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How much tuning really?

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  • How much tuning really?

    I see a lot of articles/videos of LS swaps that involve turbos. Many of these
    use the HP tuners as the means of tuning the engine. Most of my EFI info
    I get from this site which usually leans more toward the stand alone ecm
    like the MS. That being said, how much "tuning" is really involved with the
    LS turbo swaps? Just curious. Some of these builds are almost to good to
    be true and would like to know just how much work is involved after the
    hard parts are put together.

  • #2

    Re: How much tuning really?

    HPT makes the OEM computer a LOT more usable with turbocharging and high output combinations today than just a few years ago, thus it's popularity. GM spent millions developing the drivability tuning that's already in the computer, it's wise to take advantage of it.

    My opinion is there's more power to be had with a standalone like the MS or Holley HP / Dominator, but it take a little more work and is a little more "DIY" in nature than making adjustments to the OEM computer's calibration.

    With HPT, if your turbo plumbing isn't leaking and the mechanical bugs are worked out (not as easy as it sounds), one $200-500 trip to a chassis dyno might be all you need to have it tuned properly, - however learning HPT yourself isn't too bad IMO. The standalone will be a little more configuration and wiring work, and will definitely be more intimidating at first startup than the OEM computer re-tuned, but is better in some applications than the OEM computer.
    www.realtuners.com - catch the RealTuners Radio Podcast on Youtube, Facebook, iTunes, and anywhere else podcasts are distributed!

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    • #3

      Re: How much tuning really?

      If you go with HPTuner's I suggest joining the Tuning School, their manuals give you step by step instruction on how to tune your car with HPT.... Also it supports up to 3 bar speed density or 1 bar MAF and you can add Real Time Tuning......

      http://www.thetuningschool.com/

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      • #4

        Re: How much tuning really?

        I really enjoy reading the posts about the MS system and its abilities and I
        think it is something I would enjoy, but the reality is I think I would be in
        over my head. I don't have any immediate plans for an EFI swap but the
        idea of swapping in a 4.8/5.3 with a single turbo that makes more power
        and is more drivable than an old school sbc is very attractive.

        So in a nutshell the HPT trades some power and ultimate tunability for
        ease of installation? Fair statement?

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: How much tuning really?

          So in a nutshell the HPT trades some power and ultimate tunability for
          ease of installation? Fair statement?
          Fair statement. It gets you going faster if doing it yourself, although make sure you understand that some basic tech skills will be required... TC tried both MS and HPT and couldn't figure either one out, and if you ask him he's a badass expert hotrodder so.... maybe EFI is super duper hard. It depends on your ability to learn IMO.
          www.realtuners.com - catch the RealTuners Radio Podcast on Youtube, Facebook, iTunes, and anywhere else podcasts are distributed!

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          • #6

            Re: How much tuning really?

            So in a nutshell the HPT trades some power and ultimate tunability for
            ease of installation? Fair statement?
            In your situation, I would say it trades nothing, using the stock ECM will be less time consuming to put together.... And as for tuning, they both allow changing of the same parameters to achieve the same results..... The idea that there is a "specific" set of values to get the engine to run it's best isn't exactly right, it's more like finding the "range" of values that it runs the best in..... So I would say either way you'll make the same power.......

            Also one added bonus of using the stock ECM is the use of a Mass Air Flow sensor as part of it's programming, which 99% of aftermarket ECM's don't use.... What these aftermarket ECM's use is what they call "Speed Density" programming, which is basically the same type of EFI programming that the OEM's used back in the 80's, so you might want to ask yourself why are your wanting to run your car on 30 year old technology that is really no better than a carb........

            I think the guys over at Mass-Flo say it the best...... They are the only aftermarket EFI company to offer their systems with MAF programming.....
            Don't settle for empty promises, GET REAL RESULTS! The other companies make it sound as if it's a benefit to have the ability to "tune" their systems. It's NOT a benefit... IT'S A HASSLE! The reality is, programmable speed density EFI systems are not much more efficient than a 4 bbl carburetor. You're punching keys on a computer, rather than turning screws and changing jets and springs in a carburetor. The end result is an expensive system, that cost almost as much money to get tuned properly as the initial cost of the system. And where is the advantage? They require constant laptop fiddling to keep running properly. You could have gotten that with a carburetor! They are a little more efficient than a carburetor, but not enough to justify the cost.
            You can read the rest of it here....

            http://www.massfloefi.com/why-our-system

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            • #7

              Re: How much tuning really?

              Better tell those NASCAR and Formula One guys they need to step up their game to Mass airflow sensors ROFL
              www.realtuners.com - catch the RealTuners Radio Podcast on Youtube, Facebook, iTunes, and anywhere else podcasts are distributed!

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              • #8

                Re: How much tuning really?

                LOL. The MAF sensor is primarily an emissions sensor it back checks the speed density calc's.
                Last edited by TheSilverBuick; March 24th, 2013, 01:30 PM.
                Escaped on a technicality.

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: How much tuning really?

                  Fair statement. It gets you going faster if doing it yourself, although make sure you understand that some basic tech skills will be required... TC tried both MS and HPT and couldn't figure either one out, and if you ask him he's a badass expert hotrodder so.... maybe EFI is super duper hard. It depends on your ability to learn IMO.
                  I have had no problems tuning my car with HPT with the use of the Tuning School, my main problem was reading internet forums about programming HPT where the "so called experts" were doing it all wrong and I didn't find that out until I joined the Tuning School and read their manuals..... They make it real easy and give you outlines to fallow so things are tuned in the proper manner.....

                  As for MegaSquirt, it is more complicated and at the time I didn't have the time to invest in learning how it works. It is not that I "couldn't figure it out" it's that I didn't have the time to invest into learning how to program it...... Though I haven't given up, I still mess with it from time to time, and still do plan on getting it running on the car I bought it for........

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                  • #10

                    Re: How much tuning really?

                    LOL. The MAF sensor is primarily an emissions sensor it back checks the speed density calc's.
                    Though your the prime example of the guy with Speed Density that is always fiddling with his tune........ You get that figured out yet??


                    And that's the thing I like about HPT and using a Factory ECM it gives you the ability to run either MAF or Speed Density programming, so he can pick either one.....

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: How much tuning really?

                      Only take EFI advice from those who have done it. not those who "are gonna do it some day"
                      www.realtuners.com - catch the RealTuners Radio Podcast on Youtube, Facebook, iTunes, and anywhere else podcasts are distributed!

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        Re: How much tuning really?

                        I leave the tune alone for several months at a time, I put 16,000 miles on my Skylark last year alone, how much of that mileage do you honestly believe I was fiddling with the tune? Most of what I'm doing is splitting hairs, but over the last couple years I've made an annual significant change to the car requiring some tweaking. Gear ratios, compression, cam swaps, heads, etc. Significant changes require tune changes. Glad I'm not forking out $500 each time. I usually break out the laptop when ever I make a road trip because they are great times to collect data on the highway and large changes in elevation and barometric pressure, but several thousand miles were traveled out of town with out the laptop hooked up.
                        Escaped on a technicality.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: How much tuning really?

                          Megasquirt lets you run a MAF and has for nearly 10 years.

                          The issue with that is, nobody with any kind of performance skills or knowledge WANTS to run them.

                          They do work great for two stroke engines though, when there is no real manifold pressure signal worth using. Maybe TC can tell us all about how to do that.
                          www.realtuners.com - catch the RealTuners Radio Podcast on Youtube, Facebook, iTunes, and anywhere else podcasts are distributed!

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: How much tuning really?

                            I understand the difference between speed density and MAF. I remember the OEM's bouncing back
                            and forth with it back when. My experience with it is limited to to turbo Buick where it maxes
                            out pretty quickly. That being said are the oem mafs able to keep up with the massive increase
                            in airflow that a turbo provides? Is the MAF used with most LS turbo builds? Does HPT allow the
                            option of removing the MAF or is this an area where a standalone is required? Lots of questions
                            I know, thanks to you guys for sharing the knowledge.

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: How much tuning really?

                              I understand the difference between speed density and MAF. I remember the OEM's bouncing back
                              and forth with it back when. My experience with it is limited to to turbo Buick where it maxes
                              out pretty quickly. That being said are the oem mafs able to keep up with the massive increase
                              in airflow that a turbo provides? Is the MAF used with most LS turbo builds? Does HPT allow the
                              option of removing the MAF or is this an area where a standalone is required? Lots of questions
                              I know, thanks to you guys for sharing the knowledge.
                              It depends on the amount of boost, HPT will support 1 bar using a MAF sensor, that is an OS option, if you want to go higher than that they have a 2 bar and 3 bar OS that uses Speed Density which doesn't use a MAF...... So you can use one or not use one, they also have a 1 bar speed density option......

                              That's the thing about HPT it makes the factory ECM quite versatile........
                              Last edited by TC; March 24th, 2013, 04:10 PM.

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