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Tuning tips and parts for the Focus range.

"Keeping your Focus"

The Focus was released in 1998 and became the car of the year in 1999.

Ford had a successful run with its predecessor the Escort which lasted for 6 revisions and started the hot hatch off with the early XR models.

The Duratec engine has been refined over the years and provides a great tuning base to work from.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

In 2002 the Focus received 2 performance model and these came in the guises of the ST170 and RS models. The 170 put down 170 bhp whereas the RS managed to provide 215 bhp (most owners reported more than this).

The RS and ST models are great packages, and, with some tuning can be substantially improved!

Both cars run 2.0 engines and both give a very rewarding and spirited drive. The 170 is the more sensible choice for the family man. But for sheer fun the RS is the ultimate focus. Every component of the RS has been rethought and revised from a performance point of view including a Quaife diff and large Brembo brake discs. The RS remains one of the best handling cars to come out of the Ford Plant.

In 2005 the ST was relaunched, this time with the Volvo T5 engine and 225hp

The RS is poised for a comeback in 2009 with a more substantial turbocharged 5 cylinder engine delivering 280bhp.

Tuning wise there are a substantial number of options. The best base for tuning are the 2.0 Turbo engines which respond favourable to a remap.

Ford Focus Tuning modifications.

Bear in mind the mantra that you want to keep as much low end power as you can and aim for a wide power band rather than a narrow top end power spike. We see a lot of people tuning their Focus and moving all the power to the upper rev band. This is great for the track but next to useless on a daily driver.

One of the most significant with the best cost to power gain, engine mods you can do is to fit a fast road cam. Don't go too aggressive though as this can ruin the cars idle and driving characteristics around town. When pushing up the power you will need to pay attention to the fueling. More power needs more fuel - it really is as simple as that and for larger power hikes you often risk running lean.

Look to aftermarket parts suppliers for uprated injectors and fuel pumps and in some cases you'll find that your manufacturer offers uprated options as fitted to performance models.

Intake and exhaust modifications.

Breathing mods are usually easily sorted and probably one of the easiest mods to do. You need to derestrict the airflow into the engine as much as possible and the bottleneck on most engines is the air filter so fitting a cotton panel air filter will address this. The standard Focus airbox is actually not very restrictive so there is little to be gained by fitting an induction kit (unless you want the noise) See our induction kit article for more details on this.

Exhaust selection should take into account the flow rate, rather than just the bore size, too small and you have a restriction, too big and the flow rate will diminish the point the engine scavenging suffers.See our article on performance exhausts for details of the issue around large bore exhausts and how to choose the right size for your engine.

Head work including a polish and port and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. Your clutch can sap a lot of your power if it starts to slip and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 35 or 40%. Fit a performance clutch to avoid power losses through the transmission.

NASP engines do not achieve big power gains if you remap them, unless you have done extensive modifications. With turbocharged engines this is another story. A remapped turbo will give phenomenal power gains and take full advantage of the strength of the block. Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NASP engine will give large power gains. Superchargers are generally easier to add than turbos you could even try twincharging it. To cope with forced induction upgrades you will usually need to decrease the compression ratio of the engine.

Ford Focus Wheel modifications.

Because alloy wheels are lighter they improve performance and they help to cool the brake disks. Large Focus alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio. Although some people have gone larger we would stick to a 18 inch rim size as the maximum. Our personal preference for performance reasons is a 17 inch light weight rim.

Engine swaps are also popular among Focus owners and the modifications list for 2.0 models runs (in this order). Induction kit. sports exhaust, fuel pressure boost valve, fast road cams, lighter flywheel, and sport computer tune.

Join us in our Ford Forum to meet other Focus owners and swap tuning tips and ideas and read up on the latest TorqueCars member projects. The tuning articles around this site will also explain the details of each modification and take you through any pitfalls associated with them.

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