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Ford Focus ZX3



  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    Minor or major, they are problems that cost time and money. There is still a $50 deductible and I paid $800 for the warranty. There is no such thing as FREE. It doesn't matter how sudden or how long it takes for a problem to surface and, in the case of the DPFE, it's a slow process that starts with minor hesitation that turns major and then the check engine light comes on.

    If you find these problems acceptable, I wish I could be you because then I could buy crappy cars for the rest of my life and be happy.

    As soon as I finish building my house and know what my cash situation it, I'm donating the car to charity and buying either Honda or a Toyota.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    If you find these problems acceptable, I wish I could be you because then I could buy crappy cars for the rest of my life and be happy.

    :) :)

    ..I'm donating the car to charity and buying either Honda or a Toyota.

    Just don't buy any used Toyota or Lexus made in 1997 through 2002 with 3.0L V-6, or 2.2L four-cylinder engines.
    Because you can find yourself with an engine choking on a buildup of sludge from oxidized oil in the form of mucky goo that can seize up the motor. There are 3.3 mil of those out there.

    Good luck, man.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    Who said anything about used?? Nah, then you're wondering if the person before you abused it. I'm thinking Scion.... or I'm hoping something new and exciting will be around when I'm in the market again.

    I'll just be happy to get my car back from the dealer tomorrow (fingers crossed).
  • kmagkmag Posts: 98
    Thats a lot of problems in 76K miles. One or two of those occuring might be normal. All of them is not, but for a Focus maybe it is.

    I am a Ford fan. Here is the list of problems I've had with my recent Fords for the first 76K miles.

    94 Escort LX - Nothing. Traded it at 65K - wish I'd kept it.

    96 Escort GT - Needed new plugs and wires at 52K. Should have done it myself but it started acting up on a rainy day.

    99 Mercury Mystique - Broken air vent, replaced under warranty. Warped dash fixed under recall. Alignment went out every 10K miles. Traded with 72K miles.

    As I said I like Fords and I would have got a new Focus this year but I could not afford payments, and frankly the reputation is not good for the used ones.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    I picked up my car the day before yesterday (after they kept it for 6 days) and when I got home I noticed they billed me for a battery that I did not ask for and did not even get. This morning they corrected the 91 dollar mistake.

    Then on the ride home from work, the check engine light comes on.

    PLEASE let someone steal my car and drive it off a cliff!!!
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    Now, day 3, after getting my car back, I have a "check fuel cap" light on in addition to the check engine light.

    I'm going to get a new fuel cap after work and then I'm going to have autozone read the trouble code just to be sure it's related.

    The misery continues....

    Anyone want to buy a focus with 3 years and 30k miles left on the warranty? Yeah, I thought not.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I would as long as it's not yours ;-)
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    I'm sooooo much smarter than those technicians. I got the trouble codes from Autozone, looked them up on the internet and did some poking around under the hood. I found that one of the hoses that go to the EGR assembly was disconnected.

    They were working on my transmission, how do you knock out a hose? I would chock it up to pure stupidity, but I'm inclined to think they did it on purpose to some how recoup their money on the 6 days they had my car for warranty work.

    Oh yeah, bring it on!
  • dah1414dah1414 Posts: 1
    I am looking at a new 2004 Focus ZX3. I was wondering to those with the newer supposedly revised 2003 or 2004 models...are you happy? This is my first car and I want to make a sound investment. With only really the reliability ratings from 2002 and before to go by I am feeling unsure. Any suggestions or comments?
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    The revised Focus will hit the street this Spring as a 2005 model.
    For more info bhcp=1

    Also, you'll find a lot more info about Focus reliability on the Focus-only boards (google for Ford Focus).

    Good luck.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    P.S. Check out this article. It seems FoMoCo is trying really hard...
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    Ford really can't afford to fall on its face, YET AGAIN. Neither can GM or Chyrsler. With all the companies that Ford has bought, they should be able to reap some of the benefits of better manufacturing processes and better quality control.

    A car is no better than the sum of it's parts. Lousy parts, lousy car.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    Apparently I'm the only one posting on this board anymore. It's like my personal blog now. I just wanted to add that I called ford customer care and argued that my clutch replacement should have been covered under the ESP.

    The clutch consisted of 3 components and only one, the manual clutch disc, is listed as not covered.

    Anyway, I now have a new clutch for $70. Of course, I shouldn't have needed a clutch at 76,000 miles.

    The ESP has already paid for itself and thensome.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Good thing persistence pays off!
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    For what it is worth, I've seen a fair amount of clutches replaced on cars (both imports and domestics) as early as 40K-50K miles.

    My father had a late 80's Maxima with the 300Z's motor that had to have the clutch replaced at around 35K miles. Of course he drove it like a race car, but still.

    76K miles is not that bizare for a clutch.
  • turboshadowturboshadow Posts: 349
    You really must be riding that clutch! I have never had a clutch replaced except one in my old bug that got oil on it when the engine strted to let go. It had ove 200K on it. My Shadow has 110K on its clutch. My old Si had 122K on it when I got rid of it;yep still had the clutch it rolled off the showroom floor with.

    I would be majorly peeved if I had to have a new clutch at 76K!!!
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    I SWEAR it's not me. I had a honda that I drove for 80k miles, sold to my brother who took it to 105 and then sold it to someone else who is still using the same clutch.
  • nwngnwng Posts: 664
    the clutch on my last tercel lasted about 120k

    my accord has 95k and the clutch is still fine
  • snaptabsnaptab Posts: 21
    After 3 years and 36k finally had to replace the oe Firestone Firehawks on my ZX3. Choose BF Goodrich Traction TA V rated high performance all seasons in the same 205/50/16 oe size. New to the market and $94 ea. plus shipping thru Tirerack. Only have a couple of thousand miles on them but so far I'm impressed. Before they wore out the Firestones weren't that bad, but these Traction TAs seem superior in several ways. Handling seems to have tighten up, ride has improved, no change in MPG and noise is way down. Not a lot of choices in this tire size for the ZX3 but if you're in the market these Traction TAs are worth a look.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Tirerack recommended them to me for my Neon, so it is good to hear they handle better...and particularly good to hear they are quiet. I like the stock RSA's I have on my ZX3, but the stock Goodyear LS's on my Neon don't seem to handle well (I am not sure if the stock suspension is part of the problem).
  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    Well, I have had my Focus for almost three years and with only 28k miles my 5-spd manual tranny is shot. Took it to the dealer and was told I needed a new transmission and it will take a couple of days to get one. Looks like I will be without a car for a week. At least it was still under warranty.
  • fdannafdanna Posts: 263
    Just out of curiosity... what are the symptoms of a dead transmission? Did you notice things not working correctly or did it just happen all of a sudden?
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I tried Monroe Sensatracs on my Echo, and they really improved the handling, so I am giving them a try on my 2003 ZX3, which seems a little "softer" than earlier versions of the ZX3.

    What I like about the Monroe Sensatracs (vs. my other favorites, the KYB GR2's) is that they are made in Europe, for the Euro spec ZX3, and hence I expect them to be firmer than stock...despite the "calling card" of the Sensatracs, which is supposed to be a smoother ride (actually, they are dual stage, with road imperfections on the soft part of the cycle, and bumps subject to stiffer control).

    I will report back how this upgrade works out. I used since doesn't sell Monroes. Shocks ran around $170 for a set of 4 (technically struts at the front) and installation is another $250.

    So far, upgrading to premium aftermarket shocks has worked much better for me than using Eibach lowering springs, which definitely improve handling, but make the ride far too harsh.

    If the shocks work out, I may add Hawk aftermarket brake pads to improve stopping power. I have mixed feelings about the stock pads; I am not sure if they are a little soft, or if I am just used to the "bite" of the brakes I feel on other cars. On the other hand, I can say the Echo's pads don't exactly "bite" but they seem more responsive than the ZX3's. Go figure.
  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    One day last week my transmission became very hard to put into gear. This continued for a day or so. Then I got in and it popped out of first gear and made a horrible noise. After this the shifter was very loose and sloppy and would constantly pop out of gear. I do not know exactly what the problem is but was told they had to order a new trans and it won't be done til next week.
    They gave me a 04 Focus wagon to drive with the new 2.3. Even though it is an automatic it is quite peppy. I am very impressed with this new engine- very quite and much peppier than my Zetec. At least my car was still under warranty.
  • empiredjempiredj Posts: 21
    Maybe if your coming from those hard as a rock FireSTONES that might be the case. Personally I would have opped for a Kumho Supra 712 for even less money, V rated and very grippy for a "cheap" tire.

     Falken Azenis are on another planet in terms of grip vs cost.

     KYB GR-2's.... Yuck

     Put the Focus S2 suspension under your car. At least it would be euro spec and not lower the car much.

     Even the Eibach Pro System isn't bad. Only lowers the car about 1.5 in the front and 1.7 in the back. It includes Pro Dampers as well. Everybody that wants a more aggressive suspension like them, but not as much as the H&R Cup kit but if you don't know what that is, don't botheer its not for you...

     I guess i'm WAY too aggressive for these boards, no wonder I don't come around very much.
  • empiredjempiredj Posts: 21
    If you think the automatic is peppy, try the stick...

     Add some minor bolt-ons and be PAST rated power at the wheels. How much power? Enough to push the car into the 14 second zone with little trouble.

     That's Mustang GT stomping grounds...

     Pick up the latest issue of Focus Fanatics
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    I'll stop by the newstand, but can you give us some details?
  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    After having the 2.3 auto for a complete day now, I can say this is a GREAT engine. It feels faster than my manual 2.0. And is definatley much quieter. I may have to go drive one with a manual. Now it is clear why Ford is doing away with the SVT Focus - you can buy a 2.3 Focus that is just as fast but costs thousands less. Of course it does not handle as well.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    My 2003 PZEV stick shift now has 7000 miles on it. I replaced the shocks with Monroe Sensatracs and it is well buttoned down now. The factory struts/shocks were a tad underdamped - fine for smooth road, but disappointing on undulating roads or when encountering pavement irregularites in curves - car would bobble and not feel glued to the road. The Sensatracs too care of the problem.

    Pep Boys did the install of shocks I had ordered from shockwarehouse online. Installation was cheap and quick, but there is a rubbing noise from the right corner (only when I push the corner of the bumper up and down, no sound in the cabin while driving). More significantly, the back seat quarter panels had to be removed to access the rear shock bolts, and they reinstalled the driver side with a clip not attached (I can hear it rattle if I thump the panel) and with a plastic rivet near the headrest left I have to take it back. I would recommend going to someone more upmarket if you have this work done, Pep Boys seems ok on the gross mechanical work but handled the trim issues poorly. I will report back if they make things right; quite frankly, finding a replacemtn plastic rivet is going to be a hassle, none of those little body parts are interchangeable and just finding the right part on the computer at a Ford parts counter will take the better part of a Saturday morning, if I do it.

    I am having airconditioning installed by an aftermarket provider who does dealer work. Sadly, Ford dealers tell me there is no "official" aftermarket kit for the car (California PZEV models were produced in small numbers in 2003) so the subcontractor who supplies to Ford put together an "unofficial" kit with all Ford parts (wiring harness, pipes, compressor, condensor etc.) If ther was an official kit, I would have the remainder of the 3 year bumper to bumper warranty, but as an aftermarket I get 12 months, 12,000 miles. Also no savings by going to the after market shop...$2,000! (But the shop has installed 12 of these kits already, a bunch of other people bought the $8995 ad specials without air last year and now want aircon).

    Total cost of the car to date: $8,995+ 2 oil changes at $27 + new shocks ($175 parts, $250 installation)(remember this was elective) + $2,000 aircon (elective) = $11,474, still much cheaper than an aircon Focus.

    The list on a 2004 ZX3 is over $13,00 without aircon, and now comes with steel instead of alloy wheels, so I figure I am still way ahead of the game...but I am queasy about "non factory" air and will let you know how that works out.

    I test drove a 2004 VW Golf GL this weekend - it "talks the talk" - side air bags, side curtain airbags (different), ABS, 4 wheel disc, power windows, locks, alarm, mirros...but it doesn't feel as solid, powerful, or big as the Focus. Question: why not? Why is VW lagging.
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