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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
***OFFICALLY STAGE 3 AS OF 11-20-15***

I have been hesitant to start a build thread because of putting mods out in the open like this would make it difficult to procure warranty work. I now mostly think that is paranoia and decided to start a build thread to keep track of my mods and give some reviews as to products I've used/am using. Like the title says, I am a family man, father of two, with a two year old and a 6 month old. My wife is not too keen on my car choice, so most of my mods are done on the down low, not that I have to hide them from her, but its just a source of conflict, so I do most my modding when she's not around and try to do subtle stuff she is not going to notice.

With that said, I have owned my ST3 for a year now and have a little over 10k miles on it. It is a first for me in a lot of ways, first four cylinder, first turbo, and first manual daily driver, first car I've modded. I am still extremely in love with this car, and am positive I have picked the right car and will own this car for AT LEAST 5 years, so I decided a while back I wanted to make it into a car I will enjoy driving for some time.

I have done most my mods with budget in mind, not going for cheap-o stuff, but with the best bang for my buck type stuff. I have to keep in mind that my car also does transport kids from time to time, usually just the oldest one, but have done 2 adults and two kids at times. I have made some poor decisions, but I will get to that.

My initial review and update after 1 year and 3 years:

Pics as of 2-10-15
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Hood Bumper

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Alloy wheel Automotive tire

Mod List:

Wilwood DP6 Front Calipers (Red)
Wilwood "BP-10" pads for street use/Wilwood "Polymatrix H" pads for track use
Stainless Steel Lines front/rear (all above from TCE)
Motul 600 Racing fluid (
EBC Rotors front and rear for track use (from Summit)
Hawk Blue pads for track use (rear)
Frankenbrake rear conversion
VelossaTech Stage 1 brake ducts

BC BR Coilovers (bought used)
Mountune Front Strut Tower Brace (from Mountune)
Eibach Rear Sway Bar (bought from a forum member)
Massive front and rear sway bar end links (bought from Massive)

Injen Wrinkle Red Intake (bought from TTR)
Breedt Intake Manifold Spacer (Red) (from Breedt)
Breedt Throttle Body Spacer (Red) (from Breedt)
Breedt Sound Symposer Delete Plate (from Breedt)
Cobb AccessPort V3 with Randy tunes and Panda Motorworks Tune
Panda Motorworks Front Mount Intercooler
Boomba Blow-off valve (from Boomba)
Boomba two-piece rear motor mount (from Boomba)
JBR Stage 2 Oil Catch Can (from JBR)
JLT oil separator (from CFM)
CFM Billet Valve Cover Breather (from CFM)
Denso ITV 22 plugs (from Amazon)
Depo Racing Catless Downpipe (from a local ST owner)
Cobb Cat-back Exhaust (from a local ST owner) with Torque Solutions exhaust hangers (from Amazon)
DIY Earl's 19 row oil cooler with Greddy thermostatic sandwich plate (from a forum member)

JBR solid shifter base bushings (from JBR)
JBR Red heavy piston shift knob (from JBR)
Breedt quick shift arm set to 39% reduction 25mm forward (from Breedt)
Boosted Designs solid shifter bracket bushings (from Boosted Designs)

Husky Weatherbeater floormats front and rear (from Amazon)
Lloyd’s ST Logo Trunk mat (from CJPP)
Diono Radian RXT convertible child seat--hey, it’s a mod! (2 of thesefrom Babies R Us)
Lionheart kick mats (for the back of the seats)
Homemade/******* Homelink (like $3 worth of industrial velcro from Walmart)
Muddy’s upgraded lighting—LED puddle lamps and trunk lamps (I think this cost $36 total for 4 leds--link is on Muddy's thread)
Triple A-Pillar Gauge pod (from Glowshift)
Street Guardian Dash Cam (bought from Amazon)

3M Tint—35% Front, 20% Back (from ProTint of Louisville)
*Removed* EZ Lip Front Spoiler (from ebay)
Boosted Designs black mudflaps
Sparco Tarmac 17” Wheels (for winter) dipped Antique Gold (from
Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70’s (for winter) mounted with TPMS ($1240 for the package from tirerack)
AVS Window Channel Vent Shades (on ebay)
Headlight Armor yellow fog covers
Redline Tuning Hood Struts (from CJPP)
HID backup lights (from aliexpress)
Sparco tow strap (from eBay)

“AA” coded stock amp (used from a forum member)
Rockford Fosgate 8” shallow mount subwoofer in stock location (from amazon)
Infinity Kappa 60.11cs speakers (from amazon)
Knu Konceptz Kno Knoise Kolossus Sound Deadening (from amazon)

The Rag Company
Porter Cable 7424 Polisher/Sander

Mods I'm currently considering
15/20mm Wheel spacers

Feel free to ask any questions as I am mainly doing this build thread to give others advice on what are good mods and what aren't worth the time/money.

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I also wanted to insert a plug for ZL1 add-ons jack pad. Here is one in action with the rubber puck attached. It goes on the pinch weld just inward of the plastic side skirt. If you look for the factory jack location (little triangle) just inboard of that, is the pinch weld to stick this to. They are magnetic, so you can slap it on, go get the jack and commence. It just so happens my jack fits under it with about 1/8" of space to spare.
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Auto part

I just so happened to set up a group by for @Skylane765 and he sent me a couple of these and a puck for free. First thing I will say is the quality of the product is quite good. Make sure you measure your jack before buying them though, as I have two jacks and one will work with them and the other will not.

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Lets start with my Engine mods:

Injen Wrinkle Red Intake
This could look good on a Red, Blue, White, or Black car I think. For me the install was a huge PITA. I have fat meaty arms that were hard to get behind the engine back to the intake. If I had to do it over again, I would either do that part from under the car, or would loosen that weird cowl/cover thing at the back of the engine bay so I could reach back there better. The sound after installing the intake is SWEET. Even at idle it sounds like if you were to purse your lips and suck in air. When you get on the throttle, more air and turbo spool sound. When you let off, event he stock BPV would pshhh a bit and you could hear it. I will not argue with the fact that SRI/CAI's are a waste of money based on performance. That's sound logic, but for looks and sound, Injen has both.
Vehicle Engine Car Auto part Hood

Vehicle Car Auto part Engine

Breedt Intake Manifold Spacer (Red)
I ordered this, the shift arm, and the TB spacer all together. It is a beautiful piece and I don't really know if it increased performance, but I thought I was spending the money on the arm anyway, might as well spend a bit more and get combined shipping on all plus the package discount.

Breedt Throttle Body Spacer (Red)
DO NOT BUY THIS. It is a waste and hard as all get out to install. I actually broke my electric TB relay trying to get this off.

Breedt Sound Symposer Delete
Mine never really worked anyway, and Ford is just indifferent about fixing them, so buh-bye.
Tire Auto part Automotive tire Fuel line Engine

Cobb AccessPort V3 with Randy tunes and Panda Motorworks Tune
The AP is obviously the must have mod for this car. I also think that if you are going to spend $500 on something like this, why not spend a bit more and get your car custom tuned by a pro and get a tune for your specific mods and someone who knows to look at your datalogs and make adjustments to your very car. I purchased a tune from an unnamed company that used to employ Randy Robles when they promised lifetime revisions if you bought the AP. About a week after I received my AP, Randy went to Mountune, and that promise went out the window. I got my one free revision from their Mickey Mouse organization, but I am still angry and will not buy from that company.

Randy's tune was great, I was very surprised as to what it does to the car at first. Lots of wheel hop/spin.

After his departure, I decided to get tuned by Panda when Matt Trout first started tuning there. Of course his reputation as having the highest hp ST did persuade me a bit. I have sent him one revision and his tune has been great so far. I am still seeing mostly positive corrections, so there still might be some more power on the table, I am just waiting till spring to do more datalogging.

Panda Motorworks Front Mount Intercooler
Got my Panda FMIC during their group buy last year. Interesting story: they sent me two. I had been like 20th on the list, and people below me on the list had theirs for several days, so I sent a message to Panda asking where mine was. They said that I had been overlooked and mine would be sent out tomorrow. Two days later, I received a package from them. I thought, dang, they sent it overnight shipping too! About a week later, I received a second FMIC from them. Suddenly, I'm in a moral dilemma, but I did the right thing and sent the second one back. I was supposed to get a t-shirt as a thank you for being honest, but never did. Oh, well, I'm not bitter about that. I have noticed my charge temps usually sit at about ambient, but I typically just drive to work and back 5 miles, so don't do much sustained hard driving to really give a good assessment as to how the FMIC is performing when heat soak is an issue. I am not sure where they are at in their iterations of the IC's now, but mine was direct bolt on, but I had to alter one of the brackets (cut it off with a grinder right above the bolt hole) and the plastic crash bar protector (cut it using some tin snips) in order to put the plastic piece back on. Many run without that plastic thing, but I am guessing it would help in a low speed crash, so I put it back on.

After I got the FMIC installed, tighten everything down, but the front end on, and go for a drive. As soon as I stomp on it POP! hot side pipe comes off so I limp it home. Now I get to take the front end off AGAIN. I took the IC off and took it to a local shop to have the ends of the FMIC bead rolled, but they didn't have one, so just TIG welded some dots on the outer edge to hold them on. I reinstalled and went for a drive, with the front end off, in case the pipe popped again. Put the car through its paces and heard some weird sounds and smelled something burning. Got out to see that the wheel well splash guards shredded and melted onto the front tires. IDIOT! They are about $65 each from Ford.


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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)

Boomba Blow-off valve
First off, this mofo is LOUD. If you want a wake the neighbors type of BOV, this one is for you. At 32 years old, I kind of feel like a kid when I let off the throttle. If you've ever seen Regular Car Reviews, any of the times where he really steps on it (like in the FRS/BRZ) and he giggles, that's kind of the way I feel when I pass some person at the bust stop and let off the thorttle and their neck snaps around like WTF!? If you want something more subdued, get something else. If you want loud, this one is it. Install is a little hairy, having small hands would help. You have to remove the passenger side wheel and reach back into a small area. Also you are supposed to cut a bracket that holds the stock one on, but I have heard of others going without the bracket at all. Getting the stock one off was pretty simple, getting the Boomba back on took some finagling, especially getting the bolts tight, which you need to do, otherwise you will lose boost and get the "fluttering" that you have read about. If you have them, some T-handled allen wrenches would be very well utilized here.

Boomba two-piece rear motor mount
Great looking pieces, takes out the shift bang, does have some considerable vibration, but they all do. Its a trade off, do you want shift bang and wheel hop, or do you want vibration. It gets better after about 1000 miles, but never fully goes away. You mainly feel it at about 1200 rmps or below. I think if you shift carefully, you can definitely get away with the E-focus mount. I was actually mainly interested in the wheel hop aspect, and the vibrations didn't bother me.

JBR Stage 2 Oil Catch Can
Ok, first off this is a bugger to get to and install, but there are some great videos, like @<a href="" target="_blank">Ocysp</a> posted on youtube. He has the (I think) TTR intake mani, so it was quite a bit different, but getting your hands behind the stock IM to remove and install the hoses sucks. However, the results are worth it. I did install the hoses to the can backwards the first time, so pay attention to detail, and get the check valve so you aren't boosting your oil can, and make sure the check valve is facing the correct way, arrow pointing to the IM. First time I went to empty mine (about 1000 miles after install), a few drops come out. I check to make sure that all the hoses were secure, and guess which one isn't? The one into the IM. Sh!t. Got the hose back on (eventually) and check it again 3000 miles later, and everything is on tight, but still only a few drops in the OCC. All I can say is, that it must change with the weather because I just emptied it in January and it was darn near full. Like probably 4-6 ounces came out. I am glad that didn't make it onto my valves. I may have to take a look at what my valves look like to see if I am making a difference. Well, having that much junk in there really got me to thinking and I have just ordered the CFM valve cover breather and the JLT air-oil seperator for the intake side. There is a huge debate as far as whether these things are needed or not, and I fall onto the side of yes, they are. Any crud I can keep off my valves now is crud I don't have to get off of them later.

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Installed JLT air-oil separator today. Install wasn't too bad. Immediately noticed on the directions that the intake has to come off, so I was pretty bummed about that, but I tried something new to remove it. I got underneath the car to get to the intake clamps on the turbo inlet. Here you can see what it looks like looking past the passenger side half shaft. There is plenty of room for both arms to get up there believe it or not, a lot more than doing this from the top. The JLT directions SUCK so please look at the video from CJ Pony Parts on youtube. For those with the Injen intake, you need to point the PCV hose clamp down toward the turbo when hooking the JLT front tube into it. It takes some effort, and really JLT could have added another 1/4" on that tube and done me a big favor.

Tire Coil spring Auto part Suspension part Automotive tire

Looking into the turbo and the intake, it looks ok, no oil.
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Red Circle Concrete mixer

I think some guys are getting A LOT of blowby that is coming back into their inlet, but mine is pretty darn clean which is exciting.
Red Auto part Water Fender Fire extinguisher

Installed the CFM breather too. That took a good 10 seconds. I went with wrinkle red, and I think it matches the intake pretty well.
Wood Table Pipe Metal

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Hood City car

One thing I had to do was drill out the holes in the top mounting piece. They were WAY too small for the supplied bolts. I think I had to go up like 1/8" bigger.
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Nice build! Check out mine also! I'm a little behind on updating it, but I have a gtx2867, and some supporting mods coming soon

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)

Breedt Quick Shift Arm
Advice on installing this would be to use liberal amounts of liquid wrench on that pin that you have to hammer out. If you do that, you will succeed and this will be a 30 minute job. Looks cool under the hood too. A lot cooler than those little plate things. I also found that with the stock shifter, I was hitting my hand/wrist on my drinks if I had one in the cupholder, which is why I went with the option of moving it 25mm forward and the 39% reduction. There is an option of 25% reduction or 40% reduction or 24% reduction with moving it 25mm forward also.
Red Auto part

JBR solid shifter base bushings
For me, these little guys were a beast. This is the first mod I ever did on my car. Do yourself a favor and buy the trim removal pieces on amazon. Also, once you get the console loose, there is a little clip that holds the wires to a metal piece under the console on the passenger side--this is not in the directions from JBR. I kept pulling and pulling on the console and it wouldn't come off, and noticed that clip. It is a white clip with a christmas tree type connector that pushes in a little hole.

JBR Red heavy piston shift knob
This thing is heavy. It is probably 4-5 times heavier than the stock knob. I liked the stock knob for feel and shape. This one, because metal, gets hot and cold, so be aware of that, but the weight of it makes the feel of shifting so much more mechanical and clicky instead of mushy. Its certainly not for everyone, but another thing I like about the piston shape is that you can grab it with your palm facing down like a normal sphere shifter, or you can grab it with your palm facing toward you like a grip shifter.
Vehicle Car Gear shift Family car

Together, these three mods make shifting the ST pure pleasure. I would recommend if you are just starting out, start here. For under $200 you can have all three of these mods and enjoy crisper shifts with a more practical cup holder as well.

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)

3M Tint—35% Front, 20% Back

Kentucky state tint laws allow 35% on the front windows and 18% on the back windows and rear, so I didn't want flack from cops because like 5 cops live in my neighborhood. I chose 3M because it has a lifetime warranty against bubbling/purpling and you can use any type of cleaner on it you like. Some tints recommend non-ammonia based cleaner. Plus I am just a huge fan of 3M products as well (3M if you are reading this, please sponsor me). The entire car cost $300 to do.

EZ Lip Front Spoiler
Okay these things are a bit ricey IMO, but I thought if I didn't like it I can peel it off and at 30 bucks or so, no biggie. If you are doing this install, I would recommend when you get to the middle bit, you should cut the rearward part of the EZ Lip to get it contoured to those transitions better. I didn't do this as I was in a hurry when I installed it, and it kinda looks crappy because of that. I am now a bit scared of going to a better one because once I drop 300 bucks on one, I will hate when it gets scraped. After I get the coilovers on I will decide on whether to kill this or replace it with something nicer or just leave it.

Boosted Designs black mudflaps
Got these on sale for 18% off. Which made them about $70. I installed them at the same time I did my summer/winter tire switch to keep more salt and dirt off the sides of the car. The look with beefy winter tires definitely says rally car to me, which is kinda cool. I don't know if I will keep them for spring/summer or not. If you have an opinion, tell me what you think.
Automotive exterior Bumper Auto part Wheel

Vehicle Car Alloy wheel Red Bumper

AVS Window Channel Vent Shades
I ordered these from amazon and they were about $60. First set that came I either broke when removing from the package or they came broke. I was hesitant to get another set thinking the quality wasn't as good, but the Weathertechs were twice as much, and I didn't like the look of them. I ordered another set and they've been fine so far. I installed them in about October, so haven't used them for their intended purpose much as my windows have been up since then. I like the function of these as I much prefer windows and sunroof open rather than AC. The install can be a pain getting the auto down function to not keep opening your window when you try to roll it up. Best advice I can give is get a partner to work the window for you while you hold the shades in place. Once they are up, don't mess with it for at least 2 days.
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Automotive exterior Vehicle door

Headlight Armor yellow fog covers
These are another item I'd wish I'd saved my money on and just bought yellow fogs. They do offer some slight protection, but if something is going to break your fog light, this probably isn't going to save them. My complaint is that they just don't make the fogs yellow enough for what I was hoping.
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Red Bumper

Redline Hood Struts
These are very easy to install, although require you to cut some of the rubber and plastic seals on the back of the engine bay cowl. They are made very well and work quite brilliantly. When you throw the hood up, they flick up fast, then slow down so as not to alow the hood to slam up. I decided to get these right after installing my intake because the dang prop rod kept getting in my way. I think they clean up the look of the engine bay quite a bit and the functionality is wonderful. Only tip I can give is that I read that some people were angry because the attachments on the bottom were rubbing the paint off once they tightened the bolts down. I put Vaseline on the bottom of mine so they didn't dig into the paint and rub it off. Worked swimmingly.
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3M Tint—35% Front, 20% Back
I chose 3M because it has a lifetime warranty against bubbling/purpling and you can use any type of cleaner on it you like. Some tints recommend non-ammonia based cleaner. Plus I am just a huge fan of 3M products as well (3M if you are reading this, please sponsor me). Be warned, as I wasn't 3M tint, as these little bitty "3M" scripts all over it, every couple feet or so. I am used to it now, but it annoyed me at first, as one of them is right at eye level when looking out my driver side window.
The 3M logos are easily removed with rubbing alcohol. Some tint shops leave that on there as it proves that they used 3M tint.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The 3M logos are easily removed with rubbing alcohol. Some tint shops leave that on there as it proves that they used 3M tint.
I was wondering if there was a product that would take it off. I tried all my window cleaning stuff to know avail. Thank you for your advice.

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
******* homelink? pics please.

Also which model rockford and is it any louder or deeper sounding then stock. I would like a liitle more but I dont want to lose any trunk space.
Here is my review of the sub replacement:

It didn't really wake up until the "AA" amp went in.

Will update later with my ******* homelink. Its nothing more than my garage door opener with heavy duty velcro added and put into my sunglasses holder.

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Wheels and Tires

Back in July, I thought I would buy some winter tires as most stores were probably ready to get last year's stock out of their hair, so I scored some Blizzak's on Clearance at Tirerack for like $600. I would love to give a review on how they do in snow, but our biggest snowfall was like 3 inches and it melted the next day and I didn't really leave my house. I can say that for grip in the dry, these are complete crap. They also have very flexible sidewalls in comparison to the stock 18" tires, but these are 17". The reason I went with 17" wheels and tires is because there are LOTS more winter options to choose from at that size, and at A LOT cheaper price. The wheels were on clearance as well for $119 a piece. I just couldn't stand to look at steelies the entire winter, so I picked the best looking wheel from the "rest" that wasn't a complete crapper. The wheels look good, there are others I would rather have, but I like these ok.

EDIT 2-18-15: 6" of snow yesterday. I took the car to the store in the morning when there was about 2" on the ground already, and the tires and car performed amazingly well. I even ran off the road a bit and no trouble at all to get back on. It was pretty funny as I even passed a Caliber SRT4 that was stuck in the right lane on a slight incline, and I am whizzing past doing 25 mph with no problem at all, even doing some handbrake turns for fun when there was no one around. Took it out in Cinci in about 4 inches of snow when the roads hadn't been scraped and it was way easier than I expected. Blizzak WS-70's are the sheezy.

In case you are new to driving in snow, especially on snow tires there are a few tips you can live by:
1. Momentum drive--this means keep going. Don't stop at stop signs if you can avoid it, pull all the way into a parking spot before stoping, not stop then creep forward. Reverse all the way out before changing directions. If your tail starts to go out, don't let off the gas completely, steer toward the slide.
2. Keep your rpm's about 2500 and let those snow tires eat.
3. Don't get overconfident. If everyone else is driving 30, drive 25.

Vehicle Car Snow Automotive tire Tire

Back to the wheels: They come in gunmetal gray color, but I wanted to spice things up and protect them during winter, so I tried out some plasti-dip. I got 5 cans of antique gold, (I only used about 1 can per wheel, so I still have an extra) and one can of glossifier. Plasti-dip is super easy to use and this was the first time I had done anything with it, so I was very happy with the results. After I got the wheels on the car, there were some places I had gotten it too thin, but it was only noticible if you were like right on top of the wheel a few feet away.

BTW, DO NOT clean your plastidipped wheels with Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover if you want the plastidip to stay on. DO use Turtle Wax Bug and Tar remover if you want to remove all the plastidip from something.
Alloy wheel Tire Rim Wheel Automotive tire

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)

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sweet, looks like you got your hands full with kids and cars

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Yesterday I installed some HID reverse lights that I got from Aliexpress and read about here:

You can watch how to remove the tail lights (and laugh at a funny Chinese accent) here:

If you choose to do this, the kit from Ali comes with everything you need other than electrical shrink tubes or electrical tape. I also chose to solder my wires, so if you want to go that route you can get a cheap soldering iron from Walmart for like 20 bucks. Just understand that if your connections aren't solid, the ballasts on the kit will buzz and the lights won't come on.

I wired mine incorrectly about 10 times, so here is the 4-1-1:

First, follow the directions supplied in the package on how to assemble the quick connectors. Understand that when pushing the male and female ends into the quick connector butts, you need to push them all the way up until they cannot be pulled back out again. This was a problem I had, as if you don't do this, you get the buzz and lights no worky.

After assembling the quick connectors, take one of the things that connects to the ballast and cut off the end of it because the things the supply that are supposed to hook up to common cars do not work for the ST--the wires on this will be red and black. So, after cutting that off, pull out the back up lamp from the back of the tail light by turning left and pulling. Cut the white and black wires that are connected to this lamp (leaving about an inch or so in case you ever want to put them back in). Connect the wires from the ballast connector to the wires that went to that lamp, black to black, white to red. Solder or twist together and cover with heat shrink tube or electrical tape. At the top center of the picture below is the connection between car wire and ballast connector wire.

Wire Electrical wiring Technology Auto part Electronic device

Use the smallest orange rubber grommet and put on the base of the new HID lamp. It will fit pretty snug. After you get the light into the socket, pull the wires toward you to see that the lamp is seated in the grommet properly.

When it came to mounting the ballasts, I just taped them to the back of the tail light close to wear the backup light sticks through with electrical tape, as I was not sure if putting a screw in the tail light would show through.

What they look like when on--pic taken at night:
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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Interior Mods:

Husky Weather Beater Floor Mats
There are a few of these rubber floor mats that are available for the ST, and if you want the best, your decision will likely come down to two compaines: Weathertech or Husky. Weathertechs are awesome. I have never seen them in an ST but have seen them in other vehicles, my parents have them for their Chevy Equinox and they are very good quality. Since I had never heard of Husky I was really leaning toward the Weathertechs, but one thing sold me on these. The DEAD PEDAL area. Weathertechs make an attempt, rather poor one, at cover it, but the Husky's cover the whole thing. I have had mine since the same week I bought my car (my stock mats are actually still in the bags up in my garage), and I really like them. They trap everything and look great after you clean them. They have little spikes on the back so they stay put and they fit snugly. I got them for front and back and they cover pretty much everywhere you'd need to put your feet.
Vehicle Car Tire Auto part Trunk

Lloyd's ST logo Trunk Mat
I was wanting one of these to be made and finally Lloyd's did it. I bought it from CJPP about 5 minutes after they came out, and it looks nice. Why not buy the Weathertech trunk mat? I don't put a lot of dirty junk back in my trunk, so mainly wanted something to look good. If you do put muddy dirty stuff in your trunk, this is probably not for you. I did it the right way though and applied Scotchgard to it. I have even spilled chicken juice right on the ST logo from a Kroger Rotisserie chicken and it literally wiped right off.

This pic shows off two things, the trunk mat AND the LED trunk lights. Keep in mind this pic was taken at night with no other light source but the trunk lights.
Vehicle Car Trunk Floor Family car

Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat

So, many of you twenty and thirty somethings probably bought this car because you may want to haul kids at some point. I already had one I needed to haul and my wife was with child as well. When I bought, I knew my old car seat wouldn't fit in, so I needed a new one. After doing a lot of research on this forum, it came down to the Diono Radian RXT and the Recaro Proride. My wife said no to the Proride, so decision made. The Diono got better reviews on her "mommy forum," so yeah. Some things about the Radian--you can fit three across in the Focus, which is rare for a car seat. You can comfortably ride with one behind you with your child in it facing forward. You can get the front seat about 3/4 of the way back. It has various levels of the belts so you can adjust for your child's growth. They make a special "puddle pad" for when your child is potty training (or just any time) that is made by Diono and fits this very well. It has straps on the back so you can carry it like a backpack. It is recommended for airplane travel if you want to keep your ever-so-squirmy two year old strapped in. It also converts into a booster for when they grow out of the seat.

The seat is easy to install with the Latch system with seat belt buckle style straps. The back has a strap that goes over the seat into the hatch area to keep it against the back of the seat (you can see it in the pic above). The main straps that hold your kid in is pretty easy to tighten and loosen. It doesn't have huge side bolsters so it is easy to get your kid in and out of.
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My wife and I are so pleased with these car seats, we just bought 2 more, so my car will be sporting another one (in a few months when our littlest outgrows her infant seat) and her van will have one too. Why get the same one? It just makes sense. You already know how it works, how to install it, that it will fit, and hey, it matches. This is one of the best car seats out there and will set you back about $230.

Lionheart Deluxe Kick Mats

These are a must have if you have kids. They keep the back of your seats from getting scuffed/dirty because your kids feet are inevitably going to be on the back of the seats in a car as small as the Focus.
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LED Puddle lamps and trunk lights

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These are a bit pricey at $16 a pair, but they are SOOOOOOO much better they are worth it. Especially for those puddle lights in the ST3. For those of you with a lesser model, the puddle lamps are on the bottom of the side mirrors and when the door is opened or unlock button pressed, they illuminate the ground so you don't step in a puddle or trip on the curb or fall on some ice or whatever.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

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This picture is one of the many reasons I use Zaino products on my car only. This beading was BEFORE I washed my car, and I hadn't washed or polished the car in about a month, but it still beads up with huge, high beads of water. One interesting thing about Zaino is that it uses only polishes, no waxes. There are several different types: Swirl Remover, All-in-One, 2 different show car polishes for clear coats, one for non-clear coated cars (like the Corvette), a spray on clear coat, a Glossifier, clay bars, everything. Another thing I like about them, is that they don't appear globby and waxy like a wax if you miss a spot, or get them pushed into a corner you can't get out. The polish is thin and has a slight haze.
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The Rag Company
I read about the Rag Company on this forum and their stuff is top notch. I ordered the Detailer's Pro Kit and a 10 pack of microfibers and this is really about all one would really NEED for doing detailing on their car. I went back and ordered another waffle weave drying towel--these are amazing for drying your car after washing. I also ordered another Everest towel, which is great for wiping the car down after drying to get those tiny streaks and spots of water the waffle weave left.

My usual method of exterior paint detail:
1. Wash your car with dishwashing liquid like Dawn. This will strip everything that is on your car, wax, polish, anything down to bare paint. Dry the car.
2. Clay bar everything, using a clay bar and one capful of Zaino car wash diluted in a 16 oz sprayer. Rinse car with water and dry again.
3. Polish with polisher using Zaino All-in-One. Remove polish.
4. Polish again with polisher using Zaino Z-2 Polish. Remove polish.
5. Polish again by hand using Zaino Z-5 Polish. Remove polish.
6. Spray clear seal or glossifier.

At this point I've kind of "set" the polish for the year. I would repeat this process every spring. I try to wash my car at least every two weeks. I try to polish it additionally every other time I wash. I typically alternate between Z-2 and Z-5 and typically use a polisher. I use the plastic bag trick to determine when I should clay bar it. Put a plastic bag over your finger and drag it over your paint in a few places. If it feels gritty, you should clay it. I last clayed my car about 11 months ago. When I checked it last month, it did still not need claying again. I contribute most of this to the Zaino products repelling dirt and grime. I mean I have over 10k miles and drive in various conditions, rain, snow, extreme heat, etc.

Porter Cable 7424 Polisher
I have only used this once, so the jury is still out, but will update further after I have a half dozen uses or so to give a better review.
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