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Last week I purchased a red 2007 Ford Focus ST (4 Dr) with 65k miles. It has a 2 year warranty. The car is immaculate inside and out, and it's only repair has been a trunk latch. Overall I'm very pleased, but there's been a few small things (hopefully they're small things) about the way the car is running. I also need to point out that this is the nicest/newest car I've owned, and it's the first time I've driven a manual transmission since 7 years ago when I was driving a 91 celica.

First thing I noticed was the gas pedal sticks a little bit. I did a little research and saw that the throttle box needs to be cleaned sometimes, and I'm 99% sure this is the problem. It's not a huge deal anyway, usually only does it when I first start driving. I will probably ask the dealership to check it out when I go for my first free oil change. So I'm not too worried about this one.

Next thing is I noticed sometimes when I'm accelerating at a moderate/slow speed and I hit second gear I get a little bit of a shudder. I didn't even notice it at first and my dad drove it with me the other day and he didn't notice it either, but now that I've noticed it I'm kind of stressing about it.
When i'm accelerating at a higher speed It doesn't happen, or at least I don't notice it. Any thoughts on this?

Also I noticed that 90% of the time my idle is virtually soundless and almost feel like the car is off. Other times, sporadically, the idle is a slight bit rougher and there are some mini-hiccups (if you can even call it that). Again, this might be something i didn't even notice if i wasn't driving with the radio off listening to every sound and trying to feel everything the car is doing.

I just want this thing to last me a good 7-8 years at least and I want to take care of it as good as possible. My last car I only put about 21,000 miles in 3 years, so mileage-wise this car will not be over-worked.

Anyway, I have a few more questions and comments, but I fear my little blog is getting a little too long. Any advice/thoughts/tips would be much appreciated.
 

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Last week I purchased a red 2007 Ford Focus ST (4 Dr) with 65k miles. It has a 2 year warranty.
Congrats on your new purchase and welcome to FF!!

First thing I noticed was the gas pedal sticks a little bit.
First off, it's the throttle body, not the throttle box. Secondly, I personally wouldn't pay a dealership to do this one. It's uber simple for anyone who can turn a screwdriver. All you need is a rag, but some carb or FI cleaner would help. Come to think of it, you might be able to use another evaporating cleaner like window cleaner like Windex, so try that. Anyway, pop the hood, trace down the air intake hose, and disconnect it where it meets the throttle body on the engine. Now reach under that black plastic box, and work the throttle linkage by hand, and you'll see the throttle plate opening inside the throttle body. Now hold it open with one hand, and use the rag with cleaner on it to clean the inside of the TB top and bottom. You might even want to see if you can rub anything off the bottom edge of the throttle plate. If your fingers are small enough, then you can do that to the top edge as well. Be sure your rag is long enough that you won't lose it in the engine if you lose your grip on it. That should solve that problem unless the problem is the throttle cable not the throttle plate.

Next thing is I noticed sometimes when I'm accelerating at a moderate/slow speed and I hit second gear I get a little bit of a shudder.
Don't stress over this. Currently I can't even guess what it is with any surety. I suggest typical "new to me" car maintenance. Yes, platinum or iridium plugs are supposed to last 100k miles, but you can't go by that as a stone cold number. New to me car maintenance= plugs, wires, fuel filter, air filter, and PCV check. First off- you have no plug wires to replace, but you do have boots under the coil that can be replaced. These are approximately $8 ea, and I'd expect $15 from a dealership. I'm unsure if that is worth doing at 65k, but one of mine was bad at 80k. The fuel filter is probably the most overlooked part of most maintenance, but should be replaced every 25k miles or so. I'd definitely replace it. Your air filter is a "Lifetime" air filter, but you can check to see if it's working correctly by following the directions in your owner's manual. Most of us on this board replace the lifetime filter with an aftermarket CAI or SRI for a bump in power and fuel economy. Ford replaced the lifetime air filter on these engines with a replaceable filter in 08, so it seems it wasn't that great of an idea after all. Plugs, fuel filter, air cleaner check, and maybe the boots are all I'd fool with right now if I were you- especially if you pay someone else to do it.

Also I noticed that 90% of the time my idle is virtually soundless and almost feel like the car is off. Other times, sporadically, the idle is a slight bit rougher and there are some mini-hiccups (if you can even call it that).
Most likely that would clear up with the maintenance suggested above.

I fear my little blog is getting a little too long. Any advice/thoughts/tips would be much appreciated.
It would be nice if someone else wrote a little too much once in a while on here so everyone would get off my back. [neener]

Please check out Duratec (your engine) Performance Chat if you have any questions about performance add-ons of any type. If you're interested in making the car handle better than it does, then check out "Wheels, Tires, Brakes, and Suspension."
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Awesome. Thanks for the detailed responses. As you can probably tell from my post I'm not a very knowledgeable "car guy", but trying to learn as I go.

I had been wondering about a tune up...and I had also been considering cleaning the throttle body myself. I'm definitely interested in doing what work I can do myself. I just get a little nervous sometimes and don't want to bite off more than I can chew and/or mess something up.

I will probably check out the air filter / cleaner tomorrow, and I'm gonna do my best to investigate the other stuff you mentioned too.

I will probably end up asking the dealership to do anything I can't figure out with the boots, fuel filter, and PCV.

I really am digging this car though. I'm still trying to figure the seats out...obviously parts are leather but i can't tell if the center portions are a brushed leather or a suede. I'm probably going to wash/condition the seats soon..don't want to use the wrong cleaning supplies. I got some ARmor All cleaner, protectant, and also a bottle of leather conditioner.

Anyway, thanks for all the help..i'm sure i'll be back soon seeking more advice!
 

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These are the exact things I noticed when I purchased my 2006 ST in February, minus the gas pedal thing. Within the first few months of ownership I replaced the spark plugs, fuel filter, and installed a steeda short ram intake. All issues cleared up and the car runs great now! I highly recommend the steeda SRI, it made a huge difference. The "lifetime air filter" was so clogged with dirt and leaves I couldn't believe it.
 

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Check our "Complete How-To Archive" for more information. I seem to recall that we do have a How-To on how to change your own spark plugs. For the Dtec, you'll need a 5/16 nut driver, or 8mm socket, and short extension to loosen the coils. Once you unplug the coil, and remove the retaining bolt, you rotate the coil slightly to break the rubber loose from the spark plug, and pull it up. There's the boot I was telling you about. That simply pulls off if you need to replace it, and there's a spring inside that makes the connection between the spark plug and the coil.

To get the plug out, you'll need a 10" long extension, or a 6" + 3", and a 5/8 spark plug socket. You can get away with just a 6", but I like to be able to use my other hand to insure that the socket is lined up with the center of the plug or bolt instead of being pushed at an angle because of me turning it. If the spark plug socket is really tight on the plug, then save yourself some pain an suffering and dab some dipstick oil up in there so it doesn't get stuck down in the tube when you install a new plug. Before you put the new plug in, check the spark plug gap and change it accordingly. Not all plugs are truly pre-gapped. Forgo spending extra cheese on multi-prong plugs as those only offer another path for the single spark to travel. Electricity always follows the path of least resistance, so there is only one spark. The only other thing you need to do is to add a small dab of anti-sieze to the threads on the spark plug. That prevents the potential of a galvanizing reaction, and from the plugs getting stuck. Spark plugs do not have to be Herculean tight, and you should start the plug using your hands on the extension so you don't cross thread the plug threads. You should be able to manually turn the spark plug in most of the way- if you only get half a turn- then you're cross threaded or something is caught in the threads of the plug- back up and start over.

The air cleaner check is really easy. Read the owner's manual about it. I believe all you have to do is start the engine and press the button on the built-in tester. I've never done it because I replaced mine at about 5k miles with the "Stealth CAI" trick I found on this site.

The fuel filter is another easy job- if you follow the directions we give you on this site. Most people screw up fuel filter replacement by trying to remove the white fuel line clips, but those clips do not need to be removed. All you have to do is press on the flat white rectangle, and pull the line off. If the clip doesn't release, try pushing and pulling slightly on the line while you push down on the white spot.
 

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There's more to the fuel filter than just that. Do some searches and you should find a decent How-To on it. Check our our Complete How-To archive linked in my signature for more information.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm obviously new here...will this thread be stored in a "my threads" category or anything like that?

Is installing a fuel filter something a noob can do? I've never change sparkplugs before and I know they need to be adjusted just right...that's probably something I'll have the dealership do for me. Hope this stuff doesn't cost me an arm and a leg in labor. I'd also be interested in the new intake you mentioned..maybe I could save a few bucks by purchasing one myself and having them do the labor.

edit:

whynothinkwhynot - thanks for the additional info...i will definitely study up. I'd love to get more into this right now but I've been working on immigration papers for my girlfriend all day (long story - lol) and I'm about to go cross-eyed from staring at my laptop all day.
 

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Going from first to second gear in my ST took some getting used to. I'm glad you mentioned it because I wasn't sure if it was just me. I have to fines the clutch a little to get a smooth transition unless I'm accelerating very quickly. Like you said, after that it's smooth sailing with regards to the other gears.
 

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Last week I purchased a red 2007 Ford Focus ST (4 Dr) with 65k miles. It has a 2 year warranty.
Hi cubsphan,

Welcome to the forum, and congrats on the new-to-you Focus! You'll find whynotthinkwhynot provided some fantastic tips, as usual. [:)] Since your Focus is under warranty, you may find the dealer to be the best place to resolve your issues, if you don't feel comfortable repairing them yourself. Let me know if I can help in any way!

To find your posts, click on your name in the box at the top right, and then click on statistics to find all threads you started or posted in. Have a great day!

~Natasha
 

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Warranty? Heck yeah, take that puppy in if you find something really screwy.

Yes a noob can remove the fuel filter by following proper safety when it comes to jacking the rear of the vehicle. If you get your oil changed somewhere, like the dealer, you might want to just ask how much they'd charge for a new fuel filter until you get more comfortable working and jacking up your vehicle. A fuel filter costs $7-10, so I'd expect about $20 to change it- maybe $30.

I have convinced newbs to do things like that, and everything went ok- but I lay awake at night worrying about a car falling on someone if they don't pay attention to things properly. The supplied emergency jack, a single short jack stand, and a couple of wheel chocks is the preferred safety for jacking up one side. The most important part- you can read in your owner's manual about it- is finding the correct jack point on the pinch weld in the rear of the vehicle. These points are sometimes folded over due to stupid mechanics and DIYers who think the flat head of a floor jack won't fold that metal over with 2500 lbs on it.

Plugs are really easy to do yourself. The only thing we add to that is the anti-seize, which you should use on any engine with an aluminum cylinder head. Plug gap hasn't changed any- this is the tool I use. It's cheap, but that hole is not for your keychain, although I keep one there. It's actually what you use to increase the gap. You slip it over the back-strap, and lever it up ever so slightly. Gap on these plugs is .052-.055, and no- you don't have to gap them exactly perfect. As long as you're within that range- it's good. You can use that same tool to decrease gap, or you can simply tap the back-strap on the pavement. If you want to get really good at it- use standard plugs instead of platinums. The only difference is that you'll have to change the plugs every 15-25k miles- but you will get to see plug deposits that platinums won't provide. Plug deposits are a lost art in figuring out if something is wrong inside an engine. Plat and iridium plugs last longer because they don't collect deposits or foul, but there goes that means of diagnosis where you might be able to see that one cylinder is burning hotter or leaner than the others indicating an injector that might need to be cleaned by removing it from the vehicle. The last thing about plugs- from our experiences with Foci on this site, Autolite or Motorcraft plugs will work best. Bosch doesn't. We have complaints than happy experiences with those plugs.

I don't know about the My Threads section- I never used it. I just go back to the forum and find the thread. It will be there. Every once in a while we have someone who uses the Search button and pulls up threads from 5 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Going from first to second gear in my ST took some getting used to. I'm glad you mentioned it because I wasn't sure if it was just me. I have to fines the clutch a little to get a smooth transition unless I'm accelerating very quickly. Like you said, after that it's smooth sailing with regards to the other gears.

Weird. I guess it's comforting to know this is a common issue and my newly purchased car isn't getting ready to drop a transmission or something.


Hi cubsphan,

Welcome to the forum, and congrats on the new-to-you Focus! You'll find whynotthinkwhynot provided some fantastic tips, as usual. [:)] Since your Focus is under warranty, you may find the dealer to be the best place to resolve your issues, if you don't feel comfortable repairing them yourself. Let me know if I can help in any way!
~Natasha
Hello and thanks! Yes the infoe whynotthinkwhynot gave is great. But the more I think about it the more I just want to have my dealer do some of this stuff for me. Part of my issue is that for now and the near future (next few months) I have no time to work on my car other than the occasional wash and wax. In fact I just got to my second job where I'll be working another 5 hours [xx(]

I still need to look up the info on how to look at and/or change the air cleaner/filter. If that is simple I might do it myself. But I would really like to put in some new spark plugs, check the boots, and put a new fuel filter on it...in addition to the air cleaner.

Any ideas on what a dealership will charge for this? Doesn't seem like too much labor at all. Would it possibly be cheaper if I bought the plugs and fuel filter myself and took them to the dealer to install?

I only ask because money is really tight for me right now.

Thanks again!!
 

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Do not take parts into a dealer or any shop to have them installed. That causes problems.

The air cleaner check is as simple as turning the car on and pushing a button under the hood. The directions are in your owner's manual. I can lead a horse to water...

No idea what a dealer or shop would charge for this, at a guess, I'd say $200, and 2 hrs. It could be more. Y'know, if you're paying someone- skip the plugs. Really you should be good on those for another 15k miles or so. That is just something I typically check with every new vehicle. Just have a fuel filter change done, and you should be fine. That should get you out of there under $100. I would be leery of having a fuel filter done anywhere but at a Ford dealer because of the problem I described before. It is simply too simple to release those clips, so mechanics who are not familiar with this design end up breaking the clip by trying to remove the clip from the line.
 

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thanks man. So you think the fuel filter might fix the occasional rough idle, and/or the slight shudder after shifting into second gear?

also I should add that I purchased my ford focus from the mazda dealership. My previous car was a mazda and they diagnosed it with the blown gaskets, so i traded it in on the spot and picked out the Ford Focus. Since it's under warranty from them I don't really want to take it to anyone else unless it's absolutely necessary. Hopefully they will be able to figure out the clips.

oh...and i will definitely check out the air cleaner myself this weekend.
 

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Any ideas on what a dealership will charge for this? Doesn't seem like too much labor at all. Would it possibly be cheaper if I bought the plugs and fuel filter myself and took them to the dealer to install?

also I should add that I purchased my ford focus from the mazda dealership. My previous car was a mazda and they diagnosed it with the blown gaskets, so i traded it in on the spot and picked out the Ford Focus.
Hey!

Sounds like you are quite busy! You made a great choice on the Focus. As dealerships use Ford certified parts that are recommended for your specific vehicle, they most likely won't be able to use the parts you bring in, but they can provide an estimate on the costs of the necessary services.

I suggest creating a personalized account at http://www.Owner.Ford.com. This site offers the proper maintenance schedule for your Focus, dealer locations & contact information, and quarterly service offers from your preferred servicing dealer, so that will help save you money. [:)] Have a good one!

~Natasha
 

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I would assume the Ford Dealer would be better to work on Ford cars...but at the same time I just purchased this car from a Mazda dealership and it has the 2 year warranty so I assume I should take it to them for any service, at least right now.

A slightly rough idle with small hiccups...is this something normally covered by warranties?

What about the slight shudder in second gear?

Should they at least check this stuff out without charging me diagnostic fees since it's under warranty? Should I make a checklist of the issues and many of the responses people have listed and give it to them when I drop my car off?
 

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At what speed or rpm are you shifting into 2nd?
Right around 3 (3,000?), maybe slightly under. I guess in a broader sense my question is how do all the maintenance items you and others mentioned correspond to the issues i'm having? Like do you think a cirty fuel filter and air cleaner might be causing the rough idle / hiccup?

Or is it just a case where generally speaking doing all these maintenance things will clear these types of problems up i'm having?

Yesterday afternoon I sent an email to the parts/service manager at the dealership where I bought the car describing the issues to him. Then when I left work and started my car I got about a 3-4 second squeal that sounded like a pulley or belt. I'm definitely calling them today to make an appointment and hopefully drop my car of Saturday a.m.

Man, i gotta be honest...at this point I'm getting really nervous. I don't have a lot of money, and with the down payment and the amount of money I have financed I'm really invested in this car for the next 5-6+ years. It also amazes me that I noticed NOTHING the first few days I had it...It literally felt, sounded, and drove like a brand new car. 13 days later I have a handful of issues (hopefully small) that it wasn't doing just a few days ago
 

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I wanted to provide an update as well as ask another question.

The throttle body has been cleaned (no more sticky gas pedal), and I had the fuel filter replaced (by the mazda dealership where i bought the car). They also noticed that the transmission fluid was dirty, so they changed it. I had to complain to the sales manager to get the $80 charge for the transmission change reimbursed, because the car is certified and it should've had clean fluids. I also had them clean the fuel injectors and manifold.

However, Mazda couldn't get their computer to sync with my focus, so they recommended I take it to a Ford Dealership. I did that, and they immediately noticed something sounded weird. It was the tensioner pulley. The car sounds completely different now when accelerating. But it cost me almost 3 hundred and I'm going to have a talk with the sales manager at mazda about that. It's not part of the powertrain warranty but wouldn't you think a "Certified used car" wouldn't have a bad pulley?

So for the most part everything is running great, but I still get the occasional bumping/hiccuping when in idle. I just got my car back yesterday, and even before i took it in the choppy idle was only occasional....but now it seems to be a little better, but it's still there. Then again, i haven't driven it all that much since I got it back, so who knows. I'll have a better feel for it in a few days.

I mean, does the fact that 80% of the time the idle is perfect, but then the hiccuping occurs at totally random times tell you anything about what it might be?
 

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I mean, does the fact that 80% of the time the idle is perfect, but then the hiccuping occurs at totally random times tell you anything about what it might be?
It's hard to say. Not to be rude, but sometimes I think it's the owner. Intermittent problems like this are difficult for anyone to diagnose. For example, I had a slight vibration sometimes at steady speeds on the highway when I first drove my car with like <100 miles on it. I couldn't figure it out and it took until 130k miles before I ever was able to accurately determine it was a rare sort of CV axle failure. Now I could've just made a checklist and started replacing things periodically, but how much would I have spent doing that? It is possible that I could've caused problems along the way as well. If I'd done that, I'd never have guessed that the car would run for 130k miles before I was able to correctly determine the cause.

It's even worse when you are dealing with intermittent engine problems. Engine problems that are worth concern are both easily noticeable and easy to recreate. By that rule alone, if you have a problem with something that you can't recreate, then you can't repair it.

You should do things on your own in the way of routine maintenance that you're not going to get from a dealer. Cleaning the MAF with spray MAF cleaner is one of those things. It is really easy to do, and if you can find a stubby T-20 torx driver, you won't even have to get under the car. A dirty MAF is a potential cause of the problem. The same thing goes for spark plugs. I know it's a simple procedure to change plugs, but you'd be surprised how many times this is screwed up at shops because of minor oversights. For example, some plugs are pre-gapped, however things get rearranged or put back in the wrong spot on the shelf sometimes. Your parts guy or mechanic goes and grabs 4 loose .055 Autolite 104s for your car, but one of those is a .035 that has been put back in the wrong spot. You end up with a situation like what you have now- or worse. You might notice that, and if you follow our directions on here, you'll check gap on every plug regardless of how many you've pulled out of the same box that have been gapped correctly. Some mechanics might do that, and then- on a bad day when the wife has been calling about the baby not pooping for the 2nd day- he might not. Even if everything is still packaged from the factory doesn't mean that something didn't slip through QC with the wrong gap or the wrong heat range in the box.

Finally, what you're experiencing could simply be bad fuel, or badly mixed fuel. Most fuels in the US now are E10, and that means that fuel will soak up some water into it's molecules. Depending on how good the tanks are at your station, or the relative humidity and venting- that might be it. Even if all that is good, it is possible that a bad fuel cap could cause fuel in your car to collect some moisture. It won't cause any damage, but can cause hiccups or stumbling at times.

I can't think of anything else right now. BTW, certified used cars means it wasn't running bad when the salesman drove it back when it was new on the lot. It doesn't mean that all the parts were replaced, checked, or repairs were made. It's a marketing ploy. You should've figured that out by now, but kudos to you for holding them to at least repairing the obvious mechanical problems you had right after picking the car up. Maybe they will start checking into things more if more people were like you.
 
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