After some time has passed...I indulge into some modding:
On its own, the Livernois 93 octane tune is restricted with all stock parts. The tune is cool once you first get it, and definitely wakes up the car...but over time I personally start feeling the limitations more than any other "ecoboost vehicle" I've been in that has been tuned. But there were times I just couldn't help but feel it wasn't so great vs stock tune since its more about unlocking middle to high end performance. This is my honest thoughts on the Livernois tune after being with it since December. These performance bottlenecks are what make the shifting and overall feel of the vehicle feel...unimpressive.
I took my focus onto the 3.0T's Intake system. Being limited by, essentially the 2.7L Ecoboost for the fuel economy benefits when daily driving, and probably explains why we can get equal MPG as the 2.7L brethren. I cannot say how it would fare for the 2.7L Ecoboost, but by removing some air flow and boost restrictions, the 3.0T becomes more stable and reliable at higher engine loads. There is more than just a 0.3L difference between the two engines going on. After you go pass the throttle body, the 3.0L is more uniquely designed compared to say, the 2017 Ford Fusion Sport. Less shared parts.
Resistance to heat soak while in idle is important and useful to have, but recovery from heat soak while in motion is more important and useful for the real world. Temperatures should drop, not rise, when in motion and optimal is when temperatures keep dropping as acceleration keeps increasing. If temperatures rise during acceleration, an inefficient component is at work. This is the 3.0T's Achilles' heel in stock form.
First is the Air Box Intake upgrade. Steeda's 2017 Fusion Sport fits, and the only modification is to allow a slice in the top half of the box so the hood strut can rest within the box. While the Steeda "CAI" is open air unit, while the stock box is sealed, it is superior to the stock box in air flow and heat soak recovery. Tested plenty of times watching Intake Air Temperatures and the stock air box is flat out terrible and only good for "the daily driving". The 3.0T is a "one trick pony" as heat soak, is impossible to recover from in stock form until it cools down with engine shut off. With the Steeda CAI in place along with the soon to mention throttle body upgrade, I can keep IAT readings in better check as the vehicle is seeing action, and recover faster when the MKZ is idling after a high engine load run.
Sealed intakes are not always the best, especially if the entire engine bay is going to become a 150 F oven. The entire box will take longer to shed trapped heat whereas the Steeda CAI will get absorbed into the hood liner once the vehicle begins to go into motion. Faster you go, the faster the Steeda CAI returns to ambient while low to middle engine load is being applied.
The 3.0T doesn't need larger induction pipes, as long the turbochargers are stock, so the CAI being only the air box being changed is really the only necessary part for reliable air flow and faster heat soak recovery pre-Intercooler. To improve IAT2 and Charge Air Cooler temperatures however, the Front Mount Intercooler needs to be upgraded as it will rapidly heat soak under high load, yet only recover once the load demand is released. I await C-PE's creation and release of the 2.7L Ford Fusion Sport Intercooler to enjoy as an upgrade.
Not to mention it does unlock stronger roar to the induction system. I'm not too much a big fan of Steeda's products, and the CAI itself isn't worth the price brand new. I bought mine used from someone who wanted to sell it for about half its cost after feeling it wasn't so great for their Fusion Sport locally (they're jealous of my MKZ, oh ho ho). But it does get the job done and allow the 3.0T to breathe and cool much better than stock can ever hope to do.
Next is the Bypass Valve upgrade. To ensure boost power is being managed to the fullest.
Learning a bit more about OEM Electronic Bypass Valves (BPV for short), they have their pros and cons. The con only being is the system is usually outfitted with some plastic parts and doesn't adjust based on active boost pressures, it either just opens or closes. This is why sometimes the vehicle will feel bogged down or "lag" like the turbochargers haven't spooled up due to the abrupt opening or closure of boost pressure. Not to mention the factory valve allows more seepage of boost so the plastic bits do not risk breaking (it has multiple holes compared to the GFB DV+'s single compression port hole).
Enter Go Fast Bits Diverter Valve Plus 9358, which fits most of Ford and Lincoln electronic BPVs. Surely enough the 3.0T engine's BPV is exact same as used on the Fiesta ST, Mustang Ecoboost, and other 2.3L/2.7L vehicles. Unlike Turbosmart which replaces the OEM valve with mechanical valve and tricks the ECU with a resistor, the GFB DV+ 9358 transforms the OEM BPV into a highly reliable and superior device. So as long one isn't seeking the blow off "psh" sound, I personally feel this is the best BPV upgrade to consider. Might even be worthwhile for the 3.0T in stock form, and cheaper than any complete BPV/BOV replacements.
This install video shows how easy it is to change out the plastic parts for the upgraded metal portions:
The end result is this:
Perfect fit. Keeps the OEM abilities but secures the benefits with boost performance. Not to mention ditching those E5 bolts for more standard ones.
Now the final modification, which often doesn't see light unless we're going bigger all around: The throttle body. Given the 3.0L is being dampered for fuel economy and low end torque, I feel an upgrade was worth the risk...and it is a risk I am very happy to have made.
I won on eBay a used but in excellent condition BBK 1894 65mm throttle body that is said to work on the 2.3L and 2.7L Ecoboost Engines. I was a bit weary if it would work due to possible changes in PCM electronics, but this definitely delivered some much desired improvements even though all piping is still stock diameters, along with the turbochargers. Installed it with perfect fit, and uses the stock bolts just fine. No CEL, idles just as smoothly and more quickly to relax after high load runs too. Just performed a PCM adaptive learning reset via FORScan (better than unhooking the battery all the time when electronic mods are installed), let the vehicle idle with and without the A/C compressor, and then go for a drive. Easy.
The stock throttle body is around 63mm, and is undersized to the Intake Manifold's 65mm inlet. 2mm difference might not seem much, but definitely changed my view after actually installing and using the throttle body (if it disappointed me I could have returned it, and it did not). The post-Intercooler charge pipe also bitter fits 65mm so the stock throttle body itself slightly downsizes as the air flow gatekeeper. The BBK helps equalize the Post Charge Air pipe to Intake Manifold air flow, and monitoring FORScan, I am not seeing any serious pressure drops or negative signs except reduced fuel economy when having "too much fun". As a bonus, Intake Air temperature 2 (which is read at the intake manifold) now does not overheat beyond the Charge Air Cooler temperatures, whereas the undersized stock TB doesn't help manage this overheat tendency at high engine loads. Under high load, my charge air temperature reading is always the highest value indicating it is the weak point in the system now.
I suspect this is done for higher air velocity reasons and fuel economy, as more air will result in more fuel to make the higher power...but lower MPG rates. Stock TB is great for low end torque and fuel economy, meeting the daily driver's standard, but once I got the Livernois tune I couldn't help but feel top end performance was lacking especially when you floor it while in a roll. The 3.0T engine would feel like its "gasping" for more air (oxygen) not to mention, I would see a bit more rich A/F ratio readings when it would happen, so fuel is being wasted and combustion isn't the best it could be. Now I get some nice exhaust "pops" after the vehicle begins to cool down and EGT readings are great. Automatic Sport gearing wasn't so enjoyable in higher load ranges either until I swapped in this throttle body. Even before I had the Steeda CAI and GFB DV+, the BBK throttle body worked without an issue and already showed some more stable high RPM performances. I really enjoy the synergy between the Livenois Throttle Enhancer and BBK Throttle Body, especially with a Livernois tune to take advantage of it.
Now while I notice its more easy to get lower MPG rates, the car is ever so more stable in its performance output. I find it hard press to go back to stock and honestly am very very surprised the throttle body did bring an overall improvement in performance demand and output feel. I do not focus solely on Horsepower and Torque gains, rather it is reliability and execution for performance demand that is my interest. The fact the BBK Throttle Body now keeps IAT2 temperatures lower than charge air (even though stock FMIC reaches almost 200 degrees in Fahrenheit at high loads) and doesn't cause the engine to "choke" for more air is enough of a boon to me. Of course, I did luck out to buy one much cheaper than intended retail price.
My final thoughts: I am VERY PLEASED with how my 3.0T MKZ is performing, and these three mods took it to another stage that makes it hard to go back from. The 3.0T only with a tune is still lacking, especially as "adaptive learning kicks in" but now I do not even feel like the adaptive learning is a issue anymore. Especially with the Livernois Throttle enhancer, I enjoy a wide custom performance feel to how I wish to drive the car. After adding these three mods, I know the only big bottleneck remaining now is the Front Mount Intercooler, and I am excited to see just how more effortless the 3.0T engine becomes once temperatures are not heat soaking as badly when under high load.
Now to just wait the C-PE FMIC Fusion Sport upgrade which I'll nab for improving the Charge Air Temperatures under high load. I also suspect the stock Engine Mount is a bit too soft given I can feel the engine rock especially with it gaining this more power, downside to a engine mount upgrade is increased vibrations...and I don't want to jeopardize the core meaning of comfort with a Lincoln vehicle. Decisions...decisions...