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.

See our video which provides a complete introduction to Ford Tuning, it contains some tips on performance and handling modifications.

Tuning tips and articles

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

In 2002 the Focus received 2 performance models, showing just how capable the Focus chassis is, 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! see our new Focus RS and Focus ST tuning guides

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.

Focus Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for many tuners first priority in your Focus tuning project.

If you set the toe out to degrees on the front, and add a little negative camber then cornering will dramatically benefit.

We suggest that you fit motorsport suspension and lower the car by 29mm - 40 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with uprated suspension.

Improvements to the bushings

Bushing improvements are needed so what's involved?

The suspension components of the Focus may be mounted to the car's chassis through bushes, which are rotatable rubber mounts. These rubber ones will deteriorate with time.

By replacing new OEM rubber bushings, you may greatly improve your vehicle's performance.

It's probable that the ride may be a touch rougher because of the stronger polyurethane bushes but they'll last longer and maintain tighter handling.

Increased vibration and play may also quicken the stress in other suspension components.

A new set of poly bushings will help to minimize the excessive play associated with rubber bushings.

You may struggle to find a full set of polyeyurothane bushes, but most areas have the primary mounts available. Custom poly bushes are often made to your requirements.

How low should you go on the Focus?

According to TorqueCars research and testing, the maximum amount of suspension drop for most road vehicles is 25 - 38 millimetres, whereas versions that come with lowered sporty suspension already have a maximum suspension drop of 18 millimetres.

These tolerances may be drastically diminished if the wheel size is changed. Even with 16 or 17-inch wheels and conventional suspension, lowering the vehicle may create a lots of complications.

Because the Focus is lower, less air travels under it, which may aid in stability; nonetheless, the main goal should always be to enhance handling. It is critical to use the proper shocks when employing lower springs buying matched components as a kit.

Turning our attention to the engine we need to get a bit more bhp out of the top end.

With our recommended mods you can turn your Focus into a hot hatch, beating more powerful cars on the track.

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.

Focus Engine tuning mods.

This list of the stages and motorsport upgrades are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get going.

Getting the best tuning mods for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport mods just won't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your Focus

  1. Focus Suspension Upgrades - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit dramatically improves Focus handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  2. Remaps - A remap provides the biggest gains in terms of your investment, aftermarket ECUs, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  3. Brake Upgrades - Improve your Focus's stopping power ought to be somewhere in your mods list.
  4. Turbo upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most dramatic method to increase your intakes air supply, allowing you to utilize more fuel and make better power figures. Although one of the most expensive modifications it does provide the largest gains.
  5. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  6. Lightened Flywheels - a lighter flywheel will improve the engines ability to rev freely. In some cases flywheel lightening is not not a great upgrade for all Focus engines.
  7. Air Induction kits and Exhaust - Please be warned on their own these mods won't ADD PERFORMANCE for most setups, but they can help release power after other mods by lessening the restriction.
  8. Fast road cams are significant power adders, but TorqueCars recommend they be setup by someone familiar with setting them up on your car and tracking one down can be a challenge but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock cam .

Focus Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Lighter flywheel, Alloy wheels, Panel air filter, Sports exhaust, Remap, Suspension upgrade (drop 29mm - 40 mm.).

Typical stage 2 mods often include: high flow fuel injector, fuel pump upgrades, Ported and polished head, Power/Sport clutch, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Engine balancing, Competition cam, Sports gearbox, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Your goal when tuning should be a wide torque curve. You don't want all the torque to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

In this article we shall give a little insight into the world to the best modifications for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest bhp gains for your money as far as a solitary motorsport upgrades goes on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine.

It improves the intake and exhaust flow and increases the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a performance chip. We'd also caution you not to go with a motor sport cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.

When pushing up the power you will need to ramp up to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Using high octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from pinking or premature ignition on your Ford project after fitting other tuning mods. Improved injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Focus Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Induction kits only help to increase performance if your cars air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most standard engines will see ZERO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Derestricting the air flow into the engine is a primary goal of tuning so get a better flowing air filter if you find that the car is running lean. Induction kits can sound great but due to the warm air in the engine bay they will not really increase power and often rob you of power on most cars.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can find this will slow the exhaust rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Head work including a gas flow (ported and polished) and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. A good triple plate fast road sports clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never skimp or think that the standard OEM clutch to cope. The best mods we would do for your Focus are remaps, sports camshafts and induction improvements.

NA (naturally aspirated) 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. The most significant power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is often simpler to bolt on a supercharger than it is to fit a working turbo. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

The nice proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Alternatively you could perhaps fit water injection to minimise knock.

Focus Alloy Wheel Upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brake cooling and are usually less heavy than steel ones. Don't forget that your choice of rubber greatly affects your cars grip and handling. It is not worth compromising performance with cheap tyres when you can buy track legal slick performance tires.Please note that although they can look cool on the Focus big alloys will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

Because of this we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 17 inches, although we know some of our members have installed larger rims with no problems but the 19's are prone to tram lining.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Focus options in more detail with our Focus owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Ford tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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