2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Kingpin
Hi there, I wondered if anyone had any experience of the 2003 Fiesta. My father has a 2003 1.4 Zetec with only 23,000 miles but there is a major problem with the front suspension. I suspect a spring has snapped or something collapsed, it is in the garage but cannot reverse it out as the nearside wheel is catching on the arch. It is sitting very low at the front end. Also you cannot get your hand between the tyre and the wheel arch on the nearside front, there is some clearance on the drivers side. Would this point to a broken coil spring? I suspect it might be this or a wishbone snapped. It was driving find before trying to move it from the garage. I know some cars have failed springs but thought it only made them sag a few inches. This looks like the old Mini hydralastic failure when the whole car drops down.

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 02/01/2008 at 10:31

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Screwloose

Broken springs are quite common these days. It's unusual to have the wheel hit the arch; has the spring snagged the tyre?
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Kingpin
Update - mobile mechanic visited and has diagnosed snapped coil spring. Pulled a piece out and it looked like it had been cracked for a while then gone altogether. Suppose a consequence of speed humps and 195/50 R15 tyres...Needs low loader to take away and renew springs, can't steer properly. Glad it didn't happen whilst at speed.
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - internet

Not much of a mechanic if he cant replace a front spring on your drive way,,dead easy job take about 45 minutes,,,,,he obviously knows a mate who conveniently own a low loader.

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - leni
Bizarrely the exact same thing has just happened to me, I have a 2002 1.4 zetec.

I've been away for a week and today I have come to use the car and when reversing off the drive, it felt like I still had my handbrake on, so I stopped and got out and part of the spring was sitting on the floor. The rest of the spring has now fallen behind the brake disc and the wheel in almost within the arch. How much is your repair bill?
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Kingpin
Hi Leni. It was £100 to get it repaired by a local garage. Not sure if they fitted new springs both sides which is best practice though.
Very strange how you have the exact same problem! Suspect a batch of weak springs, metal fatigue?
You may be able to drive yours to a garage but it's risky. May need low loader to remove car. The AA might do this if you have home start and take it to be repaired?
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - midlife - what crisis?
I believe that HJ has attributed the increase in broken coil springs to the way in which they are now finished off (or not) when being manufactured. Not technically minded so I can't give precise reason, but he mentioned this when the rear spring on my Omega broke a couple of years ago.
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Hopelesswithcars
My daughter has just walked past my parked up 2004 Fiesta and said she heard a loud bang - went outside to have a look and noticed a piece of metal on the ground by front offside wheel arch. Looking inside the arch it looks like the last complete coil on the spring has shattered! The car has been stationary on the drive for the last 3 hours so no idea why it should choose to go when it did. Mind you, better then than on the motorway at 70 (ish).

I'm not having much luck with this car. I also had some major dramas with a duff throttle body gizmo that kept throwing the engine into emergency limp home mode. The dealer simply denied anything was wrong until they had replaced the coil, replaced the plugs etc etc and I kept conking out - usually in the fast lane as I was overtaking two HGVs.

I wont be getting another one of these heaps - too unreliable!
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - kenny'n'deb
Looks like exactly the same thing has just happened to my wife's 2003 Fiesta Finesse - parked at station, comes back to find the ground clearance at front is only a couple of inches.
Large piece of what looks like coil spring under the car. Not impressed, car has only done 30,000 miles.
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - piston power
This is an old thread 2008, but springs are big buisness the mileage is low but short trips on same roads over same speed bumps pot holes etc kill them as the metal gets weak then they break.

The fiesta is a easy cheap repair if you can't do it yourself it won't cost lots of money.
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - kenny'n'deb
Sorry to reactivate an old thread - Google throws it up. Cost £219 to have both front springs replaced plus tracking set etc. Not the most expensive but what would have happened with a failure at speed?
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - piston power
but what would have happened with a failure at speed?

Sometimes the spring enters the side wall of the tyre and shreads it.

It's not just the fiesta mercedes snap for toffy cheap material i think over the past 10 years or so.
2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - PPL

the same failure happened to our 55 Zetec just over 3 yrs (warranty just finished) at 23K. Sat at the side of the road when we unlocked the door and heard the bang as we got in. 2 mins later would have been on the motorway.

According to Ford they have never heard of this happening before and the AA never replied to me when I asked them.

It is obviously a serious fault and perhaps they should have recalled the cars. Since finding this forum i have now found many others reporting the same fault. The repairs with breakdown trucks was very expensive.

Any one else been in touch with Ford or sought legal advice?

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - craig m

I have a 55 plate Fiesta Zetec S 1.6 TDCi, with 23K on the clock, I have owned the vehicle from new and drive like a vicar.

The front offside coil spring snapped whilst it was parked in my garage.

I took the trouble of removing the wheel and took pictures which I forwarded to Ford customer services and my local Ford s******.

Ford customer service could not offer any financial assistance as the vehicle was out of warranty, they did log my complaint and gave me a case number. Apparently they will use my pictures for future reference. I would urge everyone to report the problem to ford as they are either not aware or just not interested.

My local Ford s****** advised me to have it recovered to them at which point they would carry out a FREE 15 minute initial assesment. I don't have home start on my breakdown cover so advised them to shove it, in the politest way possible of course!

I forwarded the pictures to BBC Watchdog, I've not had a reply yet, but I would advise all others with this problem to do the same. I can't help thinking about what could have happened had I been on the road at the time...

My local garage recovered the vehicle for £40+vat

Springs were £87.27+vat for the pair, diesel ones are bigger and more expensive. I was told that for a Fiesta petrol they were around the £75 + vat mark for a pair.

Labour was £80+vat to fit both springs, giving me a grand total of £248.72 inclusive of vat.

Painful, but I think it could of been so much more expensive had I gone to Ford. For what it's worth my garage say they are doing more and more front coil spring replacements on all makes of cars.

The problem really needs addressing as I can only see our roads geting worse.

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Ethan Edwards

I had the same thing on a Xsara Picasso while moving off at low speed.. Makes a heck of a noise. Citroen IIRC fit a metal cup to stop the spring end spearing the tyre. I suppose thats one answer, the other is to make them the way the Japanese still do. They don't fail nearly as much.

Well that and repair all the potholes and ditch the humps but that isn't going to happen any time soon is it. Not if we keep dishing out cash we don't have to the EU, Pakistan etc etc and continually getting tied up in pointless international punch ups. Obviously ensuring democracy and good roads in 'Upper Lower Ruritania' is MUCH more important than looking after your own people. Right?

Policiticians eh?

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - craig m

Thanks for the reminder Ethan,

I forgot to mention that Ford customer service did admit that there has been a modification to the front coil spring assembly. Like other manufacturers they now insert a zinc plate between the spring and the spring cup, I was told this was in order to prevent the onset of corrosion. I carried out all my correspondence in writing, Ford only ever replied by telephoning me so I don't have that in writing I'm afraid.

Regarding 'upper lower ruritania' Ethan... It's probably got oil coming out of every orifice!

Have you seen the roads in Libya? Like a magic carpet compared to the roads in my town!

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Stevie51068

I own a 55 plate Zetec 1.4 Fiesta (though it is an 2006 car) - I have only done under 50k and 2 months ago my suspension spring broke and had to be replaced, and then only this morning I reversed my car out of the garage and guess what - half a suspension spring on the garage floor!!! - What is going on.... Car back in garage today..

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - craig m

Hi stevie,

You wrote that when your spring broke it had to be replaced. Did the garage only replace the broken spring or both of them?

I suppose we should look on the bright side, nothing else to do really.

This has happened to some poor people whilst travelling on the motorway at speed, to compound matters the spring has then shredded the tyre and severed the brake pipes...

all the best with the repair, craig

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - MrEckerslikefromRamsbottom

"I forgot to mention that Ford customer service did admit that there has been a modification to the front coil spring assembly. Like other manufacturers they now insert a zinc plate between the spring and the spring cup, I was told this was in order to prevent the onset of corrosion."

Thank you, Craig M, for the info about the zinc plates now used under the Fiesta front springs. Being a noxious little know-it-all, I was devastated to realise that I had both broken springs changed last January, and I didn't know about this modification! Anyway, it was a rushed job in the middle of winter and icy weather and my local garage, who did the job, was very busy, and they've left one spring twanging and vibrating, so I was intending to have them both out again if we get some sunshine. So - I drove up the M66 to the Ford dealer and the young lad on the parts desk hadn't heard of these zinc plates and couldn't find them on his screen, so I drove back down to the Ford dealer at the Bury end and the chap there said "Zinc anti-corrosion plates! That's what we used to call 'grease' back in the old days. We don't keep 'em in stock, but I can order them for this afternoon". So I've got them in my hand now, and the Ford part number, if anyone is interested, is 1481540. But then - it's always raining in Ramsbottom...

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - sminkypinky

I've just seen this as I googled it, as both springs have gone on my 03 Finnese with no warning. I cleared the snow off a couple of weeks ago, drove up the road, turned the car around and parked back up outside my house ready for the next morning. The next morning I got in to go to work and heard a terrible clunking noise so I went round the block and parked back up. Later I noticed the whole front has dropped.

I tried to limp it 2 miles to the garage but it sounded so bad i didn't risk it.

The garage recovered it for me yesterday and he said its weird both springs have gone and there could be more problems as when he jacked it up the wheels didn't drop down. He is going to ring back tomorrow.

Can i assume that if the springs are replaced they will be the ones with the zinc plate things now as standard?

I'll see what he says then maybe speak to Ford about it as it looks like it's going to cost £200+ to fix, especially as I may need two tyres....

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - internet

did you ever get a reply from watchdog,, I dont suppose you did, as the program appears to be only interested in certain events.

There must be another way of bringing this out into the open, Ford are being incredibally quiet about something very serious which could result in loss of life.

There is obviously a manufacturing fault on the springs,,my Mercedes 2003 C Class had to have both rear springs and track rod ends at 40,000 careful driving so it appears they are all sourcing cheap crap quality components probably from China...without any consideration to catastrophy when a vital part fails.....

I cant imagine Landrover doing the same thing.

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - smudgey

ive got a 2006 diesel - just tried to drive off my drive and snap-front right side is collapsed close to front tyre. I am assuming its a broken/sheared front coil spring? Unable to drive car-sounds horrendous. initially as the wheel slowly turned i thought i had large stone stuck in pads, then realised it was much louder and grindier, wheel difficult to turn. rolled back down drive (even more nasty grinding) 50k fsh one owner, no advisories or clues this would happen. Thank god i wasnt going at speed.

surely if Ford, have known about this and modded the spring since, it becomes a recall issue as there is a risk of death/serious accident as this happens with no warning and is more common than they admit to (openly).

Ill confirm the fault here later.

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - smudgey

Confirmed-Spring has snapped. AA says common with these cars.

Thanks Ford

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - mfarrow

It's common with every car, just look at HJs MOT breakdown.

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Blackdevil

This exact thing happened to me this morning. I parked my 55 plate 5Dr zetec up last night no problems...reversed out my parking space this morning, into 1st to drive off and bang-front NS end dropped and car stopped so abruptly on a slight downward slope I clonked my forehead on the steering wheel.

Under warranty as a used car with 1 month left I was asked if I'd hit any large potholes-No. Then it was suggested the cold weather may have effected the coil metal-No it's been mild but wet for time of year. They are taking a look Monday I'll be sure to mention the zinc plate from a previous post as the car is with Ford. I'll keep you posted :-(

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Collos25

They go because they are made from rubbish steel the zinc plating will not prolong their life only look better for the customer.

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - FlipFlap

Front near side spring has snapped for the 3rd time on our 2002 Zetec.

Every single time while the cars been stood for a couple of hours.

It's only done 70+ thousand miles and to be honest it's getting to be a total pain in the ass.

Thank you Ford for endangering the lives of so many for a pocket full of profit. :-(

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - matty9

The front springs on my 05 fiesta have went for the 3rd time now! The front passengr side has went twice now in 18months...nothing more annoying cause it is not drivable so difficult to get it to a garage! Luckily all 3 times the car has been stationary! The last 2 times the springs have went in the cold of winter...maybe thats a factor but if this was to happen at speed...well i dread to think about the outcome!

2005 1.6 Zetec S - front suspension - morets

Interesting reading everyone's experiences. I've a 55 plate 1.6 Zetec S and the nearside front spring broke this morning as I was reversing it out of my driveway. The car has only done 33,000, and I've done just 3,000 in it since its last service at Ford. I've used the car predominantly to scoot up and down motorways so I shudder to think what would've happened at motorway speeds. The RAC man who came said it's a common fault. I had no idea, but thanks for this thread. I'll be making my local Ford dealer aware......

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - ThwartedEfforts

Glad I found this thread!

My father's 05 plate Fiesta 1.4 Zetec has just had its offside front coil snap while sat motionless on the driveway. It'll be a familiar story to everyone here: there was a sizeable section of spring under the arch and the car can't be moved because the tyre is in contact with the bodywork.

Incidentally the car has covered fewer than 25,000 miles, is serviced religiously and my father isn't John Surtees. You get the idea.

(I should note that I am v. grateful to Ford for a defect so severe that the car doesn't even need to be moving for it to occur - though I do hope nothing else falls off while anyone's driving.)

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Old Codger

My 05 plate (22k miles to date) 1.4lt Fiesta's springs have both "gone the journey" while JUST moving from standing. One at 10k and one at 17k miles. Garage said they 'attended to' 3 or 4 a week!! I still have the horrors thinking about what if it happened at 70mph on a crowded motorway. If this has been going on since '08 why's it still happening?

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Shredni Vashtar

Fiesta 1.4 2011 model 21,000 miles done - Thanks for this message thread. Put car in today for 2 new front tyres and been told off-side front suspension coil spring has broken. Garage able to replace but want to do both sides for balance. Cost total for spring replacement is £268, separate to tyre replacement costs. Fortunately not caused in other damage (or loss of control) and I was not even aware until the garage informed me. At first I was suspicious about it but having read this thread, I now realise how common this problem can be.

2003 1.4 Zetec - front suspension - Galaxy

Yes, it's a very common problem, I'm very sorry to have to say.

You don't have to have both sides done "for balance", you can just replace the broken spring. However, since it's almost certainly only a matter of time before the other one breaks, it's probably a good idea to change both.

One spring on my Mondeo broke and my garage told me that I only need to have the broken one changed, when I asked them about this. However, a couple of years later, the other spring broke, so I might just as well have had them both changed together. Having just one spring changed originally turned out to only being putting off the inevitable!

Pleased to say the replacements lasted the several further years I owned that car and I had no further problems with spring breakages.

A front spring broke on my brother's Ford Focus while it was just parked in his driveway; another common happening, apparently.

Edited by Galaxy on 08/08/2015 at 10:58


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