What Did We Break?

Update by Tom Suddard to the Ford SVT Focus project car
Oct 17, 2016

We feared that jumping our Focus at its last rallycross had damaged something that wasn’t as easy to spot as a broken tie rod, so we stopped by The Body Werks, our local body shop, to get more information. We begged a printout of our Focus’s factory frame measurements–the same list a technician would refer to when inspecting a crashed vehicle. We then put our car on a set of Paco Motorsports hub stands, slid underneath, and started taking measurements.

Every measurement matched the factory specs, but that wasn’t exactly a relief. We still had no idea why our Focus’s front axle had 2 inches of toe-in. After double-checking everything, we came up with a theory: Maybe our trackside alignment was less accurate than we thought–or, more likely something wasn’t properly torqued.

We corrected the alignment and checked it again after a week of commuting. We’re cautiously optimistic that the frame wasn’t actually damaged, but we’ll keep an eye on it.

Chalk this up as a win for our budget BC Racing coil-overs, which held up well at our first event. We still have work to do, though. The BR Type kit, while good on the street, is currently too stiff to perform at its best in the dirt. In our next update, we’ll talk to BC Racing about some custom spring rates.

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View comments on the GRM forums
GTXVette Reader
10/17/16 1:16 p.m.

softer Loooonger spring.

Huckleberry MegaDork
10/17/16 1:38 p.m.

When you see hoof prints, don't look for Zebras.

Check the alignment first

outasite Reader
10/17/16 9:05 p.m.

I aligned my dirt track race car weekly.

engiekev New Reader
10/18/16 10:06 a.m.

Curious what the benefits of the hub stands are for setting alignment, other than easier access?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Associate Editor
10/18/16 10:30 a.m.
engiekev wrote: Curious what the benefits of the hub stands are for setting alignment, other than easier access?

Aside from easier access, they allow the suspension to settle into its resting position without having to push the car back and forth after every adjustment. Plus, they already have alignment marks, which makes it way easier.

BobOfTheFuture Dork
10/20/16 8:25 p.m.

Have you guys ever done a writeup on doing home alignments?

Knurled MegaDork
10/20/16 8:30 p.m.

You bent your uprights or you pinched your struts.

A friend rallied a Spec Focus for a while and I seem to recall that uprights and struts were regular maintenance/failure items. Up here, on the street, bent struts are extremely common, they give right where they meet the upright.

The fix is, don't jump a car with stock suspension! Leave that for the cars with multi-thousand dollar billet uprights and 60mm inverted struts...

bluej GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/19/17 12:42 p.m.

What's the status of this rig?

Any chance we'll see it/GRM at the East Coast Rallycross National Challenge in VA in July??

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