After introducing our ‘Save the ST170’ project in conjunction with Machine Mart, we have wasted no time in getting stuck in with the spanners with a full service for our Ford Focus ST170.

An initial clean and full checkover revealed a long list of jobs for our Ford Focus ST170. We will be upgrading the suspension, replacing all the worn rubber bushes, overhauling and improving the braking system, and fitting some new grippy tyres. But the first thing on our list was to give that fabled 2.0-litre 16-valve engine some TLC.

adding Liqui Moly engine flush to a Ford ST engine

Liqui Moly oil flush gave our ST170 motor a much-needed internal detox.

Focus ST170 Service: Engine Oil Flush

Starting with something we spotted when underneath the car; a badly corroded sump. It was showing signs of weeping so it needed replacing. That meant an interim service and full oil and filter change was on the cards.

Installing a new oil sump to an engine

New sump replaced the old rusty and weeping one.

That gave us the perfect opportunity to complete a full engine flush using Liqui Moly’s Pro-Line Engine Flush. Simply pour it into the engine with the old oil still in place, and let it run for 10-15 minutes. The product then gets to work, cleaning the inside of the engine. Liqui Moly says it breaks down and removes deposits from the oil galleries, bearings, and even piston rings. These deposits are then suspended in the old oil, and simply drain out when you remove the oil.

adding engine oil to a Ford engine

We used Liqui Moly Special Tec 5w30 synthetic engine oil, designed to meet Ford’s manufacturer specs.

New Engine Oil & Oil Filter

The clean and flushed engine is then ready for fresh oil and a new oil filter. You must use an oil that meets the manufacturer’s specifications. In the case of our Focus ST170, Liqui Moly’s Special-Tec 5w-30 fits the bill perfectly. This is a low-friction synthetic oil designed to reduce frictional losses while providing reliable protection and lubrication for the engine. Designed specifically for cars from 2011-onwards, Special-Tec is backward compatible with Ford engines back as far as 1998. Perfect for our 2004 Ford Focus ST170.

adding Cera Tec engine protection to an engine.

Liqui Moly’s Cera Tec adds extra protection to the engine.

Added Engine Protection with Cera Tec

But why stop there? We also added some ceramic protection in the shape of Cera Tec. This high-tech ceramic protection from Liqui Moly prevents direct metal-to-metal contact. It further reduces friction and wear, thanks to its clever ceramic composition. Simply pour the contents of the bottle into the engine. It self-mixes with the engine oil and is evenly distributed around the engine, offering enhanced protection to all moving parts.

pouring fuel injector cleaner into the fuel tank of a Ford Focus ST170

Simply pour the injector cleaner to a full tank of fuel and let it work its magic.

Fuel System Overhaul

The car was running fine, but it did feel a little flat in the mid-range. It had been stood since the end of last year, and before that was only used for short trips. Therefore we decided to give both the fuel and ignition systems an overhaul. Starting with the fuel system, it’s amazing the difference a fresh tank of petrol and a good run can make. But that was never going to cure all ills, so we added a bottle of Pro-Line Gasoline System Cleaner to a full tank of fresh petrol.

Liqui Moly says the injector cleaner removes deposits from injectors, intake valves, spark plugs, and from in the combustion chamber itself. It helps restore the ideal air fuel ratio for optimum combustion and also prevents new deposits from forming. We are changing the spark plugs and adding a new fuel filter as a matter of course, but the injector cleaner cares for and cleanses all components of the injection system. More than that, it is said to help improve throttle response, reduce fuel consumption, and improve overall efficiency.

Hopefully it can help restore some of that lost power on our ST170. If not, we’ll need to investigate further. But for the sake of pouring a bottle of injector cleaner in the tank and driving it around for a few miles, it’s a no-brainer to explore that avenue first. Plus, it can’t do any harm.

setting correct plug gaps on a new set of spark plugs

New genuine Ford/Motorcraft plugs were gapped correctly before we fitted them.

Ignition System Overhaul

As part of the service upgrades, our Ford Focus ST170 underwent an ignition system overhaul. This includes the new genuine Ford/Motorcraft spark plugs, a set of new high-performance ignition leads, and a new coilpack too.

Installing new blue ignition leads to an engine

We also replaced the coilpack and added a set of new ignition leads too.

These parts are all inexpensive to buy and easy to install. All you need is a decent set of spanners like the Clarke toolkit we are using on this project. And for the sake of a few quid and an afternoon in the garage, we can rest assured that our engine is getting the healthiest spark it can.

Don’t worry, we’ll clean and repaint the cam cover later too!

Air Filter Upgrade

The first upgrade in the modifier’s handbook is almost always the air filter. Getting more air into an engine is the key to making more power. It’s no different for our Focus ST170. So, when Mark at Ford Parts R Us went rummaging through his many, many boxes of spare parts for fast Fords and dug out a suitably sized cone filter, we were quick to get it fitted.

By replacing the stock airbox and dirty paper air filter with a free-flowing cone filter, we improve airflow into the engine. Ultimately, more air means better engine performance and improved throttle response. It makes a much better noise now too!

Ford Focus ST170 on ramp

We also gave the car a thorough check (with a phone and a hammer – naturally!) and listed any issues that needed rectifying.

Ford Focus ST170 Service

As well as the parts and upgrades we’ve just mentioned, we did complete a full service and conduct all the usual health checks too. Running the engine up to temperature with the heater vents at max temperature allowed us to assess the cooling system. And all fluid levels were checked and topped up where required.

We didn’t need to top up the brake fluid as this will be flushed and replaced when we overhaul the brakes. We also didn’t need to check the tyre tread depth as all the mis-matched tyres currently on the car will be replaced with some new performance-orientated rubber.

In fact, that’s the next job. So we’re off to get those fitted now. Read Part 3 here!