Tech Tips: 2014–’18 Ford Fiesta ST


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Brian Tyson
JST Performance
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The Fiesta ST is probably the best new bang-for-the-buck budget performance car, in my opinion. With dealer incentives you can leave the dealership with a brand-new Fiesta ST for under $20 grand easily. This is a car that makes good power and great torque, drives and handles superbly, and can still get 40 miles to the gallon.

The first mods we recommend for the car are a Cobb Accessport and one of our custom tunes. The Accessport alone doesn’t yield very large gains–only a 1 to 2 percent increase in horsepower–but with our custom tuning we usually see just over 200 horsepower at the wheels and around 260 ft.-lbs. of torque on an otherwise stock Fiesta ST. (An unmodified Fiesta ST puts down around 175 wheel horsepower and 200 ft.-lbs. of torque on our dyno.)

These cars like ethanol blends. Using a 30 to 40 percent blend of E85 generally yields another 10-plus-percent increase in power and torque versus the same car on 91 or 93 octane.

If track use is in the cards for your Fiesta ST, an upgraded intercooler should be near the top of your list. Just like most other Ecoboost Ford cars, this one’s intercooler is undersized, has plastic end tanks, and is a tube-and-fin design–not ideal for adding power. Swapping to one of the many bar-and-plate aftermarket intercooler kits will greatly reduce charge air temperatures and keep the power consistent.

The OEM brakes work decently, as does the OEM suspension. These cars perform very well in the SCCA’s H Street class. There aren’t a ton of brake or suspension options available for the Fiesta ST, but I’m sure more are to come. It’s popular to complete a four-piston, big-brake upgrade on the front of the car due to the lack of performance rotors and pads that fit the stock calipers.

The engines are very robust and rarely have issues. However, transmission and shifter issues are common–perhaps the most common issues that we see. Many Fiesta STs were lemon-lawed for transmission failures. For some reason it seems that if a car experiences one failure, it will usually experience another.

Most relatively common problems are currently covered under warranty, including the transmission issues as well as electrical, HVAC and stereo gremlins. Luckily, Ford is very good about standing behind these cars. Many of our customers are making 300 to 400 horsepower at the wheels in their Fiestas, and Ford will still warranty the transmissions and most other issues.

This is truly a reliable car as it comes out of the box. Just standard maintenance will keep the ST happy for a long time.

When shopping for a Fiesta ST, there really isn’t too much to fear or be wary of. Most examples are optioned pretty decently, and aside from paint colors, there were no significant changes at all from 2014 to the current model year.

The cars from 2017 and later have a Sync 3 stereo. We aren’t the hugest fans of the system, but many owners of older Fiesta STs are actually paying a good bit to upgrade to Sync 3.

Most examples seem to have the base cloth seats and the sunroof. The optional Recaro seats are great, but can be a little uncomfortable for longer drives. I would say the unicorn of the Fiesta ST world has the optional Recaro seats but no sunroof. We’ve only seen a few of those.

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spacecadet
spacecadet New Reader
7/10/18 3:56 p.m.

The reason most people want to upgrade to Sync3, is the Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility. 

The fiesta ST poses a great value in features in that all of them came with the touchscreen sync system and 2016 Fiesta ST's with Sync 3 can be given a quick software update that gives those cars android auto auto capability, which became standard on the 2017 Fiestas. 

I wanted Sync3 on my 2017 Focus ST, but did not want the Recaros or sunroof that came as the ST2 package that included sync3 on the focus. 

Spike415
Spike415
7/10/18 4:01 p.m.

Are you kidding me? That was a letdown

!

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
7/10/18 5:33 p.m.
spacecadet said:

The reason most people want to upgrade to Sync3, is the Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility. 

The fiesta ST poses a great value in features in that all of them came with the touchscreen sync system and 2016 Fiesta ST's with Sync 3 can be given a quick software update that gives those cars android auto auto capability, which became standard on the 2017 Fiestas. 

I wanted Sync3 on my 2017 Focus ST, but did not want the Recaros or sunroof that came as the ST2 package that included sync3 on the focus. 

Funny, everyone told us to avoid the recaros but they were my wife’s main requirement. And my main requirement was the sunroof. We lovvvve both having lived with it now for a few thousand miles. The biggest issue with the recaros is when you go to a polish fest and spend several hours having a riot and dancing a terrible polka, and consuming an admirable quantity of beer, and you find your self needing to puke on the ride home, they are very difficult to puke out of. Like really hard, the bolster lifts your knees way up and it’s hard to get the proper heaving action. 

Little things like that ford didn’t think of  

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago SuperDork
7/10/18 6:09 p.m.

In reply to joey48442 :

That's really poor planning on Ford's part.

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
7/10/18 7:14 p.m.
thatsnowinnebago said:

In reply to joey48442 :

That's really poor planning on Ford's part.

I know. I mean, you’d think they would have thought about that. 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
7/10/18 7:36 p.m.

Spot on, and I can add a few more items.  

- The blend door motor/gear will fail at 25K miles.  This is inside the dash and sounds like an angry squirrel in your dash.  It's a $40 part, and you can swap it out with a #20 Torx bit in 20 minutes.  It will last another 25K miles.  

-Yellow Konis really help the FiST.  While they don't "officially" sell them for the FiST, they do for the regular Fiesta and there is no differences (save for a counter-balance thingy that does nothing).  The Koni's allow you to go full soft up front on the highway for a much better ride, then crank them down for the track.  Leave the rears halfway, it improves ride and handling.  

- There are a lot of rear motor mounts out there, but they transmit A LOT of vibration to the cabin.  Can't say that they are worth it unless you are competing and need every 1/10000.

-Stock brake pads are actually pretty darn good, but there are two compounds.  You want the earlier ones that came on the 2014.  IIRC, Ford released a cold weather compound or a comfort compound on later models.  The interwebs will give you the right part#, but I have found that the Hawk 5.0 pads offer excellent grip with good modulation, low dust and good life with no fade. I prefer them. 

-Eibach makes a good rear bar, but the jury is out on whether you need one in HS.  I have been beaten soundly when I had the bar on and off, and the FiSTs faster than me have run them, not run them, run a bigger front bar...so who knows.  Go with your liking I suppose, it's a 5 min job to pop it off or on.  

-The front bar requires dropping the front subframe.  Not that hard, but not something you do on a whim. 

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
7/10/18 10:00 p.m.

My FiST has Recaros and no sunroof.  I got a unicorn.  Woot.

I really like this car.  After 5000 miles, I drove it 5200 miles in a month around the country with no issues.  The Recaros fit me well and were very supportive even on the 9 hour legs of the trip.  Great car.

madhatter
madhatter New Reader
7/11/18 8:40 a.m.

Just clicked over 70k miles on my '14. It's easily the best car I've ever owned. Took it on a road trip from GA to WY and back earlier this summer. Got an indicated 51mpg on one tank (hey, in 25 mph conditions through Yellowstone, that isn't that hard). It's quiet, competent, tight, and an eager partner in forward locomotion. 

It's at the dealership for the first time in 4 years today to get 2 recalls done, but the car has been flawless. Gas, oil, tires, brakes. (and front rotors) The battery finally went bad too, but after 4.5 years, I should have seen that coming.

I eyeballed the Recaros when i bought it, but didn't think the bolsters would stand up to long term use/abuse, and TBH they really weren't the most comfortable things ever. They were fine in the shoulders, but they pinched my legs together, which made heel/toe a lot harder for some reason.

I had to dealer order mine without the sunroof, as that truly was a scarce configuration when i bought mine.

goingnowherefast
goingnowherefast New Reader
7/11/18 2:47 p.m.

+1 for the best car I've ever owned with two caveats...

 

The car was fun, efficient (32.3 calculated average MPG @ 270 whp), made the right sounds, looks great, and I never ever saw the CEL, not even once. However, it's small. I was a single dude in engineering school/the first year of my job so that was no problem. Also I don't think it makes a good HPDE car. They have cooling issues and are quite slow. Honestly, a bolt on NB2 miata with tires is faster than basically any Fiesta on street tires regardless of power.  

 

I miss mine and I shouldn't have sold it haha. 

CrookedRacer
CrookedRacer Reader
7/11/18 9:48 p.m.

Sadly, I have to let my unicorn go, which I’m sure I’ll regret as well.

https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/cto/d/2014-fiesta-st-recaros-nav/6603885828.html

Here’s my build thread on it...

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/2014-ford-fiesta-st-g-street-autocrosser/85752/page1/

It’s still competitive at national events!

familytruckster
familytruckster Reader
7/12/18 3:56 p.m.

Just rolled over 10K on mine.  I found, that like my Protege5, it needed motor mounts. I've got a mountune and really don't notice it at all, well other than the lack of clunk from the stock mount.  I had a lot of trouble smoothly shifting 1-2 with the stock mount. I did the symposer delete, and that I think was my favorite mod. So much quieter.  

Not sure why everyone says rear bar, I three wheel the thing all the time.  Usually that means more front bar is needed.  In fact ever single FiST at the autocross I went to lifted that inside rear quite high. 

Android auto is friggin awesome. What an upgrade from the MyFordTouch crap in my 2013 Fusion (which I  happily traded in for the FiST)

 

Crooked, I've seen that ad. Was tempting. Ended up buying a new one. 

Mine is base seats and no sunroof. 

spacecadet
spacecadet New Reader
7/17/18 3:55 p.m.
joey48442 said:

Funny, everyone told us to avoid the recaros but they were my wife’s main requirement. And my main requirement was the sunroof. We lovvvve both having lived with it now for a few thousand miles. The biggest issue with the recaros is when you go to a polish fest and spend several hours having a riot and dancing a terrible polka, and consuming an admirable quantity of beer, and you find your self needing to puke on the ride home, they are very difficult to puke out of. Like really hard, the bolster lifts your knees way up and it’s hard to get the proper heaving action. 

Little things like that ford didn’t think of  

I am a larger guy and the recaro bolsters do not allow a comfortable position for my legs over an extended period of time. I'm also tall enough that the sunroof takes a chunk of my headroom with a helmet and forces me to sit slightly tilted to the right to get my head into the sunroof hole(drove a friends multiple times in autox before purchasing a Focus ST of my own). 

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
7/26/18 8:20 p.m.

Does anyone have any exhaust recommendations?  My wife wants to hear her engine more. Annnnnd she wants the bov noises. 

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
8/1/18 9:15 a.m.
joey48442 said:

Does anyone have any exhaust recommendations?  My wife wants to hear her engine more. Annnnnd she wants the bov noises. 

Nobody has any experiences to share?

Saron81
Saron81 Reader
8/1/18 11:02 a.m.

In reply to joey48442 :

I have the Mountune cat back on mine. I would definitely recommend it if you’re not looking for something loud. It has a very good tone to it while not being overly loud, or obnoxious. I drive mine a lot (just turned over 93k!) so it was important to me not to have something that would annoy me on the highway. I also have the Mountune air box, and you can hear the bypass valve a lot more after installing that!

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
8/1/18 11:25 p.m.
Saron81 said:

In reply to joey48442 :

I have the Mountune cat back on mine. I would definitely recommend it if you’re not looking for something loud. It has a very good tone to it while not being overly loud, or obnoxious. I drive mine a lot (just turned over 93k!) so it was important to me not to have something that would annoy me on the highway. I also have the Mountune air box, and you can hear the bypass valve a lot more after installing that!

Thanks!  I’ll check it out!

joey48442
joey48442 PowerDork
8/15/18 10:19 p.m.

I think I’m going with the fswerks exhaust. Comes recommended and seems to review well. Supposed to be lighter than stock and under 600$!  As jmfnb that’s a win win win-win-win. Or something. 

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