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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, so over the winter I bought a 14 focus titanium hatchback because of the features, price, and cheap insurance but after driving it for almost 6 months now (and being influenced by my new "car guy" friends) I am annoyed with the lack of power and the lag from when I press the gas to when I go. Is there a "simple" way to get power out of my car, I am working on a budget so this would include parts at about $450. With an intake, exhaust, coilovers, wheels, and tune would the power gain be worth the price, or is it worth selling my car while it's still worth some money and going for a cheaper fixer-upper of a car to mod (Integra?????).

Thanks in advance for the help.
 

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Who buys a Focus Titanium to go fast? It’s a budget commuter car, trust me I have one. It’s sluggish & awful on acceleration but the tradeoff is you get 30+ mpg & use 87.

If you want to go faster then you’ll need to buy a Focus ST.



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Who buys a Focus Titanium to go fast? It’s a budget commuter car, trust me I have one. It’s sluggish & awful on acceleration but the tradeoff is you get 30+ mpg & use 87.

If you want to go faster then you’ll need to buy a Focus ST.



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Everyone says that their Focus is sluggish, I have a Focus Ti and it's quick.....I passed a car within seconds I was doing 100mph (just like a friend's '78 Porsche Carrera Turbo back in '82)and still climbing but shut it down as not to get ticket. Even when passing, it's like a rocket...all in the auto trans gearing I guess!
 

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Everyone says that their Focus is sluggish, I have a Focus Ti and it's quick.....I passed a car within seconds I was doing 100mph (just like a friend's '78 Porsche Carrera Turbo back in '82)and still climbing but shut it down as not to get ticket. Even when passing, it's like a rocket...all in the auto trans gearing I guess!


I’m not trying to be rude or anything, but a standard Focus is not fast whatsoever in today’s day-n-age bro. Sure, its a small car & acceleration may seem fast, but have you ever driven a Fiesta ST or Focus ST?

Btw, the Titanium is just the trim, it’s still the same engine & transmission. Your average V6 car would blow away a Focus 2.0L 160HP Engine. The Fiesta ST & Focus ST’s are so reasonably priced that if you’re trying to go faster then you should consider buying one of those & the ST’s also look much better.




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The regular focus is actualy not too bad, compare it to a Corolla or Nissan or other equivalent econobox, out of all of them it was the most responsive car for the price/economy when i was test driving it, even an impreza was slugish in comparison. But i think this is primarily due to CVT transmissions being so bad... My SE is plenty quick for day to day driving up to 40 mph, after that i start to miss my turbo Saab...
But to OP, it's really hard to get any additional power out of naturally aspirated car on the cheap today, the timing is probably well optimized and so is intake and exhaust, with tuned intake, exhaust and returned ECU for then new parts u might push out another 20-40 hp tops...and it will cost 1k min...unless u do it all your self. I imagine to get more out of this engine you would need to up compression or get a turbo/super charger on it...it's really not worth it IMO as it will severely reduce engine reliability without major parts replacement...

As others suggested save your money toward an ST or another sportified econobox car. It will be better in everyway then a moded SE and more reliable...( For example the ST has different suspension setup then just simple springs and shocks changes. And i do not believe it's trivial to swap in St suspension into an SE/Titanium). Same as dumping a turbo kit into a titanum, the St engine likely has lower compression ratios and better piston/valves/injectors to take the abuse then the N/A motor...
 

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N/A 4 cyl cars won't gain much from just bolt on modifications. If you're looking for a cheap and easy way to get power from a 4 cyl (that does't include an ebay turbo) then you should look at something that comes from the factory with a turbo.
 

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Who buys a Focus Titanium to go fast? It’s a budget commuter car, trust me I have one. It’s sluggish & awful on acceleration but the tradeoff is you get 30+ mpg & use 87.

If you want to go faster then you’ll need to buy a Focus ST.



This^^^^^^^
 

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Realistically, what's your budget?

I mean you can probably find someone who would be willing to drop in a V8 with forced induction for enough money, and convert to AWD, but then you're spending way more than you could have just bought a faster car for.

If you go turbocharged, you can generally get about 25-30% more power before you have to start changing much more expensive things, but it will come at a cost in reliability. With the turbo, you should be looking at an upgrade in engine management already. You;d probably do better running E85 fuel, too, since it's much more detonation resistant.

Yeah, I know, you can go much higher than that in performance, but that 25% mark seems to be pretty much the most that a bolt-on kit will get you hit the steep part of the price/performance curve, and you'd have been better off starting with a different platform.

With the DCT, there don't seem to be a lot of choices for the clutch, so once you exceed the holding torque of the stock clutch, you hit a wall there and then. More power will only slip at the clutch, and burn it out, so at that point, you're looking for a manual swap with a high torque clutch available.

For normally aspirated upgrades, you can only go so far, and beyond some very simple things, they start getting spendy fast. Few bolt-ons will actually improve performance much, most are only good for "sticker power" in the end. (~10 HP from an air filter? I don't THINK so.)

I used to build V8s in my youth, but those were carburated, and there were things that you could do. Mind you, back then, if we could get near 1 BHP/cubic inch, we thought that we were doing pretty good. More than that almost always meant forced aspiration. Modern fuel injected cars are already well beyond that range from the factory, so there's a lot less for a backyard tuner to do.

tl;dr: Same as above. If you wanted fast, you should have bought the ST.
 

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Hi! So use this forum to read up on what other mk3 owners have done. I don't even have a mk3 and I know these high compression direct injected engines are capable of quite a bit of power from just a tune, so for $450 I'd concentrate on intake and tune first, exhaust later.

There are plenty of Mk3 owners who have a tune from Tom and they've all said many many positive things about it.
 

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Don't listen to the naysayers. The focus is a sporty fun car. You're probably not drag racing so who cares how fast you are compared to other cars? I've been up to 120mph and the car was still pulling ahead. There's some power there.

I have a '16 and I don't think anything mechanical is different. With an ECU update I noticed a much better throttle response time, shifting, and general torque band widening. It cost under $500 and took a small amount of computer tinkering, but I believe it's worth it.

Just as a test I returned the vehicle to stock for a month. Couldn't tune it back to the new ECU program fast enough.

I went with Tom's expertise but there are also other options. Tom charges +/-$500 for the tuning unit and lifetime tunes. https://www.focusfanatics.com/#/userprofile/1123
 

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So for Aaron and rosweltop: Do you h ave dyno graphs, or are you going on seat of the pants?

Don't get me wrong. I see nothing wrong with wanting the best that you can get from whatever you drive. In my case, I drive the Focus as a fuel efficient commuter. If I want sporty, then I'll go sporty.

I felt that the origina question was a little open ended, and my opening comment was really where it goes. What's your budget? Without that, it's difficult to answer the question.

If I have a couple hundred bucks, then the answer as to what I can do is very different than if I have a professional race team budget.

For a couple hundred, I probably wouldn't bother, until I could look at a tune for he ECU. Cold air intakes and resonator deletes aren't worth my time, since they seldom produce real results on the dyno.

A tune is a good start, because it can be made to work with other updates later as you go.

Forced aspiration is pretty much a standard go-to for increased power. Given the compression ratio of the engine, I don't think I'd want to see more than about +8 PSI manifold, and for that, I'd want to run E85 or at least premium pump fuel.

After that, in bang for the buck, a N2O kit is pretty good. A tach window switch, and a wet-shot of N2O will give you a moment of real kick in the pants for a reltively low dollar cost -- provided that your car is mechanically sound. If your forced aspiration solution was a turbocharger, the N2O shot can be used to spool the turbo faster to widen the torque curve. If you went belt or electric driven supercharger, that's kind of moot.

After that, you'll need to start messing with the engine internals. A thicker metal head gasket can be used to reduce compression ratio, allowing more boost. Forged pistons can also reduce compression ratio, and add a slight overbore for more native displacement. Additional or larger fuel injectors to allow more fuel delivery, since by now you're probably starting to strain the capacity of the stock units. By now you've swapped out the DCT, since a clutch that can handle the torque at this point doesn't seem to exist. You've probably also by now swapped out most of the motor and transmission mounts, and probably supplemented a couple of the chassis mounting points. Hopefully you're also looking at the brakes. Some additional instrumentation will also be needed before you get here, a wide band O2 sensor, manifold pressure gauge, and a datalogger for starters. (I think the Tuning kit comes with data logging.)

By now, you've probably spent more money under the hood than you spent on the car, but you can keep going. I'm sure someone makes or can make a forged stroker kit -- longer throw crank and shorter rods -- to increase native displacement a little more.

So it comes down to "what's your budget." I know that my budget probably tops out pretty close to getting the tune kit, and then only if I'm willing to make other sacrifices. I mean, I saw a Hyundai Accent on the road the other day that probably had $9k in exterior mods alone (No idea what was under the hood, lol. Probably spent a lot of cash there, too though) and probably at least that in the entertainment system.
 

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To respond:

So for Aaron and rosweltop: Do you have dyno graphs, or are you going on seat of the pants?

The software fixes a lot of problems and produces power where/when it's needed rather than being set up for comfort like Ford intended. Tom had me run my laptop connected to the SCT module on the OBD2 and record a bunch of specific types of driving so he could then refine his default focus tune. So no official Dyno... But certainly better than a subjective opinion.

Don't get me wrong. I see nothing wrong with wanting the best that you can get from whatever you drive. In my case, I drive the Focus as a fuel efficient commuter. If I want sporty, then I'll go sporty.

I wanted both.... So I have both.

I felt that the original question was a little open ended, and my opening comment was really where it goes. What's your budget? Without that, it's difficult to answer the question.

If I have a couple hundred bucks, then the answer as to what I can do is very different than if I have a professional race team budget.

That depends on the person. I spent around $50 on a good air filter and use quality oil and filters. I might upgrade the thermostat someday. With the tune I run premium gasoline and notice an unquestionable power difference. Other than those few things I've done nothing performance related. There really isn't much that can be done without changing the nature of the car.

For a couple hundred, I probably wouldn't bother, until I could look at a tune for he ECU. Cold air intakes and resonator deletes aren't worth my time, since they seldom produce real results on the dyno.

I don't believe in the "air box delete" idea and the car already pulls cold air through the stock box. ECU is a big change in power band, throttle response, shift speed, and general sportiness.

A tune is a good start, because it can be made to work with other updates later as you go.

Sure.

Forced aspiration is pretty much a standard go-to for increased power. Given the compression ratio of the engine, I don't think I'd want to see more than about +8 PSI manifold, and for that, I'd want to run E85 or at least premium pump fuel.

Turbo/supercharger? Not worth it. Buy a different car.

After that, in bang for the buck, a N2O kit is pretty good. A tach window switch, and a wet-shot of N2O will give you a moment of real kick in the pants for a reltively low dollar cost -- provided that your car is mechanically sound. If your forced aspiration solution was a turbocharger, the N2O shot can be used to spool the turbo faster to widen the torque curve. If you went belt or electric driven supercharger, that's kind of moot.

This engine will probably blow up with N²O.

After that, you'll need to start messing with the engine internals. A thicker metal head gasket can be used to reduce compression ratio, allowing more boost. Forged pistons can also reduce compression ratio, and add a slight overbore for more native displacement. Additional or larger fuel injectors to allow more fuel delivery, since by now you're probably starting to strain the capacity of the stock units. By now you've swapped out the DCT, since a clutch that can handle the torque at this point doesn't seem to exist. You've probably also by now swapped out most of the motor and transmission mounts, and probably supplemented a couple of the chassis mounting points. Hopefully you're also looking at the brakes. Some additional instrumentation will also be needed before you get here, a wide band O2 sensor, manifold pressure gauge, and a datalogger for starters. (I think the Tuning kit comes with data logging.)

I see what you did there.... Snicker

By now, you've probably spent more money under the hood than you spent on the car, but you can keep going. I'm sure someone makes or can make a forged stroker kit -- longer throw crank and shorter rods -- to increase native displacement a little more.

All of that "fast and the furious" BS is crazy talk.

So it comes down to "what's your budget." I know that my budget probably tops out pretty close to getting the tune kit, and then only if I'm willing to make other sacrifices. I mean, I saw a Hyundai Accent on the road the other day that probably had $9k in exterior mods alone (No idea what was under the hood, lol. Probably spent a lot of cash there, too though) and probably at least that in the entertainment system.

The Focus is a "sporty" economy car that's a best seller all over the world. I wouldn't change the nature of the car trying to upgrade stuff. Save that money for your next car. $550 for the tune and air filter. Quality oil and filters. Actually, quality tires and brake pads are also really important. My stock tires chirp far too often as they're 3 years old now and getting firmer. Customize the tune if needed, but enjoy the car for what it is.

I'm really not looking forward to a clutch job @$1700 for PARTS... But when it happens I'll be going Stage 1 or something better than the stock clutch. Too much slip under torque load.

Hopefully my comments cleared things up.
 

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Keep the Titanium stock and get an LS based anything to mod. They are dirt cheap, mods are cheap and plentiful. Being a built Coyote Mustang owner I don't know the meaning of the words "cheap mods".
 

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I gave my opinion understanding that the NA 2.0 Focus market and options are limited, especially with the DCT. If that offends, so be it.
 

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If your top budget limit is $450, you get nothing of value. If you can spend a little more, the tune is worth it. Expect to spend $600ish on a tune, air filter, and oil. Then you want grippy tires and quality brake pads if yours aren't ideal. Then, try to shed weight. The only extra power you're going to get at that point is to improve the power to weight ratio.

It's still more important to have power where you need it vs "most" power in specific conditions.

Modern cars can't get huge gains from bolting stuff on like they could 50 years ago.
 
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