love the color too!
 

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FUBARCUS
2003 ZX3 2016 FoST
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Love that color. Nice to see how easy it could be to fix something that people thought was junk. Your gain!
 

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Meh.
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Nice car. Love the Konas in that color. Too bad it doesn't have the roof rack but you can't ask too much for that price. Good work so far. [thumb]
 

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Taciturn. Your turn.
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Have you looked into the cooling fan resistor? They usually burn up and cause fan issues.

Those Kona floor mats are valuable, at least a few years ago they were.
 

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Nice find. Congrats and welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys. It's still a little rough around the edges but pretty nice for the money. The original plan was to flip for an easy buck but I think I'm going to commute with it for a while. Looks like I could get about $2500 for it, as is, no problem which is very tempting.


Have you looked into the cooling fan resistor? They usually burn up and cause fan issues.

Those Kona floor mats are valuable, at least a few years ago they were.
I've tested the resistor using a volt meter and it's fine. Seems to me that the issue is that the cylinder head temp sensor reads the temps wrong, telling the computer the engines only at 75 degrees, so the fans never kick on. At least that's what the dash reads when I put it in diagnostic mode.




Nice find for "dirt" cheap.
I see what you did there, lol...
 

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Awesome thread, thanks for sharing.
 

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Pull the main connector where it connects to the fans. Look at the plugs there. My old zx3 had burned up the contacts there causing the same issue you describe.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yah those look good too. I've traced everything back to the CHT. I should just go get a Ford sensor, but at $89 I'm not too motivated, lol
 

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Traced through the relays as well?

good resurrection job!
 

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It's just a Focus.
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Nice save, that little ZX3 was begging for some attention!
 

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It's always nice when you find a diamond in the rough.

Great pick! Kudos to still contacting the dude even without pics. For me, that's immediately a no go.
 

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It's always nice when you find a diamond in the rough.

Great pick! Kudos to still contacting the dude even without pics. For me, that's immediately a no go.
Same here! I don't even waste my time with folks who don't post pics. I figure they must not want to sell their car. lol
 

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Taciturn. Your turn.
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It's always nice when you find a diamond in the rough.

Great pick! Kudos to still contacting the dude even without pics. For me, that's immediately a no go.

Same here! I don't even waste my time with folks who don't post pics. I figure they must not want to sell their car. lol
Sometimes those are the proverbial "old lady" cars. Back in the olden days (that I wasn't a part of in my adulthood) you had to find a used car in the newspaper with a vague shorthand description and no pictures. (go back even further you had to call them landline-to-landline, and they might not be home, lol)

Years ago I found nice and cheap Mustang GT in the newspaper after looking in Autotrader and etc.... A buddy found a clean $1500 95 Taurus SHO 5-speed from a old person in the local ads, I was almost jealous.
 
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