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Old 12-16-2008, 08:59 PM
 
2,214 posts, read 1,730,922 times
Reputation: 371

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Hey All ~

I just bought a 2003 Ford Focus Wagon for my daughter. She needed something that would accommodate hauling her blamed cello all over the country!

It's got 180,000 miles on it because it was a fleet car for the 7up Company. Meticulously maintained, and a bunch of new parts on it. Rust free, dent free and in overall very nice shape.

Plus, the price was right.


Is there anything in particular I should be aware of with this car? Any weird quirks, or glitches that watch out for?


Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2008, 10:59 PM
 
Location: Northeast Tennessee
7,305 posts, read 23,500,155 times
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Yes, normally company owned cars are maintained extremely well. I had a 1998 Ford Taurus LX sedan in 2003 and it had 249K miles on it and still ran like a new car. I paid $1300 for it and put another 50K on it before I sold it... at that point, the transmission was starting to get weak in it.
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:50 AM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 69,434,810 times
Reputation: 10115
Issues with the Focus include: faulty ignition cylinders, leaky thermostat housings, sway bar end links. There are other issues, but if the car was well maintained, it should last you quite awhile longer. Just keep that oil changed and keep the maintenance up. The Focus is a great car, so good that I bought one. ;-)
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:04 AM
 
2,214 posts, read 1,730,922 times
Reputation: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-o View Post
Issues with the Focus include: faulty ignition cylinders, leaky thermostat housings, sway bar end links. There are other issues, but if the car was well maintained, it should last you quite awhile longer. Just keep that oil changed and keep the maintenance up. The Focus is a great car, so good that I bought one. ;-)
Cool. Thanks!

Would you clarify what you mean by "faulty ignition cylinders"? Are those the coil packs, or something else? Nothing is coming to mind.

And is the leaky thermostat housing a gasket issue, or machining - which required replacement?


Thanks again!
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:38 AM
 
10,494 posts, read 23,192,389 times
Reputation: 6667
The ignition cylinder is where you put your car key in when you start it. My Ford Escort has had the same problem.
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Old 12-17-2008, 10:16 AM
 
1,407 posts, read 2,153,623 times
Reputation: 1841
There were about 20 recalls on my 2000 SE, from a windshield wiper motor that could start on fire to rear wheels that could fall off and a rear door that could open by itself. I don't think that this model ever made it to the Consumer Reports "most reliable" list.

However, once these defects were corrected, (and I never did experience any problems whatsoever prior to the work being done), this car has been the most reliable vehicle that I have owned, the XKE, the GTO, the 280Z, the Prelude, the Ranger, the Tundra, the Regal, the Cutlass, and the Celica notwithstanding.

The only problem that I've had in 125,000 miles is the ignition cylinder locking. The first time the dealer wanted $500 to replace it, so I had it repaired for $95. Four years later it happened again, and I paid $125 to have it repaired. Other than that, this vehicle has never let me down.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:10 AM
 
Location: The Frenchie Farm, Where We Grow 'em Big!
2,078 posts, read 5,659,303 times
Reputation: 1066
I have the 2003 Ford Focus ZX5. It has <79K miles. Where could I start with problems....

2004: Had to clean Battery contacts
2005: Had battery wires and alternator replacement.
2006: Alignement problems, twice. Windshield motor.
2007: Ignition cylinders, leaky sunroof, transmission issues, alarm problems.
2008: Ignition cylinders, again, more transmission issues, alternator replacement. Rear window wiper motor.

I hope you have rear window defrosters. It will keep your daughters hands warm when she pushes the car to the side of the road!

I have never, ever had so many problems with one car in my life! I've owned VW and Mitsu's before and haven't had this much problems with those two companies combined!

I do not "rag" on my cars. Look at my mileage!!!!! 79K for a 5 year old car!

I hate to say it, but expect a lot of problems. I have maintained this piece of s@#t and it has given me headaches. Fluid changes accordingly. Maintenance is a religion in my household. My father was a mechanic and has never heard so many problems with one car than any other. He drove Honda's and Audi's.

The only advice I can give you is get AAA gold plus for your daughter and a great pair of walking shoes! Not to scare you, but you bought your daughter a money pit!!!!!!

Other's may tell you otherwise, I'm telling you! I take car of my cars and this one is horrible!!!!!!
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 69,434,810 times
Reputation: 10115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filet Mignon View Post
Cool. Thanks!

Would you clarify what you mean by "faulty ignition cylinders"? Are those the coil packs, or something else? Nothing is coming to mind.

And is the leaky thermostat housing a gasket issue, or machining - which required replacement?


Thanks again!
The ignition cylinder is where you put the key to turn the car on. Sometimes theyll lock up, not allowing you to turn the key or even remove it. Its a huge pain in the butt and costly to repair. Luckily, I havent had the problem on my Focus so far. As for the t-stat housing, its plastic in design, and occasionally the part of the housing that mounts to the block will crack, allowing coolant to leak out. I believe the housing runs around $85 or so, and isnt the hardest thing to replace, which is nice.
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,247 posts, read 44,946,726 times
Reputation: 12861
Once I fixed an ignition cylinder that was stuck by dipping the key in ATF, putting it in the lock, and leaving overnight. I used ATF because it was the lightest oil on hand, but it turned out to be a good choice, this same car is, as far as I know, still running fine with that same lock cylinder some 5 years later.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,896 posts, read 7,662,803 times
Reputation: 4508
My mom had a 2003 Focus 4-door (not the wagon) and I don't think she had any major problems with it. My brother totalled it on Christmas eve of 2006, though. Mom didn't really like it; she thought it was "too big."
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