So, here’s a bit of a small piece on my XR5 Turbo / ST225.
I had to sell the 130i as with a child seat in the back the missus had her seat all the way forward which meant her knees were rubbing off the dashboard and the young lads pram couldn't even fit in the boot. Not much room! Luckily, a guy I know made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
I have the Focus about 4 months and was pretty determined to keep it standard. That worked out well.
Initially I was looking for one around 4 years ago and pretty much had my heart set on a performance blue one with leather, which is a pretty rare combo. Went to look at one, had 10k on the clock but turned out to be crashed. Looked at another one a few months back which looked like the holy grail – RS clutch, exhaust, intercooler, intake, Rs injectors, mapped, K06 turbo, coilovers etc. being sold by a young guy but a quick look under the oil cap confirmed it had a cracked liner / blown headgasket. So I kinda stopped looking for one.
Anyway, from a forum post I had posted looking for one, someone contacted me saying their work colleague was moving back to the UK and that she had a low kilometer performance blue model with leather, new brakes all around and a full service history. Went to look at it, was happy with it and bought it. Was happy with it for a few weeks but the front end had a slight knock over bumps so I suspected drop links etc. Brought it to a Ford specialist for a full check and the front shocks were a bit weak and the rear drop links for the rear sway bar had seen better days too. We also did a gearbox oil change (typical of manufacturers these days they say it’s sealed for life which is rubbish), with Mainlube mucho mucho dollero oil, engine oil change with Castrol Edge 0-40W, cleaned the MAP and MAF sensors and did a full road test.
They’re not a bad car as standard, 222 bhp and 232 ft/lbs / 320 Nm (at 1600rpm), means they always feel nice and torquey, with a good 5 pot growl as well as exhaust pops and bangs. They can be pretty bad on fuel especially around town but I’ve actually squeezed 40mpg / 7L/100 k’s out of mine on a long trip which is pretty good. In 2500 k’s since I’ve had it I’ve averaged around 24.4 mpg / 11.6 L/100k’s which isn’t too bad really considering most of my driving is in the city.
A few photos:
At this point it was still winter so the notoriously puny intercooler was still adequate but with the Queensland summer on the way it’s pretty much the first mod that most people do is change the intercooler for a better one. Even in the UK / Europe the standard intercooler becomes pretty inefficient in their summer so I ordered an Airtec Intercooler from Burtons in the UK. The standard LV has an 11 row intercooler (earlier LS models came with an even smaller 7 row cooler I believe) so the Airtec was both much longer, wider and taller. The internet had assured me that fitting would take about 2 hours, and maybe it would if you had hands like a Japanese schoolgirl, but it took me the best part of 6 hours by myself lying on the ground. To be fair most people who do it in 2 hours have a lift / help and also leave off the intercooler air diverters to the side of the intercooler but I’ve read a lot of people say that it pushes a lot of extra air towards the undertray and has resulted in quite a lot of people losing them on the motorway along with the potential of extra grit and stones being directed towards the auxiliary belts. As the intercooler is much bigger, the air deflectors need to be trimmed down to size. Of course no one in the history of doing this job seems to have provided any pictures on how much / where / angles to cut them at so it’s literally trial and error by lying under the car on your back with dirt falling into your eyes and cursing a lot as you try and wedge the deflectors past everything to see how much extra and where you need to trim off. Anyway, 2 hours of trial and error later I had them fitted and I’m glad I did as it kept a nice stealth look I was looking for.
New intercooler - Airtec Gen 3, from Burton Power in the UK
Old intercooler - Ford admitting - ok
, we fucked up - this intercooler is complete and utter shite.
Intercooler old and new
Finished intercooler the way I wanted it, nice and stealthy without anything sticking out too much for the cops to spot.
While I had the front panel off I also changed the air filter as it needed a change. When I went looking for service parts the best places were Mick’s Garage or FCP (by searching for Volvo parts) in the USA. FCP are great, with fantastic prices (including Bmw stuff) but as I needed some new bumpstops I went with Mick’s Garage as they had them and their prices were good too. Pretty sad that I can order parts from Ireland, get them delivered to Australia for way less than I could buy them here for.
They had good prices on Mann filters which are always great quality and cheap.
Air filter old
Air filter new
Air filter slot
So with the suspension having a few knocks (car had 61,000k’s) I decided to change a few things in the suspension. I ordered a Bilstein B12 kit from Germany which came with 4 x B8 shortened dampers and a set of 20mm Eibach lowering springs. I ordered from the same place that I got my B12 kit for the 130i and they were 549 euro – really cheap. Shipping was another 129 euro but was still waaaay cheaper that what I could buy locally for. I also bought new top mounts and bearings for the front. Hanz from Germany was happy to ensure a fair price on the invoice to ensure my missus didn't see the price and had nothing to do with avoiding import duty
. I decided then that I still need to take the knocks out so I just decided to start from scratch with a fresh suspension change, so I ended up buying;
Bilstein B12 kit
New top mounts and top bearings
Hardrace front drop links
Hardrace rear drop links
Hardrace front arms (with new bushes)
Hardrace front roll correction kit (with extended ball joints)
Hardrace tie rod ends
Hardrace rear adjustable toe arms
Hardrace rear adjustable camber arms
Whiteline rear adjustable sway bar
Febi-bilstein rear bump stops
For all the suspension work I brought it to a local specialist who specialises in all things Ford.
There also not much point in changing the shocks without changing the top mounts so I changed them as well to Sachs that I got from Germany.
When you lower the focus you can have some issues with the roll centre being off and can, potentially put some extra stress on the driveshafts so the roll correction kit helps this. It’s also susceptible to changes in camber at the back when lowering so the adjustable camber arms helps sort this out. Interesting as well is that while the Bilstein front shocks come with internal bump stops, you need to sort your own bump stops for the rear and for some odd reason Ford charge mucho mucho dollero for the 2 rear bump stops – around 50 UK pounds. After some internet research and detective work I found that Febi-Bilstein sold them for around 16 pounds for the 2 which was much better.
Under car finished suspension
When the shocks were worn on the front it must also have been out of alignment as the tyres were wearing unevenly so I needed to change them.
They had Pirelli Cinturato P1 all round, which aren’t bad but I wanted to start with a fresh set as the dates on the tyres indicated that that they were 3 years old and looking a tad bit cracked in places too. I was about to buy four of the Bridgestone Potenza RE003’s but I got a good price match on 4 x Goodyear Eagle F1’s Asymetricc 3 at the same price. And they seem to get better reviews:
Interestingly, the XR5 comes with 225/40/18 tyres but as many Aussie cars come with 235/40/18 tyres, it’s a very common size tyre and is much cheaper than the 225/40/18. Many owners go for the 235 size and I actually saved around $40 / 25 euro a corner by going to that size. Anyway, I very happy with them, great grip etc.
A few months back as well Dreamscience tuning in the UK had a sale on for Ford Fest and were doing some good deals for their handheld tuners. The tuning maps for the XR5 are out with about 10 years now and all pretty reliable and well used. I bought an imap device which has around 7 maps on it for various states of engine tuning depending on what you have done engine wise (exhaust / intake / injectors etc.) It also acts as a good fault code reader which is always handy. As my engine is stock apart from the intercooler I loaded the Performance + map which brings power to around 260 bhp and around 285 ft/lbs / 385 Nm. Feels ok with more pops and bangs from the exhaust also but still didn't feel hugely different to stock.
A few weeks ago I decided to load up another map to try - DSCI. It's got a bit of a rep as a clutch killer, but again, it's all about the way you drive the car - boot it in 6th at 1600rpm and it'll strain the clutch pretty bad.
Anyway, left work at 5.15pm with the new map loaded, and holy fuuuuuck, what a difference. Boosted so quickly, massive torque surge and much more powerful. Part of my trip is an industrial type road with not much traffic so sure enough I give it a bootfull on a nice sweeping bend. Turn another corner and notice an under cover Ute hammering up behind me with the blues and twos. 25 kph over the limit, 4 penalty points and $406 fine. At 5.25 - 10 mins after loading the new map and giving it a squirt only 3 times. Awesome.
Didn't even notice them parked up. Anyway, that's the luck of the draw, what can you do!
One of the jobs I wasn’t looking forward to was changing the cabin filter which is in under the dash and if the internet is to be believed - more difficult to reach than the fiery depths of Mordor. To be honest it wasn’t too bad. Most people say you have to remove the glovebox but you don’t. Push the passenger seat all the way back, undo the felt cover, unplug everything from the fusebox, remove it and remove 3 screws on the side of the filter housing. The top one is a bit of a prick to get to, which involves with leaning on your side / hip to get to and leaves with a nice colourful bruise down your side the next day.
Fuse box under dash
As another Ford facepalm, the 12v supply in the car is constantly live, which is a terrible idea if you have anything plugged in as it will drain the battery even if the car is turned off. I have a circuit running to the fuse box to only connect power when the ignition is switched on - good for dash cams etc.
As you can see, my cabin filter was probably never changed and was very clogged looking.
Here’s a side by side of the new and old. The new one looks black in parts as it’s an activated charcoal filter – it helps filter odours from the outside air.
Everything back together, all plugs connected again.
I also changed the interior heater control knobs to knurled aluminium as it takes away from the typical ford plastic feel of the dash.
Generic XR5 dash knobs:
My dash with upgraded knobs:
Anyway, thanks for staying awake, next update will be about a good detail.