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Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions:

What is tuning?

Is it worth it to have my stock car/truck tuned?

Why should I get tuning rather than a handheld unit?

Why do you need a wideband to tune wide-open-throttle?

What is meant by a MAF-based tune or system?

What is meant by a Speed Density tune or system?

What is a 2 or 3 bar tune?

What does Open Loop and Closed Loop mean?



Mail Order tuning Questions:

What is Mail order tuning?

What types of setups can be mail order tuned?

How long does something like this take, and can I drive without my PCM?

Do you have an exchange program whereby I can get a loaded controller and send you mine back?

Can I buy a PCM pre-loaded with a tune for my vehicle or swap project?





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What is tuning?

Computer recalibration or "tuning" is the process of reprogramming (recalibrating) the factory engine computer to allow the vehicle to operate properly again after modifications have been made as well as optimizing settings to get the most power, driveability, and mileage out of your setup.
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Is it worth it to have my stock car/truck tuned?

Factory vehicles are typically calibrated very conservatively and without (to an extent) performance in mind. Stock vehicles really wake up with minor adjustments to ignition timing, fueling, transmission torque management (if an automatic) and a few other items. These items and more (specific things like speedo fixes from larger tires or gears) are all a part of a Basic tune or a mail order tune. Most trucks can see a fairly substantial gain with simply retuning for high octane fuel.
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Why should I choose tuning rather than a handheld unit?

Our calibrations are custom and tailored to your car and modifications, not a "canned tune". Handhelds typically provide a rather limited range of adjustability compared to custom programming. Even our Basic tunes are one-offs made for your specific application after speaking with you about what can be modified, what you are hoping to gain, and should expect. Custom tuning allows for many changes not possible through handhelds, even for bolt-ons cars. Basic and Mail order tunes are based on many years of street and dyno tuning.
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Why do you need a wideband to tune wide-open-throttle?

The oxygen sensors that come in your car/truck work really well at maintaining a solid cruising air-fuel ratio (AFR). Once the AFR deviates much above or below this cruise AFR (commonly referred to as stoich), narrow-band (factory) O2 sensors lose their accuracy. Because of this, a wideband is needed to be able to view more of the AFR spectrum; particularly that area around wide-open-throttle which is much richer than cruise.
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What is meant by a MAF-based tune or system?

Many cars come from the factory with a device called a Mass Airflow Meter (MAF) that measures the air entering the engine. Even minor mods such as "air-lids" and other "cold air kits" alter the course of flow through the MAF which in turn affects it's calibration. Most of the commanded fueling that a car uses comes directly from this measure of airflow. Most cars will be tuned using the MAF and VE for accuracy of fueling and drivability.
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What is meant by a Speed Density tune or system?

Speed-density calibrations use fueling calculations that come solely from static tables referenced against the Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor, Intake Air Temp (IAT) sensor, Engine Coolant Temp sensor (ECT) and few other items. This calibration is well suited to more radical setups with very large duration camshafts that can cause reversion issues with a MAF at idle and low engine speed. There are other specific circumstances where this type of calibration can be advantageous.
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What is a 2 or 3 bar tune?

2 and 3 bar tunes are actually special operating systems that are speed density and designed for higher horsepower boosted applications which will exceed internal airflow limits for the MAF within the PCM. These operating systems require the corresponding 2 or 3 bar MAP sensor and allow the PCM to "see" boost (the stock PCM is blind to MAP levels that result from boost) and adjust fueling accordingly. This is particularly important for turbo charged applications which can make boost in many different RPM ranges based on engine load, unlike superchargers whose boost is physically tied to rising engine RPMs.
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What does Open Loop and Closed Loop mean?

Closed Loop (CL) refers to a control sub-system in the PCM that allows the engine computer to make adjustments to idle and part-throttle fueling based on feedback from the narrow-band FRONT oxygen sensors. This makes fueling more consistent (in most cases) and helps with highway economy and general drivability. Open Loop (OL) operation means that fueling is calculated and metered from the MAF (unless in speed density where no MAF is used) and other static tables alone with no correction made by the PCM/ECM. OL is sometimes desirable in instances such as aiding the operation of a very large camshaft with lots of overlap at lower RPMs. This overlap allows fresh air to escape into the exhaust which "fools" the factory oxygen sensors into thinking that the engine is lean. This can have the effect of causing over fueling at these low RPMs as the PCM attempts to correct a scenario which it perceives to be lean. OL is commonly used on race vehicles and vehicles that use leaded fuel.
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What is Mail Order Tuning?


Mail order tuning is the process of shipping your PCM/ECM to us for programming in order to take full advantage of your current setup. We have a worksheet on the site that you fill out. It includes your contact/shipping information as well as a list of all aftermarket modifications as well as a section for any special requests. The list of vehicles than can be mail order tuned can be found here
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What types of setups can be mail order tuned?


The best application for Mail Order tuning are cars with bolt-on modifications such as cold-air kits, rear gears, long tube headers, full exhaust, and stall converters. Auto trans vehicles pick up a significant amount from trans tuning. Smaller cammed setups can be accomodated as well as startup and breakin tunes for more radical setups. All such radical setups will have to be, at a minimum verified by wideband to make sure that their mixture is safe at WOT. Small things such as the clocking or moving of a MAF can often have a large impact that cannot be predicted. This is especially tru for swaps with non-OEM air inlets. This is the reason that all radical setups need to be verified with a wideband and have the smaller details refined by a tuner in person. Swap programming work is very common across years and controllers, and is absolutely available. If you have any questions, please contact me.
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How long does something like this take, and can I drive without my PCM?


The standard turn around time is next day. Over half of all bolt-on calibrations ship same-day. More complicated base tunes such as 2 and 3 bar SD tunes may take up to two days, but I try to get them out next-day as well. You cannot drive or start your car without the PCM, so plan accordingly. In the checkout process for purchasing Mail Order Tuning, you have the option to pick your return shipping type/speed.
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Do you have an exchange program whereby I can get a loaded controller and send you mine back?


I do NOT have an exhange program at this time. I received one too many dead cores back. This program may come back in the future.
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Can I buy a PCM pre-loaded with a tune for my vehicle or swap project?

For many vehicles (and most all swaps), YES, you can. Check the application list here for the 411 controller and the application list for the 1MB 243 controller to see if your vehicle is supported. If it is, you simply add the controller to your cart, then navigate to the mail order tuning page that matches your application. Order tuning. After you checkout, send me a NEW email, not a reply to a previous 'chain' (see contact page for address if needed) with ALL of the information that would go on the worksheet as if you were sending in your own controller. I will get your calibration made, loaded onto your new PCM, and shipped right out.
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