SVT Focus Suspension upgrade (general)
This is my first post and I apologize if it's redundant as it seems like a general question but I couldn't find the answers after quite a bit of searching, likely due to my lack of knowledge regarding suspension.
I've got an 02 SVT Focus with just shy of 90k miles on it.
She runs strong, no real problems at the moment except an O2 sensor I've been putting off. But the shocks and struts are still original and tend to squeak and creek a bit. I figure they're due to be replaced.
Although I don't go out for track days, I do enjoy a spirited drive (be it a commute or weekend jaunt) and was hoping to go with something a bit stiffer/sportier than the stock setup.
What I was wondering is -
a) Strut / shock replacement recommendations
b) To achieve a real difference, do you need to change the springs as well?
c) At 90k are the springs due anyway?
d) Are coilovers the combination of a strut and spring into a single, adjustable unit? If so, is that the way to go?
e) There are kits out there that include shocks, struts and springs as well... is that the ticket?
I haven't seen this summed up, for a novice reader such as myself, in a single post before. From reading it seems like prices range from $300 - $1k.. but I'm not quite clear on that either. I'd love to keep it on the lower end of that spectrum if possible.
Many thanks in advance
PS: I have noticed though that one should replace the front sway bar end links when doing this sort of thing as they tend to wear out and squeak (and one person in another forum recommended Moog over the Ford replacements)
For the money I would recommend Koni yellows, their on sale at the tire rack and they have adjustments for compression damping. Just use your stock springs.
Eibach Pro-kit springs
Koni Sport struts/shocks (Koni "Yellows")
Moog front end links (probably what is creaking)
New tie rods and tie rod ends from wherever you can get them (Advance Auto, etc)
After you get an alignment, your car will handle wonderfully. If you happen to be in some twisties, you'll have Bimmers get up on your ass and you will surprise them.
I dealt with different types of front endlinks; the Motorcraft replacements are bigger that the ones that came OE, the Moogs are even beefier, heavier, and have grease fittings on them. I went with the Motorcrafts... we'll see how long they last.
I hear a 22mm or larger rear sway bar gives the car more neutral handling. I went ahead and put Prothane poly bushings on my stock one since it was so cheap and simple, it made a nice difference. If you do get poly sway bushings you'll need some heater hose with hose clamps or clamping collars on the bar to keep the bar from sliding side to side.
You can do the same for the front bar, but they're harder to install and harder to grease if they start squeaking. I'm gonna try to put some grease fittings on mine before I install them to make them greaseable.
For about $200 from Steve at Toulsey Ford you can get OE replacemnt shocks, struts and new front strut mounts and bearings, with his discount he gives, shipped to your door.
Whats your budget? Koni yellows are nice. Presently I have some with skunk2 springs (progressive rate that lower ~1.75 inches) and Im very happy. Coilovers are great as well, but don't cheap on these. Ive heard FKs and B&Gs ride very well.
Thanks guys! You've answered in a few hours what I've been wondering for a few months.
Well, I thought about replacing with stock shocks/struts but I've always been one to try and turn a "repair/replace" situation into an "upgrade". As far as budget, I was unsure how much this stuff ran and was hoping to come in at $500 but looks like that's not feasible. Certainly don't want to spend more than $1k.
It looks like the Koni Yellows are about $550 for front and rear and they are adjustable (?) for stiffness. Does that sound right? Will the ride height be affected at all if I keep the stock springs (which I gather is OK?)
Or should I definitely at this mileage replace the springs with either new stock or the Eibach pro springs? The Eibachs drop it 1.5" which I'm sure will look great but I wonder if that will have that front lip "kissing" road obstacles more frequently.
Eibach has entire kits "sport" and "touring cup" for $441 - $650 on Tirerack. Sounds like the Konis are worth the extra $100. Koni has a similar kit (Koni Sport kit) for $656. Is it best to mix and match then? That is Eibach springs / Koni dampers?
Novice question but is a coil-over a single unit that encompasses both the strut/shock and a spring in a single unit? Is there any financial incentive in going that route or better go with the Koni Strut/Eibach spring combo as recommended by BMYLEZ?
Many thanks for your insight.
eibach shocks struts arent nearly as good as the konis, imho. also, the eibach springs arent much stiffer than your stockers, which may mean more rubbing due o the 1.5" drop. If you do decide to get springs as well, id look elsewhere. something progressive like h&r sports or skunk2s
As it is now, I get little rubs if hit a speed bump too fast. But I think that may have to do with the left front wheel well.
lowering the car is great handling but there is always issue with hard hits on the street so i would recommend going to tousley get the complete kit springs struts if you go the other route lowering you can just change springs but will put more strain on shocks struts
To clarify -
I am going to replace the front struts and rear shocks with the Konis, seem pretty popular after further poking around the forums. This will not affect ride height, as far as I understand.
But when doing this, at 90k, should I replace the springs as well? If so, would it be better to go with the Koni springs or Eibach pro springs? Its cheaper with the konis as you can get all these parts together as a kit. They both lower about 1.5"? Or, alternatively, should I replace the springs with factory replacement SVT springs? Or, of course, keep the springs that I have?
I do get a little rubbing when hitting speed bumps too quickly (of which there are many in Portland) but I imagine, whether lowered or not, this can be addressed? Otherwise they wouldn't sell springs that lower the car if it made cars impossible to navigate through speed-bump'd neighborhoods? Are the advantages of stiffer springs significant (beyond aesthetics)? Any increase in handling performance is welcome even if it makes the ride a bit rougher.
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