While we love the vehicles that our gracious lords and saviors over at Ford give us, they always manage to change one thing that seems minor, but makes quite an enormous difference when it comes to aftermarket parts. Call it the Butterfly Effect of OEMs, except less introspective looks at cause and effect, and more pains in our collective asses. The 2014 F150s were victims of such a change. The 2009 to 2013 F150s used a fairly standard clevis/bushing mount on the lower control arms for their front shocks. This was fine, and all was good in the world of the F150. Then 2014 rolled around, and lower mount switched over to a GM truck-style bar and pin mount. The short version of this little rant is that lift kits and other suspension packages for the 2009 to 2013 F150s don't fit the 2014s. The good news is that there's a few companies with 2014 F150-specific kits and few others working on adapters to get their 2009 to 2013 systems working on these newer trucks.
It looks like our dear friends over at Flowmaster have hooked us up once again, and we here at Stage 3 Motorsports are one of (if not the) first to get one of Flowmaster's new Outlaw Cat-Back Exhaust kits for the 2009 to 2014 F150 V8s! It showed up on our door step a few days ago, and we weren't even really sure what the heck was in the box. Turns out it's one of Flowmaster's most aggressive F150 exhaust kits yet. The Outlaw kit comes with a terrifyingly small Flowmaster Series 10 Muffler with a black finish, aggressive 4" double-walled exhaust tips with a black finish, and massive 3" tubing from inlet to tips. Needless to say, we're all dying to get this on our 5.0L Project Truck and do some exhaust testing and horsing around.
When you want to sell your vehicle or if you're trying to diagnose something really specific, you may need to get your performance tune out of your ECU or PCM and return it to stock. SCT's new X4 Handheld Tuner makes the process so much easier and faster than the outgoing SCT X-Cal 3s and SF3 series, and comes with five total unlocks, giving you plenty of room to use your X4 with your current vehicle and any other vehicle you may own down the road. Returning to stock is pretty easy, and here's how:
Being able to find a given vehicle's PCM or ECU strategy code has become increasingly important in the last couple years. With software being an even more critical factor in engine operation, manufacturer Technical Service Bulletins and dealership reflashes wreak havoc with your vehicle's engine management computer. That's why knowing your vehicle's hard embedded strategy code is extremely important when it comes time to tune your vehicle and why our friends over at SCT made it easier than even to find your vehicle's strategy on their new X4 Handheld Tuner. Here's how:
We've just received our very own SCT Performance X4 Handheld Tuner to play around with, and we're already in love with the thing. The X4's firmware is so much faster than the outgoing X3 series which makes it a heck of lot easier to use and much quicker to tune your vehicle and pull its information. The X4 unit itself is surprisingly small and light which makes the X-Cal 3s and SF3s look like dinosaurs in comparison. Loading a new tune into your vehicle is extraordinarily easy, and the X4's new interface and firmware are a breeze to work with. We had a a pre-loaded SCT performance tune loaded into our 3.7L Project Truck in only a few minutes. Here's how:
By far and away the most frequently asked question when it comes to performance tuning of a given vehicle's Powertrain Control Module (PCM) or Engine Control Unit (ECU) is "will this void my warranty?" The short answer is yes, unequivocally and absolutely yes. Performance software tuning of your vehicle's computer will practically always void and Powertrain Warranty that your car or truck may or may not have. "But Stage 3," you say, "what about the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, running the vehicle through a drive cycle before I go into the dealer, or running down my battery to hide my tune?" There are some ways where you're still protected and ways that you can possibly hide a performance tune from the prying eyes of Ford and your dealership. So the long answer to the initial question is "yes, but..." The fact is that the whole tuning/warranty situation is pretty sticky and complex, but there is a good reason that we at Stage 3 tell you that your warranty will definitely be voided while the other guys beat around the bush or even lie through their teeth: we're looking out for you and your vehicle's best interest.
While the intake system setup on the 2004 to 2008 5.4L F150s isn't the strangest in the world, it is kind of an odd setup and isn't the most efficient thing to ever grace an internal combustion engine. That's probably why even the most basic of upgrades can make a huge difference on the 3V 5.4L V8s, and it's also why we grabbed a BBK 80mm Power-Plus Throttle Body and an Airaid Jr. Oiled Intake Kit for our very own 2004 F150 5.4L Project Truck. Both BBK's throttle body and Airaid's more basic Airaid Jr. intake kit are a great way to provide a nice improvement in engine airflow over stock and have extremely easy, bolt-on installations that can be completed with common hand tools in around an hour for both kits. While you could easily do either upgrade separately, it's much easier to throw them both on at the same time, given that removing the air box assembly once is much better than twice. Either way, both the BBK Throttle Body and Airaid Jr. Intake kits make a nice difference in performance and drivability without any hassles.
We've been meaning to get back into our 2011 F150 EcoBoost Project Truck in a big way for a while now, and with our 5.0L Project Truck's exhaust testing winding down, it was time to fire up our EcoBoost truck with some cat-back action. One of our favorite exhaust kits for our 5.0L F150 was the Solo Mach-X cat-back system, so it was a natural choice for our first EcoBoost cat-back install and testing. We did end up using a used Mach-X system, but the fitment and quality were still pretty excellent. More importantly, this kit sounds amazing, even on the notoriously odd-sounding 3.5L EcoBoost V6. The Solo Mach-X Kit is one of the best systems we've yet heard on the EcoBoost F150s, which really isn't that surprising given how awesome their 5.0L F150 kit sounded and fit. Anyway, we were extremely impressed with the Solo kit, and with its nice purr at idle and fairly deep tone when you step on it, there's not much to complain about.
So, you've ordered the SCT tuner of your choice from Stage 3 Motorsports that includes powerful custom tunes from 5-Star Tuning. Now you're asking "Now what?" Like anything, there's a bit of a process to how you'll actually receive the performance PCM tunes for your truck so that you receive everything you need and that we need to get your F150 running at its best.
So, you've ordered the SCT tuner of your choice from Stage 3 Motorsports that includes powerful custom tunes from 5-Star Tuning. Now you're asking "Now what?" Like anything, there's a bit of a process to how you'll actually receive the performance PCM tunes for your truck, especially because your F150 either has a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 or an older 5.4L V8. While we can get you some awesome custom tunes for these trucks, there are some things that need to happen after you purchase your tuner of choice so that you receive everything you need and that we need to get your F150 running at its best.
Our good friends over at aFe have brought their Bladerunner Intercooler series over to the EcoBoost F150s at long last. aFe has long been one of the leaders in EcoBoost F150 performance parts development, thanks mainly to their Stage 2 Cold Air Intake and their unique Bladerunner Charge Pipe. While they've kind of been beaten to the punch in the intercooler department by Wagner and ATP, the aFe Bladerunner intercooler is still an excellent option for your truck, especially if you're still looking for a way to defeat the dreaded condensation issues that has been the bane of the EcoBoost trucks since they first rolled off the line. The aFe Bladerunner intercooler has a high-quality design and is over 95% efficient to give your EcoBoost V6 cooler IATs and better airflow for some excellent power gains, especially after tuning and other modifications.
The rotors and pads that were on our 2012 F150 5.0L FX4 Project Truck when we initially picked it up really weren't in that great of shape to begin with. After a few thousand miles of use and abuse both on the road and off of it, out rotors and pads were pretty well shot. Not to mention we needed a little something more heavy duty than stock in order to handle our upcoming ProCharger system. In any case, it was definitely time for some new braking hardware on our truck, so we turned where we almost always turn: our friends over at Power Stop Brakes. Power Stop's complete front and rear brake kit for 2012 F150s is a great choice for anyone whose stock brakes are on the outs and who needs some better stopping performance. Power Stop's kit comes standard with drilled and slotted rotors and ceramic pads for all four corners that provide better bite, improved stopping power, and reduced fade over the factory rotors and are honestly a great upgrade for just about any truck.
Our SVT Raptor off-road bumper selection has been pretty thin for a while. Well, we've teamed up with the folks over at Rogue Racing to flesh out our selection of both front and rear off-road bumpers. Rogue's bumper lineup is extremely aggressive with several different styles and designs that come loaded with mounts for off-road lights and winches so that your Raptor is prepared for any situation on or off the road. A few of Rogues bumpers even come with unique backing plates behind Rogue's logo that are color-matched to your truck's paint for an awesome two-toned look. All of Rogue's bumper are available in your choice of either standard powder coat or even more protective Line-X finishes to keep your bumper looking great even if you do a ton of driving in sandy conditions or dense brush. We even have a few Rogue Racing front and rear bumper packages available that can save you some cash while making your tough off-road truck look even better and get the protection it needs to conquer any off-road challenge. What's even better is that these bumpers ship completely for free, even to residential addresses, something that the competition just can't do.
On March 4th, 2004, Stage 3 Motorsports was born. Ten years later, we're doing better than ever and have added a ton of high-performance parts for the vehicles we lovingly serve. It almost goes without saying, but there's no way we could have done it without you, our customers. Because all of you fine folks have shown us such immense love over the years, we're going to show some back on March 4th, 2014, by having a 10% off sale on nearly all of the high-quality performance parts and accessories on our site. We're showing our thanks by letting you save some major cash on almost all of our products for 1987 to 2014 Mustangs, 2004 to 2014 F150s, 2010 to 2014 SVT Raptors, and 1994 to 2014 F250/F350 Super Dutys, letting you grab some awesome performance products for your car or truck while saving a huge chunk of change. It's the least we can do for the people who have helped make Stage 3 Motorsports as great as it is over the years. All you need to do is enter our 10YEARS discount code on checkout to save a ton of money on most of the parts and accessories in our huge arsenal!
Here's some good news for truck guys: our dear friends over at Rancho are firing up their annual Spring Rebate Promotion where they give you some cash back on the purchase of a full set of four Rancho shocks, a pair of quickLift leveling shocks and two RS9000XL rear shocks, or a complete Rancho Lift Kit that includes a full set of Rancho shocks. You can get a rebate worth up to $400 on lift kits and up to $120 back on shock sets, giving you enough cash back to deck out your aggressive F150 with even more awesome hardware and performance parts. Rancho's Spring Promotion runs all the way until June 30th, 2014, so make a list, check twice, and then grab all the awesome Rancho Suspension Parts you can to save a huge chunk of change!