Most readers will have noticed that nearly every big power Mk2 Focus is running a Syvecs ECU conversion, and there’s a good reason for that. The Mk2 ST and RS models are very tuneable and reliable too, but the standard management simply isn’t up to the job once you tune beyond the 500-550bhp mark. The reason for this is mainly due to the factory MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor, which is located inside the crossover pipe just after the air filter. This sensor measures the amount of air passing across it and therefore going into the engine – from this reading, the ECU makes the crucial calculations required to determine how much fuel to add.
However, on big power builds that run at higher boost levels, this sensor becomes overwhelmed and simply can’t compute the amount of airflow passing by. Furthermore, the sensor’s response time to quick increments is slightly delayed, and whilst this is fine for a majority of high-performance cars, it’s not ideal for heavily modified vehicles where more precise and accurate changes would be preferable.
Also, there’s a lack of control over the entire system. Even after a custom remap that changes the ECU’s parameters, the MAF sensor ultimately still dictates how much fuel is added. Fully tailored map adjustments to both the fueling and ignition properties are not possible. Instead, only mild adjustments to the map file can be performed – fine for the majority of modified cars, but when looking to extract maximum power potential, working within these tightly controlled parameters does limit what is possible. The original MAF sensor cannot simply be uprated either.
This is where the Syvecs plug-and-play conversion comes in. It entirely replaces the standard Ford ECU with its MAF sensor set-up in favour of an aftermarket motorsport control unit that works with a MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) sensor reading, among others, therefore entirely eliminating the previous restriction of the MAF set-up. It integrates seamlessly with the car, so nothing changes in terms of creature comforts, dials, gauges, or controls.
The kit was developed around 5 years ago and since then, Lee Charnick at Devil Developments has supplied and fitted hundreds of these kits to modified Mk2 Focus ST and RS models around the world.
Another key benefit to the Syvecs system is the ability to fully control the engine’s ignition and fueling settings, allowing more accurate adjustment to improve power and response, but there are plenty of additional extras, too. For a start, different pre-set maps can be selected on the move, giving the driver options of low, medium or high boost settings, for example, or ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ setting on a track car.
There’s also a full suite of extra features, such as full-throttle gearshifts, meaning the accelerator pedal doesn’t need to be lifted during a gear change to reduce gearshift times; launch control, so that revs are limited whilst at standstill to improve traction off the line; and anti-lag to keep the turbo spooling.
But perhaps most importantly, it’s the dramatically improved throttle response and much improved torque-biasing traction control that gives the most noticeable gains on a road car. There’s also an improved soundtrack to consider as the Syvecs considerably alters the car’s engine and exhaust tone. There are also the options to add a fuel-flex feature – this is a sensor that can read the quality of fuel flowing through it (such as running high octane 99RON, race fuels, or even methanol-mixes) so the ECU can automatically calibrate itself to suit the fuel being used. All of the ECU’s readings can be displayed a Toucan touchscreen display unit too.
In terms of fitting, the ECU itself is a true plug-and-play conversion; literally the old ECU can be unplugged and the Syvecs can be fitted with the wiring harness provided. A base map to suit the car’s specification is then uploaded via a laptop (or this can be preloaded onto the ECU) and immediately the car will start and drive as normal, with all standard features of both the car and ECU immediately enabled. Final mapping is then done via a tuner, ideally on a rolling road where everything can be closely monitored.
The conversion can be performed on any Mk2 Focus ST or RS in any state of tune. The cost is currently £2,895 supplied, fitted and mapped from Devil Developments.