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Oh yeah!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After having my Koni Sport Kit shipped to me back in April, I finally got off my lazy butt and installed it in August just this last weekend. [eek]

What I learned from this, I shouldn't touch suspension parts. Somehow, I made it through with the help of Ataru coaching and instructing me via AOL IMer and my father with some physical labor, and it actually works - no funny noises, no abnormal behavior. [:)]

So, let's begin.


My summer projects and money pits. The house in the background is the one that I've been helping my father with fully restoring and rebuilding it (last three years). It's an amazing transformation from what it originally was, and we will be moving into this weekend if all goes smoothly with Oklahoma City inspectors.

The bike... well, it's a money pit for certain, but damn is it fun. It's probably one of the main reasons this suspension has been delayed for so long. I purchased the suspension two weeks after I got the bike, and I just kept putting off the install to go riding besides the other things I had to do (like work, etc.).

Let's get started. First off, start by opening the box. I have to thank dco for giving me such a great deal on this. I got the Koni Sport Kit and P-51 shims (all new) for $550 shipped. Even though I really didn't have the money, I knew I'd regret not buying this. So, then, I decided to go get a motorcycle the same week. And did I mention, I didn't have the money... I think I just don't have the brains or sense. [8]


Stock height front:


Stock height rear:


Disassembly went pretty smoothly. I think the original control arm socket for the strut was overtorqued from the factory as I had many issues with it being too tight in getting the strut off and too tight trying to fit the Koni strut/spring in.

New and old side by side.



All the original hardware transferred over with no fitment issues (just the way it should be).

New strut in place to be installed.


This was supposed to just "slip in" place, but it took more than just slipping in to get the strut into the socket of the control arm. After trying to pry open the socket a little more, I wound up offsetting the alignment of the bolt for the driver's side. It took some ingenuity, but we finally got it realigned for a smaller bolt. After some shaking and mallet use on the control arm, the driver's side strut eventually fell into place. Thank goodness. This was the most frustrating and time consuming part of the install. I started this project Thursday afternoon with about two hours before I went to work. I pulled everything out and went to work. Friday afternoon, I assembled the strut and spring and began install. After an hour and a half later, I had only the struts assembled, loosely bolted to the strut tower, and still not in place in the control arm socket. I went to work frustrated but hopeful I could get it to work. I came home that night, worked on trying to get the strut in for an hour and no luck. Saturday after I got off work from my morning shift, I worked on the front struts again. It took me two hours with the help of my father (after about an hour tinkering with it myself) to finally get both into place and fix my mistake with the driver's side.

After that, I disassembled the rear before it began raining.


Here's the catch, I had an autocross to attend this Sunday. I wasn't done with my suspension, so I had to get up early Sunday morning and hope I could finish my installation in time.

Sunday morning came, and I was outside tinkering on the car at 6:30 am (I have no garage by the way). Everything went smooth except for the fact that I missed the small picture showing that the stock washer for the rear shock tower has to be drilled for the Koni damper to fit. I was one washer short for the other side. I had to disassemble the driver side rear, pull out the included washer in the kit, and drill the stock equipment. As 9:00am rolled around, I was beginning to think there's no way I'll make it to the autocross in time. I finished lowering the car, torqued everything down to spec, cleaned up all the tools, gathered all my autocross junk, and was running out the door by 9:30am. I arrived just during the driver's meeting, and they were nice enough to let me register for the event.

I'm awaiting to see the autocross pictures, and there's more to the story for the day. I will save that for another thread.

Here are the pictures of the ride height afterwards.

Front:


Rear:


The pictures aren't the best as the perspective will cause the heights to vary from what they actually are. I'm guessing I dropped a little over a 1/4" in the front and 3/4" in the rear. I swear, though, with the rear Konis set at maximum firm that they keep the rear end raised a little more than with them on their softest settings.

Horrible night picture, but this is just before my girlfriend took her camera back. Now all I have left to do for the car is just get a tune and (if I ever) lastly, eventually change out to an RS spoiler.

Before:


After:


After thoughts,

The dampers are quieter and more compliant than stock. The car does ride stiffer, though, and if you firm up the rear at all, it almost feels like the car is hopping (you gotta love that). The dampers work great down my bumpy road and actually smooth out the ride more - just have to keep the Konis on their softest settings (about as stiff as the stock dampers were).

The drop wasn't as aesthetically pleasing as I was hoping. I was wanting the rear to drop a little more to lose the rake you get between the front and rear. It's not as much, but you can still see it.

However, I bought this kit with performance more in mind than looks. Let's start with this, Koni dampers are freaking awesome. With the stiffer springs and adjustable dampers, I was running this car at almost full stiff at the autocross. I could hardly feel any dive or squat during acceleration and braking, and it just felt so incredibly flat through the turns. I mean, it felt extremely flat. I couldn't believe how little body roll I was getting on course. I cannot wait to see the pictures to see if it's more mental or actually reduced that much. I wasn't tossed around as much while in the seat, so I know something was working. I know this for certain at least. At my last autocross, I was rubbing on the stock springs and struts in the front with the Kumho's. This time at the autocross, I never rubbed once despite dropping the car over a 1/4" in the front.

My only regret - not installing the suspension sooner. I wish I had better roads to exploit the new found characteristics of my car. Special thanks goes to Ataru and my father for helping me through the process. [;)]
 

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EvenDeathCan'tStopMe
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Looks awesome! Great write up as well!
 

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2focusedracing
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man thats sweet , can't wait to see the autocross pic.s. nice job![thumb]
 

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Awesome. I recently put the same thing on my ZX3. Stiffen up the front with a quarter turn and the rear with a half turn. I'm loving that combo.
 

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Oh yeah!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
svt4cus said:
i bet its hard to keep the car clean where you at
Like you wouldn't believe. As soon as I drive down my road whether heading out or coming home, it's covered in dust. I'm looking forward to when I move out and just drive on regular roads.

hEaT said:
Awesome. I recently put the same thing on my ZX3. Stiffen up the front with a quarter turn and the rear with a half turn. I'm loving that combo.
That's sweet. Do you have a link to some pictures or a thread that you made? I hadn't seen too many people using this kit when I was first wanting it, especially those who autocross. I figured I'd be a guinea pig for the focus community, but you know you're in good hands if it's Koni. I knew the dampers would be good, but they've more than exceeded my expectations.
 

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I have a thread over at FJ, but I'll just throw the pics here.





She's dirty, but no real way to get down a dirt road with getting full of dust.















The car has changed a bit since those pictures though. I tinted the front turn signals, sidemarkers are re-tinted and clear coated, and the tails are tinted with the backup light left white.
 

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the gold wheels are ugly!!!!! most hideous thing ive ever seen done to a focus............and i must have them....
 

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Oh yeah!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I still find it hard to see the drop between the SVT springs and the Konis, but here are two small pictures I took before I headed off to the movies with the girlfriend. I didn't even think to adjust the polarizer as I moved around the car. Oh well... good enough.


 
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