Focus Fanatics Forum banner

1 - 20 of 65 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This year I decided to jump into the world of autocross. After searching Craigslist for a cheap racer I ended up with a 03 Focus SVT, I have a build thread in the build section for the whole story but here are the specs.

03 SVT CD Silver
Drop in K&N
MBPR cat back exhaust
brand new factory suspension
Poly rear swaybar bushings
Powerstop pads
Falken AZENIS RT615K (225/45/17)

To make sure this project was not going to drag on forever I went ahead and signed myself up for an autocross school with a local sports car club. Little did I know at the time the huge project I was about to take on.
Build thread here: http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/ford-focus-builds-general-showroom/757994-i-wanna-race-my-02-svt-rallycross-hill-climb-autocross-build.html

Unfortunately the car was not ready in time for the school so I rolled up in our Dodge Journey. After a brief debate with the organizer of the event on the SCCA eligibility of a Dodge Journey they finally agreed to let me use the Journey since it was just a school and as long as I took it easy and didn't roll it. The school went really well. I learned a lot from my instructor and he was actually impressed with the stability of the Journey.


After the school I was hooked.
I decided to join the SCCNH (Sports Car Club of New Hampshire) which is the club that put on the autocross school and runs a monthly autocross in the parking lot of New Hampshire motor speedway. I was joining with only 3 of the 10 events left for the season. The club follows SCCA rules but groups the cars into 6 classes. P = stock performance, S = stock sedan, T = street touring, M = street modified, R = race and N = Novice. They use the PAX system so it levels out the playing field.

For the next 3 races of the year I will be running in the Novice class. That might sound easier but it is actually the largest class. Next year I will be running in the Stock Sedan class.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I had my first autocross 9/10. I think I did pretty good for my first time. I shaved 4 seconds off my time on my last run. I ended up 14th out of 24 in My class and 38th out of 55 overall. I'm happy with that for my first time and only 3rd time driving the car. I know I can get much better times with the car and that it is my ability that is holding me back but there are two things I need to address with the car that will help.

1) The brakes.
They are soft. I think I need to flush the lines and re-bleed the brakes. I can't brake hard enough approaching a corner. I feel if I had more brakes the weight transfer would help give me more traction to accelerate out of the corner.

2) Launching
It seemed no matter what RPM I let out the clutch the car would bog. One thing that my have added to this is the traction control. I would shut it off as I entered the staging area but while waiting I would shut the car off. I didn't think about it till after that when I restarted the car the traction control was back on again. Oops!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I had my second autoX last Sunday 10/8. I didn't have time to address the brake issue with the car since the last race however I did find one thing that I did fix.
Tire pressure!
I was in a rush to leave before the last event and forgot to check my tire pressure. This time the day before the autox I went to check the pressure and to my surprise they had 24 psi, thanks Tire Warehouse!
I decided to fill the tires to 40 PSI and I would chalk them.
The morning of the event it was overcast and by the time the first car left the gate is was pouring. The only did 3 runs for the morning session because everyone was going off course and it was taking forever.
In the afternoon the sun came out and the pavement dried. We ended up getting 6 afternoon runs. I never hit a cone all day and I ended up placing 6th in a class of 22 cars.
The car felt fast. The braking was still not as I liked it but I managed to work with it. My biggest problem was traction control. Now that I had my tire pressure adjusted the car was hooking better in the corners and as I would try to accelerate out of the corners the car felt like it was misfiring badly.

I have a plan before the next event. disable the traction control and replace the rear calipers/bleed and flush the brake system. It will be the last event of the season so I am going push it as much as I can.

On a side note I am starting to see my biggest competition for next year in Stock Sedan with be the Feista ST.
 

·
FUBARCUS
Joined
·
7,767 Posts
One thing you can do is pull the fuse for the ABS system for events. this fully disables the traction control in the Focus. Even pushing the button does not fully disable the traction control system.

Regarding tire pressures. I tend to run 5-6lbs more pressure in the rear of my car to help the car rotate more. The pressure difference varies depending on the tires but in a FWD vehicle can make a huge difference.

Try to find a way to video your runs. Watching them later can definitely help you see where you are going wrong in certain segments of a course and will help with learning.

My wife just started autox with me and she likes to watch our runs to learn from me. I'm not the fastest but I certainly have a lot of seat time compared to her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Well, the ABS issue should be fixed now. After reading through the archives of FF I came up with this. I tested it and it works great. It plugs right into the Traction control/ABS fuse spot. I drilled a hole in the access cover and mounted the switch. Mint!
 

Attachments

·
w/ my magic bag
Joined
·
29,452 Posts
Good to swap out your brake hoses for ss & do a brake fluid flush.
 

·
FUBARCUS
Joined
·
7,767 Posts
Get a tune and a wide band air fuel gauge , will help performance and engine safety

Tom
That's the plan Tom. I am heading to SEMA in 2 weeks so I was waiting for that financial wound to heal a bit before I pull the trigger on the tune.
Tune will put you into STF this year and STS next year. Not worth it. The Focus will never be competitive in STS next year.

Good to swap out your brake hoses for ss & do a brake fluid flush.
I'm fairly certain that SS Brake lines bump classes as well. I'd have to re-read the rules but there really is not much you can do to the car for stock classes.

Generally for stock you can do: (1) Sway Bar change, Brake Pads, Exhaust, Air Filter (Filter Only), and Struts/Shocks, Sticky tires, light weight wheels that are (+/-) 1" diameter and within 7mm of the factory offset. anything beyond those things changes you into a street touring class and if you get too crazy you will get bumped into street modified.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,807 Posts
Well, the ABS issue should be fixed now. After reading through the archives of FF I came up with this. I tested it and it works great. It plugs right into the Traction control/ABS fuse spot. I drilled a hole in the access cover and mounted the switch. Mint!
ABS can be useful. dont want to flatspot your expensive rubber......
also, i think i remember that pulling the TC/ABS fuse will disable the brake proportioning/bias, so you will lock up the rear brakes more
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Tune will put you into STF this year and STS next year. Not worth it. The Focus will never be competitive in STS next year.



I'm fairly certain that SS Brake lines bump classes as well. I'd have to re-read the rules but there really is not much you can do to the car for stock classes.

Generally for stock you can do: (1) Sway Bar change, Brake Pads, Exhaust, Air Filter (Filter Only), and Struts/Shocks, Sticky tires, light weight wheels that are (+/-) 1" diameter and within 7mm of the factory offset. anything beyond those things changes you into a street touring class and if you get too crazy you will get bumped into street modified.
In Street class you can only change to braided lines if your car is older than 1992.
 

·
FUBARCUS
Joined
·
7,767 Posts
Tune will put you into STF this year and STS next year. Not worth it. The Focus will never be competitive in STS next year.



I'm fairly certain that SS Brake lines bump classes as well. I'd have to re-read the rules but there really is not much you can do to the car for stock classes.

Generally for stock you can do: (1) Sway Bar change, Brake Pads, Exhaust, Air Filter (Filter Only), and Struts/Shocks, Sticky tires, light weight wheels that are (+/-) 1" diameter and within 7mm of the factory offset. anything beyond those things changes you into a street touring class and if you get too crazy you will get bumped into street modified.
In Street class you can only change to braided lines if your car is older than 1992.
That's what I thought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Tune will put you into STF this year and STS next year. Not worth it. The Focus will never be competitive in STS next year.
Actually this is right off the SCCA site. https://www.scca.com/articles/2008286-street-touring-ecu-call-for-feedback
The SEB published a response to letter 14648 in the January 2017 Fastrack, to create an enforceable
rule. Under the existing rule, members may run a proprietary and copyrighted tune that the SCCA has
no ability to review in detail. The proposal expanded the ECU and tuning allowances in ST to allow any
ECU - including “stand alone” computers - and any programming.
After Feedback from the membership we are revising the proposal by adding limitations. This will
appear in the upcoming Fastrack but we are using the tools available to us to gather feedback quickly so
we can implement this for 2018. Open tuning is still part of the proposal but we are limiting the use of a
“stand alone” computer.
Following is the revised proposal that will also be published in the next Fastrack.
Change section 14.10.F as follows:
14.10.F The engine management system parameters and operation of internal combustion engines may
be modified only via the methods listed below. These allowances also apply to forced induction cars,
except that no changes to standard boost levels, intercoolers, or boost controls are permitted. Boost
changes indirectly resulting from allowed modifications are permissible but directly altering or modifying
the boost or turbo controls, either mechanically or electronically, is strictly prohibited. Traction control
parameters may not be altered.
Any OE OBD2 or newer communications port functionality must
remain. The Check Engine Light (CEL) or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) may be disabled via software.
Alternate software maps which violate these restrictions may not be present during competition,
regardless of activation.
Only OE sensors equipped from the factory may be used for engine
management. Data acquisition modifications to the wiring and ECU are permitted.
Replace the current 14.10.F.1 through 14.10.F.6 with the following:
1. For all model years, the following allowances apply:
a. The OE ECU may be reprogrammed without restriction.
b. Fuel pressure regulators may be replaced in lieu of electronic hardware or software
alterations. It is not permitted to mechanically alter the fuel pressure regulation AND make
other hardware or software changes to engine operation.
c. Ignition timing may be set at any point on factory adjustable distributor ignition systems.
2. For 2005 and older model year vehicles:
a. A supplementary ("piggyback") ECU is permitted. It must be plug-compatible with the
standard ECU/PCM (no splices) and must connect only between the standard ECU/PCM and its
wiring harness.
b. Electronic components may be installed in-line between an engine's sensors and ECU/PCM.
These components may alter the signal coming from the sensor in order to affect the ECU / PCM
operation. Example: fuel controllers that modify the signal coming from an airflow sensor.
c. VTEC controllers and other devices may be used which alter the timing of factory electronic
variable valve systems.
3. 1995 and older vehicles may implement a replacement “stand alone” ECU.
The WHITE text is what was taken out of the original proposal.
 

·
FUBARCUS
Joined
·
7,767 Posts
Tune will put you into STF this year and STS next year. Not worth it. The Focus will never be competitive in STS next year.
Actually this is right off the SCCA site. https://www.scca.com/articles/2008286-street-touring-ecu-call-for-feedback
The SEB published a response to letter 14648 in the January 2017 Fastrack, to create an enforceable
rule. Under the existing rule, members may run a proprietary and copyrighted tune that the SCCA has
no ability to review in detail. The proposal expanded the ECU and tuning allowances in ST to allow any
ECU - including ?stand alone? computers - and any programming.
After Feedback from the membership we are revising the proposal by adding limitations. This will
appear in the upcoming Fastrack but we are using the tools available to us to gather feedback quickly so
we can implement this for 2018. Open tuning is still part of the proposal but we are limiting the use of a
?stand alone? computer.
Following is the revised proposal that will also be published in the next Fastrack.
Change section 14.10.F as follows:
14.10.F The engine management system parameters and operation of internal combustion engines may
be modified only via the methods listed below. These allowances also apply to forced induction cars,
except that no changes to standard boost levels, intercoolers, or boost controls are permitted. Boost
changes indirectly resulting from allowed modifications are permissible but directly altering or modifying
the boost or turbo controls, either mechanically or electronically, is strictly prohibited. Traction control
parameters may not be altered.
Any OE OBD2 or newer communications port functionality must
remain. The Check Engine Light (CEL) or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) may be disabled via software.
Alternate software maps which violate these restrictions may not be present during competition,
regardless of activation.
Only OE sensors equipped from the factory may be used for engine
management. Data acquisition modifications to the wiring and ECU are permitted.
Replace the current 14.10.F.1 through 14.10.F.6 with the following:
1. For all model years, the following allowances apply:
a. The OE ECU may be reprogrammed without restriction.
b. Fuel pressure regulators may be replaced in lieu of electronic hardware or software
alterations. It is not permitted to mechanically alter the fuel pressure regulation AND make
other hardware or software changes to engine operation.
c. Ignition timing may be set at any point on factory adjustable distributor ignition systems.
2. For 2005 and older model year vehicles:
a. A supplementary ("piggyback") ECU is permitted. It must be plug-compatible with the
standard ECU/PCM (no splices) and must connect only between the standard ECU/PCM and its
wiring harness.
b. Electronic components may be installed in-line between an engine's sensors and ECU/PCM.
These components may alter the signal coming from the sensor in order to affect the ECU / PCM
operation. Example: fuel controllers that modify the signal coming from an airflow sensor.
c. VTEC controllers and other devices may be used which alter the timing of factory electronic
variable valve systems.
3. 1995 and older vehicles may implement a replacement ?stand alone? ECU.
The WHITE text is what was taken out of the original proposal.
Doesn't change that you shouldn't run a tune and stay in HS...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Rear calipers replaced and fluid flushed/bled. I finally have good brakes. I can't wait to try them at the last autocross of the season next Sunday.
I also got my new magnetic numbers from Solo Performance. No more painters tape for me. Easily +15HP!
 

Attachments

·
FUBARCUS
Joined
·
7,767 Posts
Rear calipers replaced and fluid flushed/bled. I finally have good brakes. I can't wait to try them at the last autocross of the season next Sunday.
I also got my new magnetic numbers from Solo Performance. No more painters tape for me. Easily +15HP!
Nice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Quick question about shocks. I know Koni yellows are the shock/strut to have but has anyone run KYB AGX shocks?
The suspension in my SVT has under 200 miles on it so I don't really want to swap all of it out.
Would there be any benefit to just running an adjustable rear shock for now?
 
1 - 20 of 65 Posts
Top