heavy clutch

Hi
I have owned a Focus 2ltr Zetec for about 18 months now and have been delighted with every aspect of it.
Four weeks ago I was involved in an accident - a rear shunt - quite bad. I
have just had the car returned from the garage and apart from an obvious flaw ie the rear window not demisting, it does not feel like the same car at all, the clutch feels very very heavy, feels like I'm driving with the brakes on and the steering feels twitchy. My husband suggests that it's just me and that a rear shunt couldn't have affected these things, that the garage would have only worked on the rear of the car and that clutch, steering etc couldn't have been affected.
Would welcome any comments - does the clutch on your Focus feel very heavy - do I just have a bad memory.
Thanks
Ann
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that it had a lighter clutch and you got used to that.
I always thought my Focus had excellent brakes but on a recent trip abroad I had a VW hire car where the brakes were vicious. After a few days you get used to them but when I returned to the UK and picked my own Focus up at the airport, I almost failed to stop at the first junction because I had got used to the VW and pressed the brake pedal very lightly. Even after driving my Focus, I forgot how it felt after just five days driving another car.
I remember when I drove a Focus for the first time I thought the steering was very light, on the point of being twitchy. Perhaps its you not being used to it again. As it has been involved in a shunt, it might be worth taking it to an independent garage to have the tracking checked out, just to make sure the repair centre did a good job. Damage to the rear suspension could affect the way the car steers.
If you are really concerned, pop along to a Ford dealer and ask to test drive a 2.0 zetec of similar age. You might have to leave your own one out of sight and pretend you are interested in buying one.
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Thanks Paul - I am going to book the car into a local Ford garage next week - service coming up anyway. While the Focus was off the road I was driving a Vectra 2.2 SRI - which I must admit I liked a lot!!!! A much bigger car but handled very well - perhaps just a tad underpowered - might consider one in the future.
Ann
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OK...I have an automatic so I can't answer but for your US and others - what does a shunt mean as far as your accident? Is it what we'd refer to as being rear-ended? I'm a telephone operator that used to talk to UK operators quite a bit ( too much) but that never came up in conversation. Linda
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Yep - that's what I mean - a car in front of me swerved because they hadn't noticed someone turning right in front of them, I had seen it and had started to slow down so avoided hitting them but the car in front of me just kept going right into the back of me at full speed! Wasn't very nice:-(
Ann
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I think you hit the nail on the head. I switch back and forth between a Mazda MX-5 and the Focus, and it always takes several kilometers to get used to the other car again. If I have to lay off one or the other for more than a week, it feels really strange.
I'm not sure how we should define "good" brakes. The old VWs were awful in that they had over-boosted brakes with a huge pedal travel. I loved my MK1 Scirocco anyway, because it had excellent handling, but I always felt like I was stepping in a pile of marshmallows when braking, even though they got the job done. Now the trend seems to be towards over-boosted brakes with no pedal travel (are we a bunch of wimps?). I went from my MX-5 to a friend's Fiat Barchetta and nearly splattered my face inside the windscreen because they were so hair-trigger. Then I drove an '80s Porsche 911 and felt like I was working out on a home trainer with the huge pedal effort. I finally got back into the MX-5 and felt the brakes were "just right". All three cars would have no problem locking all four wheels, but there is just a big difference between pedal effort and feel. I much preferred the huge effort but excellent modulation of the Porsche over the "tickle it with your toes and hope for the best" brakes of the Fiat. The Focus actually has "better" brakes than the newest Golf, based on objective stopping distance measurements.
And if you want light, pointy steering, try the MX-5 once... it has almost a go-kart ratio. Every time I get back in the Focus I find myself having to quickly dial in more steering for a given corner because I was used to the MX-5, where you almost never have to take your hands away from 9 and 3. Having said that, the steering in the Focus is world-class, in my opinion.
Stephen
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should have added that the Focus was stolen in the summer - found dumped but with no damage at all. During this period I was driving various other cars but when the Focus was returned it felt finew - in fact it was a relief to have it back - I loved that car.
It is only since having it returned following the accident that it feels totally different. Had to drive it from East Kent to Gatwick and back yesterday and the whole car vibrated not just the steering wheel - feels as if I am driving on square wheels - the steering is twichy is pulling to the left, clutch feels very different as do the brakes ( hard to identify what the brakes feel like - but very different sort of a grating as you start to put your foot down). Oh yes and the rear windscreen no longer demists!
I am worried that the garage have just done (a very good) cosmetic repair and that there may be something more seriously wrong - shock absorbers or damaged platform that hasn't been identified.
Ann
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Hi Justin
No - We had a burglary - while we were asleep two men broke into the house (although we have triple glazed security windows they managed to jemmy open a kitchen window and climb in - shows if they want to get into a house they will!!!) - found my handbag, among other things - took the car keys and just drove it away, both my Focus and my husband's MR2. Both cars were recovered - the MR2 after only a few hours and the Focus 6 weeks later. No damage to either of them.
Needless to say we are now paranoid about security have had a new networked alarm system installed and it is on every night and at any time we are out of the house.
Ann
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Hello Ann, So sorry to hear about your burglary. It is regrettably a sad consequence of present day life. It always amazes me how, now that "we" have tightened up security so much on cars that it is difficult (without the keys) to take and drive away a car, the situation is actually worse now than it was before, in that the thieves break in specifically to get the keys. Losing a car by theft is bad enough, breaking and entering someone's house must be a nightmare. Please accept my sympathies and wishes that you should have a trouble free future. Regards Justin

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Ann, Posted a response to you a couple of days ago but my ISP seems to have "lost" it. The gist of my post was to sympathise with you and the misfortune of the burglary just to get the keys. Very sorry to hear that the thieves broke in specifically to get the keys. It is a sad reflection of progress, that now that we have car systems which prevent driving and taking away the vehicle, these toerags actually have the gall to violate your personal home (in the knowledge that they won't be punished very much even if caught). Very sorry for you and hope that the future brings you and yours more luck,
Justin

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Hi Justin
Thanks for your sympathetic reponse - sorry not to have replied sooner - somtimes life doesn't leave you a moment to breathe!
I don't fully understand why our two cars were taken - my husband's was found by the police within a couple of hours (they seemed to know where to look) mine (Focus) was found in a local car park where it seems it was dumped within a few hours of being stolen.
I suspect that the mess that was made among our papers and cupboards was the theives looking for the car log books that would have enabled them to sell the cars on. Luckily they didn't find them!
The police now have them (burglars) in custody - one had just got out of prison after a 6 year sentence for aggravated burglary - so a good job we didn't wake up an confront them - they are apparently quite violent. I just hope the police are able to make a case, as much of the evidence they have against them at the moment is circumstancial.
Oh well - we are more clued up now and our house is a fortress - but it is a sad reflection on our society that people have to go to such lengths to secure their property!
Best wishes
Ann
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