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Old 11-03-2009, 01:57 PM   #1
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Things I Learned from My Remote Tuning Experience

Over the past month I’ve been working with Tom on a remote tune (using an SCT X3 and LiveLink software) for my JRSC w/ BBK. I have been totally impressed with Tom’s expertise and the tune has absolutely blown me away! If you haven’t gotten a tune from Tom (1turbofocus), get one.

Here’s what I learned (or should have learned earlier) that will hopefully help someone embarking down this road.

1. Learn how to data log BEFORE you begin the remote tuning process. Unfortunately, I decided to try to learn as I went and it slowed things down dramatically. This should include (at the bare minimum) the following:
  • Familiarize yourself with all the PIDs (parameter identifiers) that can potentially be monitored through the tuning process. Know where each PID is located in the list and understand the subtle differences between each one. There is even a difference between a PID that is capitalized and one that is lower case, so this is extremely important.

  • Ask your tuner which PIDs he is most likely to have you log (ahead of time) so you can set up AND SAVE the configuration before you even begin. This will assure that you are using the proper PIDs and will also make it easier to bring up the correct list as you perform subsequent data logs (you’ll probably be doing MANY).

  • Make sure you’re using the same software “View” as your tuner. Unfortunately I didn’t do this ahead of time and it led to a lot of confusion. In LiveLink you can control how many characters each PID is identified with (Long Names, 16 Character Names, 8 Character Names). If you’re not both using the same “View,” the PIDs look and read differently on the screen. For instance, Tom would ask for “KNK SEN RET” (a 16 character identifier) but I couldn’t find it because my “View” was set for Long Names. He must have thought I was blind!
2. Get a wideband A/F gauge and make sure you’ve got it PROPERLY running through your data logging software. With the X3, this first requires that you properly connect it to your laptop via a modified firewire cable. There are a number of posts that show you how to do this but get it done BEFORE you begin the tuning process. Once you’ve got it connected, you’ll need to assign it the correct analog formula (each A/F brand has its own). Don’t even think about tuning until this is all set up and working properly.

3. Follow your tuner’s instructions EXPLICITLY. This is important for two reasons. First, heeding the tuner’s instructions will speed up the tuning process. Second, the process is much more complex (and potentially risky to your engine) than I thought. Let me give you just a few personal examples:
  • Tom would tell me to “clear the battery” before running certain logs and PID configurations. By this he meant that I needed to disconnect the negative cable from the battery so the ECU would properly re-set itself. I tried to skip this step a couple times and the logs suffered as a result.

  • Tom would tell me to do a WOT (wide open throttle) run from 2000 rpm to 5000 rpm. Instead of going completely WOT, I was only giving it 80 or 90% throttle. This threw off every other parameter on the ECU and the log turned out to be completely useless. WOT means WOT!

  • I changed octane grades in the middle of the tuning process. This required me to put the tuning process on hold until I ran tank out and re-fueled using the intended octane grade.

  • I ran boost before Tom told me to run boost. DUMB. DUMB. DUMB. Don’t even think about 1 psi until your tuner tells you that it’s safe. Did I mention that this was DUMB?!!
4. Use the communication method that your tuner requests. Sometimes you’ll be communicating by regular e-mail. Other times you’ll be using instant messaging (Tom uses AIM). And there might be times where a phone call will be best. Good communication is essential!


I’m sure there are many things that could be added to this list (and Tom might even chime in here) but I believe these items will certainly make the tuning process faster and easier for you and your tuner.


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Old 11-03-2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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I think this qualifies to be a sticky...
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:28 PM   #3
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great tips. also +1 for sticky.
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Old 11-07-2009, 01:31 PM   #4
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YES sticky this
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:03 AM   #5
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Very valuable write-up. Thank you.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:50 PM   #6
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It’s been 4 months since I first embarked down the remote tuning path. I continue to be impressed by Tom’s expertise and dedication to this technology. His remote tune is by far the best single investment I have made since I began modifying my Focus. The process provides for incredibly precise tuning while offering unsurpassed convenience, flexibility, and personal attention.

Let me give an example of how the remote tuning process recently benefitted me: When I originally had my Focus remotely tuned, I had a JRSC and Comp stage 1 cams installed in a stock head that had 103,000 miles on it. The valvetrain was worn pretty badly but the tune really brought it to life. Then, last week I purchased a Ford Racing head that was ported, polished, and had upgraded valves, springs and retainers. I was forced to return to my stock cams because one of my Comps snapped in half during the installation process (don’t ask how!). Obviously, neither my last tune nor the stock tune would have worked with these modifications.

This would have been tragic if I had to wait for a tuner to get the vehicle into a shop and/or a dyno. All I had to do, though, was shoot Tom an e-mail telling him what I had changed and he walked me through the process. I was up and running within 24 hours of recording my first log (this was huge because my Focus is my daily drive). Tom then spent an afternoon further dialing in the tune. The best news: The updated tune didn’t cost me any further expense. Subsequent modifications like this are covered as part of the initial cost. (I don’t think FS Werks handles it like that but I could be wrong).

Obviously, I continue to be sold on the remote tuning process! I’d encourage you to check it out.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:29 PM   #7
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I will be going with Tom's remote tune once my ducks are in order. About to buy the AEM UEGO AFR and a boost gauge to make tuning a little easier. Tom should be hearing from me again soon.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:32 PM   #8
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I will be getting one of those tunes with my tax returns, do you need to go through all though steps with an N/A motor?
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