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Best route for becoming a pro-tuner?

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Since i was a kid i always wanted to have a career in tuning. I am getting ready to graduate highschool and i am not exactly sure where i should go and what i need to do to get there. There are not very many schools that offer tuning courses and the ones that do are very brief and you do not learn about EFI tuning as much as you want or payed for. are there any schools you guys would recommend? anything i can do to help me get there? id also love to hear how some of you guys became pro tuners.

I would say you can find all the theory what you need on HPA. Do all courses and practice these things on your own car or on the remote dyno package. After you feel confident I would start which tuning several of the same car model. This gives you a good understanding how the setup influence the tuning.

Hardware wise you want as a mimimum a good knock detection system like the Plex Knock monitor or at least a LINK Knock block, a good digital Wideband Kit and a Laptop with good data backup.

On top of that you should invest into a Datalogging device and a Oszilloscope (like a Picoscope) and some wiring tools.

You could use for example a LINK ECU and CAN Widband to do datalogging on different cars or a Logging-Dash with a few inputs and wideband connected (Motec, AIM or Plex)

Hope that helps.

Our courses are the best place to start to give you the base knowledge you'll need to get started. We are right on the verge of releasing our remote practice dyno for general use too (probably in the next 2 weeks) so this is a great place to get hands on experience on a real dyno with zero risk.

Beyond this you're going to need to start doing your own tuning. the perfect place to start is with your own car - I often recommend people start with a basic naturally aspirated 4 cylinder engine and Toyota and Honda both offer a range of cheap options with plenty of ECU support from the after market. From here it's really a case of building up your experience and hopefully getting a name for yourself. I personally did this by helping out with a local rally team and then taking over their tuning duties. This led to more rally car tuning and more general tuning as word spread.

It's also worth approaching local tuning shops for work experience. You'll probably need to start at the bottom but if you prove your knowledgeable and have a good work ethic then this can grow into a tuning position.

The first car I ever tuned was a Megasquirted 1988 rx-7 non turbo I had when I was 20 (I'm 32 now and tune for major OEMs as a calibration engineer). It was a disaster; I didn't know what I was doing, and the Megasquirt was not a mature tuning platform at the time. Tuning schools were not around at the time (this was 2005), so I just stumbled around looking at forum posts and stuff. I felt defeated and took a break for a while. Then I switched to a Power FC on a different Rx-7 (88 turbo), and while that is a pretty outdated platform today, it was much easier to tune than an early generation Megasquirt 1.

If you can find an early 90s Honda (D series Civic, try running a Hondata S300 on that. It's a highly modified stock ECU. It's not as complicated as new cars ECUs but it's forgiving because it's non turbo and it doesn't have to be tuned from scratch like a standalone. Get an OBD I car (92-94 civic).

Other options include Fox body Mustangs which can be tuned cheaply and old Camaros which have chipped ECU options such as Moates Quarterhorse for a 5.0 . You can try a Subaru or other factory boosted engine but the risk of damaging something is a lot higher.

DO NOT buy a platform that doesn't have cheap, widely available do it yourself tuning solutions.

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