16 of the Easiest, Cheapest, Most Effective Focus ST Mods
There is an endless amount of modding that can be done to the Focus ST. From shift knobs to bolt-on turbo kits to performance built engines, the range is limitless. As the saying goes, "to each their own", and that applies here. Whether it's function, form, power, or something else that you care about, there is something for everyone. The good news is you don't have to be rich to modify the ST and you don't need a mechanic's certification either. There are some seriously easy modifications to perform that will change your ST more than you might have thought, all at a very reasonable price tag.
It's safe to say that if you bought everything on this list, you're around $1,500 invested. That puts the average cost of each of these items at $93.75, making each of them a relatively painless decision.
We'll go through each one and let you know why we think it should be on this list. There are several other parts that could have made this list for one or two of the "easiest, cheapest, or most effective" categories. But we want to focus on parts that could easily be in all three. Bang for the buck is the name of the game here. Modifications are in no particular order!
Rear Motor Mount
- Easy - Installs in about 30 minutes. You must be able to get under the car though. Once there, basic tools will get you there.
- Cheap - Although it can be one of the higher priced items on the list, it still comes in between $100-234.41, depending on your choice.
- Effective - This keeps the motor from moving around in the engine bay. If you didn't know already, it moves A LOT. The increased driver feel, smoother shifting, and better positive traction will make you wonder why the car doesn't come like that. It's a VERY effective mod.
Stainless Steel Brake Lines
- Easy - In my opinion, this is the hardest to install of all the parts here. Don't worry though, there are tons of YouTube videos with how to install these and you can do it with basic tools. It can get a little messy and you need to bleed the brakes afterwards but if you're up for it, this is more than worth the money.
- Cheap - Coming it at $53.90 per axle for StopTech lines, it's almost a no brainer for those that like some extra stopping power and feel.
- Effective - Rubber is flexible. The stock lines are made of rubber and as your foot presses the pedal, all that pressure from the fluid transferring ends up lost to the expansion of that rubber. Stainless lines don't expand nearly as much, therefore more pressure ends up pressing the pad against the rotor. An extremely effective mod, if you ask us. There is a noticeable difference, to say the least.
- Easy - Prop your hood open, disconnect a couple things, reconnect a couple things. Boom, you're done. Only basic tools needed.
- Cheap - Starting at $99.95 with a slightly better version coming in at $129.95.
- Effective - While performing anything from changing your oil to removing an engine, the hood prop is one of the most annoying things ever. Short of removing your hood, this is the best way to move around in front of your car when the hood is up. Open it, close it...as simple as that.
Intake Manifold Spacer
- Easy - Contrary to most intake manifold removals, the Focus ST's is so easy it feels too good to be true, but it's not. It's 5 bolts and they're all easily accessible. Remove the stock bolts, put the spacer in, and put new bolts back in.
- Cheap - $156.75 is as cheap as you can ask an effective mod to be.
- Effective - This adds length to your intake runners which will increase the velocity of the air coming in and adds torque in the mid range. Not many mods are this easy and cheap that have to do with making power.
Quick Drain Oil Pan Fitting
- Easy - This can go on any car's list. It replaces the stock oil drain plug with one that you can pop a fitting onto and drain quickly and cleanly. No more time is spent than putting a new part where you were already going to put the old part back in.
- Cheap - $128.18 for both male and female sides
- Effective - This allows you much cleaner, faster, and easier oil changes. You don't have to worry about losing drain plugs, oil splashing everywhere, or where the oil is going to go when you take the plug off. It has a barbed fitting on the female side so you can put a line on the end and point the oil to whatever drain location you want.
- Easy - There are many different bulbs you can replace with LED versions including fog lights, dome lights, blinkers, and more. Usually, these are very easy to access and swap out, about as easy as it is to change any given light bulb in your house.
- Cheap - The most expensive bulb replacement is $40. The most expensive bulb and housing replacement is $160.
- Effective - Lighting completely changes the feel of an interior and the visibility of your exterior. To others, you are more visible from the outside and from the inside, the road becomes more visible. Some would consider this a style upgrade, as well.
- Easy - A simple spark plug socket, extension, and socket wrench will remove and install any spark plug and all you need to do is take off the plastic engine cover. Gapping the plug is intimidating to many that haven't done it before but it's very easy and the gapping tools you need are very inexpensive from your local auto parts store.
- Cheap - A nice set of iridium spark plugs are around $30-35.
- Effective - You should be replacing your spark plugs fairly often anyway so why not get a nicer set? Especially when you're tuning or pushing more power, your spark plugs can be the difference between a healthy running motor and one that's stumbling, idling weakly, or causing misfires. Speaking of, if you're pushing more power than stock, there's a point where one step colder plugs are a necessity.
- Easy - This isn't quite close to the easiest install on this list but it's not nearly as hard as many other installs. It may take a little more time and patience but the basic nature of the install is pretty easy.
- Cheap - $138.00-246.01
- Effective - This is sort of a toss up here. You either have something that is no more effective than stock other than pleasing to certain people's ears or you have a very functional BOV kit that allows you to run a bigger turbo and discharge a much larger volume of air. Either way, it changes the experience greatly for whoever wants one.
- Easy - Quite possible the easiest thing to install on this list. If you can't install this, you might need to rethink modding in general!
- Cheap - $64.40 - $82.80
- Effective - You wouldn't think a shift knob can have a different effect but it can, but there's a lot more than meets the eye. A heavier knob makes the lever travel through the gates smoother and without as much force. A delrin (type of material) knob is a smoother, machined surface that doesn't heat up and burn your hand off on a hot day. A taller knob needs less leverage placed on it as you're rowing through the gears. Or, it might just be more aesthetically pleasing. Either way, a shift knob can make a bigger difference than you might think.
Rear Sway Bar
- Easy - Some sway bars are harder than others to install. In the case of the rear bar on the ST, it's mostly a piece of cake. Remove the end link nuts, remove the center bushing brackets and remove and replace the bar.
- Cheap - $144.49-215.21
- Effective - The ST isn't a slow turning car, it's actual quite nimble. But in the aftermarket world there is always room for improvement. A thicker, stiffer rear sway bar is typically a great mod on a front wheel drive car and it is on the ST. The car becomes more responsive and turns in much more confidently.
Short Shift Adapter
- Easy - All you need is the hood popped, a few basic tools, and some elbow grease to get this thing in. The installation is done in the engine bay while the car is on the ground. You're essentially disconnecting the shifter cables and replacing the lever they attach to on the transmission. This is much easier to install than a full short shifter.
- Cheap - $78.20 - $199
- Effective - The shifting experience is totally different. This is highly noticeable. It's a shorter distance for the shifter to travel in order for the next gear to be engaged which results in quicker shifts.
- Easy - This is one of the easier ones on our list. Pop open the airbox and swap the filter. You've probably done this before.
- Cheap - A much nicer filter that never needs to be replaced again comes in at around $60.
- Effective - First, replacing your filter with one that lasts as long as the car saves you from needing to ever buy a new one again. Score. Second, the stock filter only takes in air around the side but any performance filter adds a secondary inlet at the top of the round style filter. This adds more airflow. You'll even hear that turbo spooling up a little more too! Lastly, the flow is going to be better than those stupid paper filters.
- Easy - This is conditional on you having a Cobb AccessPort or a similar custom tuning device. If you're comfortable with doing a few WOT pulls on a safe road at your own risk and datalogging the necessary information for a tuner, this is an easy way to improve your car.
- Cheap - At $200, it's above the average cost of anything on this list but it comes with a lot of value.
- Effective - OTS (off-the-shelf) maps are better than stock, but they're not perfect. They fit a wide variety of situations. Custom tuning your ECU for your exact modifications and environment can make a world of difference and make your car run much better while potentially extract more power and torque.
Sound Symposer Delete
- Easy - This is all installed from the top of the engine bay with basic tools.
- Cheap - $30-45
- Effective - This isn't going to make anything noticeably different to the driver but it does two things. It removes a clunky plastic tube for the sound symposer that most people don't care about. It also creates a vacuum/boost port that you can easily use for a different blowoff valve or a vacuum block that has multiple uses. It's a great way to use the manifold for something Ford never designed it to be used for.
- Easy - Do we really need to tell you how easy floor mats are?
- Cheap - $114.95 - $197.90, less if all you want is the front or rear only.
- Effective - Keeping your car clean is important and if you live in a place that has rough winters or you track a lot of debris and dirt into your car, these are perfect for keeping your floor in good shape. Not a typical "mod", but certainly effective at doing what they are designed to do.
Front Air Scoop
- Easy - Taking off the front bumper is easier than it looks. It's finicky, but it's not hard. Once it's off, this is very easy to put on.
- Cheap - $175 (for a carbon version!)
- Effective - Reducing intake temps is almost always a great way to gain power and efficiency. Denser air molecules are always a good thing.
About JP Alonso
I'm the founder of Edge Autosport and I remember first getting into cars in high school. I read all the magazines, bought a bunch of technical books, and finally got to start wrenching around the age of 19. I really enjoy modding and being able to live out a passion is truly awesome. I wouldn't change a thing.