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SVT Performance (2002-2004) The place to chat about any 2.0L SVT DOHC Zetec engine performance, tuning and exhaust related upgrades.

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Old 11-18-2003, 02:43 PM   #1
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Question Should I take the plunge?

I'm close to buying a 2003 SVTF. (Great financing, 0 for 72)

Questions I need answered:

1) What are some good power mods to make to the svt engine? I'm currently driving a Mustang GT (260 HP, 302 Torque). I'm worried about the drop in power and especially low-end torque. Without going crazy with NOS or a SC, what can I do to lessen the difference?

2) How much power can the SVTF take? What is the drivetrain and axle capable of? What can the pistons and rods take?

3) What SC or Turbo kits are available? I saw the one from Jackson Racing, but the increase is only 30 HP, and only 10 Torque (and all for $3K). Is this my only option?

4) And finally, what is the ride like? I like the stang, but it's painful (literally) after 3 hours. I spend alot of time in the car and I need something comfortable and fun.

Can anyone answer these questions, or give me a kick in the ### to just shut up and buy it?!?!?!


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Old 11-18-2003, 03:51 PM   #2
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The SVTF is probably not a good choice if you want to buy a car specifically to hot-rod it.

The stock compression ratio is above 10:1, limiting the amount of boost you can run. The plastic intake manifold probably won't hold up to a nitrous oxide backfire either. And the SVTF uses the same Getrag 6-speed as in the Mini-Cooper, which can only handle a limited amount of torque.

If you want V8 torque, get a car with a V8.

On the positive side, the ride is pretty comfortable - not go-kart hard, but firm with the edges softened a bit. And the SVTF has great brakes and a heck of a lot of cornering grip.

If you buy one, I suggest you enjoy it for what it is. If it isn't the car you want, maybe something quicker like a Subaru WRX would suit you better.
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Old 11-18-2003, 03:54 PM   #3
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**** the SVT, not worth the money, plus it's going to go away relatively soon. just get a ZX3 and turbo it. for the same price, you'll see way more power.
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Old 11-19-2003, 04:21 PM   #4
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Going from a stang to a SVTF, you will be disappointed about the HP and Torque diff. Not much is available aftermarket wise. Vortech just came out with their kit for the SVTF, it is up to you and what you really want, I love my SVTF it's a fun car to drive. If you are looking to buy a Focus to mod up and have fun in, I would go with the Zetec.

Best of Luck to you and what you decide on.
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Old 11-19-2003, 07:17 PM   #5
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Chucko is reading my mind.
You're coming from the opposite end of the spectrum. A WRX would be somewhere in the middle. The Focus is more comfortable than a Mustang GT but far less comfortable than a family sedan.
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Old 11-19-2003, 10:00 PM   #6
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Some of this may repeat the above posts, but for what its worth:

If you want the car to be fast stock, look elsewhere. You can always go FI and make some decent power, or you can take the road less traveled and go all-motor...but I have no idea how much power you can make that way..I mean the engine is already tuned pretty well, although factory productions will always be somewhat conservative. For most of my driving though, 170 hp is plenty (although I would like more ) Also, the tranny is pretty solid. If BMW and Mini can use Getrag, so can I.

If you want a good handling car, you will get an excellent foundation. Stock, the SVTF outran the Z06 in the slalom. Aside from the lack of a limited slip and a tighter anti-rollbar setup, the suspension is pretty damn good out of the box. You get increased spring rates over stock, a slightly lower CG, and custom valved Tokico struts/shocks. One of my buddies had a Cobra....but he says his new SVTF is better all around so...

The brakes: well, I'm very happy. The largest you can get on a US-spec focus and the only model with available rear disc (at the time I bought my car anyway). Minimal fade, which can probably be remedied with stickier pads and stainless lines.

If you want a nice, comfortable interior, look no further. The base seats are decently supportive and I think they are damn comfortable on road trips. While still focusesque, the leather trim, red (or blue) color scheme, silver guage faces, aluminum pedals, etc. are pretty nice for factory. I honestly have no intent on changing any of it at this point.

If you want a nice stereo (which isn't something I look for in a stock car...), the audiophile system is pretty nice IMO. I've had plenty of aftermarket stuff, and for its cost, balance and stock look, I don't think you can go wrong...as long as you aren't going for SPL. Ironic I didn't get that option...

You want lighting? Although I didn't get these either, the HID's are definitely nice and well worth the $450 option IMO. If the dealer had any on the lot, I would've got them. I will be getting a set as soon as I can...I mean, HID's are starting to trickle down into the lower car market, but they are still a nice novelty of higher-end cars.

And then you will have the standard PZEV vs. SVT argument. And yes, the PZEV is detuned from the factory (to meet regs and protect the SVT) and makes really decent torque. However, to match the SVT in power, handling, interior quality, lighting, etc. is not cheap and will cost pretty close to what you can get a SVT for...can you save money? probably, but then there goes the majority of your warranty anyway.

Lastly, if it matters to you, the SVTF is somewhat exclusive. While it is no exotic car, it is more rare than a standard Focus.

Pardon my lengthy post, but I'm really happy with my car and just wanted to air my thoughts on the pros/cons everyone seems to have about this car.

Bottom line, drive the car and if you like it, buy it. If not, start looking elsewhere.

Good luck,
Nick
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Old 11-20-2003, 04:11 PM   #7
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Okay, I'm with essveetee, look into what he said...seems to know what he is talking about..
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Old 11-20-2003, 05:23 PM   #8
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thanks R&D, I hope my opinions help out someone. I guess I should also add to my previous post that, if I wanted a FAST car, I would have saved every dime I had, sold my soul and a kidney and either imported an R32/34 Skyline or made a nice Supra...but I wanted a balanced car that fit into my budget.

In all fairness, I should also tell everyone what I don't like about the car so people don't think I'm affiliated with Ford or something:

1) body roll...maybe a rear sway bar/sway bar set is in my future.

2) lack of a limited slip...doesn't affect my daily driving whatsoever, but I'd like one. Maybe I'll look into a quaife if I ever change the clutch/flywheel.

3) torque...need more, plain and simple.

4) stupid long antenna...i just cut mine and painted the cut black

5) non-independent fogs...altered my fog relay to solve that.

6) lack of matching dead pedal....ordered a redline tuning pedal though.

As you can see, I was stretching towards the end, but enough from me. I hope that made someone's decision making process easier.

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Old 11-20-2003, 07:41 PM   #9
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ditto,
what he said!
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