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Traded my '03 ZTS sedan for my current ride last winter. Between the leaking clutch master, stuck left-rear brake caliper, and other teething issues, I'd had enough. Which was a shame because that car was the second-most fun I've had with FWD (a Mazda MX6 V6 5-speed being #1).

Granted, the issues I had were all common early Focus issues, and I know that. I just got tired of the car needing another 2,3,400 dollar fix every month.

Life has taken a turn or two since I traded my Focus, now I'm engaged and I moved into a much bigger apartment. You guessed it, much bigger rent, too.

I'm considering moving back into a Focus because I enjoyed my last one and I can most likely land a much lower payment if I play my cards well. Consumer Reports seems to indicate that the 05-07 models fare much better than the earlier ones, so I'm looking for a ZX3 or ZX4 in those years. For those of you who have owned one or both year ranges- what is your take on this?
 

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br/o/stang
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my 01 ZX3 was perfect when I owned it from 60k to 90 when I sold it. My 07 has had a PS pump go, the drivers side seat bolster rip and the alternator died. But this is all between 180 miles and 49k, dont know about the 01's early life.

I wouldnt say an 03 is an "early focus", most of the consumer reports related gripes happened in 2000 and 2001 with a few recalls. by 03-04 most things should have been ironed out, sounds like you had some bad luck with your last

The interior on the 05-07 feels a lot cheaper than the older style one (plastic dash and doors vs vinyl) but they have a lot of positives too. The duratec motor is nice, front brakes are bigger, just make sure you get a SES, they have a rear sway bar. The S and SE cars did not, and dont even have the tabs so youd need to have a set welded on
 

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My '00 had about everything go bad after I bought it from a kid who abused it. So I just kept replacing crap, and now it's practically a brand new car. I haven't had too many issues lately. Cars just go through spells, and you have to get through them. The '00 was the worst rated Focus on Consumer Reports, but those are usually rated by folks who take it to the dealer when the tire is flat.
 

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Rollin' Hard
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Cars just go through spells, and you have to get through them. The '00 was the worst rated Focus on Consumer Reports, but those are usually rated by folks who take it to the dealer when the tire is flat.
what he said...
 

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my 03 focus 2.3l Duratec, has had hardly any issues, my door handles were the biggest issue, changed them a few times, other than that an ignition coil and thats it.
 

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Da fofo love remains
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I own an 05 ZX3. From what I can tell owning a focus means money must be invested. I have changed out a lot of parts that have went bad but the duratec is still easy to work with and fixes are affordable.
 

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Bought my '01 in '06 and have probably put 2500 or so in repairs not including tires brakes oil etc. I think it is quite reasonable but I would seriously consider straying from ford for used reliability if that is what is important for you at this point. I owned a '97 tiburon that I beat the piss out of and never had a single major repair from 90k to 160k. I'm not saying that wasn't luck but my focus (which I love to death) has sure given me its share of headaches. Dumping ALL the cooland out of the thermostat at ten below in january, busting a motor mount and trying to leave the zetec in the middle of the road, rear drum completely freezing at 45mph, etc... etc.

I love my focus, and knock on wood I haven't had and issue like this for a while. But these cars are made to be affordable, and there is a reason thier resale value isn't as high as some other makes in our class. Just a thought, I like to think my focus has taught me a lot about car repair, and I could fix a focus with ease now that she has shown me every trick in the book.
 

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I have a '07 focus ZX3 that I bought in '08 with 14,000 mi on it,I now have almost 70,000 mi and have not done anything but oil changes so far!
 

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Been extremely happy with my '07 ZX3! Only one issue, which was the alternator but that was fixed under warranty.I've owned it since new & I'm coming up 125000kms (I'm in Canada), gone in for regular maitenance at the 10000kms interval and have changed the oil and filter myself, in between. Best car I've owned but probably the one I've spent the most on for regular maitenance.
 

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My 05 has made me a lazy mechanic. Until August 2011, I hadn't done a major repair on the car. I had upgraded brakes to SVT brakes (kit not required for front), and changed the dampers all around. I have replaced the end links, and I do now need a new set for the front and likely bushings for the rear. I know the car is getting long in the tooth with 130k, and things are sure to start breaking down.

The number of repairs per car might fall on more than initial build quality. Sometimes I think it's the people. Endless threads of "noisy motor" complaints, and rough ride are things that are probably going on in my car at the moment. I understand that the motor is going to be noisy- I knew that when I bought it. You have a solid action valvetrain, and a big ass chain driving it. It will make sounds. Oddly enough, most Nissans have chains and some have solid valvetrains, but Nissans are Japanese made cars- right? When people here valvetrain noises in Nissans "it runs like a sewing machine", but in a Ford "it's going to blow!" I have no idea how much money has been wasted on this forum over things that I would overlook as either not severe enough to warrant attention, or not severe enough to properly diagnose. I had an intermediate CV axle shimmy that wasn't severe enough for me to properly diagnose until the car had over 100k on it, for example. Had it not been for FF11, and the long drive- I'd probably still be sporting that axle in the car anyway.

I bought this car to be a reliable DD, and it has been. It is not a race car. It's an economy car that corners very well. It's old now too, and I treat it like I treat all my old cars that I've owned. I fix what breaks when it breaks- with only a few exceptions. For example, I have purchased, but not installed, a new serpentine belt. The one on the car is the factory belt. I do believe in proper repairs, so now that I've saved enough up- I'll likely replace the tensioner when I replace the belt. I want the next belt to last 130k+. That makes for an expensive belt job, and it might not be necessary, but I'm going to do it that way anyway.

Keep in mind that if you do run across a 5 digit mileage 05-07, there might be a lot of parts on there that have not been replaced if it's anything like mine. Even with lower mileage, belts wear from age just as much as use. I probably didn't need to change my dampers either, and I'd bet that the factory pads and shoes would last close to 100k miles. Mine were changed at 60k to the SVT brakes, but I still had about half a pad left- and nearly all the shoe. Expect to change both the rotor and the drums in such a vehicle when doing a brake job.

Best of luck. These are all good cars IMO, but then if you're only wanting to get back and forth to work- I do like Corollas for that. Those are really easy to work on, reliable, but not as cheap used. Fuel economy is better, but don't eye that kid with the fart can beside you- he'll waste you in a stoplight drag. I don't know if such a car is more cost effective over 3-4 years either due to the difference in purchase price. I'd personally like to find about a 10 year old Corolla to use as a DD so I can mod the Focus.

I'm rambling sorry guys, you're saved though, it's time to go to work. LOL
 

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BACON?
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I have a 2004 SVT, It has not been to bad at all. Well, that my opinion i have a good list of completed work, Steering rack w/ tie rods, front lower control arms W/ poly bushings, sway bar links with poly sway bar bushings, rear engine mount, 2 thermostat housings(got the updated one the second time), all four springs and struts, spark plugs, wires, air filter, belt with idlers (i always like to do the pulleys), ORP (cat bracket snapped of), Borla cat back (just for fun), I got 4 new wheels (after 55k the 17" wheels were all bent, now they are snow tires). I have owned this car since 50k and its now at 75k after 3 years. Work that needs to be done, timing belt, water pump (i'll be in there, might as well), rear suspension needs new bushings, I want a large sway bar, all 4 brakes.

I am sure there is more i have done, but its not all maintenance. I take every opportunity to replace the broken or worn part with a better performance part. I also do all the work myself so cost is not bad. I don't think this has been a bad car, Or unreliable in anyway. It starts every morning.
 

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04 ZX5 251k other than maintenance i have had 2 issues.

1.) PS line rusted out and had a pin hole, 2 new lines ~$200.
2.) control arm pinch bolt failed (kinda my fault for reusing it i guess) $240 for new trans fluid, Axle and 2 pinch bolts
 

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I have a '07 focus ZX3 that I bought in '08 with 14,000 mi on it,I now have almost 70,000 mi and have not done anything but oil changes so far!
Ditto with my 07 zx4. Just recommended maintenance.... Bought it with 30k and now its pushing 95k. Love my car.
 
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