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someone help out a cheap loser like me trying to tune.

This is a discussion on someone help out a cheap loser like me trying to tune. within the Computer & Tuning forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Since ls1tech.com is so busy that most of the time your questions go unanswered. I'm gonna ask this on here ...

  1. #1
    poor bastard DaytonaBlues's Avatar
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    someone help out a cheap loser like me trying to tune.

    Since ls1tech.com is so busy that most of the time your questions go unanswered. I'm gonna ask this on here


    I'm about to buy a Launch Creader V for about $75, BUT I have no idea if anyone has anything good to say about this tool. Basically I just need a scan tool not to clear codes per say, but to look at and learn more about 02 sensor live data as well as mass air flow, etc., I've searched here for scan tool and of course I do not wan to get into $250 tuning software although I would love to be able to tune my Ls1 for its mods since it does have a stock tune although I'm not sure of that. (Previous owner might have used a Predator)

    I'm just looking for a tool I can plug in and look at as much LIVE data that I can get to determine how good my 02 sensors are doing as well as too see if my cats are starting to go bad. (I live in Massachusetts so the emmisions tests here are brutal)

    I'm also trying to figure out if the stock tune is still in my pcm or has the previous owner gone in there and messed with it.
    Any advice on what I can get if anything for around $80?????????? I've looked at eBay for the Creader v scan tool for $75, also older model actron scan tools too.
    Just curious if anyone has any experience with any cheaper OBD 2 scan tools that can display live data, o2 sensor tests, etc,.

    Don't get me wrong I'd love to join the elite on ls1tech (and some of you) who need advice on a 9 second $40k turbo setup for street use because their 11 second daily driver is having a $4,000 12 bolt put in. I do wish I knew of a F Body site for those of us who are utterly broke losers like myself. It sucks these days, I want to learn so much but no place i can go for it without the $$$$$.

  2. #2
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Computer controlled cars are expensive to own if you wish to work on them yourself. You almost just need the software to diagnose and do thing correctly if you plan to keep these cars for any length of time.

    The only small hand held diagnostic tools I've used was a scanner made by MAC Tools. I believe that was still a $300+ scanner though. I'm not familiar at all with the cheap ones you speak of, and frankly when it comes to used electronic stuff like that I run the other direction No telling why something so usefull is selling so cheap unless it's not really usefull at all,,,,,if you know what I mean

    Eventually I just broke down and bought the complete HPtuner package so I have tuning and diagnostic abilities. I figure I'm always going to have some form of a computer controlled car in the stable (even if it isn't LS based) so it's just a necessity as far as I'm concerned since HPtuner is versitile in most everything out there, including a big block suburban I'm looking to buy. Not to mention I hate to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars for tuning and diagnostics to keep a vehicle on the road when that vehicle may only be worth $5-$8k to begin with. Eventually that software will pay for itself. Mine did the first time I had engine codes pop up

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    poor bastard DaytonaBlues's Avatar
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    Hey thanks for the reply. I bought a Launch CReader V off eBay used for only $40, and its actually pretty nice for what I needed it for. It reads all live engine data, freeze frame info, on board monitor tests, I/M readiness etc,. All the stuff those expensive Actron scan tools do. Its not the best obd tool but can't complain. HPtuners I guess is my only option for getting into my pcm but Jesus $450??!?!!
    I know EFI live is out there a little cheaper but no one knows of a tuner for under $300. I have a lid, descreened maf, Fast Toys RA, and a Slp loud mouth which is only reason I would want to tune the car. But so little mods should I even bother with a handheld programmer? I bought the cheap ass scan tool just because I'm trying to figure out if the kid who had the car before me added a predator tune. Its also nice to able to see some live data.

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    Generally the cheaper scan tool models do not allow you to see live sensor data. I have a mid-level Actron scan tool that also will not let me see what is going on. Fortunately, our car came with a Hypertech and it has awesome display ability with a modifiable screen that allows me to see everything from fuel trims, percent throttle, torque converter slip, and all. I actually mounted the unit to the cupholder and use it every time I turn the key.

    I understand that they now have devices that plug into the OBDII port and you can see stuff on your smart phone. Not a clue how well they work, but it may be an option to look into.

    A few years ago, I purchased HP Tuners Pro. This is the way to go if you are serious about tuning your own ride. Be warned though that the learning curve is steep. I have read every tuning book out there, attanded Banish's calibration class... and the damn thing still scares me.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaytonaBlues View Post
    . HPtuners I guess is my only option for getting into my pcm but Jesus $450??!?!!
    I.
    Like Jeff mentioned, if you are serious about owning an LS vehicle, want to tune and diagnose issues, it's really what you need. Actually the one you would want is HPtuner Pro and is about $600, which gives you the ability to tune with a wideband, (really the only accurate and safe way to tune)
    So add to that cost a good wideband along with that $600, and hopefully you already have a laptop to run it all.

    Since you have mild bolt ons and want a tune for not much money, I'd suggest sending your PCM to Frost here on the board. He'll do a custom mail order tune for $150.

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    Junior Member chevuman260's Avatar
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    Also as jeff mentioned. I have a obd2 reader app on my phone. It is the torque app. It is great with the exception of the data transfer rate over the bluetooth. This only applies when you are trying to log data during a 1/4 pass. It has all the abilities of an expensive scan tool and only cost $34 for the bluetooth obd2 hook up and $5 for the app. For the price it was one of the best tools i have ever purchased.
    2001 Camaro Z28 - AFR210 V2 Heads, JPH Cam, Fast 102mm intake, TS 100mm MAF, NW 102 TB, FTP 104mm lid, kooks 1 3/4 Long tubes, custom Y pipe w/dump, BMR LCA,TQ. Arm,PH bar, lca bracket,k member, Upper/Lower A arms, AFCO shocks
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    poor bastard DaytonaBlues's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. That 150 bucks sounds good for a mail my pcm tune. I did get a Launch CReader obd2 scanner off eBay for only $36 shipped. I was considering those obd2 readers for the smart phones but have heard bad news about them??. Yea I do have a laptop but $700 s waaaaaay beyond any thing I can afford. $700 would mean a 125 wet shot with a timing retard too. Say I had $300 for a tuning option...now given the fact future engine mods are too come with time such as headers (egr, air delete) and perhaps nitrous what would you do?

    I would hate to send my pcm away for 150 just causei got a measly lid, ftra , and slp loudmouth and not be able to update if I add stuff later.

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    You can always update your mail order tune as the mods are added. Even with limited mods, a tune is a good investment as there are other areas remedied in the process. I experienced a noticeable improvement in driveability after my first tune -- mods at the time were a lid, headers and catback, and secondary air delete.

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    poor bastard DaytonaBlues's Avatar
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    Thanks Jeff.. I can do headers and I actually have a set of coated Pacesetters (no y pipe though) but since I live in mass where the emissions laws are so tough here I don't have an idea of what I can get away with. I know I can use a tune to to turn off my egr and air off since the headers are off road but I am considering using shorties with all the emissions conections. I was told by some that shorties are a waste of money. I already got the the basics down....., lid, bellows, loud mouth, FTRA, you think shorties flow good enough for the 300 bucks they cost.??? I wish I knew of other ways to get my y pipe bigger and exhaust flowing better without using just pacesetters and a off road y pipe...
    Last edited by DaytonaBlues; 02-11-2013 at 06:19 AM.

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    Long tube headers will certainly get you the most gains. I have also heard that the shorties are a waste, but have never seen any testing to back this up. I would think that anything with individual tubes is going to be an improvement over the stock manifold. You should probably look into it a bit more before deciding.

  11. #11
    poor bastard DaytonaBlues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Long tube headers will certainly get you the most gains. I have also heard that the shorties are a waste, but have never seen any testing to back this up. I would think that anything with individual tubes is going to be an improvement over the stock manifold. You should probably look into it a bit more before deciding.
    What I want to do is buy new cats..just because car is a 99 with 113k on it and they are original, and go with the larger less flat SLP y pipe and the Pacesetter Shortie headers and keep my AIR and EGR.
    Is probably more money to do this but I figure if I just remove the egr and the air system I know I'm gonna get a ses light and I have no way to turn it off. I'm assuming this route should be good to flow enough even with aftermarket heads and a "mild" cam (220/224 555/565 114 lsa ) any suggestions?

    Yea with the cam, heads I guess I gotta tune the car.....

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