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Kia Optima SX 2012
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am making this post to provide my unbiased opinion of the KSR performance tune for the optima along with my opinions on KSR performance in general. First off, I would like start off by saying I have been with Lap3 for about 2 years till now and have a lot of respect for David Chung and the things he has accomplished with the optima platform. By making this post I am not trying to create any disagreements or issues between the two companies, but I am going to provide my unbiased opinion from what I have experienced as a customer from both sides. The sole purpose of this post is it to provide the best and most accurate information to the kdm community in order for enthusiasts to make the best decision for their build and overall to provide them with the safest and of course, most powerful, aftermarket tuning options.

When I first decided I wanted a tune for my optima, I was under the impression Lap3 was the best out there due to other reviews and also by its dyno numbers. Lap3 has the largest backing from the kdm tuning community to my knowledge, so it was very easy for a newcomer to resort to lap3 without considering other options or doing any research. When I got the tune, I was very pleased with the power gains since I’ve never experienced a hp jump like that(I was on the 93oct tune). I enjoyed the tune for about 3 months, then started experiencing issues due to spark plug fouling. I knew tuning came with a risk so I thought nothing of it and replaced the spark plugs as instructed. However, the plugs continued to foul out and cause misfiring issues, later blowing a spark plug. Around this time my engine also blew, so many have told me it is likely pieces of the plug fell into my cylinder and blew the engine. Now I am not blaming Lap3 for that at all as these risks come with any tuning platform, and it is also possible the two were coincidental as well. Though, I thought it would be important to include this since the Lap3 tune runs rich compared to others so it is important to watch for the issue I had. After engine replacement, I went back to the same Lap3 tune and the car performed as it did before. It pulled hard, built boost quickly, and was overall fun to drive, though it was still fouling the plugs a decent amount but not enough to misfire yet. The car was powerful enough to spin in first and second gear and made roughly 280 hp but was never dynoed. This is simply a guess compared to driving with other tuned cars that have the same power numbers and weight.

When I first found KSR performance I was very skeptical if it would be better than Lap3 since there were not many who have heard of KSR, and it was a much smaller company compared to Lap3. However, I opted to give it a try since it was very local to me and I knew I was going to experience more issues with Lap3 since I was unable to identify a resolution to continue with their tune even after contacting David Chung.

When I made the final decision to switch over to the KSR tune, me and Kristian experienced some strange issues we couldn’t explain when trying to reflash the vehicle. We had flashed the car to stock using the Lap3 module and then proceeded to flash it using Kristian’s software. Somehow, the ecu had been overwritten to only work off the lap3 module, so when we connected to it and updated it with a new reflash, the ecu prevented us from starting the car. I was forced to get into contact with David to workout the issue and I had to pay out of pocket in order to unfreeze my ecu to allow a non Lap3 reflash. After doing this with David’s help, the car still would not start so we assumed the ecu needed replaced at this point. Because we were experiencing such a strange issue we couldn’t solve, Kristian took it upon himself to resolve the issue and not have the customer endure any extra cost. First, he offered to reimburse me for the charges I had to pay to Lap3 to get off their tune. Never in my life have I had a shop offer to pay for someone else’s mistake! And even after this, Kristian then tells me he will cover the cost of the new ecu since he happened to have a spare. In my opinion this experience alone speaks volumes as to what KSR performance is striving to do with its customers and what they are all about. Anyway, after some investigation we traced the issue to flooded spark plugs that was due to us trying to start the car when the ecu was frozen. David helped us to the best of his knowledge, but I still had to pay out of pocket. While on the other hand, Kristian takes it upon himself to make things right and not have me pay any extra for the mistake to be resolved even when it was not his fault. To me, this was a prime example of how Kristian operates compared to others and how customer satisfaction is his top priority no matter the situation.

After all the issues were resolved and we finally switched to his tune I immediately felt a difference. The car pulls harder and maintains that same pull from whatever rpm you start at. In fact, the tires not only break loose in first and second as they did with lap3, but also in third gear! The power difference is truly unbelievable, the car feels like a completely new animal now. Also, the car now has brake boost ability and is now capable of burnouts with ease. It truly is a challenge to keep the front wheels planted when you drive, performance tires are a must for this tune. Now when I had Lap3, I did not have the pops and bangs added so I am unable to make a comparison to the KSR tune. But I must say the pops and bangs with Kristian’s tune are incredible. He has it setup so it can be quiet when you need, but also head turning when you want it to be. There will lots of sound clips and videos going up on my Instagram.

Overall I am blown away by not only Kristian’s helpfulness, but also his knowledge and understanding of the optima platform. He truly has created a masterpiece with this tune and I am so excited to see this car continue to transform now that I have shifted to KSR Performance. I truly recommend anyone who has an optima, or really any type of car, to look on Kristian’s website or give him a call because he truly can make anything you want happen. It is never too late to change paths and I am very happy I did. If anyone has any questions or would like some more details please let me know and I’d be happy to go into more depth. I will continue to update this as time goes on with the tune to compare its reliability to others.
 

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Premium Member
2020 KIA Optima SX
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202 Posts
What spark plugs were you running on the Lap 3 93 octane tune that resulted in fouling? I ran their Stage 1.5 93 octane tune on NGK R2556B-8 plugs and had no problems.
 

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Kia Optima SX 2012
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40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What spark plugs were you running on the Lap 3 93 octane tune that resulted in fouling? I ran their Stage 1.5 93 octane tune on NGK R2556B-8 plugs and had no problems.
I was running the HKS M45XL. I was always told those were the best for that tune. I have some pictures of what it was doing to the plugs in my previous posts on here.
 

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Premium Member
2012 Kia Optima SX-T
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1,470 Posts
I was running the HKS M45XL. I was always told those were the best for that tune. I have some pictures of what it was doing to the plugs in my previous posts on here.
FWIW: I found that the M45XL was too cold and would carbon foul the plugs in about 5-7K miles with my driving style (daily driver). After doing some research, I moved to one heat range hotter plugs (still colder than the OEM), to the HKS M40XL. I'm about 25K miles now on these plugs and have had no issues, no carbon fouling, very strong and consistent performance, etc.
 
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Your K5 Optima Vendor
2019 Stinger GT1
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28,999 Posts
FWIW: I found that the M45XL was too cold and would carbon foul the plugs in about 5-7K miles with my driving style (daily driver). After doing some research, I moved to one heat range hotter plugs (still colder than the OEM), to the HKS M40XL. I'm about 25K miles now on these plugs and have had no issues, no carbon fouling, very strong and consistent performance, etc.
If anyone needs these, we do have them in stock, even though they are not listed on our website.
 
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