Ford Focus Hatchback ZX3 - Part XI

mznmzn Member Posts: 727
edited March 2014 in Ford
Let's keep talking about the cult car of the 00's!
To catch up on the conversation, please click
here. You are more than welcome to post photographs
for which you hold the copyright.



  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Those of you who've had your dealer correct an off-center steering wheel by performing a front end alignment (like me), it pays to keep an eye on front tire wear to make sure the tech got it right. In my case, I notice that in the 1500 miles I've driven since the alignment, both front tires have very pronounced "feathering", indicative of excessive toe-in. The car tracks straight and the wheel is dead-on, but they obviously messed up somewhere. I've got an appointment for tomorrow for a re-alignment - wonder what they are going to do about my tires? I'd guess they will suggest a front-to-back rotation to try to even out the wear. Obviously not a "Focus" problem, but another good reason for you to pay attention to your car.
  • weslwesl Member Posts: 53
    To 5spd Zx3 owners:
    I currently own a 1995 Contour V6/5spd. The car has 102,000 miles on the original transmission and clutch. As you all know, the Contour and Focus both use the Mtx75 transmission. Since day one my car has rattled in nuetral, and made clattering noises when taking of in first and second gears. This seems to be a part of the design of the transmission, and the longevity seems to be very good. Most Contour owners have had few transmission problems to worth mentioning. First gear and reverse engagement is sometimes difficult in cold weather and can be solved by using synthetic lubricant. Third gear is the weak link in older Contours, but this problem seems to have been fixed. The differential is also a problem area, but this stems from abuse and is not a concern for a mature driver. Good luck with your Zx3's. Later, Wes.
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Wesl's post brings to light an interesting fact: the MTX75 is fairly understressed in our ZX3s, since we only have a 130 HP four cylinder engine and not a torquey V6. My guess would be we have little to worry about when it comes to transaxle failure.
  • bjammin2bjammin2 Member Posts: 42
    I agree with you sentiments on the windows. I saw a set of window motors and power lock motors at JC Whitney. What parts are you using on your car, OEM or aftermarket? Let me know how it goes. I'd like to give it a try.
  • fgaydosfgaydos Member Posts: 319
    Well, the grand experiment is a big success. I went and purchased some peanut oil and using a cotton ball I applied it on the plastic trim that was stained with the car polish. It works very well. I like it better than the peanut butter as you do not have to clean the butter away. It just soaks in. A bottle will last a two lifetimes. Now I need a good recipe to use up all that oil......
  • pcleveland2pcleveland2 Member Posts: 516
    Left Side (Drivers Side) Door Jam.
  • pcleveland2pcleveland2 Member Posts: 516
    Carlady says we can post pictures which we hold copyright to. How? Somebody guide me to instructions.

  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    I hate to be a wet (oily?) blanket, but let us know how the peanut oil trick works after the car has been washed a few times, or spends a week slogging through the rain. I have this sneaking suspicion you haven't seen the last of Mr. Wax Stain. Back in the early to mid 80's, VW put textured black plastic moulding around the wheel arches and all around Rabbits, Jettas, and early Golfs. This plastic discolored when you looked at it funny, and was impossible to keep stain-free. I tried everything on my '83 GTI, and nothing worked permanently -- I wound up replacing all the trim eventually :(
  • zx3zx3 Member Posts: 167
    FGAYDOS: Just read your "Peanut Oil" post.
    Will you please post how it looks a week from now? I have reasons for asking.
    I'm running similar tests, and maybe next week you and I can compare notes on how we made out.
    Here's the skinny, so far....

    My z had whitish wax-streaks on the black plastic exterior trim. So, couple weeks ago, I went the Peanut Butter route.
    Result: Trim was once again beautiful coal black.
    So I noisily posted a big "eureka" here, telling of my success.
    (Hmmm, Looks like maybe I shoulda waited a few days)......

    A week later, the whitish wax-smears started re-appearing. Not as bad as originally, but still noticeable and objectionable.
    However, I remember the terry-cloth I used to do the job, was not all that clean. (I had used it for polishing the haze off after a Meguiar Liquid Wax job). It might have been "re-introducing wax", at same time it was rubbing off the "Peanut Butter n' wax-residue".

    So today, as an experiment --- not having peanut Oil (and already having used peanut Butter) I tried two other products on the trim --- ON TWO SEPARATE PIECES OF TRIM.
    Here's what I used......

    (1) "BLACK CHROME TRIM/SEALER" (Turtle Wax).
    Label says it is specifically for Exterior car use on black trim, tires, rubber, flat paint etc.
    "Cleans off dirt, scum, wax-residue, restores shine, seals" ...."It is superior to so-called universal interior/exterior products".
    (That last claim is probably slam at "ArmorAll").
    NOTE: Product has been sitting unused in my shop for a year. So, it might have lost some strength.

    (2) "BLACK MAGIC TOTAL SHINE" (Blue Coral).
    Label says "Does NOT leave whitish wax-residue on black plastic car trim" .... "Use on paint, clearcoat, wheels, bumper, rubber, vinyl, chrome, plastic trim"... "A Wax, A Protectant, A Metal Polish, A Plastic Polish".... "Also removes powdery white residue left on car trim by conventional waxes" .... bla,bla.

    I'll post Wed. how each trim looks, after "only 1 day" ...and next week on how it looks "long term".
    Then we can compare it with your long-term Peanut Oil results. This will tell us which would be the better way to go. Later...
  • zx3beastzx3beast Member Posts: 661
    drebe,whats the results?
  • tr4racertr4racer Member Posts: 5
    My dealer told me yesterday that the fuel pump will not be available until July 24. Ford Customer Service will be getting a call today.
  • tuner1tuner1 Member Posts: 44
    What is the purpose of having a liner on the under side of the hood?I've never owned a car that has one.Thank's in advance!
  • rathstarrathstar Member Posts: 12
    hi all, I just got back from a 1000-mile round trip. what an exciting weekend! I must say that my z provided the most comfortable ride from albuquerque to denver that i've ever had. And don't worry, I stayed close to the speed limit (of the z that is!!) my average mpg was 27, and my average speed was 72 on the way down and 77 on the way up. I had a lot of trouble with the speed control; it wouldn't maintain my speed on even the slightest incline, but if I controlled the speed manually I could maintain the speed no problem. Of course, the problem with that is, once you start accelerating at high speeds, you've hit 100 before you know it!

    On the way back, 70 miles away from my destination I hit the worst rainstorm i've ever driven in. It was completely non-eventful though, as my car didn't seem to know it was raining! I was very impressed with the handling during the whole trip. Also, when I was in Albuquerque, I took a couple of people out for a demo run and they absolutely loved it. Even my aunt was gushing with compliments (being a 3-time Porsche owner and autocross competitor, her opinion matters to me.)

    Now not to start any fights or anything, but what were those accords doing on the side of the road? I saw 3 of them... /-:

    Oh and I remember hearing a while back that someone bought a twilight blue zx3 in Longmont CO? well your car has a twin in Ft Collins! (-:

  • tickbittytickbitty Member Posts: 250
    I'm certain that the liner is for insulation, to minimize the engine noise.

    Just thought I'd tell y'all that I checked my mileage after a couple road trips this weekend, and it was 38+ !!! And that's with the A/C running the whole time. I'm pretty darn pleased, especially with gas prices like they are!

    I'm ready for my #2 oil change at 6000 miles since April, and the car has had no problems, not even a rattle. My biggest problem has been keeping the inside clean. Anybody have a Kona edition? They are supposed to have "washable seatcovers." What are they like and can we buy them for our non-Konas?
  • rgarnerrgarner Member Posts: 37
    Okay folks, here we go. I had my Focus looked at for rattling noises and tranny noise, and here's what they found at the dealership. The first part is the explanation (to the word) that I gave them. The second part is their explanation (to the word) of what is going on.

    "Here is a brief explanation of the two possible problems I have noticed with my Focus. I have experienced both of these on and off and have had no problems associated with either noise to this point. However, I still believe that the noises (at least one of them) is probably not a normal noise that I should be experiencing. In addition, I do know other Focus owners who have experienced similar noises.

    1- While accelerating in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gears I hear a rattling noise. This occurs in the lower RPM's up to about 2500, and it sounds to me like a "diesel" rattle. That is the closest noise I can compare to what I'm hearing. It's a subtle noise but can be heard easily with the windows rolled up and the radio turned off. In the higher RPM's it tends to go away, but it is almost always present in the lower RPM's.

    2- The more serious noise is a rattle I am hearing in the transmission. The noise occurs on and off and can be heard with the car in neutral (sitting still) while slightly pressing the accelerator. A rat-tat-tat occurs for a second and then clears up as the RPM's become higher. There are other times when I can hear the noise while just sitting in idle without pressing the accelerator. This noise continues as long as I stay in idle. I can replicate the noise (even if it isn't present) by slightly pushing the stick forward (but not in gear) without pressing the clutch in (sitting still). Obviously this noise is present because the clutch isn't engaged, but it's the same noise that I hear in neutral. Also, at certain times when I hear the noise in neutral I can make it momentarily stop by slightly pressing the stick forward (but not in gear) without engaging the clutch. However, when the stick comes back into neutral the noise comes back. Many times I can also feel the same noise if I place my foot on the clutch. Also, it is not the same noise as mentioned above. This noise is also subtle, and is more easily heard with the windows closed.

    It may be difficult to hear these noises at first, but they are present. Like I've said before, they come and go, so there are times when I hear neither. I'm especially concerned about the noise in the transmission."

    And the Ford Tech. Gods said,

    "... checking your Focus for transmission noise. Rattling type noise on acceleration and also in neutral. What we have is a normal gear roll over type noise. They use a synthetic fluid in the transmission and it's approximately like a 10 weight oil, very thin, pretty much like automatic transmission fluid. There's not a whole lot of cushion to suppress the noise from the gear roll over, or gear chatter. That's your normal condition in neutral. When you're driving it, if you do let it load up in gears like third or fourth gear at 15 or 20 mph, tip in the throttle, you do hear a little bit of gear chatter, and that's also normal. Just like, same thing with the fluid, there's not really a lot of cushion with the fluid to quieten the gears down like in the older model transmissions. Checked for special service messages, nothing out on the vehicle at this time for this complaint. Did road test the vehicle with the shop foreman. He pretty much says the same thing I do..."

  • vadpvadp Member Posts: 1,025
    If it's normal, why there are just few of us complaining.
    It is a brand new car.
    And I expect it to be in a noise free condition.
    I guess the only option left is to call the ford customer service center and file a complain.
    BTW why other cars don't have a similar noise?
  • rancid2rancid2 Member Posts: 3
    IVD stands for Interactive Vehicle Driving. What is it for? It individualizes tire traction on irregular surfaces (a.e. one wheel over pavement and the other over snow). Good option for ZX3 2001.

    RKE stands for Remote Keyless Entry. Keyfobs you use to open the doors or trunks without using the key.

    I love you love our ZX3s.

  • rancid2rancid2 Member Posts: 3
    If the connector is under the seat it is the air bag connector. If you havent take it to the dealer, do so, the male connector should be hiding somewhere under the floor carpet.

    Keep Enjoying the ZX3

  • kdominczakkdominczak Member Posts: 174
    What are your impressions driving a Ford Focus?

    Submit it here:
  • minizx3minizx3 Member Posts: 32
    Tickbitty..I too have average atound 38+mpg with a/c highway and some "city" driving. I'm extremely happy and surprised at the same time. I've been driving around for two weeks and just filled up yesterday! I'm sooo happy I got this car!
  • rancid2rancid2 Member Posts: 3
    Anti-Lining Picking Coated Seats are available for late 2000 Model Year ZX3s. Kona Seatcovers I think are available aftermarket, check with your dealer
  • tognetertogneter Member Posts: 245
    Okay...on a highway trip once I got around 36. But in town I get about 24, and 50/50 combo driving I get 28.

    What on earth are you people doing?
  • tickbittytickbitty Member Posts: 250
    Well, first of all I should have mentioned that I drive a 5 speed, which helps. I haven't kept track of the mileage every tank, but I've gotten as bad as 27 or so for ONLY around town stop and go driving. 32 or 33 or so for totally mixed highway and in-town, and 38 or better for mostly highway with some additional mixed. Better than I expected but wish I was ALWAYS over 30.
    Not doing anything special though.
  • gabegarwickgabegarwick Member Posts: 127
    I once hit 39+ mpg on a short road trip in my ZX3. Only had 800 miles on it at the time. Haven't taken any trips lately...I'll have to do that soon and see what I get. In town it's about 22 mpg, but I'm still only at 2200 miles.

    Recipe using peanut oil:
    For a tasty treat, use it to cook your popcorn instead of corn oil.
    Also, I use it when cooking some chinese dishes (cashew chicken or even stir fry)

  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    That liner helps absorb engine noise, but it also is needed to provide some heat insulation as well. Underhood temps in modern cars are killer, largely because the catalytic convertor lives right in the engine compartment of most newer cars. Without a liner, you'd bake the paint pretty quick.
  • anonymousanonymous Member Posts: 314
    Hey everybody.
    Here is a quick information regarding the clutches.

    We've been told to leave the transmission in
    Neutral and the foot off the clutch pedal when stopped at a light, and not to rest the foot on the clutch between shifts. Otherwise, we would be wearing out the clutch-release bearing.
    It is all wrong!
    Most manual transmissions today, and for the last 10 or 12 years, have a self-adjusting clutch system. To accomplish this amazing feat, the clutch-release bearing is running all the time no matter what.
    Second, the clutch-release bearing today is much larger than necessary.
    These clutch-release bearings are designed to go one million cycles (pushing the pedal down one million times). So people can feel free
    to leave their foot on the clutch pedal today at stoplights with no negative repercussions.
  • vadpvadp Member Posts: 1,025
    It was me actually. Sorry.
  • norwaydougnorwaydoug Member Posts: 249
    Yes....that was me and ok, I am wrong about that.

    As far as resting your foot on the clutch between shifts: I still think that is a 'no-no'. One person's version of resting their foot on the clutch could be much different than anothers. That is, one person may have the clutch half engaged! I always keep my foot fully off the clutch between shifts.

    Still Vadp sounds a lot more knowledgeable than me regarding this issue. I just do what my Dad told me to do and I haven't changed.

  • pcleveland2pcleveland2 Member Posts: 516
    Get ordinary peanut butter, chunky not necessary. Pick up a large, toothbrush type, brush from hardware or autoparts store. Brush the trim like you would your teeth. Then wash off. When you wax car make sure you do not get wax on the trim.

    I don't think the terry towels will get the trim clean. The brush is necessary to get into the low part of the trim.

    I also think you have to use peanut butter, not oil. Maybe if you brushed the oil, but the oil would splatter all over and it's more expensive than peanut butter.

    I know, brushing is work, but nice things need a little work to keep them nice.

  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Hydraulic systems (like clutch and brake systems) are inherently self adjusting - which is one of several reasons they have replaced cable actuation. HOWEVER, the release bearing ("throw out bearing") is not pre-engaged, unless Ford is doing something that virtually no other auto maker does. Until you depress the clutch, the release bearing is not rotating. Depressing the pedal pivots the release arm/bearing assembly, and brings the bearing into contact with the diaphragm springs on the spinning clutch cover - THEN it starts to turn. The bearing continues to spin until you release your foot from the clutch. Unless you want to wear out your release bearing prematurely, don't sit with your car in gear (or neutral for that matter) with the clutch depressed.
  • vadpvadp Member Posts: 1,025

    Here is a link to a list of TSB's for Merkur Scorpio.
    The very first one in the trasmission section mentions "clicking" and "crackling".
    Sounds familiar?
    So they think it's not normal to have that sound in the Scorpio.(assuming it's a similar problem)
  • tognetertogneter Member Posts: 245
    I also have a 5-speed.

    Do you actually shift when the light goes on? I can't imagine getting 27-28 in town...and I have 5300 miles on my car.
  • domingos34domingos34 Member Posts: 27
    hi guys.i have a zx3 with 220 miles .love the car but i think the car bounces a little to much when u go over very small holes or unheaven this normal or do i have a bad suspension? i would relly appriciate some input from zx3 owners .thanks a lot.
  • drebe73drebe73 Member Posts: 243
    Just kidding. I was given that as a rental, that I have to cover 13 bucks a day of, while my ZX3 is back in the shop. I have yet to hear what the problem is exactly. My service rep gave me no answers. So now im drining a 2000 Montero Sport. What a difference, this is like driving a boat compaired to my ZX3. Feels odd to be driving auto again. Needless to say I want my car back. I actually have driven my car for a total of 2 and and a half months since I bought it in January, and I think that is laughable. I wish I had just ordered a 2001. I do believe they fixed my loose drivers side window. I didnt mention the ticking sound that I am hearing from the front as well (sounds to be coming from the passenger side) And the ratteling from the back seems to have gone away or at least I dont seem to notice any more. I'll keep you posted with the progress.
  • silyboysilyboy Member Posts: 90
    silver-- thanks so much for the tip i will have to watch the tire wear now too. I know how you feel about the allignment thing though. I took mine in since it was pulling right. Dealer over-corrected so it was going left. Took it back to dealer and that dealer swore up and down it was fine now (tech and serv. manager both drove it). Took to a different dealer in area and they corrected it. Seemed to only be one week though and it was off center again. Took back to that dealer.... they now have it centered perfectly. So I guess I will have to watch the tires now to see if it is affecting them!
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    I took my ZX3 in for a realignment today, after noticing front tire "feathering" 1500 miles after the last alignment (which cured the crooked steering wheel). The service writer confirmed my suspicions: "Well, dang, your toe WAS out of spec. Its all fixed now". "Please print out the final specs for my records", says I. Sure enough, the right side was toed in bigtime. No charge, off I go. What's this? Now the wheel is crooked again! Back I go, "try again, please!". Second time is better, only very slightly off-center. Guess I'm just too picky. "What about my feathered tires?". Service guru says to just drive on 'em, they'll even out with some more miles. Hmmm. And don't talk to me about the inch long scratch the alignment tech put on my front bumper, probably because he was so pi**ed off at the comeback. Sigh.

    Since I had so much time to kill at the dealers, I checked out the current Focus inventory. No yellow cars, but he had TEN Kona cars, in several colors - all but one were automatics :-( I know it is personal preference, but I sure don't care for the wheel design or the dorky side moulding. Might look good with some peanut butter on it, though :)
  • zx3zx3 Member Posts: 167
    The "Black Chrome" and the "Blk Magic Total Shine" applications (to 2 exterior trim pieces that had cruddy wax residue on them) show them still "clean, black, wax-residue-free" 24 hrs later.
    Next week, I'll post again how trim looks (because time is the best test).
  • zx3zx3 Member Posts: 167
    Dom: You ask if z bounces too much on washboard roads or over holes.
    That's a tough question.
    (I personally find the ride to be superb).

    However, if you are used to driving a boat (Buick or Caddy, etc.) -- then Yes, the z is "bouncy" on rough roads.
    But if you've owned any excellent "road-machines" (like VW etc.) you don't consider the z a Rough Ride -- but rather a "responsive" car, a "feel of the road" car. Which is good.
    If you're still concerned, you should have a competent mechanic and/or front-end shop check the suspension thoroughly. Later...
  • fgaydosfgaydos Member Posts: 319
    You all are right about waiting awhile before I say victory. So far it has held up nicely in the rain and sun. Which is more than I can say about the 'Black Magic' product. It is possible I did not brush it (Blk. Mag.)in enough. I'll keep all interested parties informed.
  • zx3beastzx3beast Member Posts: 661
    last seen rubbing down unidentified z owner's
    side moldings. armed with peanut oil and considered
    very slippery.
  • njzx3njzx3 Member Posts: 170
    anyone have any tips on badge removal?


    but again, i dont need it just yet... still waitin on my car... i get the feeling that im gettin jerked around by the dealership..
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Use monofilament fishing line or a good quality dental floss & carefully "saw" through the spongey adhesive that attaches the badges to the car. It helps to wet down the area with a slippery solution of soap and water. With the badge out of the way, you can use a rotary "adhesive eraser" (available from an auto body supply shop) or carefully use 3M Adhesive Cleaner to soften and remove the residue. Finish up by polishing and waxing the paint on the panel.
  • fgaydosfgaydos Member Posts: 319
    I was wondering what they were doing, thought they wanted cooking tips. Zinc stir fry?
  • gabegarwickgabegarwick Member Posts: 127
    For those of you still looking for pictures of a zinc yellow ZX3, please follow this link...

    For some pics of a Kona edition ZX3 (including close-ups of the 'patterned' side molding, click here...

  • tickbittytickbitty Member Posts: 250
    No, I ignore the shift light, I really don't even see it anymore. Maybe my around town checks were lucky? I'll have to keep a more consistent log, then I'll let you know. PS, my "around town" is suburban, not real city driving.
  • superf22superf22 Member Posts: 54
    ended up spending more time cleaning the oil that spilled from the filter than I actually did during the rest of the process. those who said the horizontal position was less than desireble were right. next time i'm going to cover the entire thing with rags before taking the filter off, I just hope it doesn't start smelling like burnt oil...sure would ruin the new car smell.

    where can I find out how to change the transmission oil? thanks.
  • rgarnerrgarner Member Posts: 37
    I know you guys have all posted this before, maybe I'm just to lazy to go back and read.

    It seems that the consensus is for synthetic oil. So, what brands are the best? Does it matter? Should I stick with the same viscosity?
    I guess I can get my oil filter at any auto parts store?

    Any ideas on a good travel kit for your car? I was thinking of the following items, but I may be missing something:

    Cell phone
    Jumper cables
    Car jack and spare (should be there)
    Tools-But which should I carry with me?
    Fuses-Again, any certain ones?
    Quart of oil...
  • jeffyjcjeffyjc Member Posts: 14
    Had to take My Baby into the dealer, three times now the front passenger side floor is totally wet the dealer is not sure what is the problem, mentioned something about car washing any one see something like this before on the site? I have had the car since Jan and this is the first time I am without it...any help would be much appreciated
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Stick with the recommended viscosity range, i.e., 5W-30. I've always used Mobil 1, but full synthetics are also available from Castrol, Quaker State, and others. You can even buy Motorcraft branded synthetic oil, but last time I checked, Ford wasn't into the oil refining business. Motorcraft FL2005 filters are available from most good auto parts stores.

    Water leaks can be a real pain to locate. If your dealer is as dense as mine was yesterday, you might want to consider taking your car to a quality auto glass shop that uses ultrasonic leak detection equipment. This is a cool device - they place a small ultrasonic transmitter inside the car with all the windows and vents closed, then go around the outside of the car with the matching receiver looking for a strong signal - voila! there's a potential leak.
  • bjammin2bjammin2 Member Posts: 42
    Projectzx3-I saw your post in the club focus discussion board. I'm interested in getting one. However, how is this thing better than using a K&N replacement filter for the stock filter box? If anything, wouldn't it just draw in warmer air? I know the stock snorkel is still there, but I don't think it'll help much to cool things, especially when not moving.
This discussion has been closed.