One Funky Ford Focus

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
**UPDATES START PREVIOUS PAGE**

Day five.

Now as unfortunate as breaking more things may be, this is an easy repair, and while waiting on my mount to arrive at the Ford house, I got started tearing it apart.

See it there? Coolant reservoir is held in by two 10mm nuts. Once it's undone and swung away, you can reach the bad bad mount. *shakes finger*

434859517_7559196750813343_2038992808318102089_n.jpg

Boo hisssss.

The motor mount is held in by five bolts. Three you can see and two on the frame down there. With the motor supported by a jack/wood block combo, I pull the mount out. Yeah, I'd say that’s bad.

1.jpg
2.jpg

About that time the Ford house calls and says my mount was delivered. I shoot over there, and nab it. Certainly doesn’t look like a $100, but, what price can you put on a quality motor mount that no longer sounds like twelve brass instruments being played off key while falling down six flights of stairs?

3.jpg4.jpg5.jpg

Mount comes out, mount goes in. Just like that, and it's all torqued back to spec. (How rewarding is the sound of a torque wrench *click*? Or is it just me?)

7.jpg

The Focus is lowered back down, for the umpteenth time, and as the shop day winds to a close, I help clean up. Also, before I forget, I pulled the shift tower out of my junk transmission. It is still in good shape, and I think having a spare one of those around for just in case, is a good idea. Butch also got a parts order in and needed extra hands to unload the truck, etc, so I wasn’t able to check my motor mount work until after it was all done. So.
 
Last edited:

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
Dusk, day five.

Hand on the key, and wearily determined, Sir Kirk of ye Junkyard Rescues, fires the Focus up. Again.

But this time it settles back into the silent, sedately little sewing machine hum he knows so well. Success! Even Butch, the surly old curmudgeon he is, comes out of his office smiling. He claps me on the back, and tells me to "get that sumbitch out of the shop before something else breaks". Agreeing, I jump back in and put it in gear. Much like a new born deer learning to walk, I gingerly ease the clutch out and she starts to roll out of the shop and into the dusk slowly, moving under her own power for the first time in who knows how long. I live for those first, bootleg runs when you first get something running and you know you shouldnt drive it, but you are totally going to drive it.

I pull out of the yard and onto the service road, for a quick test. Seeing as how the list of things I do NOT have is pretty long (tags, insurance, plates, good tires, brains, any idea of any of the working systems of this car, which includes but is not limited to the brakes) and the things I DO have is shorter (a giddy feeling and a bullet riddled, taped up rear window) I still decide to make a quick jaunt. With the gas light warning me of my impending walk should I jaunt too far, I still manage to run it up through four gears, just as smooth as you'd like. As I run out of road, and just before a suspicious looking lump behind a bush that looks quite a bit like impending legal trouble and financial stress, I signal for a legal left turn, then one more legal left, and head back the way I came.

I make it back to the shop safely, and without breaking out in handcuffs. I learned that the brakes, while working, may need some updating at some point. The wheels are out of balance, the tires are bad and I'm pretty sure I have broken glass all over me. As a bonus, I now smell a bit like the funk in this car. None of which can stop me from grinning. Finally, something in the win column.

Back at the shop, Butch and I shake hands, settle up and I load the Focus on the trailer for home. This weekend I will tackle cleaning, overdue maintenance and general stuff that needs doing.

Stay tuned, Constant Reader. We are finally getting somewhere.

8.jpg
 
Last edited:

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
Lets update this shall we? Lots has happened in the world of Focus since you last seent me, Constant Reader.

Once I arrived home from the surgery center with my little bouncing bundle of joy, the real work began. First, lets get all the rest of the crap out. While cleaning, I find a nasty little buncha mold to destory as well.

1.jpg

There was also mold in the carpet in the front floorboards as well:

2.jpg
I swear this is the filthiest car I have ever seen. Those snack eating MOFOs just slopped shiat around. To be my daily, we are gonna have to get much much better than this. I was wondering why the carpets on the passenger side, and not the drivers was molded and wet, but I didnt have to look very far to figure out why. Apparently, in their attempts to open a locked car with a busted out back window, some genius pried open the passenger door at the top, letting water just ruuuuuuuuuuun on in. This also explains why the carpets smell mildewy and why its always wet inside here.

6.jpg7.jpg


So I did what any of you would do, rolled the window down as to not shatterize it, put a board in the bottom of the door and gave it a good shove.

15.jpg

Good as new! I shoulda worked in the Ford factory it fit so nice. I will just go right ahead and add "body man" to my list of abilities.

I'll put it right down there near "buys cars foolishly". Now that the door shuts like it should, I bolted my wheels on and went for that first good wash! You know that really really rewarding wash where you intimately rub yo hands all over her (the) bodddddy. Being careful of course of the razor sharp rear window, I gave it a good scrubbin.

8.jpg


So in the midst of cleaning, I figured out one of the reasons it smelled so bad in here. There were about eleventy-hundred airfresheners inside. In three flavors. New Car, Vanilla and Black Ice. When I tell you that "New Vanilla Ice" stinks real bad when you add it to musty funk, mold and rotted food, just trust me. It made me glad to not have a rear window for a while.


16.jpg

And speaking of bullet holes, I quickly got tired of every breeze scattering shattered glass everywhere, so I went ahead and took it alllll out.

17.jpg



She cleans up pretty good, and those SVT wheels look right at home on there.

12.jpg
 

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
Nice and clean, lets start on this litany of undone maintenance, shall we? First up is an oil change. The dipstick is black like Jims sense of humor and smells worse. I dunno when the last oil change was done, but it appears to be about a half hour from never ago.

19.jpg

Generic walmart filter out, and up through the ground come a bubblin crude. Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea. But not in the hillbilly millionaire making type. In the "good lord thats bad" kinda way. That's okay though, I got something for that.


18.jpg

Now that I've run the old oil out, and the fresh amber colored life giving fluid in, I Focus my focus on the brakes.
45.jpg
46.jpg


Where you are, sitting comfortably, wondering why Kirk does these things, you might say to yourself, those cant be that bad, surely. Well Shirley, these are every bit as bad and coarse as you think they are. If you ever wondered what it was like to run a set of rotors further than you should, refer back to these pics. I think maybe they had them resurfaced with a golf cleat, maybe. Screw cross drilled and slotted, these are grated.

"When you want stopping at any speed to be a sketchy experiment in physics, choose grated."

Luckily I just happen to have a brake set up here, fresh from the bowels of Rock Auto. (Thanks for the discount code.)

48.jpg
47.jpg
52.jpg

The Focus front brakes are pretty easy. Two 7mm Allen heads hold the calipers on, after which you can access two 15mm bolts that hold the rotor bracket on. After all that, the boat anchor quality stopping discs fall right off. Repeat the process and you can finally show your front brake face in public without worrying over your front bumper wanting to co-dependently meet every rear bumper she sees.


Not a bad piece of work and highly rewarding.


With fresh oil and brakes, I make the bold decision to drive to Sherman the next day to have the rear window replaced, get inspected and some legal tags.

Fun Kirk fact, through my oft ridiculed PO Box, I register all my cars in the county I work in, because the inspection is 7 dollars, and they don’t even bother checking anything. If ever was a car I didn’t want a strenuous inspection on, this would be the one. In fact, I typically hand the sticker jockey ten bucks and magically I get "inspected" and gone in under sixty seconds.

I do like when someone takes pride in what they do. As long as it doesn’t involve whatever I happen to be driving at the time. Especially since the windows (those that still exist) are like super limo dark for some reason. And here in Texas, we hate several things foolishly, with marijuana and dark tint on your windows being two of them. But, we can shoot you for breaking into our car, so maybe it’s a wash. Dunno.


Now this is where I tell you that the rear window was 100% the most expensive thing I've spent money on so far. It was more than any rear window had any reason to be. I called five places, and like those creepy Russian nesting dolls, each one kept getting bigger and bigger. I ended up at a local place that did me a little better deal because I paid cash. But not by much.

22.jpg

Back window in and wearing legal tags, I head on to work, basking in my accomplishments.

33.jpg

On this bootleg ride to work, I learn two things. One, this thing is all over the road at any given bounce. It feels like both rear shocks must be blown because any change in road way makes the Focus want to change lanes, ass first. It shoots left, but then immediately changes its mind and shoots back right. Every time. It rained heavily on the way home, and I had an absolutely terrifying drive in sheeting rain. At one point I exited and drove even slower on access roads. We wont be going anywhere until I get that addressed. Also, just when you think the worst is past, for the last five miles of my commute the belt/tensioners started squealing, howling then screaming at me. Like seriously? By the time I arrived back home, it was making a significant ruckus, and was bouncing all over the road like I was Lane Frost going for gold.



Key off. Leaving this parked until the next order from rock auto arrives. I go inside, make a beverage, pat my cat (not a euphemism) and order MORE parts for a car that may should have been left dead. (thank you for the discount)

And why does it still smell so bad in there?!!
 
Last edited:

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
Five days goes by, at which point the next order from Rock Auto arrives, and with it, nine consecutive days of HEAVY rain. Since I couldn’t work on the Focus, I ordered more parts. This time in the electronic flavor. I love me some Crutchfield, because in about five clicks, I had a new Kenwood on the way. Among many other things, the Focus really sucks in the audio department. And with a 32mile one way commute, I need tunes. And since I was going to open the dash anyway, I decided to replace the cig lighter with something more usable, so I bopped over to Amazon for a USB Charger that I will actually use VS the other that is usesless, broken and mostly missing. Once the rain stopped, I got back to work on the Focus. First up, lets address the vocal elephant in the room, the belt and tensioner. Luckily, for about the price of a night at the bar (bit less really if you don’t count snacks) you get a whole kit, made by Gates.

55.jpg

This wasn’t a tough install really, just made me wish for smaller hands repeatedly. To access the bottom, you take two ten mm nuts out and pull the splash guard down. Then you can get your 15mm on the tensioner, and release the belt. Up top, take that coolant tank out (again) to reach the solo pulley, which I think is the one currently singing falsetto in the Funky Ford Focus Boys Choir. As you can see, this is a real tight fit, and I was supremely happy I had ratcheting wrenches. Man I love those. 10mm pictured here.

56.jpg

57.jpg

60.jpg


Now all the youtube videos seem to show a passel (see also: a gaggle, muckle, peck, slew and bunch) of morons taking the motor mount out (that I just installed as you recall) and jacking the motor up to pull this pulley. All you really need to do is swing it back and it comes out the keyway as designed.
448139040_7864075960325419_2426781330971461282_n.jpg


I really do wish I had smaller hands sometimes, because this was a struggle to get back in and started with my Gorilla fingers. But much like Jims GF when she realized yes, he really was that small, you sometimes have to just get through it. Top pulley done, you go back down and two more 10mm bolts ( a 1/4 ratchet fits nicely, btw) the tensioner comes out. Spinning it in my hand shows that it was making deep gravelly noises, so I think it wasn’t very long for the world. The only thing worse than driving the unrepaired focus in heavy rain would have been having one of these two clearly compromised pulleys fail at highway speed, in heavy rain. I shudder and thank my deity of choice that I made it home.

About 45 minutes worth of work, including jacking it up, wheel removal and reassembly. Not a bad job at all, and again, I bled on the Focus, which I hope it takes as a non virginal sacrifice to the automotive gobbles.

Back down on four wheels, I fired the focus up, and it was nearly silent. No squeal, no squeak, no sound of impending failure. What is audible now is a fair power steering whine, but I will address that in due course.

Sound rebellion successfully squelched, opened my Crutchfield box. As everyone knows, Crutchfield is the way to go for DIY radio stuff I think. They make it super easy, and sent all the instructions you need. In sort order I have the old radio out, new head unit in and wired. Took longer to install the charger port (had to bust out the dremel) than the radio. I like this little port, and it was like ten bucks on Amazon.
14.jpg

44.jpg35.jpg34.jpg

Isnt she purdy?
 

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
Even with all my successes, I'm still sitting here with a nagging feeling in my head. This car still has an odor, and I've shampoo'd the seats and all the carpets. Ive vacuumed till there is nothing left. I've sanitized every single hard surface, there is no cabin filter, and I cant think of a single other thing to clean. May be time to bust out the Ozone machine, me thinks. Even sitting open like this, I can still smell the car.

To replace the rear shocks, you have to disassemble the rear interior, which isnt really tough, other than the plastics around the rear seat belts. Then you take the plastic off the hatch surround. That lets you take out both rear carpeted panels.
447785047_7864074293658919_4839918468613404446_n.jpg

And that, Constant Reader, is when the wheels will fall completely off your red wagon, and you will finally come face to face with the source of your funk agony. When I got the panels off, and the car jacked up, I leaned in to start disassembly, and found that in addition to water, trash, diapers, condoms, food, mold, mildew and New Vanilla Ice, I was dealing with a rat/mouse nest in both rear corners of the Focus. 447822905_7864071953659153_2150851649588326270_n.jpg448039185_7864068516992830_1683120611893435861_n.jpg448097077_7864070670325948_1642036589118703448_n.jpg448138083_7864070786992603_5428120892630504858_n.jpg448142398_7864068443659504_6310563503675667526_n.jpg448233215_7864072240325791_8145218127431086656_n.jpg


I squealed like a little girl, about the time my neighbor and his GF walked by. They asked me if I was okay, and I kinda nodded, so she gave me a strange look, and kept walking. (When they returned, she did bring me a donut, and said I "looked like I needed that" and I was very appreciative.)

I have absolutely no idea how long this must have been sitting somewhere for mice to get in and make nests. But, they did. And I drove around in this. Oh man.

So, I fully gut the rear of the car, and mask up. Between the shop vac, compressed air and dry heaving, I get the nests removed. At one point I thought I found a mouse skull, but it turns out, it was a peanut spiced up with over active imagination.

448045957_7864074650325550_8715994379330841081_n.jpg

I spend one solid hour removing mouse poop and nests. Every time I thought I got it all, mouse ghosts hit me with the billy mays.

+.jpg

Once I finally got through, I poured bleach everywhere. In all the nooks. All the crannies. All the nooky crannys. Till it was overpowering and ran out all over the place. And I let it sit.

447895507_7864073213659027_3114717582774099517_n.jpg
 
Last edited:

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
Both side panels stink. I considered throwing them away, but google search, plus ebay search found me none to buy so I poured bleach and soap on them and high pressure washed them to try and remove all semblance of rat pheromone. That’s all I need is to be driving a Focus that attracts mice Pied Piper style.

I soaked these mouse nibbled bitches. And sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. Over and over. And then I left them in the 98 degree texas sun for two days to fully dry out. If I ever happen to find replacements, I wont say that they wont be replaced. But for now, this will have to do.


447793807_7864073463659002_2755477358086970080_n.jpg447843047_7864070970325918_8709106739754970131_n.jpg448103533_7864067153659633_3589644664054712358_n.jpg
After the soaking, and during the bleaching, I do manage to actually replace the rear shocks. They passed by blown forever ago, and compress easily by hand. Them fat sumbitches got all their money's worth out of most everything on this Focus, then this fool showed up to pick up where they left off. Yay.

447842956_7864069316992750_9025302359304979542_n.jpg

Shock install is easy and straight forward. I forget not to tighten everything up while its in the air, so the first version of my install looked like an ass high 70s hot rod. But I got that quickly repaired and back down on all fours. I poured more bleach in and left the hatch open for the rest of the day with the panels sitting in the sun.

After a full 24 hours open and bleached, I go back to the focus and panels. The panels are dry and while not odor free, the odor is much reduced. I re assemble the rear of the car, cringing a bit at the carpet panels. Once in, I go for broke and decide to bust out the Ozone machine. I got the idea from the thread here about the outback, and the good results he has had. Given the fact that this little party goer is known to eat plastics, vinyl, fabrics, odors and respiratory systems, I decide to start with just fifteen minutes.

62.jpg
I let it run for 15 minutes, let it "simmer" for another hour after, and then opened the car to let it air out. I couldn't tell much of a difference, some, not a lot, so I re treated it. This time at 30 minutes, let is simmer and then open it up. I put the generator in the hatch, where I think most of the funk is emanating from. After the second treatment, there is a marked difference in the odor. It's not new car by a longshot, but it's incredible. I will likely hit this again after a week and see.

I'll be honest, if I had known this car needed completely rebuilding it seems, I may have skipped it. BUT, that’s what I get I suppose for my fancy of cheap cars. I drove to work today, and it handles much better on the road, stops like a car with actual, functioning brakes, and barely smells at all.
24.jpg



BUT



I still can't get all this broken glass from rattling around in the hatch!
 

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
Getting new tires fitted to the SVTs today. The rears were pretty badly worn, I'm thinking this and an alignment will cancel out any other sway/movement I'm dealing with.

Also turns out one of the SVTs on the rear has a bend. I need to find at least one, preferably two.

Otherwise, this junkyard jewel is pulling down 32mpg so far with icy cold AC.

I'm diggin it.
448560528_7906899796043035_4186020031168279815_n.jpg
 

kirk

Butterfly King
Moderator
Supporting Member
Location
Allen, Texas
Alignment Day! Now I have had less than stellar results with "alignment shops" getting my alignments right. I have a 5 year alignment contract with NTB for my truck, and I have YET to be satisfied with their work. I take it back time and time again, to get my monies worth, but since NTB sold out to some company in New Jersey, they no longer sell alignment packages, and really dont want to honor my existing one. That being said, for the Focus, I sought out an actual alignment shop instead of dumb ass tire jocks that try to sell you shiat.

I mean, I took the truck last week. 92k miles on it. ufcker tried to sell me struts and shocks "due to mileage".

"They arent bad, YET (emphasis his, not mine) but 'due to age' we recommend..."

I recommended they do my alignment and that would be all, as if my truck needed suspension, I would do it.

I dont think they actually did the alignment, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. But, I'll be back there again and again till my warranty is up.

Okay back to the task at hand. The trailing arms of the focus are about as thick as a single subject notebook. Incredibly thin, they are very very sensitive to things being out of whack, and react badly. So I made an appointment with a local guy who had old school workers and old school ways. For $80 cash money ($92.50 if I gotta swipe a card, he says. The govt doesnt need to know all my business, he also says, which is alrighty with me) They put the focus on the rack and made the appropriate adjustments.

Apparently, like the southpark episode about skiiing, my rear wheels were set to "pizza" / \ when they should have been set to "french fries" I I

And, as everyone knows, if you pizza when you are supposed to french fry, you are gonna have a bad time.

eric cartman GIF by South Park


After 45 minutes, they proclaimed it good. The old man didnt find anything else wrong with the car, but the kid, while wearing a monroe patch on his shirt, told me that if I continued to have trouble with the rear of the car I should consider "upgrading" to a Monroe shock in the rear because the Ford Focus needed a "premium" shock for stability.

The old man chuckled, and shook his head.

Me, listening to his parts pushing bullshiat:
06897c0f17bf9d86aa06794aef8439dd.jpg

At the end of the day, heading home, it was MUCH more stable on the road. He might have been a salesman, but someone in there does good alignment work. I am quite pleased, and will likely bring them my truck.

Should you ever be in far north texas, and find yourself in need of an alignment, (and perhaps monroe shocks) stop on by Str8line, and dont bother telling them I sentcha.

448507337_7919034808162867_8489628556947553473_n.jpg

448560615_7919034998162848_61167025906472296_n.jpg
 
Top