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I have an '03 focus zx3 w/ a superchip, screamin demon coil pack, short ram air intake,platinum plugs and focussport plug wires. Unfortunately, it is an automatic. The other day I went to try to pass a p.o.s early 90's saturn to get into the turning lane and I couldn't get over because I couldn't even get around him... It was totally embarassing because I was floored. I was passing him until my tranny took 5 seconds inbetween shifts and he easily got in front of me. Is that normal for even a stock focus with an auto to be that lethargic accelerating???

I really dislike the auto tranny because in order to get anything out of it you have to floor it from a stop because it takes FOREVER to figure out what gear to get into. If you just decide to floor it to pass somebody half the time it just stays in the gear you're in and bogs the engine down. I treat my focus like a baby and don't ever street race it but i'd like some power when I need it (ie: passing people to get into the turning lane.) Maybe i'll just buy a crotch rocket to go fast it ;-)
 

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I have always heard that those twin cam Saturns were quick but i havent seen one since i have had my Focus (5 months) and i know i didnt have a problem with them when i had my KIA. Steve
 

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I change diapers now
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SCT Chip + ATX = Perfection

- Drew
 

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my friend has an older saturn with the 1.9L dohc (sl2 model) from driving it i would think that if the saturn was a manual, a zetec with an automatic wouldn't beat it. its a decent engine, close enough for the automatic penalty to hurt ya.
 

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My daily commuter is a 94 Saturn SC with the dual overhead cam and a 5 speed. My Focus is a 2000 ZTS automatic, and even when we put the JRSC on with the 3" pulley the Saturn gave it a run for it's money. The problem isn't the engine - it's the gear ratio in the transmissions. We used to joke that I should have modified the freakin' Saturn instead of the fucus. Until you have mega-power and a built trans, first gear is just way to tall in the ATX (more like the ratio of second gear with the 5 speed). The head design doesn't flow very well in the Zetec either - a DSM 2.0 can make @ 75 more hp with identical set-ups because it flows more freely. Our biggest advantage with the Focus is it handles better than most cars in it's class and a little suspension work can have you making up for lack of power by retaining more speed in the corners.
 

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My daily commuter is a 94 Saturn SC with the dual overhead cam and a 5 speed. My Focus is a 2000 ZTS automatic, and even when we put the JRSC on with the 3" pulley the Saturn gave it a run for it's money. The problem isn't the engine - it's the gear ratio in the transmissions. We used to joke that I should have modified the freakin' Saturn instead of the fucus. Until you have mega-power and a built trans, first gear is just way to tall in the ATX (more like the ratio of second gear with the 5 speed). The head design doesn't flow very well in the Zetec either - a DSM 2.0 can make @ 75 more hp with identical set-ups because it flows more freely. Our biggest advantage with the Focus is it handles better than most cars in it's class and a little suspension work can have you making up for lack of power by retaining more speed in the corners.
totaly agree, the focus has great mannerisms in the turns compared to alot of its compition in autox's. but itll still beat a moded civic off the line, mines just about stock and iv proved that time and time agian. but if you want a car thats fast from a dead stop in a strieght line, dont buy a 4 banger.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well the car seems to take off fine, it's just when it shifts into second-third-and forth it takes FOEVER. Even with the superchip in it doesn't feel quick at getting up to speed at all. I actually have to turn the ac off sometimes to get it up to speed on the highway. Should have kept my 5 speed focus...

As for beating a modified civic, i've been embarassed by stock civic dx 5 speeds with this car. I'll stay with them until it shifts then they easily pull away. It's especially embarassing because my car has a short air intake, superchip, screamon demon coil pack,foccussport plug wires, and ngk platinum spark plugs that I can say nothing for...maybe my 17" rims don't help matters much...
 

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Ford Racing sells a modified valve body for the auto tranny. You can find one for around $380 + ship. Install does not require dropping the tranny, just the pan as you would with a fluid change. This part will improve the kick downs like no other. The lazy attitude of the tranny will be gone, and the shifts will be there when you want them. McNews or Lentec both sell this part.
 

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Official [FJ] Distinguished Advisor
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Getting smoked by old saturns...

Has this happened on more than one occaision?


Time to step up to a 2.3 Duratec/4F27E combo. No problems there...
 

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guys, i dont think he was asking how to beat it, just to spruce up his zx3. If your car is this slow, quit modding it, and buy an old fox body
quite easily some of the best advice I have ever seen on this board.
 

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[dd] - Dentless Dave
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it's cuz you're granny shifting and not double clutchin like ya should...


drop a V8 in that baby and roll.....what?...V8 too expensive of a swap.....??

have you changed the pulley on the S/C yet?

dentless dave!!
 

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I have not had any problem with stock or modded civics, as for the shifting somethings going on my auto shifts fine. A couple of weeks ago i beat a 5 speed zx3 in my auto zx5 from 50 up, he couldn't catch me, i think your car needs help.
 

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I agree that 1st gear on the ATX is entirely too tall, and yea i can hang with most anybody off the line, up until its time to shift, thats when they leave me in the dust...but anyways maybe your short ram is boggin u down(especially if its hot where u are)i would susgest ditching that SR intake and get a TB which would really wake ur baby up when u get on the gas if u want better acceleration. ohhh and an exhaust for that top end torque so ur rpms will runn smoothly to the redline making shifts faster.
 

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I hate to say it, as a long-time Mustang guy (1993 LX 5.0 in my garage), my Focus is more fun to drive. I bought the Focus for my wife but she won't drive it since it is a manual. She instead drives the automatic Mustang. And even with my FWD traction disadvantage and 100 crank horsepower disadvantage (at least initially), I can give her a good hard run for her money off the line to about 90 MPH before the HP advantage on the Mustang really kicks in. Plus, the Focus is faster and crisper in the corners, has shockingly little understeer when compared to the Mustang, and stops on a dime even with the stock binders. I happen to think that the Focus is one of the best cars in America right now, dollar for dollar, and one of the best, if not THE best, vehicle purchases that I have ever made. And with the mods that I have, I can surprise some serious Honda-driving Focus haters.
 
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