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rowekmr

Power Levels for the Stages of Tune?

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Hello I am a newbie and looking to get a 2010 MKS with the Ecoboost and see there are tunes from Stage I to IV (IIRC). What is the expected hp with them and/or 1/4 mile time?

 

I was thinking about the tune, CAI, cat down pipes, plugs and 3 Bar from what I read and was wondering how much hp increase and will that be enough to crack into the high 12's in the 1/4?

 

What is the difference or purpose of the 3 bar?

 

Does anyone mix E85 in with the 93 oct for more octane?

 

What are the safe limits on the engine block/internals and drivetrain as far as hp?

 

Thanks

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I can't answer your questions about horsepower but I can tell you my experience with a 2010 MKS with a Livernois tune.  

 

I ran their stage 4+X as my daily driver tune with no other mods except a drop-in K&N air filter.   I ran it at the track probably 50-60 times and was consistently in the high 12s.  My best was 12.68 on a very cool morning in ideal conditions.  Typically in our warm and humid mid-west summers, I would be in the 12.8 range.  

 

I tried running a mix of E85 and found that it made no difference.   The 93 octane fuel in my area is E10 as it is in most places.  I also tried their "race" tune and it did not improve my times at all - possibly because I wasn't giving it enough octane although I was running a mix of 93 and 102 race fuel with that tune.   The 3 bar is mandatory with the 4+X tune.  It is needed to work with the higher boost spikes that you get with that tune.

 

Your experience and the experience of others may vary.  I know some guys use a mix of 93 and E85 with good results.   I can tell you that I was very happy with the 4+X as a daily driver tune running just 93 octane as well as at the track.  I had no interest in adding the additional noise of exhaust mods even if that would have improved the drag strip performance.  CAIs have not proven to be of any benefit over a low restriction filter in the stock air box.

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I am very pleased with my tune from Livernois, it makes the car faster and even with Stage IV+ the car has been super reliable.  I have never been a fan of using E85, the quality of it varies so much that I think it is just too risky to be running.  Better to go with Methanol injection for power.  The car should easily drop into the 12's with just a tune.  The 3 bar adds some perimeters that improves the tuning, however the 2010 does have a smaller (less memory and capacity)  ECM so it doesn't benefit as much as some of the new years. 

Edited by mjhpadi

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So you don't have to add any supporting mods with the Stage 4+X tune? I thought the higher the stages the more supporting mods. So the plugs and t stat aren't mandatory?

 

What's the difference between the 4+ and 4+x

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While the plugs may not be "mandatory," to get the tune, they are a mandatory maintenance item.   If your 2010 has the original plugs, they should be changed to Motorcraft SP534s gapped at .030.   The thermostat is mandatory to get the "race" tune but I ran both the 4+ and 4+X with the stock thermostat.   I added the thermostat later when I got the race tune.

 

The 4+X tune requires the 3 bar sensor.  That tune is an upgrade over the 4+ tune.  Livernois has had many of these ecoboost powered cars in their shop and on the dyno.  They often add upgraded tunes based on what they learn.  By the way, once you buy the tuner and tunes, you can get any future upgrades at no additional charge.

 

I am not sure how far you want to take your MKS, but the difference between stock and stage 4+ is huge - literally like having a different car.  The upgrade to 4+X over 4+ is noticeable at the track but not nearly as dramatic as going from stock to 4+.  

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I think Livernois is now saying they are mandatory.  I have the plugs Bruce mentioned along with the 3-bar and the 160 thermostat.  I really don't remember the difference in the tunes but I know the 4+ was recommended as a race tune when I received it.  However, I have been running it ever since I installed it without any problems.  But my car really isn't a daily driver, usually only is driven when the roads are dry and in good weather.  But I know others that used the tune as their daily driver and haven't had problems.  I would recommend the plugs, 3-bar, and thermostat.  If you want to pass on anything, don't do a CAI (doesn't add a thing other than looking good). Also the only exhaust mod that really adds anything is the downpipes, either catted or without cats.  

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The tune does modify the transmission software.  There are no hardware upgrades.  These transmissions are pretty robust.  There haven't been many failures and some guys have literally 100s of drag strip runs with their SHOs - many of which have more engine mods than just a tune and run in low 12s.

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With the 4X+ tune, 3bar, downpipes, 160 Tstat you are looking at 440-450 at the motor.  I ran those mods on my old 2012 and current 2013 with no issues.  The tunes actually make the car more smoother to drive.  Shifts are definitely more chisp.  As for the PTU, that is a funny thing.  Seems there are more stock running cars puking the PTU than tuned cars.   I think that is due the guys with tuned cars are more maintance  heavy with their car. I have well of 250 passes on my 2013 any all is good. I also don't go beating on my car daily either.  So all depends on what you are planning to do with your car.  Hope this helps.

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Bamsho makes a good point.  The PTU only holds around 18 ounces of 75W140 lube.  It should be changed on a regular basis whether the car is stock or tuned.   With my MKS, I changed it annually and never had an issue.  Transmission fluid should be kept fresh, too.

 

Regarding fuel economy, a tune usually improves it if you can keep your foot out of it.    On longer Interstate cruises, my mileage was around 1-1.5 mpg better with the tune.  The ignition timing and A/F ratio are better optimized with the tune resulting in more efficiency. 

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