Ford Focus Care & Maintenance

silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
I'm sure some others have the service CD-ROM, but if you have a question about a particular service operation, or need technical data, let me know and I will be happy to research your question. If required, I can print the procedure and fax it to you if you feel the need (ex: replacing your brake pads or removing door panels to replace stereo speakers).


  • zx3beastzx3beast Member Posts: 661
    is there any mention on that cd -rom of the
    stereo and speaker mfg. ive been a lifelong audio buff and was just curious of the origins.
    i am quite impressed with the set-up for a stock system. thanks!
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    I'm not sure who manufactures the speakers (maybe someone here who's pulled theirs can tell us?), but the head unit is made by Visteon. Visteon used to be part of Ford, but was spun off as a separate company a little while ago. I agree - the size of the buttons and layout of the control panel are terrific.
  • zx3beastzx3beast Member Posts: 661
    thanks for the info. they should have kept visteon for their quality is
    job1 bragging.
  • elebutelebut Member Posts: 5
    Has anyone with a 2001 ZX3 noticed that the fuel gauge never registers "full" after a fill-up?

  • vadpvadp Member Posts: 1,025
    Are the '01 models still having the infamous gauge problem?
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    When my tank is filled, my car's fuel gauge reads slightly over "F". Automotive gas gauges are pretty inaccurate devices - think of them as something designed to give you a general idea of how much fuel is in the tank. The only way to accurately calculate your fuel economy is to fill your tank to a recognized fill point (say the first pump "click"), reset your trip odometer, and drive. As the gauge approaches "E", return to the same station and refill using the same pump if possible, to the same "click". Divide the miles recorded by your trip odometer by the number of gallons added. Smile or frown, as the case may be.
  • eyefieyefi Member Posts: 5
    The stock head unit in the Focus is the best one I've seen of any of the new cars. Some of the upgrades offered by other manufactures can't compete in overall quality and sound. Since this was a European designed car we got 5X8 in the doors and rear. I thought of upgrading, but why? Instead I have a single Audiobahn 12" Sub and a Orion HCCA amp, it rocks! One of my tech's has a Honda SI, [he has Foci envy] with a typical import head unit. The more I drive this car the more I love it.... except for the 20mpg.
  • pcleveland2pcleveland2 Member Posts: 516
    Have noticed that if I have attendant fill my tank while I sit in car that the fuel gauge does not register the fill-up. If I fill it my self and go inside to pay, with key in pocket, that it does register. I think it has something to do with the proximity of the key chip to the vehicle. The marvels of the computer age!
  • zx3beastzx3beast Member Posts: 661
    i am also very fond of the stock system. i agree, no need to upgrade.
    actually, i never expected it to sound as good as it does. after owning
    this car for one year, i rate the cd player/ speakers as one of its stellar
    attributes. im an old retro tube amp fan and i find the sound in the zx3
    stock unit very enjoyable. to my ears, it is quite natural sounding and
    non-fatiguing. a big plus in my overall rating of the car.
  • pigloverpiglover Member Posts: 25
    Silver bullet, can the dealer supply the service manual on CD-ROM? How much is it? Is it also available in paper copy?
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    I doubt that Ford will sell you this CD, but I suppose it is possible. It is updated each month, so the older copies tend to find their way into the marketplace - like the one I got on eBay. Helm Publishing makes service manuals available in paper form and on CD ROM, but they are quite expensive (well over $100).
  • cgsangelcgsangel Member Posts: 79

    This topic has probably been addressed somewhere among many of the messages previously posted in Edmund's Town Hall, but I will address it here, since the Focus Care and Maintenance topic hasn't been around that long.

    I've gotten some scratches in my back bumper on the top surface where the hatch swings open. I was wondering if anyone has had the same problem (I'm sure it's happened alot if someone uses the hatch alot). I want to touch up the white appearing scratches because they really stand out against the autumn orange paint. I was thinking of applying some touch up paint and rubbing it into the scratch rather than just leave a ridge of paint along the scratch. Then I could let the paint set up good and then apply a good wax to the bumper surface.

    Is there some kind of black plastic plate or something like I've seen on the back of some station wagons and vans that will act as a protection for the bumper surface that could be used for our cars? I'll bet some aftermarket company has one out there somewhere. I once got scuff plates for my van that were perfect (for the door sills). This would work in the same way, and make it look decent too. The black color would go along with the black trim that is already part of the zx3.

    Mine happened from a build up of ice and salt and sand along the back this winter, and when I cleared it off I didn't realize the sand would cause the scratches that easily in the plastic.

    I figure any cars with a paint color in great contrast to the undercoat or base color of the bumper will really stand out and look bad. Mine has a white base color so the dark paint stands out. I imagine anyone with black or a dark color is having or will have the same problem someday.

  • cgsangelcgsangel Member Posts: 79
    I had ordered the rubber front floor mats from Ford and they fit and look great! But one problem I have is the attachment for the driver's side mat. The hole in the new mat is far too small to fit the hold down pin in the carpet. It is obvious when they made the mat they didn't make it for the hold down. I was thinking of drilling out the hole in the grommet in the mat to a larger size to accomodate the hold down pin.

    It looks like I will have to use at least a five-eighths inch drill to do this. Too bad I just can't push out the grommet and replace it with the one from my stock mat. I don't want to attempt removing the plastic insert and damaging the mat in the process.

    Anyway, I was wondering anyone who ordered mats got some with the right size hole? Or have they all been made for another hold down pin? It is a very small issue since the weight of the rubber mat is heavier than the carpeted ones, and they do stay in place better than the carpets. Although occassionally I have to reach down and pull it back about an inch or so because there is some forward movement after some use. Just an aggravation, since there is a pin on the floor that would work if the hole was larger. For now I don't need to go to the trouble of buying a drill and drilling it out, or risking damage to a good looking floormat.

  • rwgreenbergrwgreenberg Member Posts: 154
    Hi. I got the same mats and broke out the plactic insert with a hammer and striker type device. The plastic instert broke out and the rubber mat was not damaged, and the hole in the rubber is the right size to fit on the hook on the foor. I was a bit hesitant to do this, but it did work out fine in the end.
  • cgsangelcgsangel Member Posts: 79

    Thanks for the tip! I'll give it a try tomorrow.

    It's odd how the box with the mats came with instructions for mats for a Ford truck. Which made no sense at all. Maybe they figure no one reads instructions anyway. Or maybe it was just a mistake. Installing mats shouldn't need any instructions.

    At least they fit good... in fact they cover a little more area than the carpeted mats, and they're easy to clean right at the car wash.

  • cgsangelcgsangel Member Posts: 79

    Thanks, rwgreenberg! I removed the plastic insert like you said, and it fits perfectly! The rubber in the mat is thick and strong enough to hold up to use without the insert.

    All it took was the peen end of the ball peen hammer and about 3 taps and it came right out. It broke all to pieces. But the mat fits in the car nice, just like it should and holds in place. I didn't realize the plastic would come out that easily. Had I tried to drill a larger hole in the plastic insert, it probably would have cracked and broke out anyway.

    So a lot of work saved by your suggestion. Anyone else with these mats should do the same and they will fit fine. Thanks again! :)

  • rwgreenbergrwgreenberg Member Posts: 154
    Great. I guess we improved upon their product with the tap of a hammer.
  • cgsangelcgsangel Member Posts: 79

    I've got a problem with some kind of critter (I think it's a squirrel, less likely a cat) that brings food and junk up into the engine compartment.

    I was checking the oil this morning and saw muddy footprints, but couldn't tell what they were from. I guess the squirrel because whatever was in there apparently moved alot and the mud was on top of the engine...and a cat is usually clean. I removed junk that was brought in there from around the spark plug wires.

    On a Pinto I had years ago (critters must prefer Fords for some reason) I had problems with red squirrels chewing up the rubber parts of the emissions hoses around the canister. To stop them, I smeared on some anti-squirrel sticky stuff and it worked.

    I figured that the squirrel may have been looking for a place to nest and gave up (I use the car every day so it had to have been just overnight). My uncle used to have problems with cats climbing into the engine compartment (still another Ford)with a still warm engine in order to warm up in winter. Needless to say, it wasn't very healthy for the cats.

    Anyway... just wondering if anyone has had problems with critter invasions in their cars. It sounds dumb, but they do it alot. I am not making any of this up.

  • maikimaiki Member Posts: 27
    I received my special ordered 2001 ZX3 last Thursday. In general I love it. Today I found something about it I do not love.

    I was backing out of my narrow carport this morning, and the passenger side mirror scraped against the post of the carport. (My previous car didn't have a passenger side mirror.) Most side mirrors would bend if that happened. Instead, mine fell off, dangling from a wire.

    I was not driving fast. It was not a strong impact, just a bare touch. Those plastic mirror housings seem very flimsy, not connected very sturdily to the car, and don't bend. So, the slightest touch breaks them off!

    While I was driving it started banging on the car. I got off the freeway, and pushed it back into place. On the freeway it fell off again, dangling, banging more against the car. All the banging left a lot of black marks (from the black plastic mirror) on the white car.

    I thought it might be covered by the warranty. It seemed defective, to fall off so easily. I brought the car to the Ford dealer service dept. in the afternoon. The service guy said that's not covered by the warranty. He said he has had to replace a lot of those, although the Focus was new in the States last year. He said the whole mirror housing would need to be replaced, and would cost me around $275. (and mine is not powered.) That wouldn't cover the damage of the black marks on the body, which I have to bring it to a body shop for.

    Anyone else had problems with those mirrors? Any recalls? Class action suits? Such defective mirror housings should be covered by the warranty.

    What a pain! Less than a week after I got the car!
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Excuse me? This sounds more like a problem with the driver. Why would you expect Ford to pay for a part you broke due to your inability to back out of your own carport? Your post certainly gave me my "laugh for the day"!
  • maikimaiki Member Posts: 27
    Why am I unhappy with Ford about the broken mirror?

    Because mirrors shouldn't fall off so easy, at the slightest touch. It's a very flimsy and flimsily attached mirror housing. Unlike those on most cars, it doesn't bend at all, just falls off!
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    I agree - it would be nice to have folding outside mirrors, but at this price point, you almost never find them. Go look at a Civic, or comparable car and you'll find non-folding side mirrors. I don't find the ZX3 mirrors to be "flimsy", or prone to falling off "at the slightest touch" as you say. I've bumped into mine rather firmly while washing the car, and they're still firmly attached. I don't think any outside mirror is designed to withstand being pried off from the rear by a carport column(!) We've all done dumb things - maybe you just need to take some personal responsibility for this little episode and move on...
  • acrazyraisinacrazyraisin Member Posts: 7
    During one of the recent snow storms I had my car parked out on the street perhaps a bit to far from the curb to the piles of snow, and someone knocked the mirror off (I have no idea how fast they were driving since I was not there) Sure I was upset with the phantom driver, but these things happen. The one thing I have to say to you is that the repair price of $275 for the mirror is way too high. The part should cost about 50, and labor can not possibly be that expensive. I suggest you talk to the dealer again.
  • maikimaiki Member Posts: 27
    In another forum, where I had also reported on this experience, someone wrote a very interesting post on the subject, concerning mirrors on the European version versus the U.S. version:

    ----quote of another person's post--

    One of the measures that Ford took to reduce the production cost of the Focus to make it competitive in the US market was to fit simpler (read: cheaper) side mirrors than those fitted to the European version.

    The European version of the Focus has side mirrors that fold inwards on impact. They can also (I believe) be folded inwards manually, should you so desire. Some of the models have electric heating elements in the mirrors too, which might be useful in cold climates.

    I remember somebody a while back reporting that the European side mirror units could be purchased and retro-fitted to the US-model Focus. Of course, you'll have to find a source for these parts and they are almost certainly going to be more expensive than obtaining the US-spec parts, but if you already have to purchase a replacement mirror, you might want to pursue this option. If you do choose to do this, please let us know how you get on.

    Hope this helps.
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Yes, the Euro side mirrors do fold in, and have a part of the housing painted body color too - very spiffy. The upcoming SVT Focus is supposed to have these mirrors. Good luck trying to get them in this country before the SVT comes out - I've never found a Ford dealer willing or able to order non-U.S. spec parts. They all tell me it is not possible due to our liability laws. Funny, BMW dealers used to order Euro-spec parts for me all the time when I owned a gray market 635csi - go figure.
  • kebbatkebbat Member Posts: 41
    Hi All,

    I just got my ZX3 yesterday and I have a quick question ... what is the max speed I should drive during the break in period. The guy at the dealership told me to drive as per usual - but I usually drive kind of fast. Do I have to putter along on the highway at 55 mph until I hit 1000 miles?

  • njbongonjbongo Member Posts: 66
    If you read your owners manual, it doesn't tell you to stay under a certain speed. What it DOES tell you is to VARY your engine speed and NOT to come to any hard stops unless neccessary for the first 500 miles. I followed this with my z, so far 1200 miles and it runs great. My only complaint so far is excessive break dust on the front wheels after 300 miles, but i think that's becasue the breaks were new and the wheels have such wide openings between spokes. I mean, if the were any bigger, you could almost change the brake pads without removing the wheel. Not that I'm complaining, they are pretty for stock wheels....and since washing the car, the dust has not been to bad...hope it was just the breakin.
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Good advice for break-in -- but don't count on the brake dust going away. Ford installs very soft metallic based pads that produce ungodly amounts of black dust. I ditched mine in favor of a set of aftermarket pads from EBC (their "Green Stuff" Kevlar street pads). Swapping pads is very easy, and the EBC pads produce virtually no dust and perform better than the stock pads - all for about $90 a set. I'd recommend them.
  • kebbatkebbat Member Posts: 41
    I "only" put 300 miles on it this weekend. Varied my speeds as much as possible and got it up to 75 mph on the highway, but saw lots of NH Troopers lurking about and didn't want to come away with a ticket already.

    I noticed the brake dust as well - I'm pretty fanatical about cleaning the car inside and out so I just used my wheel brush on it and it looks great again.

    Anyone here use Meguirs Cleaner/Wax ever? It was suggested by my step-dad - he raved about its ease of use and results ..... I'm just a bit nervous to try as I've never used it before.
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    This is a nice product for a daily driven car - it is very easy to apply and remove, is economical, and provides a decent (but not the ultimate) level of protection for your finish. Short of going to a multi-step, premium priced product, this Meguires product is a good compromise. BEWARE - do not get this product, or any wax for that matter, on the black side mouldings. I'd keep it off the black door handles, mirror housings, and rear horizontal trim strip as well. The resulting wax stains will be very hard, if not impossible, to remove from the trim.
  • jnmartinjnmartin Member Posts: 36
    I've noticed a strange noise, as if something was loose, from the rear right of my ZX3. When it first started, I had just gotten the hinge recall and assumed that was what was making the noise. After taking her in for the recall, I still hear the noise (when I go over a bump) and I noticed this week that I start to loose traction, and the back half kind of jumps to the left. I called my dealer and they're going to get back to me, but they want to take care of a couple of things (repainting hood because the clear coat is peeling off and looking at my brakes) at one time and have to fit me into their appointments/schedule somewhere. I was curious as to whether anyone else had this problem or may know what it might be?

    It basically sounds as if something is loose and "rattles" or "knocks" when I go over a bump. It also sounds like it's coming from inside the cabin, but if that's the case it shouldn't affect my driving.

    As far as getting wax on the trim, someone on the Focus Sedan chat offered this advice:

    "It is not true, you can keep your trim black.
    1. BE VERY CAREFUL! You can avoid getting wax on the trim and windshield washer nozzles by using a smaller applicator and more care.
    2. If you do get some, I use Mother's "Back to Black" It works well, its cheap and is available at most decent auto parts stores.
    3. I didn't mention above that you should scrub the trim a little if you did get wax on it, to loosen the particles. toothbrushes are great for this.
    4. Somewhere a while back I saw someone talking about Peanut butter as a remedy. I don't know how this works.
    5. Another recommendation is Black Magic, in the Thick Silicone version (not the spray for tires) I have had good results with this too.
  • kebbatkebbat Member Posts: 41
    Last night after washing my Z, I used to Mothers products and loved them!

    1) Mothers Back to Black, as recommended above. Due to carelessness by me, I got a bit of wax residue on the door trim. The Back to Black was extremely easy to use and the end result was terrific. I belive I only paid about $4 for a bottle and you use it sparingly so I feel as though it's an especially good value. Thanks for the tip jnmartin! Oh yeah, the stuff smells great!
    2) Mothers Metal Polish - my wheels were looking a bit dirty. The polish was very easy to use and the wheels now look brand new again.

    If I could just keep all of the *#@^&* pollen from falling off of the tree directly above my car I would be all set. But the california car duster seems to work very well for quick wipe downs.
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Your factory wheels are painted and clearcoated, much like the finish on the rest of the car - DO NOT use a metal polish on them!!! Just wash them with the same car wash products you use for the rest of the car, maybe using a bit of Simple Green to remove built-up brake dust if necessary. Apply a coat of car wax from time to time, and you'll be set. Metal polish contains abrasives which will strip the clearcoat right off your wheels, and the paint too if you keep using it. Metal polishes are for use on non-clearcoated and non-anodized metals only.

    A good tip - wash your wheels only when they are cool, and use a separate wash mitt and wheel brush. Start with the wheels, and after you've got them clean, dump your wash bucket, rinse it out, and do the rest of the car with a fresh bucket of carwash and a wash mitt reserved for the rest of the car. Lots of grit and bad stuff on the wheels that you don't want to carry up to the rest of the paint finish.
  • kebbatkebbat Member Posts: 41
    .... even the very outside part is clearcoated? The very outside part of the wheel - on the front tires - that collects the brake dust and is really hard to get out?

    Yikes, it sure did look metallic to me! I can see where the center is that way, but I had no idea that the whole thing was clearcoat.

  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    Most factory wheels are painted, or are finished with a combination of painting and machining/polishing, then are clearcoated to protect the finish and keep them nice. The entire outer surface of the wheel is coated, and sometimes the reverse side as well on better wheels. Clearcoat is nothing more than non-pigmented paint - you should treat it like you would the finish on the car. Never use abrasive polishes on painted surfaces, unless you are experienced, and are trying to remedy a specific paint defect (like severe overspray).
  • njbongonjbongo Member Posts: 66
    Hi, I too have that sound you describe.... HOWEVER, just to be clear.... it has to be a pretty bad bump that sets it off... I'm going to look into it, maybe it's the jack, spare or floorboard in the hatch (that's the kind of noise it sounds like). I jacked the car up and looked underneath, there doesn't appear to be anything broken, bent or out of place.

    I'll let you know what I find. When I take the car in for it's 5000 miles service (got a while to go at 1300 miles)... I'm gonna have them check it too.

    Also, to you other clean nuts... took Edmund's reccomendation and bought the entire McGuire's line of products. I got the Cleaner Wax (step 2), the polishing wax (step 3) and the Deep Crystal Carnauba Paste (step 4). By the way, step 1 is there car shampoo...since I live in a condo complex with no hose outside, i go to the do-it-yourself carwash by me for the washing part.

    Anyway, this stuff is AMAZING. I did it on Sunday, and so far today it is still PERFECTLY clean. I have that pollen problem too, and with these waxes, it just blows right off the car...nothing sticks !!! I love it. I've always used either Gliptone Teflon Wax or Mother's and neither hold a candle to this.

    I also got there long-lasting tire stuff (forget what its called) put it on with a little pad instead of spraying it like armor-all (which I hate). And finally, there "armor-all" equivalent for the intireor and extereor plastic takes any stray wax right off with one wipe.

    Anyone thinking of using there products...go for it...they are cheap and amazing.

    Good luck everyone,

  • vadpvadp Member Posts: 1,025
    works...for a while. It's a silicone-based product. It does nothing but masks the stains. Your trim will stay black for about a month or two. Then it will wash off and you will have to reapply it again and so on.
    I heard that a toothbrush and toothpaste or baking soda would do the trick (of removing the wax permanently).
  • jnmartinjnmartin Member Posts: 36
    Yes - it only happens on a bad bump. Don't get me wrong, I'm not driving through potholes or anything that severe - but I'm talking about "ridges" in pavement or anything else similar around that size which causes the noise and in some cases where there are multiple "road imperfections" I lose traction and the car jumps to the left a little. Syracuse has some of the worst roads in New York and my route home takes me through two areas that have the multiple ridges I described and there's no way to avoid them. They are at stoplights and kinda look like a Mac truck came to a quick stop and the road buckled a little in front of the wheels - like in a looney toons cartoon.

    I'm still waiting on the service tech to get back to me, I understand he's out with the flu or something but I was promised that someone will call me soon. I've got a little over 11,000 miles on my ZX3, but wasn't having such a noticible problem when I went in for my 10,000 so I didn't get it taken care of then. I hope they can fix it as I am going down south again and don't look forward to driving 2000 miles with something that may develop into a more serious problem and cause an accident.

    kebbat - I'm glad Mother's works well as I haven't tried it yet. Were you being sarcastic about the smell??
  • njbongonjbongo Member Posts: 66
    Well, I only have a slight loss of traction...but I can tell you that your car is most definetly out of alignment. I had this problem with my 2000 Accent from day 1. Here's a little test you can do to verify it.

    When you experiene the 'jumping and loss of traction', it probably only happens when you are going straight....if you hit a decent bump with the wheel turned, it's not a noticeable, right?

    If that's the case, then your front and rear wheels are out of alignment with each other. Example: on my Accent, it was so bad it was VISABLE. If you turned the front wheels perfectly straight, the back wheels will look as if they are pointing slightly to either side. At least on the Accent, this is a slightly tricky situation, and don't be surprised if it takes more than one trip to the dealer to fix. Even if you can't see a problem, don't rule it out. Only an alignment machine will pick up slight variences.

    I just got my Focus (1300 miles so far), so I have no experince with Ford Service yet (although my dealer is supposed to be VERY good...we'll see.) Hyundai dealers on the other hand (4 different ones worked on this) are horrible. The bottom line is that there techs had no idea that the rear wheels could be adjusted in this direction.(caster or camber...I always get the two confused. There are still alot of newer cars that have stationery rear wheels that are NOT adjustible in this way and only toe in or out. It took several visits from the regional service rep to get the dealers tech trained on this properly.

    To make it more complicated, the Accent and I'm pretty sure the Focus also, has what Honda used to dub 'four wheel steering'. No, you steering wheel doesn't actually turn the rear wheels !!! What does happen is that when enough drag is placed on the rear wheels when turning, they can SLIGHTLY turn (i think something like 5 degrees either way on the Accent anyway). You cannot even see this with the naked eye (I have tried).
    The complicated part is that when they align the rear wheels to the front, this secondary adjustment has to be close to zero degrees. Trust me on this, I verified it with Hyundai themselves and with a few local mechanics I know.

    This is not neccessarily a bad feature. Actually it's excellent because with older cars, if you were in a really bad accident or if the car was driven heavily for years slight movement or warping of the frame would make the car ride pretty bad. With this 'extra adjustment' in the rear a compitent alignment specialist can ALWAYS get your alignment near perfect, even if your frame is slightly off. Newer cars have much more rigid frames than older ones (especially economy cars), so normally this warping doesn't happen. However, it's nice to know that if it does....your covered !!! :-)

    If it makes you feel any better, after Hyundai finally getting it right I put about 11K miles on that car and the alignment is still perfect. I would be willing to bet money that this is your problem. It's just about the ONLY thing that will make the back of your car jump and pull. If you have alot of problems and your dealer can't get it right I would go to a Firestone service shop (or something similar), shell out the $50 or so for an alignment. If the car IS out of alignment, then bring the proof back to Ford and get them to refund your cost. After all, if there dealer checks it a few times and tells you it's OK, but another service shop was able to find the problem and fix it...I say FORD is responsible...escpecially at such low mileage.

    Sorry for the super long post, I just wanted to arm you with this information....if all else fails, I bet this is the problem.

    Good luck....Vic
  • jnmartinjnmartin Member Posts: 36
    Thanks for the advice, Vic

    I finally got a hold of my service tech and I'm going in on Monday and they'll give me a loaner, but when I mentioned the alignment problem, he said I'll have to pay for that. I don't think I should because I haven't had the car for a year and I' don't have crazy miles on her. Same thing with the breaks - what kind of product loyalty is inspired when things break or wear out in 6 months??? Am I totally wrong??

    I ran my old clunker two years on the same breaks, and never had a problem. Why should a new car require more attention and replacement?

    Any advice on how to handle them would be appreciated. Or if I'm out in left field, let me know.
  • njbongonjbongo Member Posts: 66

    well, I don't know the full history of your car, so I can't really say. I know Ford only covers aliognments for the first 12 months. I am trying to be really fait about this. How many miles do you have on it. If it's more than 10K, then you really should be paying for it. HOWEVER, if this is an ongoin problem earlyt on, and they have never checked the alignment before (cause they might be idiots), and it turns out that it IS the alignment...well, then Ford should do it for free.

    The one thing I forgot to mention with the Accent is this. It was delivered to me on a flatbed, and from DAY ONE I had this problem (about 6 miles on the car). They really couldn't argue being that I HAD SIX MILES !!!!!!!!!!!! It took till about 3500 miles for them to get it right. When they finally DID get it right, my steering wheel was tilted to 3 o clock, while the wheel were straight......BOY WAS I FIT TO BE TIED !!!

    Give me more info, but if this is NOT an ongoing problem and just started happening...I would do this.

    1. Cancel the apointment at Ford.
    2. Go to a Firestone shop that does laser alignment (most do) and pay out of your pocket.
    3. Notify your Ford dealer and tell them that the alignment was done, KEEP THE RECEIPT AND PRINTOUT.
    4. If the problem starts to happen again within a few thousand's time to get Ford involved.

    Please remember, ANY car can come out of alignment very easily. One pothole hit at just the right angle and speed can do it. As a general rule, I usually do all 3 of my cars aligment every other tire rotation (10K miles). It's not a super expensive thing to do, and you really do get the full life out of your tires this way. The original tires on my 95 Accent lasted about 55000 miles, and they were only supposed to last 30K. Oh, and I drive like a miniac too. I'm pretty sure proper rotation and good alignment helped out there. In contrast...I have a friend who just turns the key and drives (never does any maintenance)...his tires on his new Corolla lasted exactly 17K miles. Pretty sad.

    I'm only recommending what I WOULD DO in this situation. The reason I say take it to Firestone is that I've had AMAZING experiances with them, and a Ford dealer will probably charge you MUCH more. Check it out and see for yourself.

    Good Luck

  • jnmartinjnmartin Member Posts: 36
    I dropped my car off this morning for a couple of reasons, 1-repainting the hood as the clear coat is pealing off, 2-brakes are still squealing and it's not cold any more, and 3-the strange bumping noise coming from the right wheel well.

    I did take your advice and called around for prices on wheel alignments at the local firestone stores and decided to find out if that was the problem first before I shelled out $80 - the average price quoted. Ford charges $45 for the same service and I figured that once they looked at the car, they could tell me if that was the problem or if it was something else. I think that maybe something is loose, and that's why I hear that noise and that whatever is missing or loose is affecting the traction as I only have a problem when I hear the noise.

    When I was showing the car to the service guy this morning he mentioned that there was a recall on the wheel bearing and maybe that was the problem. I told him I was unaware of any recall, but the second guy I talked to with the first guy standing next to me, nodded in agreement about the recall until a third guy walked up and asked me what side and then said it was only for the left side. Seemed a little sketchy to me that the recall was conveniently on the side I don't have a problem with especially after two techs said that the recall was probably what was wrong with my car.

    Anyone heard about this recall??? I found one for the 2000 - The rear wheel hub retaining nuts can loosen and allow the left rear wheel and brake drum assembly to separate from the vehicle. This condition could result in a vehicle crash. -That recall is on the left side, but if I'm having the same problem and it's on the right side...

    Or, maybe you're right and it is an alignment problem. It started back in January, the noise, and then slowly got worse until I started loosing traction. I got my car in September and have 11000 miles on her, but that includes two 2000 mile trips and two 500 mile trips -I can't help it, I love to drive my car. I had mentioned that I had a problem to the guy who sold me the car, and again when I dropped the car off for the 10000 mile maintenance but nothing had been done.

    I'm not sure if that was the info you were looking for. Hopefully they'll find the problem and it can be taken care of efficiently and affordably.

  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    A number of folks on the Focaljet site have reported wheel bearing failures from all corners of the car - not just the rear. I'd insist on the dealer carefully inspecting all four wheels, as well as the front and rear suspension assemblies. The recall issued by Ford was in fact for the left rear wheel bearing only, FWIW.

    Peeling clearcoat? Already? Just curious - what color is your car? When was it built (see the VIN sticker on the driver's door jamb for your build date)?
  • jnmartinjnmartin Member Posts: 36
    When I picked up the car, there was a scratch on the hood as if someone had put something heavy on it and it had slipped off leaving a gauge - you could see the metal underneath - in the paint and a scratch where it had "fallen" off the car. Ford repainted the hood for me in October and I noticed in January that the clearcoat was bubbling up and pealing off - it's taken this long for me to get the service guy to give me a loaner as the repainting will take a day and it needs a day to dry.

    My car is twilight blue and was built in August 00.
  • njbongonjbongo Member Posts: 66
    Well..Firestone Service Center charges me $69.95 + tax for the Accent 4 wheel alignment. Is this where you're getting $80.00? If so that's the right price.

    I hate to say this, but based on what your telling me, I have little confidence in the dealer you are taking the car to. As far as the recall, it doesn't really matter what model year you have, it matters what the build date is ! Look at the take on the driver's side door jam, it's clearly marked....then look at a copy of the recal at will tell you what production dates are effected. For instance, my ZX3 is a 2001, built November of friend has a 2000 built in December of 2000. My car needed that seat hinge recall, his didn't !!!! go figure....

    As far as the noise wasn't clear to me that ou ONLY lose traction when hearing the noise. It could be a broken strut, swaybar or a bad bushing somewhere. What type of noise is it, like a creaking/cracking sound or more of a 'bass-y' sounding thump? I would let the dealer check it out...keep you service receipts...if the dealer can't figure it out (like that would be a shock), THEN shell out the $80 at Firestone. Even if it's more than just an will now have evidence (from Firestone) to fight with Ford about, and make THEM pay the $80 and fix whatever the problem is. At 10K miles EVERYTHING else other than the alignment and tires should be covered. Although the struts may be pro-rated based on mmileage. I would still fight and make them pay the whole thing. Try pointing out how wonderful the car is and what a major disapointment this problem is, and how you are losing faith in a future Ford purchase...blah blah blah.. I know it sounds corny, but I got Hyundai to make 3 months worth of payments on my car.

    I am being somewhat offensive in my advice to you because most dealers have sub-standard service depts. I got my car at ALL AMERICAN FORD in Hackensack, NJ. They are supposedly the top rated dealer in my area. The sales and finance guys were EXCELLENT...but at 1500 miles, I have little to say about the service dept....we will see when it gets the 5000 miles service.

    I also bought the ESP Maintenance program for $900 smackers that covers all scheduled maintenance as well as struts, clutch, wipers, sparkplugs, and brakes. If this is a common suspension problem, I should be covered. HOWEVER, instead of including this contract in the financing, I took the contract afterwords, directly from Ford on a time payment plan (no interest). If they are really bad, then I will just cancel it with little or noting to lose.

    Good luck and let us know what the way, anyone have any experiences with the above dealership?

  • jnmartinjnmartin Member Posts: 36
    In his defense, he did have pneumonia and then the guy who sold me the car changed dealerships because he got a promotion (he went from finance manager to sales manager). He said that he would have no problem helping me out, but he's down in Cortland which is about 30-45 minutes south of me. I also understand that once something is done at one dealer, you have to keep taking it back to them until they get it right as they would cover the cost of the repairs or repair fixes. At least that is what a friend of mine told me she was told by her dealer. If that's true, I have to keep going to them for the hood.

    It's not like I could get a shuttle to work in the morning if I did take it to Cortland, like I can at my dealer if I can't get a loaner car. I miss my old guy (who sold me my car), when I originally went into get the car repainted he gave me his Explorer while mine was getting worked on. He probably would have done the same this time, but alas he went south and he probably wouldn't be able to do the same if I went to Cortland, as he's further away now.

    I hope this works out, but I feel a little more armed with information thanks to you and silver bullet.

  • petedopetedo Member Posts: 27
    I think my focus suffers from excessive torque steer. I'm aware that it'll happen to some extent in any FWD car, but it seems like a bit much to me. Then again my last 3 cars have been RWD so I don't know. Is there anything that could be causing it or is it normal?
  • njbongonjbongo Member Posts: 66
    Well, it sounds like your dealership is like many others. They are concerned with high volume sales and low volume repairs...hehehe

    This is kinda why I said to have someone other than the dealership check the alignment...again, that's only my opinion. Isn't it a shame that Ford built such a great little car for an awesome price and just can't seem to service it correctly.

    I have been EXTREMELY lucky with my Focus....yes it only has 1500 miles so far, but the car is very 'tight' and seems to be put together just right. My one and only concern is that the spacing between the rear bumper edges seem to be a little 'gappy', but I have looked at other Foci and they all seem that way. That is an easy fix for this, I just need to get my hands on a pair of shims from a local auto body shop. They just get screwed in on the inside edge of the bumper (where you won't see them) and that usually lifts everything back into place.

    Again, I really don't consider this a major problem...I have seen ALL kinds of cars that look like this...even a Lexus...when you use all plastic bumpers covers, this happens. Also, mine is such a slight gap, if I didn't point it out to people, they would never notice.

    Well, good luck, I hope someone finally figures out your problem (I still insist that the alignment is causing the 'hoping' effect..we'll see). Let us know.


    Petedo, I have notice the torque steer also. The problem with the Focus is the engine is pretty powerful, especially from a standstill. The more power you have, the more torque steer there will be. It comes from un-equal drive axle lengths...something tha rear wheel drive and ALL Subaru's don't have. The Sub's have the trans in dead center, so the axles are exactly the same length.

    You are probably just used to rear wheel drive, so the torque steer is more noticable to you. But, anytime you think it's bad, go drive a modified Honda or a stock Turbo FWD....if you don't hold on tho the wheel for dear life, your soing to steer right into oncoming traffic. hehe

    The only thing that will minimize the problem is...I know, I sound like a broken record...wheel alignment.

    I DO wonder what Ford is going to do with the SVT Focus though...with 40 more horsepower...the problem will be alot worse.

  • petedopetedo Member Posts: 27
    They'll probably have to use a different differential on the SVT..
    I've read that Foci have anywhere from 100-115 hp at the wheels. Maybe I got one in the upper range.
  • njbongonjbongo Member Posts: 66
    I'm pretty sure that mine is in the upper range too.....I get some good torque steer going at the slightest tap from a dead start. My ZX3 really hauls @ss from a dead stop, I was in such shock the first time I drove it. When I test drove the first Focus, it was Auto, and I was even impressed with that one.

    I really wish that all of the auto makers would take a tip from Subaru. Even if they can't get EXACTLY the same size axles, even if they get them closer to equal length, it would be better. The worst torque steering car I ever had was an old Rabbit GTI (the original GTI). I changed a CV joint on this car once, and it was hysterical to see the was about twice the length of the other.

    I'm not really sure on this, so don't quote me, but I think that a 'locking' differential will be an option on the SVT. If so, this would proably eliminate or at least, greatly lessen the torque steer effect. I'm not 100% sure on this, because I never had a FWD car with this feature.

    I did see that Ford Racing sells a differential kit for all FOCI, though from the picture, I can't really tell what exactly it is. If it involved opening the trans to install it, then that would certainly not be worth it.

    Anyone else have any experiance with FWD locking diffs?


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