I have been to test drive a 2004 MK1 factory fitted LPG Ford Focus Zetec 1.8.
It is a tremendously clean car with a mileage of 80k and I took it for a test drive. It runs fine on petrol but when one presses the button to switch it over to LPG the gauge zeros and resets as normal but then proceeds to drive horribly as if the car is misfiring. The dealer sat next to me said that it sometimes runs lumpy on lpg and blamed it on the 'cold' but after interrogating him further he admitted there was a problem and the last owner got rid of it. After describing it as perfectly running on the ad I was very annoyed so I thanked him, shook his lying hand and proceeded to leave.
Now I have noticed that I never see one of these LPG focuses go past 100k so there must be something inherently wrong with them and I know normal petrol zetec models are incredibly reliable as my last MK1 W reg 2.0l saloon hit 180k!
Now this car has been loitering on my mind as it is clean, low mileage, nice colour and has a tight gearbox and steering etc etc and it was at a very low price so I thought of going back, haggling and doing it up/fixing the engine to run on LPG so I can perform 'dirt cheap motoring'.
I know the aftermarket LPG kits on zetecs never work properly but I understand these cars had a special LPG strengthened head from the factory or something so why do they break? I am pretty sure it may be the age old Valve seat recession problem which afflicts LPG cars. My first question is that if this turns out to be the case (worst scenario) how much would this cost to fix on the focus at a garage approximately (parts and labour)?
Does anyone else know what else the problem could be? The engine seems fine and warms up on petrol. Worst case scenario I buy it and just run it on petrol which would be fine I guess. I am currently driving a duratec KA which is the most fun and best handling car I have ever owned but the lack of bootspace and 5th seat is proving to be a problem. I will also be doing more miles in the coming years and the KA is very uncomfortable on the motorway. I would like something else which handles nearly as well and even more economical so the next best thing I can think of is the LPG focus.
Thank you for your help.