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Ford Focus ZX3

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  • Well after 37,000 miles and no problems, I decided to accept Ford's generous offer of a new redesigned fuel pump for my 2001 ZX3. Took the car back to the dealer I purchased it from and after a minor discussion with the service manager he agreed to honor the non-recall fuel pump notice from Ford. He mentioned this was Fords way of keeping the customer satisfied, was not a safety recall and a new fuel pump may not even be needed. I told him I appreciated his input but for me to remain a satisfied Ford customer I wanted the new redesigned fuel pump installed that day at no charge. Left the car, they replaced the fuel pump and I picked it up after work. Yes, I did inspect the old fuel pump. Haven't really notice a big difference in performance, maybe a little more power in certain situations and gas mileage seems a little better.

    My advise is if you qualify for the new redesigned fuel pump and want the peace of mind that goes with it .... be persistent at the dealership, remember Ford wants satisfied customers! Good Luck!
  • Does the 2003 model have the new design?

    Thanks
  • Not sure if the 2003 has the redesigned pump. The notice I got from Ford specified the non-recall was only for model year 2000 and 2001 .
    Might want to check with your dealer.
  • hotx3hotx3 Posts: 71
    I'd be leery of the 2001's, especially the base SPI engine. (See my sad story on the Tell Ford thread.) The locks are also a continuing problem.
    Don't buy one of those cars unless you are willing to pay for repairs - Ford is trying to cover their [non-permissible content removed]ets once the cars get out of warranty.
    In fact, I would say don't buy one of the early years at all, unless you want mine.
  • Actually all the ZX3s thru 2002 came with the Zetec 16 valve engine. Great engine, only area of concern is possible fuel pump filter problem on the 2000 and 2001 models. My 2001 ZX3 has the power/premium package, including power locks. Absolutely no problems or concerns in 3 years and 37000 miles. Highly recommended!
  • hotx3hotx3 Posts: 71
    You are right about the engine. Carlissimo won't find the base engine in a hatchback.
    By "locks", I was referring to the ignition lock. If yours starts to go, get it replaced before it gets to the point they have to drill it out. (Mine was drilled and I had to get a new steering column about 10 months later when the problem recurred. The dealer said metal bits may have been a factor.) While there's no warranty extension yet, Ford has offered some kind of P05(?) program because of the number of complaints.
    Hope you continue to enjoy your ZX3.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    You must be a very convincing speaker because it was clearly stated in Ford's memo that they would only replace the fuel pump if the car exhibited the symptoms.

    Are you sleeping with the service manager? :-)
  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    Get the motor in the hatch now before they are gone! Great deals to be had!
  • Didn't really want a new fuel pump that bad........although I do remember mentioning I'd be in the market for a new Focus SVT this spring.

    Hey whatever it takes....almost!
  • loolalaloolala Posts: 19
    I had my fuel pump replaced at the dealer two weeks ago. Shortly before I got that letter from Ford, I had two incidents which may/may not cause by the old fuel pump. Once I had a rough start in a cold morning. The idle was rough, but it never died. The second one was it stalled while I was on the road. Lucky that I was on a quiet road. Anyway, the dealer agreed to replace it without many questions! FYI, mine is a 2000 ZX3 with stick and just went over 62,500. Shortly after they replaced the fuel pump, I had it tuned up at my local mechanic. They replaced the fuel filter, a leaking gasket, spark plugs, and flushed my radiator. It was the first time I had to pay for service on this car. They said the fuel filter was really dirty, and that was exactly what Ford said the problem might be with the old fuel pump!
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    The filter Ford was talking about is inside the gas tank attached to the pump itself.... not the fuel line that you're referring to. The fuel filter should be replaced periodically (I can't remember the exact period... but it's in the manual).

    FYI: The spark plugs are designed to go 100k miles.

    Question: what gasket did they replace?
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    I noticed the other day while under my car that there is fluid at the bottom of the transmission near the drain plug, along the gasket. Anyone else had any trouble with a leaking manual transmission? I don't like the fact that you can't check the fluid level on manual transmissions easily (at least not in this car).
  • loolalaloolala Posts: 19
    Does that mean we actually have two fuel filters in the system? Anyway, I believe my mechanic is trustworthy, and he had been changing oil for me on this car since day one. I always asked him to check if anything needed to be done, but all I have been paying is the $21 oil change till this tune up. Anyway, it's $240 total this time, and I think it's not bad even the spark plugs should have lasted a bit longer! Mechanics always have their guide line like changing oil every 3000 miles. I do those every 5000miles per the manuel. I didn't know exactly which gasket(s) he said was leaking, but I never had anything on my driveway. Am I the only one not having problem with my car??
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    No, not the only one.

    We've got a 2001 SE with close to 50,000 trouble free miles on it. It's my 21 year old son's ride and taken him from Freshman year at college (he's a senior now) to and from Ithaca, NY from Long Island and last year he and the Focus spent a semester in LA. Only the usual maintenance items and he's loved the time. I drove out to LA with him last year and you'd be surprised how stable it felt at 105 (there sure are some open areas in Texas and Arizona).

    We have the oil & filter changed every 3-4000 miles, and had the radiator and transmission serviced at the appropriate time. We also replaced the original Firestone tires last Fall (they were horrible in the snow) with 4 Toyos that my son says are much better. Re the spark plugs...my mechanic tells me that although the plugs will last 100,000 miles, he'd hate to try to get them out of the engine after all that time. I think in the scope of things, replacing things before they wear out is a small price to pay.

    No, loola, the cars are not the garbage that many would have you believe.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    2000 - 2002 Foci ARE the garbage people would have you believe. I would not have my son driving this vehicle if I valued his safety.

    Speaking factually:

    -11 safety recalls to date (the all time record is 13 for GM's X-Car platform in the 80s)

    Real people were injured before these recalls were issued, including (but not limited to): Engine fires, burns from premature airbag deployment, loss of control with suspension failures

    For more recall information please see the NHSTA website.

    Personally I was stranded on the coldest day of the year (10 degrees and -40 with windchill) on a 4 lane highway with no breakdown lane for failed fuel pump. Thankfully, no injury occurred.... maybe because my car is yellow and easy to see.

    For statistical reliablity information please see consumer reports. 2000 to 02 models exhibit problems in many areas and often the rate of occurance is very high.

    There is an entire website related to people who have had extremely premature break wear. I, by the grace of god, have been spared this problem. However, I just replaced my front rotors because chunks of them were rusted away. They went BEFORE the pads were done.

    Check your trade-in value on your car, but keep a box of tissues handy because it will make you cry.

    Check this website and compare the number of threads complaining versus praising. Then go to another discussion of a Honda or Toyota vehicle and do the same thing. There is a world of difference.

    Finally my personal woes:

    1. Snapped clutch spring
    2. Leaking power steering fluid resulting in a new rack and pinion
    3. Dead radio
    4. Four, yes four, DPFE sensors
    5. Sway bar endlinks, 2 pair
    6. Dead fuel pump
    7. Dead A/C (it's in the shop as I type this and they don't know what's wrong).
    8. Dead Thermostat (resulting in overheating)
    9. Leaking manual transmission (they're also trying to figure that out right now).
    10. New heat shield

    I'm not even including the recalls.

    Best of luck with your cars!
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    ..I own a 2000 ZTS sedan and a 2002 ZX5. The 2000 ZTS sedan did require the fuel pump to be replaced at 26,000 miles which is bad...but that was it between the two for problems.

    The 2000 was actually T-boned only a month into ownership (yes I was mad!) and the fire department/police were impressed with how it held up. Said normally small cars that size look much worse in side impacts. Door even still opened and shut correctly which seemed to really impress them. I realize that is just one situation, so take it with a grain of salt if you like. I've seen some pretty good accident photos at "the other site" and the Focuses seem to hold up very well in accidents for small cars.

    Anyway, while I can sympathize with people who have had problems, the cars are not the crap that some would portray. Yes you can get a lemon, of course I've seen that with "bullet-proof" Accords where the tranny dropped out at 23K miles.

    Resale value is a very real issue though, but not because of the car. Look at any small domestic car...well really just about any domestic car and you take it in the shorts. Of course my out the door price was rediculously low to begin with, so that helps.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    I'm not saying you can't get a good apple out of the bunch.. but the proportion of good vs. bad is out of wack and the bad ones are REALLY bad. My co-worker's 2002 is in shop often as well.

    Structurally it is sound, as evidence of crash tests.

    I want to make it understood that I'm not knocking the vehicle in terms of anything but reliability.

    Garbage might be politically incorrect. Quality challenged is maybe more palletable.

    One may argue that you only see the complaints on this site because people who are satisfied don't write about their cars. This is true. However, look at the VOLUME of complaints being generated.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    well if you do look at the numbers, the 2000 and 2001's had the lions share of the problems. looking at the numbers, types of complaints, and third party data like Consumer Reports, the 2002 and on seemed to do very well.

    I do believe if I had to pick between the two, I'd take a 2002+ over a 2000 or 2001 model.

    *sorry if I wasn't clear in the above, I'm not saying that problem cars aren't out there as they are. Just that when you take the shear volume of cars made (number 1 produced car in the world for at least a couple of years) you're simply going to have more problem children out there. Plus the spotty launch of the Focus on top of that is going to cause more problems as well.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    I agree and I think you must add in dealers who don't give a darn to the mix! A problem car with a good dealer is just a problem car. A problem car with a BAD dealer is a disaster! A lot of the problems are traceable to a dealer who doesn't give a damn.

    I do agree that the number of problems are made even worse by the sheer volume of cars sold and yes, those who are happy tend to keep quiet while those that are mad write a lot.

    Can only speak from our experience...good car, good dealer.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    excellent point. That is something that I've touched on in the News and Views area where you could have car A and car B with the exact same problem, but if one dealer really screws up trying to get it fixed, that owner isn't going to be happy with the car while the other one probably still will.

    I have a good Ford dealer nearby, but know of a really crappy one on the other side of town that a friend used to take her Focus (2001 ZX3) to. She had a few minor problems that they couldn't fix (or didn't try) and she became real frustrated and thought the car was a pile of crap. I recomended my local dealer (Actually closer to her house), they fix the problem immediately, and now she's happy with the car.

    Now while Ford cannot directly control the dealer, it is still Ford's problem having crappy service at some dealers out there...but that happens with many brands. My boss gets terrible service with his Toyota dealer, but great service with his GMC truck. Go figure.
  • dgsdgs Posts: 20
    My wife's uncle only uses Ford Focuses for his business. His company has been purchasing them since they first came out in 2000, at the same Ford dealership her family has been doing business with for many years. None of the cars he purchased has seen less than 100,000 miles, and all have been problem free. I'm not saying the initial couple of years were problem free. But anyone who bought a Focus from 2000 to 2002 was clearly playing Russian Roulette.

    I believe the 2003 and 2004 models, are approaching the level of the Japanese. This is a good thing, because the Focus is easily the best handling and most feature rich car in its class. I can't wait to take delivery of my PZEV ZX5 in a few weeks.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Very true. My Mom has a Camry that is thankfully fine because her Toyota dealer is rotten with service!

    We deal with a great Mom & Pop type Ford dealership (I've bought the 3 Fords we now own - one 2000 and two 2001s - from the owner) and the service manager is very personable and responsive. When my son's Focus made a suspension noise when we first got it, Ken took a spin with me, herd the noise, hung out the window while he was driving down the street to get a better fix on the location of the sound, and fixed it first time! That's the difference that can make a problem car a good thing or a very bad thing!

    Also, a good dealer will actively work within Ford for you...a dealer who doesn't care will brush you off and never give you access to the process.

    Another reason to shop more than price. Over the years, that $100 you saved can cause you a hell of a lot more misery that it put in your pocket!
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    We typically delete posts with profanity and we've had a bit the last few posts (be it mild and not used to attack another member). If you could post without it, it would be greatly appreciated. You'd be surprised the number of emails we get stating "please delete this post with XYZ profanity, I find it offensive."

    I know, I know (grumble), but again, posting without it would be greatly appreciated.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    Is Edmunds getting bent out of shape with "crap" again or did I miss something above? I looked back through and a saw a couple of "crap"s, a "crappy" and one "damn". I know Edmunds used to get bent out of shape with "crap" but hasn't in years.

    Is that what the problem is? Might be more benificial to those of us who may have sinned if we know what's wrong as I don't see anything offensive above (unless you already deleted it?).
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    It would seem to all fall in line with FCC and the Bush administrations push to puritanize the country. Good luck.

    Is Edmunds based in the south? They're certainly not liberal.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    As a displaced Southerner, I can assure you that "crap" and "damn" is no problem. As I was in the military and met lots of people from different places, I'm going to use my U.S. State stereotype 4000 module (patent pending) and go with Wisconsin or Utah. ;-)
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    not to get off-topic - crap is fine. And you'll note that I didn't delete the posts. I simply asked to not use the hell, damn, etc. if you can help it. Believe it or not, we do get emails from your fellow TH members about it.

    OK - anymore on this, please email me privately as to not let the Focus discussion get off-topic.

    Thanks
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    Well, my gosh darned Focus is in the shop again. The clutch pooped out at 76k miles along with the dog gone A/C compressor. Thank the almighty one for giving me the wisdom to buy an Extended Service Plan. They've had it for 3 days now. We're currently bickering over who has to pay for the clutch. The service manager, who is a doodie head, says that clutches are not covered. My argument is that the policy says only that "manual clutch disc" isn't covered (he named 3 things along with the clutch disc). Everything else is. I'm going to persue this in small claims court if they deny the claim.

    They can just go to heck =D

    (all content censured so as not to offend those of the big brother administration.)
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    I think you are really asking for way too much.
    Even the original manuf warranty doesn't cover the clutch and brakes any longer than first 12,000 miles.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    Here is the list of your problems.

    1. Snapped clutch spring - big deal.
    2. Leaking power steering fluid resulting in a new rack and pinion - how much did it leak? The reason I'm askin because some Focuses leak power steering fluid extremely slowly and the fluid needs to be topped off only once a year without creating any problems.
    It's funny how the Honda and VW engines with oil consumption appetites of up to a quart every 1,000 miles are still to be considered operating within the manufacturer's guidelines.
    3. Dead radio - O.K.
    4. Four, yes four, DPFE sensors
    5. Sway bar endlinks, 2 pair - again very minor.
    6. Dead fuel pump
    7. Dead A/C (it's in the shop as I type this and they don't know what's wrong) -- They don't know what's wrong? What have they done so far?
    8. Dead Thermostat (resulting in overheating)
    9. Leaking manual transmission (they're also trying to figure that out right now) -- Figure out what? If it's really leaking or not?
    10. New heat shield - I realy wonder what could go wrong with that chunk of aluminium.

    First of all you haven't paid for any of those repairs just yet thanks to the extended warranty.

    Second, the only serious problem out of those 10 was the fuel pump wich is a very common one and carries an extended 10 year warranty through Ford.

    You're saying that you got 76,000 miles on your car.
    Things like thermostat, brakes, clutch, A/C problems are not uncommon at that mileage, and are considered to be normal tear and wear. At that mileage those items would need to be replaced during normal maintanance on almost every car (A/C refilled)

    DPFE sensors going bad after one another...
    Well I don't know exactly what were your symptoms but suspect that those were unecessary replacements unles you were getting the CEL's with a specific code pointing to that part.
    The fuel pumps don't go bad overnight. In most cases you will start experiencing driveability problems like hesitation and sputtering long before it goes completely dead. Those are also the symptoms of a bad DPFE sensor.
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