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500,000KM Ford Focus MK1 Update

Interior photo of driver driving a Focus MK1

Our Focus MK1 has ticked over the 500,000 km mark in the last year. This is a breakdown of the expenses and experiences over the past year.

The Focus MK1 is doing around 2000-2500KM a month.

March 2022

2022 started off by finishing refreshing the suspension. This time it was a pair of rear dampers after the Bilstein B8 which had been on the car for around 10 years started leaking about 4 months after fitting the H&R lowering springs.

This cost 90 Euros. Easy enough to change although the choice of using Kayaba dampers made the process more troublesome than it should have been. Video here detailing the problem.

While I was in there, the upper rear front control arm also needed changing. The bushes on the arm had deteriorated leading to the car steering from the rear. Extremely disconcerting.

The control arm replacement was not straight forward. Seems a common issue on the Ford Focus of the bush welding itself to the bolt. The only answer was to buy a reciprocating saw and a good quantity of metal cutting blades to cut through the bolt. This takes time and patience.

At the same time the oil was topped up and the alternator belt changed. At this time the engine is using around a litre of oil every 1000km.

The bills for March were not over.

The fuel pump decided to quit. Initially looked like the wires on the fuel pump had disintegrated. However the replacement fuel pump also died with the same symptom. Disintegrated cables.

What was going on with the fuel pumps? I didn’t know until…

While trying to fix a problem with the Focus’s fuel gauge I noticed that the fuel tank was getting sucked in dramatically. Looking at the setup of the fuel tank and it’s hoses I saw the fuel tank was getting exposed to the full vacuum of the inlet manifold. By design. If this system was not working properly it was easy to see how and why the fuel tank would be getting sucked in.

How is this related to the fuel pump?

When the bottom of the fuel tank was getting sucked in it was crushing to fuel pump cables against the connector at the top of the tank hence the damaged fuel pump wires.

First priority was to stop the fuel tank being exposed to the vacuum. Easy enough I thought, I’ll plug the hose. But somehow after doing this the tank would still occasionally get sucked in slightly.

I’m not going to pretend to know what was happening but I’d done as much as I could on the vacuum end the next step was to look at the fuel cap. I saw a video by South Main about a car that was having fuel problems and how the cause of this problem was the fuel cap. Clearly there is more to the fuel cap than meets the eye.

The go to option for any problem, as everyone knows, is WD40. So I sprayed some WD40 into the underside of the fuel cap. Never had the problem since.

Its a shame the fuel pump problem took two fuel pumps and two recovery trucks to fix. Anyway…

March Total: Around 135 Euro


It had been a while since the fuel filter had been changed so that was done. Another oil top up and the wipers were changed.

A cheaper month than March

April Total: Around 32 Euro


This time the starter. This had been on ongoing issue which was largely solved with a bodge. You can read about it here.

But the bodge stopped working and this was a problem. The starter motor was replaced with a Magneti Marelli unit and the car was like new. Fast, powerful starting.

By this time the rear, upper front control arm had gone (like the left side detailed above). More steering from the rear, more saw blades, more patience resulting in one good handling Focus again.

Another couple of oil top ups and that was May

May Total: Around 144 Euro


No bills in June.

Yeah right…..

Front brake refresh, new discs from Brembo and new pads from Brembo. You can read a review of the Brembo brake pads here.

A couple of oil top ups and the tyres were rotated. More on the tyres later.

June Total: 100 Euro.


Just the one oil top up.

July Total: 10 Euro


A couple of oil top ups and a review of the Michelin Cross Climate 2 tires in the Greek heat.

August Total: Around 30 Euro


The alternator decided to quit leaving us stranded close to home. This was a bit disappointing as the alternator had been repaired about a year earlier. I haven’t had the best experience with repairing alternators. Fifty percent of the time they seem to quit again in a year. I think from now on I’ll be fitting a new unit instead of rebuilding.

Ordered a Denso alternator online, first unit didn’t turn, only realised after it was installed on the car with smoke coming from the belt. My fault. The shop dealt with the problem quickly. Two days later and for no extra cost I had the replacement unit in my hands.

September Cost: 170 Euro


Three oil top ups this month.

The brake cylinder was also changed. The brake pedal was soft and no amount of bleeding helped. The fluid drained from the reservoir was dark. And as well as feeling soft the pedal also felt peculiar. Bit of online research said the master cylinder was the problem. Swapping it out solved the problem. Nice solid pedal again.

A thing to note on changing the master cylinder. I initially tired to do it with normal ring spanners. What a nightmare. However I bought an open ended spanner specifically for brake lines and it turned the job into a cinch.

October Total: Around 113 Euro


One oil top up and one complete oil change.

November Total: 45 Euro


Another big month bills wise.

The clutch pedal had started feeling like the brake pedal back when it had the problem. Sometimes pressing the pedal didn’t lead to the clutch disengaging and generally sometimes the clutch pedal could feel a bit knobbly. Changed the master cylinder, at a garage this time.

While the car was in there we did the timing belt. I wasn’t sure when it was done last but I thought it must be getting on for 160,000 KM previous. When changing the belt on the Sigma Zetec engine it’s recommended to do the water pump and idler pulley so we did. We didn’t go for a cheap brand. SKF if I remember.

Rear wheel bearing had starting complaining and this was getting noticeably worse every day so we did both rear wheel bearings at the same time. Again SKF.

Still at the garage we put on a new tensioner for the alternator belt because the belt was squealing in the cold of last winter, tie rod ends were also changed. Along with the spark plugs, Denso items.

And finally the wheel alignment was done. I have done videos on DIY camber alignment, and another alignment video here. As I said in the second video, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

With the wheel alignment done the car is on a different level. Cornering forces are much higher and performance in the wet has taken a massive leap. I should have done this sooner.

One oil top up

December Total: Around 540 Euro….

Wrap Up – Focus MK1 @ 500,000 KM

It was a heavy year for parts no question. I make it around 1408 Euro for the year. On the bright side hopefully the parts that were changed will last for at least another 100,000km (except for consumables)

Was it worth it?

As long as the bill isn’t anywhere near as high for the next few years I think yes. You can see my thoughts on the MK1 Focus in this video.

Touch wood, the car is near enough perfect mechanically and it has no rust. The suspension upgrades means the car handles as well as it ever has even better than stock. Fuel economy is decent but I’ll be looking into the effect of fitting the Cross Climate 2 tyres as there have been a few comments on the snow review here saying these tyres hit MPG badly. Honestly, I have never checked but that will be the next thing/video on the list.

If you want to keep up to date with Focus, subscribe to the YouTube channels here and here and subscribe to the StrikeEngine newsletter, link below.

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This page was last modified Feb 4, 2023 @ 7:17 pm

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