Two problems related to power steering fluid have been reported for the 2003 Ford Focus.
The power steering pressure hose on my 2003 Ford Focus zts (2. 0 liter, dohc) leaked power steering fluid onto the hot exhaust manifold, causing an engine fire. The power steering pressure hose is routed directly over the exhaust manifold.
Rack and pinion developed a leak. I bought my car in Feb 2004 and everything was fine on it. Last spring I noticed my car was making an odd sound and I raised the hood and found the power steering fluid level very low and filled it up. The noise went away. While changing the brakes on it my husband found the rack and pinion leaking fluid. The warranty was only good up to 36,000 miles and at the time this happened the warranty had expired. I currently have only 39,962 miles on this vehicle and drive it very little obviously since it is a 2003 and when we bought it Feb 2004 it only had 19,221 miles on it. I am the second owner of this vehicle and as I said I have only put approximately 20,000 miles on it in 5 years. There should not be a problem with the rack and pinion on this vehicle with this little of mileage on it and not driven that often, but there is and I have not to date been able to get it fixed as the two estimates I got to get it fixed is between 550 and 600 dollars to get it fixed. No one other than the rich people can afford a major repair such as this when it is obvious that Ford has a manufacturing issue on the rack and pinion on this model vehicle. It will be a total pain if this goes out before I can afford to fix it since it is has power steering and will convert to manual steering if it goes out before I can afford to get it fixed. Ford should be forced to make a recall for this issue.