Jan 23, 2015 update to the Ford SVT Focus project car

Clutch: It’s Necessary.

After lots of hard use, our SVT Focus was due for a clutch. Ignore the cat–he loves "helping" in the garage.
Step one: remove everything on the driver's side of the engine bay.
Special thanks to Shane, a local car guy who's always willing to lend a hand.
After a few nights in the garage, the transmission was out. Also pictured is our homemade, wooden engine support. The idea came from a forum. Yes, it worked. No, we weren't comfortable working under it. We later bought the proper tool.
The old clutch disc was worn down to the rivets. Eww.
Ford increased the size of SVT clutch disks shortly after our car was made. Our clutch and flywheel had never been updated, meaning this could have been the original clutch.
The hot setup on these cars is supposedly a light flywheel and pressure plate. For now, we're sticking to the stock components.
Need to remember where all of your bell housing bolts go? Just draw a picture.
We keep an old computer in the garage, as these days repair information is never more than a click away.
We used old screwdrivers to keep our transmission aligned.
While we were under the car, we noticed a broken exhaust bracket. We welded it up real quick.
Don't forget to drain the transmission before pulling the axles out–otherwise you'll get very oily very fast. We refilled ours with Redline fluid.
It's not necessary to drain the engine oil, but we changed it while the car was up on jack stands. Prolong Super Lubricants sent us a box of oil.

We’d used our Focus as a daily driver. We’d dyno tested it. We’d taken it on a full-fledged road course. And, in our last update, we rallycrossed the poor thing.

Finally, mercifully, we pulled it into the garage and changed the clutch. Our 250,000 mile daily driver was long overdue, but we just couldn’t stop driving it long enough to pull the transmission out.

For now, we replaced the stock clutch and flywheel with a Luk replacement kit bought on eBay Motors. We’ll probably upgrade to aftermarket parts eventually, but for now we wanted to stay in the stock Rallycross class.

And, since this is GRM, we did the whole job in our one-car garage at home. It doesn’t take a million-dollar shop to perform major surgery on your car; it takes patience and simple hand tools. While the car was up on jack stands, we also welded up a busted exhaust hangar, and changed the oil with Prolong Super Lubricants.

After we were done, we went for a spin around the block. Long story short, our Focus has a clutch again! We can’t wait to get back on track with it.

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Comments

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mazdeuce
mazdeuce UberDork
1/24/15 10:25 p.m.

I love you guys, and I understand how you make a living, but lately these blurbs sound a little like Ricky Bobby after a race.

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
1/24/15 10:39 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: I love you guys, and I understand how you make a living, but lately these blurbs sound a little like Ricky Bobby after a race.

Ditto. Though for the sake of all that is good, please do not start hashtagging E36 M3.

Knurled
Knurled UltimaDork
1/24/15 11:06 p.m.

Why would I need a clutch if I have a torque converter? Jeez, let's try entering the 20th century with transmission technology...

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/25/15 12:53 a.m.

In reply to Knurled:

Death before slushbox.

dean1484
dean1484 UltimaDork
1/25/15 2:00 a.m.

I have actually been reading less of the GRM staff posts because of the "Rickey Bobby" like content.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku PowerDork
1/25/15 8:37 a.m.

I don't understand the negative reference here. I see a short statement that the project car's clutch has been replaced with a link to some pictures. Nice idea about keeping track of the bellhousing bolts by the way.

Yes I agree on the "no hashtagging" thing however.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku PowerDork
1/25/15 8:38 a.m.
Appleseed wrote: In reply to Knurled: Death before slushbox.

Damn right!

novaderrik
novaderrik UltimaDork
1/25/15 2:58 p.m.

since when is putting a clutch in a fwd econobox considered "major surgery" by car people?

you pop the axles out, drop the trans, take out the old clutch bits, put the new clutch bits in, put the trans back in, put the axles back in..

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
1/25/15 4:25 p.m.

Not everyone is a superdork; some folks actually need encouragement that they can do big mechanical jobs on their own in basic workspaces.

This is the kind of E36 M3 that turns newcomers off to the car hobby, not to mention you look like trolls sitting in the corner of someone else's restaurant drinking the free coffee and bitching about how bad it is.

Margie

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku PowerDork
1/25/15 4:46 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: since when is putting a clutch in a fwd econobox considered "major surgery" by car people? you pop the axles out, drop the trans, take out the old clutch bits, put the new clutch bits in, put the trans back in, put the axles back in..

I'm sure you've done it a ton of times, and can knock out the job in a few hours. To the rest of us it's a major undertaking that could take an entire weekend. Wrestling a FWD trans out of a car, on your back with no help is the very definition of PITA.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/25/15 7:42 p.m.
dean1484 wrote: I have actually been reading less of the GRM staff posts because of the "Rickey Bobby" like content.

Did I miss Tom talking about packs of wild dogs that control most of Holly Hill?

novaderrik
novaderrik UltimaDork
1/25/15 9:30 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: Not everyone is a superdork; some folks actually need encouragement that they can do big mechanical jobs on their own in basic workspaces. This is the kind of E36 M3 that turns newcomers off to the car hobby, not to mention you look like trolls sitting in the corner of someone else's restaurant drinking the free coffee and bitching about how bad it is. Margie

i disagree... saying that something as simple as a clutch swap in a late model fwd car is a major undertaking is what pushes people away from the hobby. yeah, there's somewhat heavy and awkwardly shaped stuff involved and yes, you need to have a few tools and yes, you might run into a few things along the way that might fight you... but it's not difficult to anyone with a basic level of mechanical ability and the willingness to stick it out and get it done.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UberDork
1/25/15 9:38 p.m.

Love these how too type articles for 'simple' things. I always learn something from them, even if it's just a reminder of how to teach someone.
And I really should have put a or two after my initial comment. It was really meant to be very tongue in cheek and if it came across otherwise I apologize.

codrus
codrus Dork
1/25/15 9:45 p.m.
Gearheadotaku wrote: Wrestling a FWD trans out of a car, on your back with no help is the very definition of PITA.

Nah, out is easy. The definition of PITA Is wrestling it back IN. :)

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku PowerDork
1/25/15 10:09 p.m.

True, very true

Tyler H
Tyler H SuperDork
1/26/15 7:59 a.m.

Is that 250k on the original clutch? Pretty impressive, if so. I consider myself a pretty accomplished mechanic, even in present company. A clutch replacement on a modern car is not a trivial job, and I would crack a beer with satisfaction after buttoning it back up.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
1/26/15 8:11 a.m.

Wow, I didn't realize how terrible I made it sound.

"It doesn't take a million-dollar shop to perform major surgery on your car; it takes patience and simple hand tools."

I don't see where I'm telling new people not to work on their own cars.

As far as all the links, it's the new integrations we set up between project updates and the forum. We've always linked a lot in updates, and they now carry over to the board. That's an automated post up top.

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
1/26/15 8:44 a.m.

I do not see the Ricky Bobbyness in any of these things. IDK, maybe I'm just ignoring it?

W/e, I don't mind these post updates; frankly I read more of the content on the site becasue of them.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UberDork
1/26/15 8:47 a.m.

I think it's in the phrasing. Saying "we're pretty happy with our e-Bay motors prolong super lubricants garage work today" sounds like Ricky Bobby. Saying "we picked up a clutch on eBay motors because they're our go to for we need it cheap and now" sounds different. Incidentally, I think one sells your affiliate better than the other. Saying what you use without explaining why sounds like straight up advertising, not simply being helpful to your readers.
Either way, somehow I had never thought of using screwdrivers to hold things together like that, always preferring to swear and attempt to thread in bolts, so I really did learn something useful, and I appreciate it.

unevolved
unevolved SuperDork
1/26/15 9:14 a.m.

This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons.

rotard
rotard Dork
1/26/15 10:24 a.m.

The blurb gives an idea of what you did, the parts you used, and why. Sounds good to me. The article is perfect for a college-aged kid that is more likely to own an old Focus. It isn't for a bitter, cheap bastard complaining about the free coffee.

850Combat
850Combat New Reader
1/26/15 10:28 a.m.

I may need to put a clutch in mine someday, so I'm happy to see this. It has an odd and heavy set up, and I may want to install an aftermarket set up with a lighter flywheel. Maybe an LSD at the same time.

Why did you use GL4 fluid? I put that in my Vanagon, but it requires GL4. My transmission rebuilder recommended that i did not use GL5 The manual also calls for GL4.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
1/26/15 8:37 p.m.

Tom wrote the article. He's a young guy so maybe he wrote it for his peers. He didn't write it for old guys like myself who've done a whole bunch of clutches on a whole bunch of different cars. Yet I still read how-to's like this so I can see what's up with a car I haven't done yet. Having said that, remember this kid did a 944 clutch. By himself. Like five years ago.

As far as the product references, they're in the business of selling magazines. GRM has always been a model of restraint when placing products.

Hey Tom, poke holes in your bolt position card and stick the bolts through just in case someone accidentally knocks it over. If you decide to put a heavier-duty clutch in it, do the rear main seal while you're in there. It won't last for the life of the new clutch.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse Reader
1/26/15 11:20 p.m.

Oh jeez guys, stop with the hate. Even if GRM staff is getting kick backs from these blurbs, I'm fine with it. As long as the magazine stays in print. Or at least makes a healthy jump to the site. I just don't want to lose GRM. And if that means TINY and I mean T-I-N-Y little blurbs here and there, I'll take it.

You think that's bad? I used to have a sub for super street mag. And then all of a sudden the magazine turned into half ads, half Asian chicks, and half actual automotive content. (That's 150%...) And even more disappointing is that as of today that mag is half its size...

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/27/15 12:30 a.m.

"Hi. I'm Tom Suddard, and if you don't like Big Red-BERK YOU!" (sorry Tom)

HiTempguy
HiTempguy UberDork
1/27/15 1:16 a.m.

So we took the Barbie sponsored Ford Focus SVT and installed our ACT clutch that we had lying around that amazon.com gave us and filled the tranny back up with Amsoil jee-whizbang unicorn tears that they overnighted from Japan because those guys are just the bees knees and then went for a rip with our traxxas rc car to end the day.

Then we took the car to the autozone drag race weekend and also did a kneedefender autox, and on the way home stopped to get a delicious Slurpee from 7/11 while filling up at the local BP premium fuel now with more anti-oxidants!

I'm writing this in jest, but the point is its a little bit ham-fisted. Just because "the other guys do it" is not good justification in my books for doing something. Then again, I'm not a successful business owner. So ymmv.

Something something hubris, something something not listening to the people who bought your magazine before anyone knew what it was, something something tired old line of "we do what we want" and people pointing out how so many companies have failed because of that.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk SuperDork
1/27/15 7:37 a.m.

Oh, come on. Tom mentioned the brand of clutch, the lubricant he used, and where he bought the clutch. Any number of us post more brand names than that on here all the time. Everybody needs to lighten up.
I had Cheerios for breakfast, with Healthy Balance grape juice, Yoplait yogurt, and my daily hit of Metformin and Metoprolol. Who cares?

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk SuperDork
1/27/15 7:38 a.m.

I'm also post whoring because I get a status change with 36 more posts. Again. Who cares?

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit UltraDork
1/27/15 9:38 a.m.
DeadSkunk wrote: Oh, come on. Tom mentioned the brand of clutch, the lubricant he used, and where he bought the clutch. Any number of us post more brand names than that on here all the time. Everybody needs to lighten up. I had Cheerios for breakfast, with Healthy Balance grape juice, Yoplait yogurt, and my daily hit of Metformin and Metoprolol. Who cares?

Yup.

Harvey
Harvey HalfDork
1/27/15 10:43 a.m.

You guys are touchy berkeleyers aren't ya?

unevolved
unevolved SuperDork
1/27/15 12:37 p.m.

Je suis Tom Suddard!

DaveEstey
DaveEstey PowerDork
1/27/15 1:38 p.m.

I think Tom came through in the clutch

noddaz
noddaz Dork
1/27/15 2:31 p.m.
DaveEstey wrote: I think Tom came through in the clutch

Someone had to go there...

slowride
slowride Reader
1/27/15 5:01 p.m.

Let's not prolong the suffering... :)

Ironically enough, I went to the Prolong website to check out the oil and couldn't find it there.

racerdave600
racerdave600 SuperDork
1/27/15 6:09 p.m.

I thought it was a good post personally. Many people do think a clutch is a big job and will not tackle it at home. You know, voodoo stuff happens when you pull the hood release!

Anyway, not everyone is like some of the board guys here, that can drop a LS1 into a Barbie 'Vette using nothing but a paper clip, a piece of Weedeater cord, and flat blade screw driver.

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