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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks with tunes - what else is absolutely necessary for smooth reliable function?

  • I've heard that colder re-gapped spark plugs are a must.
  • Is a new thermostat absolutely necessary? What's the downside to running the stock thermostat with a tune? Just heat soak during hard use in hot weather?
  • Same questions about the stock intercooler.

In other words, can I get just the tune and spark plugs, but skip the new thermostat and the intercooler upgrade?
 

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You can just get a tune and skip everything else and run mid 12s. The stock plugs are the coldest plugs you can get. Mine were gapped about 0.028"-0.030". From my experience with my SHO (which came with 1 heat range hotter plugs than the Fusion Sport), colder plugs and a cold t-stat did nothing for reducing spark knock. The use of E30+ was the single most useful thing with the tune.

As for heat soak, the stock FSport intercooler isn't very effective. The IAT and MCT temp delta was 100F after a 1/4 mile run. I hear with aftermarket intercoolers, that delta is more like 30F - huge difference. With my 2014 SHO, the stock intercooler resuted in a temp delta of about 70F-80F but it would run 12.4 @ 110.9 all day long, back-to-back runs so the heat soaking wasn't that detrimental.

Aftermarket mods like the Big Mouth intake, the Steeda hot air intake, GFB bypass valve mod (or any BOV or aftermarket BPV) aren't really useful at all for performance or anything. The stock turbos are puny/whimpy and will max out with just a tune using the stock paper air filter. Let me put it another way. A fully tuned 2.7 stock turbo setup only flows about 3-4 lb/min more than the bone stock factory turbos/tune on a SHO/Explorer Sport. A fully tuned SHO/Explorer sport will flow 5-10 lb/min more than a fully tuned 2.7 turbo setup, and even the SHO/Explorer Sport would max out the stock turbos with just a tune - the stock airbox/paper filter were not restrictions nor were the charge pipes.
 

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Level, the T-Stat is not necessary. It will not help with heat soak of the FMIC. It will keep you engine and oil temp down, so a little added protection their, but not a requirement. I changed my T-Stat for that reason.

Another note about the T-Stat. Our cars are programmed to turn on the Electric Fans for the radiator too coincide with the temp setting of the stock T-Stat. If you change the T-Stat, your tuner needs to set the "on" signal for the fan to match your T-Stat Temp. Torrie @ Unleashed does it even if you don't change the T-Stat. He wants that fan running.

On the Stock FMIC, I was getting temps close to 80+ over ambient. With my new UP FMIC, I have stayed at ambient or a few degrees below. You can still get heat soak when sitting for long periods of time with no air movement and engine running. It will take longer to get that IAT2 down when that happens.

Cooler temps will equal a few more ponies.
 
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There's plenty of info on this site that answers all your questions.

But to answer your questions:
1. Yes change plugs if you get a Tune...gap to .28....don't get the NGK plugs that some sites offer

2. Skip the Tstat it's not needed

3. Definitely get an intercooler - if you don't have ACC then go with CP-E...if you do have ACC then your only option is Ultimate Performance, unless you want to relocate your ACC. Intercooler will help reduce your IAT2 numbers whether you are tuned or not
 

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The fan settings are a bit overhyped... When I ran the Reische 170F t-stat in my SHO, without the fan operating any sooner, the ECT was usually kept around 180-183F while the car was moving. I tried lowered fan settings but the fan would just keep running and it was annoying. I set the fan temp setting to 200F and never had a problem.

I thought about using a 170F t-stat on the Fusion Sport, as coolant is used for the trans oil cooler, and PTU cooler so it'd help reduce those temps. But after looking at the data, I don't think it is mandatory. Also the engine oil needs to be at a certain temp to burn off volatile compounds.

I should add that the factory spark plugs are NGK Laser Iridiums and even have the NGK part number stamped on them. You can get the Ford Racing plugs (colder plugs for 3.5 which are stock for 2.7) or the NGK laser iridiums, but these would be stock replacement plugs. There's no such thing as a colder plug for our engines. Again my factory plugs were gapped around 0.028-0.030 (I forgot the exact measurement but they were good to go) and the NGK Rutheniums came out of the box all gapped 0.028"
 

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Folks with tunes - what else is absolutely necessary for smooth reliable function?

  • I've heard that colder re-gapped spark plugs are a must.
  • Is a new thermostat absolutely necessary? What's the downside to running the stock thermostat with a tune? Just heat soak during hard use in hot weather?
  • Same questions about the stock intercooler.

In other words, can I get just the tune and spark plugs, but skip the new thermostat and the intercooler upgrade?
Yes, you can just get a 93 tune with NO other mods and it will run just fine. There is a noticeable drop off in performance
in the summer heat vs the dead of winter, but it does not affect the way the engine runs.
 

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I'm in the camp that actually advises against the t-stat. There's an argument that it can actually be bad for the longevity and efficiency of your engine.

Until you upgrade the turbos, the fuel you're tuned for is what will make the biggest difference.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Correct me if I'm wrong but factory spark plug gap is 0.032 and folks instead do 0.028 on tuned cars, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So if I get a tune I might as well just drive around and see how the car feels. If there's a problem, only then pull the plugs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Any issues being tuned but running the stock intercooler and stock thermostat in the summer, aside from a performance decrease? Do I risk overheating it if I'm driving hard or go to a track on a 90° day, or will the computer just retard power to prevent damage?
 

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I wouldn't go to a track on a 90 degree day other than to hang with friends and blast around. If you want to set any ET records go when it is cooler.

But I haven't had any issues with stock t-stat/stock intercooler. No risk to overheating. If you're taking it on a road course, your tires and brakes will probably fail before your engine overheats unless you get specific mods. You may have spark knock issues but running E30+ helps FAR more than plugs, t-stat, etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great, thanks.

Any concerns about engine or transmission mounts? Do the stock ones hold up fine long-term with the added torque?
 

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FWIW - I’ve got the UP Garrett core FMIC and run 93 octane w/tune, stock t-stat. When I’m at the drag strip, if there’s less than 30-40 minutes between passes, even when ambient is ~ 65F, my car heat soaks terribly! It steadily loses nearly 4/10ths as it loads up! That’s with popping the hood every time it’s standing still. I’m assuming the transmission is contributing to that problem, considering the brake torquing that’s going on, but an intercooler is not necessarily a stand-alone solution to heat soak issues. So many times I’ve threatened to cut a hole in my hood for vents, yet I just can’t bring myself to do it. My car is my daily driver, year round, so having a hole in the hood is tough to reconcile.

 
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Heat soak will always be a problem - you need constant airflow through the front grille to keep temps down. I can see my heat soaked IAT2/MCT temps drop a bit as soon as I launch.
I'd avoid taking the car to the drag strip on a 90F summer night other than for fun. If you want to do back to back passes and for tuning/setting a new ET best, go for cooler dry weather.

As background I experimented with the Reische 170F t-stat and colder plugs on the SHO and they did nothing for knock reduction or power when using 93 octane. The switch to E30+ was the single biggest difference.

As for the trans mounts, I've never had an issue with wheel hop on the Fusion Sport or SHO even with hard launches and 1.8 60' times. If you want to talk wheel hop, that would be my Cobalt SS Turbo. The rear view mirror will droop down from all the hard vibration (like driving over rail road tracks repeatedly at 100 mph) due to the wrong driveline angle from its design (different story). But others have gone the aftermarket route. I've never had luck with aftermarket mounts being quiet/smooth. They always seem to transmit a bit more NVH into the cabin for me.

TL;DR
-Ambient temps should be as low as possible regardless of your intercooler/t-stat configuration for max performance/power
-E30+ fueling is almost a necessity for higher temperatures at the drag strip. If you're not on E30+ you're missing out. 93 octane is fine for daily driving
 
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