CarForum.net - Car Forums, Automotive News and Community
Home Gallery Register Calendar Members List

Go Back   CarForum.net - Car Forums, Automotive News and Community > Performance > Naturally Aspirated

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools
Unread 11-29-2011, 07:38 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 47
Rep: 10 Sayshell is on a distinguished road
Default Need help increasning horsepower

Hey I am noob at car modding, and need some advice for boosting the power of my car. Overall all the performance is fine the main issue is I would like about 10% more power to help with merges/passing. I am not sure if it would be cheaper to go for weight reductions or to increase power.

My car is a 2004 ford focus zx5 manuel with no mods other than removing some seats and a few weight reductions in the interior.

I also do not want to hurt the fuel economy. I don't need it to be a race car or anything just about 10% more powerful when I floor it. I also want to get the cheapest option as well. These are the options I know about, what else can I do?
Supercharger: I am reluctant to get one cause I heard it hurts fuel economy
can you buy one that you can activate or deactivate while driving, or one that only goes on when you floor it?

Turbo: I am reluctant to get cause I heard its expensive

Cold Air intake: I am reluctant to get cause I heard it doesn't increase horsepower much.

Magnaflow exhaust: I don't know anything about this other than it makes your car a lot louder

Weight reductions: I am reluctant to get cause I think the $$ to weight ratio is bad compared to increasing horsepower.

Engine upgrade: I am reluctant to get cause I think it will decrease fuel economy, unless I get a v-tec in which case it costs a lot I think.

Sayshell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-29-2011, 09:39 PM   #2
S D
Veteran Member
 
S D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: WI
Posts: 1,988
Rep: 64 S D will become famous soon enough
Default

10% I am assuming is going to be around 15HP considering the car make and model. Look into an exhaust header and possibly a free flowing catalytic converter if available.

It's going to be expensive to squeeze power out of a four cylinder. The basics for any other engine apply as well, with smaller gains to be seen.
__________________
Simplify, then add lightness

S D is offline S D's Gallery  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-29-2011, 10:47 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 385
Rep: 19 elemein is on a distinguished road
Default

Speed Demon raises a good point, but it'll also kill a bit off your low-end torque to contribute it to your high-end torque. While this does improve fuel economy and does TECHNICALLY add horsepower, it will make your car harder to use in the lower RPMs.

Which raises the question; when merging on the high-way/any situation where you want more horsepower; do you want it in the low RPMs where the fuel economy to horsepower ratio is higher, or in the high RPMs where the fuel economy to horsepower ratio is lower?

If you need most of your power in the high-end RPMs, then Speed Demon's advice will be totally fine and sufficient and wont cost too much.

If you need it in the low end, then that's where I can help you (I personally am not a fan of exhaust-system modding as it moves the torque and power bend. Not desirable as it makes the car a little harder to manage at lower RPMs the bigger you make the exhaust system).

A cold air intake is a waste on a ford focus. They're expensive for the power and really only useful if you want to squeeze out every last milliwatt of power out of your engine. Most of us wont bother with this easy yet expensive for the power modification.

Weight reduction is a great idea. Though you seem to have some misconceptions about this; it does not even touch your horsepower or torque. It DOES indeed raise acceleration and handling characteristics. Heres an example; Imagine you're in a grocery store with a shopping cart; at the beginning when your cart is near empty, it is very easy to accelerate and has nimble handling characteristics, but as you add more things to it, it gets heavier and more clumsy. That is very good example as to what your car needs to do. Weight reduction doesnt add horsepower, it makes the horsepower you DO have more useful. Also, weight reduction helps fuel economy since your engine can rev-lower to move the same distance with lower weight.

Also, a supercharger and/or turbocharger upgrade is definetely overkill just to add on 15 more horsepower (your car has around 130 hp last time I checked. 15 hp is around 10%), you'll probably get more like 40-60 hp out of those, and YES, you will hurt your fuel economy. Not as much in the low-end, but then again, you dont make much power in the low-end with superchargers or turbochargers.

Also, you cant "upgrade" your engine with VTEC. Those come built-into HONDA engines. Not fords. This is what you call an engine "swap". And yes. It is extremely expensive for only 15 horsepower, and will turn your fuel economy to whatever the engine you put in the car to. It wont be the usual "amazing" Ford Focus mpg. It is also not only expensive, but changes the car totally, is VERY difficult for a "car modding noob", is very time-consuming, and if you get a mechanic to do it, will drain you of all your cash. Not worth it.

So, what can you do?

As said previously, if high-end power is what you want, the exhaust-system route is perfectly fine for this.

Though there are a few routes you can go down when wanting to make your car faster for a specific reason. I have three routes for you that I'll call out according to main idea.

I'm gonna call them "Weight Reduction", "Transmission Re-Gearing", and "Engine Packing".

Weight Reduction is obvious. It is free, and NO, adding carbon fibre to your Ford Focus is not only tacky, but doesnt yield extremely high-benefits for the big price tag. I reccomend taking out all the useless crap you dont need for starters. If you have a part of your car or function you dont need; trash it. Then I'd move on to a little more extrenous weight-reducing forte's, such as removing the seat belts from those rear-seats you took out (if they were pillar-mounted seat belts.), taking out some sound deadening, maybe cleaning out your trunk and the spare-tire compartment. Why not change your radio antenna from that gi-freaking-nourmous thin one to a "stubbie"? You'll get better reception, lower weight, and better aerodynamics. If you're interested in the fantastical route of weight-reduction, then Speed Demon is a proclaimed knowledgeable source of car-anorexia who will happily help you.

Then we have Transmission Re-Gearing. You said you have a manual transmission? Good. It'll be great to regear. Now ask yourself something quickly; what gear do you merge onto the highway with? Third? Fourth? Fifth? If you're merging onto the highway and at high-RPMs and is still not satisfied with the car's power, then a regearing might be in order (though here's an important bit. If you merge onto the highway and your tachometer is NOT at high-end RPMs and you're asking about adding horsepower, then jump into your car right now, go merge onto the highway, but this time, use your car's high-end RPMs. If things went much better, then you dont need to add horsepower or anything, if you already use your high-end RPMs when merging, then read on.) Now, I'm not going to go into depth here, but lets simplify your transmission ratios here. Basicly; a lower ratio = higher top speed, BUT, slower acceleration. A higher ratio = lower top speed, BUT, FASTER acceleration. Transmission work can get costly depending on your car, but it should be pretty manageable for your car depending on your budget. Basicly, when you regear your transmission, you're changing the rate at which your car accelerates and also at which speed it needs to switch gears. So go back to the question; what gear do you use when merging to the high-way? Third? Regear your third gear to be a higer ratio for faster acceleration (though also a shorter shift-point). Use your fourth gear? Then change that one out to be a bigger ratio. Fifth gear? You guessed it! Change it to become a bigger ratio. Thats all there is to it when we deal with your problem. Though bear in mind, a bigger ratio = lower top speed/higher accel., smaller ratio = higher top speed/slower accel. DONT forget it.

Then we have Engine Packing. Which is what you wanted in the first place. Lets just throw more power at your engine. First thing's first; there are very cheap things you can do at first to get some more power out of your engine before all those expensive do-dads. First, lets get you a K&N air-filter. Everyone loves them. Not a big HP increase (realisticly only 1-3 HP), but they're dirt cheap, are reusable, get you about 5-10% better fuel economy, and as said before, everyone loves them, and for around 50 bucks, where can you go wrong? Next, lets get you some performance spark-plugs (and wires too!), this is also dirt cheap, helps your fuel economy a bit, and adds an extra 1-3 HP, everyone does these, and again, for only 50-70 dollars for performance plugs AND wires, where can you go wrong? Now, those things are all fine-and dandy; and they do noticeably help, but lets get into some funner stuff. Firstly, make your throttle-body bigger. Simple, cheap, and guaranteed to improve power and acceleration up to a certain point (once your throttle body becomes bigger than all your intake runners, it's quite pointless to make it bigger.) Also, lets invest in a fuel-rail if you dont already have one. This helps fuel get to your injectors with optimal pressure, this can easily net you 4-5 HP if you dont already have a fuel-rail & Fuel-pressure regulator (which you probably do, but they may be seperate or not performance-based). Speaking of injectors; get free-er flowing ones. It lets more fuel run to your engine faster, cleaner, and with more presure; so that's an easy 3-5 HP too. Why dont we also get a high-flow fuel pump to run those injectors? A good idea; the two upgrades naturally help eachother. Also, if you're feeling adventurous, why not reflash your ECU or tune it? Your ECU is compatible with OBD-II regulations, so tuning it should be a breeze, the tools are also pretty inexpensive. With the tools, you can tell your computer how much fuel to inject at what RPM in what gear; when to send a spark to the ignition, and lots of other fun stuff to move your power-bend into the lower, mid, or higher-end (all to your choosing). All this stuff will either improve or not touch your fuel economy at all, and all these together will not cost as much as a turbo or supercharger; all are easy to install; will make your engine more reliable or wont touch reliability, and also will all make more than 15 HP easily.

You can do one route, or a combination of all them, or just two.

Sorry for a long post, I like to get detailed; the more information you give us, the better we can assist you.

Welcome to Carforum.net, you've entered the fun and intriguing world of car-modifying Hope you stick around!

elemein is offline  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-30-2011, 05:02 AM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 47
Rep: 10 Sayshell is on a distinguished road
Default

thanks that was very helpful. I merge in third gear at high rpms. Are weight reductions worth it? its really hard to trim down the weight. I only managed to knock off 30lbs with all the weight reductions I did. I am interested in car anorexia, but I don't want to do any mods that can't be set back. Like I don't want to drill stuff out, because I will probably end up selling this car at some point.
I will get the K&N filter for sure, is their any specifics to buying them, or is it a one size fits all deal? Also will I be able to install it my self with a basic tool set (socket wrench/screwdrivers/etc) or is their a trick to it? Also is their any negative feedback from getting this? For example if its letting more air in will your engine get dirty?

For the spark plugs, could you recommend a brand? Or would I just look for "high performance spark plugs" I am interested in learning to manage my car my self and would like to install things, would this be a safe job to try, and could it be done with regular tools, or would I need to remove the engine?

For the computer adjuster that sounds cool, is the interface easy to operate and has simple menus, or do you need to know what you are doing to operate it?

If I had to go for 3 mods I am thinking
spark plugs
Air filter
and bigger throttle body

Would you say this is the best choice for my $$??
Thanks again for your help.

Last edited by Sayshell; 11-30-2011 at 11:00 AM.

Sayshell is offline  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-30-2011, 01:06 PM   #5
Hammond Hand Luggage
 
cluffenstein's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 2,704
Rep: 61 cluffenstein will become famous soon enough
Default

You can get a really good tune from FSWerks at SCT ECU flasher for Ford Focus

Air filter does nothing, you need a full intake, FSWerks sells a few good ones as well.

Another good site (I deal with this store in person since their about 10 miles from me) is Massive Hardcore Racing Performance Parts - Massive Speed System - Ford Focus Specialists - Homepage And a good focus forum for getting some performance help is www.focaljet.com
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEcull
He may have ruined his cylinder walls and compression wings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wierdo124
Yeah. Should hold up fine, long as you don't drive like a primate.

cluffenstein is offline cluffenstein's Gallery  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-30-2011, 01:37 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Tyrker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 13
Rep: 10 Tyrker is on a distinguished road
Default

Underdrive pulley. Gives you the HP and increases fuel efficiency . Should give 10-14 and should be around $300 (this is however for my own car, but using it as a base as it shouldn't be that much different for your car)

Tyrker is offline Tyrker's Gallery  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-30-2011, 01:50 PM   #7
Hammond Hand Luggage
 
cluffenstein's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 2,704
Rep: 61 cluffenstein will become famous soon enough
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrker View Post
Underdrive pulley. Gives you the HP and increases fuel efficiency . Should give 10-14 and should be around $300 (this is however for my own car, but using it as a base as it shouldn't be that much different for your car)
Unless installed by a professional, UDP's will very easily f**k your motor up on a Focus. Had I not had that warning, I would have run one. (this was from a guy who builds Focus motors every day for racing)
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEcull
He may have ruined his cylinder walls and compression wings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wierdo124
Yeah. Should hold up fine, long as you don't drive like a primate.

cluffenstein is offline cluffenstein's Gallery  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-30-2011, 01:56 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Tyrker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 13
Rep: 10 Tyrker is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cluffenstein View Post
Unless installed by a professional, UDP's will very easily f**k your motor up on a Focus. Had I not had that warning, I would have run one. (this was from a guy who builds Focus motors every day for racing)
Hmm, did not know that about Focuses. Still worth it if installed by a pro then?

Tyrker is offline Tyrker's Gallery  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-30-2011, 02:17 PM   #9
Hammond Hand Luggage
 
cluffenstein's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 2,704
Rep: 61 cluffenstein will become famous soon enough
Default

No, the best performance you'll get out of it is an additional 5-7hp, at a cost of $120 (and $200 to install) and a MUCH higher chance of being completely SOL if your motor grenades.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by TestEcull
He may have ruined his cylinder walls and compression wings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wierdo124
Yeah. Should hold up fine, long as you don't drive like a primate.

cluffenstein is offline cluffenstein's Gallery  
Reply With Quote
Unread 11-30-2011, 03:31 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 385
Rep: 19 elemein is on a distinguished road
Default

Air filters do indeed do something. They filter the air. Now, if you have a 100% clean air filter, then dropping a K&N in wont do much justice, but, K&Ns are reusable, so it'll cut out the costs of buying new air filters all the time + keep the filter cleaner longer as the filter is made of a different material than just the normal paper ones that most people buy to replace their dirty air filters (or atleast, SHOULD replace) . Also, there isnt really any specifics to it, it is'nt "one size fits all" since there are many different shapes of air filters, but just take your car to AutoZone or take a picture of the current intake, and go buy an air filter that is the same shape and size, or get the AutoZone worker to identify it for you. It should'nt be too difficult.

For spark plugs, there is no particular brand I reccomend. Spark plugs are spark plugs. I reccomend getting a set of spark plugs that are "high heat" grade; they emit a more efficient and hotter spark, more thoroughly burning all fuel. Also, iridium, steel-plated, platinum, titanium, and all those materials that brands market their spark plugs over are not better than one another. Iridium can burn just as hot as Platinum, and so does Titanium and all those other wish-wash. It's the durability of all the spark plugs. Steel-plated plugs dont generally last as long as iridium. Also, if you NEED a brand, then I do reccomend MSD Ignition. They'll run just as hot as other manufacturers with the same material's as others, but they're renowned, have good customer support, have pretty decent prices, as well as sell their ignition kits in sets (coils, wires, plugs) so you dont have to mix-and-match all the ignition parts.

I'm with cluffenstein on the underdrive pulley issue. It does increase horsepower and torque, but at the cost of "underdriving" all your accesories. This includes alternator, air conditioner, compressor, power steering, water pump, and all the other little bits and bobs your car's engine runs. If you get one improperly installed, poorly designed, or wrongly order, then an underdriven alternator could be DEADLY to your battery, and it could mess up lots of other stuff. Not really worth it for a car modifying newbie to screw up his first car with.

I'm also with cluffenstein on the ECU reflash or retune. As I said; you can make your motor behave however you want if you reflash it or tune it. If you dont plan on reflashing or tuning, you should atleast get the equipment needed to read your engine maps and such if you want to get into cars. It'll really help you better understand your car.

Also, you dont need a brand new throttle body if you're going to get it. A used one will be fine. It's literally just a mechanical piece of metal that a metal wire attachs to in order to open it. As long as its clean and not rusting; thats fine. It'll save on money.

Again, may we get a budget? It'll really help.

elemein is offline  
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:08 AM.

Shogun Interactive Development Copyright 2015 Shogun Interactive Development. All rights reserved.