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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings everyone,

I am looking at buying a 2001 ZX3 5spd with only 89k miles. Body has a couple dents, good tires brakes etc. My main purpose for this car is to commute back and forth 110mi round trip. I drove it yesterday and tentitivly agreed to buy it, seller still needs to get a smog check. But the more I think about it something doesn't seem right. The exhaust note seemed kind of loud and buzzy, and the car seemed to feel engine vibration. At idle it was quiet and smooth, but come off idle and it was noticable. I looked underneath and could only see what looked like original stock exhaust. It sounded like an aftermarket, you can hear pops and such when deccelerating. Everything I could find says the stock exhaust is quiet, which is what I want, a drone for 2.5 hrs a day will not be tollerable.

Sooooo focus experts, is the stock exhaust supposed to be quiet? Do you get much engine vibration? I don't want to end up with a problem, I can't afford the money or time to fix it.

Thanks
 

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FF PHOTOG ENTHUSIAST
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Check if the Cat is still intact, and if it is, see if it is an aftermarket Cat.

You said you felt the engine vibrations ... are the motor mounts stock or aftermarket?

-Ray-
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't know, the owner said they bought it 3 years ago, have only done maintenance and not changed any parts, and only put about 20k miles on it. I suppose if too many things are out of line it won't pass smog here in So Cal, and then it won't be a consideration. My problem is the only thing I have to compare it against is my 08 Impreza, which is an entirely different car. I am trying to find a coworker with a similar focus so I have a baseline.
 

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if its not the cat, it could be something as simple as an exhaust leak. it doesnt have the check engine light on correct?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No CEL. It could be an exhaust leak. It was definately louder than I thought it should be, it was the first thing I noticed as soon as I started to drive.

I would feel kind of bad if I backed out at this point, but I have to live with this for the next 4-5 years and if it isn't right or easily fixed, I don't want to deal with it.

Appreciate the responses
 

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well i just added a stainless steel bolt on to my car and its an 03 and the flange to the cat from the exhaust piping was rusted out horribly thats prolly your problem in this case
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok, from my googling I am sure the exhaust is stock, none of the aftermarkets have that little box at the very back of the car and this car did. That means there is probably an exhaust leak somewhere. This can be easy or difficult to fix. The owner did not have a in the last 30 days Smog cert, so he must do that. If there is something wrong with the cat, it won't pass and he will have to get it fixed to sell it. If it does pass, then it is probably in the pipe somewhere, and that should not be too expensive. Everything else seemed ok.
 

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Its most likely the flex pipe, those rot out after a while especially if a motor mount is bad. however, the additional vibrations at idle could just be the leak, since sound is vibrations. if the leak changes based on what you're doing with the car (accelerating, decelerating, idling, etc) then its something that opens and closes with the flexing of the motor. ie FLEX pipe.

Good news is I just fixed my flex with a replacement section from an auto parts store for under 25 bucks with clamps too. if the flanges are good, I might think about upgrading to a slightly larger flex pipe. 2.25" will let it breathe a little better, it should bolt right up with no other modification, and if you ever wanted to get an aftermarket exhaust, you'd already have a crucial piece. better than any crush bent aftermarket option from an exhaust shop.

http://www.mandrelexhaustsystems.com/servlet/the-18/00-dsh-04-FOCUS-EXHAUST-FLEXPIPE/Detail

Matt
 

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i agree with what has been said. the vibration you speak of is going to be caused by at least 1 of 3 things. bad motor mount(s), aftermarket polyurethane motormounts (much stiffer bushing that transfers engine vibration to the car instead of absorbing it like the factory rubber bushing), or a bad exhaust leak might do it. simple test for checking engine mounts. pop the hood, pull the emergency brake, crank the car, put it in drive and give it a little gas but not enough to actually move the car. if the engine has alot of movement then there is at least 1 motor mount that is shot. 1-1.5 inches of forward and backward rotation in this test would be normal. much more than that would imply a bad motor mount. testing for an exhaust leak is easy. jack the car up, climb part way underneath and have another person rev it. listen for where the exhaust is loudest. otherwise just take lots and lots of pictures and post them in this thread and let us have a look. also the factory exhaust has more to it than the "lunchbox" in the very back. it also has a round muffler that goes in the strait section of exhaust. if this has been removed it would account for the louder exhaust. you can pick up a $25 cherry bomb glass pack at autozone and have it welded into the exhaust for another $25. ive found that glass packs work pretty good as replacements for factory resonators.

the car has nearly 90k miles on it. the time is approaching when you need to think about the timing belt. my timing belt broke on me at 103k miles. some go sooner some go later. ask the guy if it has been replaced but dont take his word for it, check for yourself. if you are not sure what you are looking for then drive the car to a mechanic to have it looked at before you buy it. as a matter of fact it would not be a bad idea for you to have a mechanic look over the car anyway before you buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok, it passed smog, I bought it. The exhaust has all the regular parts, cat - flex pipe - muffler - lunch box. I was under it with it running and no obvious leak.

I have done a whole bunch of searching and reading and believe I have a bad motor mount. The car vibrates with the engine, and is louder inside than outside. I can't do the under hood test myself because it is a stick. Just reving it in neutral does not cause it to move much but there is no resistance. Yesterday I put a jack under the oil pan and just put enough pressure to take weight off the passenger side hydraulic mount, vibrations in the car were almost gone, which leads me to believe that mount is toast. I am trying to decide if I should do all 3 or just the hydraulic one. There is no clunking when accelerating or shifting, just a constant vibration. Oh, when I go over a rise in the road, the kind when you lift in the seat just a little, the vibration goes away, then comes back at the bottom of the dip.

Ugh, I really hope this fixes the problem, I am going to get the part from the part store and get it done today.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This place is awsome! I have always found it to be a benefit to belong to a comunity about the vehicles I currently own, such a wealth of knowledge. With all the information I found searching here, I was able to properly diagnose the problem and repair it. Passenger side hydraulic mount was shot. $53 for the part from Oreilly, (I know, cheaper from rockauto but I wanted it fixed NOW) and about 30 minutes. Easy repair. I'll bet this is the primary reason the previous owner sold the car, it vibrated pretty bad but they insisted that is the way it always was.
 

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how easy are the motor mounts to fix?
My car has the same vibrational issues, but i always thought it was because most focus' are prone to vibration...
either way id like it gone... and im wondering if its simple enough to do in my yard?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not sure about the torque strut or transmission mount because I have not done them, but the passenger side upper engine mount (the one that fails most often) is very easy if you have a basic mechanical know how and a few tools. I needed 10mm, 15mm and 18mm deep sockets, socket wrench, 6" extension, a small flat screwdriver for poping the clip on the coolant reservoir, and a floor jack with a piece of wood to support the engine. It took me 30 minutes in the driveway. I think there is a how too on here somewhere that explains in detail, and you tube videos. I can tell you it made a world of difference on my car, going from ulmost undriveable to reasonable. I still need to look at the other mounts.
 

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Sounds like I know what I am doing tomorrow when I have the car up on a lift to do the strut tower mounts...
I've had a whole lot of noise when I rev the engine and am accelerating. Looked everywhere for an exhaust leak and found none. Since it sounded like exhaust, we swapped out the muffler today. No fix. Oh well, guess I at least have a new muffler now. :p But tomorrow I will do the whole jack on the oil pan to see what I get from that. Crossing my fingers its something as simple as that.
 

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Focus Fanatics to the rescue again. A little tension from a jack and my car got all quiet. So swapped out the passenger mount and I swear my car sounds as quiet as a new one. So quiet I can hear the traditional ZETEC engine noises themselves, not the rattle or exhaust.
 
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