What Sort Of Car Are You Aiming For With Regards To The Tune
It is really important to visualize the end result of your car tune. Whether you want an aggressive appearance for your sports car in addition to better handling and speed or a fully-primed race car that is able to compete against the top contenders in competitions around the country, all tuning options are carried out differently right from the beginning of the process.
Keeping this in mind, try to avoid the urge to make modifications to your car simply because they look awesome on your mates car, or because youve been advised that particular mods are absolute must-haves. You dont want to realize later down the track that you, in fact, want to take the tune in another direction and end up having to take apart the modifications that were installed in the beginning. Even worse than this is where you find yourself in the frustrating and disappointing situation of being unable to progress with a tune that is more aggressive, due to the changes you made earlier on.
What Is Engine Remapping
Almost all modern cars nowadays have an ECU that controls how the engine behaves. Think of it as a computer thats running software to operate an engine. This software is also called as the map .
Car manufacturers;make this map keeping in mind the reliability, emission norms, drivability, and quality of fuel. This often means that these ECU maps are quite conservative and a lot more power can be extracted from the same engine by uploading a new map. This process of uploading a new map on the stock ECU is called remapping or reflashing.
Not to mention, the car manufacturer also deliberately detune to engines in the lower variant and models. This creates a power difference between different variants and car model that are using the same engine.
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Have The Right Attitude
Prepping for a dyno tuning session can be a little stressful, which is why having a checklist will keep you on track. Because, truthfully, its completely worth the time and investment. These sessions ensure your car is running at the top of its game. Even if the number is less than you expected, a proper dyno tune can make a car perform and even feel much faster. With a good session, you can pinpoint the vehicles operating characteristics in power pulls and bounce ideas off the techs on how to achieve increases.
Going in prepared will help you look like a considerate professionalthe type of customer that technicians love to help. Remember, you get what you give, and youre going to have to mentally prepare yourself for someone else to floor your baby as you watch! jokes Potucek.
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Basics In Tuning Pianos
When tuning a piano, the technician mainly adjusts the spring tension on all the piano strings continually until each of the strings vibrate properly as they should and makes the right sounds. The standard way of tuning a piano is using A440 method. A440 simply means that the A key note which is about the middle C must vibrate at 440 cycles per second.
Tuning a piano is actually based on maths because each note on the keyboard board must vibrate at a certain frequency which must be calculated when tuning a piano. All experienced pianists mostly use the standard tuning in a piano so that when they are performing with people using other instruments, the whole song, sound, and rhythm will be in perfect harmony.
This is why the A in the next octave must vibrate at precisely 880 cycles per second, and the A in the next lower octave vibrates at exactly 220 cycles per second.
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Tuning A Turbo Engine
In turbo engines fuel delivery and spark timing are as essential as they are in fuel-injected versions. Indeed the same advice applies to turbo engines. The difference is that the benefits are much more noticeable thanks to the turbo. A turbo pushing an increased quantity of air into the engine, generates a lot more power.
As the turbo is the engines heart and soul it needs attention. By matching what drives exhaust and intake compression to the air can seriously affect a cars power band.
Turbos can be hybridized with a turbo casing from an original equipment manufacturer and by upgrading its internals. Another method is to either change the existing turbo with a larger version or to add a second turbo. The only consideration is how much power is required.
Those engines that date from the last century are known for being a challenge to remap. This means that the options are limited to piggy back devices or risky chip changes.
Since 2000 though most models have been supplied with On-Board Diagnostics Parameter IDs ports codes that request the vehicles data. These enable a cars computer to change or update the program controlling air/fuel ratios, ignition timing, and a whole lot more. Windows software like TOAD can do advanced tuning.
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What Sort Of Modifications Are You After Bolt
It is important to contemplate whether the modifications you will make to your car will be permanent or whether you would prefer to have the option to remove them down the track . Bolt-on mods may save you voiding your cars warranty, not to mention saving you potential difficulty selling your car in the future. There are mountains of options when it comes to aftermarket bolt-on parts including exhaust systems and equal/unequal length headers, and you are likely to fare well with similar modifications.
However, its important to understand that if you are chasing a certain level of performance , you may, in fact, need to make permanent modifications to your car.
Why Choose Dyno Tuning
Dyno tuning can enhance your vehicle and increase its efficiency and performance. It is performed with different engine loads and under different road conditions based on the type of vehicle and the environment in which you expect to drive it. When done right, it allows for a smoother and more cost-effective driving experience.
Theres some serious dyno tuning going on here. Source: SP Engineering.
Dyno tuning allows you to measure engine output, horsepower, torque, and your engines air-to-fuel ratio. It also returns the vehicle to stock fuel economy. It can rectify common problems such as low gas mileage, surging, pinging, trouble starting your vehicle, or insufficient power output of the engine.
Motorcyclists are not left out of the dyno tuning fun. Source: Drag Bike News.
This means that a dyno-tuned engine can work less hard but achieve the same results as an untuned engine. All this reduces wear and tear on your vehicle, extends the overall life of your engine, and can save you some costly repairs in the future.
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How You Can Save On The Price Of Your Next Tune Up
You should know that if you regularly tune up your car you can save more on gas. This is the reason why you need to do regular tune up on your vehicle. The best way that you can save on car tune up is to do the work yourself.
If the tune up procedure is just a basic change of oil or changing of filter and change of spark plugs, then you can definitely do it. It does not need any special equipment or tools and skills. All you need is a basic knowledge of your car and should be good to go. You can save several dollars in the payment of a professional mechanic doing the job.
The cost of the materials such as oil and spark plug is very minimal. You can spend around $10 to $30 for these materials and parts. This would also mean that you have the option to choose what is put into your car. The healthier the parts, the better the performance of your car.
In The Midwest: Late Model Throttle
Late Model Throttle is an auto tuning shop in Wisconsin that offers a number of interesting dyno tuning options. You can get their Aftermarket Forced Induction tuning, which means no aftermarket camshafts or cylinder heads are used in the process. This package includes other external bolt-ons such as headers, exhaust, injectors, and so forth.
You might also choose their OEM Forced Induction Stock and Bolt on Calibration or Naturally aspirated with Internal Modification tuning packages. for a full list of their services and prices.
Getting a tune up at Late Model Throttle. Source: Late Model Throttle.
Their tuning add-ons include:
Established in 1998, Performance Race Engineering LLC is all about forced induction systems. The PREracing headquarters features a service shop, showroom, AWD dyno with full tuning capabilities, and a fully stocked warehouse.
On the dynamometer in the PREracing shop. Source: Preracing Youtube.
PREracing has some of the best dyno tuning services on the West Coast. This means that your vehicle is placed on a dynamometer that simulates the experience of driving on a real road.
They offer COBB ProTune, SCT Custom Tuning, EFILive Tuning, or whatever tuning tools best suit your particular vehicle. They operate the dynamometer while you drive your own car. They will also do an SCT custom tuning, but you have to supply your own flash tool.
They also incorporate HP Tuning, EFILive tuners, Diablosport custom tunes, etc. .
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How To Tune A Turbo Engine
The points about fuel delivery and timing the spark are just as;essential in a turbo engine.
All of;the above point apply to turbo engines but the;gains are;much more noticeable due to the effect of the turbo.
As the turbo is pushing more air into the;engine and is making more power you have a lot more to gain.
The turbo is the heart of the engine so we also need to pay attention to this. Matching the exhaust and intake compression impellers to your air needs can make dramatic alterations to the power band.
You can hybridize the turbo using a stock OEM turbo casing and uprating the internals.
Another option is to fit a second turbo or just replace the existing turbo with a larger unit.
It all depends what your power requirements are. See our turbo tuning articles to get more of an idea on what is involved in a tuned turbo engine.
Pre 2000 engines are typically very hard to remap so you are stuck with piggy back devices or a risky chip change.
After 2000 most cars came with OBDII ports or similar and these allow a relatively easy way to upload and reflash the cars computer.
On a modern turbo engine the computer will typically control the boost and waste gate in addition to the fuelling and timing so you have much more scope for power gains.
A modern turbo engine can often make a power gain of 40% quite easily on stock parts with a simple remap.
Replace Plugs Wires And Other Ignition Parts
The ignition system consists ofspark plugs, plug wires, coils, and other electrical components that ignite the air/fuel mixture in your combustion chamber. The system has changed drastically over the years, where newer ignition systems require only spark plugs and wires/coil boots to be changed at a certain mileage. Older vehicles, as stated before, can have a distributor cap and rotor, and even older, can have breaker points.
- Over time contamination can cause wear to the power steering pump.
- Be sure that your power steering fluid does not appear muddy and is between the MAX and MIN levels in the reservoir.
- Be sure to consult your owners manual for recommended change intervals as well as the correct fluid type to be used.
You can get great benefits from performing a tune-up on your vehicle. Its one of the best ways to maintain original performance. In fact, fixing a car that is badly out of tune can give a noticeable boost to both engine performance and fuel economy*. A vehicle running in top shape today prevents and lessens costly repairs tomorrow. AutoZones tune-up guide will show you the common parts that are replaced when tuning up a vehicle such as spark plugs, plug wires, air filter and fuel filter. Its also a great time to check other components under the hood such as belts, hoses, and fluids.
*In vehicles with major emissions issues or carbureted vehicles.
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What Kind Do I Want
There are a lot of tuning options out there. The one you want depends on what kind of driving you expect to do.
If youre planning on racing, you would aim for strong off/on throttle transitions or low-end torque, depending on what kind of track youll be racing on. If youre a daily driver who just needs to get from point A to point B, youll want to focus on gas mileage, part throttle, and cruising specifications. If, on the other hand, you just want to squeeze out as much horsepower as possible from your engine, a dyno tuning can accomplish that . Just know that, if you go for this last option, your car will almost certainly be banned from regular road driving.
The lesson here is: give the tuning technicians as many details as possible regarding what kind of driving youll be doing and in what conditions. The more they know, the better theyll be able to calibrate your vehicle to your exact needs. Theyll also be able to determine whether you need higher octane gasoline or other additional parts to suit your newly tuned vehicle.
Also, be advised that power and safety are, at the end of the day, inversely related. If you want to maximize the HP and torque of your engine, youre going to sacrifice some safety standards. Theres only so much power an engine can handle safely. Be sure to consult your technicians on this issue.
More Performance From Your Car
Are you looking for improved performance from your car? Modern day cars are all controlled by computers called ECUs, which are constantly processing information received from a multitude of sensors around your car. The engines fuelling, ignition timing, turbo boost and multiple other systems are all being controlled by the map on your car. When your car left the factory it was released with a standard map built to tollerances not your specific car, so its far from perfect. Did you know the difference between many car models is just a different map? We understand that its frustrating to know that your car is capable of so much more, it just needs to be unleashed!
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Emissions Requirements Will Only Get Tighter
That said, it was inevitable that something like this would happen. Frankly, its not a huge deal. Tuning companies will figure out how to make their tunes compliant, in the rare case they arent already, and life will go on. However, this is a sign of things to come. It likely wont be long until we see a German TUV-style check on modifications here in the U.S, so enjoy that fire-spitting tune while you can.
What Is A Tune
First, lets get into what an ECU tune is. Basically, a tune tells your car to go faster by way of making your engine produce more horsepower. In reality, things are a little more complex. Deep within the bowels of nearly every car there lives a little computer, about the size of your hand, and twice as thick. That computer is called the ECU, or Engine Control Unit tells your cars motor what to do and when.
A while back, people smarter than I figured out that you could get into that computer and tell it what to do, and by extension, your motor. Now, your cars motor makes horsepower based on three parameters: air, fuel, and a spark from the spark plugs to burn it all. If you tell the computer to modify those three things to make more horsepower, well, youve got yourself an ECU tune.
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Tire Balancing And Rotation
Tire balancing ensures a smooth, vibration-free ride after they have been mounted on your wheels, with the added bonus of extending their life. After they have been in one position on your vehicle for a specific interval, it is a good idea, following instructions from your owners manual, to move them to a different position. By doing so, your tires should wear evenly regardless of their position on your vehicle.
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Choosing The Right Shop
So, you want to schedule a dyno tuning session. What exactly does that entail? Potucek advises that in most areas there arent many to choose from, so you should be prepared to do a little researchand driving. I drive two hours each way for the dyno I use, he says.
As far as picking the right one, Word of mouth is a big thing. Good shops get a good reputation fast. On the same note, shops with a bad reputation are usually easy to spot. Ask around on the online forums or car groups on Facebook. Youll get answers pretty quickly, he points out.
Additionally, like most services performed by professionals, you should expect some significant out-of-pocket expenses. Potucek explains, If youre paying for a dyno tune $300 -$500 is a good base. If you run into a mobile dyno or a shop having a dyno day, maybe $50 for a pull or two. But there is no tuning in this option. They only strap your car down and floor it.
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