Email Tunes Explained
Email tunes have had a bad reputation in the past, due to some tuners providing them "as is" without customizing them for your particular vehicle. In reality, customized email tunes, as we provide them, are of the same caliber as "dyno tunes". In fact, many times they are much more complete than a dyno tune. This is because some dyno tuners are often rushed and concentrate solely on the hp numbers, without investing the time required to optimize the drivability of the tune.
At Trick Tuners we want your high performance car to run like as smooth as it did when it was stock, but with the added power when you mash the gas. We concentrate on issues such as start up, part throttle transitions, idle quality, and general smooth operation, as well as WOT (wide open throttle) tuning.
Would an email tune work well for me?
Email tunes are not for everyone. They take much longer than dyno tunes due to the delay between, receiving a tune, sending me the data, and me sending you a new tune. I typically send tunes out within about 24 hours or less after the data is received, but there may be times when it could be up to a week (on vacation, etc), although its very rare. Normally they are sent out the same weeknight if the data is received before 2pm. If the data is received after 2pm, they will be sent out the next working night. I typically will not send out tunes from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, but depending on how busy I am, I will send out tunes on the weekend. If you want your tune done in a day, please find a local dyno.
Email tunes require the customer to be moderately computer savvy. You should have previous experience loading software, trouble shooting software issues, configuring drivers, and general windows operations. If not, you will be better off with a dyno tune.
Email tunes rely on the customers car having no mechanical issues. Normally we can spot the issues after reviewing the data and point you in the right direction. If you have mechanical issues we will help you solve them, but you should be mechanically inclined with a decent set of tools and general knowledge of engine operation and components. Operations such as swapping the fuel injectors or COPs may be necessary for trouble shooting certain issues. Typically mechanical issues are rare on stock to mildly modified cars (see below), and are more common on cars with power adders. If your car is already acting "funny" and you are not mechanically inclined then take it to your local speed shop.
If you are the kind of person who installed you own supercharger, has had the car on jack stands a few times, have a decent set of tools, consider yourself computer savvy, and want a tune with great drivability then email tunes will work great for you.
We can also provide "email dyno tunes" if you have a local dyno, but not a quality tuner, we can dial your car in on the street with normal driving. Once the calibration is close I can send you multiple tunes and instructions on the dyno tuning process. This is the best option because we can achieve peak hp and you get a dyno print out. If you do not have access to a dyno, don't worry, or email tunes are typically within about 5% of peak power. Also that 5% is a margin of safety to account for bad gas, etc. If you are tuned for "peak" power you are right on the edge and must keep a careful watch on your motors vital signs.
Tunes for stock to mildly modified (no blowers, turbos, heads, cams, or nitrous) cars generally do not require wideband data or datalogging, and can be customized to account for variations in cold air intakes and MAFs with some minor datalogging. All that is needed is an SCT Flash tuner for datalogging and flashing the tune to the ECU (car's computer), and a windows computer (W2K and XP work best, but Vista usually works fine) with internet and email. It helps to have a version of MS Excel too. If you do not have a laptop you may be able to use the on device datalogging. This method is much more complicated and recommended for advanced computer users only! If you have any error messages please contact SCT directly.
We stress that wideband air fuel data is required for tuning all vehicles with major modifications and we will not tune high performance combos without wideband data. Beware of any tuners that will attempt to email tune your high performance combo without wideband data. Its just not safe! It would seem that the same exact car, with the same exact mods, would take the same exact tune, but that it not always the case due to production tolerances, maf orientation, etc.
The Tuning Process
Email tunes are done exactly the same way as dyno tunes, except all the testing is done by the customer while datalogging and keeping an eye on the AF gauge. Typically the first tuning session will be done in the driveway in neutral. Depending on how the data looks, this process may be repeated, or a final tune may be emailed out. When the data looks good, some datalogging of WOT runs at the local race track will be necessary. We tune the basic drivability parameters while datalogging in neutral and slowly free revving the motor to specific rpms. The WOT part of tuning involves a 3rd gear pull from 2000rpms to near redline. Simply get to 2000rpms and mash the gas while the datalogger is collecting your data. The data files are then emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and we customize the tune to match your data. We use timing values from previous experience to get you within about 5% of max power in order to maintain reliability and longevity of your motor. If you want a 'bleeding edge' tune for MAX power, we can provide those as well, as long as you understand the risk of detonation.
Email tunes for high performance combos are usually accomplished in 2-7 datalogging sessions, but occasionally more will be necessary to dial in any specific issues. We typically send out tunes around 7-9pm on weekdays for datalogs we receive before 2pm. Usually after the first datalogging session your car will be safe to drive around on while staying out of heavy throttle applications until the tune is finished. Safety is our number one goal!