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CrookedRacer New Reader
8/25/14 8:23 p.m.

In reply to Advan046:

That's a good idea. But I think it's solved to my satisfaction for now, and I don't have room for a lathe and a milling machine anyway. ;-) The dampers are working great and they're quiet. So at least the drive to Lincoln for Nationals will be a peaceful one.

I've got one side of my Dogpark Racing Fiesta ST livery done... I think it's looking pretty good. All of the "toes" are perfect, but the palm has some bubbles. I may have enough extra vinyl to replace the palm and get it really good looking up close.

The "TIRE RACK" windshield banner was pretty beat-up looking while in its backer paper, because it had been in my competition's garage for years, abused and forlorn. But it looks pretty good on the car, I have to say. Thanks, Andy!

From a distance, the thing looks awesome from any angle, any lighting. I'm really happy with the execution.




Some tips I learned while doing this:

I ordered "Repositionable" adhesive-backed vinyl in a silver color, 24" x 10 feet long. Fortunately, I think I got more than ten feet. Because I'll need it for all the do-overs I'll probably be doing.

Do not try to use the "wet" method of application unless you know the backing can take it. The backing of this particular vinyl is VERY water-soluble, and made a huge mess. I had to toss the first paw palm because it just became a nasty goopy mess with the presence of water.

So I applied dry. I used my thumb to gradually squeegee the vinyl while holding the other end out. Bubbles happen if you try to use one of those credit-card type squeegees. Of course, I'm not skilled, so maybe the squeegee is the thing to use after you get the hang of it.

Make sure the area around the corner at the edges of doors is clean. When you wrap this stuff around, if there's road grime there, you'll never get it to stick. Try again.

petegans New Reader
8/27/14 10:05 a.m.

Great DIY stuff in here man! If I didn't already go with Corksport adjustables for my 2 I would've definitely considered doing what you did.

Re: the front shocks being priced differently, I bet its because the driver side has the ABS sensor mount.

CrookedRacer New Reader
8/30/14 4:08 p.m.

So I needed this car to be able to use my bike rack for the upcoming events. Also I wanted one so I can get rid of the A4... Since that's all I ever use it for anymore.

I bought a Curt hitch on Amazon and it fit perfectly. The instructions ( in color ) were actually very good. It took me longer than the 30 minutes it said it would take, but I was definitely taking my time. It can certainly be done in 30 minutes easily.



Others on fiestast.net and fiestast.org who have installed hitches have complained of the muffler banging into the hitch. Mine certainly did when I was finished. It was unacceptable, because it was happening on the slightest bumps if the car was tracking left.

One solution I saw was the use of longer rubber muffler hangers sourced from a subaru aftermarket site. I noticed that the hanger seemed low enough. It just needed something to stiffen it in compression.

So I stuffed a bit of leftover Koni bump-stop into the rear hanger, lubricating it with some old car wash. I fastened it there with a zip tie which also serves to elongate the hanger. Now I can't even get it to bang the hitch, even on the crappy roads in my neighborhood. I felt pretty handy today, that's fer sher.





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JoeTR6 Reader
8/30/14 10:21 p.m.

It's looking good, John. I had a similar type of bike rack on my 2005 MINI hidden behind the rear fog light blanking plug. It basically replaced the rear bumper bar and was completely hidden. Even if the bike would fit inside the car, I rather have it on a rear-mount rack.

Good luck at the SCCA Nationals.

Mikelly None
9/6/14 7:09 a.m.

John, Finally got around to posting... This thread... Awesome man... Really nice work!!

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
9/6/14 9:51 p.m.

I am watching with much interest

CrookedRacer New Reader
9/8/14 8:03 p.m.

I just got back from Nationals last night, and I learned a lot on this trip. It was my nats debut, and it's hard to sum up the whole thing in a short(ish) post.

One thing I'm appreciative of is all the other Washington DC Region folks who were there to help with plenty of camaraderie, advice, taunts, and tomfoolery.

Also it was fun to meet in person many of the Fiestast.net peeps that have been discussing autocrossing in the Fiesta ST all season long.

This being my first trip to Nationals, I tried to make the most of it. On the way out, my girlfriend Kendra and I participated in the Nationals Snap Crap Challenge, a scavenger hunt for predetermined things to snap pictures of. That really shortened the 20 hour drive.

We brought bikes to get around the paddock, and a go-kart to fart around with. Unfortunately it was so hot the first couple days, we just wanted to get into the a/c after my runs. So I did a few "victory laps" around the paddock, but other than that, it didn't get much use. Still, I think it could have been a fun toy had everyone been around to play with it.

As far as car setup, I was sick of driving the Direzzas because I could never find a pressure that was high enough to prevent sidewall collapse, yet low enough to prevent massive wheelspin. That is, at what should have been the sweet spot where I got neither, I got both. I got a set of Falken Azneis 615k 215/45-16 tires on Motegi MR125 rims from Radial Tire, who also shaved them for me to take out the squirm.

I ran the Koni's at half firm all around, and that felt pretty good. The tires performed well, too. They didn't suffer from the heat or get greasy like earlier versions of the Falkens were fabled to have done.

So I felt good after day 1, West course. Three Clean runs, pushing it a little too hard on run 3. So I found the limits of my driving ability, the car, or both. Cool.

Day 2, not as much. The East course was faster, which got me on the rev limiter all the time. I coned the first run, and got a clean run on my second run, although it felt slow. I really felt like I could knock off a half a second at least for my third run. But I hit that same cone and pissed the rest of the run away. The poor raw time was solely the result of giving up in disgust.

One thing I learned is that 20th out of 27 at Nationals isn't a terribly bad thing. There are factors. There are worse things. I was a little down on myself for not getting the run I wanted on the East course. But I saw a Facebook post today... This was a guy there who finished 14th out of 16 in his class and was happy just to have run with such a great group of drivers. That, I feel, is the attitude to have. And upon reflection, I'm really grateful for the experience I had as part of the very first-ever, epic, G-Street Nationals class.





pinchvalve GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/23/14 9:01 a.m.

I realize that it is a little late, but I recently had to put up a bunch of vinyl graphics and the installers used squeegees with a piece of felt on one edge. This was the best tool for the job IMHO.

Harvey GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/23/14 9:46 a.m.

You have convinced me with this thread to wait until someone makes front struts for my 2014 Focus ST.

The HalfDork
9/24/14 8:30 a.m.
I've heard all the arguments against 1) using a harness without a submarine strap.

if you ever saw a dead guy piled up under his dash (hill climb & tree) you would use it.

accordionfolder HalfDork
9/25/14 9:42 p.m.
The wrote:
I've heard all the arguments against 1) using a harness without a submarine strap.
if you ever saw a dead guy piled up under his dash (hill climb & tree) you would use it.

Seriously guys .... He's autocrossing the thing.

Not hill climbing. Not road racing. Not boat racing. Not rallying.


If I'm at an autocross course where I think my anti-sub strap will come into play, it's a really, really bad autoX course. And I'd probably just leave.

CrookedRacer New Reader
10/8/14 7:26 p.m.

As the geese touched down on its still water, the pond by the paddock's entrance glistened in the morning's sunrise.

My first track weekend at VIR. About as idyllic as it gets.

Gorgeous weather, perfect conditions, and a whole bag of brake parts and consumables. What more could a Fiesta owner wish for?

NASA OktoberFAST at VIRginia International Raceway

NASA put on a great event. We got two 25-minute and two 20-minute sessions each day. Well run, nearly always on-schedule, and lots of track time. My third track event ever, I had done an SCCA PDX weekend at Summit Point (Main), West Virginia, and, of course, ST Octane Academy.

I had fun learning the track, and once I had found the line and the gears and the places to work on, I worked on them. It was fun catching up to cars.. WRX's, BMW's, and a 911.

I know, not everyone out there is or aspires to be an F1 driver, but it was a bit of a guilty pleasure to get a point-by from a Porsche 911 Carrera S.

The car performed beautifully. The Konis with full-stiff on bump and rebound up front, half-stiff on rebound in the rears delivered a stable, composed ride.


Now, I'm 6'-3" or so, and weigh 260 pounds. My instructor was about my height and had maybe a few more pounds on me. So together, we really tested the power, brakes, tires, and suspension of the car. And even with all that, people were coming up to me and saying "dude, that Fiesta is FAST!"

The disadvantage may have benefited my driving, because I got used to going WOT all over the track, and so on Sunday, when my instructor blessed me to go solo, it was a completely different car when using the pedal like that. Entering the climbing esses at 100mph and keeping the pedal down all the way through meant I came out the top WAY faster than I was used to, meaning I had to blip the brakes a little harder to prepare for South Bend. On the back straight I was reaching a little over 110mph with my instructor, but solo I reached 120.

I brought him back into the car for my last session so we could work on some more things. Each session, we got faster and faster, entering corners at the right speed and exiting corners on throttle earlier and earlier. Just crazy fun.

Those are the Breaks

Between my 2nd and 3rd session on Sunday, I decided the front brakes wouldn't make it through the next session (my solo session), so I changed them out for a fresh set of OEM pads. The rears survived. I was always full OFF on the EBS, and I never saw the issues other FiST owners have been having with the rear brakes wearing down to nubs prematurely. My rear brakes are still on their original pads, but I am going to go ahead and change them prior to any future track events.

So as far as brakes are concerned, the OEM's never faded much. I never boiled the fluid, which was fresh Valvoline Dot-3/Dot-4 that I had put in a couple days prior. I had Motul RBF 600 on hand, but never needed it. The front caliper boots looked fine. And the red paint (just at the leading edge end) of the calipers has discolored a bit, to a purple/brown. With our combined weight, those brakes were working extra hard.

Reward Yourself Too!

It was just plain fun when driving some sequence on track particularly well, to come out onto a straight at a good clip, and have my instructor utter "Yesssss" to himself. If I were to sum up my experience at VIR in one word, it would be "rewarding". Give me three words, and it would be "Fan. Tas. Tic."

Anyway, if you have a FiST, go buy some nice new front brake pads, freshen your fluid, and take that bad boy out for a PDX/HDPE/Track day. You won't regret it.

CrookedRacer New Reader
10/9/14 8:53 p.m.

Video of one lap of VIR at NASA OktoberFAST last weekend:


Also, while I'm at it, I should share the video from my first track weekend that I mentioned at the top of this build thread, which took place in March 2014 at Summit Point Raceway, West Virginia:


MichaelYount Reader
10/10/14 7:25 a.m.
accordionfolder wrote: Seriously guys .... He's autocrossing the thing. Not hill climbing. Not road racing. Not boat racing. Not rallying. Autocrossing. If I'm at an autocross course where I think my anti-sub strap will come into play, it's a really, really bad autoX course. And I'd probably just leave.

Well, if you look at his avatar pic and keep reading....no, he's not just autocrossing it. Besides, the whole point of safety equipment is that stuff that no one can imagine happening.....happens. EVEN on the autocross course. 'Spose anyone ever came close to imagining that Jules Bianchi would run his car/his HEAD right underneath the piece of heavy equipment that was in the middle of moving another wrecked car?

OP - nice vids!!! Looks like the car was working well and you were working pretty well too. C&D managed a 3:20 at VIR in their One Lap this with with the FiST - and they were suitably impressed with the car in stock form.

CrookedRacer New Reader
10/10/14 9:57 a.m.
MichaelYount wrote: ....no, he's not just autocrossing it. Besides, the whole point of safety equipment is that stuff that no one can imagine happening.....happens. EVEN on the autocross course. 'Spose anyone ever came close to imagining that Jules Bianchi would run his car/his HEAD right underneath the piece of heavy equipment that was in the middle of moving another wrecked car? OP - nice vids!!! Looks like the car was working well and you were working pretty well too. C&D managed a 3:20 at VIR in their One Lap this with with the FiST - and they were suitably impressed with the car in stock form.

Thanks! C&D was running on the grand course, which naturally takes longer to get around. So you can't really compare my time to theirs. The only time I have to compare my 2:40 to is my friend's track-preared corvette in one of the races, where he was pulling 1:55's. Next year I will invest in a high-resolution GPS receiver and a data logging app.

This footage happened to be the only session I captured on my GoPro before it informed me my card was full. It was only my second or third session on the first day. So it wasn't my fastest, and it wasn't the line I was taking by the end of the weekend.

I understand your point, but to clarify, I do use the harness exclusively for autocross. On my track days, my instructor and I are using the stock restraints, as designed and delivered by the manufacturer.

MichaelYount Reader
10/11/14 12:33 p.m.

My point wasn't aimed at you....it was for anyone who finds themselves thinking something like---"...well, we're only auto-crossing the car --- how bad could it be?" That line of thinking eventually leads to trouble.

CrookedRacer New Reader
1/23/15 12:46 p.m.

There are two items on this build that I need to post about: Brakes, and Shocks.

I'll start with the simpler one, even if it is embarrassing.

It has to do with brakes.

In November 2014 I did a track day with NASA (HDPE-2) at Summit Point Raceway's Main Circuit in West Virginia. I started off with nearly new OEM brake pads in the morning. My instructor even commented on how much material there was. So I figured since I've made it through an entire weekend at Summit Point on one set of OEM pads before, I wouldn't have a problem making them last through the weekend.

Turns out I was wrong. I ran out of pads at the end of the first day's last session. Unfortunately, I didn't know it was happening, and I drove those pads until there was just nothingness left. Down to metal. Down to failure and flames.

I was fortunate that it happened on the track where it did. I'm probably lucky that my car is still in one piece (and that I am in one piece).


I really did a number on the rotors, calipers, and seals. It all needed to be replaced. Which I did. But I lost the second half of the weekend because most Fiesta ST parts aren't readily available at any dealerships.


The calipers were cooked.


The extinguisher made a real mess, but it all cleaned up nicely. I'm thankful for the help.


An autopsy the next day revealed what actually happened... the pad backing plate on the driver's side had actually melted away. That meant that the caliper piston itself was grinding directly on the rotor.

Eventually, the caliper piston wore unevenly, which allowed it to cant sideways, enough to break the piston's seal, allowing the fluid to pass the seal (and allowing my brake pedal to reach the floor).

I learned a few lessons that day. Fortunately, they weren't learned the catastrophic way. Just the embarrassing way. These lessons include (but are not limited to):

1) Pay attention to your car and pit in if you suspect anything is wrong.

2) Have fire extinguishers in the car and in the paddock.

3) Check your brake pad material before EVERY session.

4) Bring spares and fluids. Lots of them.

Which brings me to an issue I'd like help with: What track pads should I purchase for my FiST? Here's a thread I started. I'm leaning towards getting Hawk Street Race compound for the fronts only. Matching pad materials for the fronts and rears aren't easy to come by. And Carbotech pads are really expensive!


I love the performance of the OEM pads. I would run them if I could trust them to last more than a day. But in my experience, they wear down quickly the hotter they get. I need a tougher compound, even if it's harder on the rotors. I want them to last more than a weekend... More than a day, even!

accordionfolder HalfDork
1/23/15 2:32 p.m.

In reply to CrookedRacer:

One of the reason I want with a 2013 MS3 instead of a Focus ST was the real LSD in the car. I'd heard a lot of track/hpde guys talk about how the e-diff ate the brakes in the FoST. I hadn't heard about them catching on fire....

Glad you and the car are ok. Hopefully they get a better aftermarket going, it's odd they don't already.

I've had good experiences with my hawk pads on the Civic and the miata, long lasting, but my car weighs ~1800lbs.

CrookedRacer New Reader
1/25/15 3:05 p.m.

I am so excited about this one. Get ready and brace yourself for pure awesomeness.

All season last year, I loaded and unloaded four tires into the Dogpark Racing Fiesta. Twice an event. And at some point, I caught a tire on one of the plastic posts that the rear shelf hangs on.


It snapped off like a dry twig.


So while I was at Home Depot getting some other fasteners, I picked up a few bits to make a repair.

Two 1/4" fender washers, a 1/4-20 pan head screw 1-1/2 long, a nut, a lock washer, and a 1" nylon spacer from one of the specialty drawers that never has what you're looking for.

Except in this case. :-)


Fortunately, there is access without removing any panels.



The shelf snaps on to the nylon spacer with the same exact thump as the original one did!


Now my hatch has a shelf and my groceries aren't visible to everyone!


If that is not badass GRM, I don't know what is.

MichaelYount Reader
1/25/15 6:24 p.m.

On track cars (whether a street car or dedicated track car) I've always found that rotors are a consumable just like pads. My old ITC car required rotor replacements with every pad replacement. Better pads will task the rotors and calipers even more both mechanically and thermally. Keep your eye on them as you inspect pads --- a rotor failure can be even more exciting....

CrookedRacer New Reader
1/25/15 8:12 p.m.

Thanks, Michael, I will certainly be inspecting everything closely. The ones that I ground down are in the recycle bin:


Coincidentally, here are a couple pics of the rotors I took off the car after my first track day this past spring. They're not trashed or anything (barely used, actually) but if you look really closely you can see some very minor crazing. When I put them back in use, I'll have to keep an eye on that kind of thing, as you said.



These will be my backup rotors (the ones currently on the car are in mint condition). These were used with OEM pads (which are no longer suitable for the track, but I still keep them around in case I need to limp home or something). They have some uneven pad deposits on them, which gives them a vibration upon braking. They're not warped though, and I believe a lap or two using pads with a more aggressive compound would clean them right up.

MichaelYount Reader
1/26/15 9:11 a.m.
CrookedRacer wrote: They have some uneven pad deposits on them....and I believe a lap or two using pads with a more aggressive compound would clean them right up.

I don't take any chances when it comes to brakes. I'd have the shop do a clean-up turn on them and then properly bed them in with the more aggressive pads. There's just no substitute for properly laying down the right amount of pad deposit onto the rotor with the proper bedding in process.

CrookedRacer New Reader
2/8/15 7:57 p.m.

Because I could have used an extinguisher when my brakes caught fire, I wanted to be prepared the next time. So I bought a couple fire extinguishers on Amazon. One for the car, and one for the paddock.

I bought a metal bracket for the one for the car, and I devised a nifty mount for it behind the rear passenger side seat back. While I am driving, that seat will be folded forward and is unable to move because the passenger seat holds it there.

NASA HPDE rules do not require a fire extinguisher, but the NASA Club Codes and Regulations (CCR) states the following for HDPE:

11.2 Preparation Instructions


It is highly recommended that a good fire extinguisher be kept in all cars; securely mounted with a metal bracket within easy driver’s reach. A pillar mounts are prohibited.


11.3 Required Safety Equipment - Driver


All participants should utilize equipment that meets or exceeds [the] minimum requirements, while driving on track...

From the competition section of the CCR:

15.1 Fire Extinguisher

All cars without a fire system should have at least a fire extinguisher securely mounted inside within driver’s reach while normally seated, belts fastened and steering wheel in place. The bracket should be metal and of the quick release type. The mounting hardware should use nuts and bolts and not just sheet metal screws. Fire bottles made of plastic or aerosol-type cans are prohibited.

So I think my little mounting system, which uses the kid seat tie down, satisfies the most stringent requirements without actually being a complete fire suppression system. (I knew I would eventually find a use for at least one of the kid seat hardware latches!)

I took a steel door latch plate from a commercial door that I got from habitat for humanity's Re-Store here in the area. I bent it at both ends and drilled an extra hole in it to attach the metal bracket. This gives it stability.


Using a hose clamp, I secured it to the child seat tie-down.

The bottle barely fits when the seat is up, but it does fit. It's in a nice hidden place when the seat is up, and it is accessible to me when I'm in the front seat and the rear seat is flat.


Safety. It's job one.

5/17/15 8:42 a.m.

Greetings from Northern VA. I think I saw your car run a bit at WDCR events.

Can you comment on the stability of the Curt when hauling bikes? Etrailer states this hitch has 50lbs less tongue capacity, but I cannot tell why.

CrookedRacer New Reader
5/28/15 2:04 p.m.

In reply to xvxax:

It works great for the bike rack. I carry 3 bikes, no problems. The bike rack itself sways if its bolts haven't been tightened down recently, but the hitch itself is solid. The movement certainly isn't happening in the receiver or the hitch.

I'm happy to be able to haul bikes without a lot of fuss.

Find me at the next event and say "hi!"

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