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Old 01-06-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
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Tune question

OK, so I have searched far and wide on the Interwebs and have not been able to come up with an answer to satisfy my software engineering mind.

Tunes. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. 87, 89, 91, 93 octane, race - street - performance, etc.

I get the race/street/performance aspects and the parameters they adjust to suit the driving experience desired.

What I do NOT get is the octane thing. Most tunes claim (AFAIK) to not disable or fiddle with the knock sensors. Some tunes also claim to add timing if you use a fuel above the octane the tune was "designed" for, claiming to utilize the "factory strategy". These same tunes ALSO claim that you can damage your engine if you use fuel rated for an octane level below what the tune was designed for. But the knock sensors are still active. See what I am getting at?

If the above is all true, why do we need "octane-specific" tunes? What exactly is a 93 octane tune doing that a 91 octane tune isn't if both claim to keep the factory strategies and knock sensors alive and well?

Someone, please educate me. Inquiring minds want to know!
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:02 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mmike87 View Post
OK, so I have searched far and wide on the Interwebs and have not been able to come up with an answer to satisfy my software engineering mind.

Tunes. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. 87, 89, 91, 93 octane, race - street - performance, etc.

I get the race/street/performance aspects and the parameters they adjust to suit the driving experience desired.

What I do NOT get is the octane thing. Most tunes claim (AFAIK) to not disable or fiddle with the knock sensors. Some tunes also claim to add timing if you use a fuel above the octane the tune was "designed" for, claiming to utilize the "factory strategy".

If the above is all true, why do we need "octane-specific" tunes? What exactly is a 93 octane tune doing that a 91 octane tune isn't if both claim to keep the factory strategies and knock sensors alive and well?

Someone, please educate me. Inquiring minds want to know!
The stock tune the car comes with adapts to whatever fuel you use... And is extremely conservative with throttle response and (for autos) shift strategy.

Custom tunes raise the "minimum" octane to whatever you have available... Higher octane will yield the maximum horsepower. If you put in 93 tune, you can screw up your car by putting in 89 octane gas as the timing (and other things beyond my knowledge) now is no longer adaptive to the fuel being used... The tune has modified based on the higher expected octane.

At least my theory.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:24 PM   #3
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The stock tune the car comes with adapts to whatever fuel you use... And is extremely conservative with throttle response and (for autos) shift strategy.

Custom tunes raise the "minimum" octane to whatever you have available... Higher octane will yield the maximum horsepower. If you put in 93 tune, you can screw up your car by putting in 89 octane gas as the timing (and other things beyond my knowledge) now is no longer adaptive to the fuel being used... The tune has modified based on the higher expected octane.

At least my theory.
OK, I get that ... BUT the tuners often claim that the knock sensors have not been "messed with" - therefore, if knock occurs the PCM will pull timing, right? How then, can the engine be damaged?

And I get the whole throttle response, etc. aspects.

Is it simply tuned beyond the ability of the PCM to pull timing?

And to be clear, I am not questioning what's being provided - I am VERY happy with my tune, just seeking to understand.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mmike87 View Post

OK, I get that ... BUT the tuners often claim that the knock sensors have not been "messed with" - therefore, if knock occurs the PCM will pull timing, right? How then, can the engine be damaged?

And I get the whole throttle response, etc. aspects.

Is it simply tuned beyond the ability of the PCM to pull timing?

And to be clear, I am not questioning what's being provided - I am VERY happy with my tune, just seeking to understand.
I think I'll let the AM boys elaborate on the technical aspects of the tune... I just know that you don't put a lower octane once you tune to a certain octane level.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mmike87 View Post

OK, I get that ... BUT the tuners often claim that the knock sensors have not been "messed with" - therefore, if knock occurs the PCM will pull timing, right? How then, can the engine be damaged?

And I get the whole throttle response, etc. aspects.

Is it simply tuned beyond the ability of the PCM to pull timing?

And to be clear, I am not questioning what's being provided - I am VERY happy with my tune, just seeking to understand.
It's not just timing, A/F plays a huge part and leaning out the mixture in conjunction with too much timing can can heat things up quick, fast and in a hurry and cause major damage.
Like stated above maybe AM can chime in here, although I wouldn't expect too many details because they are essentially trade secrets.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:33 PM   #6
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It's not just timing, A/F plays a huge part and leaning out the mixture in conjunction with too much timing can can heat things up quick, fast and in a hurry and cause major damage.
Like stated above maybe AM can chime in here, although I wouldn't expect too many details because they are essentially trade secrets.
Yeah, I figured people probably don't want to explain TOO much ...
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