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Self Tuners - Would you recommend it?

This is a discussion on Self Tuners - Would you recommend it? within the Computer & Tuning forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I've had a 2001 Camaro SS since new, and I'm just getting the point where I can afford to start ...

  1. #1
    Tech Junkie hammertime's Avatar
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    Question Self Tuners - Would you recommend it?

    I've had a 2001 Camaro SS since new, and I'm just getting the point where I can afford to start some more serious mods (read: almost paid for). I was considering LS1 edit for some time, but after reading more recent info, I'm leaning towards the HPtuners software. My car is currently stock, save for an SLP lid, SLP y-pipe and GMMG cat back.

    I've worked with computers a great deal, so the software doesn't scare me at all, and I'm not afraid or some trial and error tuning, as it seems there is a greatdeal of help available whether through forums or knowledgable users here.

    Considering the investment required to obtain the software + the cost of a wide-band O2 sensor and appropriate hardware to use it vs. the cost of a professional tune, would you still recommend it?

    As I see there are ups and downs to each:

    Self tuned Pros:
    -can always make my own edits, either as modded, or as other changes are desired, ie fan temp, rev limit, etc
    _ I don't have to wait until all mods are complete for a one time tune
    -would have the means to earn back some of my invesment by tuning similar cars for friends
    -another way to enjoy my car by going out to log data

    Self tuned Cons:
    -learning curve may be steeper than I expect and take longer for results
    -there's always the chance I really screw up (murpy's law)
    - $$$ I figure I can get a good dyno tune from a pro for what my cost would be to obtain hardware & software

    Professional tune Pros:
    -less expensive for a one time only tune
    -dyno and available equipment certain to give better results in their hands than a novice, street driven tune
    -dyno tune with actual TQ and HP numbers to quantify gains
    -reputable tuners would stand behind their work to make it right

    Professional tune Cons:
    -wouldn't want to due mods in stages, due to the expense of multiple tuning sessions
    -possible need to transport car for tuning
    -?

    Am I looking at this the right way? Should I go ahead and take the plunge to get started on my own? Oh yeah, I already have a laptop.

    Any thought and opinions appreciated...

    Thanks!

    Hammer

  2. #2
    H*LL yes, you will be hooked in no time and it's nice to be able to adjust the car as you go.
    Hawk
    2001 Firehawk looking
    for more power !

  3. #3
    Token V6 Guy
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    I think you've thought it through & know the answer for the most part...with tuning packages starting at under $400 and with the LC1 wideband running $199 not to mention laptops getting cheaper by the day the ameature tuner has it much better then ever right now. Most tuning programs have help files & how to writups that either come in the program itself or readily accessible to the tuner. Under the professional tune cons where you have that ? you can put
    -if they dont stand behind their work and make your car right your probably out that $500-600 you couldve spent on the software/hardware.

    thats what happened to me...I got hpt & havent looked back since.

  4. #4
    We'll be back... GatorSS's Avatar
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    Good analysis. Since you are computer-savvy and obviously pay attention to detail, I can tell that you are the right candidate for self-tuning. Get your self some software, and have at it. You'll be surfing that learning curve in no time. You'll love it.

    Self-tuning is not for everyone. In fact, I'd say the overwhelming majority of people are not candidates for self-tuning. They need to go to the professional tuners. Unfortunately, most of them do not know it yet. But more will once enough word gets out about the benefits of such tuning. That means a great deal of business for professional tuners is on the horizon.

    It is a great idea for a self-tuner to become friends with a professional tuner. The self-tuner can get great tips and expertise from the professional and the professional can get great feedback from a kinda beta tester (so to speak) along with referrals from all the people with whom the self-tuner shares his tuning results (since the great majority of those will need a professional to tune their cars).

  5. #5
    Senior Member ninobrn99's Avatar
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    ask bill (foff) how addicted Ive become! Its insane! all i wanna do it tune tune tune!! loggin like crazy!! I am using tuners and love it! I know a shop that has/had the lc-1 kit for 169, but with no guage. You will need to purchase the eio cable from tuners to make it work. I went from knowing nothing to getting a decent grasp on it after someone showed me the ropes
    Nino

  6. #6
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    Professional tuners can't take the time it takes to tune a car the way it is suppose to be. For example, no way they are going to let the engine completely cool and then idle until warm to log for Base running air flow for a perfect idle tune. And then do it again in gear. This is just part of the process. You will find too that you are changing programming every time you make a mod to the car whether it be a tire change, gear, intake heads, cam or what ever. Any time you have a problem you need to make a diagnostic scan. And when it comes to inspection time, I always pass!

  7. #7
    Token V6 Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry
    Professional tuners can't take the time it takes to tune a car the way it is suppose to be. For example, no way they are going to let the engine completely cool and then idle until warm to log for Base running air flow for a perfect idle tune. And then do it again in gear. This is just part of the process. You will find too that you are changing programming every time you make a mod to the car whether it be a tire change, gear, intake heads, cam or what ever. Any time you have a problem you need to make a diagnostic scan. And when it comes to inspection time, I always pass!
    They could if they wanted to...but people that have never tuned on their own wouldnt understand the 4, 5 or 6 hours that might take just to get your raf tables in check from a couple of cold starts. They generally put in a figure that has worked well in the past & hope it holds true. Send you on your way until you have issues then will try to work out minor issues...this can take minutes or hours of extra work over a period of several trips back to the shop...when I origonally had my car dynotuned the shop i chose was an hour drive away and i had to visit them a total of 4-6 times and they never did fix a bunch of issues I had with the car that i fixed within minutes of owning hptuners.

  8. #8
    Tech Junkie hammertime's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback! I had pretty much made up my mind before I posted, but I thought it would be good to hear from some others who have already done it.

    Looks like I'll be toying with the car alot next spring!

    Thanks!

    Hammer

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