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Discussion Starter #1
My 2016 ST3 needs a tune. Currently it's bone stock, but I want something to 'wake it up.'

1. What is the hands down best tune for a stock ST?

2. Should I be doing any mods before a tune?

3. Which tuning method would you choose? Cobb access port? Other?


I have read many articles, and used the search feature extensively. I understand this is subjective, and there is also a lot of information out there. I just want to see if there is a general consensus for which tune is the best, and most reliable for a ST with no mods.

I want power gains, and a more free feeling car. I think a tune can provide this, but I need to know my best route from someone who has already done this.

Thanks,
 

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Intercooler, protune (not OTS meaning a tune custom to your car) w/AP and E30 if available to you will be the most cost effective power gains. Downpipe and catback always fun. I'd personally do intake last. That's what I did on my car.


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Yes you can most definitely be tuned when you are stock. You may want to get colder spark plugs though. You don't HAVE to. I didn't for a while. But you definitely SHOULD.
 

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Yes you can most definitely be tuned when you are stock. You may want to get colder spark plugs though. You don't HAVE to. I didn't for a while. But you definitely SHOULD.
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to use a colder plug on an otherwise stock ST even if tuned.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I guess back to my original question then. What's the best tune for a completely stock ST? What is the safest, and most beneficial?
 

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There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to use a colder plug on an otherwise stock ST even if tuned.
It would still be beneficial in the slightest, not a complete waste. Plus it leaves room for future modification without worrying about it later.
 

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After a tune, what mods exactly would warrant colder plugs? Seems like the tune would be the main factor cranking up the heat...

OP: This is so subjective. You will get as many answers as there are tuners. I am tuned by Torrie at Unleashed Tuning through SCT with lifetime revisions. I love it and have had 0 problems.
 

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So I guess back to my original question then. What's the best tune for a completely stock ST? What is the safest, and most beneficial?
This is like asking who is the most attractive girl in the world. You will find someone who will vouch for every single tuner. That being said, freektune is my vote. Buy the access port through them, and you get a full custom etune for an additional $75. That is a steal. Also, he made like ~265whp on an otherwise stock focus. The tune is super smooth and OEM feeling. The throttle feels the same as stock, just loads more power. I also have used the Cobb ots tunes and another tuner's ots tune and the freektune is a whole different ballgame.
 

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After a tune, what mods exactly would warrant colder plugs? Seems like the tune would be the main factor cranking up the heat...

OP: This is so subjective. You will get as many answers as there are tuners. I am tuned by Torrie at Unleashed Tuning through SCT with lifetime revisions. I love it and have had 0 problems.
I have a Tune and Cobb CAI/Hi-flow filter and was recommended to get them. So I'm pretty certain that the tune is the biggest reason. I agree with your suggestion to get them.

Edit: When I looked into getting them I was told that the stock ST is near the threshold of needing them anyway..so just about any modification to the car they are beneficial, but not doing so isn't dangerous unless you do BT or something.
 

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IMO, a Cobb AP is the best tuning device. Tuners that have a good reputation that I would not hesitate to use are deadhook, stratified, moutune. I would go with Stratified. "Best" is subjective and you can't go wrong with any of the 3. To support your tune, I would get an intercooler and high flow filter (cobb, K&N etc). Intercoolers=Depot 3.5", steeda 3.5" seem to be the best bang for your buck. A rear motor mount (go with lower durometer for less vibes) is also a good upgrade to help put the power down. CFM, JBR, and others are all good buys...I like the CFM because you can insert more pins to increase rigidity.

Just my 2 cents.

edit-with just the above mods/tune, I don't think a colder plug is necessary. Correct plug gap is more important. Gap to 0.026-0.028. To be certain you have the correct heat range plugs, consult your tuner.
 

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I'm tuned by Randy. I'm pretty sure he's been tuning Ford ECUs longer than anybody else. I have a K&N filter with the Cobb pipe. The very first thing I asked him before even ordering my AP was about the spark plugs and if colder was necessary. He said no and to gap them to .028". I'm tuned for 91 so I suppose it can depend on the fuel you're tuning for. However I'm consistently pull +4 ignition corrections and barely get into the negatives and proper AFR across the board. Running too cold of a plug when it's not need will just foul the plugs and do nothing more.
 

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I'm tuned by Justin at FreekTune. I've only used him so I can't talk about the others but honestly anyone you pick will be good. You should list more criteria of what you want to get out of the tune, what you expect from the tuners, and any particular questions you have. Then they can be answered.
I agree with BetaDnB. You don't need 1 step colder plugs. Justin doesn't recommend them either. The general rule of thumb for basically any car is for every +75hp extra, go one step colder. It seems though most of this forum is running 1 step colder. Might be based on a thread where there was a lot of confusion on what type of plugs the stock car had and what they meant for other brands.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I really just want to make things as simple and cost effective as possible. This is my first real turbo car, and I've never had a tune performed. I would like to see some real world gains, and better top end performance. We all know where the tiny little turbos lack, and these are the areas I would like to improve. I just want to "Wake the car UP!" if that makes any sense? I want all around drive-ability to be improved. I have decided that i'll be going with the COBB access port, so that's a done deal. Now I just need to pick a tuner, and go for it... but there is just so much out there.
 

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I really just want to make things as simple and cost effective as possible. This is my first real turbo car, and I've never had a tune performed. I would like to see some real world gains, and better top end performance. We all know where the tiny little turbos lack, and these are the areas I would like to improve. I just want to "Wake the car UP!" if that makes any sense? I want all around drive-ability to be improved. I have decided that i'll be going with the COBB access port, so that's a done deal. Now I just need to pick a tuner, and go for it... but there is just so much out there.
Dont think any one mentioned it but decide on your tuner first before you buy the AP. Buying the AP through your tuner will let you usually get a flash tune for free instead of paying the additional $50-$75. That is all you need. You can also try to find a used one for sale. I got mine for $400, you should be able to find one around that price if you go that route.

Just from what I've seen on the forums: Stratified and Freektune seem to be the bigger two tuners that a lot of people are going for. Deadhook motorsports is there too and increasing in popularity but their 'main platform' is/was the fiesta
 
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