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Old 09-04-2010, 12:48 AM   #1
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Considering the SVT...

Hi all. I'm looking to get a car that will work as a dd for the family and a stand-in at autocross when my Mini's broken. I narrowed the choices down on paper to a Mazda Protege MP3 (or Mazdaspeed Protege if one with a forged engine just falls in my lap) or a Focus SVT.

I finally got to drive an SVT tonight (MSP a few weeks back). Between the test drives and the reviews I've read, I think I'd be happy with either. It will probably come down to whichever good, affordable example I find first. (My wife has been on about a Focus since we carsat one seven or eight years ago, so that gives the Focus a bit of an edge.)

First off, is there a good "here's what you need to know about the SVT" thread on FF or an article or two somewhere? I've been thumbing through threads, but could spend months and still find I've missed something important - recalls, common issues, must have intake manifolds, etc.

Second, I have a few questions about the car I looked at. Here's the car... The ad just went up today. The dealer hasn't detailed it or taken pics yet. It's got 88k miles. From the outside, it looks pretty good. The interior is so so. It looks to have been driven hard, but this car should be able to take a beating so long as maintenance has been done properly and the PO wasn't too stupid about driving and/or modding it.

When the dealer brought it out from the back lot, the first thing I noticed was that the exhaust smelled quite rich. There was a little "smoke" as well, but it had just started up on a chilly/dampish day. After warming up, I didn't notice any more "smoke" in the exhaust. I'm guessing I saw condensation from the pipes, but it was hard to tell.

So after finding the seat and mirror adjusters (and reverse - gear knob is a white ball with blue flames), I set off. The clutch pedal was really "high". It seemed to do all its work right at the top of travel. Then there was another six inches to the floor that did nothing. Is this normal? Is this an adjustment issue? The clutch itself felt fine - no chatter or slippage.

Once it warmed up, it felt like it almost died every time I came to a stop. The revs dropped right off, with a half-second of me thinking it had stalled, before the revs came back to idle.

When I got back to the lot, I popped the hood with the engine running. It's got a cone filter (short ram intake in SVT speak???) in place of the original airbox. The idle would drop and I could hear Darth Vader sucking through the filter for about 5 seconds, then the sucking sound stopped and the idle increased for about 10 seconds. It continued this cycle until I turned it off.

It drove quite well and pulled much better than I had expected. If the symptoms I saw point to a $50 sensor needing replacement and a slave rod adjustment for the clutch pedal, then I may consider this one. If it looks like something serious, I'll continue looking. I'd appreciate any ideas you have on these issues. Most of my wrenching experience is with older, non-computerized, carbed cars, so I'm at a loss as to what's going on with this one.

The dealer said he'd get his mechanic to check it out. I'd do a compression test and check the plugs before purchase. (Is there anything special I need to know to do a comp. test on one of these?)

Thanks!
Dean


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Old 09-04-2010, 01:03 AM   #2
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Hi Dean! well this sucks having me be your first responder since I don't own an SVT, but as far as the engine, did you see if the A/C or defroster was on? this cycling of Darth Vader sounds like a normal engine with one of those on.

As far as the clutch pedal, I'm not sure. I drove a friend's SVT and I don't remember the pedal being so high up. Hopefully more input can be had on that.

Generally I TRY to stay away from pre modded cars, but it really depends on how it's been driven. too bad they didn't post any pictures of that one though.

either car would be great....... the SVT kicks ass at cornering though.

on the compression test..... just disconnect the plug going to the coil pack/packs (I don't remember if SVTs are COP design or not) and remove the plugs and continue as a normal compression test.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. The AC was on, so maybe that was it. I've never noticed that before.

I've kind of resigned myself to not having any history on the car if I find one at a dealer. Hopefully I can find one private party where I can actually talk to the current owner. We'll see what I can find.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:36 AM   #4
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I think the SVT would be better for autox. The MSP is boosted, barely same hp rating actually but might have some tq steer
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Old 09-12-2010, 07:23 PM   #5
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Both of my SVTs have a high clutch pedal compared to other manuals I have driven. And Both operate towards the top instead of at the floor. But I like this better. While shifting quick while rev matching there is no need to go all the way to the floor. Almost like a quick jab and out again:) As far as the smoke issue I would have to see the smoke. But almost all SVT foci with a factory tune on the car run rich. Not too bad but a tune from fswerks or Tom over at Focus Power will clear up that issue. As far as pricing goes, I just picked up an 03 Comp Orange with 113,000 miles in near perfect condition and a very nice Pioneer AVIC for $6500. I was concerned about the miles but after hitting the track it pulled great numbers for a stock setup. Plus I have an extra engine and tranny if I ever need it;) If they are asking for a lot more than that I would look elsewhere.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for the reply.

I actually drove another one today (which I'll be putting a deposit on tomorrow). The clutch pedal was the same. I see what you're saying about not having to go all the way to the floor with it. That does make sense.

The one I looked at today did not smell rich nor did it try to stall every time I came to a stop. It's a private party deal with full papers, including the engine and clutch install about 80k ago (146k on everything else). It's a yellow '03 EAP. There are a few flakes and chips on the front, but it's otherwise near perfect (except for not being orange). I'll need to put a cat on it for emissions and do the timing belt sometime soonish.

I'm a happy camper this evening.
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:15 AM   #7
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Does it have an ORP on at the moment? Do they check under the car or do a pipe test in Chicago? If not and your ORP has an 02 cheater installed and your check engine light is not on, you should be fine as long as they only do a code test:) Glad you found one and welcome to the club:)
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Old 09-13-2010, 09:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean2 View Post
First off, is there a good "here's what you need to know about the SVT" thread on FF or an article or two somewhere?
But of course there is.
See the "READ FIRST" thread at the top of these forums??
This one's in it.
So you want to buy a used SVTF?

Oh,
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:12 PM   #9
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J - It has an ORP now. It turns out that Chicago just does the OBD test.

But... I'll be doing autocross, so I'll want to find a cat anyway. Since the car is otherwise stock, I'd like to run H-stock. I think that means I'll need the oem cat, but need to do some more research. I've been running SM in a 65 hp (probably overly optimistic) Mini. I've only taken one FIC when running SCCA classing and that took a downpour and slack competition. I always have a blast losing, but a fighting chance would be nice.

WD - Thanks for the links and the welcome.

I lived in E. Helena for a short time as a kid. Great place (Helena in general more than the area right around the smelter!). I've got a lot of family in MT still and hope to get back there for good someday. I saw your video of the incredibly long autox course. Where/what is that? That's the coolest course I've seen.
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:32 PM   #10
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First off welcome to FF. The SVT performs the double duty of DD and weekend auto-x car well. A second set a rims with a good set of tires and your ready to go from traffic lights to cone master in a matter of minutes. I have to say, knowing the history of your SVTF is a major plus. These cars do have their fare share of gremlins, but if you can find one the factory bugs have already been worked out of already, you'll be good to go. I suggest you avoid the 02 models as they seem to have the most demons, but just read through the link WD40 gave you and should be alright. good luck and I hope to see you around the forum more often.
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