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Okay random one.. I'm working myself into a right frenzy at the moment in considering buying a ULEZ cheating classic. 

I phoned up a well-known marque specialist who had done loads of work on the car to see if I could get some info. They knew the bloke who's selling it but wouldn't tell me anything about the car due to GDPR. 

That's a new one on me. Izzit bullshit/ hiding something or just the way things are now? 

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Hello... I hope I'm not messing up the forum here. This is my '99 Focus. 110,000 miles, totally worthless to anyone else. Don't really know if it qualifies as autoshite, but it runs and drives lovely. More just shite now though thanks to rust. More the structure than the wheelarches apparently. MOT due just before Christmas. A longer list of advisories than any other Mk1 I've looked up, even early ones.

Am I crazy or just a bit silly wanting to save it? Won't be cheap though especially with probably wanting a new timing belt alongside the fixes for the MOT. I think it's a really good, nice looking, dependable car otherwise.

Don't mind if I could get things fixed gradually, there's no rush to keep it on the road or get it out of the way, but it'll very likely need welding and a couple of other bits done to get it through the MOT, so if I don't get it all done now, it's stuck on the driveway after December unless the garage can pick it up (and do a quote, and do the work, and bring it back...) on a flatbed I guess. And then if I leave it, who knows how much worse is it going to get even if it's sitting...

If it's going to be the end then maybe it's a good opportunity to practice doing some work myself, because at the moment I am just a dummy who drives the thing and would like to learn to do something useful.

a2.thumb.jpg.b08189aa58d973ab47361fa836322a22.jpg

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On the plus side welding structural bits is often easier as it doesen't have to look pretty.  On the downside it does need to be strong and involves either welding upside down dripping molten metal in your ear or removing most of the interior, often both.   I don't know which bits rust on the mk1 but I'm sure @sierraman will be along soon.  Best of luck with it.

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What has it actually failed on? 

The inner rear arch tub to boot floor join writes these off usually bit if you are handy with the Mig you can patch it from the inside. It isn’t usually a test fail though as it’s covered by the carpet stuff that lines the arches. It usually corrodes from inside the boot all the way round to the rear seatbelt/trailing arm mounts which if it’s rotted through is obviously a prescribed area. 

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17 hours ago, andy29 said:

Hello... I hope I'm not messing up the forum here. This is my '99 Focus. 110,000 miles, totally worthless to anyone else. Don't really know if it qualifies as autoshite, but it runs and drives lovely. More just shite now though thanks to rust. More the structure than the wheelarches apparently. MOT due just before Christmas. A longer list of advisories than any other Mk1 I've looked up, even early ones.

Am I crazy or just a bit silly wanting to save it? Won't be cheap though especially with probably wanting a new timing belt alongside the fixes for the MOT. I think it's a really good, nice looking, dependable car otherwise.

Don't mind if I could get things fixed gradually, there's no rush to keep it on the road or get it out of the way, but it'll very likely need welding and a couple of other bits done to get it through the MOT, so if I don't get it all done now, it's stuck on the driveway after December unless the garage can pick it up (and do a quote, and do the work, and bring it back...) on a flatbed I guess. And then if I leave it, who knows how much worse is it going to get even if it's sitting...

If it's going to be the end then maybe it's a good opportunity to practice doing some work myself, because at the moment I am just a dummy who drives the thing and would like to learn to do something useful.

a2.thumb.jpg.b08189aa58d973ab47361fa836322a22.jpg

If it's otherwise a decent motor and you enjoy driving it then it's worth doing the work or getting it done to get it through its MoT as it certainly looks good in the photo. Don't worry about mileage and mechanical parts as they are relatively cheap; it's garage labour and welding that would add up.

If there is anything you can do yourself to save on garage bills then all the better; they're pretty simple under the bonnet compared to much newer cars so a decent set of tools and the correct parts there should be no reason why you couldn't keep it going learning on the way.

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@catsinthewelder @sierraman @dozeydustman Thanks a lot for your replies... really good to have some encouragement.

I’m hoping to get a bit more detail on what the worst rusty parts are soon, I know it was a bit vague. But I think the arches were somehow ok on mine, despite moss wanting to grow on Ford's wheel arch carpet, it’s more just... everything else. But yes I’ll have a look at the boot floor if it does keep going.

I've been told that the blowing exhaust for whatever reason means I'd need a new catalytic converter (don't know if it's because the end joints would be screwed, or if the thing itself has a problem)... and also that it would be advisable to change the (12 years old) timing belt. This is where things are starting to pile up, together with the probable welding, woohoo. But then it looks like finding another Mk 1 without its own set of problems could well cost nearly as much, so...

I did worry about the mileage and how long the engine, transmission and so on might last, so that's good to know. I don’t put many miles on it myself now so I’m sure that helps. As far as I can tell it all feels pretty good. In fact I've always wondered if it had a clutch change at some point, unless they're known for taking 100k miles with ease, I have no idea. I know you still see a lot of them about (Mk 1.5s mainly) so at least most spares should exist I guess.

I'll get more detail about the rust and I'll go from there...
 

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On 10/8/2020 at 7:15 AM, sierraman said:

What has it actually failed on? 

The inner rear arch tub to boot floor join writes these off usually bit if you are handy with the Mig you can patch it from the inside. It isn’t usually a test fail though as it’s covered by the carpet stuff that lines the arches. It usually corrodes from inside the boot all the way round to the rear seatbelt/trailing arm mounts which if it’s rotted through is obviously a prescribed area. 

It’s a fail when you give the rear seat belts a tug and the lower mount pulls out in your hand tho . Estates seem worst for this 

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Eek, at the last MOT the rear anchor points were marked as "corroded but not considered excessive" as an advisory. Not bad enough to fail but that'll be another thing for the list if I attempt to keep it going. I've already looked on the inside but I know that's not going to tell you much unless it's horrifically bad!

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15 hours ago, Asimo said:

Welcome to our world.

Aye, our normal where little makes sense to other people, just spent £130 on getting a £200 Fiesta through its MOT and I still need to get the tracking done, do a service and set about sorting the rust..

Mind you I paid £200 a few months ago and it cost over £200 to get it MOT'd last year and only did 1000miles between tests.

It lives to fight on though!

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Rust 🤬

Well you're making sure you get all of the use you can from it and saving waste, it's a good thing ;)

I know, I don't use my Focus much for how much I spend on it. One day I'll add up how much I've spent on it... worst thing was spending £100s to get the cloudy headlights changed years ago... if only I had time and the ability to get the front off the ground back then...

I'm still sad I had to let my '94 Citroen AX go 12 years ago. Was my first car and it still hurts slightly even talking about it. Structural rigidity of a piece of paper in a crash apparently.

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6 hours ago, Floatylight said:

Aye, our normal where little makes sense to other people, just spent £130 on getting a £200 Fiesta through its MOT and I still need to get the tracking done, do a service and set about sorting the rust..

Mind you I paid £200 a few months ago and it cost over £200 to get it MOT'd last year and only did 1000miles between tests.

It lives to fight on though!

I just spent £400 getting a £300 Saab through an MoT... our world rarely makes sense, but we have fun* not making sense. 
 

The question is would you regret it if you don’t do it... always better to regret things you have done rather than things you haven’t in my book. (Unless it’s murder or some other serious crime) 

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9 minutes ago, brownnova said:

I just spent £400 getting a £300 Saab through an MoT... our world rarely makes sense, but we have fun* not making sense. 
 

The question is would you regret it if you don’t do it... always better to regret things you have done rather than things you haven’t in my book. (Unless it’s murder or some other serious crime) 

I've just spent £600 on a £525 231k omega.  To find that I'm not going to be doing lots of miles like the first 3 years of ownership. 

Why?  It's rare.  It was an aspirational car when they were new.  I spent £2k on a second hand mk3 Astra when my omega woukd have been in the show room with a plus £30k price tag.

It's comfy.

It's been good to me.

It's fast (ish) 

And it's rare. 

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2 hours ago, andy29 said:

Rust 🤬

Well you're making sure you get all of the use you can from it and saving waste, it's a good thing ;)

I know, I don't use my Focus much for how much I spend on it. One day I'll add up how much I've spent on it... worst thing was spending £100s to get the cloudy headlights changed years ago... if only I had time and the ability to get the front off the ground back then...

I'm still sad I had to let my '94 Citroen AX go 12 years ago. Was my first car and it still hurts slightly even talking about it. Structural rigidity of a piece of paper in a crash apparently.

What’s the actual fail sheet say?

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6 hours ago, sierraman said:

What’s the actual fail sheet say?

It's pretty sad. Shouldn't have let it get like this but my circumstances haven't been the best. Most recent MOT, December 2019...

Major defects, fixed to get it through:

Offside Front Outer Seat belt anchorage prescribed area strength or continuity significantly reduced sill (7.1.1 (a) (i))
Nearside Track rod end ball joint has excessive play (2.1.3 (b) (i))

Advisories:

Nearside Front Anti-roll bar linkage ball joint has slight play (5.3.4 (a) (i))
Front Exhaust has a minor leak of exhaust gases flange (6.1.2 (a))
Nearside Rear Seat belt anchorage prescribed area is corroded but not considered excessive (7.1.1 (a) (i))
Offside Rear Seat belt anchorage prescribed area is corroded but not considered excessive (7.1.1 (a) (i))
Brake load sensing valve stiff (1.1.17 (c) (i))
Brake load sensing valve linkage defective but function not impaired (1.1.17 (a))
Rear Sub-frame corroded but not seriously weakened (5.3.3 (b) (i))
Nearside Rear Vehicle structure is corroded but structural rigidity is not significantly reduced (6.1.1 (c) (i))
Offside Rear Vehicle structure is corroded but structural rigidity is not significantly reduced (6.1.1 (c) (i))
Offside Front Suspension arm pin or bush worn but not resulting in excessive movement rearmost bush (5.3.4 (a) (i))
Nearside Front Macpherson strut corroded but not seriously weakened (5.3.3 (b) (i))
Offside Front Macpherson strut corroded but not seriously weakened (5.3.3 (b) (i))
Nearside Front Brake hose has slight corrosion to ferrule (1.1.12 (f) (i))
Offside Front Brake hose has slight corrosion to ferrule (1.1.12 (f) (i))
Nearside Front Coil spring corroded (5.3.1 (b) (i))
Offside Front Coil spring corroded (5.3.1 (b) (i))
Nearside Rear Coil spring corroded (5.3.1 (b) (i))
Offside Rear Coil spring corroded (5.3.1 (b) (i))

Also a number plate lamp, but I can definitely do that one.

Let me know if I should carry this on in its own thread, if it's even worth continuing after seeing that. This is why I think it might just be something to practice on. I hope I didn't waste your time.

 

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So to get a test it wants a plate on the sill - prescribed area round front belt mount. Track rod end easy job. So maybe I don’t know £150 to get it another years test. 

The other stuff sounds much worse than what it is apart from the seatbelt mounts. If the back end just has surface rust and the metal is solid, wire brush the loose stuff off give it a coat of Stonechip and it’ll probably give it another few years. The rear seatbelt mounts are the area near the trailing arm mounts, I’d wager it’s rotted all the way round to the boot floor. 

I’d spend the £150 or whatever then just run it till the tests up next year and stick a few quid away for a replacement. 

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I’d book it for a pre-mot inspection with a known friendly garage, get an opinion and divide into jobs you could try youself, and those out of your skillset. Hopefully it’s still structurally sound enough that the easy spanner jobs are all it needs.

Easy jobs on the driveway are the anti roll bar link, the exhaust flange seal. Possibly the front suspension arm (normally 2 bolts on the subframe/chassis leg and a pinch bolt at bottom of strut). Might be worth investing in a workshop manual.

If the car needs welding this year get a quote from your garage. Certainly worth a couple hundred quid’s worth of welding for a few more year’s motoring with it. If you start getting to £400+ Garage quotes learn to weld or (Personally) I’d reconsider the car’s future - you should be able to pick up another good Focus or similar for £500 with a year’s ticket, and keep any good bits off the

 

 

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You know what, I was just going to ask about a pre-MOT. I think I should get one and then look at the body myself before I pester you guys any further, because you've been really helpful but I'm aware the current one is nearly a year old and there are so many things that might be too bad or might be ok this time.

Every pound you don't spend is great but I'm happy spending a couple of hundred or so each year to keep it going, it's worth it to me for several reasons. Have been told to consider calling time by my usual garage but they are probably normal and see no point in bothering with welding a 21 year old car! Handy to have an idea of the value of a good one. I don't have to have a Focus but it would be nice and I know a lot about it now, and yes, nicking bits from it could be very useful.

Oh boy, learning to weld... that would be wonderful, but I would be starting from zero knowledge other than a few Youtube videos. Still, the car could wait for me to get a clue, no hurry.

Glad some of these bits might be doable by me, again no hurry so it's ideal. Have already looked into how that exhaust flange seal is changed, so I'll look into the anti roll bar link and suspension arm and the bolts you describe. Do have other annoyances like that brake load sensing valve waiting to play up again as well (it was freed up to get it through the test once before years ago) but I'll come to that if/when I need to.

I have a Haynes manual so is that good enough or are there even more in depth ones about?

Sorry Sierraman, I meant that sill was done to get it through last time. Seems like if a pre-MOT isn't catastrophic then I'll be having a damn good look over the body myself - I know the rear belt points were mentioned in the advisories so you may well be right about the boot area. Stonechip sounds interesting, I see places saying it protects from corrosion, so it does help with that then? I was hoping there was something preventative I could do even if there are no miracles.

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Exhaust will be the flex on the manifold, it all comes as one piece, they’re usually about £45-50 for an aftermarket one. Bottom arms piece of piss on those. Undo the pinch bolt and the front/rear bush carriers and put it comes, just watch you don’t pull the driveshaft out when you move the strut a bit. The spray on underseal will be perfectly adequate in this case, wirebrush the loose stuff off, then give it 2-3 coats. 

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On 10/12/2020 at 6:45 AM, andy29 said:

Oh boy, learning to weld... that would be wonderful, but I would be starting from zero knowledge other than a few Youtube videos. Still, the car could wait for me to get a clue, no hurry.

It's a little bit of investment in time and money but it is an investment nonetheless, and in the future it'll repay you many times over. The main hurdle is storage / work space and the initial outlay for the machine, gas, PPE and the metal itself. The running costs after that are very very small. If you consider that your average welding job on an old heap costs about a hundred quid it doesn't take long for it to repay you. Plus you get to keep the tools and knowledge.

When I joined this forum a year ago I'd never even considered welding but it really surprised me how quickly it can be picked up. The most difficult part is in cutting and shaping new metal to fit, but on an old shitter that just has to pass an MOT that matters much less as you can just chop out the rot and weld new plates over. There are loads of people on here that can help out too.

It also opens the option of taking on other more desirable chod that may be passed over by others because of rust, and getting it quite cheaply. It gets very addictive though! 

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On 10/13/2020 at 9:29 AM, sierraman said:

Exhaust will be the flex on the manifold, it all comes as one piece, they’re usually about £45-50 for an aftermarket one. Bottom arms piece of piss on those. Undo the pinch bolt and the front/rear bush carriers and put it comes, just watch you don’t pull the driveshaft out when you move the strut a bit. The spray on underseal will be perfectly adequate in this case, wirebrush the loose stuff off, then give it 2-3 coats. 

Pulling the driveshaft out, yeah will make sure I avoid that, yikes. Get the loose crap off and do two or three coats of the spray, got it. My exhaust manifold goes straight into the cat through the flange, am I misunderstanding? Don't know why the guy who looked said I would need a new cat (for a bajillion pounds), can't really pester him for a reply any more than I have. Rust spots on it don't look good but as you know the MOT did say it was the flange, so...!? I'll have less crap descriptions when I get the bits to have a look at it myself.

On 10/12/2020 at 11:57 PM, dozeydustman said:

Haynes manual will be fine for most simple jobs. Beware the spanner/skill rating often tells fibs.

It overestimates how hard things are, right? Right? 😀

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Is it a 1.8? They’ve a manicat on them - an awesome idea of combining the manifold and the cat. If it is the the flange then even better though you’ll probably end up cutting the bolts off so have a pair of spare 15mm nuts and bolts. Cut the bolts clean the faces up and put a new gasket and bolts. Strictly speaking you can’t use sealant up river from the cat but at this point it’s bye the bye really, you are eking our another year or two from the car. 

Theres a few different types on those 1.8 I’ve done over the years, some of the older ones fitted to the Mondeo’s had a joint between the manifold and the cat, the cat being behind the radiator, later ones which I’d say yours will be, had the manifold and cat one piece if that makes sense?

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8 hours ago, andy29 said:

 

It overestimates how hard things are, right? Right? 😀

It was written based on a six month old car being took to bits in a garage environment, not a 20 year old rusty one took apart at the roadside. Example say the rear lower control arms the springs sit in. Says in the book probably mark and undo the rear camber bolts... yeah good luck with that - those fuckers will have fused to the arm. 

Whatever you do avoid disturbing the rear suspension on these cars, no exaggeration to say you’ll have to cut 75% of the bolts off. 

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