John Moore`s - Collins Performance


John Moore`s - Collins Performance
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Give it
John Moore is a man with a history of Ford engine swaps
behind him, so when he had the chance to slot an RS
engine into his Mk2 Focus ST he didn’t think twice about it.
Words and pics: Jon Cass
here’s always been a tradition amongst
Ford enthusiasts for upgrading a car’s
engine to the one that stands out in
the range, and it’s normally the one
that comes with an RS badge. We’ve
seen it with Mk1 and Mk2 Escorts fitted with
RS2000 engines and there was no shortage of
XR3s with RS turbo powerplants back in the ’90s
either. In fact, there was probably a period where
more RST lumps appeared in other cars than in
RSTs themselves! Vans, estates, and even the
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humble Orion all received the RST treatment.
These were indeed good times, when people
assumed the rusting ex-Telecom van was running
a diesel until the whistle from the dump valve
gave the game away.
As engines become generally more reliable and
upgrades readily available to bring brisk
performance to even mid-range cars, the
popularity of a full on engine swap seems to have
slowed down in recent years. Add to that the cost
and complexity of such a job compared to 20
years ago, sometimes carrying out such a task can
be more trouble than it’s worth. Despite the initial
setbacks, we’re glad to hear the tradition
continues in smaller numbers. So, dare we say it,
keeping the spirit alive for all those XR3s with RS
turbo power is John Moore’s RS-engined Focus ST,
a relatively rare conversion at the moment but one
that we reckon could become a whole lot more
common place in the future.
Like so many people to appear within these
pages, John has always been into Fords. “I
started with a Mk2 Escort Popular Plus and
swapped the 1300 engine for a 2.0-litre Pinto,”
John recalls. “I had several Mk2s then bought a
S2 RST which I modified to 200bhp.” A rearwheel drive Saff Cossie was the next logical step
and while John tells us that this car was treated
to absolutely everything, including traction
control and water injection, he ended up
breaking it for parts as this was just the best
way of getting any money back out of it at the
time. Then began a period of engine upgrades
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“I’d only had the second ST
engine in place for a few weeks,
but I couldn’t resist the opportunity
to get hold of an RS engine!”
beginning with a Sierra estate which ran a 2.9litre 24v Cosworth followed by a Mk5 XR3i which
ended up with an RS2000 unit. “I‘m an HGV
driver now, but I’d trained as a mechanic so I’ve
always been keen to make a few changes to cars
here and there,” John tells us.
After the XR3i had been shown the door, John
decided to go for a much newer ride in the shape
of this Diamond white Mk2 Focus ST, a car that
was just five years old at the time he purchased
it. “It was pretty much standard when I bought it
other than the stripes and some lowering
springs,” John remembers. Then the modifications
began, starting with a Code Red Level 2 remap,
an upgraded intercooler and downpipe giving the
ST 350bhp. Bilstein B8 dampers with Eibach
springs sharpened up the suspension and the
stock wheels were swapped for 20-inch S-Max
alloys, rims that don’t look that dissimilar to the
standard ST items, but which filled the arches
very nicely indeed according to John.
“It took around 18 months to reach this stage
and I was fairly happy with it. Then one day a
stone or something must have cracked a hose,
which caused the engine to quickly overheat
and crack the liner,” he said. The original engine
was now unusable, so a replacement ST engine
was quickly installed.”I think I had that one for
about six weeks then a mate mentioned he’d
bought a written-off Focus RS to convert to a
track car,” John adds.
The running gear including the engine, drive
shafts, radiator and ECU weren’t needed by the
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The Focus RS engine has been
treated to some extras for added
power and performance
vendor, so John in his quick wisdom struck a deal
and took the parts home with him. “I know I’d
only had the second ST engine in place for a few
weeks, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to
get hold of an RS engine!” he laughed.
The engine swap itself is relatively
straightforward taking around four to five hours,
though the turbo, pipework and flywheel make
the job a little more complex. “Once the engine
was in, I drove it to Collins for a Pro400 remap
and a set of Siemens 550cc injectors,” John
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Ford Facts
Engine: 2.5-litre RS engine running
CP420 conversion, 550cc injectors,
Anembo billet alloy inlet manifold,
AutoSpecialist induction kit,
Mountune fuel pump, Pro Alloy
intercooler, Roose big bore boost
pipe, 2.5-inch custom hard pipe kit,
mongoose three-inch downpipe,
Magnex RS cat-back with RS
Mountune black tailpipes, Spec-R RS
coolant header tank, Spec R RS
power steering tank, carbon fibre
wing rail covers, engine covers,
crossover pipe cover, slam panel
Body: Custom vented bonnet, gloss
black roof, front and rear Stoffler
valances, Wolf carbon mid-rear
spoiler, RS500-spec carbon roof
spoiler, debadged front wings, tinted
RS rear lights, tinted windows
Interior: Standard leather interior,
dash converted to blue SMD lights,
AEM air fuel ratio gauge, pre and post
intercooler temp sensors
Transmission: Standard RS clutch
and flywheel, standard ST gearbox
with Quaife ATB differential
Suspension: Bilstein B8 dampers
with Eibach springs, fully polybushed
front and rear, Whiteline 22mm front
ARB, 25mm Profile Automotive rear
ARB, Whiteline rear camber bushes
Brakes: AP Racing six-pot calipers
with 32x362mm discs, standard rear
discs and calipers, steel braided hoses
Wheels: 8x18-inch Compomotive
MO 6-spoke with Michelin pilot sport
3 225/40 18 tyres
Thanks to: Collins Performance,
Jmmotorsort (07966544397), Phoenix
service station (01915864297), RS
alloy refurb (07805996656), (especially Rik and Sir
Adam),, Croft Motor
Racing Circuit, Andy Taylor
John’s done a neat job on the exterior
to make it stand out but still look smart
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recalls. “It was an interesting drive as none of
the sensors on the engine had been attached
and the turbo wasn’t connected!”
There’s now a CP420 conversion in place along
with a Mountune RS fuel pump and John’s also
added an Anembo billet alloy inlet manifold and
AutoSpecialist induction kit along with a
Mongoose three-inch downpipe and Magnex catback exhaust, the Mountune black RS tailpipes
giving out a more stealthy look. The engine bay
itself truly looks the part with Spec R reservoir
tanks, upgraded hoses, carbon fibre covers and
slam panel.
John has retained the standard ST gearbox and
introduced an RS clutch and flywheel, but has
added a Quaife ATB diff to aid traction and as for
the brakes, well fortunately these had been
upgraded well before the RS conversion took place
with AP six-pot calipers matched to 362mm discs.
“I was impressed with the combination of
Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs which I’d
fitted a few years back,” John points out. “I’ve
sharpened up the handling with polybushes
throughout and fitted a 22mm front ARB and
25mm Profile Automotive ARB at the rear.”
The 20-inch S-Max alloys may have filled
those arches, but the ultra-low profile tyres
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could be quite unforgiving, so now in their place
are a set of 18-inch Compomotive MO six-spokes
with 225/40/18 rubber which, we’re told, greatly
improves not only the ride but also the handling.
They certainly look the part too with that
anthracite finish, though white cars with dark
wheels are always a winning combination!
The exterior has a few subtle changes, the
Sapphire Cosworth 4x4 bonnet vents look almost
factory fit, and the front and rear Stoffler
valances look right at home. So too does the
gloss black roof that matches itself perfectly to
the dark wheels. From the rear, the appearance
sways towards being more purposeful with that
Wolf carbon mid-level spoiler and the RS500spec roof-mounted carbon spoiler.
Look inside and at first glance it would appear
to be almost as it left the production line. The ST
leather seats remain, but the steering wheel has
been swapped for one from an RS. The same car
has given up its boost pod, there’s now a gauge
showing pre and post intercooler temperatures
and a very neat touch is the SMD dash which
now houses blue dials.
This all adds up to one very capable and fun
car on the road, which is just as well because
John uses it every day! “I’d like to take it on
track at some point too just to see what it can
do,” John smiles. “I may change the suspension
to Bilstein coilovers before then though!” We’re
sure even as the ST stands in its current form, it
will be an impressive performer and would make
an interesting match against many a Focus RS
out there l
“I’d like to take it on track at some point
just to see what it can do”