How to Replace the Starter in a 2003 Ford Focus

by Chris MooreUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Wrench

The car starter is a motor within the engine compartment that is activated by the ignition switch to fire the car's engine. The Ford Focus is a compact model, so the engine compartment does not have much space. If you need to replace the starter in your 2003 Focus, you will need to remove other engine components to gain access to the starter; the exact components depend on the car's engine type.


Disconnect the car's negative battery cable.

Raise the car's front end with its floor jack and support it on axle stands; make sure you set the parking brake first.

Disconnect the air cleaner's outlet tube from the throttle body if your model has an SPI engine; loosen the hose clamp with pliers.

Unbolt and disconnect the power-steering pump using your wrench and set the pump aside. Do not disconnect or stretch the pump's lines. This should only be needed if your Focus has a 2.3 liter engine.

Unscrew the starter motor's mounting bolts using the wrench and then pull the motor off the dowel sticks on the transmission housing; you might need to angle the motor to remove it. Unscrew the nuts and disconnect the motor's wiring.


Connect the wiring and nuts to the replacement starter motor and slide it onto the dowel sticks, then tighten the mounting bolts with the wrench.

Reconnect all components that were disconnected--bolt the power-steering pump in place and connect the air cleaner outlet tube using its clamp.

Lower the car off the axle stands and reconnect the battery cable.


If the Ford Focus has an SVT engine, you will likely need to remove the intake manifold for access to the starter. This task is best left to professionals if at all possible.

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