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Discussion Starter #1
I decided it was time to start a thread on a major upgrade of my 2000 NASA Spec Focus. I bought the well built but little used car two years ago and tracked it for two seasons in Arizona. I finally broke an idler pulley bolt and pitched the timing belt, which bent the exhaust valves. With the motor out, I decided it was time for some much need upgrades.

As tracked, the spec motor with Ford racing head, intake, 70mm throttle body, and adjustable cam gears made 148 whp. The spec Eibach springs were too soft, so I switched to HR race springs - other than that, it was NASA spec. The things that needed improvement included a too-low roll center which caused me to lift the inside tires often, especially on high-speed sweepers, which inloaded the Torsen and spun the inside tire - no drive off corners. I went through a set of front wheel bearings every 5-6 track days and a set of Hoozier 225/45/17 R7s every two track days (rolling the car up on the outside edge of the outside tires in turns).

The motor is in rebuild - still N/A with 12:1 JE pistons, forged rods, Massive Ultimate SVT head, Cat Cams, SVT intake, and billet oil pump gears. That gave me time to redesign/rebuild the suspension. The first priority was raising the roll center which required moving the inner control arm pick-up points up. I installed "slugs" so the points would be vertically adjustable and added Howe mono-ball bearings to the front of the control arms. The control arms themselves are Mk III ST parts, lengthened 1 inch. I went to Mk III ST hubs and bearings which should solve the weak bearing issues. I will start documentation of the progress with some photos of the front suspension modifications.

Pappy

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This thing is freaking awesome. looking forward to following your progress. Did you say the engine build was already done or were those your plans for it? more pics of the engine too?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
This thing is freaking awesome. looking forward to following your progress. Did you say the engine build was already done or were those your plans for it? more pics of the engine too?
The engine is at the machine shop. Block bored with deck plate, pistons fitted. I ordered Williams rods (from England), but that didn't work out (.060 too long), so we are waiting on Eagle rods that were finally shipped Friday. Short block should be done next week. Karl (at Massive) has the head almost done and the cams lashed, so that should also be done next week as well. I got the oil pump gears from IKE last week. I also got a Kaaz Super Q LSD last week, so I am getting close to assembly. This is the only other picture of the old engine I have - before it was pulled.

Pappy

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Nice man! so you said it was making 148whp before, what are you expecting out of this new setup?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice man! so you said it was making 148whp before, what are you expecting out of this new setup?
I'm shooting for 200+ whp. I know that's a stretch for a N/A motor (and some say you can't get there), but I think it is possible. I think it depends on whether or not I can get it tuned for the cams.

Pappy
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Picked up the finished short block - decked, bored with a torque plate, balanced, JE 12:1 pistons, Eagle rods, ARP studs. I also got a "care" package today with the Massive "Ultimate" SVT head, valve cover, VCT elem. kit, and gasket sets. Making progress.

Pappy

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Thats What She Said
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Interesting build. I am surprised that they still call this Spec Focus. Almost nothing on it is "spec" but I may be more thinking in terms of what I have knowledge on the Spec Miata class.

Reason for the SVT head vs a "Zetec" head? Once gone through the V1.2 Ultimate port from Massive would there be a reason for it? Once you eliminate the VCT and have ported it that aggressively is there still benefit to have the SVT head?
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Interesting build. I am surprised that they still call this Spec Focus. Almost nothing on it is "spec" but I may be more thinking in terms of what I have knowledge on the Spec Miata class.

Reason for the SVT head vs a "Zetec" head? Once gone through the V1.2 Ultimate port from Massive would there be a reason for it? Once you eliminate the VCT and have ported it that aggressively is there still benefit to have the SVT head?
It was built as a Spec Focus back when that series existed in NASA, but the series is now defunct. I track the car with NASA and ProAutoSports (TT), but I'm not really concerned what class they move me around to based on the mods - it is just a fun track car and doesn't cost an arm and a leg every track day like some of my other stuff. The car was surprisingly quick on some of the shorter (less than 2 miles) tracks in my area, but with sticky Hoosiers and too low roll center geometry, I almost rolled it a couple of times at speed (Joey Chitwood style - LOL), so I decided to redo the suspension geometry to fix the problem. That, of course, led to a requirement for more HP, bigger tires, and a better LSD to get off the corners better - typical project creep. Though I have years of experience with building conventional rear wheel drive, big motor track cars, I am new to the Focus, Zetecs, and front wheel drive, so don't hesitate to challenge the direction I am going. I'm sure I'll be trying to reinvent some wheels.

As far as the SVT head goes, I just wanted to try the SVT intake and leave open the option for VCT down the road, if it looks like there is any HP advantage.

Pappy

Focus at WHP Mustang.jpg

And yes, I did get around the Mustang...
 

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The spec focus series was a great attempt to do what racers did with the Miata. The rules set got to involved in trying to allow so many different powered focus in, zetec, Svt, Duratec that it became a silly game of trying to fiqure out what to build and remain competive. The capaldi racing team out of Detroit did a lot to keep the program up but then the economy took a dump. That car viper has was is one of the prettiest prepared cars, almost a shame to put on track especially doing Joey chit wood stunts:)) I wish it had a Duratec motor program just to share info. The zetec program is just another reason the spec wasn't really spec. I need to know how much hp u finally get outta that thing. I still am going forward with our Duratec build. 2.3 in the ITA and 2.0 in the STL car. The fast Hondas with a k24 motor are putting down 215 hp . The 2.0 v1 is going to tom this week for the start. Crower cams, k1 rods, lots of head work. Some of the performance we have gotten is in the gearbox. But that's another thread, viper will have one of the most over the top builds out there, I love it.
 

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My guess is you will be doing good to hit the 170-180 HP to the wheels , you were given some bad advice going to there SVT head , it isnt better thats why you cant find a single dyno with there heads anywhere showing any gains

If your selling the ford racing head I would be very interested in it , there is no better flowing head that was sold

If you need some one to tune those cams and do you a good tune let me know , I have done a few builds like yours

Sweet looking Focus

Tom
 

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There's enough misinformation on the internet without you fabricating tales, tom.

Give me a break - the frpp was the best zetec head????? Come on. It was a program to clean up core shift and add some CNC tool marks here and there.

Even our ported head with STOCK valves easily bested the FRPP's numbers.


The reason for our recommendation to run the SVT head was the it's even better yet. A far better casting with a larger, superior, raised port.

Even the SVT head in STOCK form blows the FRPP Zetec head out of the water.

FYI - that awesome FRPP head on this car with cams, header, FRPP intake mani , etc made ~150 WHP. SOME BIG NUMBERS, lol.




We made 221 WHP with a STOCK SVT bottom end, stock SVT intake mani and our ported SVT head and off the shelf CAT Cams.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, I got the tie rods built out of two sets of MkIII ST tie rods and a couple of machined sleeves, but they work great. The MkIII stuff screwed right into the MkI rack shaft. I also got the bump steer down to .002 inch by moving the rack up 7/16 inch. Progress!

Pappy

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Thats What She Said
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What kinds of mods where needed to the shafts? curious as if my super hubs don't solve my front end problems the only other option I know of is going to teh Mazda 3 set up but that's a whole can of worms. But looks like going to MrkIII is also a bunch of work.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What kinds of mods where needed to the shafts? curious as if my super hubs don't solve my front end problems the only other option I know of is going to teh Mazda 3 set up but that's a whole can of worms. But looks like going to MrkIII is also a bunch of work.
If you are talking about the axle shafts, I used MkIII shafts for a MTX75, which fit the transmission and the MKIII hubs, but they are almost an inch longer than the MKI axles. So I lengthened the MKIII control arms by 1 inch (MKIII control arms were required because of the larger lower ball joint stud required by the MKIII spindles). The MKI rear inner control arm bushing fit the MKIII rear shaft okay. The tie rods were different too - the MKIII tie rods have 16MM threads where the MKIs are 14mm, and the MKIII rods are too short because of the lengthened control arms and the MKIII rack is longer. So I used two sets of MKIII tie rods on each side, cut to length and joined with a 2 inch threaded steel sleeve to get the length I wanted. The MKIII tie rods did screw into the end of the MKI rack shaft okay. That allowed me to use the MKIII outer tie rod ends which are offset to clear 18 inch wheels with deeper backspacing. To use the MKIII spindles with the MKI struts I machined sleeves (basically .095 wall tubing) to match the strut O.D. with the spindle I.D. Then there are the fender flares to clear the wider track width - LOL. You could avoid part of the hassle by using stock MKIII LCAs, MKIII hubs and bearings, and custom made CV shafts of the right length (DriveShaft Shop - but probably expensive). I'll post a photo of the old and new axles and the lengthened control arms under construction. Hope this helps.

Pappy

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Attention to detail

This is something I didn't expect. I was setting up to check valve to piston clearance, and when I started to install the timing belt tensioner, it felt like the bolt "wobbled". When I checked it, it was bent .040 of an inch. Earlier I broke the other idler pulley bolt (you could see where it had an old crack and had cold worked). Pretty iffy design by Ford, especially if you are running at high rpm a lot. Anyway, it's something worth checking if you are replacing anything in the timing belt system.

Pappy

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You could avoid part of the hassle by using stock MKIII LCAs, MKIII hubs and bearings, and custom made CV shafts of the right length (DriveShaft Shop - but probably expensive). I'll post a photo of the old and new axles and the lengthened control arms under construction. Hope this helps.
What if you used MkIII LCA's and knuckle/hub/bearings with SVT axles modified with MkIII outter CV joints?

I'm looking for improvements for my SVT, both to the ball joint and front brake options.
 
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