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practical tuning

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Hi guys

What's the best approach to ask a tuner to tune for all aspects, not just numbers on a screen at WOT?

Yes I do track the car but it is also used for basic cruising and stuff.

Do I need to put in a rotary switch and have various tunes… did I just answer my own questions?



Talk to him and tell him what the car's going to be used for - if you don't think he's listening, or makes some sort of excuse about it not being needed, move on to another tuner. As a general rule, it'll need an eddy, or water, braked chassis dyno' so a constant speed can be maintained, or at least a consistent ramp rate - it can be done pretty close with an inertial roller type, but it needs a good operator.

It's going to take a lot more time, and be more expensive, and may need some road driving as well for finalising driveability.

Wow, I'd love to have you as a customer! Most of the people in my area only ask one question :

"How much power will it make"

No, wait, they also ask second question which is :

"How much will it cost"

All jokes aside, I always put most of my time and effort in good driveability, cold start, throttle response, idle. No matter if it's a full race or a weekend warrior or a street car, no one likes their car stalling at a light or when driving to the start line of a racing event in front of a crowd.

But fortunately, following the HPA course steps, you will achieve good results in all aspect of a tune.

So to answer your first question, just states your expectations for the tune, and as Gord says, what the car will be used for. Talk to the tuner, if you don't have a good vibe from him, maybe he's not the one for you. (wow I sound like I'm giving relationship advice here!"

For the "rotary switch and various tune" part of your question, it could be needed if you want a more aggressive tune for the track, running a different type of fuel, it could even be restriction throttle opening at WOT if you use a DBW, crackle and pop, fuel economy mode... But a "low/high" boost switch is usually what I see on street cars.

Anyways, hope it helps,


A "rotary switch", or other options for tuning levels may depend on the ECU limitations. If it's supported, though, and other people will drive the car, you may have the option of a "valet" mode - this is where you use a keyed, or concealed, switch that locks in a restricted tune - depending on ECU, this could be low boost, lowered rpm limit, limited throttle opening, etc. or a combination of them all.

As an aside, I see there seems to be a bit of a thing about "cold starts" videos - is this anything to do with poor tuning, as I would expect cold starts to be one of the fundamental requirements for the engine tune?

The problem with cold start tuning is it needs to be done with the engine cold (obviously), and after the most of the tune is completed.

I remember Andre saying he was doing a full tune over 2 days, first day he does the steady state and the full power tune, and on the second day he adjusts the cold start and warmup. This is my approach too as it makes sense. But sometimes you have limitations like the customer can’t leave their car at your shop for 2 days, or you’re running out of space. Also, you tune according to the specific conditions you are at the moment, so if it’s 30 deg C outside when you adjust the cold start and warmup and the customer says his car doesn’t drive well when cold at -25 deg C, then it’s because it never been tuned for these conditions. Even tought I try to extrapolate the values to all the areas of the cranking and warmup tables, I make myself clear to the customer that it might need some work if he’s trying to drive his car in the winter. This can sometimes be done with remote tuning but it’s a lot of back and forth emails between the customer and the tuner.

Again, it’s all about setting your expections with your customer.

Thanks guys. I will have a good chat to the tuner.

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