Capt Slow HalfDork
May 5, 2010 3:29 a.m.

Recently my wife managed to finagle her way into a better job. However it comes with a much longer commute. After some head scratching we decided that she should be driving something that gets significantly better gas mileage than the car she is currently using for her commute (a mazdaspeed6). The car should also be as cheap as possible.

After a bit of searching we managed to acquire a 2000 ford focus ZX3 (2.0 liter 5 speed) for $1500.

Although the car has less than 100,000 miles there is ample evidence that it has suffered a bit in its previous life. It has a large dent in the passenger side panel just behind the door, the rear hatch hangs a little unevenly, and all 4 corners of the car exihbit some evidence of parking by braile.

So it looks like I am going to get a chance to familiarize myself with a buffer and some touch up paint, and I probably need to find a grassroots way to straighten up the dent as much as I can for low or no bucks...

There are a few odds and ends inside the car that needs to be attended to as well. But overall I am pretty happy with the wifes new ride.

Any good advice for a newbie fockus owner???

The shiny paint and early morning light are conspiring to make this dent look smaller than it really is...

furcylndrfoury SuperDork
May 5, 2010 6:33 a.m.
Capt Slow wrote: Any good advice for a newbie fockus owner???

drive it like you stole it?

alfadriver Dork
May 5, 2010 8:12 a.m.
Capt Slow wrote: the rear hatch hangs a little unevenly

that would make me a little nervous in any car I have. My HF was rear ended lightly, but not enough to show on the bumper skin. But the hatch never closed straight ever again.

Hope your car doesn't have similar abuse.

And based on that, I'm sure you've already changed ALL the fluids... that kind of abuse does not bode well for regular maintenence. But a lot of that can me quickly made up for- couple of quick updates will get the crud out.

I look forward to hear reports- my buddy has a 2001 with a SPI engine in it, and he still loves it. (although, if you hear clanking from the front end, check the sway bar links- pretty easy change).


Capt Slow HalfDork
May 5, 2010 11:19 a.m.

The previous owner actually kept a fairly detailed record of the maintenance. It looks like he did a decent job of keeping it mechanically maintained, he just didn't seem to care what the car looked like. But yes, all the fluids are due to be changed before any significant driving commences.

The single most annoying thing is that the blinkers are no longer self canceling, the previous owner said that had been repaired a couple of times in the cars history but it keeps breaking. Is that a common issue with these cars? Is there an updated assembly from a slightly later model of this car that would plug in?

Nitroracer Dork
May 5, 2010 2:33 p.m.

Does that car have a clean title? The hatch and dent look a lot like my focus that was rear ended. Take a look up under the rear bumper and see what the metal looks like. Still running and driving for $1500 ain't bad.

pinchvalve SuperDork
May 5, 2010 3:39 p.m.

Swap in all the SVT parts you can find.

mattbatson New Reader
May 5, 2010 4:22 p.m.

I lived outside asheville NC for a while, and the view off your driveway looks very similar... How long does it take just to get off the mountain where you live?

Vigo Reader
May 5, 2010 5:57 p.m.

My MS6-owner friend reports hwy mileage as 30mpg. Please let us know how much better the focus does!

speedblind Reader
May 5, 2010 7:17 p.m.

Not bad for $1,500. Didn't know those cars had fallen that much.

Capt Slow HalfDork
May 5, 2010 8:56 p.m.
Vigo wrote: My MS6-owner friend reports hwy mileage as 30mpg. Please let us know how much better the focus does!

Whoa! I want some of what he is smoking. Is he a hypermiler? I usually average 20 mpg in the MS6 my wife who is not as much of a lead foot as I am never gets any better than 23 mpg or so...

Capt Slow HalfDork
May 5, 2010 11:19 p.m.

In reply to mattbatson:

It takes me about 10 minuets to get to the nearest town. I work in Sunnyvale though and thats a minimum of 45 min away. Wife is going nearly to south san Fransisco every day, which is more like a minimum of an hour to an hour and fifteen away...

The pics I have seen of the hills back east do have a striking resemblance to the terrain here.

Vigo Reader
May 6, 2010 10:41 a.m.

Hmm, hilly and traffic/low speeds may explain your mileage. Once you get out on the highway down here in Texas you pretty much hit the cruise and the recline. We have a hill country but its only about an hour or two to cross it and get back to flatness.

mad_machine SuperDork
May 6, 2010 10:52 a.m.

I wonder if one of those window suction cup things would pull that dent out?

Capt Slow HalfDork
May 6, 2010 2:18 p.m.

I have been thinking along similar lines, The paint appears to be mostly unbroken. I was thinking about taking off the interior trim and trying to push it out from the inside...

I know the metal stretches a bit when bent, so it will probably not be possible to get it perfectly flat again, but I could make it a lot better.

The other option would be to stop by a junkyard and see if I could get a replacement body panel. Though I have no idea how hard those are to remove and or install...

Vigo Reader
May 6, 2010 10:09 p.m.

Dont try and jump-start any stranded motorists, either.. i esomeone with a 2000 focus whose alternator caught on fire while trying that

Capt Slow HalfDork
May 7, 2010 12:16 a.m.

The wheel bearings were the subject of a recall. I can see by the service history that the recall work had been preformed.

Did that solve the issue or did people continue to have trouble after that?

The service history shows a fairly large number of recall related services that were performed on the car. I could certainly see how that would sour ones opinion of a particular vehicle.

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