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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok I'll need other tuners to add their couple pennies to this but I think this is information people need to read and digest a little. I might be a little harsh on some subjects but I do it for some peoples own good, it may save them thousands.

The first item I'd like to start with is the difference with the different types of tuning, Dyno tunes, road tunes, eTunes, and self tuning. I constantly get the question "what's the difference, which one is better?" well that depends on many variables and what you want for an end result. Each has advantages and drawbacks, its up to you to decide which is the most acceptable.

Dyno tunes; Advantage is (with the correct dyno) it will "mimic" the road. So in essence it's like training for a marathon running on a treadmill or learning to fly in a simulator. This is why dyno tuners pull the car off and do some road driving / pulls after to make sure it's within spec for them. Tuning on a dyno keeps you from getting high dollar speeding tickets and being a danger around people in populated areas etc. However dyno time is expensive since these machines cost 60-150k to buy they will cost some cash to use. Now if you pull your Evo in and strap it down for your dyno tune typically you get about 2-3 hours of tuning on one for $400ish depending on where you are at. If you bring in a car thats packed full of mechanical issues and shitty parts your going to pay the shop mechanic to fix it plus lose out on tune time to trouble shoot that quickie install you did at midnight. Now you get an hour of actual tuning on the dyno.... Yeah that should be an optimal tune.

Road tune; With this you either drive your car with the tuner actually there with you or you just drop your car off and let the tuner take the car out. Again this is time limited for tuning and you fall victim to mechanical errors still, plus if there is a big enough issue you will end up with a tow bill. However if the car is mechanically sound (and you chose a good tuner) then your should end up with a great tune.

eTune; This is primarily for those who do not have access to a shop that can adequately perform the above 2 types of tunes. The advantage to eTunes is typically since the customer does the driving and logs the tuner can spend more time actually fine tuning a map and not looking at a clock. The customer will do the driving, send the logs and the tuner can take time to go over the data and make more precision adjustments. Again the disadvantage is you may get tickets for speeding etc. However if mechanical issues arise you're not on the clock, you can either fix them yourself and pick up on the tune where you left off. Also eTunes are easy to get adjustments on down the road as long as you use the same tuner.

Self tuning; All you big boy start to finish and basically if you aren't armed with good mechanical knowledge and some computer skills you REALLY don't want to go this route. Also if you're using open source you should also have some knowledge in deciphering XML coding, as well as some serious research into the basics before you brick your ECU on your first attempt.

Ok with that out of the way the next subject I want to go over is having a mechanically sound car, this is something you spent a large sum of your hard earned cash to get and you need to do upkeep to ensure its running optimum. So a few things to check out before tuning, and you can do this or pay someone to do this but either way it needs to be done.

1) Boost leak check, tons of ways to do this and several videos on youtube check it out.
2) Gap your plugs, and run fresh ones if you've got over 30k on the engine. (0.022 gap)
3) Coolant, and fresh oil and be sure to keep an eye on the levels.
4) Proper tire pressure
5) Vacuum and boost lines are secure even if it's just a simple zip tie.

More than 50% of the cars that come to me for a tune have a mechanical issue, they are easy to spot from the logs. This is why a lot of people have issues with OTS tunes, and it can be very dangerous. Even people running OTS maps need to know some basics with reading logs and looking for issues.
 

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[Local Team Member], aka JDAVID-EVO X
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Ad always you bring the good stuff to the table and specially for the noobs :rock:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Lol I do remote tuning for a couple shops and one of them in Nebraska just had to explain to a Sheriff what he was doing lol 2008 STi with a new turbo kit had to do some pulls. Apparently the cop was pretty cool and more interested with me remote tuning via laptop and cell phone WiFi connection.
 

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Lol I do remote tuning for a couple shops and one of them in Nebraska just had to explain to a Sheriff what he was doing lol 2008 STi with a new turbo kit had to do some pulls. Apparently the cop was pretty cool and more interested with me remote tuning via laptop and cell phone WiFi connection.
That's awesome haha.
 

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Lol I do remote tuning for a couple shops and one of them in Nebraska just had to explain to a Sheriff what he was doing lol 2008 STi with a new turbo kit had to do some pulls. Apparently the cop was pretty cool and more interested with me remote tuning via laptop and cell phone WiFi connection.
Lol I had a similar situation! He didn't pull me over, but followed me to a gas station where I was sending you the logs, asked me what I was doing since I was all by myself and then had a laptop, explained and he was really surprised...was funny afterward, but during it I was thinking I was screwed!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Lol I had a similar situation! He didn't pull me over, but followed me to a gas station where I was sending you the logs, asked me what I was doing since I was all by myself and then had a laptop, explained and he was really surprised...was funny afterward, but during it I was thinking I was screwed!
I never get pulled over while doing pulls, but every time I'm on the side of a road crunching data logs I get the tap on my window.
I've just started telling cops the "Evolution" is a Google car and we are working on Ethanol / Hydrogen technology. Once they think its a hybrid they leave me alone lol
 

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I never get pulled over while doing pulls, but every time I'm on the side of a road crunching data logs I get the tap on my window.
I've just started telling cops the "Evolution" is a Google car and we are working on Ethanol / Hydrogen technology. Once they think its a hybrid they leave me alone lol
Justin, tell them the best part about your 'brochure' ahahahahahahahah
 

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Justin, I always like your content - thanks for posting up something of this nature.

I will point out straight away that there are several good tuners on this site that do happen to e-tune or remote tune.

Dyno tunes; Advantage is (with the correct dyno) it will "mimic" the road. So in essence it's like training for a marathon running on a treadmill or learning to fly in a simulator. This is why dyno tuners pull the car off and do some road driving / pulls after to make sure it's within spec for them. Tuning on a dyno keeps you from getting high dollar speeding tickets and being a danger around people in populated areas etc. However dyno time is expensive since these machines cost 60-150k to buy they will cost some cash to use. Now if you pull your Evo in and strap it down for your dyno tune typically you get about 2-3 hours of tuning on one for $400ish depending on where you are at. If you bring in a car thats packed full of mechanical issues and shitty parts your going to pay the shop mechanic to fix it plus lose out on tune time to trouble shoot that quickie install you did at midnight. Now you get an hour of actual tuning on the dyno.... Yeah that should be an optimal tune.
Although I agree with this post in relation to shops I've worked with in the past, I'll clarify as to how a good shop handles things with a few facts and examples.

My shop plainly charges $500 flat rate for a comprehensive Evo or Subaru tune. This includes a pre-dyno inspection (compression and boost leak test). I've seen our other tuners spend as long as 8 hours before on a $500 tune in the name of customer satisfaction. We never let mechanical labor time cut into your tune, though of course we do charge for extra labor. Our general rule of thumb is to conduct the pre-dyno inspection at least a day before the scheduled dyno tune. This allows a nice buffer to get issues sorted out.

Any good shop will also be willing to re-tune for free if a customer is not satisfied. Case in point: we had an Evo X MR customer with an extensive list of modifications contact me recently letting me know he wasn't happy with a tune a previously employed tuner of ours produced for his car. I had him in for three 4-5 hour long dyno sessions (two of which were thwarted by fuel system issues so I of course sent him home to get those fixed up) and now everything is hunky dory. Guess how much he was charged for a re-tune involving around 15 hours of my own labor? $0

This is how a good dyno tuning shop should operate. If your dyno tuner doesn't have this level of customer service, find a new one :) It is possible to make money in this business while still focusing on customer satisfaction. If your tuner is nickel-and-diming you to death, they're probably compensating for a lack of overall volume.
 

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Justin, I always like your content - thanks for posting up something of this nature.

I will point out straight away that there are several good tuners on this site that do happen to e-tune or remote tune.



Although I agree with this post in relation to shops I've worked with in the past, I'll clarify as to how a good shop handles things with a few facts and examples.

My shop plainly charges $500 flat rate for a comprehensive Evo or Subaru tune. This includes a pre-dyno inspection (compression and boost leak test). I've seen our other tuners spend as long as 8 hours before on a $500 tune in the name of customer satisfaction. We never let mechanical labor time cut into your tune, though of course we do charge for extra labor. Our general rule of thumb is to conduct the pre-dyno inspection at least a day before the scheduled dyno tune. This allows a nice buffer to get issues sorted out.

Any good shop will also be willing to re-tune for free if a customer is not satisfied. Case in point: we had an Evo X MR customer with an extensive list of modifications contact me recently letting me know he wasn't happy with a tune a previously employed tuner of ours produced for his car. I had him in for three 4-5 hour long dyno sessions (two of which were thwarted by fuel system issues so I of course sent him home to get those fixed up) and now everything is hunky dory. Guess how much he was charged for a re-tune involving around 15 hours of my own labor? $0

This is how a good dyno tuning shop should operate. If your dyno tuner doesn't have this level of customer service, find a new one :) It is possible to make money in this business while still focusing on customer satisfaction. If your tuner is nickel-and-diming you to death, they're probably compensating for a lack of overall volume.
Hats off to you for doing that, but that is very rare.
 
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