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Ford Focus 56 Plate Stone Chip Problems


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#1 Focus Dave

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:44 PM

Hi!

I have a 56 Plate Ford Focus - I think this is the model before the most current. I have owned the car since new, and on the whole i am very happy with it. However approximately 13 months after purchasing the car I noticed that there was damaged occurring to the main chasis around the bottom corner of the rear passenger doors. From closer inspection I noted that the door was inset to the body/wheel arch in this location resulting in a raised ridge which is, as you would expect, getting bombarded by every bit of dust/grit/stone on the road.

I have had this in and out of the local ford bodyshop and they have always maintained that this is normal wear and tear and happens with any car - something i completely disagree with. Over the last winter the area in question was stripped down to bare metal over an area of 5cm x 1cm wide. As such I have now taken this up with Ford Customer Relations who say that its likely 'normal wear and tear' which they are not responsible for, but asked me to take it back to the bodyshop for them to write up a formal report and take pictures. When i took it in this time, the specialist changed his tact and admitted that this is a very common problem with my generation of focus and that there was no known fix for the problem. He even went as far as saying that every second focus in this specific model has the same problem and that all new models of fiesta/focus/mondeo have been protected in this area. Finally he added that i would be struggling to get the customer relations centre to take any responsability for this problem.

Clearly this is a design flaw with this car.

His conclusion was that Ford will not do anything about this problem and that there is no fix (i.e. he could repair the damage only for me to be in the same position 2 weeks - 1 month later). He offered me 3 solutions:

1. Duct Tape;
2. Continual painting / repair of the area;
3. Find a body kit which provides protection to the area (e.g. molded plastic strip which can be stuck to the vunerable area).

I did ask if the door could be adjusted to eliminate this raised ridge, however i was told the doors are fixed and any attempt to adjust them would just create more problems (such as water ingress, air noise, etc).

Whilst i am waiting for Fords response on this, I am stuck with this maintenance problem that I can not keep on top of this problem and I have no solution to. (I am out pretty much every weekend patching up the paint)

Does anyone have any suggestions/solutions on how I might protect the area other than options 1 or 2 above?

Many thanks in advance!

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#2 hillmangimp

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 01:24 PM

I have those stone chips on the rear doors of my 55 Focus. I find this frustrating as the mark 2 Focus is a good car but is let down by a some irritating flaws that are attributable to bad design which is probabay motivated by cost cutting. The solutions Ford hve offered you are quite poor, I just hope the mark 3 Focus irons out the flaws of the mark 2. The acid test of any car is whether you would buy the same car again/reccomend to a friend. My personal view is that although the Focus has many good points, I'm not convinced as to whether I would buy another.

#3 artscot79

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 02:18 PM

I have those stone chips on the rear doors of my 55 Focus. I find this frustrating as the mark 2 Focus is a good car but is let down by a some irritating flaws that are attributable to bad design which is probabay motivated by cost cutting. The solutions Ford hve offered you are quite poor, I just hope the mark 3 Focus irons out the flaws of the mark 2. The acid test of any car is whether you would buy the same car again/reccomend to a friend. My personal view is that although the Focus has many good points, I'm not convinced as to whether I would buy another.



its common with even my mk1 focus i have fitted mudflaps which has certainkly helped unfortunately it is classed as wear and tear however there are other options there is a clear plastic protector that simpl is stuck over the area and provides a shield against the damage my old passat had them as standard fitted to the vulnerable areas at the arch etc and on a 10yr old car i had no rust which is what will eventually happen to these chips if left take a look at the link its well worth investing in you apply and you would clean the car as normal when it gets tatty you remove and replace http://www.demon-twe...&pcode=FOL34110

#4 catch

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 10:40 PM

Hi!

I have a 56 Plate Ford Focus - I think this is the model before the most current. I have owned the car since new, and on the whole i am very happy with it. However approximately 13 months after purchasing the car I noticed that there was damaged occurring to the main chasis around the bottom corner of the rear passenger doors. From closer inspection I noted that the door was inset to the body/wheel arch in this location resulting in a raised ridge which is, as you would expect, getting bombarded by every bit of dust/grit/stone on the road...........

Whilst i am waiting for Fords response on this, I am stuck with this maintenance problem that I can not keep on top of this problem and I have no solution to. (I am out pretty much every weekend patching up the paint)

Does anyone have any suggestions/solutions on how I might protect the area other than options 1 or 2 above?

Many thanks in advance!



Any chance of photo's of the problem ?

As you can see from THIS post I made in regard to damage caused by road grit being thrown up from the tyres. And the subsequent remedial work I carried out on the problem. Photo's ensure you leave the audience in no doubt as to the problem under discussion

#5 borgie

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 11:08 PM

I know of two products that will definately protect your paint.
I had it fitted on lots of areas on my car from New to protect mine from stone chips.
It works well and is fitted on some cars from brand new around areas such as rear arches and lower bumper areas.
Expensive car owners would go down this route. Aston Martin/Porche/Ferrari . So this shows how good it is.
Its saved mine from damage. ;)

Paintshield (Grantham)
Armourfend (Essex)

we have used both and the product is made by Scotch 3M (Quality)
its a layer of film which is easy to remove and replace if required.
photos on request.

#6 Focus Dave

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 10:56 AM

Thanks for the comments :)

I just wish i had known about these problems prior to purchasing the car.

When i first noticed the damage (at this point on both the front and rear wheel arch areas at around 13 months) I installed mudflaps. This has protected a lot of the paintwork around the front arches and along the sill. I would definately recommend installing these.

I'll post photographs of the damaged area later on.

I have seen posts that suggest applying helicopter tape. I may try that to see if it protects the area.

****************************************************************************

As I was typing this Ford Customer Relations phoned (having seen the dealers report on the problem) and pretty much said this is how the car has been designed, and as such there is no manufacturers defect. However at the same time they admit that I shouldnt be out patching up a 3 year old car on a weekly basis. In conclusion it is my problem to fix.

Despite the fact I enjoy driving my focus, and generally think its a great car, I would say I am seriously considering getting rid of it to avoid the continual mainteance and costly body work repairs within the next year or so.

#7 catch

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 11:59 AM

Thanks for the comments :)

As I was typing this Ford Customer Relations phoned (having seen the dealers report on the problem) and pretty much said this is how the car has been designed, and as such there is no manufacturers defect. However at the same time they admit that I shouldnt be out patching up a 3 year old car on a weekly basis. In conclusion it is my problem to fix.

What they are really saying is, we fecked up at the design stage, and once we realised this we did a redesign [MK2.5]

Despite the fact I enjoy driving my focus, and generally think its a great car, I would say I am seriously considering getting rid of it to avoid the continual mainteance and costly body work repairs within the next year or so.


On my MK2 I don't seem to have the same problem you are on about, hence my request for photos. The main area of the "shot blasting" effect leading to rusting I had was on the sills. And it was immediately behind the front wheel arches, that it was at its worst. Getting less of a problem the further back you go. My car is a week short of 4.5 years old with 34k on the clock, and shows no evidence of remedial work being done prior to me tackling it.Only bit of a blemish I have noticed on any of the doors is on the front NS right at the bottom front edge, but could not swear it is actually down to debris hitting it, could be bad finish. I only noticed it a couple of weeks ago, and thought I'll sort that in the spring. That said yes there is some slight paint scaring to lower door panels, much the same way you experience slight bonnet scaring due to other traffic throwing up rubbish. Maybe I'm prepared to accept this as being just part of the downside to owning this car, where as you aren't.

Posted Image


Not dissing you, I'm just saying stuff like this is very subjective on a personal basis. There again you may produce some photo's and I totally agree with your concerns. But I still think the plus points of owning a Focus far out way the few negative points I have personally experienced over five years of owning Focus's. I'm irritated that the fabric they used on the Mk2 has a tendency to fade/ looked stained, more so on the driver seat. Again I see this as a product flaw in that it appears not to stand up to the usage it is likely to get. It certainly was not an issue in the Mk1, mine at nine years old was showing no wear with 80k on the clock. Will post a couple of pics, when photo bucket eventually resizes them, its slow today. Mind you they are 2.55MB each., and PB cuts em down to 5kb.

#8 artscot79

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 12:22 PM

What they are really saying is, we fecked up at the design stage, and once we realised this we did a redesign [MK2.5]



On my MK2 I don't seem to have the same problem you are on about, hence my request for photos. The main area of the "shot blasting" effect leading to rusting I had was on the sills. And it was immediately behind the front wheel arches, that it was at its worst. Getting less of a problem the further back you go. My car is a week short of 4.5 years old with 34k on the clock, and shows no evidence of remedial work being done prior to me tackling it.Only bit of a blemish I have noticed on any of the doors is on the front NS right at the bottom front edge, but could not swear it is actually down to debris hitting it, could be bad finish. I only noticed it a couple of weeks ago, and thought I'll sort that in the spring. That said yes there is some slight paint scaring to lower door panels, much the same way you experience slight bonnet scaring due to other traffic throwing up rubbish. Maybe I'm prepared to accept this as being just part of the downside to owning this car, where as you aren't.

Posted Image


Not dissing you, I'm just saying stuff like this is very subjective on a personal basis. There again you may produce some photo's and I totally agree with your concerns. But I still think the plus points of owning a Focus far out way the few negative points I have personally experienced over five years of owning Focus's. I'm irritated that the fabric they used on the Mk2 has a tendency to fade/ looked stained, more so on the driver seat. Again I see this as a product flaw in that it appears not to stand up to the usage it is likely to get. It certainly was not an issue in the Mk1, mine at nine years old was showing no wear with 80k on the clock. Will post a couple of pics, when photo bucket eventually resizes them, its slow today. Mind you they are 2.55MB each., and PB cuts em down to 5kb.


with the mk1 i have to admit ive not had this issue with stone chipping on the raised part of the arch at all even before i fitted mudflaps which help good prep after reading the post prior about the shotblasting effect i removed all arch liners and waxoyld and unbdersealead all of the insides of the arches and clear waxoyl on where the back of the flaps meet the body work to prevent this looking at the pic the rear is basically the same as the mk1 the front arch is a bit more defined the only difference is that i have the plastic skirts where the cars seeming to suffer from this issue dont and looking at the design of mine and the skirts its clear that extra width is helping to prevent these chips to the arch as stones hit that first and bounce off where as you have nothing so the stones in the tyre are thrown round and up the arch look at the rear tyre in the pic and how its the same level as the metal of the lower arch then imagine a stone thrown up from the bottom of the tyre as it turns, strangely enough it follows the raised line of the arch, yet the mk1 skirt protudes past the level of the tyre slightly so any debris hits that first and not the arch.

in short a possible cure is either skirts or those small deflectors you see on say fiats etc thats like a small piece of skirt at each arch

#9 catch

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 03:12 PM

My Mk1 had a non metal lower sill if I remember rightly, same with the Volvo S40, far better in my opinion. Got to admit after coming back to the Focus from the S40, I realised how thin the body panels were compared to the S40. Lean into the rear bumper whilst putting stuff in the boot and you feel the bumper bend under the pressure. Not so with the S40, obviously again a thicker gauge of material used.


Those photo's I promised, see how the drivers side is "washed" out, but you can see that the carpet supports the mileage.
Posted Image

Passenger side less so. Notice the stainless steel sill protectors, there Lockwoods 33.45 delivered for a set of four
Posted Image

#10 artscot79

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 04:45 PM

My Mk1 had a non metal lower sill if I remember rightly, same with the Volvo S40, far better in my opinion. Got to admit after coming back to the Focus from the S40, I realised how thin the body panels were compared to the S40. Lean into the rear bumper whilst putting stuff in the boot and you feel the bumper bend under the pressure. Not so with the S40, obviously again a thicker gauge of material used.


Those photo's I promised, see how the drivers side is "washed" out, but you can see that the carpet supports the mileage.
Posted Image

Passenger side less so. Notice the stainless steel sill protectors, there Lockwoods 33.45 delivered for a set of four
Posted Image

looking clean in there those sill protectors are a good buy make a heck of a difference and save paint in the rpocess, off topic but would the vents fit the mk1? i know the gearknob does cos ive got that one instaed of the zetec one but the more i look at they vents the more i wonder

#11 Focus Dave

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 09:22 AM

Hi,

At last I have the photos to demonstrate what I am going on about ;)

I agree with artscot79 that damage to the car is subjective and is very much what someone is prepared to accept. I suppose from my view point I accept stone chips occur but i dont expect them to be concentrated in the one area which routinely gets stripped of paint. For example I get occasional stone chips on the bonet which i patch up and never have to worry about again which is acceptable.... I think I will probably end up getting a body shop to fix the damage and get some helicopter tape to protect the area in question. I suppose my main issue with ford was that this was a significant problem when the car was 13 months old. Had it started happening now, after 3 yrs+, I might not have been so annoyed about it and more prepared to accept it.

Overall View along worst affected side. You'll note that i have mudflaps installed... On the whole there is little to no damage to the paintwork:

elevation(mod).JPG

View of damage at rear door / wheel arch area. Damage is difficult to see due to me having repaired it, so i have highlighted it in the photo after this:

side(mod).JPG

Outline of damage - The solid line shows where most of the damage occurs. All of the paint came off down to bare metal over the winter. The dashed line is an area that i have been getting occasional stone damage but have been able to stay on top off by painting it periodlically.

side(mod 2).JPG

Admittedly the bad winter we have had, along with all of the grit on the roads, has most likely exacerbated the problem.

Another view on the damage:

side 2 (mod).JPG

I've tried to illustrate the difference in levels between the body work and the door:

ridge detai (mod)l.JPG

The other side of the car gets some limited damage however no where near as bad as this side. This will be because 1) most of the stones on the road will be in the gutter, and 2) the door and body work are better alligned.

************************************************************************

I liked the sill protectors. I will def. look in to those as the paint work in that area is getting scuffed.

The seats in my car are starting to discolour after 3 years. I initially thought i had spilt something on them, but it is now becoming apparent that it's actually the surrouding material starting to fade.

*************************************************************************

#12 artscot79

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 02:10 PM

Hi,

At last I have the photos to demonstrate what I am going on about Posted Image

I agree with artscot79 that damage to the car is subjective and is very much what someone is prepared to accept. I suppose from my view point I accept stone chips occur but i dont expect them to be concentrated in the one area which routinely gets stripped of paint. For example I get occasional stone chips on the bonet which i patch up and never have to worry about again which is acceptable.... I think I will probably end up getting a body shop to fix the damage and get some helicopter tape to protect the area in question. I suppose my main issue with ford was that this was a significant problem when the car was 13 months old. Had it started happening now, after 3 yrs+, I might not have been so annoyed about it and more prepared to accept it.

Overall View along worst affected side. You'll note that i have mudflaps installed... On the whole there is little to no damage to the paintwork:

elevation(mod).JPG

View of damage at rear door / wheel arch area. Damage is difficult to see due to me having repaired it, so i have highlighted it in the photo after this:

side(mod).JPG

Outline of damage - The solid line shows where all of the paint came off over the winter. The dashed line is an area that i have been getting constant stone damage but have been able to protect periodlically.

side(mod 2).JPG

Admittedly the bad winter we have had, along with all of the grit on the roads, has most likely exacerbated the problem.

Another view on the damage:

side 2 (mod).JPG

I've tried to illustrate the difference in levels between the body work and the door:

ridge detai (mod)l.JPG

The other side of the car gets some limited damage however no where near as bad as this side. This will be because 1) most of the stones on the road will be in the gutter, and 2) the door and body work are better alligned.

************************************************************************

I liked the sill protectors. I will def. look in to those as the paint work in that area is getting scuffed.

The seats in my car are starting to discolour after 3 years. I initially thought i had spilt something on them, but it is now becoming apparent that it's actually the surrouding material starting to fade.

*************************************************************************



personally i think the issue is down to a lack of sills on the car mine stick out a bit and clearly deflect stones you hear them hit the underside of it and ive had 0 chips in the same area the only difference is obviously the sills i would be tempted to fit them myself

#13 catch

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 03:12 PM

I agree with artscot79 that damage to the car is subjective and is very much what someone is prepared to accept.


Me, Me, that was Me who said that :D

Now I understand where your coming from, and yes in the absence of somebody regularly getting in and out of the car and say catching a steel tipped heel on the bodywork. It does indeed look like damage from grit being propelled into the body work. And unlike the flanks of the car, it hits it head on instead of a glancing blow.

Now the Wife has got the car, but funnily enough I cannot recollect seeing damage like that on our car. Apart from there is one chip that somebody has in the past applied touch up to. But that is on the nearside rear door aperture, and it appeared to go down to the bare metal, so is easy to see. Whilst it was on that leading edge, it was at a guess, halfway up the door aperture opening. So did not put it down to damage akin to that which I was witnessing on the sills.

You know how you think "what happened there then" well I just put it down to probably somebody loading something into the car, and possibly damaged the paint work doing so. I'll check out the whole are when she comes back with the car.

I think you are experiencing what is well highlighted in the photo of my sill where it joins the front wing, in my post on rust problems. That is the worst area of damage on my car. And that is because it is on a leading or returning edge call it what you may. Meaning, as the grit projectile hits square on the bodywork where it returns at a right angle, it absorbs the full impact and power of the projectile. Unlike when hitting the flanks of the sills and doors, the full destructive power of the grit projectile is deflected way. You could say the reverse of tank armour, in that on the tank there are no flat surfaces that present themselves to the likely trajectory of incoming enemy shells.Because to do so would mean armour piercing powering their way through the hull of the tank.



The other side of the car gets some limited damage however no where near as bad as this side.

Not so in my case.
************************************************************************

I liked the sill protectors. I will def. look in to those as the paint work in that area is getting scuffed.


Yes mine was, obviously more so on the drivers door sill. The back sills protectors are little bitty things really, and to be honest you can do without them really, as in my case the sills in that area where mint. One word of caution, get the position spot on first time, because the stick like sh@t to a blanket.

Its an idea to offer them up in position, prior to removing the tape of the adhesive strips. Whilst offered up to the exact position your happy with, put two bits of decorators masking tape either side one the actual sills. That way you know you are placing them exactly where you want them.Try and keep the plates dead level as you offer them up to the sills, but making contact with the part of the sill protectors where they meet the return lower edge of the sill. You know, the area I'm talking about, where the sill protectors shaped over on their long leading lower edge.

The seats in my car are starting to discolour after 3 years. I initially thought i had spilt something on them, but it is now becoming apparent that it's actually the surrouding material starting to fade.



Like I said, I've seen it in a lot of Mk2's obviously a bad choice of fabric on Fords part.

#14 artscot79

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 04:41 PM

Me, Me, that was Me who said that Posted Image

Now I understand where your coming from, and yes in the absence of somebody regularly getting in and out of the car and say catching a steel tipped heel on the bodywork. It does indeed look like damage from grit being propelled into the body work. And unlike the flanks of the car, it hits it head on instead of a glancing blow.

Now the Wife has got the car, but funnily enough I cannot recollect seeing damage like that on our car. Apart from there is one chip that somebody has in the past applied touch up to. But that is on the nearside rear door aperture, and it appeared to go down to the bare metal, so is easy to see. Whilst it was on that leading edge, it was at a guess, halfway up the door aperture opening. So did not put it down to damage akin to that which I was witnessing on the sills.

You know how you think "what happened there then" well I just put it down to probably somebody loading something into the car, and possibly damaged the paint work doing so. I'll check out the whole are when she comes back with the car.

I think you are experiencing what is well highlighted in the photo of my sill where it joins the front wing, in my post on rust problems. That is the worst area of damage on my car. And that is because it is on a leading or returning edge call it what you may. Meaning, as the grit projectile hits square on the bodywork where it returns at a right angle, it absorbs the full impact and power of the projectile. Unlike when hitting the flanks of the sills and doors, the full destructive power of the grit projectile is deflected way. You could say the reverse of tank armour, in that on the tank there are no flat surfaces that present themselves to the likely trajectory of incoming enemy shells.Because to do so would mean armour piercing powering their way through the hull of the tank.



Not so in my case.
************************************************************************



Yes mine was, obviously more so on the drivers door sill. The back sills protectors are little bitty things really, and to be honest you can do without them really, as in my case the sills in that area where mint. One word of caution, get the position spot on first time, because the stick like sh@t to a blanket.

Its an idea to offer them up in position, prior to removing the tape of the adhesive strips. Whilst offered up to the exact position your happy with, put two bits of decorators masking tape either side one the actual sills. That way you know you are placing them exactly where you want them.Try and keep the plates dead level as you offer them up to the sills, but making contact with the part of the sill protectors where they meet the return lower edge of the sill. You know, the area I'm talking about, where the sill protectors shaped over on their long leading lower edge.



Like I said, I've seen it in a lot of Mk2's obviously a bad choice of fabric on Fords part.


must be my mk1 seats are mint after 9 years with no protective covers even though they are fabric maybe cost cutting using cheaper material

#15 Focus Dave

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 11:18 AM

Oops, sorry for misquoting in the previous posting!

Before I installed Mudflaps, the passenger side front wing of the car got stripped down to the metal where you describe and show in your photos. This was where the bodywork turned in also. Since installing the flaps I have not had any more damage to the sills other than light scuffing. I couldnt tell from the photo's, however it doenst look like you have the plastic sill guard on the underside of your focus that mine has. If you dont have it, it does provide a lot of protection and it might be worth while seeing if it can be retro-fited to yours? The body of the cars look relatively the same.... ?

I was in a car park yesterday and found a few focus's which were the same age as my car, same model. They didnt have mud guards and didnt exhibit the damage that i am experiencing. I looked at the doors and they were 'almost' flush with the body of the car. So I would guess that it seems to be luck whether the doors have been installed correctly during manufacture. If indeed the ford bodyshop are correct in that the doors can not be adjusted, I would say that Ford have quite wide tollerances on how they install their doors.

I did have a play with some of the door mounts and there doesn't seem to be any adjustment in them at all.

Oh well :)

While I am on, does anyone have good tips for blending in paintwork on silver cars? I have some nasty damage on the bonet due to a large boulder which got flicked up on the motorway.....

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