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SykSVT 01-03-2010 01:00 PM

Sitting On the Rally Fence!
Hello Rally'ers! So I'm starting to convert my SVT Focus for my first year of AutoX and RallyX (Go OMRSCCA!)hopefully ending up running full Rally at some point(Come on lottery). I've come to a crossroads with the car. Before I continue I want some opinions and insight.

First off, I can buy a WRX with some miles for around $15k. If I were to sell the SVT that would put the WRX around $7500 out of pocket for AWD and an already boosted car. I would be disappointed to bend, build, and weld a full spec roll cage for the SVT and wish I would have just started with a WRX.

Second, if I continue with the SVT how should my next $1k be spent. Here's my current mods: 67mm TB, STS, 4 Hella Driving Lights (bending and welding my own skid/light bar), UP Pully set, CAI, MSD Wires and Coil, 1 Step Colder Iridium Plugs, 180 degree thermostat, ORP, CFM adjustable cam gear, Massive Speed front and rear stress bars, Megan Racing Springs, OEM Ford Racing dampers, Diablo Predator w/Toms Tune, Battery Relocation, VF Engineering Motor Mounts (3), SVT Prothane Bushing Set, Tow Hooks, Roush Fiberglass Hood w/Hood Pins.

Third, can I take the front brake set up from a regular ZX3, ZX5 to use on the SVT to fit the 15" wheels. Why 15" wheels (Rally America requirement)?

I realize I need seats w/harnesses, better suspension($$$$), boost, tires, front brake conversion, LSD($$$), Clutch and Flywheel, on and on and on and .....

So what should come next that I not only would need for RallyX, but also if I decide to sell a kidney to get it ready for full Rally.

Going to Evo School Phase One! Lightly used tires for sale afterwards[woot]

Geezer 01-04-2010 03:57 PM

Your kinda going in the wrong direction in my opinion. A good rally cross car needs very few of the modifications you have done. Not to say they're useless but just unnecessary. For rallycross you just need a study and reliable car. Some fresh shocks are highly desirable and stay away from lowering springs. A good rally cross car will be quite different from a good autocross car. I rallycrossed our ZX3 when it was brand new (only weeks old) with absolutely no improvements and kicked a lot of 4wd butt. Had I had some decent tires (was using the pathetic P6's) I would have placed in the top 10 of over 45 cars. Learning to drive is priority uno.

When you do decide to make the jump to rally make sure you have lots of money. The next step is to get more money. It's a deep hole that will keep sucking it up.

To prepare a rally car initially, you strip the "entire" thing then slowly put it back together. Yes you cry a lot when you do this, but it has to be done. "Everything" must come out of the interior to seam weld it, lighten it, and prepare for the cage. The cage is next and then you repaint the interior preferably a light color to hide dirt and so you can find the loose screws, nuts and bolts sooner than later. You then try to protect the undercarriage. This means rerouting brake lines and fuel lines to either inside the car or covering them and the entire undercarriage (and wheel wells) with polyethylene or aluminum shield. Then comes the front and rear skid pans (gas tank must be wrapped if a fuel cell is not used). It's not hitting rocks that you worry about. Its the rocks your tires throw up and literally sand blast your car to death including the previously mentioned lines. Then you can start thinking about safety gear (good well fitting and installed seats, harnesses, fire protection, intercom, strategic padding, etc.).

Please notice we haven't even come to any performance enhancements. My recommendation is don't do anything to the motor or even think about trying to make it faster until about your 6th or so rally. You need to learn how to drive a slow car before taking on a fast one. In fact Rally America requires that you start in a two wheel drive car before you can "graduate to 4wd or forced induction two wheel drive cars. 45 to 65 mph (yep, that's more or less the typical average speed) on a dirt road will scare the snot out of you regardless of whether you have 100 or 300 HP.

Do strengthen the suspension (and have an extra one in your service vehicle) and make sure your brakes are in tip top working order (fresh rotors, proper temp. pads, good fluid and stainless lines). Note: bigger brakes are generally not necessary. Remember your stopping on gravel. A good rally tire goes a long way in helping here. Do make sure the cooling system is 100% with all new radiator and heater hoses. The weak spots on the Foci appear to be control arms, ball joints, engine mounts, and strut mounts. I've also heard about some steering rack issues as well. I suggest you contact some of NASA's Spec Focus guys to see how they have addressed these issues.

I have only touched the tip of the rally ice berg. But in essence, a structurally sound and safe car is far far more important than a fast one.

SykSVT 01-04-2010 09:08 PM

Thanks Geezer. To address some of your points: I'm stripping the interior now and will be selling everything to help offset the cage cost. The lowering springs were just to get my first year of autoX to be a little less painful. They will be going to eBay as soon as I can afford a good set of coil overs from HotBits. Probably a set of Tokico's as back up (stood up well off-roading in my VW GTI). The undercarriage I will be covering entirely with aluminium and using a pop rivet gun (and mig welding). I have a local metal fabrication outfit thats hurting for business so thats where I plan on getting my skid plates. Your last paragraph has given me allot of useful information which should keep me and google busy for the next couple of days.

So I drop the SVT off on Friday for a Timing Belt change. I figured that would be a top priority. Something I was tempted to do myself, but I'm getting it done for $300 including the timing belt kit. So Geezer, after that it sounds like I should try and get the cage in, and the other welds (strut tower, etc.)? Then stainless brake lines, hoses, and then start looking into the control arms, ball joints, steering rack. I was unaware of the gas tank requirement, so I'll start checking ads in "SportsCar" (SCCA) mag for that. Its paid for and not my daily driver, so lets do some damage!!

mlbbaseball 01-05-2010 12:19 PM

well, thats not 100% true, you can rally a 4wd car or AWD as a "noob" but you just can't run any boost and there are motor requirements in RA. Its the open light class which you don't need any coefficients to run in. this is why the 2.5 RS imprezza is such a sought after car for the rally! but if ur looking to get into rally, i would suggest buying a used rally car. i've spent close to 10k on mine and i don't even have the cage in yet!! boooo. u'll thank ur pocket book later. now looking in hindsight, i wish i would have done it that way!! plus, you don't really wanna destroy a car you actually care about!

WRCwannabe 01-05-2010 02:29 PM
end of story haha

SykSVT 01-05-2010 06:51 PM

First off, shame on you mlbbaseball for tempting me with your turbo and supercharger kits. But could you list exactly what you've done to get to $10k. And whats been your biggest expense so far? I've got a 25x60 pole barn shop with a lift, welders, torches, tools upon tools, air compressors, and so on. So I'm wondering if your cost has been the actual parts, or labor? As far as taking the car apart, I had it for sale well over a year and no takers for $8200. So I've decided taking it apart isn't a big deal for me. I have two other cars I can drive so the SVT can sit on the lift for months as far as I care. Buying one already done is tempting, but what would I learn? Probably that its cheaper than doing it myself, but I like to take things apart. After that I might try and run it on propane. I'm converting my moms VW to LPG right now, 110 octane for $1.35 a gallon. But thats another post, another story.

mlbbaseball 01-05-2010 07:50 PM

ok, my full build is pretty much as follows SO FAR!!

4 sets of rims and 3 sets w/ tires (OEM 15 steelies) - 1000
HotBits supsension - 4400
motor work - 2000 (head, cams, oil pump, msd ignition, boltons, etc.)
1500 tranny work (clutch, gearing (I have both a set of 4.06 and 5.5 final drives), LSD)
Lighting - 1500 for light pod, hella 1000's and a set of 4 kc lights
Rally Brake kit and hydraulic handbrake - 1000
seats and belts, 1500
set of skid plates 300 (i have more than one set so "when" they get dinged up, i can just swap em!!)
Rally Computer 300
hans device for myself and codriver 1500 (he's payin me back for his set when he gets the money, i just got a really good deal, so i picked up both)
safety suit and fire-retardant gear - 400

total that comes to $15,900 and there is still more than that cause i have spare suspensions (which i already had) car tuning, spare brakes, spare facias, spare light pod, etc.

i still have to get the car seam welded and have the cage in, then i'm pretty much set. as you can see, its not cheap by any means. should i have purchased a fully built rally car? yes cause 1.) i wouldn't care about it as much, 2.) cheaper 3.) cheaper 4.) cheaper and 5.) cheaper. it would have had to been a focus though cause i know my way around them.

and you should buy the sc or one of the turbo kits!!! though the sc isn't for an SVT


SykSVT 01-05-2010 08:24 PM

Ok mlbbaseball, just a few more questions then I will leave you alone for awhile.

1) Will stock zx3-zx5 front rotors, calipers, etc. swap onto the SVT? The rally brake kit is xpensive. I'd of course replace the pads, and upgrade the rotors. Im guessing the rally kit has more than one piston per!
2) Why a light pod? Couldn't I go to my local fabricator and have him bend me some pipe for a light bar? I could make my own fiberglass pod but that seems like a lot of work if a light bar is as good.

Ok one more
3) Why in rally are the wheels 15"? I was trying to find rally tires in other sizes but with no success.

BTW: I'm doing EVO School's Phase One in March. Just so you know I am serious about this.


mlbbaseball 01-05-2010 09:13 PM

well, yes, but you will need to swap out the hubs spindles, etc.

i like the light pod. the bar has to be attached usually below the bumper and if it gets jarred, i don't want to lose my only lighting. i've got 2 pencil beams and 2 wide beams in the pod, then hella rallye 1000's on the light bar. you are only allowed 6 lights so place them wisely! if you put them all on the bar and they break off, ur screwed at night!

i actually don't know why they are all 15's. i know you want a larger super stiff sidewall, so that could be the reason.

thats cool, its always good to start out in school! that way you don't wreck ur car over the first turn!

wrc_fan 01-06-2010 02:36 PM


Originally Posted by SykSVT (Post 3091079)

3) Why in rally are the wheels 15"? I was trying to find rally tires in other sizes but with no success.


Rally is brutal to everything, and you can make a very strong, fairly light 15" wheel for gravel use. The 15" wheel also allows for a good size sidewall to absorb some of the punishment too.

It also allows for a more affordable high strength wheel. Watch WRC events, someone always ends up with a puncture and driving in on just a rim, you need a stong wheel for that.

I've thought about the focus rally-x route with my FSP car, and setting it up so I could swap springs/dampers and wheels and tires and go.

Not to shoot down your dreams of the SVT rally car but, my thoughts are that a 2.3L car would be the route to go for rally-x:
-More torque
-Exhaust header is behind the engine (less chance of damage), I think the SVT header (which I have on my zetec car) is too exposed (even with a skid plate)
-2.3L transmission is pretty robust

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