ford se focus 2000 wagon stalls

Drove across country just before the problem started using southern states gas, not sure of any reason to suspect the gas other than the poor fuel economy it seemed to produce.
Then had ignition cyl replaced by locksmith who beat the crap out of my steering column in the process. Just after that the car would intermittently stall. The engine will slowly start to sputter, gets worse where the engine will die in about 2 min. If I restart the car after a short time say 30 sec it will run ok for around 5 to 10 min then start to misfire then eventually stall again. Once the car starts to stall it will keep stalling until I get more gas to where the tank is greater than 1/2 full.
Replaced fuel filter and no change, problem persists! Problem seems much worse when the gas tank is less than 1/3 full and will rarely make it to 1/8 full without stalling. Checked tightness of gas cap when problem started but cap was tight. Someone said they knew someone who found Ping-Pong balls in their gas tank, who suffered a similar problem, but I can't see how they would fit through that little filler hole, even so I can see how a small plastic baggy or rubber balloons might cause a problem like I am having.
If any one has any ideas what the problem is or what I should do to try and fix this myself please reply to this posting. Thanks for all responces.
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I've never seen a Focus fuel pickup, but it sounds to me like that is where your problem is. It sounds like there is a hole or something up above the bottom pickup and when your tank starts to empty, the fuel pump starts pumping air. My other thought would be that the bottom of the pickup itself has come loose and is floating up and starts sucking air when the tank level starts coming down. Granting, I'm just guessing here as I've never seen these parts on the Focus to even know what the in-tank parts look like.
Matt Focus owner
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You don't give mileage or when the last time it's had a major tune-up, including (especially in this case) a complete cleaning of the intake plenum area and injectors.
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Since the problem is exaggerated by the lack of fuel in the tank I ruled out the normal routine tune up options, plugs, cap, wires etc. I bought the car at 32k miles and it now has 45K miles on it and I have not done anything to it besides change the oil and replace the tires and add a can or two of fuel injector cleaner. The car runs near perfect (with a full to around a 1/2 full tank) then after that I cross my fingers especially as the tank reaches 1/4 full. Today, wed it started stalling at 1/8 of a tank. I thought it might be OK as I just replaced the fuel filter and it hasn't got that low without stalling in the last 2 weeks.
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I believe it's your fuel pump assembly. There is a recall on that, with the symptoms you describe. The letter says "Although the symptoms noted above can occur under a variety of driving conditions, they are most likely to occur when there is less than one-quarter tank of fuel and/or when the driver is attempting to accelerate while making a right turn maneuver (such as entering a highway through a cloverleaf) or driving uphill." This recall covers 200 and 2001 vehicles.
It is program 03N01.
Ron
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You are probably coming due for a tune-up, but since your problem is severe I agree with the others, the likely culprit is the fuel pump. This is a known weakness in the early production Foci.
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Your Fuel pump is going, it should be covered under the 10 year warranty by Ford.
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