I wanted to bring this topic out of the "5 Star in Development” thread and into a review thread since it is already out and the development thread is a bit cluttered. I figured since Mike gave me a great product, at a great price, with great customer service, that it is the least I can do to write a review of my excellent experience. Don’t forget to post your review on Mike’s iTrader page here
Year: 2011 Cab: SCrew Bed: 5.5 Ratio: 3.55 Diff: LSD Drive: 4WD Tires: 33" Wrangler Duratracs Tune: 87 perf/tow
This tune is just awesome. You can really tell that the person making this tune spent hours and days behind the wheel doing actual everyday driving to get it just right instead of just doing some adjustments and driving for an hour. The transmission does not shift too soon in normal driving like stock, and you are always where you want to be in the power band. One of my biggest pet peeves with stock is that it would stay in third gear while making slow 15-20 mph turns leaving you with a brief moment of feeling sluggish until you got around 1500rpm. Neither the SCT 93 tune that I have been running for the past two weeks nor the Superchips 91 tune that I was running for 2 months prior fixed this issue. My friend’s Livernois tune is better on this issue than the SCT & Superchips, but nowhere near how well the 5 Star tune overcomes this by changing up the speed that 3rd gear locks up the torque converter keeping you in the right gear for the right situation. I tested the tune all morning by driving the same roads I travel to work and other commonly traveled roads trying to catch this tune in the wrong gear like the others but couldn’t. Even when I slowed down and then sped up going up hills, the transmission was always where you wanted it giving you more power instantly without having to mash the pedal further so the transmission will drop down a gear to put you where you want to be like you have to with the others.
WOT off the line; this tune is a beast easily outperforming the SC 91, Livernois 87, but right on par with the SCT's 93 throw-you-back-in-your-seat acceleration feel. However, on 20-80/40-80 runs, 5 Star 87 will blow away a SCT 93 tune due to its very quick throttle response and shift points. The drive by wire on the SCT (or the others) is not tuned as well as the 5 Star’s is which also feels like it gives you more throw you back in your seat power at lower rpms for some odd reason. The one place the 5 Star 87 tune gets bested is WOT at 60+mph speeds by the SCT 93 tune. The SCT 93 tune has more power to pull and you can feel it in this situation, but I am sure the 5 Star 93 perf/tow tune will easily best SCT 93 once it comes out. Keep in mind I only ran the SCT 87 for about 10 miles and didn’t like it so I ran the 93 from that point on so that is what I have to compare it to. The closest track was 75 miles away and is now closed down so no runs as of yet.
I have not had a chance to tow with the tune but will report back when I do. It is worth noting that you can tow up to the trucks maximum tow rating with this tune, unlike the others that you would have to switch tunes to tow anything over 3,000 lbs. You can even tow with the 93 perf/tow tune so no more having to retune the truck to a weaker tune just to tow for the weekend and loosing that performance feel you come to enjoy.
I did notice traveling along the same roads as I usually travel to work that I was getting a little worse than average fuel mileage that I regularly got with the other tunes. My way into work are back country roads and then a small stretch of highway totaling 10.37 miles one-way. I made three round trips and consistently got -.5/-.8 mpg less than the other tunes I have been running for the past two months. This could be because they were 91/93 tunes using 93 octane and this is an 87 tune using 87octane. It could also be because it does not shift so early like the other tunes do which is what I think it is. It does not bother me none since I did not buy it for better mpg’s, but I at least have to state it to give an honest review.
This tune was worth the wait and more than worth the cost unlike others that are very hard to justify theirs for what you get. I highly recommend this on your mods-to-do list if you have not already done so. It isn't just geared for performance like some of the others, but also daily driving and the safe usability of the truck as a truck which is just one of the reasons that puts it above the rest.
EDIT: For those who don't know and have asked me. You can get a 5 Star tune as long as you have a SCT SF3 tuner and purchase the tune here
even if you purchased the unit from another vendor although Mike has special deal packages on his custom tunes if you purchase through him. The SCT SF3 holds the 3 pre loaded "canned" 87/91/93 tunes, and can store an additional 3 custom tunes. Each 5 Star tune will take up one of the custom tune slots up to three. So if you have a SCT SF3 tuner and a open custom tune slot, then you can have the tune too. You are not limited just because you bought the tuner somewhere else.