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Old 05-10-2012, 09:27 PM   #1
Svizzara
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Adventures of an SPI Sedan - finally installed Eibach kit!!

AUGUST 2, 2012 UPDATE: EIBACH SPORT SYSTEM INSTALLED





The ride is rough, and there's a lot of creaking coming from the rear - but I think it'll quiet down once the rear control arms get used to their new swing angles. Or maybe it's because of the old stock spring isolators. Maybe the fact that the shop installed the rear springs upside down has something to do with it... Nevertheless - car looks terrific, and I'm happy :)

---

Hello Focus Fanatics! I’ve lurked around here as a guest for a while, and recently registered. I figured I’d introduce myself with a lighthearted thread full of pictures! Everyone likes pictures…

About me: 18-year old university student living in Ontario, Canada.

About the car: 2001 Twilight Blue SE Sedan, 4-speed auto, SPI engine. She was bought brand new in 2001 by my mother for running errands. That’s why she’s only got 15K miles on her today! And she’s absolutely bone stock.

December 2010:

Messing about in the snow!







Snowed some more! Ploughing through the driveway…



I think this one is cute! Like she just ate a snow cone! LOL



Then, something unfortunate happened in May 2011:



Towed to the body shop to sit in the parking lot alone for a whole rainy weekend (crash occurred on a Friday):







I let my friend drive down the local “Snake Hill” with little prior experience with the car. She had ridden with me a few times, and decided she wanted to try too. She went in too hot, and in the middle of a sweeping right hand turn:
  • Over-steer (in a FWD car? I still don’t understand)
  • Driver-side wheels slid into wet, muddy grass (rained the night before, pavement was dry but grass wasn't)
  • Wheels dug into the earth, and the car tipped over onto the driver-side
  • Slid back onto the pavement – still on the driver-side – and tipped back over onto the wheels

We got away without a scratch, and the car’s drivetrain was unaffected. No other vehicles were involved, and insurance did not cover the incident.

The body shop was instructed only to make the car drivable again, to minimize repair costs. Still came to a cool $3000 (including labour, tax, etc.)

Dents and other deformations were left alone (except for the left wing mirror, which snapped clean off). I wanted to prevent rust, so I went nuts with sandpaper and Duplicolor rattle-cans. Looks absolutely terrible, but if you don’t know this specific car and you don’t look closely, you’d never realize the extent of the damage. Good enough!

Passenger-side is still mint. Here how she’s looking these days:









Yes, that is a reindeer nose in the first photo. I never really bothered to take it off since Christmas ended. I like it anyway!

Future plans, in chronological order:
  • Lowering springs ONLY (no full coil-overs, this isn’t a race car LOL)
  • Wheels/tires (either SVT 6-spokes or EAPs)
  • Tint (35% on side windows only)
  • Black headlight bezels
  • SVT front bumper with fogs

Other notes:

Yes, I am aware that SPI engines drop valve seats. 99% of SPI discussion on these forums seems to be about this topic, so I wanted to get it out of the way. I’m not worried though – I’ll just send the cylinder head off to a shop to get the seats replaced with non-defective ones. But I won’t have to do that for a long time anyway, at the rate this car is accumulating mileage.

No, I am not going to do a Zetec/MTX swap. I like the SPI/auto combination. It’s fuel efficient, easy to drive, and sounds unique. I also don’t want to spend the time/effort/money.

Well, that’s about it! I love this car DEARLY, and wouldn’t give her up for anything. She never fails to make me smile! Sounds cheesy, but it's true. Can't wait to buy her off my mother - she'll be all mine then :) Looking forward to many more years of fun!

Thanks for reading.



Last edited by Svizzara; 08-02-2012 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:32 PM   #2
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That was a good read man. Im glad to hear you were ok in the crash. Glad to hear the focus is strong. it didnt even seem that bad for being tipped over on its side! Oh and omgggg only 15k miles?? You will have it for forever! Your mods seem like good ones. Good luck and have fun continuing your Focus adventure!
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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Please do keep us posted as your adventure continues. I would love to watch this baby Focus grow up to be a lean, mean, rubber-burnin' (sort of, you said it wasn't a race car.) machine!
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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YOU ARE MY NEW BEST FRIEND. lol everyone on here has been putting me down about my SPI 02' SE
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:50 PM   #5
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^^ lol don't be down just be cautious, we don't want to see it happen to another person.

Nice little story.. kinda why I never let friends drive my cars though. And glad you finally decided to join.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:00 PM   #6
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^ Agreed - Friends who want to stay friends don't touch my car.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:40 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comments guys! I'm looking forward to what the future will bring for this car too, and I'll post any updates here.

I'm working full time until school starts again in September. I should end up with around $7500, which will shrink to about $2000 after paying tuition. Some of this will definitely go towards the mods I have planned! I can't imagine a set of used Eibach Sportlines going for more than $250 anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by murrayjay57 View Post
YOU ARE MY NEW BEST FRIEND. lol everyone on here has been putting me down about my SPI 02' SE
Ignore them! Nothing people say matters as long as you enjoy your car.

And hey, I saw your thread asking about how to paint the valve cover. I painted mine, there's a photo in the original post.
  • Remove the valve cover
  • Use tape to mask off the 3 bolts, PCV valve, U-shaped hose on the left side, and oil fill hole
  • Spray the whole thing with engine enamel (high temperature tolerant)
  • Let it dry overnight
  • Remove the paint from letters/fins/Ford logo using a file, or any other sharp, precise tool
  • Re-install valve cover (you can re-use the gasket if it looks healthy)

Good luck! Looks 10x better than bare aluminum.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:41 PM   #8
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I was thinking about wheels/tires today!

Right now they're stock, and she's running 14" steelies wrapped in 185/65 all-seasons. I want to maintain the overall diameter of this combo to prevent throwing the speedometer off.

After doing some quick math, I figured I should run a 16 x 8 wheel with a 205/30 tire. This rules out the SVT 5-spokes and EAPs, since they're both 17" wheels.

I played around on Tire Rack and fell in love with a few! Things aren't looking good for my bank account LOL...

OZ Superturismo GT (21.2 lbs each, $195 each)



OZ Ultraleggera (14.7 lbs each, $232 each)



Sparco Assetto Gara (weight unavailable, $128 each)



Opinions are welcome! I love all three, help me decide? :D

There's a lot more available but most are from manufacturers I've never heard of... so I can't bring myself to trust their build quality. Unfortunately, this means shelling out the $$$ for the reputable manufacturers :P

Nevertheless, I'm excited! Just gotta come up with the cash now.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:53 PM   #9
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Glad you want to learn! Here's why your friend crashed, aside from poor reflexes:

The Focus, unlike other economy cars of its day, has independent rear suspension. Most compacts (and even many mid-sizes) of the time used what's called a torsion beam design, which is pretty much what it sounds like. Basically a piece of steel connecting the two back wheels, so whatever one rear wheel does the other does.

Long story short, it usually means crap handling, and a lot of plowing even when lifting off (understeer). The Focus's rear suspension design allows it to give you what's known as "lift-off oversteer," which is another term that means exactly what it sounds like it does. Combine that with the Focus's short wheelbase, and you've got a lively little car even at base model trims (like your SPI).

So what probably happened: your friend was descending the hill, came in hot and lifted off while cornering and felt the rear go light. She panicked and slammed on the brakes, which caused the rear to come around even more. And BAM. There's your crash.

As far as the wheels go...you really want to pony up for OZ's? I know you said you don't want to go crazy spending cash. Also, 14.7 pounds is REALLY light. And I've heard the salt destroys your roads up there. Combine that with the crazy profile you want to run (30 series?! Man you crazy!), and say bye-bye to those pretty OZ's.

The Sparcos are nice cheaper alternative, and I think they're pretty light as well. If I remember right, the 17" wheels I looked at weighed around 17 or 18 pounds each. And they don't cost a fortune.

I think you'll do a lot better if you run something like 205/17/45. That's still a really nice profile, and it's safer for crappy roads. That plus a mild drop, and the SPI will be bangin'.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:55 PM   #10
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I made my calculations based entirely upon maintaining speedometer accuracy, which is why I concluded that I should run a 205/30 tire. Looks great on paper - but I didn't consider anything you mentioned. Thanks for reminding me!

205/45/16 would put me at an overall diameter of 19.63 inches, which is a 5% increase over the stock 18.73 inches. 205/45/17 would make for a 10% increase.

How much of a difference does this diameter increase make in terms of speedometer accuracy? I could tolerate a 5 KM/H variance at most. My math skills aren't advanced enough to answer that question :P
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