Summary

If you want to get the best out of a tuning session it’s important to start with a solid base to work from. In this webinar we’ll cover the critical pre-tune checks that every car owner or dyno tuner should be going through prior to loading a car onto the dyno. These checks will save time and money, and may even save an engine.

Transcript

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- It's Andre from the High Performance Academy,

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welcome along to today's webinar

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where we're going to be discussing some of the

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pre tune checks that you should be making to any car

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before it goes on a dyno.

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Now from my own experience with around about

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15 years in the dyno tuning industry now,

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I'd say that on average out of every five cars that I tune,

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probably only one of those cars actually goes on the dyno,

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gets tuned with absolutely no drama or no problems

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and then rolls off the dyno again and back out

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to the customer.

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The other four cars out of that five are going

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to present some level of trouble or problems to the tuner.

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Now of course some of these might be quite minor

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and can be rectified relatively quickly and easily.

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But on the flipside of it there's always some significant

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problems that can end up wasting a huge amount of time.

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Now when it comes to dyno time, it's expensive.

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So anything that wastes time is simply going to cost money.

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If you're the customer taking your car to a dyno shop

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then you're going to end up with a bigger bill than you

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were hoping for.

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The problem with this is likely that you're going

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to actually have to still take your car back

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so that the tuning process can be completed,

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if the problem that was struck was significant enough.

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As a tuning workshop on the other hand,

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if you strike problems,

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often these can be very difficult to charge out

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at your normal dyno rate.

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This becomes a situation where you end up making

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less money potentially than you could

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if you were simply running the dyno all day every day.

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So regardless what side of the fence you're on,

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whether you're a car owner or a dyno shop operator,

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obviously these problems that we can strike,

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aren't something that we want,

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and we wanna be able to do anything we can

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to prevent these problems from cropping up.

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So we're gonna go over what I've experienced

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as the most common problems.

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Some of these are incredibly simple,

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some of them are a little bit more complex.

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The incredibly simple ones,

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you should think would go without saying,

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but time and time again we see these problems

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crop up so I'm going to talk about them.

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As usual we will have questions and answers

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so if you do have anything that you'd like

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me to talk about or anything that I discuss

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that you'd like me to go into more detail on

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and elaborate on, please ask those in the comments

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or in the chat and we'll deal with those

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at the end of the webinar.

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OK so we're going to start with one of the most simple

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aspects and that is the fuel in the car.

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You'd be surprised how many times a customer

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has dropped off a car to me to have it tuned,

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and I start the car up and find that the low level

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fuel light warning is already glowing,

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right from the start.

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Now tuning is not magic,

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in order to actually be able to tune the engine,

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we are going to need to run it on the dyno.

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This does require fuel and particularly if we are

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completing a relatively significant tune,

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a tune from scratch for example,

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we're actually going to end up going through

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quite a large volume of fuel.

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So this is the first place to start,

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we want to make sure that the car always starts

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with a full tank of fuel.

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Now it goes a little bit deeper than that as well though.

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There is a little bit more to consider here.

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We also wanna make sure that the car

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is delivered for tuning with the type of fuel

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that the owner is planning on running.

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Now again you'd think this would go without saying,

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but there's two instances here that I quite often strike.

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One is where the customer delivers their car

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for tuning on a special race fuel,

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maybe this is something like VP Racing's Q16 or C16,

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or maybe it's something a little bit simpler like E85.

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There's sometimes an expectation from the customer

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that the dyno shop is going to be able to provide

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that particular fuel.

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Now of course sometimes that might be the case,

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but certainly in the case of the dyno shop that we ran,

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we didn't hold fuel on site,

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it was actually illegal for us to do so.

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So this presents a big problem.

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We couldn't easily get access to Q16 or E85

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at the drop of a hat,

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this needed to be prearranged,

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so at this point we find that we can't tune the car,

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we've wasted a potential dyno booking,

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the customer's unhappy, they're without their car,

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and then we've got to bump other dyno bookings

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potentially later in the week in order to fit that car in.

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So make sure the car is filled with the fuel

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that we're going to be running it on,

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or is supplied with the fuel that the customer wants.

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Another slightly weirder situation that I've struck

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with a lot of customers, or a few customers I should say,

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probably not the majority,

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is where they've delivered the car with the tank filled

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with a high octane pump fuel.

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Here locally in New Zealand the highest grade

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pump fuel we have access to is 98 octane.

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It's still not an amazing fuel but it does certainly help,

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particularly if we're tuning a turbo charged engine

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that's very sensitive or prone to suffering from detonation.

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These customers though intend to actually run the car

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after it's tuned, on a lower grade 95 octane fuel,

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which at the pump is slightly cheaper.

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Now in my mind as a tuner that doesn't make a lot of sense.

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We've optimised the fuel, and more importantly

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the ignition timing and boost,

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to be safe and knock free on that high octane,

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98 octane fuel.

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We can't therefore guarantee that if the customer

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goes and fills that tank up with 95 octane,

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that it will be safe.

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And there's obviously the potential for damage

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from detonation occurring.

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Now I've queried a few of the customers about

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why they've done this when I've found out

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what their intentions are,

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and they've said to me it's simply that they've

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supplied it with high octane fuel to get a higher

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number on the dyno.

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Again doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

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But the problem is from the tuner's perspective,

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this opens up a potential liability here.

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We tune the car on 98 octane fuel,

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the customer then runs it on 95 octane fuel,

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and the car suffers from knock or detonation

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and is damaged and that potentially is seen

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as being the tuner's problem.

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So not something that we really want occurring there.

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The next aspect here is the fuel system.

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So we'll move on from the fuel level.

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Another really common cause for problem is the size

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of the fuel system.

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So basically the fuel system just not being able

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to keep up and supply enough fuel to keep the engine

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happy with the sort of power levels that

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the engine is expected to run.

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OK this again should be something that's really

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straightforward and easy to solve.

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We need to make sure that the fuel pump

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is capable of supplying enough fuel,

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and we need to make sure that the injectors

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are capable of supplying the sort of fuel levels

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that we're going to need for whatever power level

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the engine is going to make.

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Now this is a problem that we see time and time again.

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On face value, sizing the fuel pump and the injectors

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should be relatively straightforward,

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however again we see problems with people

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not doing this correctly.

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If you are interested in learning how to do this properly,

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we have run a previous webinar that is available

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to our members in our archive,

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on sizing the fuel system correctly.

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You'll learn how to calculate what the required

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fuel injector size is, and you'll also learn

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how to calculate what size fuel pump

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you're going to need for a particular application.

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Again this is a frustration from the dyno tuners'

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perspective because generally we're going to find out

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that the fuel system isn't big enough

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once we start getting quite a long way through

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the tuning process and we're getting up to the higher

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power levels, the higher RPM levels.

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So we've already potentially wasted an hour or two

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of dyno time at the point where we find

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that the fuel system isn't up to task.

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So obviously this is wasting time and money,

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the other problem is that when the size of the fuel system

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is dealt with and bigger injectors,

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bigger fuel pump or potentially both are fitted,

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all of the previous work on the dyno has been wasted.

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So we do want to make sure that all of those components

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are up to task.

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Another common problem that I do strike regularly

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though is even with a fuel system that on paper,

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should be up to task,

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we've got a voltage supply problem to the fuel pump

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that means that the pump isn't getting full voltage

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while the engine is running,

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and this can dramatically reduce the flow

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from a fuel pump that again on paper

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should be more than up to task

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of dealing with the required fuel flow.

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So again here some aspects that should be relatively

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straightforward to check and confirm.

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As far as the fuel pump voltage goes,

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this can be a little bit more tricky,

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but we can use a digital voltmeter,

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connect that directly to the terminals on the fuel pump

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to confirm that that is getting sufficient voltage.

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Moving on, the next aspect that we'll deal with

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is the tires, wheels, the lock nuts for the car.

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Now this is going to come down to what

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sort of dyno you are going to be running the car on.

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On a hub dyno which is what I used to use

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in my old workshop,

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obviously we need to remove the wheels from the car.

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Now this should be a relatively straightforward task.

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But we obviously if we've got a set of lock nuts

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fitted to the car we are going to need the lock nut key

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in order to remove the wheels from the car.

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So this is an aspect which should be straightforward

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and simple, just take the lock nut out and remove

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the wheels but you'd be surprised how many customers

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came to me and had absolutely no idea

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where their lock nut was, and this makes it really difficult

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for us to do our job.

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Often it's just about impossible to remove these lock nuts.

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This also would cause an issue of course if that customer

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ended up with a flat tire.

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But for our purposes, getting the wheels off the car,

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we need to make sure that the lock nut is supplied

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with the vehicle.

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If you're running on a rolling road,

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the tire condition is also something we need to consider.

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We don't necessarily need brand new rubber on the car,

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but if you've got a set of really worn tires

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where there's canvas showing or worse still,

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metal strands coming out of your tires,

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this is certainly not something we would want

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to be running on a rolling road dyno,

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because we definitely risk the potential of that tire

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failing on the dyno.

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Now that's going to damage both the car,

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as well as our dyno.

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So if you've got really worn tires,

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that's something that you'd want to deal with

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before the car goes to the dyno shop.

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A tip here as well, particularly if you're running

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quite a lot of negative camber,

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you're going to find that the wear occurs

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on the inside edge of the tire.

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So you can view the outside of the tire

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and everything might look perfectly OK,

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but it's the inside edge of the tire where that damage

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is going to occur, and going to show up,

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so make sure that you have a good look at the tire

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and make sure that that is up to task there.

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OK moving on,

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probably one of the most common causes for issues

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while actually up and tuning on the dyno

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is ignition misfires.

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Now there's a range of potential reasons

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that could cause an ignition misfire,

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can't deal with all of them here,

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and we're really gonna be dealing with the simple one

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that's easy to check and easy to look at

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which is the condition of the spark plugs

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fitted to the engine.

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Particularly if they're an unknown entity,

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it can be a really good idea to take the plugs out,

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inspect them and replace them.

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I've got an example here of what we don't want to see.

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This is a plug where the ground strap has been

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completely worn away or melted.

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So what this could cause is under light load,

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the engine can idle and run OK.

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Of course as soon as we go to full load on the dyno,

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this is going to cause a misfire,

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and this is again going to waste time on the dyno

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while the misfire is diagnosed, the plugs are removed

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and then the plugs are replaced.

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So it's easier to check the condition of those plugs

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before the car goes anywhere near the dyno shop.

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At the same time the other aspect that goes hand in hand

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with the spark plug condition is the spark plug gap.

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This is something that we want to check

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and make sure that the plug gap is adequate

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for what we're trying to do.

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We'll quite often find that the sort of plug gaps

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that are defined or suggested by OE manufacturers

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aren't going to be suitable for our performance applications

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and again while the plug gap might be suitable for idle

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and light throttle cruise conditions,

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as soon as we go to high load,

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this can cause a misfire,

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so we want to be able to check on that.

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Moving on, the next aspect that can cause issues

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is the condition of our clutch.

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There is obviously going to be a lot of load

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being placed on the clutch while we're tuning on the dyno.

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And again I've been surprised at the number of cars

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that I've had come across the dyno,

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been delivered for dyno tuning,

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we've got the car up and running and started going

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to full load and found that the clutch is slipping.

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And when I've discussed this with the customer,

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the customer's said oh yeah I knew the clutch was slipping.

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Well if the clutch is slipping on the road,

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then it's definitely going to slip on the dyno,

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and again we're going to end up wasting a lot of time.

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So make sure that the clutch condition is up to task,

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make sure that it is at least not slipping

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when we're out on the road or on the racetrack.

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Next one which again should go without saying,

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is the oil and water levels in the engine.

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Now we don't need to go through and necessarily

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do a complete full service on the engine,

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but again it's going to be under a significant amount

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of stress and load while it's on the dyno,

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so we want to make sure that at least the oil

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and water levels are correct.

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And at the same time this really goes in with my next topic

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which is making sure that we don't have any leaks.

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From a dyno operator's perspective,

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we absolutely hate leaks.

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They make a huge amount of mess in the dyno bay

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and this is going to take time to clean up.

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You might find, depending on the specific dyno operator,

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that they also have a cleanup charge,

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so you could be liable for paying some additional money

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for having the dyno bay cleaned up if your car's

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going to leak oil and water all across it.

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Now the other aspect here though that's a little bit more

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serIous is these leaks,

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particularly if you've got an oil leak,

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they can potentially be dangerous.

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if you've got an oil leak that gets onto

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a hot exhaust system this can cause a fire.

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One of the conditions I've seen or situations I've seen

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where this is a big problem is where an oil leak

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has been dripping down onto an exhaust system

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that's been wrapped with one of the fabric heat shield

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or heat tapes.

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Now it soaks into that heat proof tape

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and this, when the car is under high load,

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can actually smoulder or catch fire,

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so we want to be very careful with that.

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The next aspect which is relevant here to turbo charged

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engines specifically is the plumbing

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of the boost control system.

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Now really here I'm talking about where the car

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has been fitted with an aftermarket turbo system

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or an aftermarket wastegate system or boost control system.

00:16:08

Obviously all of these boost control systems

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come with very specific instructions showing you

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how to correctly plumb these systems up.

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Constantly though I see cars being delivered

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with aftermarket boost control systems,

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or boost control solenoids installed,

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and finding that once we start running the car on the dyno,

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that the boost control solenoid or the wastegate

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has been plumbed up incorrectly which is resulting

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in excessive boost pressure

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or an inability to control boost.

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Now this can potentially be dangerous.

00:16:44

If we're starting our tuning process commanding

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minimal boost pressure,

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we're asking for wastegate spring pressure

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so that we can put the minimal amount of load

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on the engine that we can,

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and then start building up our tune at low stress,

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low load and then increasing the boost from there,

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if the boost control system is plumbed incorrectly,

00:17:03

rather than getting minimal boost,

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we're actually going to end up getting

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way more than the minimal boost

00:17:09

that the wastegate can provide.

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And this potentially of course can end up damaging

00:17:15

our engine while we're figuring all of that out.

00:17:18

At worst though, or sorry at best I should say,

00:17:21

this is going to waste time because we're gonna

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have to stop the tuning process,

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diagnose the boost control system plumbing,

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and then of course all of these systems are plumbed

00:17:31

down in the exhaust system where everything,

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after running the car on the dyno,

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is going to be incredibly hot.

00:17:38

So it's best to make sure that we've got that correct

00:17:40

from the start before the car goes anywhere near the dyno.

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Now if we can just jump to my laptop screen for a moment,

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I've just got two of the more common setups

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using the very popular Mac three port solenoid,

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which we can see here these Mac three port solenoids

00:17:56

are used by probably the majority of aftermarket

00:17:59

electronic boost controllers that we'll come across

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as well as it's very popular for fitment

00:18:04

to an aftermarket standalone ECU.

00:18:08

So in this case we're looking at the setup

00:18:10

for a factory style internal wastegate,

00:18:12

which has only got one port on it.

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And the correct way of plumbing this sort of system

00:18:18

is to make sure that the port labelled com

00:18:21

which stands for common is plumbed

00:18:23

to the wastegate actuator.

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Then we've got the normally opened port here

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which is on the front of the solenoid,

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this needs to be plumbed to a pressure source.

00:18:34

So in this case we've taken that from the compressor

00:18:36

cover on the turbo charger.

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Now what this will mean is that under normal conditions

00:18:40

when the solenoid is not powered up,

00:18:42

the normally open and the common port are connected.

00:18:46

So essentially we just get this connection

00:18:48

straight through the solenoid as if it wasn't there,

00:18:51

and this means that we run on our minimum boost pressure.

00:18:53

This normally closed port or NC port,

00:18:56

this can be either plumbed to atmosphere

00:18:59

or plumbed back into the intake system pre turbo charger,

00:19:03

that'll reduce the noise that the boost control system

00:19:06

makes in operation.

00:19:07

So that's the correct way to plumb up a three port solenoid.

00:19:10

We'll move across to the external wastegate

00:19:14

using the three port solenoid.

00:19:16

There are actually a couple of ways of plumbing this,

00:19:19

but this is the preferred technique that I use.

00:19:22

And here we are plumbing the bottom port

00:19:26

of the wastegate directly to boost pressure.

00:19:29

So again we can see that's going straight

00:19:31

to our compressor cover.

00:19:32

We're actually using T piece here,

00:19:34

so we're t-ing that boost pressure source off

00:19:36

up to our normally closed port on our three port solenoid.

00:19:41

In this case our common port is connected

00:19:44

to the top of the wastegate.

00:19:46

So again here when the solenoid is not energised,

00:19:48

when it's not got power to it,

00:19:51

we see that this common port is connected

00:19:53

to our normally open so it's exactly as if

00:19:56

this top port on our wastegate was just venting

00:20:00

straight to atmosphere.

00:20:02

Of course at the same time we've got boost pressure

00:20:05

coming straight to the bottom port of the wastegate.

00:20:07

So it will open and this will mean again

00:20:10

that we are achieving minimum boost pressure.

00:20:12

So it's really really easy to understand and know

00:20:15

if we've got it plumbed up correctly

00:20:17

if we simply understand how these three port solenoids work.

00:20:20

Those two drawings that I've just shown you there

00:20:22

come from our boost control tuning course.

00:20:25

So if you're interested in learning more

00:20:27

about the wastegate system, plumbing it correctly,

00:20:29

as well as of course how to correctly tune boost control,

00:20:32

that course is definitely worth checking out.

00:20:35

Alright I'll just move back to my notes now.

00:20:39

So on top of the boost control plumbing,

00:20:42

the other issue that we may strike is a situation

00:20:45

where the base ignition timing on the ECU

00:20:49

is not correctly set.

00:20:52

Now what I'm talking about here is a parameter in the ECU

00:20:55

that's used to calibrate the ignition timing,

00:20:58

so that the ignition timing we're seeing on the laptop

00:21:01

screen is exactly the same as what we are getting,

00:21:04

if we connect a timing light to the engine

00:21:06

and physically look at the crank pulley.

00:21:09

This is one of the critical configuration steps

00:21:12

of the tuning process.

00:21:14

We need to make sure that this is correct.

00:21:16

Now this needs to be done by the tuner.

00:21:19

But one of the aspects that we see on some engines

00:21:22

when we're fitting aftermarket standalone ECUs

00:21:25

is there may actually not be any timing marks

00:21:27

available on the crank pulley.

00:21:29

So again if we've already got the car loaded up on the dyno,

00:21:32

and we go to set the base ignition timing

00:21:35

and find that there are no timing marks on the pulley,

00:21:38

this is a huge waste of time because we're actually

00:21:40

going to have to go through the process

00:21:42

of fitting a positive stop into the engine

00:21:45

and making our own timing marks on that front pulley.

00:21:49

And depending on the engine that's a process

00:21:51

that could take anywhere from 15 minutes

00:21:52

up to an hour or thereabouts.

00:21:55

So again a good idea if this is done prior to the car

00:22:00

showing up to the dyno.

00:22:01

Although the actual process of setting the base timing

00:22:05

is something that the person performing the tuning

00:22:08

should always do.

00:22:09

Even if I've got a car delivered to me

00:22:11

where the customer or another tuner has told me

00:22:14

the base timing is correctly set,

00:22:16

I'm always going to check this to put my own mind at rest

00:22:19

that it is correct.

00:22:21

OK we're going to move into questions really shortly.

00:22:25

So if you do have any more questions,

00:22:28

please ask those in the comments

00:22:30

and I'll get to those shortly.

00:22:32

I've just got a few more topics

00:22:33

that I wanted to discuss here.

00:22:35

Another really common aspect or problem that I've seen,

00:22:40

this is really more to do with where we've got an

00:22:43

engine swap or an aftermarket ECU that's been wired

00:22:47

into an engine where the alternator is controlled by the ECU

00:22:52

we may find that the engine starts and runs

00:22:54

but it's really easy to overlook that the charging

00:22:58

system doesn't work.

00:23:00

What I mean by this is that the alternator isn't charging.

00:23:03

Now this is a subtle but really important aspect.

00:23:06

We've got 12 volt batteries fitted to our cars

00:23:09

but when the engine's actually up and running

00:23:12

the alternator that charges that battery

00:23:14

will have the electrical system in the car operating

00:23:17

somewhere between about 13.8 and about 14.2 volts.

00:23:21

Now the problem is if we don't have the alternator

00:23:25

charging we can get the car to start and run,

00:23:28

and on face value everything may appear to be OK.

00:23:31

But what we'll find is if the alternator isn't charging,

00:23:34

instead of having 14 volts, we'll start potentially,

00:23:37

if our battery's in good condition and well charged,

00:23:39

with maybe 11 to 12 volts,

00:23:41

but of course as we run the car for longer and longer,

00:23:44

the current draw from all of the systems on the engine,

00:23:48

the fuel pumps et cetera will start to drain the battery

00:23:51

and that battery voltage will drop.

00:23:53

So this is something that's really really easy to check

00:23:56

during our initial startup exercise with the car,

00:24:00

and to just demonstrate this let's just jump across

00:24:02

to my laptop screen at the moment.

00:24:04

Sitting in our Toyota 86 that's fitted a Motec M150 ECU.

00:24:08

And I just wanna show you a couple of parameters here.

00:24:11

So we're on our main fuel tuning worksheet here,

00:24:14

and we can see under our channels

00:24:16

we've got in purple here the channel ECU battery voltage.

00:24:22

So at the moment the engine isn't running,

00:24:23

we can see that that's sitting at about 11.6 volts.

00:24:26

So let's start the engine.

00:24:30

And we'll see that as soon as the engine starts there,

00:24:32

you can see that that's jumped up to,

00:24:35

it's actually dropped back down.

00:24:36

With a little bit of RPM on board,

00:24:38

you can see that's sitting at about 13.8, 13.9 volts.

00:24:42

So this is a quick check that we can do

00:24:44

before we go anywhere near the dyno.

00:24:46

We want to just start the engine and make sure

00:24:48

that the alternator is actually kicking into life.

00:24:51

Now if we are tuning a race engine

00:24:54

with an underdrive pulley on the front of the crankshaft

00:25:00

or a special alternator what we may find

00:25:03

is that if we start the engine and we just allow

00:25:06

it to idle at maybe 800 or 900 RPM,

00:25:08

then the alternator may not initially start to charge.

00:25:12

In that situation what can be worthwhile doing

00:25:15

before we start diagnosing problems

00:25:18

with the charging system,

00:25:19

is just to bring the RPM up to perhaps 3000 or 4000 RPM

00:25:23

briefly and this can be enough the get the alternator

00:25:26

to begin charging.

00:25:28

So some really simple and quick checks

00:25:30

that we can do there that are going to again

00:25:32

save us a lot of drama later on.

00:25:37

OK I'll just head back to my notes now.

00:25:39

The other aspect and this really isn't strictly

00:25:43

a necessity for,

00:25:47

this isn't necessarily a necessity

00:25:50

for our pre tune checklist

00:25:53

however what we may want to do is perform

00:25:56

a leak down and compression test on our engine.

00:25:59

Now particularly if we're the owner of the car,

00:26:01

this is going to give us a little bit of confidence

00:26:04

that the engine is mechanically in good condition.

00:26:08

If we are the workshop owner,

00:26:10

again this can allow us to pick up problems with the engine

00:26:15

before we actually start tuning it.

00:26:17

And this is a really common scenario

00:26:19

where we've got an engine delivered to us

00:26:21

that may be already mechanically damaged

00:26:25

and we find that once we start running it

00:26:28

something actually becomes a really apparent problem.

00:26:32

And of course from the customer's perspective,

00:26:34

often this might look like we as the tuner

00:26:36

have damaged the engine when the reality

00:26:38

is that there was something wrong with it

00:26:40

right from the get go.

00:26:41

We've obviously put it on the dyno, put it under load,

00:26:43

and the engine has begun to fail.

00:26:46

This is something that probably would've

00:26:49

happened if the car was simply driven hard

00:26:50

on the road as well but because we're the last

00:26:53

person to touch it of course we're the ones

00:26:55

that often end up getting blamed.

00:26:57

So a compression and leak down test

00:26:59

is a really good way of just confirming the condition

00:27:03

of the engine.

00:27:04

Now if you are the owner of the car,

00:27:06

this is also a good test to do regularly.

00:27:09

So it's going to give you an indication

00:27:11

of whether the health of the engine is starting to decline.

00:27:15

If we keep a log of our compression and leak down tests,

00:27:19

we can see over time how those are tracking

00:27:22

and make sure that the compression and leak down

00:27:24

values are still safe and sound.

00:27:28

One point is if we are going to be doing compression

00:27:30

and leak down tests we want to make sure

00:27:32

that they are always done from the same conditions.

00:27:35

What I mean here is that if we perform

00:27:37

our compression and leak down tests

00:27:39

when the engine is stone cold,

00:27:41

this is going to give us different results

00:27:43

to if we compare the compression and leak down results

00:27:47

when the engine is at operating conditions.

00:27:50

So it's important to make sure that we perform

00:27:52

the tests under the same condition.

00:27:55

Just talking about this two tests as well,

00:27:58

the compression test is useful to a point

00:28:01

because we will see if there is a cylinder

00:28:05

or more than one cylinder that is low on compression.

00:28:09

The actual numbers that come from a compression test

00:28:12

aren't particularly relevant,

00:28:15

what we're really looking for is the consistency

00:28:17

across all of the cylinders on our engine.

00:28:19

The reason I say that the numbers aren't particularly

00:28:21

relevant is because aspects such as the cam profile

00:28:25

will have a really large impact

00:28:27

on our compression ratio test

00:28:30

as will also the cranking speed while we are performing

00:28:34

a compression test.

00:28:35

So we can end up getting a result that might be 120 psi,

00:28:39

we could end up getting a result that's 180 psi,

00:28:42

and both of those results could actually come

00:28:44

from an engine that is perfectly mechanically healthy,

00:28:48

but it just would be,

00:28:50

what we're really looking for here I should say

00:28:52

is the difference across multiple cylinders.

00:28:55

So all of our compression results across the engine

00:28:59

should be within a few psi of each other.

00:29:02

The leak down test is performed with the engine stationery

00:29:06

with the cylinder that we're testing at top dead centre

00:29:10

on the compression stroke.

00:29:11

And the advantage with the leak down test

00:29:14

is we can actually get more of a feel for where

00:29:17

a particular problem may lie.

00:29:19

So for example if we've got a low leak down

00:29:21

we'll be able to tell by listening to the engine components

00:29:25

whether that leakage is coming back past the intake valves

00:29:28

perhaps back past the exhaust valves,

00:29:30

or back into the crank case past the rings.

00:29:35

Just backing up with that as well,

00:29:37

in our leak down and compression test,

00:29:39

another really good habit to get into

00:29:41

is having your oil analysed.

00:29:44

There's companies all around the world that

00:29:46

specialise in doing this,

00:29:48

and this is something that's a really good idea

00:29:51

for any really high stressed engine

00:29:53

because we'll be able to pick up from the oil analysis

00:29:56

if we're starting to get a problem potentially

00:29:59

with an engine bearing before it actually fails

00:30:02

and we don't need to go to the expense and trouble

00:30:05

of disassembling the engine to check that.

00:30:08

So again it's a good way of keeping track

00:30:11

of you engine health if you are doing this regularly.

00:30:14

So this is a kit that we're using here in New Zealand.

00:30:18

So what we do here, this is called a wear check kit,

00:30:22

and we simply take an oil sample,

00:30:25

this can be done at the time that an oil change

00:30:27

is being undertaken or we can sample between oil changes.

00:30:33

The oil samples taken, details of the oil, the mileage,

00:30:36

the engine et cetera are also taken and then we send

00:30:39

that sample off and it gets analysed.

00:30:42

So if we can just jump across to my laptop screen

00:30:45

for a moment.

00:30:46

This is the sort of complexity or detail

00:30:48

that these results come in.

00:30:50

We can see for example here,

00:30:53

we've got the unit number,

00:30:54

this is just a registration of the car so we can

00:30:58

indicate what that's come from.

00:31:01

We've got down here straight away our diagnosis

00:31:03

which says that all wear levels appear within

00:31:06

acceptable limits for this first sample.

00:31:08

Obviously if there are any problems indicated there

00:31:11

they will be noted.

00:31:14

So in particular we have had samples come back

00:31:17

which have noted excessive fuel contamination in the oil.

00:31:21

On the right hand side if you know a little bit more

00:31:24

about the metallurgy of your engine

00:31:27

as well as how oils work,

00:31:28

we can see an analysis of all of the components here,

00:31:31

for example the metals in the oil in parts per million.

00:31:35

Particularly this is a good way of picking up

00:31:36

the components that come from the engine bearings,

00:31:40

if we've got a bearing failure,

00:31:41

also contaminants that are included in the oil

00:31:46

and then for example here we've got fuel and water

00:31:50

percentages so a really good and relatively cheap way

00:31:54

of keeping track of the condition of your engine

00:31:56

and picking up a problem quickly before it can

00:31:59

become more serious.

00:32:01

Alright we'll move into some questions now,

00:32:04

again if you do have anything that you'd like to ask,

00:32:06

please ask those in the comments and I'll

00:32:09

address those shortly.

00:32:12

OK so it seems like everyone has also been asking

00:32:15

while I've been talking is the fuel octane labelling

00:32:18

the same around the world?

00:32:19

And no it is not, just to add to confusion there.

00:32:22

I mentioned our local 98 octane fuel.

00:32:25

So there are two ways of rating the octane of a fuel.

00:32:29

There's the research method and there's the motor method.

00:32:34

So we can have our fuel rated by either the research

00:32:38

method on its own,

00:32:39

the motor method on its own,

00:32:41

these give quite dramatically different values by the way.

00:32:44

The other way that's commonly used around the world

00:32:47

is by taking the average of the two,

00:32:50

which is also referred to as R plus M divided by two.

00:32:54

So simply take the octane rating that comes

00:32:57

from the research method,

00:32:58

the octane rating that comes from the motor method,

00:33:00

and then divide it by two.

00:33:02

So yeah if you're trying to compare octane ratings

00:33:04

of fuels from different parts of the world,

00:33:07

we do need to know how the fuel has actually been rated

00:33:11

otherwise the numbers simply aren't relevant.

00:33:16

First question comes from Tyler who's asked

00:33:18

what's my choice on timing light and what's my preferred

00:33:22

method for connecting a timing light

00:33:24

with individual coil packs like on the BRZ?

00:33:28

OK I've got two timing lights.

00:33:30

I've got a Snap-on digital dial back timing light

00:33:34

which has the advantage of being able to dial back

00:33:39

the timing value.

00:33:41

So what I mean by this is if we only have

00:33:44

a single marker on our crank pulley for top dead centre,

00:33:48

which is becoming more and more common

00:33:50

on late model cars where we don't have the full range,

00:33:53

perhaps top dead centre, five, 10, 15, 20 degrees et cetera.

00:33:57

If we've only got TDC,

00:33:59

quite often we will find that the engine won't idle

00:34:03

particularly happily at zero degrees timing or TDC.

00:34:07

Normally they'll like to idle perhaps

00:34:09

at 10 to 18 degrees of advance.

00:34:11

So if we are going through the base timing calibration

00:34:15

process with that sort of engine,

00:34:16

we need to set the timing at zero while we're going

00:34:19

through the calibration process.

00:34:20

The dial back timing light allows us to set the timing

00:34:23

to whatever we want.

00:34:24

Let's say 15 degrees inside the ECU.

00:34:27

We enter 15 degrees on the timing light,

00:34:29

and then when the timing is actually 15 degrees,

00:34:32

our TDC marker will line up.

00:34:35

Now these are a little bit tricky to use though

00:34:37

if you don't understand the implications

00:34:40

and they can cause issues with waste spark ignition systems

00:34:44

because we're essentially getting two sparks per engine

00:34:48

cycle instead of one like we'll see with a direct

00:34:51

coil on plug system.

00:34:52

So you can get mislead quite easily with a dial back

00:34:57

timing light if you don't understand

00:34:58

how to correctly use it.

00:35:00

So for that reason I've also got a really cheap Optilux

00:35:03

timing light.

00:35:05

This is a no frills timing light and it simply creates

00:35:08

a flash every time there's a spark.

00:35:11

So this will require us to set the timing to a value

00:35:16

that's visible on the front pulley.

00:35:19

OK to answer your other question,

00:35:20

how do I connect the timing light.

00:35:23

With individual coil packs this does

00:35:26

get a little bit tricky.

00:35:27

In some instances we will find that the low voltage wiring

00:35:32

to the coils will actually be sufficient

00:35:35

to trigger our timing light.

00:35:37

However the preferred technique is to actually remove

00:35:41

the ignition coil altogether,

00:35:43

and I keep a short extension ignition lead

00:35:46

in the workshop that I can then connect onto

00:35:49

the spark plug itself and then temporarily connect

00:35:52

that to the coil pack and then we can clip our timing light

00:35:56

onto that ignition coil.

00:35:59

So that gives us an absolute foolproof result

00:36:01

and we know that we're going to be getting accurate

00:36:03

timing information.

00:36:05

It's such an important aspect,

00:36:07

we don't want to be taking chances here.

00:36:10

Justin Beldos has asked,

00:36:12

if the compression test is good across cylinders,

00:36:14

should I proceed with a leak down test?

00:36:16

No it's absolutely not an essential

00:36:18

and certainly the leak down test is a test

00:36:22

that is seldom performed by a lot of mechanical workshops

00:36:26

so it isn't an essential, it's just a nice addition

00:36:30

to the compression test.

00:36:32

And more importantly if your compression test

00:36:33

is showing inconsistencies, as I mentioned,

00:36:36

it gives you the ability to find out in a little bit more

00:36:39

detail where the source of that cylinder leakage

00:36:42

is coming from.

00:36:44

Comet has asked, is checking conditions

00:36:46

where you're tuning important?

00:36:48

A shop must be pretty stable when road tuning probably not.

00:36:51

OK I mean the problem we've got here is we don't

00:36:54

really have a lot of control over the conditions

00:36:57

that the engine is going, or the dyno shop is experiencing

00:37:00

during the tuning process.

00:37:02

This is going to be based on location

00:37:05

and the time of the year.

00:37:07

Based here in Queenstown in New Zealand,

00:37:09

this is a bit of a problem or can present

00:37:12

a bit of a problem.

00:37:13

In the middle of winter we can reach temperatures

00:37:16

sub zero on the degrees celsius scale.

00:37:20

Whereas in summer we can get into the low 30s.

00:37:23

So that's quite a spread.

00:37:25

Now of course with modern EFI,

00:37:28

that's one of the advantages of EFI is that it will be

00:37:32

accounting for these changing atmospheric conditions.

00:37:35

The biggest problem I see with this is if we're tuning a car

00:37:39

in the middle of summer it can be impossible

00:37:42

to accurately calibrate the warmup and cold start

00:37:46

enrichment tables in the ECU.

00:37:48

And the reason for this is even first thing in the morning

00:37:51

we may only be seeing the engine coolant temperature

00:37:54

getting down to perhaps 12 or 15 degrees centigrade.

00:37:57

That's a dramatic difference from perhaps zero or below zero

00:38:01

that we can see in winter.

00:38:03

There's no real way around this.

00:38:05

We can extrapolate the results we are seeing

00:38:07

in the areas we can tune,

00:38:09

essentially taking a best guess.

00:38:11

But in some instances we may need to have the car

00:38:13

returned to us in colder temperatures

00:38:15

if it is playing up.

00:38:19

Obviously we would also like to have a dyno cell

00:38:22

set up that's providing good air flow through

00:38:26

that dyno cell to keep the engine cool,

00:38:29

and replicate real world conditions that we are seeing

00:38:33

out on the road.

00:38:36

Love Boost's asked if a boost pump or fuel pump booster

00:38:39

is equipped, does the 14 to 13 volt gap

00:38:42

make a difference in performance or safety

00:38:44

or if the tune potentially becoming dangerous

00:38:46

if you start to lose the charging system?

00:38:48

OK so a fuel pump voltage booster,

00:38:50

I ran one of these on my old drag car

00:38:53

to bring the voltage to the fuel pump up to 16 volts.

00:38:58

So these work quite well but they still rely

00:39:01

on the actual charging system for the vehicle working.

00:39:04

So essentially the same results still apply.

00:39:07

We still need our actual alternator charging correctly.

00:39:10

That's going to provide the correct 13.8, 14.2 volts

00:39:14

through to the fuel pump voltage booster,

00:39:17

that's then going to allow that fuel pump voltage booster

00:39:19

to do its job and bring the voltage up

00:39:21

to whatever it's designed to do to the fuel pump.

00:39:24

So if our charging system isn't working,

00:39:25

the voltage is dropping away,

00:39:27

we're still going to see exactly the same kind of problems.

00:39:29

The issue there I guess comes down to if we are

00:39:32

checking the voltage at the fuel pump,

00:39:34

we're going to be wanting to make sure

00:39:36

that we have the voltage that the fuel pump

00:39:39

voltage booster is supplying.

00:39:42

Ross Sheldon's asked what tires to you prefer to use?

00:39:45

Eg a little worn, say 70% but an older, harder tire.

00:39:48

I've always been told used tires are best.

00:39:53

OK this is obviously related to a rolling road dyno.

00:39:57

And it's something that we have been learning with

00:40:00

having now had our Mainline chassis dyno

00:40:03

for the better part of sort of 2.5 years.

00:40:05

The tires that we are running are going to have an impact

00:40:08

on the power reading from the dyno,

00:40:11

so that's one important aspect.

00:40:13

Particularly what we'll find here with our race cars,

00:40:16

if we're running on a slick or a semi slick,

00:40:19

because these tires are so soft and sticky,

00:40:22

this actually results in a lower power reading

00:40:25

at the tire contact patch compared to a hard road tire.

00:40:30

So my personal preference there,

00:40:32

I don't know if I've got an opinion on brand new or worn,

00:40:36

I personally haven't seen a difference there.

00:40:38

But certainly if you want to get consistent results,

00:40:42

and you want higher results,

00:40:45

then a hard tire will do a better job,

00:40:48

it doesn't lose as much power

00:40:49

through that tire contact patch.

00:40:51

Of course on very high powered cars though,

00:40:54

this can result in the potential for wheel spin,

00:40:58

so a slightly softer, stickier tire there,

00:41:01

may result in a little bit of a loss in power

00:41:03

at the tire contact patch, but less wheel spin,

00:41:06

which is obviously essential to our tuning process.

00:41:09

Certainly given my own experience as well,

00:41:11

I would not recommend running a car on a slick tire

00:41:16

if you can avoid it.

00:41:17

What you'll find is that the tire will get very very hot

00:41:22

during the tuning process and this can result

00:41:24

in a lot of damage to the tire and even the failure

00:41:28

of the tire as well so slicks don't really go very well

00:41:32

with a rolling road dyno.

00:41:34

Darius has asked, not completely related to the topic,

00:41:38

but what's your preference, a chassis or a hub dyno?

00:41:41

So rolling road there or hub dyno.

00:41:44

Look I've used both and the reality is,

00:41:46

probably unsurprisingly, both have their pros and cons.

00:41:51

The rolling road dyno generally a little bit quicker

00:41:54

to get the car set up and running on.

00:41:55

For us the real big pro here and the reason

00:41:59

that we've selected the Mainline chassis dyno,

00:42:01

is that the software for the dyno,

00:42:05

and particularly the data analysis and the ability

00:42:07

to get data straight from an aftermarket ECU

00:42:10

into the dyno is second to none and this allows

00:42:14

us to do a really good job with tuning

00:42:17

as well as presenting the tuning topics that we teach

00:42:21

in our courses.

00:42:22

So that's really important there.

00:42:24

The other thing with the rolling road dynos

00:42:27

is generally up until the recent crop

00:42:30

of really high horsepower hub dynos,

00:42:32

they were able to support higher power ratings

00:42:37

than hub dynos.

00:42:38

And because there's some inertia involved

00:42:40

with the rolling road dyno,

00:42:42

these allow us to calibrate and tune more advanced

00:42:46

functions such as gear change, ignition, cut control,

00:42:48

auto blip on downshifts et cetera,

00:42:51

which are impossible to tune accurately on an hub dyno.

00:42:54

Hub dynos generally we will get a little bit more

00:42:58

consistency run to run and session to session

00:43:01

because we don't rely on that tire contact patch,

00:43:06

so they probably provide slightly better consistency

00:43:11

but they also take a little bit longer to get the car

00:43:13

physically set up and running on.

00:43:16

Alright that's brought us to the end of our questions there

00:43:19

so hopefully everyone's learned a little bit there.

00:43:21

Regardless whether you're coming from the perspective

00:43:23

of a customer planning to take your car to a workshop

00:43:27

or a workshop that's running cars on the dyno,

00:43:30

there's gonna be something in there for everyone

00:43:33

to consider and hopefully this is going to save everyone

00:43:36

money and save everyone a lot of wasted time.

00:43:39

As usual, if you do have any more questions,

00:43:42

please ask those in the forum and I'll be happy

00:43:46

to answer them there.