You know those installs where nothing goes right? We’ve all been there; the part is a nightmare to install, it doesn’t even fit properly, or the quality of it is not what you’d been led to believe?
This was not one of those.
When it comes to Mk3 Foci – especially the RSs – Ford did a really good job with the styling. Make no mistake that they do look incredible when fitted with vented hoods, flares, or even liveries, but if you’re going for more of a street car look then not much is really required. Once the stance has been sorted with suspension and wheels, Ford’s designers’ work is pretty close to being spot-on. However, “pretty close” means that we’ll still make a few tweaks.
Looking through Mario’s back catalogue of builds, Sriracha’s was the one real exception to what has been an otherwise very restrained approach when it comes to car exteriors (his TSX’s CF hood and trunk were probably the next wildest changes he’d ever made). Ketchup’s cosmetic/aero mods consisted of a front splitter, wing risers, debadging, and a few other small items; just enough to make the car stand out, but in no way ever straying too far from the original look. For Selsun it would appear that Mario is returning to that method.
Similar to suspension and wheels, a front lip or splitter is another item that can improve just about any car that it’s bolted to. There are a number of options for the Mk3 RS but instead of going with one from a company we’d had experience with or a piece we’d seen in person before, Mario decided to try something new and so turned to a manufacturer from upside-down land.
Enter Flow Designs: this Australian-based company offers parts for a few models of vehicles including – obviously – the Mk3 RS. Coincidentally, they also produce parts for the S15…
Even though they offer additional components for the platform, Mario opted to pick up just their front splitter to keep Selsun’s aero package very subtle. He placed the order and before long we were greeted by one of the nicest aftermarket parts we’ve ever dealt with.
The hardware for the splitter was also very nice – it’s actually a bit sad that it’s all hidden from sight when the piece is on the car.
Additionally the included instructions were very clear and detailed to assist with the process, but the overall install was very straight-forward regardless. If you’ve ever installed a lip or splitter before, this will be an easy one.
With my garage full we decided to tackle the install in the street – once again being thankful that my neighbours don’t mind the occasional vehicle sitting on the road on jackstands.
As this was the first time I’d had the chance to really poke around some of the inner workings of an RS I was also taking the opportunity to grab notes and photos of various details, such as the brake ducting. There’s a lot going on behind the bumper of an RS and partially for satisfying curiosities as well as for researching possible future retrofits, I wanted to see how it all fit together.
Now on to the actual install: the bumper removal was more or less like any other Mk3 (those fender brackets are still my enemies) so it wasn’t long before parts started leaving the car. The front undertray was first, shown here with Flow’s stainless steel reinforcement bracket already taped in place.
With that out of the way, the headlights removed, and the fog lights unplugged, the bumper itself was next to go. In case you’re wondering about that mess by the passenger wheel, to our surprise there was a large amount of foam-like material (sound deadening?) stuffed above the passenger fender liner. All of which promptly fell out.
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, we took the opportunity to swap bumpers between the cars. One looked good, the other goofy. You decide which was which.
Anyway, with the bumper placed upside down (right side up for Flow Designs?) on the ground the factory undertray was slid back into position with care taken to not shift the reinforcement bracket, seen earlier. We had some difficulty getting it to stay put with the supplied double-sided tape (maybe we’re just clumsy) so some extra strong tape was used from my own stash to hold it in place. It sits within the bumper to add extra strength to the splitter once everything is bolted together – and we can confirm that this is indeed a sturdy piece!
With the splitter resting in place and all of the mounting holes lined up, it was then time for the hardware to start going in.
The bracket only spans the middle of the bumper, immediately below the grille. Along the edges the splitter is secured with a standard nut/bolt/washer setup but there are plenty of mounting points to ensure that once in place, it’s staying both put as well as tight against the bumper.
The last step was then to put the front of the RS back together, and clean up that little mess…
Again, the process here was just like any other Mk3; two bolts and a clip for each fender bracket, multiple screws for the undertray and wheel liners, a few clips along the top, and then there’s the reattaching of the hood release cable, refitting of the headlights, and so forth. It’s not hard to pull a Mk3 bumper but can be a bit tedious at times with all of the fasteners.
With the last of the fasteners secured and all of the tools cleaned up we could then take a step back and admire Selsun’s new splitter; Derrick was even able to swing by at this point to hang out (and eat the last of the pizza).
With the Whiteline springs, loaned Integrales, and CF vinyl roof (plus little details like Lamin-X and the red third brake light), the Flow Designs splitter was an excellent next step and was almost the finishing touch in terms of the cars’s appearance. Since this install the only other tweaks to the looks of the RS were another wheel swap (to his own set), a banner, and the removal of the front RS emblem; and I don’t see much more happening any time soon.
Obviously we work with a lot of companies when it comes to our projects, either with sponsorships or less formal arrangements, but we don’t let that influence what we share. If a product is good or bad, we tell you what we experience with it. This splitter has proven to be a very (very) strong piece, standing up to plenty of abuse with our roads and snow, and the design was perfect to complement Ford’s own work with the RS.
Most of all though, when it came to the fitment and install this was one of the best parts we’ve ever dealt with. Nicely done, Flow Designs. Nicely done.