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Yes on both accounts.


Get that learning cap on and start reading.
Serious question. I have heard good things about panda. But maybe i haven't done lots of digging? Any reason you say compression test cause of panda. Are they known for issues or what? Thanks

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Serious question. I have heard good things about panda. But maybe i haven't done lots of digging? Any reason you say compression test cause of panda. Are they known for issues or what? Thanks

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I don’t think the Panda comments were about their tuning competency.

My interpretation was it was general advice to a new new ST owner who bought a used ST with mods & features that seem to give the impression the car has been ‘ridden hard and put away wet’ quite often.
 

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Serious question. I have heard good things about panda. But maybe i haven't done lots of digging? Any reason you say compression test cause of panda. Are they known for issues or what? Thanks

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This isn't a knock against any one tuner or company. I try to stay as natural about vendors / Dealer / Tuners as I possibly can.

Some tuners can get aggressive with tunes and some members beat on their rides like it has wronged them in a past life. There's equal blame to got around for damage.

Now that the ST Focus platform has seen some years and Ford has washed their hands of it, I can tell you that I've been tracking a lot of 2nd and 3rd owner vehicles lately.

I suggested that if the car was modified in any way to perform the compression test to understand the condition on the engine better. I doubt the PO slapped a bunch of parts on the vehicle only to make factory HP numbers (and in some cases less power). You could go FBO without a tune and your ST will be running at factory levels like it or not.

Truthfully I would have made the suggestion to test even if it was bone stock. I'm tired of reading stories like "I've owned my ST for two months and now I have a fist sized hole in my block". People don't understand some of the EcoBoost pitfalls and will LSPI the snot out of the it. Suddenly it's a trade in...

The most important thing for an owner to remember is to HAVE A PLAN.
Do I need to use this car everyday for work or school?
Do I have other means of transportation while I'm fixing or modifying it?
Have you ever ridden in a 400+ WHP FWD vehicle and are you being realistic with you power goals?

Then after you decide on that final grand vision for your ST how are you going to get there?

Buying a part and tuning for it will get expensive fast. Adding parts out of order can be detrimental, (running an increase on boost pressure on a stock intercooler). Can you / someone help you install these parts or will you need to hire someone? Regardless you need to tune the PCM to utilize these parts.

When it comes to a tuner both you and they must be clear on your path and recognize the limitations of your goals. Elevation, fueling, etc.

Unfortunately I find it difficult to trust that a tuner will always put my best interest over their profits and the fan boys only ever sing the praises of whatever camp they represent. So it's up to you to ask questions, learn, and wade through all the BS.
 

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Serious question. I have heard good things about panda. But maybe i haven't done lots of digging? Any reason you say compression test cause of panda. Are they known for issues or what? Thanks

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TBH. I have had tunes from multiple company's during different stages of my car. I ran panda tune on a BT/WMI setup. I was quite disappointed with the tune and the experience. Their BT tunes are quite underpowered compared to others. They do claim to tune a bit conservative. But the cars tune also did not feel "clean". Hard to explain, but it just seemed a bit off. I had 9 revisions, with more to go when my motor popped. (I ultimately blame myself for the motor) but I don't feel like the tune was doing it any favors. Tbh. I don't have experience with them on the stock turbo, but I would be more comfortable. I don't recommend them for BT or Aux fuel tunes.


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Thanks man. I’ll look into it!
Welcome, here comes the concerns I have, lol.

Why does the car have ARP headstuds? That's an odd thing to just have, and kinda alarming.

So somebody took apart the whole top end, pulled the cams, carefully released the clamping load on the head, then installed ARP headstuds, and properly installed/timed everything with the specialty tools. All for ****s and giggles?

Or they blew a headgasket and used them on the rebuild. Which is also alarming.

Our platform doesnt have headbolt issues requiring headstuds. In fact our OEM motor holds 450whp, then the ringlands like to go. Head clamping force is not a concern until a motor build, big turbo, and auxiliary fueling. The headgasket is pretty hardy too. In fact, it holds on quite a few 600whp builds no problem.

How many miles on her?

I also suggest a compression test. Check the plug gap while they are out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
TBH. I have had tunes from multiple company's during different stages of my car. I ran panda tune on a BT/WMI setup. I was quite disappointed with the tune and the experience. Their BT tunes are quite underpowered compared to others. They do claim to tune a bit conservative. But the cars tune also did not feel "clean". Hard to explain, but it just seemed a bit off. I had 9 revisions, with more to go when my motor popped. (I ultimately blame myself for the motor) but I don't feel like the tune was doing it any favors. Tbh. I don't have experience with them on the stock turbo, but I would be more comfortable. I don't recommend them for BT or Aux fuel tunes.


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Just to add to the convo. The car was tuned in house by Panda on their dyno. I don’t know if this would be a better option but I would hope this would be better than an E-Tune option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Welcome, here comes the concerns I have, lol.

Why does the car have ARP headstuds? That's an odd thing to just have, and kinda alarming.

So somebody took apart the whole top end, pulled the cams, carefully released the clamping load on the head, then installed ARP headstuds, and properly installed/timed everything with the specialty tools. All for ****s and giggles?

Or they blew a headgasket and used them on the rebuild. Which is also alarming.

Our platform doesnt have headbolt issues requiring headstuds. In fact our OEM motor holds 450whp, then the ringlands like to go. Head clamping force is not a concern until a motor build, big turbo, and auxiliary fueling. The headgasket is pretty hardy too. In fact, it holds on quite a few 600whp builds no problem.

How many miles on her?

I also suggest a compression test. Check the plug gap while they are out.
Yeah I’m not sure exactly why the heads are studded. Most likely a blown head gasket. The car has 46,000 miles. I mentioned a moment ago that the car was tuned in house by Panda. I don’t know if the installed these or not but the car runs fairly decent.

I haven’t had time to do a compression test but I will be doing the 50,000 mile service early next week and will do the test then.
 

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Just to add to the convo. The car was tuned in house by Panda on their dyno. I don’t know if this would be a better option but I would hope this would be better than an E-Tune option.
I wouldn't think their tuning would change dyno vs e tune. But seeing as you are on stock turbo and fuel I wouldn't be too worried about it. If you go aftermarket in either of those categories, I would research tuners.

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Yeah I’m not sure exactly why the heads are studded. Most likely a blown head gasket. The car has 46,000 miles. I mentioned a moment ago that the car was tuned in house by Panda. I don’t know if the installed these or not but the car runs fairly decent.

I haven’t had time to do a compression test but I will be doing the 50,000 mile service early next week and will do the test then.
We also have a multiquote function, where you can just click a bunch of posts, and reply to them in one.

Blown HG and 46k, thats not great. This is a very hardy platform, so needing a HG and/or having headstuds installed is a red flag, especially at that mileage.

I'd be looking at the turbo, and turbo heatshield for witness marks. Lack of a Heatshield would point towards a turbo swap. Which would tell us a better story.

Panda was a top hp tuner in the early days, they would also push things as hard as the owner would want. Which is good for an informed owner, and bad for an uninformed owner. My 3rd motor buddy put down good numbers with his Panda tune, but the motor eventually blew, very low mileage. Probably his fault, but he's not the only one.

To be honest, Panda hasn't been involved here much at all in the last few years. Mostly we hear about shipping difficulties with products, or nothing at all. They fell off the top tuners in my opinion, just not as popular, or doing anything super impressive. Lot's of other tuners popped up, and gained popularity. Panda has been at it a long time, and has the experience. Helped pioneer the tuning for this platform.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Yeah well my experience with Panda last week wasn’t too great. I emailed asking about the mod list for the car and hoped to get the dyno results. I recieved the mod list, but am still waiting on the dyno results. They haven’t communicated very well honestly.

I’m hoping to find a tuner shop here around Memphis to do a full run through on the car. All the numbers I monitor look good on the access port, but i still need a good mechanic to give the car a once over.

I’m also trying to contact the previous owner, but I haven’t received his contact information yet. Like I said the car seems pretty sound, but I don’t have experience with these engines so the only thing I’m learning to look for is coming from here.
 

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A local buddy of mine had them build a motor. After being months late. It showed up, looking like it just came out of the car. They did t clean the block. It looked like they pulled it out of the junk yard and sold it to him. Motor let go after a couple hundred miles. They are refusing to warranty it, stating it wasn't their motor or tune.

He gave up and is calling it a loss at this point.

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Welcome TennesseeST1. I'm sure one way or the other you can gain more knowledge about your new ride and its history. I sometimes think that learning just half of what the guys here already know about the Mark III Focus should be a for-credit course.

I'm in Nashville. Welcome to the Volunteer State.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Welcome TennesseeST1. I'm sure one way or the other you can gain more knowledge about your new ride and its history. I sometimes think that learning just half of what the guys here already know about the Mark III Focus should be a for-credit course.

I'm in Nashville. Welcome to the Volunteer State.
Thanks for the welcome! I’m definitely enjoying Tennessee!
 
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