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Discussion Starter #1
Discussion time...

So I have a 2009 SE manual coupe, 149k mi on the OEM suspension. Factory front and rear sway bars (21/20mm F/R, respectively). I have always thought this car was really soft, it dives when I brake at almost any speed, squats under acceleration in all gears, and wallows around corners. Lately, after driving other cars, mine doesn't quite feel right, but I've just become numb to it. For example, my mom's 2014 Explorer is twice as big and heavy as my Focus, but the handling is SO much better. It carves corners, doesn't squat under acceleration despite having twice the horsepower, and only barely noses down when braking. It feels so much more planted, despite being a boat. Same with my girlfriend's stock 2012 Civic. It's nearly identical on paper, same HP, size, and similar weight to my car. But it has a stiffer factory suspension and feels so much more nimble/planted, it's like a go-kart compared to mine! What gives?!

I think Ford intended to soften the MK2 Focus up to make it handle like a bigger car. Rightly so, as it is comfy on the highway. But I think it's too soft––when I have anything in the trunk or friends in the backseat it gets dodgy over 55mph, and it shouldn't be like that. It also understeers around corners like crazy and just wallows through backroads. I don't like it very much...my mom's Explorer feels more sporty/aggressive if I'm honest!

I think I have found a solution however. I came across the Ford M-3000-ZX3 suspension kit, aka the SVT kit. Made for the '00-05 Focus, but can be retrofitted to the '06-'11 Focus using Massive's $88 Omni-Kit. For $298 you get all 4 shocks and struts and springs, plus a 21mm rear sway bar. It claims to lower the car half an inch (I'm in this for budget handling, not looks, but it's a perk), and the rear sway bar is 22% stiffer than the stock 20mm. I also plan to overhaul a bit of the suspension system that time hasn't been kind to (I have the classic 'clunk' going on in the front, and both front and rear lower control arm bushings are gone, resulting in an unpleasantly loud 'SQUELCH' noise over speed bumps in the morning). Below is my overall plan:

MK2 SVT Suspension Overhaul:
  • SVT Shocks/Struts and Springs/Rear Sway ($299)
  • Massive Omni-Kit for fitment ($88)
  • Prothane 21mm Rear Sway Bushing/Link kit ($27)
  • MOOG front endlinks ($34)
  • MOOG front lower control arms ($90)
  • MOOG rear lower control arms ($112)
  • Subsequent alignment, of course (~$100)
All-in Total: ~$750

I have seen a few threads that danced around the idea of the SVT suspension, but nothing this specific, so I figured I would start this as kind of a build log. Any input is more than welcome, and actually there are a few things I wouldn't mind finding out from you guys:
  • Have any of you upgraded your own 2008-11 Focus to the SVT kit?
  • If so, did you have to install special camber bolts/plates to keep properly aligned?
  • Would you pair it with a front strut tower brace? May consider this later on.
  • Any other advice or impressions?
  • Anything I'm missing?
Thanks for reading, and for any replies! I'll make sure to keep this thread updated as I make progress. Currently in the saving-up-for-it stage.

-Ben
 

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Did you buy the car new? If not how many miles were on it because it sounds like your suspension is worn out.

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Discussion Starter #4
Did you buy the car new? If not how many miles were on it because it sounds like your suspension is worn out.
I bought it about 2 years ago now with 127,000 mi on it. The suspension felt a tad tighter then, but it's been getting worse. It's never been fantastic though, and some of the shocks do have visible rust on them. While the front sway bar looks okay, the rear sway is rusted to hell and beginning to flake apart, so I plan to replace it while I'm there. I'm in Oregon where they de-ice the road instead of using salt, but this car started its life in Iowa so one can only guess. The whole underbody is kind of plagued by rust, I've already had to sand, Bondo and repaint my rocker panels. Will do more preventative maintenance before this next winter for sure.

No experience in this but would love to see your results. Good luck. Subscribed.
Thanks! This is my first time dealing with suspension (and likely only time on this car) so I want to do it right. This is also the last thing on my Focus I haven't yet messed with!

I was trying to decide between the SVT route or the slightly more expensive––and cliché, by the looks of most suspension threads on here––route of Eibach Pro-Kit springs on FRPP dampers (m-18000-zx3). While I bet I would enjoy the ride and the 1.2-1.3" drop from the second option, A) it is already pricier than my current option before I even add a sway bar to the mix, and B) I regularly tow and/or have a bike rack on my hitch most of the year. I've scraped the sidewalk/speed bumps while towing with stock suspension, so am hesitant to go lower at all, but the 1/2in SVT drop I'm okay with since I know it's stiffer. The Eibach drop would look so good, but would functionally inhibit this car unfortunately. I just want a better ride and the SVT kit fits the bill perfectly, it's truly the perfect 'happy medium'! I'll keep y'all updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, yesterday a relative picked up a really nice ‘09 manual SES sedan with only 68k on it! They asked me to do some work (engine mounts, blown speaker, etc) to spruce it back up to new condition. Been driving it around today and while it is a tad heavier than my coupe, there is noticeably less body wallow/roll and it handles more predictably. It is still pretty soft though. Nice to have it as a sort of baseline! Looking forward to getting the ball rolling on my SVT setup once the funds are secured.

306140
 

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Having driven an SVT for several years its suspension has the right balance of comfort and handling in my opinion. When I got mine I did a full suspension refresh to factory SVT suspension and enjoyed the hell out the car while I owned it.

I have since moved on to a 2015 Mk 3.5 Focus Titanium 5 speed with 18" wheels. It has a similar road feel to the SVT, maybe not quite as stiff, but close enough. I can push it as hard as I did with the SVT and receive a similar confidence in handling and control. The next step in my evolution would be an ST, but its suspension is too stiff for me. If my engine/drive train died I would be a candidate for one of Rebel Devil's conversions to ST without the suspension upgrade. I know that sounds stupid but is what would be most comfortable for me getting the extra power and 6th gear without the harshness of the suspension.

Good luck with your refresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Having driven an SVT for several years its suspension has the right balance of comfort and handling in my opinion. When I got mine I did a full suspension refresh to factory SVT suspension and enjoyed the hell out the car while I owned it.

I have since moved on to a 2015 Mk 3.5 Focus Titanium 5 speed with 18" wheels. It has a similar road feel to the SVT, maybe not quite as stiff, but close enough. I can push it as hard as I did with the SVT and receive a similar confidence in handling and control. The next step in my evolution would be an ST, but its suspension is too stiff for me. If my engine/drive train died I would be a candidate for one of Rebel Devil's conversions to ST without the suspension upgrade. I know that sounds stupid but is what would be most comfortable for me getting the extra power and 6th gear without the harshness of the suspension.

Good luck with your refresh.
Sweet, good to hear. And yeah I actually saw “Mustard” on youtube, the first sedan that got converted to an ST drivetrain In Canada by RD. That would be an endeavor but worth it!
 

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I did the SVT suspension kit on my 2004 ZX3 2.3 a few months after buying it in 2008.
It had about 100K on it at the time. The suspension wasn't worn out, but I figured it could use shocks, and I wanted to firm it up just a bit, without an excessive drop or a harsh ride.
It made it a completely different car to drive. Handling much improved, and the highway ride is still comfortable, but less floaty. The slight drop is more visually noticeable than I expected, and really improved the looks.

I have almost 290,000 on the car now, and I'm sure the shocks are getting a little tired, but it still feels tight and stable, without clunks or odd noises.

Honestly, this little Focus has been the most reliable, and least expensive to own car I've ever had.
The 2.3 Duratec and 5-speed gives it enough git to pull away from typical traffic, and it's actually enjoyable to drive, particularly on a twisty road.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I did the SVT suspension kit on my 2004 ZX3 2.3 a few months after buying it in 2008.
It had about 100K on it at the time. The suspension wasn't worn out, but I figured it could use shocks, and I wanted to firm it up just a bit, without an excessive drop or a harsh ride.
It made it a completely different car to drive. Handling much improved, and the highway ride is still comfortable, but less floaty. The slight drop is more visually noticeable than I expected, and really improved the looks.

I have almost 290,000 on the car now, and I'm sure the shocks are getting a little tired, but it still feels tight and stable, without clunks or odd noises.

Honestly, this little Focus has been the most reliable, and least expensive to own car I've ever had.
The 2.3 Duratec and 5-speed gives it enough git to pull away from typical traffic, and it's actually enjoyable to drive, particularly on a twisty road.

Sweet! I'm really looking forward to this, I think this will be a great upgrade.

Parts are ordered and in the mail!

One thing, if any of you are considering this upgrade.. be very observant of what parts you order vs. what you have. On the 2008-11 Focus, the front struts do not use spring seats, rather, the springs are styled differently at the top than the '00-07. On the '00-07 struts, this SVT kit included, the top of the spring is held in a metal plate called a spring seat, which is molded to fit the spring and prevent it from moving. On the 2008-11 front struts, there is no metal plate, and the top of the spring tapers so it can sit directly on the bearing under the top mount. Moral of the story: the older style strut with the big spring WILL fit in the 2008-11, BUT you have to order the spring seats for an '00-05 separately as they are not included in the SVT kit. Choose your parts wisely based on how extensive of a suspension overhaul you want to do! In addition to what's listed in my initial posts, I also ended up buying new MOOG top strut mounts because mine seem crappy.

EDIT: Check this thread out to see what I'm talking about:

Hope this helps anyone who wants to do this too!

Ben
 

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Discussion Starter #10
As of yesterday, everything is installed and ready to go to get an alignment on Saturday! Just from driving it around the block it feels like a new car. It is so planted. I can’t wait to really drive it!! Also installed Eagle Eye projector headlights with GTR Ultra V2 LED bulbs, and I picked up a set of black Fiesta ST wheels for $440 with tires and TPMS! Pics and more details to come!
 

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Doing the SVT suspension upgrade was going to be a decent performance improvement by itself.

The FIST wheels and tires will add another level of performance and will finish out the upgrade well.

It will really cement your appreciation for this little car.
 

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I have a Fiesta ST. The Fiesta ST OEM tire size would be 205 40 17 which is kind of small for your car.
What tires are on them?




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I'd heard the FIST rims would fit on a first/second gen Focus.
SVT tires are 215 45 17 which require only 819 revolutions per mile.
The FIST 205 40 17 tires require 859 revolutions per mile.
So that's going to put your speedometer about 5% faster than you will really be going.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The tires that came on it are Michelin 205/40R17s, and yes they are a tad dwarfed by the wheel wells on my Focus. The wheels look fantastic, but the tire-to-wheel well ration is a little off. They're at about 75% and really sporty-looking though. I'm kind of torn between my options. I could just use them up and then get some 215/45R17s or 215/40R17s. But I could also sell my OEM 16" wheels with the almost-new Caldera 205/50R16 tires on them, use those funds towards getting proper tires, and then sell the Michelin tires that came on the new ones. What do y'all think?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
^^^Also, the 215/45R17s would actually be bigger in diameter than my stock tires, so they would fill the wheel wells better. And that is a tire size that my car actually could be optioned with, so I am pretty sure I can take it to the local dealer (the guys there are chill) and have my PCM reprogrammed for those. That way the speedo would read correctly and I wouldn't have any odometer inaccuracies later on.
 

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Depends.

I prefer fresh quality proper tires for my cars and am willing to spend some extra $ to get them. Usually you can get some residual value out of your leftovers on CL if they are decent shape.

With my SVT they had put some cheap walmart tires on the factory 5 spoke rims right before I bought it. Granted, they were new but felt like rocks. I found a set of relatively new ford racing 15 spoke rims with a relatively new set of yokohama S2 tires that were slightly oversized. I want to say 205 50 17. So a bit oversized but only like 2%. Sold the SVT 5 spoke rims with tires on CL for almost what I paid for the 15 spokes and yokohamas. The yokohamas were a huge improvement over the cheap walmart tires so that was a win for me and I liked the 15 spoke rims even more.

For my current 15Ti I bought the tires I wanted because the tires that came on it were a mismatch. I sold the leftovers on CL(2 basically new PZero high performance and 2 half tread PZero all season). I went with Continental DWS06 and am on my second set now.
 

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you can use the tires that are on those wheels just fine if they're Michelins they are all seasons. Most of the Fiesta ST came equipped with a summer tire. The ones that came equipped with all season tires were a Michelin tire.

The summer tire equipped models like mine come with a very sticky short life tire.

It's funny you like those wheels most of in the Fiesta ST community want to get rid of them.

You can also run a 205 45-17.

My focus came equipped with 15 inch wheels but I also have some 17 inch wheels which I'm not going to put new tires on for multiple reasons but anyway going to the 17 inch wheel decreased my fuel mileage by 2 miles per gallon.

The weight difference is significant between the 15 inch wheel package and 17 inch wheel package but also going from a 195 tire to a 215 so that's why I say a 205 is maybe a good compromise.








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Discussion Starter #18
They are the Michelin tires. They have 7500 miles on them according to the previous owner. If I get different tires I have been looking at Continental DWS06 in 215/45R17, which was the size that came on the factory optional 15-spokes. I will have to see how it looks once I get it aligned and how it feels once I can drive it. I’ll post pics so y’all can pitch in your thoughts!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That looks sweet, I am leaning towards riding out the life remaining in the Michelins and then going for the Conti’s of the right size. VARIABLE9, did you have any issues with the front brake caliper just barely rubbing on the new wheels? I did, so I found a good deal on a 4-pack of 20mm hub adapters (not spacers!) to decrease the offset. Also, is that on stock suspension?
 
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