Mike Johnson of Rebel Devil Customs won the internet last year with the reveal of the world’s first ST-powered Mk3 Focus sedan. He took an idea that many had been talking about for ages and made it a reality. Now that he knows the process of carrying out the conversion – which is quite involved – more owners are lining up to have it done to their sedans as well. This month the first conversion for a client was completed and the world’s second ST-swapped Mk3 sedan hit the road.
During the process Mike grabbed some shots with his cell phone which he kindly sent my way to share here with you all. Now that the car has been running for a little while a proper photoshoot is going to be arranged, but for today we get to take a look at some of the work which went into transplanting the guts of a wrecked ST into a four door.
Along with the photos and captions I also have the official release (the italicized parts) to explain more of the build. I hope you all enjoy!
Well everyone we have done it again; ST powered sedan #2 is complete. Our customer contacted us asking about the conversion, one thing led to another, and soon we were looking for a donor. One was ultimately found in the DC area with frontal damage.
We started the tear down and parts were ordered as we discovered what we needed. Continuing the teardown, everything from the firewall forward was removed and inspected.
Next we went over the plans for the build and what our customer wanted. Stage 3 was a definite, but the big turbo route was always a possibility. We also discussed what options to add to the build; a full ST3 conversion was suggested and our customer agreed to it. From there we continued to tear down more of the ST, on the completion of which we decided to swap the rear suspension first. With the ST suspension installed in his SE our customer immediately noticed an upgrade in handling and couldn’t wait to move on.
Once the ST had been fully stripped, the teardown of the SE began. The nose and drivetrain were removed first, before we moved on and removed the front doors, console, and dashboard assembly. Our attention them moved to the rest of the interior, with the seats, carpet, pillar trim, and trunk components all being taken out.
Following the teardown, the front end components (ABS module, brake booster/pedal/master cylinder assembly, throttle and clutch pedals) and wiring harness were put into the sedan. We had to completely swap all of the wiring and components from the doors into the SE and get the door handles ready for paint. The body harness was a major task by itself, between routing it, modifying it to work with the sedan chassis, and connecting everything.
With the foundation in place the next task was to fit the new components and upgrade parts. We contacted Speed By Design about their big turbo kit for the ST and they came through with an awesome setup. MBRP also came on board and provided a full catted turbo back exhaust, upper intake tube, and charge pipes. Once all of these components were in, we still needed a hot side charge pipe with a fitting for a BOV so we contacted Chris Bauer from Panda, who came through very quickly with what we needed. Nikolas Doll from Levels Performance was contacted for one of his quality front mount intercoolers – in a special color combination – and it should be shipping this week.
Installation of the turbo went smoothly and the size difference was astounding. We also installed the catted downpipe along with one of our heavy duty downpipe brackets, and swapped in the original NA rack and pinion as opposed to the assembly from the ST. At last the heart from the ST could be dropped into the sedan and the process went quickly.
With a motor back in the car we turned our attention to the interior, putting the front harness back in place and following that with the dashboard assembly. All of the wiring for the rear of the car was routed and corresponding components were reconnected before the carpet was put back in.
Moving to the back of the sedan now, next on the to-do list was the spaghetti bowl of wiring for the trunk and rear components including the amplifier and subwoofer. The doors and nose were reinstalled along with the cooling system, and a stock intercooler was fitted for the time being. A base tune was made for the car and loaded, and the transplanted sedan started immediately.
The remainder of the conversion went smoothly and soon the car was on the ground and rolling. During the test drive, even on low boost the sedan proved to be a monster. We began working with our tuner to further dial it in and we will continue to revise the tune, to truly perfect the setup.
We are proud to say that project Sleeper ST Conversion is a success and we are certainly looking forward to more gains from this sedan. For all of you that said a sedan could never handle like a real ST; this is a real ST and an ST3 at that!
We would like to thank MBRP, Speed By Design, Don Hinds Ford, Levels Performance, and Panda Fab for supporting the conversion with all of their parts, and would like to extend a huge thank you to our customer – the car’s owner – for letting us carry out this conversion and helping out with the build as well.
So there it is – the second ST-swapped Mk3 sedan. However, worth mentioning is that another was officially unveiled shortly after as well; this week SS Tuning showed off their ST Sedan, which was built using one of the facelifted (2015+) models. At this time we’re still waiting for more details to be released on it but at least from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like a pretty serious build.
These three sedans are obviously very unique and special (and significant to the community) but each one has also seen a different approach taken with styling which is rather neat. SS Tuning’s has some ST components and a widebody, Mike’s maintains the N/A Focus nose but has a full lip kit and other tweaks, and now this one looks almost completely stock from the outside aside from the ST wheels and a center-exit exhaust. They do hint that some work has been done to the car of course, but I doubt many will expect to find the EcoBoost under the hood.
I’d like to say congratulations to the owner on his newly-swapped monster, and a thank-you to Mike for continuing to push the envelope with Mk3s and making things like this happen.