Ford Focus Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
ok so i know very little about how a rally car should be set up. My biggest question is about suspension. What am i looking for, should it be kinda squishy to deal with bumps at high speed and what not or what. What is a sufficient set up for say rallyx?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,325 Posts
For Rallyx really any suspension will do. I ran SVT springs and dampers when I was rallyxing my car.

Rally springs are typically softer than road race springs but stiffer than OEM springs. The other piece of this is that Rally springs are usually longer than their road race equivalent so that you do not give up as much ground clearance. Rally suspension is typically the struts and shock run a higher damping than road race setups. The best course of action is to buy a proven rally setup like hot bits / Olhins / Proflex, etc. Which will come with springs and settings that will get you close and then you can tune them for your driving style. But this is big $$$.

Come to some rallies and talk to the competitors about what they are running and how they like the handling of their car. There are a bunch of Foci entered at black river stages in a couple of weeks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
I would strongly recommend Hotbits. They are entry level priced (around $2000-2500 depending on options) and seem to take a beating...at least on lighter cars like the Focus. If you do go that route, MAKE SURE you get the rear coilover setup vs. the stock spring and damper location setup. We had the latter when we started rallying and it caused a BIG roll which we were lucky to walk away from completely unharmed. The issue is that with the dampers turned down for increased compliance for a winter event, the springs were far too powerful and caused us to hop twice, almost end over end before rolling up a tree.

If you're looking for rallyx stuff, the other Andrew is right, stock stuff is just fine since you probably won't get out of 2nd gear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
This type of failure is too common:
I would strongly recommend Hotbits. They are entry level priced (around $2000-2500 depending on options) and seem to take a beating...at least on lighter cars like the Focus. If you do go that route, MAKE SURE you get the rear coilover setup vs. the stock spring and damper location setup. We had the latter when we started rallying and it caused a BIG roll which we were lucky to walk away from completely unharmed. The issue is that with the dampers turned down for increased compliance for a winter event, the springs were far too powerful and caused us to hop twice, almost end over end before rolling up a tree.

If you're looking for rallyx stuff, the other Andrew is right, stock stuff is just fine since you probably won't get out of 2nd gear.
Agreed that for rallycross at slow speeds, anything is fine, but for real rally you want to get something that will last and you can get service and spares easily. Hotbits have a pretty high failure rate and are very short travel. Too short for anything but smooth asphalt really.


I saw this set up on the forum called Rallyanarchy, a forum really aimed at club level guys on real world budgets:


It calls for modding the inner fender well for spring clearance but it is dead simple and takes only an hour or so per side.

Then getting rid of the stamped parts and using good chrome-moly steel links that tolerate whacking into things sideways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
And of course you want strong inverted or 'upside down" struts in the front with enough travel, something like this


sign up at rallyanarchy where there's a lot of build threads and a lot of good guys who are amazingly helpful---and a lot of experienced guys too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,325 Posts
Jan, I have been on rally anarchy for years now and any suspension can be broken if you crash hard enough. Hot bits has performed very well on several rally foci that I know that have done over 20 rallies that I can think of off hand without a failure.

T he stock focus suspension with some proper maintenance and replacement of parts as the wear out has been failure free on the 20 rallies I have done with my car car I think 36 that Simon Wright has completed with his.

The suspension you post above is argued for and sold by John Vanlandingham in Seatle, who is the defacto admin on Rally Anrachy. That car only did part of one event with that suspension until they rolled. The drivers says the suspension was not be blame. But there is no data on the performance or durability of that that setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Jan, I have been on rally anarchy for years now and any suspension can be broken if you crash hard enough.
Well, yeah. When I say any thing about the well documented problems of rediculously short travel---sometimes shorter than stock but sold as "gravel"---and blowing oil past seals , I am only reporting what dozens of people have told me when AFTER blowing initial money for the stuff, they spend even more replacing one shock, then a strut then another shock, then they are tired. This are failure is use, not crash damage.





Hot bits has performed very well on several rally foci that I know that have done over 20 rallies that I can think of off hand without a failure.
Maybe they aren't trying very hard:dunno:

T he stock focus suspension with some proper maintenance and replacement of parts as the wear out has been failure free on the 20 rallies I have done with my car car I think 36 that Simon Wright has completed with his.
Good to hear. I've seen people hit one pot hole and bend stuff. gentle front bang and bend the rears.
The design being stamped flat plate is inarguable cheap junk and is a problem in waiting.
Look at the photo---why are you arguing?

The suspension you post above is argued for and sold by John Vanlandingham in Seatle,
:eek: NO!
It's made by me, too.
I make rally suspension not for some evil intent or just to push superfluous parts but because I got so tired of seeing friends and newbies faced with the choice of pretending to have suspension with just some springs on the stock struts, or cheap, old conventional shaft up desing, ultra short junk OR being faced with minimum $3800 and crap service.
So I called the best guy who makes suspension for guys in Sweden---inarguable a much much harder, faster and demanding series that guys driving around in warmed over cars like here, and asked him "Hej, what material (4130), What thread (M52), what bush (SAE 660)????"
And began making them as soon as I could find thick wall 4130 Chrome -Moly. That was 2003.
I use Bilstein inserts and shocks because i have been working with and modding Bilstein shocks for tailor use on DIRT since 1975 and their valving notational system is consistent.


who is the defacto admin on Rally Anrachy.
That's hilarious.
I can barely cut and paste, the ACTUAL admin had to hit me on the side of the head repeatedly while struggling to show me how to post photos:screwy:

Try again.

That car only did part of one event with that suspension until they rolled.
Actually the did only the Fairgrounds foofery and one the first stage first hit a gate post while nearly going off, then on a gently sloping sweeping left, one clear sunny day, with grassy hills and hardly any tree, and none in the field of view on the easy left sweeping kink in question, the driver Christain---simply understeered straight off and rolled down a grassy hill.

The drivers says the suspension was not be blame.
No when they drove by here on the way home, the driver had his story all set. It was ALL the co-driver's fault.
QUOTE: "The co-driver called a note too late". Remember this is prairie, limitless visibility, trees in notches and scattered, easy sweeping left DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HIS NOSE visible for gawd knows how long before the actual corner.
Daddy explained further "Christian is a exceptionally talented driver, it had to be that."

So they didn't do event, they didn't do 2 full stages.

But then again in the first 2 rallies they hit junk and rolled once before.
And as a side not, when local rally guy Sean here sold them a super clean nice XR4Ti that he had gotten the hots for having driven a couple in the weeks before Idaho while here working on the car, he had the car maybe 5 days before --on public roads, he slid it into a curb and smashed up the control arms etc.

Daddy says he's an "exceptionally skilled driver".

Locally, all us who know him--and daddy who pissed away 20-25g in a few months think that may not really be the case.:bang:

But there is no data on the performance or durability of that that setup.
Why do you have to try to tell stories? That "set up" is the same, aside from the top mounting's bolt circle in front and pin mount on back, the same suff on piles and piles of cars, in fact it is dimensionally the same as on XR4Ti which we've seen do events for years, same parts as dozens and dozens of cars winning the 2wd class --Josh Wimpey 5+ years--no problems, Chris Martin in Canadian Championship events for years---no problems, National title for Mark P in Rally Lite class, Overall win for Alex Rademacher in the West at Mendocino Rally 2011 no problems till NEXT event when he sorta missed the road after a ump and landed on a BIG boulder.....,

It's fine, don't worry.
In fact it really changed the way I looked at Focucii.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Hey that's my links and work on that car! Sad that car never had a good jockey!
I have been playing with the foci rear suspension for a wile and now the rear blade
trailing arm is total junk. Being forced to run a pathetic rear shock.

JVL not proven? um so the focus suspension is light years away from every other
car out there? news to me I personally think foci suspension is junk but can be
made right. His shock inserts are Bilstein, they are not proven ether? You can
have several springs and get them rebuilt with out braking the bank, sounds
bitchin too me? and its in the $2000 range best bang for the buck out there and
JVL is happy to work with serous people

rally x is fun if you don't want to get in to building a real car. A focus could make an
awesome rally car but don't cloud your vision with bolting crap on too stock
components. My advice is open your eyes to all cars and how rally cars have been
put together for years and why they did what they did why conventional struts
are not used in higher levels of rally. Look at wrc suspension now they use a 60mm
cannon that 3.5 feet long! not a little 24mm rod, makes me laugh when I hear hot bits.

you don't want to take a hardly warm car out with a cage its not gona get your rocks off
long but with a proper 200plus hp, close ratio, lsd, big brakes, proper inverted struts, and
then seeing you can keep up with half the awd turbo guys when your game is on!
I mean front wheel drive too not rear even tho rwd focus would own!! :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
Welcome to Focaljet John(and William and Juggernautmotorsports for that matter-you guys are pretty new here).

Andrew-I'm kinda surprised you aren't more on board with replacing that control blade with a stronger rod since you have bent them before.

I didn't remember that until I again clicked on your build thread in your sig(one of my favorite threads here by the way).
On page 13 of your thread about half way down there's the pics of your bent suspension(granted it's not as bent as what John posted)....here's the link:

http://forums.focaljet.com/road-rally-auto-x/535049-rally-spec-focus-build-56k-beware-13.html

John/William/Juggernaut,
I'm still trying to get my head around why putting the springs outboard on the rear suspension is a good idea.
Can we discuss?

Also-John-do you have any specs on the travel of the hotbits for gravel?
And the failures that you mention-anymore specific info?

Thanks all....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
When you have coil on shock and the placement of the shock is a 1 to 1 ratio with movement "1 to 1 for any nit pickers its not really due to linkage and placement"
with that we don't have to play games with spring rates on a 5 inch coil and some 2/3 calculation, and get riped off by some focus parts retailer for some
so called proven stock replacement spring! The other thing you can change hight of the car and pull it all out in one unit in a minute. I'm not going to
lie that coilover set was a bitch! tons of welding and boxing and the shock has so much travel it was over doing the front small link, but with some
refinement and spacing and other tricks we got it to be a rather painless operation. Think of this at the cost of the rear coilovers you can wait
and nab some cheap 7 in circle track chocks and coils and put together a tarmac set for less than 300. and the front just lower the spring and
call it good a good gravel set up dose better than great on a car thats not a stitch welded caged out track monster.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
Interesting points on the "real" rear coilover set-up William.

I wonder where everyone else in this thread went?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Welcome to Focaljet John(and William and Juggernautmotorsports for that matter-you guys are pretty new here).

Andrew-I'm kinda surprised you aren't more on board with replacing that control blade with a stronger rod since you have bent them before.

I didn't remember that until I again clicked on your build thread in your sig(one of my favorite threads here by the way).
On page 13 of your thread about half way down there's the pics of your bent suspension(granted it's not as bent as what John posted)....here's the link:

http://forums.focaljet.com/road-rally-auto-x/535049-rally-spec-focus-build-56k-beware-13.html

John/William/Juggernaut,
I'm still trying to get my head around why putting the springs outboard on the rear suspension is a good idea.
Can we discuss?

Also-John-do you have any specs on the travel of the hotbits for gravel?
And the failures that you mention-anymore specific info?

Thanks all....
Thanks for the questions..
Its so strange to read such carefully coached slagging for somebody offering a really good setup that that what's his duff knows works really well, good enough for plenty of class wins in various classes and even some overall wins....

You'd thing that there would be something like "Wow, a serious, rebuildable, long travel set up for just a couple of hundred more than the glorified street stuff and thousands less than the next thing, cool deal!"
Nope, Negative Nellie all the way.

OK I've only seen like 3 sets of Hot Bitch in my hands, all had right at 160mm of shaft travel, front and rear.
Stock Fawkus --and Xr4Ti have 160mm front, and about 230mm rear, so calling them "gravel" stuff is a laugh---except to those who pay money for 'em.

The failures I was told about ---from the 5-6 guys who used them and THEN came to me---were blowing oil out, shaft guide wear, and bending...
No surprising.

As for going straight coilover, its all about ease of "living with the car". Mod the shell once---and it really is easy for this part of it---then everything afterwards is easier. Spring choice for long travel is just a matter of picking up the phone and ordering another spring. Setting the car 1" higher or sinking 1', just spin the spring seats.. It let's you TRY OUT things if you want. And then when you go nuts and slam into a bank on the outside of a corner at 40 and tweak something, its far easier to whip out the complete coilover than that spring crammed between the arm and subframe...

I even go further and suggest guys mod the top fixing point by welding in 2 D shaped ears and a piece of thing sheetmetal shaper like Greek Omega (just to close it off and keep the dirt out). Then they have a normal "Eyelet" upper mount which comes on the shocks rather than the really pretty stainless steel pin mounts I make.. Mod once, save money....

And as for disappearing, there is a serious limit to the amount of different sites one "one man shop" can cruise.
We have an excellent rallyforum at www.rallyanarchy.com where there's nice piccies of lots of this stuff and even some simple drawings... Rally boys should be on their own site rather than buried somewhere like this.
There's nothing really unique about the rally end of a Focus that needs to be segregated in some obscure place.

Oh, yeah, I just got a call from a guy in Ontario like 2 days ago for suspension and motor mods ( I build some pretty good engines), I'll ax him about his suspension. He did say he did a homeade version of the links and he said it renewed his faith in the car.
I have to agree,.
 

·
Kyle Gave Me His Oklahoma Foot Disease!
Joined
·
11,279 Posts
Interesting thread is interesting.

Carry on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Interesting thread is interesting.

Carry on.
OK, here's a quick sketch weput up on www.rallyanarchy.com some time ago illustrating the simplicity of the inner fender wall, and a idea of one way to support that lower shock bolt..Poor thing hanging out in single shear!


Truck exhuast tube is thicker wall than the bodyshell sheetmetal you be cutting out. Arched is stronger than flat, so all in all you make the area stronger, and thats good.
Saw a hunk of truck 4" exhuast, hammer the edge over the table 9oh! snip a few snippies in the flat flange so it will be easier to hammer flat.
Run two Sharpie lines right where the shock is, then WHHHHHHHHhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Sawzall out the offending parts.

ZOOOOOOT! in the new.
Easy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
you know what seems to elude many car guys? that if they are going to fab something up that it has to look perfect
too work! simply not true ya its nice if your car is as nice as can be, but there are lots of people like me and john
that would love to point people to ways the can drastically change the way they enjoy, see and use there cars.
Get a 110 welder get some time in and make some templates buy a few tools and do some work! My tool box is no more
suffocated than a little bit of space and money could get.

Our day jobs are too bring ideas and parts to the community we stair at suspension dating back too early 60s and
what is pertinent now and what evolved and what phases there where along the way in the car world for suspension.

its not really the focus we are working on its the mating the parts we know work to the focus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,325 Posts
John glad to see you on the FocalJet. This place has been a ghost town recently. Don't get me wrong, I like most of your suspension systems, The Bilstein stuff is great, the stut tubes look good. They have been proven in other cars and have a much cheaper price point that many of the systems on the market. I also really like the design of the focus front struts that you offer.

We are just going to have to agree to disagree on the rear suspension of the Focus. I do not think the Focus suspension is indestructible or even super durable. But it is proven to work and the most successful foci in the US have all kept in mainly stock, and they have won lots of class championships and beaten lots of awd cars. Replacements parts are cheap for the stock stuff, they can be had at most junk yards and I can bring a stock shock as a spare in the case of a rally shock failure and at least get to the end of the rally.

Here are my issues with the your rear suspension design for the focus.

One, it requires way way too much fabrication for most novice racers, you and William have fabrication skills that are not that common. Cutting and welding in a new shock tower and new suspension components is outside the talents of most of the racers in the US, this involves paying someone to install this into your car. So this is not a novice setup. It will require more than a little zap zap with a welder to get it right and get the car to handle well at the limit.

Two, if I take this route, I now need to buy two of everything that you have pictured so I can make sure I can finish the event if there is a failure. This is not different that what I have to do with the stock stuff but you stuff requires I but at least the stock knuckle and then modify it to work so I am paying more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Thanks for the questions..
Its so strange to read such carefully coached slagging for somebody offering a really good setup that that what's his duff knows works really well, good enough for plenty of class wins in various classes and even some overall wins....

You'd thing that there would be something like "Wow, a serious, rebuildable, long travel set up for just a couple of hundred more than the glorified street stuff and thousands less than the next thing, cool deal!"
Nope, Negative Nellie all the way.

OK I've only seen like 3 sets of Hot Bitch in my hands, all had right at 160mm of shaft travel, front and rear.
Stock Fawkus --and Xr4Ti have 160mm front, and about 230mm rear, so calling them "gravel" stuff is a laugh---except to those who pay money for 'em.

The failures I was told about ---from the 5-6 guys who used them and THEN came to me---were blowing oil out, shaft guide wear, and bending...
No surprising.

As for going straight coilover, its all about ease of "living with the car". Mod the shell once---and it really is easy for this part of it---then everything afterwards is easier. Spring choice for long travel is just a matter of picking up the phone and ordering another spring. Setting the car 1" higher or sinking 1', just spin the spring seats.. It let's you TRY OUT things if you want. And then when you go nuts and slam into a bank on the outside of a corner at 40 and tweak something, its far easier to whip out the complete coilover than that spring crammed between the arm and subframe...

I even go further and suggest guys mod the top fixing point by welding in 2 D shaped ears and a piece of thing sheetmetal shaper like Greek Omega (just to close it off and keep the dirt out). Then they have a normal "Eyelet" upper mount which comes on the shocks rather than the really pretty stainless steel pin mounts I make.. Mod once, save money....

And as for disappearing, there is a serious limit to the amount of different sites one "one man shop" can cruise.
We have an excellent rallyforum at www.rallyanarchy.com where there's nice piccies of lots of this stuff and even some simple drawings... Rally boys should be on their own site rather than buried somewhere like this.
There's nothing really unique about the rally end of a Focus that needs to be segregated in some obscure place.

Oh, yeah, I just got a call from a guy in Ontario like 2 days ago for suspension and motor mods ( I build some pretty good engines), I'll ax him about his suspension. He did say he did a homeade version of the links and he said it renewed his faith in the car.
I have to agree,.
That guy from Ontario was me John. And I'll be calling you again soon, just ran out of time with work and life this time of year. As for the current hotbits, "Wow, a serious, rebuildable, long travel set up for just a couple of hundred more than the glorified street stuff and thousands less than the next thing, cool deal!" is EXACTLY what I thought the first time I heard about your stuff (from reliable sources might I add), and is what I'm currently thinking. I can't afford Proflex, Reiger, Ohlins, RSSP etc. currently so I'll have to make due with what I can afford. As for those rear bits (control arms and toe links), I would NEVER go back to the stock stuff; the car seems to seldom do the same thing in corners when the inputs are exactly the same, which is ok if you aren't going all that fast and unnerving when you are.

However, I do NOT like how stiff the hotbits are. It would appear that they are oversprung to attempt to combat their cheaper dampers which like to blow seals when you do manage to sufficiently load them. This is no secret in the rally community and for anything other than 2wd (where they are still a learner suspension) hotbits are really not acceptable. As for the expensive stuff, I know it's long travel, high rebound suspension; look at the wheel gap in the corners on the WRC cars and how quickly their wheels get to full droop and CONTACT the ground on uneven surfaces.

The engineering is out there, John is just using it to create a low cost option. I plan to get a set and use it this year so I'll let you know how well it works.

As for other Foci in rally. I still think if you want to go fast you need proper stuff. Michael Reilly's turbo focus was running AST suspension at BRS which he didn't like as much as his Proflex that he had at home. Of course that was a FAST car and competitive to boot iirc.

After 2 years of learning to rally (though we missed 2 events the one year) I've started to see what it takes to be COMPETITIVE. I don't know what it's like in the US but here in Canada we have basically 2 types of cars in Group 2; unprepared and prepared is what I like to call them. The guys in the 'prepared' class as I call it have ~14:1 compression, racegas or E85 (hours and hours of dyno tuning), ITB's, Dogbox transmissions, Proflex/Ohlins, 200+hp at the wheels and TQ to boot (Yea you heard right NA NOT TURBO). The guys in the unprepared have basically stock engines (pump gas) with bolt ons, maybe a ring and pinion, maybe a set of cams and that's about it. Timewise on stages it SHOWS. Realistically without the 'prepared' guys having issues, they're difficult to get close to if the stages are smooth flowing and fast. Of course they're beating open cars regularly so that's got to be an indication.

That's not to say that you can't be fast in a relatively lightweight Gr.2 car because you can as Peter K proved that in the little white swift (~1800lbs and 90whp with a close ratio gearset and later dogbox). Of course he's now moved to a 'prepared' car because he wants to have a fighting chance at winning with the other Gr.2 guys as well as spank some open cars because he has the skill. It's also not to say that you can't go fast without high end suspension etc. but there is a HUGE difference between being FAST and COMPETITIVE.

It was fun to win a class by default because the top guys had issues and DNF's and you were next in line by default even if you were still pushing and ahead of others in your class but it just doesn't hold the same weight. Lately I've moved to the idea that I would rather be competitive than just finish and have fun. To me, being competitive is fun and since I'm nowhere close to where I want to be competitive wise, I'll shut up and drive.

Of course when I start to outdrive my equipment it's time to move. This is NOT a static sport as most of us are aware of and if you don't move when you start to overcome your equipment, you'll fall behind of where you could be, at least that's my mentality to most of it. The way I look at it is the first couple/few years are learning years to see if you like rally, to see if you can really do it. Of course you'll need to decide how large a part of your life you want to make this as well and whether you want to be competitive or just go have some fun. You'll start to notice limitations in the car and you'll move on them or won't and deal with it. Of course the longer you deal with it, the better driver you will become, at least theoretically and only to a point before you plateau. Naturally finances are the limiting reagent and that's fine. But realistically if you want to be competitive, there will come a time where you will need to forego events to better the car. Granted this is an extreme example but Pat Richard recently opted to use a Meth injection system on his rally car along with some other tricks to make the car 2 seconds faster PER KM that it ever has been before. A dogbox would easily save the average driver seconds per km due not only to the shorter ratios but also the lack of clutching needed.

I now know that over really rough stuff, hotbits don't cut it in our car in the current setup or other setups we have tried. We did the MFactory ring and pinion (3.82 to 4.75) which was great for a while, but now that the sparkles have faded, 1st gear is too short, second is too long, 3rd is too short, 4th is too long, 5th is waayyyy too long IIRC. So I'm now looking at close ratio gearsets because although I still need to clutch, they provide the reliability, the exact same ratios and reduced maintenance over a dogbox (think $1000+/year min.).

Suspension from JVAB IS in my budget for this year.

Engine wise, though a full build is tempting it is not in my immediate future. Proper rally cams, maybe a deck mill and some tuning might be though.

Oh and just to clear things up in case any one wants to jump on it, I do NOT think I'm a superstar, I've started to learn a LITTLE about how to drive and that's all I will concede to. I am not driving my car to it's limits all the time, but it seems that at every event, I'm getting it there a couple more times. As to the future, it's a LONG road ahead and I can't WAIT to turn the key. Rally is like NOTHING else I have ever tried. I urge you guys to try it if you haven't, I don't think you'll ever let go!

End rant.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
679 Posts
So Juggernaut-did you ever get your JVAB suspension?
Close ratio gears?
Your last post was an awesome one by the way..meant to tell you that-but forgot about this thread-and it's a really good thread!
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top