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Performance, Brainstorming & Tuning Talk about modifications, or anything else associated with performance enhancements. Have a new idea for performance/reliability? Post it here. No idea is stupid! (please use Detailing and Appearance for cosmetic ideas)

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Old 10-01-2007, 11:59 PM   #11
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alright so im getting a kind of mixed opinion here. I like the idea of a powertuner, but if it isnt going to gain me anything now, why wouldnt i do some other mods, and gain from them, and then later get a tuner and gain more from those mods. I guess in the long run i end up with the same result, but if i mod now i will see bigger improvements right away. You guys understand what im saying?
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Old 10-02-2007, 02:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper8907
alright so im getting a kind of mixed opinion here. I like the idea of a powertuner, but if it isnt going to gain me anything now, why wouldnt i do some other mods, and gain from them, and then later get a tuner and gain more from those mods. I guess in the long run i end up with the same result, but if i mod now i will see bigger improvements right away. You guys understand what im saying?
I understand what you're saying, but I disagree.

Firstly: there is alot to be gained over your stock tune on your stock-ish car (reduced knock and increased power through timing, fueling, shift settings; reduced torque management through various engine and tranny settings, etc.).

Second (and to me, even more important):
Mod first, tuner later = increased chance of catastrophic failure.
Tuner first, mod later = decreased chance of catastrophic failure.

Your choice, of course, but I'd say if you're ultimately planning to do anything beyond plugs / t-stat / intake (such as rockers or cam, TB, exhaust work, smaller pulley, etc.), you should get the tuner first.
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:09 AM   #13
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I completely disagree with a tuner being a first mod choice.

A way to scan the car for various parameters yes, a tuner no way.

There is FAR more chance of blowing a car up (even stock) with a tuner than there is adding some cooler plugs a slightly smaller pulley and an intake. All it takes is one lapse in judgement or one quick test of a parameter change or one forgotten binary change and a motor can be toast. Have a newbie doing this first thing is retarded.

It is easy to say that it should be a first mod if it is something you are used to doing or have experience with however my recommendation for a new modder is to go with tried and true basic mods to pick up some initial power while you continue to grow and learn about the motor and its capabilities. Having a way to scan the car is always a plus and if you want to buy a tuner for the scanning features by all means do it but don't buy a tuner as a first mod and start dicking with the code when you have no clue of how your changed are going to affect the car. That is ludicrious.
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:15 AM   #14
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I have to agree with Todd on this. It was the first thing that came to mind when the mention of a tuner came up. If he knows what he is doing, that is one thing. It'* easy to kill an engine simply tuning it wrong, especially if you don't really understand what you are changing. The PCM is adaptive to the best of my knowlege, so when you increase the airflow mechanically, it can detect and compensate for it, to a degree. I personally vote for mechanical upgrades over software upgrades initially, unless you know how to tune a car and understand what each change can/will do.
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:22 AM   #15
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Please understand..I wouldn't suggest changing a fuel tank with a torch either.

I'm talking about learning and understanding what is being done, not aiming into something blindly. A person should understand, research and only mod when they know what they are doing. Even changing a pulley can be detrimental to a motor if the wrong one is selected.
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Old 10-02-2007, 11:39 AM   #16
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Understanding what you are doing, be it VIA software modifcation, or mechanical modifcation, is an absolute necessity. When going mechanical, you can easily look around, run a search if you will, and see what'* been done, what is recommended, and what the results will be. Tuning is a little bit wider in the aspect that you can add performance, but you can absolutely devestate an engine, yet a little more difficult to receive help on. I can't see someone tuning over the phone.

While I wouldn't go so far as to say a tuner is retarded to hand to a newbie, I would say it is a bit risky. Understanding is the most important factor for any performance modification, period. A tuner is a bit of an extreme step early on, for someone who we have no idea of what his history is with vehicles, tuning, or performance applications of any sort.
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:21 PM   #17
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OK, I think it'* possible we're gonna wind up scaring the crap out of the OP with this debate

(But to me, this is the beauty of Bonneville Club...debate is allowed! And yes, that was a shameless plug for the Club )

Can you blow up your powertrain with a tuner? Of course you can...if you don't do your homework and follow the instructions. But the same could be said of wrenching (without a manual), modding (without asking around first), or (ignoring) maintenance.

I'm going to assume the OP has at least some ability to wrench, mod, and do basic maintenance. The evidence is in his sig. I'm also going to assume he does his homework, since he came looking for advice.

Now some posts here have left the impression that once you get the tuner, you're on your own and fumbling in the dark...not so. There are manuals, guides, an online community for each choice of tuner, as well as resources like BC and ClubGP. There were also posts implying that you shouldn't buy a tuner unless you already know how to tune...to me, that'* just silly; how many people on this forum wrench on their cars without ASE certification and/or formal autoshop apprenticeships? Undoubtedly, most of us are essentially self-taught.

I will concede that power can be gained more quickly and more cheaply by bolting on parts first (though I will not concede that that is a safer route). It may also be that the OP'* budget does not support the purchase of a tuner now, given that he does not already have a laptop to use. But given how low the cost of a tuner has become, the fact that the tuner does double as a diagnostic scantool / codetool, and that the online help available has taken much of the "magic" out of tuning, I feel it is not unreasonable today to suggest a tuner as a first (or near first) mod for someone who knows they will eventually be taking their car beyond very basic mods.

Maybe a good question for the OP at this point would be, "how far do you see yourself taking this car?"
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:34 PM   #18
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Alright i figured i better chime back in here.

First of all, you guys have not scared me at all, well i geuss made me a little nervous about getting a tuner, but I'm the kind of person that is careful with things, If i dont know what im changing, It will be left alone.

Second, I can see me keeping this car around for a long time, adding things like rockers, exhaust systems, shift kit, probably a new tranny eventually, and who knows maybe even a cam. I love my car to death, so i dont want to do anything foolish to it.

In regards to my budget, I have been looking at getting a laptop for quite some time, so if i were to go with a tuner, i know i could use my brothers, my dads, or my friends (granted i would have to install the software on each one and such). So the laptop issue is not really a problem.

If i dont buy a tuner now, I am going to want a way to scan the car, so im going to be spending that money anyway, even if i dont use the tuning capabilities right now, It almost makes sense to go that route.

I will let you guys continue the debate, I am learning tons from it, and its helping me decide, somewhat.
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Old 10-02-2007, 05:15 PM   #19
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well to scan a OBD2 i think the aeroforce scan gauge is good you can know all the time what going on plus you get the codes and can erase them .i did buy this after my first mod and im glad i did i learn a lot whit it so far .but im thinking tuner now
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Old 10-03-2007, 12:18 PM   #20
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Considering you have some reserve, and common sense(in this case, willingness to learn about what you would be changing before changing it), then I'd say go ahead with the tuner. I personally fear just telling just any person to go get a tuner. Some people get a little over-zealous and "whoops" turns into a new engine. While it'* not my place to dictate what people should or shouldn't have, I have what I would say is a recommendation. I recommend against everyone and their brother owning a tuner for the previously mentioned reason.
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