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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Having done this kind if thing with various Impreza to STI models over the years, I thought I'd try it out with the Focus. I've seen lots of speculation on the plausibly and difficulty, so it's time to find out for sure.

Donor car, 2017 RS, appears to have taken out a moose or some other large hairy object, roof mostly sheared off.

Swap car, 2013 Focus SE. Basic, manual, with a sunroof.

I'll be changing out everything to the bare shell, and moving over the RS strengthening plates, missing captive nuts, and other little details.

I know it can be done, but let's see just how hard it is to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Manitoba, snow and cold.

AWD too, plus all wiring.

And this is the part that makes me most hopeful about the ease of installation. Obviously the rear floorpan is different, but it seems they simply cut out the spare tire well and attached a flat panel over it rather than making a whole new panel, which means the rest of it should be the same.
 

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This is an awesome project and I cant wait to see how it all turns out! To be honest i'm jealous and am now wondering how I can slip a project like this past my wife...

Please keep up us updated with photos and any problems you come across, as there are a lot of wrecked RS out there that could be saved. Good luck.
 

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I really hope the OP will try to keep as much of the standard SE body panels as possible to retain the look and keep the "sleeper" theme.

Considering a few blokes/Olegs across the pond were able to do the same on a standard Focus estate/wagon, should be very doable. Might even be easier since the wheels base is more similar?

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Although I appreciate the sleeper look, I'm not down with the base Focus style (never even noticed them till the RS came out) so it will look pretty much like a standard RS. I will be doing something different with the side skirts, a kind of hybrid between them, and using Evo X Recaro seats. I have never felt comfortable in the Focus Recaros, and I don't like power seats.

Next step is going around the shells and trying to see what does and doesn't match up. For example, the swaybars are in completely different places, but it seems they just reused the base exhaust hanger mounts.

Most important is the subframe mounts, which all appear to be in the same position - and the frames even seem to even be created off the same base, as the RS has these unused brackets which hold the swaybar on other models.

Trailing arms also share the same space.

Before buying the swap shell, I took a lot of time examining the floorpan of the FWD models, especially the tunnel and spots where the driveshaft would mount. And again, just like with the rear swaybar brace, they seem to have reused other existing holes to secure the driveshaft. The rearward bearing mount is just a chassis stiffener on the SE, and an exhaust hanger on the ST.
 

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Man! I would never in a million years have the rocks to try this. But six posts in and it's already the most educational info I've seen regarding model differences/similarities. You're doing the lord's work, my friend. Keep it up! Looking forward to all your discoveries!
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll definitely admit it took me a while to try it. I bought the RS with this in mind, but after looking over the damage it would have only been a couple hundred dollars more expensive to fix it rather than swap it... but curiosity got the better of me.

Stripping the RS, I just keep finding glass everywhere. I've done 3 separate vacuuming jobs at this point. Windshields are bombs.

Also, I have some serious grievances with Ford. How many different types and sizes of fasteners do they need?? Working on Japanese cars all my life, I need a 10,12,14,17mm socket, and a single phillips screwdriver for 90% of the car. On this thing, I have out like half the toolbox. There is no need for both a 10mm and an 11mm bolt - just pick one! Not to mention 5 different sizes of torx bits. I do like the v-band clamp for the exhaust though.

It seems I have the common transfer case leak. Will address that when the engine comes out.
 

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Also, I have some serious grievances with Ford. How many different types and sizes of fasteners do they need?? Working on Japanese cars all my life, I need a 10,12,14,17mm socket, and a single phillips screwdriver for 90% of the car. On this thing, I have out like half the toolbox. There is no need for both a 10mm and an 11mm bolt - just pick one! Not to mention 5 different sizes of torx bits. I do like the v-band clamp for the exhaust though.
^Very much this! Similar situation, been working on almost exclusively JDM cars before the RS. I feel like I'm going out to buy a new tool every time I work on this damn car!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The oem "skid plate" was already looking like chanticleer hegemony so I'll either a DMG fab one, or make one.

If I had picked a sedan, I probably would have stayed with an Evo. But I'm sure what is learned from this experience could extrapolate to the sedan.

These front ball joint bolts look very rust worn for a car with 20k on it. Going to be unloading the anti seize on this.

And the RS front subframe is out. Gotta say, that was not that hard to do. Love working with electric power steering. Rear frame is out as well. Time to move on to the SE.

One thing I can say for Ford, you don't get this cute stylized bracket on a Subaru 😅
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The first unexpected body differences have appeared. However I can't actually be sure if this is a RS vs base Focus thing, or part of the facelift update because they don't seem to serve any sort of strengthening improvement. In fact, I'd say the depressed section on the SE floor is a stronger design.

The change in the quarter panel which is definitely from the facelift redesign is highly unnecessary. Why not just make the bumper bracket larger? Seems way more expensive to redesign the press die for the quarter skin.

I do like this modular front end. Should be quite easy to pull the engine out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Front subframes are out from both cars now, and all the mounting points look the same. As suspected, but feels good to confirm. It looks like the RS front subframe has spacers on the mounts to lower the frame a few centimeters, driveshaft clearance or center of gravity shift most likely.

Here is the underside view of the RS trunk floor, clearly just a tacked on panel over the cut out spare tire well.

Looking at the rest of both rear undersides I don't see any significant differences in the frame rails or important bracing. Only the addition or subtraction of small brackets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Getting harder to tell these two apart the more that's removed. Once they're both down to nothing the transfer can begin.

So the drift stick is cool, sure, but how can it compare to the giant swan handbrake?? I was not expecting to find this when removing the center console. I may try to use this on the RS as it will definitely give better leverage.

Another challenge will be swapping over the gauge pack and keyless start button as the SE doesn't have the holes for them. The RS dash is badly scratched up from glass so I don't want to use that. I also found two different ways to remove the dash - just the big plastic cover, or together with the rebar and HVAC all as one. Doing it all as one unit is certainly easier (only a few quick connect wires and 8 bolts) but you really need a friend to carry it out. Seriously heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm glad everyone is enjoying this, it occurs to me a few times a day how much easier it would have been to just fix the original shell. But then we wouldn't learn anything! Also, a good opportunity to do sealing, rustproofing, and anti-seize. And funny you mention that, we build an STI widebody wagon which was named Frankenstein.

While the dash was out, I debated disassembling the HVAC to clear out any broken glass that may have fallen inside. When I pulled out the plug at the bottom, all debate was ended. I've had cars in the past where the selector doors became stuck on far less debris.

Overall a very simple box. But...
So
Much
Glass.
I couldn't believe the amount that poured out of there, and this on top of everything that came out of the dash. Definitely glad I took the time to clean it out.

Anyone need any SE parts? I've got a pile growing out back that will need attention eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Getting into the good stuff now, trunk floor bracing. As previously shown, it appears the various changes in here are just attached to the base Focus floor. Time to take them off and test that theory.

First to go are the much discussed Lions foot - feet? Anyway.. turns out they are only held in with some kind of adhesive expanded foam and one bolt. Seeing the big nubs I first thought it was large rivets, they're certainly hard enough to be mistaken as such. Heat gun and a pry bar got them off pretty easily. One side more than the other.

Also, made by Lincoln? I wonder if it's used on another Lincoln product and adapted for the RS? No individual part number to check.

The floor cross brace was a much harder part to remove. Made of fairly thick steel, and spot welded in. Using this Blair spotweld cutter made it much easier. And was very neccessary for the next step.

The spare tire replacement floor is held in with no less than 50 spot welds. This took quite a while, and is also made of thicker steel than typical body panels.


And the moment of truth? They fit! Still going to be a while before I can permanently attach them though.
 

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So this was what I was waiting for; the trunk floor. It’s not even the entire belly pan, literally just the spare tire well??? God damn.

I think a 4 door focus sedan would have been real cool, but either way I hope you know just how much info you’re proving the entire focus community
 
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