Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes - Mustang Evolution

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Old 08-03-2011, 09:11 AM   #1
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Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

Not trying to spark any controversy, and I am not necessarily trying to pit one against the other. I'm just curious about what you guys think of the mail order tune vs custom tune and whether the difference really only matters when you're talking about dyno'ing YOUR specific car vs having tunes calibrated based on exhaustive dyno tuning a similar model.

Part of the reason why I ask is because I want to know what you custom tune guys paid for your tunes and why you decided to go that route over the more convenient and likely less expensive mail order route. Or maybe you have both and can weigh in on the differences there as well
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:30 AM   #2
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Re: Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

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Originally Posted by illestdomer2005 View Post
Not trying to spark any controversy, and I am not necessarily trying to pit one against the other. I'm just curious about what you guys think of the mail order tune vs custom tune and whether the difference really only matters when you're talking about dyno'ing YOUR specific car vs having tunes calibrated based on exhaustive dyno tuning a similar model.

Part of the reason why I ask is because I want to know what you custom tune guys paid for your tunes and why you decided to go that route over the more convenient and likely less expensive mail order route. Or maybe you have both and can weigh in on the differences there as well
When my tune was done by "Mustang Specialties", there was 4 different tune calculations they showed me on the Computer, and from those 4 John desided which one to program in. I have a Dyno printo out of it and two of the other Tunes that were made. On the "Mail" order one, you will only get that speculated calculation program, and no printed info that it took exactly the way it was said to have been. Cars are slightly different, as are people, so to get the best and accurate setup for your car, you have to use your exact car to do the calculations on. Not to start any arguments or fights on here, but many people say on here that their car runs or has $$$$HP & TQ, but do they have the Dyno print to prove it, or are they just doing visual advertising calculations and guessing that their car has that number. Many numbers given on here are probably BS and wishful thinking but not real. Take your car into a shop and let a Pro do it for you.
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:40 AM   #3
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Re: Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

I think I agree with Kato here. So let me restate it in my words.

Mail order tune is "best guess" tuning. There are a lot of variables that go into what your tune should be set up to do. Temperature and Humidity that day, altitude, fuel type in your tank, condition of your spark plugs, etc. When you get a mail order tune, you are usually getting a good tune when using a reputable tuner. However you are getting a tune that is made to work on a car across all of those variables. It's a generic tune.

When you get a custom tune on the dyno, or even on the street, you are getting a tune that is being adjusted for your car, on that day, in those conditions, in real world driving. This lets the tuner fine tune the tune and get everything just right. Not just the wide open throttle power, but also the tip in and general driveablitiy of the car. It lets the tuner maximize output of the car.

In most situations with someone getting into modding their car, a mail order tune will probably be just fine for them. For example, a new owner that has just installed exhaust, cold air intake, or gears, etc. Basic bolt ons that typically happen. A mail order will be just fine. You'll be short about 5-10 hp compared to someone that has been dyno tuned...but is 5-10 hp really worth the $200-300 more it will cost to get that dyno tune? Also consider that if more mods go on later, it will cost another $300-500 to get re-dyno tuned for those mods.

So, there is a time and a place for mail order tunes.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:01 AM   #4
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Re: Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

I could not have said it better "PureVenom". Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:06 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by KATO
I could not have said it better "PureVenom". Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:17 AM   #6
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Re: Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

Thanks, guys. I already have the BAMA tunes coming, and for the basic stuff that I have now (just gears), I figured it was plenty fine. Furthermore, I asked them to keep the rev limiter stock and mainly focus on improving throttle response as well as staying in gear longer with the automatic.

The reason I asked about custom vs mail was that the Ford Racing Tech who installed my gears does tunes, but he charges $250 for 3 tunes. Yes, they're custom, but he doesn't dyno the car...he just uses wideband O2 sensors to monitor A/F ratios and all that other good stuff that goes into it.

SO, I thought that in the absence of a dyno tune with real numbers and with the relatively common mod that I have (as well as planned mods: CAI, exhaust, etc.), the mail order tune is probably just fine as long as I do the datalogging.

I could go get a custom suit tailored for me, OR I could go buy a suit that is close to my size and have it altered. Sure, the custom suit will fit me perfectly, but the tailored suit is pretty darn good...and a lot less expensive
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illestdomer2005
Thanks, guys. I already have the BAMA tunes coming, and for the basic stuff that I have now (just gears), I figured it was plenty fine. Furthermore, I asked them to keep the rev limiter stock and mainly focus on improving throttle response as well as staying in gear longer with the automatic.

The reason I asked about custom vs mail was that the Ford Racing Tech who installed my gears does tunes, but he charges $250 for 3 tunes. Yes, they're custom, but he doesn't dyno the car...he just uses wideband O2 sensors to monitor A/F ratios and all that other good stuff that goes into it.

SO, I thought that in the absence of a dyno tune with real numbers and with the relatively common mod that I have (as well as planned mods: CAI, exhaust, etc.), the mail order tune is probably just fine as long as I do the datalogging.

I could go get a custom suit tailored for me, OR I could go buy a suit that is close to my size and have it altered. Sure, the custom suit will fit me perfectly, but the tailored suit is pretty darn good...and a lot less expensive
I personally think those bama tunes are great. They do seem to be great on everybody's car that has them.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:45 AM   #8
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Re: Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

yup, you get a mail order tune, load it and do some basic driving around send the data logs from that back and the tune is updated if needed.

Dyno the car and data log it, send logs to tuner they update if needed. Dyno again if updated and continue process until happy.

You would be amazed at the tweeks it can take to get it right from just a normal driving standpoint... my car and my driving habits caused one such event. My car was set to go to the WOT tune earlier in the amount of gas given range. My petal only had to go down X amt to go WOT vs stock. I drive around and instead of down shifting I would give a little more gas. This was lower in the rpms and thus the WOT kicked in and I had a little detonation due to this.. so I had to have it updated to richen it up and move the WOT marker higher.
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:33 AM   #9
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Re: Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

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yup, you get a mail order tune, load it and do some basic driving around send the data logs from that back and the tune is updated if needed.

Dyno the car and data log it, send logs to tuner they update if needed. Dyno again if updated and continue process until happy.

You would be amazed at the tweeks it can take to get it right from just a normal driving standpoint... my car and my driving habits caused one such event. My car was set to go to the WOT tune earlier in the amount of gas given range. My petal only had to go down X amt to go WOT vs stock. I drive around and instead of down shifting I would give a little more gas. This was lower in the rpms and thus the WOT kicked in and I had a little detonation due to this.. so I had to have it updated to richen it up and move the WOT marker higher.
What does detonation "sound" or "feel" like? I've heard the terminology but don't know how to recognize it...or maybe if I experienced it there would be no question? I am guessing that just has to do with the spark timing?
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:01 PM   #10
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Re: Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

it sounds like marbles bouncing around in your upper intake, on a supercharged car like mine its VERY bad. If you run to much timing or not enough fuel ~ you can run into it (to lean)

its kind of like a rattling sound~ most know it when they hear it.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:45 PM   #11
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Well,

I've had both. When I bought my tuner from Steeda.ca it came with a tune, but I had to tell them what upgrades I had made to that point. So when I got the tuner and uploaded to the car it ran so much better. Then I did more work to it, and had the car dyno-tuned. Other than having some exhaust issues that it has taken me a bit to sort out, it seems to have worked well as well.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:47 PM   #12
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Wouldn't you know...it sounds like I'm experiencing detonation. I loaded up my tune today and got into it this evening with my wife -- the car, not a fight -- only to hear this ticking sound under load. It almost sounded like a crackle, and I swear I heard a faint, almost inaudible whine.

I am currently running the 87S tune from BAMA here in God awfully hot Atlanta. My fuel is 87 octane from Chevron. I did notice, though, that the pump said, "may contain up to 10% ethanol."

Culprit?
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Old 08-14-2011, 03:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illestdomer2005
Wouldn't you know...it sounds like I'm experiencing detonation. I loaded up my tune today and got into it this evening with my wife -- the car, not a fight -- only to hear this ticking sound under load. It almost sounded like a crackle, and I swear I heard a faint, almost inaudible whine.

I am currently running the 87S tune from BAMA here in God awfully hot Atlanta. My fuel is 87 octane from Chevron. I did notice, though, that the pump said, "may contain up to 10% ethanol."

Culprit?
No the ethanol is not the culprit. If it wasn't doing it before the tune then it is more than likely the tune. You can try running a higher octane to see if it stops.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:23 AM   #14
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Re: Custom Tunes vs Mail Order Tunes

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No the ethanol is not the culprit. If it wasn't doing it before the tune then it is more than likely the tune. You can try running a higher octane to see if it stops.
Yeah, I know it has something to do with the tune, but I didn't know if maybe the timing was off because of a lesser fuel or hot, humid air or what the deal is. I'm just hoping that brief bit didn't damage my engine.
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