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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #1
This is the full thread, as there is a LOT already posted in it.

http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=272835

I'll start this thread off with a summary I suppose, of Sept '11 to now.

Having spent a few years and plenty of money working on my '92 Grand Prix I decided to start the hunt for a simple winter beater so that I could preserve the Pontiac and continue its progression. I had no idea that making that decision would ultimately have me signing the papers for a brand-new Focus, but it did.

I had liked the Mk3s from day one, since I was surrounded by them all day at work. Luck worked in my favour and I found one optioned exactly as I wanted sitting on our lot; a Yellow Blaze sedan with a 5-speed and the winter package.






It's an understatement to say that a couple of tweaks have led to a snowball effect, and the Focus is a full project along with the GP.








Current mod list (as of the end of summer):

Exterior:
-OEM Titanium headlights
-OEM Titanium fog light bezels
-Yellow vinyl tinted fog lights
-Downforce USA carbon fiber front lip, 2x2 weave
-Iron vinyl tinted rear reflectors
-Matte black vinyl wrapped upper grill trim
-OEM optional splash gaurds
-Partial debadge
-T1R stubby antenna

Lighting:
-Yellow Eurolite fog light bulbs
-Stealth marker bulbs
-Stealth rear turn signals
-Projector LED reverse lights

Interior:
-Broadway 270mm rear view mirror
-Blox 490 Torch Blue shift knob
-Yellow Blaze painted front door trim
-OEM SEL/Titanium trunk lid liner

Engine:
-OEM Titanium engine cover
-K&N filter
-OEM MS3 rear motor mount

Suspension/Wheels/Brakes:
-Steeda rear sway bar
-17x8 +46 Volvo Pegasus wheels
-235/45 Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires
-Muteki Burned Blue Neon lug nuts

For now the Focus is back on stock wheels for winter and I'm planning for next year. I'm sure progress will continue just like it did this year. [:)]
 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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4,888 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Since I have some time, I thought I'd follow up with a more detailed post about the Focus. It's still somewhat summarized compared to the original build thread but covers everything that's happened.

One of the first changes was to cover the upper grill's chrome in matte black vinyl. A must-have in my opinion.



Next up came Titanium fog light bezels, and while swapping them I retinted the fog lights yellow; wrapping them had been the first change to the Focus but at this time I had better access.




I also tinted the rear valence's reflectors with a light shade.



Winter was close at that point, so winter tires and a 3M bra on the nose and mirrors were next.




A complete set of OEM splash gaurds were added to keep the car cleaner, and I also grabbed the rear carpeted mats as they were an option my Focus did not have.




Inside I added a Broadway 270mm mirror to increase my field of view.



At the same time I picked up yellow fog light bulbs.



OEM wheel locks were bought, as they were another small option I wanted but were not on the car.



The carpeted mats came out and in went some Husky Liners. I didn't want to soil the brand-new carpet with salt and slush.



Right before Christmas I picked up a neo chrome shift knob from Blox to replace the factory piece.



The size of the FOCUS badge as compared to the SE was bugging me, so off it went. I kept the SE though to keep the trunk from looking too plain.



I also added a little more security to both the Focus and the GP with license plate locks. I didn't want my personalized plates going anywhere.

 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #3
Picking from the OEM parts catalogue again, I ordered in a trunk lid liner, found only on the SEL and Titanium sedans.



At this point I wanted to brighten up the interior, so I used some vinyl to test an idea: colour-coding the trim on the front doors. I wrapped it, and left it like that for several months before touching it again.



At the same time I had been spending lots of energy searching for a good set of wheels to use for summer. I was bouncing back and forth between various options, unable to find something just 'right'. Then, one day I checked kijiji and knew I found the set I wanted. Within just a few days I had them in my garage.

A set of repainted Volvo Pegasus wheels were the find, and they were set aside to wait for new tires and sensors.



To go with them I grabbed some new lug nuts, in a burple colour.



After finally getting the wheels ready, they went on when the weather settled down. It became the infamous 'Focus with the Volvo wheels', confusing lots of people. They either loved the look, or couldn't grasp why it had Ovlov wheels.

 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #4
To further add to the continued debate about the wheels, I re-wrapped the Volvo center caps but merely changed the colour scheme instead of the print. I kept the Volvo script because of the recognizable appearance of the Pegasus wheels, but had it matched to the lug nuts. The background was also changed to match the paint on the wheels.



Following the DRIVEN car show in June (one of the biggest automotive events in our city) I wanted to make some bigger progress so I placed a couple of orders. The first was for a Steeda rear sway bar, which a co-worker and I installed at work over a lunch break.



Next came what is perhaps the most-talked about and my favourite part yet. I got in contact with Downforce USA and after a back-and-forth conversation coordinated the purchase and shipping of the very first production front lip (ahead of its release) and the only copy in full carbon fiber. Mid-July it showed up and no time was wasted in getting it installed.




With the lip and sway bar in place, I turned my attention to the untouched engine bay. Another big show was just around the corner, and this time the Focus was in it. I grabbed an OEM engine cover (found on the early Titaniums) and a new filter.



I also replaced the shift knob with another Blox 490, but this time coloured to match the growing number of teal/purple/burple accents.



The Focus then attended a couple of shows and even brought home a small award from one.


 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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4,888 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Turning back to some details, I ordered a selection of bulbs to convert the exterior to stealth lighting. The marker lights and rear turn signals were first.




The reverse lights also saw attention, being fitted with projector LEDs. These are fun at night.



Now late September 2012, the Focus was a year old and I decided to treat myself to a birthday present. I (FINALLY!) grabbed a pair of OEM Titanium headlights to replace the originals. Along with the lip, the headlights were one of the most liked and commented-on changes to the Focus.




With winter approaching again, I started making preparations to make sure the car would be protected. I spent almost a full day with a couple of co-workers wrapping more of the car in 3M. The lip and Titanium headlights were the important parts to wrap, but the door handle cups, a-pillars, grill, front emblem, roof, and mirrors all saw attention. If you are thinking "but the mirrors were already done!", you're right. This time the partial 3M was replaced with a full wrap, covering the entire mirror caps.




Shortly after the Focus was on a hoist again, getting the MS3 rear motor mount put in. Instant, massive improvement in the feel of the shifter.



To give some attention to other areas of the exterior, I swapped the stock antenna for a T1R stubby.



While picking up the antenna I also made a trip to the body shop and gave them the door trim to paint. Having liked the yellow wrap, I decided it was time to have it done permanently with a proper coat of Yellow Blaze. A week later I picked them up. As it turns out, the painter is actually a member on Focus Fanatics too, and owns a '12 Titanium.

 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #7
Not being able to put it off any longer, I finally swapped the stock 16" wheels back on and put the Rs away. Winter mode.



Looking back it was a very busy year for the Focus, with all of the meets and shows it attended, and progress it saw. However, it was finally in November of this year that it hit 10,000 kilometers.



For now progress has slowed, as I brainstorm ideas for next season and keep an eye out for new parts hitting the market. Until then all I do is drive and wash it. And repeat.


 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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4,888 Posts
Discussion Starter #8

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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4,888 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I just placed an order for something I've wanted for a while, a new shift boot. It'll be a subtle change to keep with the OEM+ theme but should be a nice update. I specified:

  • Genuine black Alcantara
  • Silver stitching, to match that of my Sport seats
 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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4,888 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Bringing some updates over from my other thread:

Suspension check:

Date: December 7th 2012
Mileage: 10613 kilometers



This morning I brought the Focus in to work to have the front suspension looked over for any obvious signs of concern. Overall my car is good, and I don't believe I have the same concerns some have expressed. There is no loud clunking, rather a subtle rattle over bumps, seeming to come from the right front strut area. To me it sounds like something is loose and shifting when the suspension cycles.

Despite it being a small noise I still took the chance to book the Focus in for an under-warranty check.

Once up in the air, the two mechanics looking it over found fairly quickly that some of the bolts on a brace were loose, so they were snugged down. The rest were checked and all seemed to be okay. This is the brace in question:



I had some reference printed out from Zillon's thread (http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=302183) and was mentioning the items that had found to be of concern from the work he has done.

One area we also checked was the front brace. As I already knew, my Focus received the thinner, less substantial piece from the factory. They checked the bolts and found that some were loose. I pointed out that Zillon had noted they were torque-to-yield and would stretch under excess tightening. I was assured they were in fact NOT torque-to-yield so they were snugged down as well. If they are or not is not my primary concern right now. I will keep an eye on them and if they loosen again and show signs of over-tightening, I will get new ones ordered.



Twice during this I took the Focus out for a test drive around our lot and the immediate roads to check for the noise level. One thing I did learn is that I really need to regrease the rear sway bar to shut it up. That's a maintenance item to address. During the two tests I found the Focus to be quiet, even though I was doing my best to take slow bumps and recreate the noise.

With all looking good I thanked the mechanics and parked the Focus. Following work I was carefully listening again, and seemed to notice a slight reoccurence of the same noise, but I will keep listening over the next little while to see if and how it changes as the temperature does, and as the car is driven more.

The work order is still open too, as I noted that suspension noises with these cars have been known to come back even after "fixing". I next have to call the rep at Ford back, to inform him of how today went.

The next step may be to update the front brace anyway, seeing as how it can't hurt to have extra reinforcement up front. Even though my suspension noise is very minor it won't hurt to check the car over, and we already found a handful of loose bolts anyway.
 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #11
Now the lip truly is 1 of 1. It has scrapes and cracks unique to it:


 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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4,888 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Back at the suspension:

Suspension check pt. II:

Date: December 14th 2012
Mileage: ~10750 kilometers




Today was part two in starting to work through the Focus' tiny suspension noise. I parked it out in the service lot (next to the spiffy '13 Fusion, the first one we've had in our hands) and waited for our shop foreman to be free to go for a ride.

I tried to include a couple of semi-related pictures here just to break up a wall of text. [poke]

We drove around for a little while, looking for bumps and uneven road to try and get the tiny rattle to make itself known. As luck would have it, long story short it was pretty much silent. I heard a faint trace of it once or twice but I know the exact noise to listen for and it was too faint to really be detectable. Weather perhaps, as well as tightening the bolts last week are settling it down?

Our next examinations will be the front sway bar as per his idea, and the motor mounts too as I recall a TSB for them a while back, and a friend with a '12 Focus in the UK had a problem with one of his which was resulting in a noise.



No work on the front was done today but I did have a chance to address the rear sway bar; it had shifted off-center and also needed a bit more grease in spots, as it was squeaking over bumps. I used up the remaining grease I had on hand and it certainly helped. There's still the occasional squeak so more grease will be applied next time I get a chance. To be fair, our climate is not kind to the undersides of cars.

One final note relating to the noise though; I accidentally almost stalled the Focus this morning and wouldn't you know, the same rattle sound was there. The motion of the car briefly sputtering before I put the clutch in made it come back, and that was the most prominent it's been in a while.

We'll check again, if just for a double check of the rest of the bolts up front if nothing else. Even if we can't cure the noise completely it's honestly so small and infrequent (we'll see if that changes as the weather warms up) I can live with it as just a natural tendency of the car. It never really bothered me enough before to check it, but with the mystery surrounding the clunks and other issues I'm now curious to investigate further.

I'm fortunate that I don't have the severe clunking that many have reported. Knock on wood.
 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #13



It's the Focus' turn to be the reindeer this year.
 

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Sorry, but nooooo not the stupid reindeer!!! Otherwise, car look amazing!

Sent from my SGH-I727R using Tapatalk 2
 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #15
Sorry, but nooooo not the stupid reindeer!!! Otherwise, car look amazing!

Sent from my SGH-I727R using FF Mobile
Gotta have some fun. [clap] Thanks!

Alcantara shift boot:



This is something I've wanted to address for a while, but only finally had the chance to.

Having the Sport seats in my Focus, there's plenty of nice silver accent stitching in the interior. It runs all over those seats but doesn't continue to the rest of the cabin. I wanted to tie in other parts of the interior by using matching stitching, and the shift boot was one of those parts. I was prepared to restitch the original but then I saw that Redlinegoods had a pattern for the Mk3s so I placed an order.

I also took this as an opportunity to change to a different material for the boot. Since some Ford models like the new Taurus SHO have Alcantara accents, that's what I opted for; genuine black Alcantara.

It was a bit of a gamble to specify the stitching colour with only a photo on their website to estimate a match, but I feel it worked out pretty well. All together I think it'll be a nice OEM-inspired update.



Since it's now Christmas break for a couple of days hopefully I can find the time to take the old boot out and switch over to the new one.

 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #16
Alcantara shift boot installed:

Yesterday I started on the process of installing the new shift boot. Overall it was fairly straight-forward, and I am very happy with the finished product.

It started by once again removing the stock boot and silver trim from the car and separating the two.



The OEM boot is held in with glue around the plastic base. I used a hobby knife to carefully cut them apart, trying to keep the original leather boot more or less intact. It came out just fine with the only cut sections being the small square contact points where it was glued.




Alignment of the new boot was critical. With the obvious silver stitching, I did my best to ensure it'd line up like stock so that the stitching would be in each of the four corners of the silver trim. It would be clear if it wasn't aligned properly.

It took some delicate repositioning but I got it as close as I could. The new boot wasn't exactly the same dimensions as the stock one, but I was able to position the four coners fairly well around the plastic base.

Looking at the plastic base, you'll want the stitching to line up, centered, within the indented section at each corner.



Some binder clips were used to hold the boot as I adjusted its fitment, continually placing the silver trim back on top to double check.



When I was happy I then used a high-strength modeling adhesive and worked my way around the boot, applying it to one section at a time while leaving the rest clamped to avoid the boot becoming misaligned. When I was done I let it cure overnight.



Today I removed the clips, did some minor trimming of the boot to clear some of the tabs on the backside of the silver trim, and reassembled it (Bad picture, I apologize. It was the only one I had).



I then went into the garage and tested it. I found that the new boot was actually tall enough to sit against my shift knob while maintaining enough slack to go through all of the gears. This was not the case with the OEM leather piece.

However, I felt I wanted it tied down a bit lower as the original had been. I fastened a ziptie around the end and set it to the height I wanted. With the trim clipped back in place and the shift knob reattached, it was in and I'm happy.



As I had mentioned I had to take a bit of a gamble in specifying the stitching's colour, as I only had an online photo to work from. It worked out and I was able to get a very good match for the seats.



SUMMARY

Quality: Very good. Beautiful material, even stitching.
Fitment: Snug but good. Almost sized exactly like the original.
Installation: Needs patience but is straight-forward. If you have that and some basic hobby supplies you're set.
Overall: Very happy. This is something I've wanted for a long time and RedlineGoods came to the rescue.

 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #18
FSWERKS intake:



This morning a certain package which I was waiting on finally arrived. Inside was an FSWERKS intake for the little 4-banger, to hopefully wake it up a little. Tonight I installed it, but a test (and better pictures) will have to wait for tomorrow.

I was lucky to find this one used for a good price, and with the black heatshield which I wanted, to keep with the car's colour scheme.

Sorry for the diry engine bay, it's winter.

This was replacing the OEM airbox with a K&N filter inside.



I didn't bother with photos during the install as I was trying to get it installed quickly. After everything was buttoned up, this was the end result.


 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #19
Tonight I ordered a couple of small things that I've been meaning to:

-Duracon shift knob for winter
-Locks to match the summer lug nuts

I'm hoping they show up this week, we'll see.
 

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Sonic's Mk3 Crew #17
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Discussion Starter #20
Intake part II:



Tonight I picked up a couple of parts and updated the intake a little. The assembly now consists of the FSWERKS heatshield, a K&N filter, and a K&N prefilter.

The reason for the filter swap was due to availability of the oils for the two filters; I can easily get (and have) K&N re-oiling supplies whereas I didn't know if I could get the specific supplies for FSWERKS' filter. Plus I have experience with this brand and like their products.

The prefilter had to go on for winter as the intake's location puts the filter in the path of dirt and water being sprayed on the front of the car.

I have no actual complaints with the original filter though, just to be clear. This is more about personal preference and making maintenance easier for myself.
 
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