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Discussion Starter #1
So my first svt, an 03 with 93k on it. Now I have been playing with race prepped 2.3 2.0 and the new 2.0 in a 14 focus. All have been exclusively tuned by Tom. So let’s do the svt. First run on the dyno, 142hp, 129 tq. A few adjustments to correct a fuel issue, way to lean and Toms magic, up a little and a data logging issue. He found a way around the data logging and the download encountered a loading issue. So he had us pull a specific two fuses and it worked. The final pull had us a 150hp and 139 tq but no vct spike at 6k, just fat tq all the way and hp increase pulling to 7k with a/f now at a safe 13 at wot.
THANK YOU TOM. Can’t wait to drive it but it’s just raining here so hopefully dry in the am.
 

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Great to hear you got your 1st svt...How do you like it?
 

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I still need to get my SVT tuned...

Let us know how the low end changes also. thats the issue I want to get adjusted the most.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just looking at the before and after dyno plots the tq went up across the entire rpm range over 10 ft lbs from 2k thru 7k. The vct spike has all been eliminated which while fun driving it waiting to hit the magic rpm I think I will like the fatter bigger tq across the board. Remember I have been racing a 2.3 and a very modified 2.0 duratec all built and tuned by Tom. The 2.3 has serious tq numbers and the 2.0 has big horsepower and a little less tq, but we geared the mtx75 to work with this.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, Tom cleaned up the a/f with more input to the fuel tables. The car comes off the dyno and the weather is great. So out for a test drive. Set of the pants, it feels great. The dyno says it more powerful. So I take my normal route and this car is a blast. It pulls like a freight train from 2-7k in any gear. The car has wonderful tq low and has wonderful feel through out the rev band. Tom your tune is killer, if you own a stock svt you have no idea what it could be, just get Tom to tune your car.
 

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That's AWESOME! I have had my '03 SVT since new, and gave it to my son in mint condition for his first/college car. At that point, I had only done some minor mods like swapping out the rear 'dog-bone' torque mount with a CFM product (big improvement), swapping to a CFM adjustable short-shifter (ropy shifting fix), and added a larger CFM throttle body to fix the laggy throttle response issues. Oh, and Powerstop rotors/pads and Russell stainless brake lines to get rid of the 'mush'...the brake lines are a must-do item. So, my son got to drive the best version of the car, except he never drove it on summer tires...such a shame, as it really comes alive on summer tires. So he brings the car home complaining of loud banging noises, and that it sounds like the apocalypse is nigh and the car is about to implode on him. The rear swaybar bushings were all but gone, so ordered up the Prothane (street bushings) front/rear sets, and now it drives flatter and better than ever. BTW, I swapped the front swaybar bushings out w/o needing to drop the subframe, which seems to be a major point of contention in these forums ;). It's just a pain to break the bolts loose, and this part is best done from the top with an extra set of hands down below to guide/hold the socket on bolt...use a torque wrench or breaker bar for extra leverage, as they are tight. I just removed the airbox to easily access driver's side bolts.
But I digress; I always wanted Tom's tune, but couldn't afford it, and while perusing repairmanuals.com site for my son's car, I saw they offered "plug-in tuner chips" and had a special intro offer going so I ordered one to try along with a capacitor kit, which seemed 'iffy', but worth a try also, and it got me free shipping threshold :). It just plugs into OBDII port, and supposedly goes through a learning cycle for the first 100 or so miles installed. What I can say is that the capacitor kit seemed to mildly improve engine response and 'fun-factor', and when the plug-in chip arrived (later) I noticed the car pulled noticeably harder off idle and was stronger all the way to redline...feeling much, much torquier than pre-chip. I haven't really noticed any improvement in overall MPG, but mine hasn't dropped either, and I have been driving it hard and fast with zero hiccups. Now I feel like it makes sense to add a Wavetrac limited-slip diff (or similar gear driven LSD) when I replace the clutch, as there is so much better power/torque as to result in loss of traction. So basically, I bought a plug-in-tuner chip, which is supposed to retail for maybe $60, and paid $2 for it and got free shipping (was going to be $16 for the chip as standalone item) by ordering the capacitor kit, which has also seemed to improve the drivability of my SVT.

Like me, I know there are a lot of SVT (ST170) owners out there who would like to see some easily accessible /affordable gains from the engine since we have to fill it up with super unleaded and always get pretty crappy mpg in mixed or city driving, and I've been very happy with my experience thus far. Fair warning that there are a lot of plug-in tuners out there that are just fool's gold crap (LED blinky light in a plastic shell), but this one seems to work!😁(y) At 115K miles, and looking forward to summer tires!!!
 

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Where are you plugging the chip in at ? One at the OBDII port and the other ?

Whats your knock sensors doing ? whats your WOT air fuel ? , your IMRC is still opening stock , your intake cam is still acting stock , the one plugged into your OBDII post is doing nothing more that jacking the timing way to high ( reason for 93) knock sensor or overly active by telling your PCM your air intake is colder the it actually is as well as your water temp lower then it is
There both scams if you dont believe that come to my dyno and I will prove it for free , I bought then back when they came out and there horrible your borderline damaging your engine

Tom
 

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Forgive my lack of brevity:

Again, kudos to Tom and his tuning artform; I really respect what you do and wish I could afford some of your magic too, Tom. I really do! Three kids, two divorces, and two dream houses lost in divorces later I reviewed a lot of sites and SVT forums, performed detailed web searches and read and researched everything still available for the focus SVT (ST170) model. I was determined to rebuild/improve the SVT my son had returned to me ailing, and I found exactly what Tom is emphasizing in his response. There are a lot of rip-offs, and shiny, sticker-covered garbage being sold out there purely in an effort to separate the unsuspecting from their cash. I've owned the car from new in '03, and only made a few, carefully considered parts upgrades along the way. I spent several days researching different options, reading comments, forums, recommendations, etc. At the end of the day, I didn't have access to a flash tuner device and couldn't afford to buy Tom's Tune, although heavily endorsed by the multitudes over the years, so I pivoted to the latest plug-in tech, and then it was just down to finding one sold by a reputable site to try.

Again, I really didn't have high expectations for the intro price I paid, but I got quick, competent responses to all my product and fitment questions and the intro price was limited to one device. Yeah, I tried to order one for my other car and my son's Audi too on the same intro dealio whereupon they said: "Nice try! pick one car, and feel free to order for your other cars at the regular price". So I picked my SVT as my world would not end if it killed the car. I installed it at Thanksgiving 2019, drove it for the prescribed mileage before evaluating it, and then have driven the heck out of the car almost daily since then, and I'm not being gentle with her at 115K miles. I'm flogging her good, as I already did the timing belt/water pump service a bit early to try and keep my son from blowing it up, and replaced serpentine/tensioner/idlers at the same time...staying ahead of the catastrophic loss probability curve. How many of us wish our first car could've been an SVT Focus?!

I don't have all the answers, nor the data logging ability to alleviate Tom's concerns, but what I know is I was highly skeptical going in and figured the device might be doing just what Tom described...jacking the timing up, etc. But I've advanced timing on cars back when I was just a wee pup, and that change comes with very specific outcomes; more power, yes, but also a lot more heat (visibly running hot in oil/coolant gauges), and fuel economy is trashed as well. I'm happy to report I haven't seen any abnormal temps readings at all, and it's waaaaay more fun to drive now whether it's around town, barnstorming country roads, blitzing the passing lane, or going through tight, technical, turn-heavy roads. I don't have to keep it high in the rev band all the time; it feels very tractable and accessible across the range now, and I don't have to wait for the intake runners to change over before it wakes up. Sound familiar, anyone, Bueller? One key factoid I left you was that my MPG has not dropped at all since I installed this chip, even though I've been driving it harder and faster since, which means the real mpg achieved is almost certainly superior to what I was getting prior, considering the aerodynamic drag above 75++mph tends to kill one's highway mpg numbers. What has changed is that I roll into throttle and it very happily picks up from just a bit above idle, and next I look down at the speedo and it's indicating warp-factor1++(maybe add zeroes here;), and I am shocked at how effortless it seems now.

Now, to be sure, I do run 93 octane, top-tier fuels, and I keep her stocked with Castrol synthetic oil to keep things clean and protected inside. Oh, and I forgot to mention the K&N drop-in filter (original upgrade/) for better intake airflow too. I would've bought a real cold-air intake, but again, the $cost$ was prohibitive to buy a known quantity that actually produces a few more WHP, and the stock box isn't terrible either.

That said, I tried something new (after carefully researching options) that I literally stumbled upon while looking for a repair manual for my son's new(ish) 2010 Audi TDI sled, and I've been pleasantly surprised by how the ECM/PCM has responded to it, and that my fuel mileage has not been negatively impacted. So far my plugin tuner chip has done exactly what it claimed it would do (increased HP/TQ, optimize efficiency), and I've been looking for downsides, but so far none. Since the SVT does heat up that header under loads, I'd stick with a good synthetic oil to guard against thermal breakdown and deposits/sludge buildup. Best to all!
 

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More Timing wont make your engine heat up or loose MPG that must of been in the Carburetor days , Your engine temp can raise a good bit on the stock gauge and not move till in the danger zone so dont go by that

I have tested what your running and gave you the downsides to them , good luck and I hope it doesnt damage your engine like it has many

Tom
 

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Thanks, Tom! I do appreciate your concern for and knowledge-based support you provide to the SVT community and gearheads in general. The more you know, well, the more you know:).

I don't have anything connected to the sensors under the hood, which is what you are referring to with the scam products that mount underhood and change the sensor signal from the MAF sensor and/or coolant temp sensor.

Honestly, I had no expectations for the OBD2 plug-in dongle I received as I paid almost nothing for it and it obviously originated in China. Had I not purchased it with another item I would have had to pay a shipping charge of like $16 for it, which of course is ridiculous. I do understand that there is no free lunch. I will remove it and see what happens.

Interestingly though, Tom, what it means is that the increased responsiveness I'm feeling is solely linked to the capacitor/grounding kit I installed just prior to the OBD2 dongle. In the literature provided, it indicates several of the benefits I've been extolling related to better on-demand and overall power management. The kit links shielded cables to multiple ground points in the engine bay, which then link to a common post on the negative battery terminal, and there is a capacitor storage unit tied into this network along with a controller, inside a waterproof casing. As I've had so many electrical woes over the years with the alternators going out randomly, I decided to try this Japanese capacitor kit from Aiken to see if it would help. It was not free, LOL.
 

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More Timing wont make your engine heat up or loose MPG that must of been in the Carburetor days , Your engine temp can raise a good bit on the stock gauge and not move till in the danger zone so dont go by that

I have tested what your running and gave you the downsides to them , good luck and I hope it doesnt damage your engine like it has many

Tom
So t
 

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Ok Tom, and anyone else reading; so what I've determined after removal and drive testing is that my el-cheapo plug-in OBD2 dongle is pretty good as a secondary theft deterrent light/attention-getter, but it really has had no impact on the car whatsoever.

Tom will be thrilled I'm not damaging my engine, and I didn't throw away any $$ on it so I'm not crushed;). Pardon my confusion in associating the gains noted with the OBD2 dongle install. I added another mod just prior and had noted that it felt stronger before the 'dongle-debacle'. The engine still runs cleaner, crisper, and pulls with exceptional vigor from relatively low rpm basically from tip-in all the way through the rev range, and although I can still feel and hear the change when the variable intake runners cutover, it is no longer such a dramatic day/night difference in the powerband output like it used to be prior to adding the capacitor kit. Don't get me wrong, as it still feels stronger after the cutover point, but that really used to be the 'gee-whiz this is super fun!' moment, whereas now it is just much more responsive everywhere. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess the ignition system is getting a much more consistent feeding of electrons due to the capacitor smoothing out the available current flow, which in turn allows it to perform up to its' potential, and that the ECM/PCM has been able to make the most of what it has to work with now. It feels so much better than stock already, so I can only imagine it with Tom's Tune to maximize it's output!
 

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Ok, I know some of you may wonder why it seemed to me like such a huge performance increase occurred after the dongle install, eh? Well, as it turns out the capacitor kit comes with a multitude of diff length grounding cables to attach to several different connection points in the engine bay, but I didn't hook any of them up initially, as I wanted to see if the basic control board/capacitor housing device was good or not before going all-in with routing wires around/through and busting knuckles in tight spaces. It did work, and I could feel a very slight improvement, but not much at that point. Overall, I basically determined the capacitor unit worked and was worth keeping. I drove it a few days with just the basic battery terminal hook-ups to verify my first impressions before adding all the additional grounding cables provided in the kit. Surprise! The OBD2 dongle arrived (squirrel!), so I decided to add it to the trial already in progress since I knew I was getting at least some benefit from the capacitor kit already, and more is better, right? So I routed all the grounding cables, tightened it all up, and plugged in the OBD2 dongle. In hindsight, I do recall that the car seemed to feel much stronger in driving it just after I'd plugged in the dongle, which it shouldn't have, but that was just an old Jedi mind trick...I wanted it to work, got distracted, and forgot all about the actual mechanical/electrical cabling work I'd done under the hood for the capacitor system hook-ups. My bad for not separating the two changes into distinctly separate events for trial purposes.

The OBD2 dongle performance claims looked too good to be true online, and it was a Chinese knock-off, sure enough, although I did end up finding the capacitor kit on the same site for my SVT, which actually does work. BTW, you can buy the same type OBD2 dongles via Walmart and other reputable sites(perhaps sites are getting spoofed?), but I digress. As it turns out, all the goodness I've experienced is linked to properly wiring up/terminating all of the leads provided in the capacitor kit and ensuring clean/tight ground connections exist for the OEM harness.

Also, I feel strongly that having already made a couple of prior intake upgrade mods (CFM throttle body/K&N drop-in filter) that facilitate stronger intake airflow performance and improve throttle response significantly over OEM parts, that what I'm experiencing now is simply synergistic gains from all the components now working in harmony together as they should. I've eliminated and/or overcome the few weak links that were holding the engine back from performing up to its basic, OEM potential, and now it doesn't feel 'gutless' in the lower revs any longer and builds nicely, and smoothly up to redline. Truly it feels like a different engine, and I still don't have it tuned yet, but someday I will.
If anyone has an old flash tuner they are done with, I could sure put it to good use, just sayin'😁
 

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What RPM are you feeling it change ?

Tom
I'd have to get back in car to be sure, but it's between 5500-6000rpm when she starts to howl at the wind. I was musing that it felt like the cutover was kicking in just a bit later than it had in the past, but it's so much smoother now it doesn't stand out so much. I have had the intake runners control go out twice in the past and fixed it, so I know what it feels like to be stuck in one runner length mode if that's what your angling towards.
 

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Been there, done that couple of times, and she sure was a dog to drive when it was broken; what a pain!!! But I researched and learned how to repair it myself, which has come in handy more than once.

Tom, I'm not surprised I got it wrong as I honestly don't pay much attention to the tach I've been driving it for so long; I just listen to the engine and exhaust sounds for their cues and keep my eyes down the road. I'm generally not banging it off redline either. What I can tell you is my old infra-red '03 SVT with 115K miles on the clock is running better than it ever has before, no hesitation or fueling issues...it just plain goes. I may have to start a Tom's Tune go-fund-me page.
 
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