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Introduction to Engine Tuning: E-Tunes vs Live tune

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E-Tunes vs Live tune

03.47

00:00 - With the popularity of the internet, we're seeing a lot of e-tunes, or mail order tunes, where remotely-based tuners are offering tunes for specific vehicles that are either emailed to you or alternatively, you can post your ECU to them to be reflashed.
00:18 This can look like an attractive option, as it's usually much cheaper than taking your car to a professional tuning shop and have them carry out the work for you on a dyno.
00:29 There are pros and cons with e-tunes, though, so it pays to understand what an e-tune can offer, and what to watch out for.
00:38 The process requires you to submit a list of the modifications you have made to your car, along with key aspects such as what fuel you're using.
00:48 The tuner will then produce a map suitable for your particular vehicle and email it to you where you can then flash it into your ECU.
00:57 Often the e-tuning service will also include the option to rent the hardware interface required to flash the map into your car, so anyone with a laptop can get the job done.
01:10 From here, you may be asked to perform some data logging and email this back to the tuner so they can refine or optimise the tune to suit.
01:20 Done correctly by a knowledgeable tuner, e-tunes can provide good results and can be very cost effective.
01:29 You do need to ensure, though, that the tuner you choose has a good reputation and a thorough understanding of your model of car.
01:38 The easiest way to check up on the tuner you're considering using is to ask for some references from customers with the same model of car as you.
01:48 Have a chat to these customers, and make sure they were happy with the results.
01:53 In particular, I'd suggest you ask how noticeable the power gain was, how the drivability and smoothness of the car was affected, and if there was anything about the tune that they don't like.
02:07 It's also worth asking how easy it was to communicate with the tuner and how quickly their questions were answered.
02:15 One of the biggest concerns with e-tunes is that the tuner doesn't get to see the car on the dyno in front of them.
02:22 This means that they're making some assumptions and tuning to suit the expectations of your particular engine.
02:30 This is made easier these days with a lot of newer vehicles, as it's possible to directly data log many of the critical parameters we need to know, such as air/fuel ratio and knock activity.
02:43 You can strike problems, however, if there's a fault with the car that isn't immediately obvious, such as perhaps a fuel pump that's faulty or dying.
02:54 On the dyno, this would be quick and easy to diagnose, but when you're tuning remotely and fuel pressure perhaps isn't a parameter that you can data log, this can be a little harder to find.
03:06 It's also unlikely that an e-tuner's going to give you the absolute maximum amount of power your car is capable of.
03:15 Since the tuner isn't seeing the car on a dyno, it's sensible to leave a safety margin and tune a little more conservatively than we would if this was a live, custom tune.
03:28 You need to weigh this up with the convenience and cost of e-tuning.