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Instead of derailing ducatti and rbrown's build threads I thought I should start my own spot.

2013 Lariat bought used in June 2015 with 54k miles on it. I watched as it sat on the used dealer lot as they lowered the price and finally decided to pull the trigger. It was in nearly flawless shape, save for one rim they had curb rashed badly and some wear on the drivers seat bolster from someone putting 50k miles on the truck in < 2 years according to build date. No rock chips, the hitch still had an unscraped coat of paint on the inside of it. Previous owner had Ford do 100% of the servicing so I figured to hell with the higher than average milage, just makes it cheaper for me! For those interested in used prices, I paid 34.4k + TTL, sticker on it was 51.7k with all the options, actually 200 bucks -more- than a king ranch I was also considering.

Upon pickup did all the "normal" stuff you might do with a used truck, changed plugs to freshly gapped .30, oil change, fluids checks, etc. Within a month I started with mods, cause who can resist...


1) Tires changed out to BFG 265/75/r20's on stock chrome clad rims. (I thought I'd eventually get new rims but the chrome clads grew on me so I replaced the rashed one off one on ebay). With a custom tune speedo calculation of rev's/mile at 610 is off by < .5% as verified by my GPS on some 100+ mile highway roadtrip stretches.

2) Living in Austin, TX it gets hot in the summer, knowing I was going to put a tune on it I put in a reisch 170 t-stat

3) Rancho quick lift 2 inch struts up front. On my prior toyota tacoma I had a full icon setup, but since with 2 little kids my wheeling days are over I decided that I didn't want something that needed to rebuilt every 2-3 years and was thousands of bucks. The struts I received were both left sides so the adjustment knob was pointed to the inside of the truck, vs outside, on one side to get it to fit. After talking to rancho the struts are actually identical so with a spring compressor I just spun the upper plate and dials are both out. A little frustrating, but easy fix in the end.

4) Installed rear bilstien 5100's, after a good cleaning I sprayed wheel wells with some 3M black undercoating and then installed husky wheel well liners to dress it up a bit.

5) Picked up some of the foldable tailgate extenders from member on this board who was selling his ride, I love 'em, use 'em all the time.

6) I wasn't going to put a CAI on it after doing the reading, but I liked the design of the Bank's CAI so much and the reviews said it was "stock quiet" so put that guy on with the dry filter. I have to agree, its barely noticable, if at all from a sound perspective and I like that.

7) I had to have Ford update the ECU so that 5* could get me some tunes, my closest Ford dealer didn't want to do it even if I paid them for the shop time so I had to fake intercooler symptoms at another dealer to get them to do the intercooler TSB which involves updating the ECU. I felt a little sleazy about it, but whatever, its done now. I then promptly ripped off the crap the stuck on the front of the IC and drilled a weep hole in it. a little water came out but almost nothing.

8) 5 star came through with 87 eco, 87 Power/Tow, 93 Power/Tow, 93 Perf tunes and the SCT X4 tuner. I tried the 87 eco tune and hated it, went to 93 perf and while it was really fun to drive it shifted a little hard for around town driving and I didn't like having to change it to the 93 P/T everytime I hooked up a trailer. So now I just run the 93 P/T as my "normal" tune and am very happy with the way it drives, it more than makes up for the increased tire size and I never feel like I'm wanting for torque off the line.

9) installed Husky weatherbeaters front and back along with husky's underseat box. love the box, love the fact the rear mat is sized to match the box. Don't love the "fit" of the liners. For being "exact fit with a laser" they basically don't align with the edges of the truck perfectly. Don't get me wrong, its not a bad fit, but its certainly not "perfect". Having seen the thread about weathertechs, and other huskey versions though I think they're no worse than any of the other "exact fit" ones, I'm just picky I guess. They're more than sufficient for keeping my kids spills and stray pretzels at bay and wipe up easy.

10) decided to take the truck from Austin to Chicago and back on a family vacation, towing a light ~1750 lbs trailer. we were concerned about security of stuff in the back of the truck when we were at hotels and not camping along the way so bought a bakflip F1. I've had zero problems with mine and love it way more than having a cap on the truck (like prior one). I feel fortunate to not have any of the problems with rubber stripping falling off, massive water leaks, etc that seem to have plagued some people. Super clean look when its closed, folds open fast, and can be totally removed with just two hand bolts, best truck bed solution I've ever had.

I think thats about it for the mods so far - its really been a great truck and I've put way more miles on it than expected because we now find we want to take the family in it everywhere because mom can comfortably fit in the back with two car seats. Later in the day I can bobcat up 3 cu yards of mulch into the back with the backflip folded up to spread. All while averaging 15.8mpg after 8k miles, better than the 15.5 I was getting on my old tacoma!

Gripes: the homelink garage door buttons don't work with my marantec openers (seems to be common problem), the mpg meter constantly overestimates even when adjusted for tires, the milage is right but if it says I used 35 gallons and its time to fill up, I can -always- put in 36 gallons. its almost always under estimates
the gas burned by 1 gallon on a full fill up.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
After that marathon post... I'm scheduled for a dyno session this coming tuesday at 10:30am. gonna dyno the truck 2 pulls "stock" ECU to get a baseline, then a pull with the 93 P/T and one with the 93 Perf tunes from 5 star. Not that I don't trust their dyno graphs but interested to see if my results look as good theirs. All 4 pulls are in prep for installing a full-race resonated cat-back and going back to same dyno first week in Jan.

What I really want to see is if simply adding their catback really is providing nearly 100+ more torque with a peak at 2700 vs 3400 cause thats as big a change as getting a tune in the first place! Again, not that I don't believe their dyno pulls, but everyone likes to see if its true on their machine :cool:
 

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Sub'd. Not many people put up dynos of there tunes. So I am also curious.
 

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One question. Why did you have to have your PCM updated to get tuned by 5*?


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One question. Why did you have to have your PCM updated to get tuned by 5*?
When I sent my original ECU strategy code to 5* as part of the tuning process they emailed back and said that it too many revisions out of date and they basically couldn't support a tune for it. Trying to be on the up and up I went to my local dealer, told them the situation and offered to pay them the labor rate for updating the ECU but they refused to update it "for no reason". 5* said they've heard that on occasion before and suggested I got the "oh my truck has a shudder" route, so I did that and guess what, PCM updated for free. A little down low, but if someone doesn't want my money to do the job... then shame on them.
 

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Sub'd. Not many people put up dynos of there tunes. So I am also curious.
Yea - I've actually never dyno'd a truck/car before (only race bikes), but I discovered a shop that is literally on the way to work, just < 10 minutes away. Aikman Performance Tuning, Repair, Dyno | Chevrolet LS 1-9 | Serving Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Austin, Lakeway, Round Rock, Kyle, Leander, Canyon Lake, TX after talking to them, they seem totally on the up and up. They're primarily a GM/Corvette shop but will even wrench on Fords if I ever get myself into a bind, but they don't dyno tune Ford's (mostly mustangs) themselves. They're happy to let you do pulls, data log, change tunes, since they don't tune themselves as long as you're paying for the dyno time. They have ford customers where they do the wrenching/dyno and bamaperformance does the tuning, basically by email like LET/Torrie/MPT will do.

LET is only 2.5 hours from me, so maybe at some point I'll drive over there and let Erik dyno tune me, but since 5* provides free tune updates for life I'm willing to stick with them while I am still bolting on parts. I've never really heard of anyone doing custom logging and getting revisions from 5*, maybe if I asked they would, who knows. If I can replicate the kind of torque/hp curve full-race is claiming with a SCT canned 91 tune + only their cat-back I'll be pretty happy. Its sort of hard for me to believe just the cat-back can make such a huge diff but folks like ducatti have shown a very similar dyno (except they always seem to have "other" supporting mods like downpipes that go beyond the standard CAI +catback).
 

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Oh and I forgot to mention - this morning it was 38F out, started the truck and heard the dreaded timing chain rattle :mad: uggg. if it happens another time or two while its cold out I'm going to get it documented at my dealer since I'm now at 61k miles and out of powertrain, but still in the 80k emissions that the TSB covers it under.
 

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When I sent my original ECU strategy code to 5* as part of the tuning process they emailed back and said that it too many revisions out of date and they basically couldn't support a tune for it. Trying to be on the up and up I went to my local dealer, told them the situation and offered to pay them the labor rate for updating the ECU but they refused to update it "for no reason". 5* said they've heard that on occasion before and suggested I got the "oh my truck has a shudder" route, so I did that and guess what, PCM updated for free. A little down low, but if someone doesn't want my money to do the job... then shame on them.
Strange, never heard of a tuner not supporting due to older strategy. Thanks for the response.


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Strange, never heard of a tuner not supporting due to older strategy. Thanks for the response. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
From Stage 3's response it is to ensure that everything is up to date. Basically them trying to ensure you won't have an engine failure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
http://www.f150ecoboost.net/forum/13-f150-ecoboost-performance/468-sct-canned-tunes-vs-5-star-tunes.html

Here is an older thread comparing SCT canned to 5* to stock but for 87 octane not 93. Not clear if it was 5* power/tow or perf either, the perf only tunes peak a lot higher than the power/tows on their dyno charts.

Couple more stock to tuned comparisons I found:

2015 running 5* 91 perf with afe intake
http://www.f150ecoboost.net/forum/13-f150-ecoboost-performance/11097-2015-f150-3-5l-ecoboost-dyno-run-5-star-91-octane-performance-tune-vs-stock.html

From 5* themselves showing 93 perf/tow and 87 perf on a stock 2012
http://www.stage3motorsports.com/5-Star-Tuning-F150-Custom-Tune.html

Again from 5* for 2015 3.5 93 perf
http://www.f150ecoboost.net/forum/13-f150-ecoboost-performance/10667-2015-f150-2-7l-3-5l-ecoboost-custom-tuning-5-star-tuning-now-available.html
 

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Oh and I forgot to mention - this morning it was 38F out, started the truck and heard the dreaded timing chain rattle :mad: uggg. if it happens another time or two while its cold out I'm going to get it documented at my dealer since I'm now at 61k miles and out of powertrain, but still in the 80k emissions that the TSB covers it under.
Let me know what your dealer has to say about the rattle, dnellans. If you need any help after your appointment, I'll be here. :)

Crystal
 

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Thanks Crystal, it warmed up again and hadn't happened since. Will have to see if it happens on next cold snap in a week.
 

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rattle update: unfortunately it made the ugly sound again this morning (after a few days of not making it). 65F out so I can't even say it's "cold" start related like the first time I hear it. I'm going to make an spot with mak haik ford in Georgetown, TX to get it diagnosed. one oil pressure comes up the truck drives fine, no power or economy issues noticed at all. restarting after warm it also hasn't shown any issues, only symptom is sitting overnight thus far. maybe I'll check oil level in the morning before starting to see if something goofy is going on there
 

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in other bad news, after checking plug gaps, warming truck up, even washing it, went over to aikman performance for my dyno session. I get there and they tell me my appointment is for -next- Tuesday... I stopped in the shop Friday, there was no confusion about the day, we talked about doing it before Christmas etc. the two wrenches and the scheduling lady were literally sitting around smoking on chairs in the bay as I walked up. with no one on the dyno do I asked if we could just go for it now and of course "they were too busy". huuuuge -1 for them to start but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt one time before I take my biz elsewhere. so I guess I'll be there next Tuesday pending the timing chain appt.
 

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in other bad news, after checking plug gaps, warming truck up, even washing it, went over to aikman performance for my dyno session. I get there and they tell me my appointment is for -next- Tuesday... I stopped in the shop Friday, there was no confusion about the day, we talked about doing it before Christmas etc. the two wrenches and the scheduling lady were literally sitting around smoking on chairs in the bay as I walked up. with no one on the dyno do I asked if we could just go for it now and of course "they were too busy". huuuuge -1 for them to start but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt one time before I take my biz elsewhere. so I guess I'll be there next Tuesday pending the timing chain appt.
Time for a new dyno shop. Trust me
 

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Well - my "rescheduled" dyno came and went today... went to shop, waited 30 min while they moved around vets to get the truck in (fine i wasn't in a rush). pulled the truck in and surprise surprise they don't even have the right adaptors for the dynapack for ford 6 lug. "They're 1k adaptors each so unless you want to buy them for us, I guess you're out of luck." what a joke, i specifically asked if they had the right adaptors on multiple occasions since they're primarily a corvette/GM shop. first a scheduling fail and now simply not having the required parts... FAIL. Aikman Performance in Cedar Park, TX gets a huge thumbs down from me. Maybe they're knowledgable about vettes and camaros but they run the shop so haphazardly I would never recommend them to anyone at this point. I hope google indexes this post.

Going to try my luck with stout-performance east of austin or elite motorsports (but they're mostly a supercar shop). back to the drawingboard I guess for dyno time.

After hearing the timing change rattle for a second time I have been trying to catch it on video so that the ford folks can hear/see it it, because I'm sure they're not going to be able reproduce it on demand. Of course, despite the cold weather now it hasn't happened again in almost a week.
 

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despite not being able to get on a dyno yet I got a full race intercooler and catback put on order tonight along with some amp powersteps that should give me a lot more clearance under the rocker panels compared to the stick running boards. will be a couple of weeks on the intercooler (black anodized) so still hoping to get on a dyno before hand to test stock and 5*'s 93 perf and 93 power row tunes as-is.

and no more timing chain rattle despite trying to catch it on video each morning
 
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