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Open Roads Forum  >  Tow Vehicles

 > Power Programmers, any consensus?

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NewsW

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Posted: 02/27/12 12:50pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pdlarson wrote:


Recap:
1) Ability to tune for towing
1a) and at various octanes
2) ability to adjust torque management (at my peril / if I ever decide to grenade the trans)
Suggestions?

Optional:
3) performance and economy tunes not related to towing and for various octanes




Warranty: You are on your own once a tuner goes on.

Tune for towing: Yes (more power, torque, shift points, shift firmness)

Octane Adjustment: Generally a broader range biased upward --- ability to use higher octane fuel for better performance and timing.

Torque: Adjustment goes with power.


Performance and Econ tunes not related to towing: Yes.


--------------

Rule of thumb is performance gains can be substantial as long as you don't mind EPA issues.


Rule of thumb is economy is extremely difficult to gain (unless you are using premium or mid grade fuel).

Calculate gains in percentage over base.

Don't think MPG, but percentage change upward (or downward).

Without breaking EPA, less than 10% wiggle.

Breaking EPA, 15% and up, but not much more.


Straight gasoline has a reference standard (not always achieved) of 114,000 btu of energy

The gasoline you buy typically has less, with ethanol blended in.

Ethanol has 76,100 btu of energy, so as the blend percentage goes up, the energy content go down.

BUT, ethanol delays detonation and lowers combustion temperature, allowing more aggressive timing advances.


Conversion efficiency of a gasoline engine: About 25%


Back out how much energy it takes to move your rig, and you can see how much gain there can be without violating the laws of physics.

JN_B

Calgary, Alberta

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Posted: 02/27/12 12:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I apoligise (sp), But there was more than mpg discussed in that thread.

Quote:

As I was reading those 9 pages I was thinking, it's too bad ther's not a way to have a thread where only owners of gassers WITH tuners could respond.


Hense the reason I was responding to THOSE threads the way I was..

Everyone always has an "opinion" (even the diesel guys).. Take everything with a grain of salt...You'll notice it's always the people that don't have something who are the first to argue "it doesn't work"
(you'll also notice that some people change their mind, as you see in the other thread)..

BTW, I have a blackbear tune, if it's any consolation. I am VERY happy with it. Improved MPG (lol), but much improved drivability. Hard to explain, but it holds gears better when towing, and the truck actually "reacts" when I push the go pedal.

There are much better resources than here.. Dieselplace.com (oddly enough this is a great forum), performance-trucks, and gmfullsize.


Honestly, Don't get the over the shelf programmers. Not worth it. Remember that these programmers are guessing what you'd like before you purchased the product.

Someone like Blackbear can customize the tune to exactly how you like it. MPG/power/towing/etc.

Yes you can swap tunes fairly easily if you have an Autocal (~250), but not on the fly like the diesels.

Custom tuning, you can change anything pcm related at all. I've got most of my TM removed in 2-3, with 50% removed in 1st.

The only downside to custom tuning, is it's built & locked to your vehicle. In otherwords, you can't turn around and sell it later.


2003 GMC Sierra 1500HD SLT
2010 K-Z Spree 318BHS

JIMNLIN

Oklahoma

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Posted: 02/27/12 01:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would check out some of the GM truck websites like silverado.com and others. Google can find them for you. Also dieselplace.com has a forum for GM gas trucks.

Your question is in the tow vehicle forum so pay close attention to towing type of programers instead of all out two long black marks in the street drag race versions.


"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

'03 2500 QC Dodge/Cummins HO 3.73 6 speed manual Jacobs Westach
'97 Park Avanue 28' 5er 11200 two slides

phone man

Round Rock, Tx

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Posted: 02/27/12 02:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I got some tunes from 5 Star Tuning for a V10 Ford and it has been worth the purchase price. Tow tune, while not changing fuel economy towing at all, changed my shift patterns for more power through the shifts and the economy tune has netted me around 17mpg running empty on the highway when my previous average historically around 14mpg. Not dramatic results like a diesel, but worth the investment for me.

Turtle n Peeps

California

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Posted: 02/27/12 03:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Without writing a book about it here is how it goes:

There is only a few things gasoline tuners play with. Lets talk about some:

1. is ignition timing. With more agressive timing you can pick up a little power. And I do mean just a little. More timing will make the engine feel more snappy. It will feel more than you really get and if you put the truck on a dyno the figures will show that.

2. is air/fuel mixture. Usually this is almost maxed out from the factory so there is very little gain there. Oh sure you can go a little more rich and pick up a little bit of power but it is very small.

3. is torque management. This is when the engine is detuned when shifting. If you disable this the truck will feel a lot stronger because it will shift with full torque to the tranny. The question is why did GM do this? It does so to save wear on the tranny. The tranny was not designed to make full throttle shifts with a full load on it, so they came up with a save the tranny program.

To make real HP with a gasoline engine it takes more airflow through the engine. These tuners can't change that so you won't change that much in the HP arena. You can pick up better shift points and program them better for what you do; but for as far as HP goes; your not going to get much of a change because your not changing the airflow to the engine.

Now a diesel tuner is different because it does not rely on air flow so much. A diesel relies on fuel flow to make big power and it's easy to give a diesel more fuel with a tuner.......just add fuel baby!!


~ Too many freaks & not enough circuses ~


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davisenvy

Franklin, NC

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Posted: 02/27/12 03:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In my experience with gas tuners is you feel it more when you take the tuner off than when you put the tuner on. As in drive with it on a couple of days then take it off and you will notice a difference. Not that big of a difference. I did like being able to keep my OD from shifting back and forth so much. I like to tinker with things so a tuner was a yes. I used a diablosport predator. They also read DTC codes. One can be had for about $250


2007 GMC Sierra Classic 2500HD SLT,4x4,Crew, Duramax
2011 Keystone Sprinter 323bhs

BillyW

North ID

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Posted: 02/27/12 03:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I learned the expensive way a long time ago that lower gears is the best bang for the buck, at least on my gasser. I've done a ton of things to mine, including tuning, rebuilding the engine and tranny, super charging, adding electric radiator fans, etc, etc. Going from 3.55 to 4.10 gear ratio was like getting a new truck.



'97 F150 4X4
'04 Pioneer 18T6



pdlarson

Billings MT

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Posted: 02/27/12 03:32pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JN_B wrote:

I apoligise (sp), But there was more than mpg discussed in that thread.

...

BTW, I have a blackbear tune, if it's any consolation. I am VERY happy with it. Improved MPG (lol), but much improved drivability. Hard to explain, but it holds gears better when towing, and the truck actually "reacts" when I push the go pedal.


JN_B, no apologies needed. And you're right, even though MPG was the original Q, much more was discussed. I appreciate your feedback and everyone else's. I just wanted to make it clear that I did in fact look at that and felt it didn't seem to address any of my concerns so I fired away with a new post.

Also, thanks for the info about the blackbear tune, that is exactly the type of feedback / suggestion I am looking for. I emailed them and got an auto reply that they were away at a tuning event.

Doing a cold air intake kit and a custom tune is starting to sound like the direction I am leaning. If I add an exhaust later, they will re-tune for free if needed (if I am reading their website correctly).

I think I have determined my 1st choice of a replacement TV would be a 2010 Yukon XL 2500 SLT (SLT2 actually). I like 2009 or newer as all the '09+ 2500 Burbs and XLs are made in USA not Mexico (this statement is from a build-quality P.O.V. not jobs, that ship has sailed for used cars). Also, the '10 and newer SLTs have cooled seats which my wife would love. Me too I guess as it totally agrivates me to see her need to put a towel on a leather seat because it is too hot.

So my options are:
1) Upgrade the '06 LTZ with a new Class V hitch, cold air intake, and a yet to be determined tune for around $800-$1,000 - Doable
2) 2009+ Yukon XL 2500 SLT - Possible
3) Get a diesel - Not enough pennies in the piggy bank for that upgrade
4) do #1 then #2 and wish I did #2 first, hmmmmmmm To be continued...


Billings MT
2006 Suburban 1500 LTZ 6.0L 3.73 gears Curt hitch
2012 Springdale 210BHLWE 25'
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pdlarson

Billings MT

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Posted: 02/27/12 03:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BillyW wrote:

I learned the expensive way a long time ago that lower gears is the best bang for the buck, at least on my gasser. I've done a ton of things to mine, including tuning, rebuilding the engine and tranny, super charging, adding electric radiator fans, etc, etc. Going from 3.55 to 4.10 gear ratio was like getting a new truck.


What did you think about the elec fans? I thought of that and some underdrive accessory pulleys too.

I actually considered 4.10s to be my primary backup plan but as I started asking around, and I'm glad I did, it get's much more complex than it should really quickly. See this thread: Does rear end gear ratio swap require programming?" I have AWD so I need to do both axles AND get a programmer that will let me change the speedometer settings and ratio in the computer. I'm told the dealers will no longer do this programming at any price. I would be having the gear swap done for me and being responsible for the tuning myself. The consensus there was the difference wouldn't be much, not worth the expense $1,500+? so just replace the TV. Someone might have said get a diesel too

NorthernLimits

Michigan

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Posted: 02/27/12 04:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

8iron wrote:

JN_B wrote:

Really.. it's not even 4 threads down..

SEARCH...


He probably tried to read that thread but it has resorted to name calling and foot stomping. Any useful info has been compromised.



LOL

Any discussion about programmers on here degrades into the same thing, usually from people that have never run a tuner and since they have never run one, can not fathom why anyone else would want to run one.





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