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Budget set up or future proof?

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Hello everyone!

so I will be building a mild set up, turbocharged 4.8/5.3L come this winter in the states. It will also be my first car I will be tuning. Hoping to only need 9psi to 10psi to hit my power goal, but we all know it depends on many things. That said that’s the area I’m going to start with so to keep it as simple of a first time set up and first time tuning I will stick to around 9psi.

Anyways, without getting too off topic, I’m pricing for verything out so come this fall or winter I can order everything I need at once. So the dilemma is, I can’t decide whether or not I should just go with HP tuners at first, or just future proof the build, spend the money and grab a Link Thunder from the get go that will support me through any power level I want to take the car too.

From doing the live remote engine dyno tuning lessons, I’ve grown to love the link as well as being able to do everything live. And outside of that, haven never tuned before, I’d be scratching my head as to how to get everything started from scratch on a fresh install of the HP tuners.

Dont know it this helps either but I will not be going with an electronically controlled trans. I will be placing a built TH400 in the car as well.

Any advice for a beginning tuner with no experience outside the remote tuning lessons with the link would be greatly appreciated!

Have a a great day,


It's a bit of a tough decision to make. You can 100% run the combination you have planned on the OE ECM but when you take the factory trans and maybe car communications out of the equation then your options are wider. Personally given the info you've offered and your experience on the remote practice dyno, I'd probably be inclined to suggest you go with the standalone. It'll handle everything you want to do right now and offer a lot of functionality that is hard or impossible with the factory ECM such as launch control, closed loop wideband lambda control, advanced boost control strategies and onboard logging.

As such my thoughts. Now that’s not to say I couldn’t tune the HP tuners, correct? I would like to one day be able to tune vehicles or for friends. Because starting from scratch on a reflashing platform is essentially the same thing as starting from scratch on a standalone in theory, yes there are differences, however there is no live tuning, which would be the biggest difference.

Also figured learning on my own vehicle first would be best as to not make a critical error on someone else’s vehicle.

Thank you for your wisdom Andre.


There's no reason you couldn't tune on HP Tuners and honestly the inability to live tune is less of an issue than people think. Using the VCM scanner and the histograms in particular makes it quite fast and efficient. You also aren't technically 'starting from scratch' as you already have the base calibration to work from even if this is for an N/A engine.

Base Calibration? I thought we had to put in the base calibration and load everything into the VE table and ignition table and such with our educated guesses, so to speak? (even for the HP Tuners if there isn't a base tune to start from)

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