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Old 10-23-2012, 02:20 PM   #1
cobie56
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improving SEL handling

I posted this in the Wheel/tire/suspension section but didn't get a full response so i thought i'd post it here.

After driving a Titanium the other day (w/ 18" wheels n handling pkg) i realised how 'sloppy' my SEL handles by comparison

Other than changing spring rates and sway bars , IYO, can i gain some better handling characteristics by going w/ a more performance oriented shock/strut set up and wider and/or stiffer walled tire and/or lower aspect ratio tires?

Any recommendations n opinions would be welcome.


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Old 10-23-2012, 03:06 PM   #2
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Do you have 16" or 17" wheels now? If you 16's that is a big part of it. I would go with a F/R sway bar set first, as it is an easier install and cheaper than the strut/spring change over, and you get to keep some of the softer ride for the daily commute. Or start with the tire/wheel setup if you had 16's. You will definitely want to have the 17" 50's at a minimum. You can do 18's but they will probably rub as the Ti has a different rack to prevent this, yielding a larger turn radius, at least that is what I have heard. Plus with 18" 45's you will give up a lot of the ride comfort. But maybe you don't care about that. I am old and like my comfort.
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:10 PM   #3
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Whoops, AZ posted before I finished writing lol ^^

Larger wheels can make a car handle better: the less sidewall on your tire there is to flex, the better it will handle. So upgrading to larger wheels and better tires is one route.

Also, check out Steeda. They sell upgraded swaybars, and they can give you a significantly better handling car, and they won't cost nearly as much as switching to performance coilovers,
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:08 PM   #4
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Front sway is not an easy install by any means. You have to drop the front subframe to do it.

This is what I've done to my car thus far to improve handling:
Focus ST front struts
Focus ST front strut mounts
Koni Sport rear dampers
Eibach Pro kit springs (.8" drop) (I'd recommend the Steeda springs over the Eibachs)
Steeda 25mm rear sway bar
18x8 Axis XMX wheels w/235/40R18 tires

Night and day difference. Led my buddy around in his new FR-S on Sunday, and he was rather impressed with my Focus' abilities.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
Front sway is not an easy install by any means. You have to drop the front subframe to do it.

This is what I've done to my car thus far to improve handling:
Focus ST front struts
Focus ST front strut mounts
Koni Sport rear dampers
Eibach Pro kit springs (.8" drop) (I'd recommend the Steeda springs over the Eibachs)
Steeda 25mm rear sway bar
18x8 Axis XMX wheels w/235/40R18 tires

Night and day difference. Led my buddy around in his new FR-S on Sunday, and he was rather impressed with my Focus' abilities.
With all of that being said, the stock suspension can generate more lateral grip than the tire will allow. Take the stock 16s, throw some 225 50 16 hoosier a6 and it will grip more than a 991 Carrera.

Ultimately, if you're looking for less perceived body roll without compromising ride quality:

Eibach Springs
Quality Dampers (ST ford parts are cheap and will do the job), have to go bilstein or koni in the rear

IF you are looking for all out handling performance with a tendancy to oversteer:

In addition to the above
MS3 Hotchkis rear bar (32mm hollow)
17 inch wheels
245 40 17 Hankook Ventus R-S3 (will rub without rear fender roll)
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:55 PM   #6
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Jeff, the Hotchkis bar bolted right up without any issues?

After Sunday's backroad run, I've decided that the 25mm Steeda bar isn't quite enough for my personal tastes, and I've been thinking about trying out one of the thicker MS3 RSBs.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZfocus2012 View Post
Do you have 16" or 17" wheels now? If you 16's that is a big part of it. I would go with a F/R sway bar set first, as it is an easier install and cheaper than the strut/spring change over, and you get to keep some of the softer ride for the daily commute. Or start with the tire/wheel setup if you had 16's. You will definitely want to have the 17" 50's at a minimum. You can do 18's but they will probably rub as the Ti has a different rack to prevent this, yielding a larger turn radius, at least that is what I have heard. Plus with 18" 45's you will give up a lot of the ride comfort. But maybe you don't care about that. I am old and like my comfort.
Wow. I cant believe i left out that important piece of info. Duh!!! Yes i do have the 17 inch wheels
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zillon View Post
Jeff, the Hotchkis bar bolted right up without any issues?

After Sunday's backroad run, I've decided that the 25mm Steeda bar isn't quite enough for my personal tastes, and I've been thinking about trying out one of the thicker MS3 RSBs.
Iyo, is installing beefier sway bars negatively afecting handling vis a vis oversteer/understeer?

I really dont wanna replace springs or lower the car if i can help it. Someone else mentioned ride quality and that is a concern as here in the northeast our roads get pretty crappy from winter frost (and i drive in quebec alot where they are even worse). So id like to keep the 17 inch wheels. Currently the 17 in tires are 50 series and i could go to 45 series if needed but no lower.

Thanks to all who have responded. Id be interested in any personal experiences as a result of any suspension work.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobie56 View Post
Iyo, is installing beefier sway bars negatively afecting handling vis a vis oversteer/understeer?

I really dont wanna replace springs or lower the car if i can help it. Someone else mentioned ride quality and that is a concern as here in the northeast our roads get pretty crappy from winter frost (and i drive in quebec alot where they are even worse). So id like to keep the 17 inch wheels. Currently the 17 in tires are 50 series and i could go to 45 series if needed but no lower.

Thanks to all who have responded. Id be interested in any personal experiences as a result of any suspension work.
Beefier bars will negatively impact rough road ride quality.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jsr72 View Post
Beefier bars will negatively impact rough road ride quality.
Can u explain? I always thought sway bars only affected lateral forces. I guess i thought tires,wheels, shocks/struts and springs would affect ride quality
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