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Who doesn’t want more power, crisper shifting, and a factory warranty? Ford Performance has released a new optional software update for the Ford Explorer ST that adds 30 more horsepower, more torque, and keeps the warranty. Sure, the Explorer ST is already a hot SUV, but for $825 could this be a bargain performance upgrade?

What is the Ford Explorer ST?

A red Ford Explorer ST in Red on a mountain road
Ford Explorer ST | Ford

First off, the Ford Explorer ST is already a bomber. It’s the fastest version of the Ford Explorer with a 400 horsepower version of the 3.0-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 that makes an impressive 415 lb.-ft of torque. Depending on whose figures you trust, it will hit 60 miles per hour in less than 5.5 seconds. And, just to keep all that power under control, Ford made the ST all-wheel drive.

The Explorer ST isn’t cheap, starting at $49,260 without options, but you can option it with performance brakes, an appearance package with the ST logo on the seats, and more. But, there’s not a faster Explorer around. Unless, of course, you add the kit. FYI: the ST is distinct from the ST-Line package, which has a similar body kit but only 300 horsepower.

What is the Ford Performance Parts upgrade?

Ford horsepowerrating for the Explorer ST upgrade
Ford chart showing the increase in horsepower with the performance upgrade | Ford

Not many realize that Ford has a performance catalog that has lots of parts and software upgrades that, critically, keep the factory warranty. In the Explorer’s case, with catalog number M-9603-EX30, you can get a boost of 30 horsepower, from 400 to 430, and a boost of between 25 to 35 lb.-ft of torque. It also improves the shifting and improves throttle response. There are three drawbacks: it’s $825 and requires a download, it requires you to use premium fuel, and it sonly 49-state legal.

If a Ford dealer installs the software, it will retain a 36,000-mile, three-year, warranty. For comparison, the Bronco Raptor uses the same engine but only makes 318 horsepower. Maybe ford will apply its tuner magic to that beast, too?

How do you get the performance upgrade?

Ford uses ProCal 4, a windows software. The ProCal 4Tool allows you is Ford’s factory software for a PC that allows you to learn a lot of interesting stuff about your Explorer. You can see the hidden stuff that your engine is doing and monitor your timing, air/fuel ratio and temperatures, as well as store a datalog.

It can show you the trouble codes that are stored, and clear them, too.

What other Explorer goodies are in the Ford Performance catalog?

a blue Ford Explorer ST
Ford Explorer ST | Ford

The Ford Performance catalog has a lot of the goodies that your local Ford dealer offers. The catalog for the Explorer, however, is limited to mainly trim pieces, like the Timberline off-road light kit. For off-roading, you can order several essentials, as well as a “performance” refrigerator/freezer for the Explorer.


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