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Old 08-04-2006, 10:31 AM   #1
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Service With A Smile

First off, I want to make it clear that nothing in this post is meant to flame, disrespect, or instigate anyone.

With that being said, I will tell you about my experiences with aftermarket tunes (sorry if it gets long).

I bought my car on March 08, 2006, but even before then I have been on this forum learning and researching on the best mods for a SVTF. It became quite clear that a tune was the first order of business. After driving my car for a little bit, I became acquainted with the car's idiosyncrasies and decided that I had to get a tune. After reading about the positive customer experience, great results and lower price (college student....need I say more) I went with Hypnotic Illusions Automotive. The ordering and shipment of my Xcal2 were very satisfactory and all seemed well (Late March). But it soon became apparent that all was not. My car exhibited detonation when anything higher than 3/4 throttle was applied. The problem became much more apparent when the ambient temperatures rose above 90. I immediately tried to contact Wayne so that he could help me resolve the issue. After several days of unreturned phone calls and emails, I decided to try another mean of communication. So I went on his forum and started a new thread expressing my issues and concerns (early-mid April). Wayne responded almost immediately. In the following days, Wayne sent me an updated tune which seemed to solve the issue. But I proclaimed victory too soon and the devil reared his ugly head again. So I contacted Wayne again, this time through PM on his forum. I asked Wayne if there was something I could do to my car (thinking it was a car related issue) to solve this. I changed the plugs, wires, fuel filter, fuel treatment and even the gas stations where I fill up. I asked him if it would be helpful to datalog what was going on so that he could correct the problem more accurately. The only answer I got was, "Ok sir, I am working on that other tune for you right now. I will get it out to you today. Sorry for the delay." (May 2) I waited. No tune ever came. I had been made aware of the troubles that he had experienced so I waited patiently for the update to come. My father has owned many one-man shows so I completely understand the trials that usually come along the way.

May 29, no update. On that day I sent him my last PM asking him to send me the safest tune possible. Basically stock timing and fuel but with the higher idle, dsi changeover, and rev limit of the street tune. A month passed by and no tune ever came. So I took matters into my own hands and used my inexistent tuning experience and played around with the Xcal until I could no longer hear any pinging. The end result was a timing retard of 2 degrees from 2k-4k rpms and 4 degrees from 4k-8k and 6% more fuel at WOT. Keep in mind that I never discounted my car being the source, but with no advice on what to do and what to check, I had nothing else to do. The car ran fine, but felt like it was being bottled up.

Fast forward a month and Tom at Focus-Power announces a special pricing on his Predator with the custom tune installed. After being on the fence for a couple of weeks, I could no longer trust my un-dynoed, ghetto-solved tuning issues, so I pulled the trigger. Tom was very helpful in the pre-ordering step and shipped my tuner in a timely fashion. I was incredibly excited when I first got the tuner and wasted no time in installing the software. To my dismay, the deto was back BUT only when the outside temps where in the high 90's (definitely a car/climate issue). So I contacted Tom and told him of my troubles. He was insanely quick at returning my calls and advised me on several things that I could do to resolve the issue. He suggested to route the valve cover breather hose and PCV hose out to atmosphere. Then he suggested to change out the T-stat to a 180* model. His last suggestion was to rig up something to route colder air into the SRI. During all this, he responded to all my questions and concerns quickly and even asked me to call him if I had any issues changing the thermostat, EVEN after-hours. The end result is a car that runs absolutely beautifully and pulls quite admirably for a basically stock 2.0 little 4-banger. I only need him to raise the idle a bit because I get vibration with the AC on from the VF rear mount, which I am sure he'll send right away.

Bottom Line:
Tom's service and experience is second to none. He even offered to "tweak" my tune for no charge (as long as it wasn't on the dyno- which I understand) when I go to NC for my vacation.

Hopefully, I can get enough money before Tom retires to build a 2.3L, WRC Block, Port and Polished Head, Procharger supercharged SVT motor (and with all the little goodies in between).

I have about 2 semesters left in school, so maybe..........


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Old 08-04-2006, 01:14 PM   #2
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Scratch the NEED part. Tom already sent me the update
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:27 PM   #3
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This is why everyone is so down that he will no longer be making turbos because the duratec turbo would have been the best.
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Old 08-04-2006, 02:41 PM   #4
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+1 For Tom. He helped me out too, albeit a while ago.
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Old 08-04-2006, 06:55 PM   #5
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THAT is exactly why I have been preaching about Toms great service on this forumm so much. Isnt it amazing what customer service does!? All it takes is a bad product and horrible service to become someone elses customer. Amazing how quickly ?????'s name is being tarnished...about a year ago, ????? was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I was once even a customer but grew tired of my non-dyno created tune that surged worse than SVT couldve ever tried.

...and to think ????? does mail order FI tunes.
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Old 08-04-2006, 09:21 PM   #6
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This is the reason I came to tom a few days ago and begged him to get into Xcal 2 tuning... because the only other option out there... pretty much pulled a dissapearing act when he wanted to.
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