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Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to keep a progress thread of my car. I don't think it's a 'build' thread, because I'm not going to do much in the way of modifications, but I like to have all of my time with the car documented in a single spot. If I happen to post something entertaining or useful for someone else, all the better!

These first few posts are going to be backtracking a bit, covering what I've already done, so I apologize if you've already seen this.
 

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Recap post 1 - originally here

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Hi all,

I want to introduce myself to the forum. I'm a long-time car enthusiast, working in the industry here in the bay area. I bought a 2017 Nitrous Blue last night from Sean (Gloff on the forum) at Serramonte Ford. I have a few other cars, all of which are small, inconvenient, and questionable in reliability, so the RS is my first-ever new car with a bona fide warranty. I will be using it as my daily driver. It's RS2, blue, and otherwise base.

I didn't really know that I wanted one of these until I drove one. Our company had one as a benchmark vehicle - a black 16 on the base wheels and tires - and I loved it. Took it up a windy road with broken pavement and blind off-camber corners and it blew me away. Second gear, brake hard over bumps and dips, car doesn't care, turn wheel and floor it, popping and banging accelerating out. Grip everywhere.

A bit about me - I'm an engineer, I design cars, I like cars. I come from a proud tradition of best-version-of-economy-cars-and-also-4-cylinders automobiles. In order of how long I've owned them, I have an '04 Mazdaspeed Miata; a 1988 BMW M3; a 1973 BMW 2002tii; and now the Focus RS. To make way for the RS, I sold my Integra Type R (you may have seen it on BringATrailer). Here's a photo of the squad just before the Type R went to its new home.



Looking at my fleet, I realized that all I own is impractical and sometimes-unreliable sports cars. I recently drove to LA with my wife for a concert and, despite owning 4 cars, rented a Malibu so we'd be comfortable and know that we'd make it without issue. That's pretty dumb for a guy with 4 cars. I decided I wanted something practical, new, and warrantied, so that I could jump in and go and not have to worry about fixing something every weekend, since I have three others cars for that.

I kicked around the options - RS, Golf R, Civic Type-R, STi. Of those only the RS and the Type R appealed to me; the R is impossible to buy at MSRP, and pretty extreme in styling, and I just came out of a Type R. The RS ticked all the boxes, and with my spirited drive through work it was hard to consider anything else. I found Sean through the forums here and set up a time to check out the stock he had at Serramonte Ford.

I imagine that there are others in the same boat, trying to decide between an '18 and a '17. I decided that I don't need an LSD for the street, and while I liked the black accents, the 17s are marked down while 18s are demanding at least MSRP, if not more. Sean had something on the lot that met my criteria and worked with me to set a price that I liked.





Working the deal

I liked the seat features of the RS2 package, and that's all Sean had, so I went in on that option. I'm not crazy about the base wheels, but I am planning to go aftermarket anyway so I skipped on the forged wheels and the Cup tires. Moonroof I didn't have an opinion and don't really use anyway, so wasn't compelled to spend the extra for that. From the outset I knew I'd have to have Nitrous Blue, it's such an exciting color! So here it is:







Very pleased so far. Enjoyed the heated steering wheel this morning on my way to work. My plans for the car are pretty limited, since this is my reliable daily and it's such a good package out of the box. I'm an "OE+" kind of guy with my cars - I tend to stick to bolt-ons that can be reverted to stock and use factory performance parts where available. Ford's catalog is very exciting in that regard. My most immediate concern is the 'new car' logistics. I'm trying to decide on a clear protective film option before I really start racking up miles. Also need to decide when to do my first oil change - right now I'm thinking at/around the 1k mark, when break-in is complete.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Recap post 2 - from same thread as recap 1

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First-ever wash today. 210 miles so far, trying to finalize my direction on a clear bra.





[editor's note: I went with an Xpel clear bra on the front end. Fascia, hood, lamps, fenders, rockers, trunk load area.]
 

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Recap post 3 - originally here

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I wanted to share some photos and notes from my ~700-mile road trip this weekend. My buddy and I drove down from the bay area to Malibu for a weekend with friends at a house we rented on Latigo Canyon.





I didn't drive the car much during the first couple weeks of ownership, because I was waiting to get it wrapped in Xpel. With that done on Thursday, we hit the (wet) roads on Friday afternoon with 298 miles on the odometer. I elected to take the 101 instead of the 5, because the 5 is soul-crushingly boring. It added 30 minutes but it was worth it to run along the pacific ocean and get a bit more rolling landscape.







I found the car comfortable and capable on the highway. The seats seem to have broken in a bit (or I just got used to them), and I appreciated the lumbar adjustment to keep my back from getting fatigued. The infotainment, HVAC, and cruise control systems also worked really well. We had dual iPhones plugged in and the Sync system was clever in terms of letting my phone rule the CarPlay connection while letting his phone function as the USB audio source. The ride was bouncy but livable, and the NVH performance was good with mainly tire noise coming through. Passing could be done without dropping out of 6th, but the option was always there to drop to 4th or 5th and zoom through if I needed it. My main gripes are that I appear to have the B-pillar rattle, and the Sirius radio quality is shockingly bad.



On the first leg, with cruising speeds in the 70-80 mph range depending on conditions, I turned 24.3 MPG. Driving the car through different lighting and weather conditions helped me to appreciate the nature of the Nitrous Blue color. In some lighting (like above) it looks smurf blue, like the NA Miata's mariner blue, in other conditions it's bright and the flake shows.



We made good time and arrived at the house in time for late dinner. We didn't use the car Saturday for our various outdoor activities, but I did receive a compliment from a young dude who was passing the driveway. My second compliment on the RS! On Sunday morning we ran up Latigo Canyon Road, possibly my favorite road I've ever driven, and did the Snake portion of Mulholland.



The car was at ~650 miles at this point, so I drove fairly aggressively without pushing past about 5500 RPM. I love the grip and the power available, in second gear it's a point-and-shoot machine and it lets you build confidence as the driver. Latigo and Mulholland are 2nd to 3rd gear territory and it was so much fun shifting up and down, exhaust popping. I let my buddy have a go and, while he's a Corvette guy, he was impressed with the grip and capability in these canyons.







We needed to get on the highway so it was only a couple runs, but a good baptism for this car on these incredible roads. I had my GoPro recording but didn't bother with a mic setup so it's just wind noise and amateur driving. We had fun, we didn't get any tickets, and I didn't end up on YouTube so I call that a success.

The drive way back was a little slower with the other weekend travelers coming back from LA with us, but somewhere on Hecker Pass I passed the 1k mark and celebrated by running out to redline a few times. Yeehaw, now I can drive it for real! The flashing "RS" was alarming the first time, but I'd read through the manual my first night with the car so I figured out was I was seeing. The second tank included the canyon runs so fuel economy was just 20.5 MPG. I did see a Nitrous RS coming down the 101 the other way sometime in the early afternoon, otherwise just a scattering of Focus and Fiesta STs.



We arrived home safely and the car didn't miss a beat. If you're confused why I think the car feels quiet, fast, and economical, in my signature you can see what I'm used to driving and it may make more sense haha. I bought this car to be my reliable and practical daily driver, and so far it's been everything I could ask for! There are some areas for improvement, but overall I'm really happy with my purchase. Hope you enjoyed reading along.

 

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Congrats and will enjoy reading your build.
:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Now that we're up to speed, some recent updates from the last week.

I received a nice big box in the mail, not really sure what it was, wondering why it appeared to have a VIN on it. It was my owner's box! Nothing earth-shattering but something nice that Ford didn't have to do. Also a nice reminder to keep my eye out for Adrenaline Academy dates for 2018.



With the road trip under my belt, and break-in complete, I wanted to do the inaugural oil change. I went with the OE fluid and filter.





The oil change went smoothly. I can't tell you how incredible it is to get under a car and see everything as it left the factory. With all of my other cars, every job has me bracing for some new discovery of where some previous owner broke clips, lost push-pins, drilled mysterious holes, or zip tied this thing to the other thing, or worse.



While I had the front end up, I installed the ZL1 rock guards. I didn't get the strongest first impression when I received them in the mail - they're just die-cut sheets of flat plastic - but they fit pretty well and offer OE-looking protection. I wanted to get these on early to protect the paint as soon as I could. The rears could use a bit more thought; I poked a hole through the wheel liner to mount the top bolt, but elected to leave out the lower-outermost screw. Not keen on putting a hole in my bumper plastic that isn't absolutely necessary; they'd fit more flush with that attachment point but I'll run like this and see if it bothers me. I can say though that, if you install that screw, the kit should really include another standoff collar to keep everything in the right place.





Received my license plate. I don't really name my cars, but the plate is "BIF" which makes me laugh and seems like a pretty good match for this car. Biff the blue Ford.



So with the clear bra in place and the rock guards installed, I'm feeling good on my first priority for the car, which was protection/prevention. The next parts on the list (my Christmas list, to be precise) are minor experience-improvers. That includes:

- Euro cupholder
- Ford's carbon fiber RS shift knob
- Throttle pedal spacer and license plate bracket from yourlittleCNCshop.

I'm going to be accumulating seat time through the end of the year and seeing what else I want to do with the car. I am resisting the urge to change wheels immediately, because these stock 19s are a royal pain to clean!
 

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I'm up past 2000 miles on the RS and loving it. Today I installed a few of my Christmas gifts and parts I've had waiting in the wings.

Mountune had a nice price on their items during the holidays so I went for the quick shifter and solid shifter cable bushings. Finally installed them today.







The quick shifter install was easy, hit the spring pin with a bit of penetrating oil before starting and it came out without any issues. Hammering it back in was a bit more difficult, as the pin needs to be aligned when it passes from the shift arm into the shaft and then again from the shaft back into the other side of the shift arm. The end I was hitting mushroomed a bit from the force of the hammer so it ended up "near flush" and I called it good. I plan to inspect everything again in 100 miles or so.

The shifter bushings were more involved than expected. Mr. Dremel had to get involved to free the green socket component that gets reused with the new bushings. I also made the mistake of fitting the bushings to the cable ends and THEN trying to pop them onto the balls, which is a no-go. I guess that makes sense, since I just removed all the mushy bits with compliance in an effort to improve the shift feel. I tightened the lateral link a bit too tight (with tools) and found that the shifter had too much resistance to return from left and right back to center positions. I backed off the bushing half a turn and it felt normal again. I used red threadlock on the bushing threads and silicon grease on the ball and socket.



All together, the shift action is much improved over stock. The throw reduction is nice - subtle - but the bushings are the real difference makers. Whereas the stock shifter had an interesting "video game-y" kind of feel when it plopped into gear, the machined bushings have eliminated that sensation and improved the driving experience. The RS throw now feels nearly as direct as my Miata, which is a good thing. I topped it all off with the Ford carbon fiber RS shift knob I received as a gift. Aside from these parts, I also installed a stubby antenna. I ordered YourLittleCNCShop's license plate frame and throttle pedal spacer. If I can get the pedals set up for good street-driving heel-toe, I will be a happy camper.

Last week I used my "practical" car, folding the rear seats flat to stuff them with car parts. I bought another M3, this one a project, and used the hatch to ferry home the bumpers, wing, fender, and various bits and bobs.



 

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Had an exciting drive home from work tonight, when I went to downshift coming off the freeway and found that the shift lever and transmission were no longer on speaking terms. Lever would go fore/aft over "between" 5th and 6th without actually changing gears. Stuck in 6th, I tried to slingshot my way back towards home but ended up inevitably stalling in traffic on the off-ramp, half of the car still in the lane.

Popped the hood and confirmed that yes, my shifter bushing install had gone awry. The two halves of the bushing for the fore-aft control had come apart, thankfully the socket and lower bushing had stayed in place on the shift arm so I had the opportunity to put everything back together. I have good luck in that I somehow always have these breakdowns within walking distance of an auto parts store. I pulled the shift arm into neutral, rolled out of the way of traffic (thank you mystery FR-S driver for stopping to help me push it), and locked it up to go buy tools. I returned with an 8mm allen wrench, 28mm adjustable wrench, and 7mm socket to repair it in the rain, in the dark, on the side of the road. I snugged it up and drove the rest of the way home, skipping gears to minimize shift motion until I could get home to perform an actual fix with threadlocker.

Why did this happen? It's my fault, of course. I applied red threadlocker on the threads when I screwed the two halves of the new bushings together, but as I mentioned in my last post only after I'd put it all together did I realize I couldn't pop the bushings onto the ball joint and I had to disassemble again. I did it quickly enough that I thought I was still OK in terms of threadlocker cure time, but it appears I was not. To properly repair, I will go back in there, take it all apart, and apply more threadlocker liberally. Then I'll let it set/cure for 24 hours per the bottle and hopefully not have to do this again...

I have bad luck with shifting issues on the 101. In my tii I once shifted into 4th and had the entire shift arm assembly come up in my hand. I rebuilt the linkage, two weeks later the shift knob tore off its internal rivnut and I did it again. I gotta say though, after the first time it doesn't really phase you as much.
 

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Glad you managed to fix it.
:thumbsup:
 

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Been a long while since an update. Since last time (January), I installed a few CNC parts (throttle pedal spacer, license plate bracket), and had my Xpel film re-done because it was not done well the first time.

The car has settled into my reliable and enjoyable daily driver, as it was always intended to. I still have a little bounce in my step on my way out to the garage after work because I'm excited to drive this car home. I still love the color and the ownership experience overall. I'm nudging up on 5,000 miles after about 7 months with the car. Some candid snaps for your enjoyment:



StanceNation making my car look like an Escape



Out at the pacific ocean just past Pescadero



Up on Skyline near Page Mill, overlooking the bay



Local taco truck.

On April 27th I took the car in for the head gasket pressure test, which it passed. Got a call that my new head gasket and components arrived, so yesterday I dropped the car off for its open-heart surgery at Serramonte Ford. I deliberately waited to have this job done so that my car would not be the first, the guinea pig... the experience with Serramonte has been excellent so far so I am hopeful for a good result. They're trying to get the car done and have it ready by the end of this coming week. They set me up with a loaner through Enterprise, a 13-mile Escape. No RS obviously but a fine little car. It is fascinating to see how much of this car is common to the RS - same instrument cluster, door trims, steering wheel, overhead console/storage, hood release (in cabin and under hood), even the front end carrier looks to be nearly identical.



I have had two issues develop during my time with the car, both of which seem to be common. I asked Serramonte to address the driver's seat bottom click/shift issue, which is very frustrating and squashes confidence during hard cornering. I ultimately decided not to ask them to address the B-pillar click/rattle, which has become more pronounced and is on both sides of the car. I want to investigate myself and see if there is an easy fix before having them take a screwdriver to pry apart the spot weld flange... eek.

Upcoming RS plans: Tuesday of this week UPS says they're going to deliver some interior dress-up items I've wanted since I bought the car, the carbon fiber door "spears" and auxiliary gauge surround. Obviously install will have to wait until there's a car to attach them to. I also took the opportunity to order a Mountune V2 exhaust, which they ballparked would ship out in "2-3 months." Based on what I've read I'm not holding my breath, but I'm not really in a rush either.

In just a couple of weeks I am super excited, because I'm heading to Salt Lake City for the RS Academy. I'm really looking forward to trying launch control and drift mode in safe/controlled settings, and on someone else's clutch! It would also be very cool if they'd installed a drift stick on a car too. Since I'm out there I also booked the add-on day in the Mustang GT. It's been a minute since I've done a track day, and it's never been in anything as powerful as these cars, so I think it's going to be fun!
 

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I meant to share this in my last post. I went on vacation to Switzerland a couple months back and saw this guy at a train station. It looks quite strange as a 2-door, really long. Great color though, and same shade on the Recaros too!



Today I got my car back from the head gasket campaign. Start to finish I had a terrific experience with Serramonte Ford. You heard about the testing and drop-off in my last post, and the pickup today was just as smooth. I got a call from Jared that my car was ready, I returned the Escape to Enterprise, they drove me over, I picked up my fixed (and washed) car. The car was clean inside and out, and it drove just fine the ~50 miles home. It was driving fine before, and it feels exactly the same now, which is the ideal outcome. (particularly after reading the work order outlining how much of the car had to come apart...) They had the car for exactly one week, including Memorial day.



See? Exact same.



Cracked 5,000 miles on the way home.



On Tuesday I received my carbon interior trim parts. Unfortunately there was an issue with the door pieces - namely, the RH 'spear' was MIA - so World OEM Ford Parts will be sending me a new set shortly. The gauge surround, however, looks great.



Pull up, unplug Sync speaker and gauge pod, transfer those two things to the new component, plug it back in, pop it back in.



Having that in my line of sight will break up the grey plastics and make the interior a slightly nicer place to be. A little more than one week to RS Academy! Woo.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Haven't updated in a while.

If you didn't see it, I did a write-up of my experience at the RS Adrenaline academy and Mustang GT add-on day here:
https://www.focusrs.org/forum/9-focus-rs-discussions/111964-rs-adrenaline-academy-6-11-18-recap.html

TLDR it was amazing.

When I returned, I had a couple of interior dress-up items waiting for me. The first was the euro cup holder. The install was quite involved, but in the end I like the new storage compartment much better than the OE. Forgive the dirty carpet.







After an issue with my original order - the RH part was missing - I finally received both Ford carbon fiber door 'spears' and installed them. They look nice, here's a bad photograph.



I took my car back in to have the driver's seat track replaced under warranty. I don't think the fix will last, but the click/shift of the seat bottom is gone for now.

Finally, I've officially passed the 3-month mark since I ordered the Mountune exhaust. Apparently I'm near the top of the list. Aside from that - I'm pretty much finished modifying the car. The temptation to tweak and tune is strong, but I have to remember that this is my reliable daily that needs to keep its warranty intact. When the tires wear out I will change the wheels, but that's all I have planned for now!
 

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So jealous - why do you guys get black multispoke rims in the US ?!?!

We don't get this option in Australia... If we want black, it's the forged black19's with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 ... booo ..
 

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So jealous - why do you guys get black multispoke rims in the US ?!?!

We don't get this option in Australia... If we want black, it's the forged black19's with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 ... booo ..
They're not black, they're a dark graphite. Similar to the inset finish on the wing. I'd like them a lot more if they didn't take 30 minutes to clean!
 

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They're not black, they're a dark graphite. Similar to the inset finish on the wing. I'd like them a lot more if they didn't take 30 minutes to clean!
Sorry, dark graphite! Sure looks better the silver that we get in that style ...




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Okay, I ordered my V2 exhaust from Mountune 5/13. It was listed at the time as out of stock, and I was quoted a 2-3 month lead time, and that was fine.

I've checked in periodically (monthly) just to see if there is new information available. The closest I got was being "second in line" and potentially ready to receive one after some orders were canceled July 20th. I hit the three-month mark in August, now I'm at the ~4.5-month mark. Sent an email yesterday, and today got a response that it's going to be ANOTHER 3-4 months. What?

I'm a patient guy, but damn. I've essentially been providing them an interest-free $1300 loan for months and months. Have to decide the best way forward.
 
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