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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry this is long. I used to have a Focus ST and enjoyed it (aside from FWD). Then I got a Tesla Model 3 Performance. Then I wanted to go back to a "real" car, and was specifically looking for something manual and AWD. I found a good deal on a Focus RS almost 2 weeks ago and bought it.

Everything seemed great about the car until I started doing light modifications, and now I'm seeing a bunch of warning signs that has me wondering if I should just sell it and go back to the Tesla (which I haven't sold yet). I like a simple life and don't like having to worry about more things than I need to. That's something I grew to love about the Tesla, it is the most simple car to own. The Focus RS has 18k miles and I only plan to keep it for 1-2 years, so I figured it would be fine. But having a car with potential issues is bothering me. All I've done to it is a Cobb filter, one step colder spark plugs, and a JST custom tune. Here are the issues I've seen so far in the order I noticed them:
  • Any time I park on an incline (ie. the driveway), next time I start the car I get three warning messages saying the AWD, Drive Mode Select, and Hill Start Assist are disabled. Once I start driving they go away after a few seconds.
  • The Auto start/stop NEVER works. Every single time I stop the little indicator comes up on the screen that shows that it's not going to auto stop. The car hasn't auto started/stopped a single time since I've owned it. That was the case before and after the tune, and I even asked him to not disable it in the tune. I thought this and the previous issue might be battery related, but I tested the voltage and it was fine.
  • When I changed the spark plugs, three were fine but one had so much oil on it I had to hold my hand under it to catch the drops of oil before they got on the garage floor. The head gasket has been replaced and the only time I've seen any white smoke was the first time I started it after changing the spark plugs, never before or after that. The oil wasn't low at all, but the guy could have filled it before I bought it.
  • I've tried multiple gas stations and my Octane Adjust Ratio won't consistently stay at -1 (which I never had an issue with in the ST). With normal driving it fluctuates between -0.75 and -0.90. If I do three 3rd gear pulls in a row (for datalogs for the custom tune) that gets it to -1. Then after a few miles of normal driving it goes back down to -0.90. And that's with the ~E22 mix I currently have in it, which I did just to see if that would help. I had an E30 tune on my ST and the car seemed to love it.
  • I get knock and high negative ignition corrections in 1st gear any time I'm not driving super conservatively. And when I say any time I mean literally every time I drive slightly aggressively at all. My throttle position is like 25% and I'm getting knock counts as high as 4-5 and ignition corrections as high as -5 to -9, although most are in the -1 to -4 range. I see the same thing in 2nd gear probably 10-20% of the time. But the weird thing is 80% of my third gear pull datalogs look great. I get the feeling it's not tune related. This issue and the OAR issue have both been there with the Cobb Stage 0, Stage 1, and JST custom tunes.
Does any of that sound like a problem waiting to happen? I feel like there must be something else that affects the OAR because I'm pretty confident it's not the gas at this point. Between that and the frequent negative ignition corrections, it's making me nervous to drive the car any way other than super conservatively. I drive conservatively 99% of the time anyway, but half the reason I like having cars like this is to do early morning mountain drives, where I'll drive a bit more aggressively. I don't feel comfortable doing that in this car right now. Am I paranoid, or did I get unlucky with this car?
Tire Car Land vehicle Wheel Vehicle
 

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Get Ford to ID the reason for Auto Stop/Start to not work, but it may be as simple as the battery. While my car has started fine every single time since I bought it the stop/start has not worked in about 2 years. This year the car started not letting the radio play long with the ignition off after parking without turning off due to low battery. I installed a new battery and did the battery reset procedure using ForScan and Auto Stop/Start is working again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m essentially only tuning it, I have no other modifications planned. And the issues I’m seeing have nothing to do with a tune. If anything, the tune helped me see potential warning signs. The tune doesn’t make it less simple aside from the little bit of work setting it up, which is not a big deal. That’s something I’m willing to do, assuming the car can still be as reliable as my ST that was modified a bit more and never gave me a single issue. So… back to the question. Do any of those things seem like a problem waiting to happen? Again, I tested the battery voltage and it was not low. But I’m also much more concerned about the last three bullet points.
 

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I’m essentially only tuning it, I have no other modifications planned. And the issues I’m seeing have nothing to do with a tune. If anything, the tune helped me see potential warning signs. The tune doesn’t make it less simple aside from the little bit of work setting it up, which is not a big deal. That’s something I’m willing to do, assuming the car can still be as reliable as my ST that was modified a bit more and never gave me a single issue. So… back to the question. Do any of those things seem like a problem waiting to happen? Again, I tested the battery voltage and it was not low. But I’m also much more concerned about the last three bullet points.
If the battery is more than 4 years old replace it. A voltage check tells you nothing about the batteries capacity to perform under genuine load.
Oil on plug threads is common occurrence and if it's not using oil and there is no oil leak into the plug gallery from a rocker cover seal no need to worry.
The octane readout, dont know, but the negative corrections in first gear seem to be a common thing. have a "search" for it, I seem to recall plenty of posts about it.

Ciao
 

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I’m essentially only tuning it, I have no other modifications planned. And the issues I’m seeing have nothing to do with a tune. If anything, the tune helped me see potential warning signs. The tune doesn’t make it less simple aside from the little bit of work setting it up, which is not a big deal. That’s something I’m willing to do, assuming the car can still be as reliable as my ST that was modified a bit more and never gave me a single issue. So… back to the question. Do any of those things seem like a problem waiting to happen? Again, I tested the battery voltage and it was not low. But I’m also much more concerned about the last three bullet points.
The car is "smarter than you" concerning overall battery health. The RS doesn't look at just voltage, it stores data about load and discharge rates, and if it discharges too fast for a giving load over a given time no more auto stop/start. Like I said, my car has started fine for 2 years since I noticed the stop/start stopped working. Voltage was always good to me.

Also, too bad you got the 2016 as the 2018 RS is still on the Low Emission parking approved list for building certified LEED 2009. Does not meet the needed store for LEED v4 certified parking though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounds good, that makes me feel better about the first two issues. I originally assumed they were battery related, but ruled it out after testing the voltage. I’ll try a new battery.

I guess the oil could have been sitting on top of the spark plug and ran down it when I removed it. But why I was concerned is I pulled it out and 7-8 drops of oil dripped off the tip of the spark plug, which seemed like a lot. It wasn’t just a bit of oil on the threads. It was as if the tip of the spark plug was dipped in oil. I didn’t look down in there before removing the plug. But it probably dripped down inside when I removed the plug, and that’s probably why I had the white smoke the next time I started it. So that one probably makes sense.

Does anyone know if anything other than the gas itself can affect the OAR?

I know some negative corrections are normal, and maybe the RS is just different than the ST. In the ST I saw occasional negative corrections and never worried about it. They were usually in the 0 to -2 range. In the RS, if I accelerate quickly enough to keep up with the minivans next to me, I get negative corrections in the -3 to -9 range every single time I’m in first gear, which is not normal. When JST looked at the logs they said it did seem weird. I’m just not sure what it might mean. And because it did the same thing on the Cobb Stage 0 tune, I don’t think it has anything to do with added power from the tune.
 

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Sounds good, that makes me feel better about the first two issues. I originally assumed they were battery related, but ruled it out after testing the voltage. I’ll try a new battery.

I guess the oil could have been sitting on top of the spark plug and ran down it when I removed it. But why I was concerned is I pulled it out and 7-8 drops of oil dripped off the tip of the spark plug, which seemed like a lot. It wasn’t just a bit of oil on the threads. It was as if the tip of the spark plug was dipped in oil. I didn’t look down in there before removing the plug. But it probably dripped down inside when I removed the plug, and that’s probably why I had the white smoke the next time I started it. So that one probably makes sense.

Does anyone know if anything other than the gas itself can affect the OAR?

I know some negative corrections are normal, and maybe the RS is just different than the ST. In the ST I saw occasional negative corrections and never worried about it. They were usually in the 0 to -2 range. In the RS, if I accelerate quickly enough to keep up with the minivans next to me, I get negative corrections in the -3 to -9 range every single time I’m in first gear, which is not normal. When JST looked at the logs they said it did seem weird. I’m just not sure what it might mean. And because it did the same thing on the Cobb Stage 0 tune, I don’t think it has anything to do with added power from the tune.
Sensor noise?

Ciao
 

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Sorry this is long. I used to have a Focus ST and enjoyed it (aside from FWD). Then I got a Tesla Model 3 Performance. Then I wanted to go back to a "real" car, and was specifically looking for something manual and AWD. I found a good deal on a Focus RS almost 2 weeks ago and bought it.

Everything seemed great about the car until I started doing light modifications, and now I'm seeing a bunch of warning signs that has me wondering if I should just sell it and go back to the Tesla (which I haven't sold yet). I like a simple life and don't like having to worry about more things than I need to. That's something I grew to love about the Tesla, it is the most simple car to own. The Focus RS has 18k miles and I only plan to keep it for 1-2 years, so I figured it would be fine. But having a car with potential issues is bothering me. All I've done to it is a Cobb filter, one step colder spark plugs, and a JST custom tune. Here are the issues I've seen so far in the order I noticed them:
  • Any time I park on an incline (ie. the driveway), next time I start the car I get three warning messages saying the AWD, Drive Mode Select, and Hill Start Assist are disabled. Once I start driving they go away after a few seconds.
  • The Auto start/stop NEVER works. Every single time I stop the little indicator comes up on the screen that shows that it's not going to auto stop. The car hasn't auto started/stopped a single time since I've owned it. That was the case before and after the tune, and I even asked him to not disable it in the tune. I thought this and the previous issue might be battery related, but I tested the voltage and it was fine.
  • When I changed the spark plugs, three were fine but one had so much oil on it I had to hold my hand under it to catch the drops of oil before they got on the garage floor. The head gasket has been replaced and the only time I've seen any white smoke was the first time I started it after changing the spark plugs, never before or after that. The oil wasn't low at all, but the guy could have filled it before I bought it.
  • I've tried multiple gas stations and my Octane Adjust Ratio won't consistently stay at -1 (which I never had an issue with in the ST). With normal driving it fluctuates between -0.75 and -0.90. If I do three 3rd gear pulls in a row (for datalogs for the custom tune) that gets it to -1. Then after a few miles of normal driving it goes back down to -0.90. And that's with the ~E22 mix I currently have in it, which I did just to see if that would help. I had an E30 tune on my ST and the car seemed to love it.
  • I get knock and high negative ignition corrections in 1st gear any time I'm not driving super conservatively. And when I say any time I mean literally every time I drive slightly aggressively at all. My throttle position is like 25% and I'm getting knock counts as high as 4-5 and ignition corrections as high as -5 to -9, although most are in the -1 to -4 range. I see the same thing in 2nd gear probably 10-20% of the time. But the weird thing is 80% of my third gear pull datalogs look great. I get the feeling it's not tune related. This issue and the OAR issue have both been there with the Cobb Stage 0, Stage 1, and JST custom tunes.
Does any of that sound like a problem waiting to happen? I feel like there must be something else that affects the OAR because I'm pretty confident it's not the gas at this point. Between that and the frequent negative ignition corrections, it's making me nervous to drive the car any way other than super conservatively. I drive conservatively 99% of the time anyway, but half the reason I like having cars like this is to do early morning mountain drives, where I'll drive a bit more aggressively. I don't feel comfortable doing that in this car right now. Am I paranoid, or did I get unlucky with this car?
View attachment 355045
Well, about the auto s/s.
I live in hot area were in winter it is like 18C but in the summer it is hell as it reaches 40C.
now here what I've noticed. the RS wont shut it self down if the outside temp is high because a/c is on and once the car shuts down the a/c gets hot. But in the winter, the auto s/s works fine and RS shut it self when it comes to stop. but wont stay so long if the a/c is on.

So maybe this could just be the problem after all
 

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Next time you park on the incline - once you pull in and stop:
  • Set your ebrake
  • Put the car in neutral
  • Let out the clutch
  • The car should "settle" into the ebrake
  • Turn car off and put back into gear
See if this prevents the AWD/HillStart/Drivemode errors you are receiving.

I've had this issue since i got my car and no-one has been able to figure it out. This is the only way i've found to 'prevent' it from happening.
 

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Cars are like women.
Find one where the plus outweigh the minus, and don’t worry, be happy.
Ssssoooooo, my Ex's first 5 marriages should have been a warning sign? o_O;)

Oh yea........................the car! [email protected]; any possibility of retuning your RS to run "only" on straight 93 octane gas? Mine is the same year as yours, CAI, and catless turbo back exhaust; my dealer says my ECU (or whatever it's called nowadays) parameters are all OEM---car runs fine, pulls hard from the bottom to the top on 93 octane (readily available all over my state. On the other paw; I don't monitor diddly **** on the car other than the OEM gages, so I guess it could being doing weird stuff and I don't know it.
 

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  • not really sure on the AWD/Drive Mode/Hill assist disabled
  • if it's on the OEM battery, which is most likely is, the auto s/s won't work, replace the battery and it will
  • If the plugs haven't been changed since the headgasket recall it could just be residual oil from when the head was off which is completely normal.
  • the last two I assume you are monitoring with your accessport which you shouldn't be, if it is that much of a concern it is something your tuner can explain to you but he will most likely tell you the same thing
There is a lot of information in this forum and some of your concerns have already been asked and addressed. The seach bar at the top is your friend.
 

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The issues you've raised so far, except those that may be tune/engine related, are a mixture of lack of familiarity with the nuasances of the RS and not fully understanding the design and operation of the car.

Could low battery be a factor....yes....
easy fix and a maintenance item.

Unkown source of oil ....many simple answers. Dripping oil off the end of a plug means it probably was on top of the plug before removing and not in the engine.....bore scope?

Tunes are only as good as the tuner and other mods. Easy to go back to stock and see how it reacts. Remember some of the newer cars run very different ECU settings so unless an expert on the car determines the readings are bad...relying old assumptions maybe worthless.

I think your frustration is caused by uncertainty about what is or is not happening vs what you were expecting. If you want a turn-key modded car then you'll need to find someone to deliver one you can drive in order to truly know if its what you want. Modding yourself is always fraught with cause and effect problem resolution.

Sounds like you bought a low mileage sound car that acted normally.
 

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Ssssoooooo, my Ex's first 5 marriages should have been a warning sign? o_O;)

Oh yea........................the car! [email protected]; any possibility of retuning your RS to run "only" on straight 93 octane gas? Mine is the same year as yours, CAI, and catless turbo back exhaust; my dealer says my ECU (or whatever it's called nowadays) parameters are all OEM---car runs fine, pulls hard from the bottom to the top on 93 octane (readily available all over my state. On the other paw; I don't monitor diddly **** on the car other than the OEM gages, so I guess it could being doing weird stuff and I don't know it.
Well said! TMI can be a killer.
I‘ve driven a lot of cars, a lot of miles, without the “advantage”(?) of knowing the knock count.
 

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I’m essentially only tuning it, I have no other modifications planned. And the issues I’m seeing have nothing to do with a tune. If anything, the tune helped me see potential warning signs.
what? Almost all your issues seem tune Based. I’d get back to the stock calibration ASAP before you blow your motor and contact whoever tuned it, or start fresh with a new company
 

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  • I've tried multiple gas stations and my Octane Adjust Ratio won't consistently stay at -1 (which I never had an issue with in the ST). With normal driving it fluctuates between -0.75 and -0.90. If I do three 3rd gear pulls in a row (for datalogs for the custom tune) that gets it to -1. Then after a few miles of normal driving it goes back down to -0.90. And that's with the ~E22 mix I currently have in it, which I did just to see if that would help. I had an E30 tune on my ST and the car seemed to love it.
  • I get knock and high negative ignition corrections in 1st gear any time I'm not driving super conservatively. And when I say any time I mean literally every time I drive slightly aggressively at all. My throttle position is like 25% and I'm getting knock counts as high as 4-5 and ignition corrections as high as -5 to -9, although most are in the -1 to -4 range. I see the same thing in 2nd gear probably 10-20% of the time. But the weird thing is 80% of my third gear pull datalogs look great. I get the feeling it's not tune related. This issue and the OAR issue have both been there with the Cobb Stage 0, Stage 1, and JST custom tunes.
I think your first few points have been addressed by a few of the posts already, so I'll chime in on the last few in particular.

OAR: This is really tune dependent. Some tunes are more "aggressive" and will allow it to go down vs others. This is based on having had 3 tunes from 3 different tuners (JST included) on the same exact set-up.

1st gear knock: There will always be knock, specially in the cases you mentioned (1st gear, starting from stop, low revs etc.). The knock you should be concerned with are ones that pop-up during your pulls. That said, it would be worth it to just look around the engine bay for anything loose. I was driving my tuner crazy one time chasing a knock that would come up at a very specific rev range just to find out that it was caused by a loose catch can mount.

All that said, if you really are paranoid and not enjoying the ownership experience, I say move on and go find something you do enjoy. Life's too short ;) (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
what? Almost all your issues seem tune Based. I’d get back to the stock calibration ASAP before you blow your motor and contact whoever tuned it, or start fresh with a new company
I can't use the accessport to monitor anything unless a tune is on the car. So I don't know what I'd see if I put it back to stock. But I did have the Cobb Stage 0 tune, which is supposed to imitate the stock tune, and I had the same issues. I had that for a day, the Cobb Stage 1 tune for a day, and have had the JST tune for a couple days and the issue has been the same on all tunes. So I don't think it's tune related. I've already tried using different gas and adding a bit of E85, but I'm going to run this tank down and then try yet another gas station and see what happens. Maybe I've just had bad luck with gas.

I think your first few points have been addressed by a few of the posts already, so I'll chime in on the last few in particular.

OAR: This is really tune dependent. Some tunes are more "aggressive" and will allow it to go down vs others. This is based on having had 3 tunes from 3 different tuners (JST included) on the same exact set-up.

1st gear knock: There will always be knock, specially in the cases you mentioned (1st gear, starting from stop, low revs etc.). The knock you should be concerned with are ones that pop-up during your pulls. That said, it would be worth it to just look around the engine bay for anything loose. I was driving my tuner crazy one time chasing a knock that would come up at a very specific rev range just to find out that it was caused by a loose catch can mount.

All that said, if you really are paranoid and not enjoying the ownership experience, I say move on and go find something you do enjoy. Life's too short ;) (y)
From what I understand, the OAR changes based on ignition corrections, which are based on knock counts. So what I'm really trying to do is figure out what the knock is coming from. Is it real or false knock? If it's real, what is causing it? Bad gas or something else? All of your comments have eased my paranoia a bit. I'd still like to feel more confident, but at this point I'm leaning toward selling the Tesla and keeping the Focus. I'll try a new battery to fix the first two issues. For the knock issue, I'll try a couple more brands of gas, keep working with JST on getting my tune revised (currently on version 3), check if anything is loose, etc. If any of that fixes the issues, then great. If not, I will probably take it to a shop and have them look at it. If they don't see any issues, then great. If they do then I'll fix them and then just enjoy the car. In the low chance that I bring it in somewhere and they tell me there is a major issue (and I've already sold the Tesla), then I guess I'll just have to buy a different car and that's fine. Is there anything else I should do to look into the knock concerns and see if it's really an issue or not?
 

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This car eats batteries. Replace it

I can't get over how many people watch the AP like a hawk. Once the tuner tells you you're dialed in and good to go, Put the AP in your glove box or in a drawer. The car will work without it. Sometimes knowledge is a bad thing. If the car starts acting weird, pull it out and make a data log and send it to your tuner. If he tells you everything is fine, enjoy the car. If he tells you there is something to be worried about, then worry.
 
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