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Practical Everyday Tuner/Tuning

Old 02-12-2019, 12:36 PM
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Default Practical Everyday Tuner/Tuning

I've read a bunch of these threads and I'm pretty clear on what I want and whom I want it from.

My question is around everyday use and which device to get. I think I want an X4 or a Livewire.

I don't know if I want a 500+ dollar tuner up in the window for everybody to see. Seems like it would be low-hanging fruit for a smash and grab deal. Outside of the "cool" factor, does the tuner provide you with useful data to make it worth hanging in a conspicuous place? If I'm just going to load the tunes and put it away, the extra money for the Livewire would be a waste. If it provides data that is useful, then the bigger screen and possibly more information would be a boon. That only works if I can easily disconnect it and stow/hide it if I am in a place where I don't want it visible though. How hard is it to unhook it and get it out of the mount? A couple seconds is what I assume.

As for tuning. When I am carting family or friends to dinner, I don't want/need an aggressive tune that shifts hard. I like the fact that I can hit the sport button when I want to have fun and take it out when I want a rolling couch. How is that affected by the various tuners? Everybody says the "transmission tuning is how it should be from the factory or much improved" (mostly 5*). That is very subjective. Is the truck still sedate when you want it to be or is it like having it in sport mode all of the time. Does the sport/tow button still accomplish this or are the modes overwritten altogether? Ideally, each mode would be tailored to suit their task but with the experience and precision of the various tuners, but I got the impression from some threads that that isn't the case. Can someone clarify?

I understand that there are mitigating factors. You could change tunes for different scenarios and avoid transmission tuning altogether. I am just asking for real world experience from folks that may have thought of this stuff as well.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:48 PM
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Some people use the tuner to display trans temps while towing. But I used mine to load the tune, and now it sits in a drawer in my home office. Only other times I use it is when I make repairs to the truck (tune ups, etc) to reload the tune fresh so it resets things.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tuflehundon View Post
Some people use the tuner to display trans temps while towing. But I used mine to load the tune, and now it sits in a drawer in my home office. Only other times I use it is when I make repairs to the truck (tune ups, etc) to reload the tune fresh so it resets things.
I didn't think about that. I can see trans temp, boost, and whatnot. I have a Lariat with the big screen and Max Tow and all that (which I only mention cause I think that has a trans cooler?), but I can see a good amount of info on the dash gauges.

I know there is additional stuff you can pull, I'm just not sure how useful it is. If I could see if a bank was running lean or something, that would be useful, but I'm not sure how often that would happen or if I would actually pay attention to it after a time to see anything going awry.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:04 PM
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I've used a lot of different tuners, and the best tune I found for overall driveability is the canned SCT tunes on the X4. Normal mode was like the stock truck but more power, and their sport mode and tow/haul modes I found to be improvements in trans tuning. It also screams up top (I have a 5.0) but doesn't have that ridiculous over sensitive throttle.

5 Star made nice power all over, drove nice and I liked it 95% of the time, but it shifted WAAYYY too hard on a cold transmission in the winter. It felt (and sounded) like you were going to leave parts on the pavement. Warm transmission it was great though. It did have an annoying 3-1 locked TC shift when doing a rolling stop that made it super jerky which irritated me to no end.

Unleashed was good but just didn't feel it did anything but I asked for him to be conservative with the throttle and trans.

MPT was by far the worst for the throttle, 30% pedal position was essentially wide open throttle. MPT had a weird glitch too that irritated me and they couldn't get rid of. It's either due to something slightly off on my truck that the tunes accentuated or just some weird hiccup in the tune that would cause a "hiccup" or "stutter" like the trans would slip and engage repeatedly as you roll off the throttle like when you are cresting a hill. I didn't feel it made any more power than the SCT tunes or 5*. Again I only have a 5.0 so they are limited in overall power gains.

Anyways, I'm very pleased with the canned SCT tunes. They mimic the factory ford stuff pretty close, just add better shifting make more power. If it ain't broke don't fix it I guess.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:18 PM
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I've got the bdx tuner and it has a few basic screens but for $5 check ou tan app called Torque. It reads from phone with usb adapter and has lots of screens to choose
from. Just another option and maybe save you some money in a tuner.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:38 AM
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Good thread... I am also considering a tuner, but I struggle with the idea of paying for a multitude of custom tunes when in reality I just want to load something that will give me some MPG benefits and maybe a little SOTP dyno improvement, and be done with it. I certainly don't want to start paying for higher octane fuel, so I'm already limiting myself to the various 87-octane tunes out there, and I'm trying to understand what makes a custom tune so much better than a canned tune from one of the reputable companies out there like SCT or Superchips?
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:09 PM
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I probably should have asked these questions in the tuning forum anyway, but I wasn't getting much for responses so I e-mailed 5*.

Their responses and a sudden windfall convinced me to get the Livewire because I believe I'd rather have it and not need it... I plan to disconnect it if I'm in a place where I'm worried about it getting nicked.

I am getting 93 Perf, 93 Perf/Tow, and 91 Perf/Tow in case I go somewhere that 93 isn't available. It is everywhere here and all I use anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem.

I am anxious to see what the tune can accomplish. I rolled out on a 350Z several times on the interstate and I thought I would lose and didn't. It was a friend and I think he was as surprised as I was. My wife has a Q60 (basically a 370Z with a fancier interior) and I wouldn't try it with that car, cause it is more powerful than the older 350Z, but I was still impressed. Amazing what they can do with such a heavy brick.

5* alleviated my concerns that the drive modes will still function. I like to be able to switch from a more sedate trans mode to a bit more aggressive. There is no way to know whether I will like it til I get it, but I have seen a lot of positive stuff about their trans tunes, so I'm not too worried.

The info about the Livewire (or X4 for that matter) and what they will display is a little vague still. I feel like I have a lot of information at my fingertips now and I'm not interested in advertising that I have a tune. So, I'll see if there is any information that I'm actually interested in displaying all of the time. I would still be interested in personal experience on this. Like, "I display these pids/info and this is why it is beneficial to watch those." For instance, I can see the benefit of a boost gauge. I have one now, but I have to choose between it and trans temp and I'd rather watch trans temp than boost. I know you can have it on the screen, but I'm usually bouncing to other screens - like avg mpg, which I've turned into a game to see how high or low of a score I can get on a tank of gas.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:39 PM
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It's always a good idea to ask the tuner which device they prefer. As some devices may not read the same parameters as others.

For my 5.0L I wanted a good, well-rounded, tune, I went with the Omega tune from OZ. It is not octane specific, so I can run anything from 87 to E85 without needing to adjust anything. It improved the shifting and pulls harder than stock in Normal, Sport mode lets it shift at a little higher rpm and added a little more throttle tip-in for getting out of the hole, but not enough to make it uncomfortable driving, T/H still operates similar to stock with the auto-downshifting to allow engine braking. Overall, I'm quite satisfied with OZ, but I've not tried any others. YMMV
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