Tech: Lethal Focus ST, Part 3

Lethal Focus ST, Part 3 Featured

In & Out

Stepping up Squirt with induction, exhaust, and custom tuning

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Christina High/Lethal Performance and by Steve Turner

It’s been a minute since we checked in out Lethal Performance’s 2014 Focus ST project, also known as Squirt. If you’ve been following our saga, you know that in Part 1 we started out by baselining the car and adding Ford Racing’s FR1 power package. We followed those mods up by adding a larger intercooler and more in Part 2. Well, Team Lethal is back at it and chasing more power in our latest installment.

Performance is not the chief mission of a factory catalytic converter. To remove all possible restrictions after the turbo, Lethal Performance selected this high-flow MBRP downpipe (MBRP-CFGS013; $399). Mandrel-bent from 16-gauge tubing, this 3-inch pipe features a 4-inch flex coupler to keep the flow unrestricted.
Performance is not the chief mission of a factory catalytic converter. To remove all possible restrictions after the turbo, Lethal Performance selected this high-flow MBRP downpipe (MBRP-CFGS013; $399). Mandrel-bent from 16-gauge tubing, this 3-inch pipe features a 4-inch flex coupler to keep the flow unrestricted.

So far, Lethal’s Focus customers have enjoyed the project, and they should enjoy it even more once the Lethal crew gets more aggressive.

“Customers are eager to see what we do with the ST, as many know us from having no limits when it comes to our Mustangs,” Jared Rosen of Lethal Performance explained. “Not many STs are pushed to their limits, so we hope to provide much needed information when getting into the higher power range.”

With that in mind, this stage of the project climbs the performance ladder with more typical hot-rodding mods to improve the inlet airflow and reduce the exhaust restriction.

Team Lethal made the trip over to HP Logic in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, for the install and tuning segment of this project. The toughest part of removing the stock downpipe is popping off the robust clamp sealing it to the turbo. With that out of the way, it’s basic nut-and-bolt work.
Team Lethal made the trip over to HP Logic in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, for the install and tuning segment of this project. The toughest part of removing the stock downpipe is popping off the robust clamp sealing it to the turbo. With that out of the way, it’s basic nut-and-bolt work.

“We just wanted to further improve on our last set of modifications, while trying to gain a little knowledge of the Cobb Accessport and providing a custom tune through their software,” Jared said. “We felt by switching over to a traditional cold-air intake and off-road downpipe, there was also a little power we could take advantage of.”

“I have been part of the Cobb Tuning family since 2005 and have stayed very close with them on new tuning solutions (all makes/models) coming to the market. Lethal Performance has always been another outfit I am pleased to work with and was happy to be on-board with their Focus ST project,” Jack Cecil of HorsePower Logic added. “These two powerhouses working together undoubtedly bring quality parts/tuning to the masses for sure. That being said, this is honestly the first Focus ST I have gotten my hands on, but having a firm grasp on the theory/science behind tuning has given me an edge with any new platform I get a chance to enhance.”

Industrial would be a great way to describe the factory exhaust. Built to balance all the attributes required of a factory system—emissions, sound limits, fuel economy, durability, etc.—these parts are not built for the lowest restriction possible.
Industrial would be a great way to describe the factory exhaust. Built to balance all the attributes required of a factory system—emissions, sound limits, fuel economy, durability, etc.—these parts are not built for the lowest restriction possible.

Taking the performance up a notch in this round of mods, Team Lethal chose a selection of gear from its shelves. On the exhaust side, they opted to replace existing system from the turbo back with an MBRP downpipe and an MBRP XP Series cat-back. To let in more flow on the inlet side, the company chose a CP-e Ford Focus ST αIntake System . Making this new combination work together is a custom HP Logic tune delivered via a Cobb Tuning 13-14 Ford Focus ST AccessPORT V3. Finally, a CP-e Ford Focus ST xFlex Rear Motor Mount Stage2 keeps the EcoBoost 2.0 out of your lap on power shifts.

If you don’t think the factory mount moves that much, here’s some indisputable video evidence:

Likewise, if you are curious how the MBRP system sounds on an ST, check out this video:

Of course, there is more to these upgrades than just the sound. “We weren’t expecting a huge gain going into this round of modifications, so we are content with what we saw,” Jared said. “Being able to pull almost 390 lb-ft of torque with limited modifications is impressive.”

After removing the stock exhaust, the HP Logic crew swaps the factory oxygen sensor from the stock downpipe to the MBRP unit.
After removing the stock exhaust, the Anthony and Jack from HP Logic swap the factory oxygen sensor from the stock downpipe to the MBRP unit.

“Overall I am pleased with the fit/finish and gains from the parts working together as a whole. The custom tune compounds these results and makes the package a well-rounded upgrade worth every dollar in the end,” Jack continued. “Visually, audibly, and in the seat of the pants….I would recommend this combination hands down to anyone wanting to take the Focus ST to the next level!”

Clearly this round of mods is setting the stage for a more aggressive move in the future. We know from following Lethal’s other projects that the company is not shy about pushing the envelope. Just how far they push remains to be seen, but the goal is set for Part 4.

“Our next step with Squirt would be making the push for more than 300 front-wheel horsepower,” Jared added. “If we are able to accomplish 330-350 horsepower to the wheels without sacrificing driveability, I believe that would make one heck of a street car.”

When time comes to push this Focus ST project past 300 horsepower at the feet, SVTP will bring you the goods.

However, to maintain some consistency from the first two parts in the series, Lethal returned to Power by the Hour in Boynton Beach, Florida, for after runs on a Dynojet. In the end, Squirt picked up 6.36 horsepower and 18.44 lb-ft of torque over its previous baselines of 269.4 hp and 369.80 lb-ft.
However, to maintain some consistency from the first two parts in the series, Lethal returned to Power by the Hour in Boynton Beach, Florida, for after runs on a Dynojet. In the end, Squirt picked up 6.36 horsepower and 18.44 lb-ft of torque over its previous baselines of 269.4 hp and 369.80 lb-ft.

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