After Lowering my car with Eibach Pro-Kit springs(see review) I found it necessary to use spacers to remove the very apparent wheel inset. The Garageline spacers a priced very well and come in multiple sizes. I opted for a staggered set, running 15mm on the front and 20mm on the rear.
The design of the spacers, means you use the stock hub bolts and the supplied lug nuts to mount the spacers to the axle. You then mount your wheels to the spacers which have either own bolts, using your original lug nuts. This design makes for a simple bolt on upgrade.
Make sure your hub is clean, as any debris can cause the spacers not to sit flush, thus they’ll wobble. Also, make sure that you properly torque each bolt on the spacer; I’ve had mine come loose. This leads to my main complaint. The supplied lug nuts have a tapered top and the size of the recessed hole makes it very tight to fit your socket in there. These two things combined make it hard to properly torque the bolts as the socket tends to slip off.
Some people have suggested using blue lock-tite on them. I have not tried this, but if they come loose again I will.
One of the first upgrade I did to my car was springs. I purchased a set of Eibach Pro-Kit springs for my car 2014 Focus ST. What attracted me to these springs was the ride height drop, as this is my daily driver.
The kit lowers the car by 3/4 inch on the front and 1 inch at the back. This gets rid of a good amount of wheel well gap. It isn’t so low that you have to be concerned about space on wider tires and offsets. It did however accent the fact that our stock wheels have a very large offset, 55mm. To correct this I found it necessary to get spacers. The spacers made a huge difference, I’ve gotten way more comments on the look of the car since I’ve put them on. I am currently running GarageLine 15mm Spacers on the front and 20mm spacers on the Rear. Spacer Review
With the modest drop of these springs it allows the car to be lowered but not to the point it became an inconvenience. I have no issues getting in an out of my driveway or going over speed bumps. The ride quality also did not become harsh, as the springs are progressive. This allows the springs to be soft to soak up the small bumps in the roads, but then get stiff quickly when the car starts to lean, such as in a corner. One of the main improvements with the springs is the reduction is nose and tail dive during hard braking or acceleration.
Autocrossing the car regularly the before an after spring install is huge. The car is much more stable under hard braking as the weight is not rolling around. The same goes for the corners. The car also does not have the inner wheel lift on hard corning that the stock springs have, allowing the car to be much more planted and stable.
The only issue I am having is the increased wear on my stock struts. This is due to aftermarket companies not making any struts for the 2014 model as it has a different spring perch on the front than the 2013’s.
A month ago, June 2014, I purchased Levels’ new bolt-on front mount intercooler(FMIC). One of the main selling points was the price. This intercooler comes in a few hundred dollars cheaper than some of it’s main competitors. Also, it did not require drilling into the crash bar like some of the other intercoolers out there. With those key bits going for it, I decided to try one out, and so far I have not been disappointed. The Product:
– Intercooler core is 24 x 8 x 3.5
– End tanks are designed in Autocad, CNC cut and hand tig welded
– Mates directly to factory charge pipes
– Direct bolt-on! No drilling required
– Includes upgraded T-bolt clamps to ensure proper sealing
– Yields charge air temperature drops of 50+ degrees
Installation was fairly straight forward following this video.
The only change to the process, which they note at the beginning, is how you mount the intercooler.
For me this was the only complication I had with the install. My wrenches were not thin enough to get around the bolt on the inside of the crash bar. What I ended up doing was drilling the holes taller so I could get the wrench under the bolt.
Many people in our club purchased this intercooler and did not have this issue. I am noting this as it’s a possibility you could have this issue, but it does not seem common. If you do have to drill, drill slowly and use a titanium bit.
Without any issues the install takes about an hour.
Driving and other Impressions:
When installing it you can see the craftsmanship and build quality is very high. Comparing the stock to this one makes the stock one seem like it’s made of cardboard; which is probably why you can heat soak very quickly.
Driving around I noticed a huge difference in my charge temps. Whether, driving hard or stuck in traffic, I would be around +2-5 degrees above ambient. Going wide open throttle(WOT) from low RPM to redline I would notice a slightly larger rise, up to maybe +15, but that would drop back down quickly once off the throttle. In a comparison test, I did a 4th gear datalog pull on my stock FMIC. It was 85 degrees out, at night, and about 65% humidity. By the time I hit 7000 RPM my charge temps were up to 147 degrees. The next day I did another datalog on the same section of road. The temperature was again 85 but the humidity was slightly lower at 60%. By the end of my run my charge temps were at 94 degrees. Note that I also had upgraded Hot and Cold Charge pipes from MBRB as I did the installs together. So some of the temp drop can be attributed to the new pipes, regardless, this is a huge improvement over stock. I didn’t even have my tune adjusted for the FMIC.
I have driven the car hard for hours at a time and other times doing up to 14 autocross runs in a day and have yet to experience heat soak. Some intercoolers have an issue where they are so big, that by the time the air gets to the throttle body they have lost a good amount of psi. This is not the case with the Levels FMIC, from my logs I have only dropped maybe a quarter to half psi, which I can get adjusted in my tune as I’m only at 23 psi currently.
I would highly recommend this FMIC on both the price, build quality and performance.