This is one super small change that I’d made to Mustard a couple of years back which was alluded to but never properly shown on the site. Some friends and other owners have actually been genuinely curious about it – and even carried it out after learning the why and how – so why not take a look? With a second neck on hand I quickly fit it to Dijon the other night which gave me the perfect opportunity to grab some photos of the process as well.
If you’re new here and wondering why on earth we (I) would care about something so trivial, well…welcome to us (me). Haha. Bear with me now though, there was actual reasoning behind this and it did serve as a perfect solution to a long-standing gripe I had with the Mk3. An extremely petty gripe, but a gripe. If you notice (I think you will) a sarcastic tone to this article, it’s because I realize just how ridiculous the amount I cared about this was. But hey, details. We focus on them. Maybe too much. Where was I?
After first buying Mustard it wasn’t very long before I found one little niggle with the car, and that was the washer fluid cap. The standard cap is held on to the neck of the reservoir via a plastic strip which doubles as a hinge of sorts. It’s a totally fine design when it comes to ensuring the cap doesn’t ever get lost, but the little pest would always flip shut while filling up the reservoir if it wasn’t actively held down. I’d jamb it under something nearby but it would still pop out sometimes and flip down, therefore sending washer fluid everywhere.
The solution to this was discovered totally by chance one day. I was at the Calgary Auto Show checking out an RS and while looking under the hood I noticed that the washer cap was now a different design. The old piece was no more and had been replaced with a hinged unit which – lo and behold – would nicely fold out of the way and stay there!
So, armed with this groundbreaking news I went into the parts catalogue at my first opportunity and – assuming this was merely another item changed as part of the Mk3.5 update – began looking for the new part number. After some digging however it seemed to still list the original unit so I then started looking through the RS model specifically, and there was the new one! So yes, this can be called an RS part as – for us anyway – it is indeed limited to the RS.
I have not explored this theory but a likely explanation is that the RS is unique to us being the only version of the Mk3 Focus built overseas. All RSs were built in Germany and shipped around the world so I’m assuming that this is simply the piece from the other market making its way here? If anyone overseas can verify (or disprove this) I’d be curious to know!
With the number found and a quick check to ensure that the main reservoir itself was the same piece in both cases, I ordered a washer neck for Mustard which I tossed in as soon as it arrived. The actual install is as simple as installs can get: remove the old neck (which is held in with one clip on the black support bracket and a friction fit into the reservoir) and slot the new piece in place. That’s it. Building a Kinder Surprise toy would be more challenging.
So at long last my stupid little problem was no more, but the irony here is that by the time I’d discovered this piece and fit it to Mustard the car wasn’t a daily any more and rarely even saw poor weather, so it now goes very long periods without requiring the washer fluid reservoir to be refilled at all. Regardless, the odd time I do need to top it up I can now flip the cap out of the way and know it’ll stay there; and it’s just one more thing that non-RS owners can easily retrofit to their Mk3s to make them just that much better. My annoyance with this little piece led to me stumbling across a super easy and inexpensive upgrade which other non-RS Mk3s have now seen as well.
Sometimes we do pretty cool stuff to our cars. Other times we obsess over a 1-cent piece of plastic like this washer neck and devote an entire post to solving a problem that is likely only a problem in our own heads. Again, welcome to us.