The Ford Focus

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370
Location
Suwanee, GA
I am considering an early (2000-2004) Focus as a daily commuter. I've heard stories of folks with Escorts going 160k miles without any major issues; is the Focus the same way? Are there any Focus owners in here?
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
46,199
Location
Ontario, Canada
We just sold our 2000. Was a great learner car for my wife. Brakes for it are cheap and so are most parts. Problem points: -> EGR pipe can break off -> EGR valve is REALLY hard to replace -> DPFE sensor failures (common) -> sway-bar links break (common) -> Factory CD player leaves a lot to be desired.... Good points: -> Excellent fuel economy -> Good handling -> Good in snow -> Decent ride quality -> DPFE "update kit" fixes that issue permanently
 
Messages
162
Location
MN
I bought '97 Escort back in 2002 when it was 175k for $1500. And, already started rusting and very bad tires although they were fairly new. The work done on that car: - Alternator (worn out, replaced it myself) $120 - Battery (worn out, replaced it myself) $60 - Spark plugs(worn out, replaced it myself) $20 - Clutch (no real reason,friend replaced it, I helped) $180 parts $100 labor - Brake Pads (worn out, replaced it myself) 1st $20 cheap, no grip, worn out fast, 2nd $45 grip much better last longer. - CV Joint (Problem while getting to the clutch, apparently it was welded to the hub) $0 part of clutch job - Radiator (leaked then added Stop Leak, last foe 25k miles, created over heating, replaced with used one for $300 ran fine for another 10k) - Tires $450 put in good A/S tires, much better tires than ones that come with - T-belt ( started ripping and make whipping noise and replaced it, luck me not broken all the way yet) $120 Overall, it was a good cheap car. Rust even further, decided to sell it in 2008 when it was 240k for $800. I spent about $3k for the car in total and get back $800. Roughly $2200 for 6 years or about $370/year. Not bad at all.
 

semaj281

Thread starter
Messages
370
Location
Suwanee, GA
Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
We just sold our 2000. Was a great learner car for my wife. Brakes for it are cheap and so are most parts. Problem points: -> EGR pipe can break off -> EGR valve is REALLY hard to replace -> DPFE sensor failures (common) -> sway-bar links break (common) -> Factory CD player leaves a lot to be desired....
So what is this DPFE sensor? edit: A quick google search revealed that it's part of the EGR. It's good to know most parts are cheap to replace.
 
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Messages
122
Location
North Georgia
I have a 2000 SE that has approx 180K on it. Engine and trans are going strong although I spent $850 two years ago to replace the timing belt, which was long past due. At the same time I had them replace almost everything on the front of the engine. I replaced the water pump, timing belt idler, front seal, all the drive belts and all cooling hoses as a preventative measure. I replaced rear wheel bearings, one bad one and as preventative measure last week. It is in need of struts and shocks and they are next on the and will be replaced in the next few months. Not bad I think for 12 years and 180K miles. However be prepared. I have replaced 3 power window mechanisms and the the forth is waiting on the parts to arrive. I have had to have it towed in twice because the ignition lock broke locking the column. I am now in the process of tracking down a trunk latch because the plastic parts in the latch broke, effectively sealing the trunk until I found a way to dismantle the back seat to unlock it from inside. Ford put the seat back release inside the trunk. Not one of their better ideas. I think it is like a great many late model cars, the drive train is bullet proof if maintained but those peripherals will kill you if you aren't able to repair them yourself. That said I am looking to buy a 2012 Focus( The 2000 will be retained as a second car) and expect it will last past the point I am able to continue driving.
 
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Messages
932
Location
USA
I owned a 2000 Focus SE for about 7 years and it's the exact reason why I will never buy a first-year production vehicle again.
 
Messages
5,628
Location
London, ON, Canada
Originally Posted By: kb01
I owned a 2000 Focus SE for about 7 years and it's the exact reason why I will never buy a first-year production vehicle again.
Enlighten us?
 
Messages
2,543
Location
Rochester, MI, US, World
Which engine choice are you considering for your Focus? From 00-04, the Focus came with 3 different engines, some years overlapping: the 2.0 SPI from the Escort 4-door/wagon (problematic and underpowered from everything I've heard), 2.0 Zetec from the Escort Zx2 (very solid motor. I've had a car with it, and had no issues), and the 2.3 Duratec (excellent motor! Big brother to the 2.0 Duratec, which was used in the Focus from 2005-2011 and is still used in the Transit Connect).
 
Messages
289
Location
VA
I work with a guy who bought a new Focus the same time as I bought a 2002 Cavalier. The Cavalier has never been to the shop for anything but maintenance. The Focus had a few issues, but they weren't major. Overall, I would recommend it or the Cav from the same time period.
 

semaj281

Thread starter
Messages
370
Location
Suwanee, GA
Originally Posted By: Autografe
I have a 2000 SE that has approx 180K on it. Engine and trans are going strong although I spent $850 two years ago to replace the timing belt, which was long past due. At the same time I had them replace almost everything on the front of the engine. I replaced the water pump, timing belt idler, front seal, all the drive belts and all cooling hoses as a preventative measure. However be prepared. I have replaced 3 power window mechanisms and the the forth is waiting on the parts to arrive. I have had to have it towed in twice because the ignition lock broke locking the column. I am now in the process of tracking down a trunk latch because the plastic parts in the latch broke, effectively sealing the trunk until I found a way to dismantle the back seat to unlock it from inside. Ford put the seat back release inside the trunk. Not one of their better ideas. I think it is like a great many late model cars, the drive train is bullet proof if maintained but those peripherals will kill you if you aren't able to repair them yourself. That said I am looking to buy a 2012 Focus( The 2000 will be retained as a second car) and expect it will last past the point I am able to continue driving.
The bold parts of your post sound like pretty serious problems to me. I have no experience working on Foci, or the powertrain that is in them so I will be learning on the fly. Just curious, do you remember how much it cost you to replace the front seal and the power window mechanisms? How many miles were on the car when you first replaced the mechanism? Thanks in advance.
 

semaj281

Thread starter
Messages
370
Location
Suwanee, GA
It seems like the Zetec equipped cars are more common so I'll probably end up with one of those. What are some common issues with the SPI engine?
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
46,199
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: semaj281
Originally Posted By: Autografe
I have a 2000 SE that has approx 180K on it. Engine and trans are going strong although I spent $850 two years ago to replace the timing belt, which was long past due. At the same time I had them replace almost everything on the front of the engine. I replaced the water pump, timing belt idler, front seal, all the drive belts and all cooling hoses as a preventative measure. However be prepared. I have replaced 3 power window mechanisms and the the forth is waiting on the parts to arrive. I have had to have it towed in twice because the ignition lock broke locking the column. I am now in the process of tracking down a trunk latch because the plastic parts in the latch broke, effectively sealing the trunk until I found a way to dismantle the back seat to unlock it from inside. Ford put the seat back release inside the trunk. Not one of their better ideas. I think it is like a great many late model cars, the drive train is bullet proof if maintained but those peripherals will kill you if you aren't able to repair them yourself. That said I am looking to buy a 2012 Focus( The 2000 will be retained as a second car) and expect it will last past the point I am able to continue driving.
The bold parts of your post sound like pretty serious problems to me. I have no experience working on Foci, or the powertrain that is in them so I will be learning on the fly. Just curious, do you remember how much it cost you to replace the front seal and the power window mechanisms? How many miles were on the car when you first replaced the mechanism? Thanks in advance.
FWIW, ours, with similar mileage did not have these issues. Seems like luck of the draw.
 
Messages
3,372
Location
Kansas, USA
Originally Posted By: semaj281
It seems like the Zetec equipped cars are more common so I'll probably end up with one of those. What are some common issues with the SPI engine?
Valve seats can drop and ruin the engine. So go forever and others don't. Sorta like the spitting spark plug problem.
 
Messages
627
Location
Watkins Glen, NY USA
As Overkill said, DPFE sensors are common in this era of Fords, but not a big deal, nor expensive, if you know about it and fix the problem in the first place. Brake issues & sway bar links are solved by using performance parts for a permanent fix. Zetec & Duratec motors are very good. All around solid car for pretty cheap and very fun to drive. With performance tires and struts, handles like a German car. Ex-GF's Zetec 2.0/5-speed manual sedan got 33-35 mpg with some sports car like driving. Only major problems with these cars I've seen are rust in salty areas after about 8 years+, unless you spray 'em.
 
Messages
122
Location
North Georgia
semaj281, I can't remember the cost of the seal replacement because it was included in the total I mentioned. I no longer have the receipt. My car has the SPI engine, previously mentioned as the Escort engine. I know several people who have gotten 200k+ with reasonable care. While the list of repairs seems extensive it may not be typical for the Focus. I bought my 2000 in 2001 as program car at the Ford dealer. Later I discovered it had been a rental car (maybe Hertz,I can't remember) and it probably had a tough life. From what I read on the Focus discussion groups the the ignition lock problem was common early on. The last event with the ignition was 6 years and 80k ago so maybe Ford has better parts. Also the power window problem seems to be a fairly common occurrence with the cable operated windows. The trunk latch is again a regular topic on the Focus discussion groups. That is where I found out how to remove the rear seat back. I think if you are looking for basic transportation a Focus is not a bad choice. Mine gets excellent MPG and a Focus seems to sell for less than a Civic or Toyota of equivalent mileage and condition. Like I said I have 180k and feel I will reach 250k with no problem. But long term success with a used car is sometime more the luck of the draw than anything else.
 
Messages
932
Location
USA
Originally Posted By: SLCraig
Originally Posted By: kb01
I owned a 2000 Focus SE for about 7 years and it's the exact reason why I will never buy a first-year production vehicle again.
Enlighten us?
I had a 2000 Focus SE, which I bought in the winter of 2000 (or it may have been the end of '99). It had in the ballpark of 20-30 recalls. Outside of the recalls, it felt (which is admittedly very subjective) like there was always something going wrong with it: 1) Front airbags had to be replaced (light came on during 2nd day of ownership). 2) It had issues keeping water out, and took many attempts to alleviate the flooding passenger footwell. 3) Issues with door locks. 4) Issues with power windows. 5) Multiple blower resisters. 6) New heater core. 7) Needed new engine mounts early on. 8) AC compressor died early only on. 9) Controls for side mirrors stopped working. 10) Issues with random unintended acceleration. I ended up selling it because of the unintended acceleration issues. I spent a lot of money at multiple dealerships and mechanics, who were able to replicate the problem but never able to resolve. It drove well and felt light years beyond the competition but quality issues really ruined it for me. It was my first brand new car and I was incredibly proud of it. I babied it to a ridiculous extent but in the end, it didn't matter.
 
Messages
5,628
Location
London, ON, Canada
Originally Posted By: kb01
Originally Posted By: SLCraig
Originally Posted By: kb01
I owned a 2000 Focus SE for about 7 years and it's the exact reason why I will never buy a first-year production vehicle again.
Enlighten us?
I had a 2000 Focus SE, which I bought in the winter of 2000 (or it may have been the end of '99). It had in the ballpark of 20-30 recalls. Outside of the recalls, it felt (which is admittedly very subjective) like there was always something going wrong with it: 1) Front airbags had to be replaced (light came on during 2nd day of ownership). 2) It had issues keeping water out, and took many attempts to alleviate the flooding passenger footwell. 3) Issues with door locks. 4) Issues with power windows. 5) Multiple blower resisters. 6) New heater core. 7) Needed new engine mounts early on. 8) AC compressor died early only on. 9) Controls for side mirrors stopped working. 10) Issues with random unintended acceleration. I ended up selling it because of the unintended acceleration issues. I spent a lot of money at multiple dealerships and mechanics, who were able to replicate the problem but never able to resolve. It drove well and felt light years beyond the competition but quality issues really ruined it for me. It was my first brand new car and I was incredibly proud of it. I babied it to a ridiculous extent but in the end, it didn't matter.
Fair enough man, it sounds totally justifiable. I am usually not into first year cars too, but I have owned a few almost by accident, and they were not as bad as yours was.
 
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