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SO, long story short, I inherited a 2001 Ford Focus ZX3 from my aunt who no longer lives in the states. The car is still awaiting registration, so I could not take it anywhere to get a checkup.In my excitement of having my own car, and it being a focus, I have driven it around my neighborhood several times. Through this I see that the car is far from perfect.

So my aunt actually bought this car secondhand form some people who tried fixing it up themselves. Not sure about the details, but the wheel alignment is off, the car is as loud as can be, and when it is started the whole car shakes vigorously and the surrounding area smells of gasoline.

I had a friend look at it, and he showed me somethings he thought might be the issues. Until I can personally visit a mechanic, I would love to indulge in the knowledge of the Ford experts on this forum.

Ok, so my friend pointed out several things, first the car is very low. The muffler under the car is only 1-2 inches from the ground:



We think this has been scraped or broken, thus leading to the loud nature of the car.

Second, this thing needs to pass a smog test if it's going to be registered, so I have some questions about the catalytic converter, and whether or not it is here or if it is even necessary.




Also, the air filter (the orange redish tube) seems to be sub-standard. Not sure if this should be replaced entirely or what.



Finally, my rear bumber has been scratched excesively (not sure why)
Anyways, itlooks liek someone attempted a design, but failed, and then sanded the whole area. I'm not sure what it is, but I would like to fix it. I need to know if I need an entirely new bumper, or if it could be repainted somehow.




To anyone that helps, THANK YOU so much. This is the first car that is actually mine, and I want to make sure it's running correctly. If you guys have any suggestions on what needs to be changed, it would be greatly appreciated.

-Cédric
 

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Jetsetter
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6,657 Posts
your pictures wont work in the html format, you have to copy and paste the IMG code for it to work on our forum

but anyways [welcome] to ff.com once you get your pics fixed, you will find alot of members will be more than willing to help ya out! [thumb]
 

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FUBARCUS
2003 ZX3 2016 FoST
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7,785 Posts
The picture links aren't working right but Ill tell you what I can from reading. A catalytic converter is definitely important to pass emission testing. The car could have after market suspension installed therefore making it sit lower but I can't say for sure. As for the bumper unless is broken in some way you can just paint it I believe there is a how on doing small jobs like that. Sorry I'm not much help but its prolly better than nothing.
 
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From looking at your engine pics, I can tell you have a Ram Air intake, a header and (possibly) 9mm spark plug wires. Seeing as you have a header, I'm going to assume you have a full exhaust, thus the reasoning as to why your car is so loud. For the intake all you really need to do is clean and re-oil that filter and it should be fine. Judging from the height pic, your car looks like its been lowered 1.5-2 inches. Take a wheel off and take a pic of the suspension if you could, someone will probably be able to tell you what suspension kit you've got. Finally, your bumper looks like it might be cracked, but I can't really tell for sure. If not, all you need to do is spray it, it will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, sounds good. I'll be sure to do that asap, but I'm just wondering cost-wise how much replacing a broken muffler or exhaust system would cost.
 

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Jetsetter
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you can get a really good quality cat back for around $300, to replace it with a stock setup would be around $150 ish
 

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Actually. you've got some decent performance mods there. The air filter is from FocusSport and is good. I don't think it will affect emissions, they may have a CARB # for it. The header looks like a Focus Central header. Good power, but you probably won't pass emissions with it. It looks like the exhaust has a resonator or maybe a catalytic converter has been added. If you must pass an emissions test, you might just sell the header and exhaust and put a stock system in. (you will lose 5-8 HP) The plug wires are Livewires, no effect on emissions (or power), but they are not bad.

Plastic bumper covers sometimes just crack that way, especially if the have been flexed a lot.

Good luck with it.
 

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your aunt left you a pretty good ride from what i see
 

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Focus Fanatic
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Your car has a focus sport intake. Keep it, those are good.
The aftermarket header and possibly aftermarket exhaust is the reason it is loud.
You could save yourself some money and just keep that exhaust by first checking for
exhaust leaks. Also check your muffler and make sure its in good condition still. If they
are all fine, adding a resonator would quiet your exhaust down substantially and you
wouldn't lose any power by doing so, and you wouldn't need a whole new exhaust.

Next issue no-one has addressed yet is the shaking at idle. I can see by your pictures
that you have a vf engineering passenger side poly motor mount. Your drivers side mount
is stock. If you look under the engine you should be able to see if your lower mount is
stock or aftermarket. If its aftermarket you should be able to see the red poly bushings
in it and possibly a billet mount depending on the brand. It could also be black.
Aftermarket motor mounts are great for getting more power to the wheels, because they
keep the movements of the motor to a minimum. The downside to this is increased
vibration at idle. Some people, like me, this doesn't bother and is worth it to us.
It is up to you on that one, but I'd first check to see if your lower mount is stock or not.

The only other things I see that are aftermarket are the coil pack and spark plug wires.
I also see an aftermarket throttle body. They just help with throttle response, so keep it.
And I also see an svt coolant overflow cover, its just for looks. Keep that.

A few things I'd look into changing for regular maintenance are the fuel filter, clean your
mass air flow sensor with MAF cleaner, and unplug your negative battery terminal for
about 10-15 min to reset the ECU. This will help the computer relearn everything. I
would recommend waiting to do this part after you've done all the other stuff.

Good luck my friend, and welcome to Focus Fanatics. You've come to the right place.
 

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/人◕ ‿‿&#65
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3,318 Posts
and when it is started the whole car shakes vigorously
my car did this. Change teh passenger side motormount (the one by the timing belt) they usually go out.

Oh wait. i just noticed you have an aftermarket poly passenger side motormount
 

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Discussion Starter #11
WOW, sounds like I got a lot of work to do. Thank you to everyone for all your help! I will look to see what I can replace fro now, but I will def. take your suggestions with me to the mechanic.

By the way, if anyone lives in Las Vegas or Henderson, do you know of any good auto mechanics that could help me out?
Also, my gas level meter thing says to only use premium gas. That seems like a little much for such a small car. Let me know if I should still use this, and if not, what you guys use?
.

Thanks

-Cédric
 

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/人◕ ‿‿&#65
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Is your gauge faces white? and does the entire gauge face light up green at night? you might have the SVT cluster if it does.

The normal gauge faces are black and only teh numbers light up green.
 

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Jetsetter
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there is a bunch on vegas focus owners on here they call them selves focal distortion. and ive hear they meet on quite a regular basis, here is their forum

http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=91

they should be able to point you in the right direction for a mechanic, or they might be willing to do a tech day with you.

and check out the southwest regional forum for meets and what not.
 

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Shot me 3 deer!!!
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you do not have a cat, therefore, you WILL NOT pass emissions!!!! people fail the test w/ cats. so you will not pass w/o one. you may be able to weld in a HFC at the flex. but i don't know what the law is around you for the distance the cat is allowed to be from the head. you may need to get rid of the header and put in a shorty header w/ HFC setup.
 

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Proudly Daily Driven
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im just curious..you said you got this from your aunt...so does that mean your aunt drove it also? if so you should have her join the forums as well lol....whoever modded it seemed to have a good idea of what they were doing
 

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Discussion Starter #16
about my dash, ya it's white and it says SVT, but im not sure what parts of my car are SVT or just modded. Should I continue using premium gas?

ya i dont have a Cat, i have a dog
lmao sorry.. what's a cat? is it in the engine?
(is it short for catalytic converter?)
if so, how much would one cost?
 

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Drunkinmonkey
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wow you gotalot of after market stuff in there i would keep it all if i got that car
 

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Focus Hoarder
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Edited
(Sorry posted in the wrong thread)
 
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