To start with IMHO, going with a mail order tune is really no different than your grandparents taking their car to "Tune-Masters" for a tune-up......yes, they did change the plugs etc, but they were not there to fine tune the car just find the middle of the road where the car runs and get it out of the shop. Mail order tuners are no different...anyone who claims they can tune your car without ever seeing it is selling camel poop- period! The cannot tune your engine without seeing the data specific to altitude, humidity & fuel burning characteristics- just because you use 93 octane does not mean the 93 octane they used on their dyno (tuners) has the same burning characteristics...nor do they typically address the seasonal fuel blends for each region of the US.
Here’s what I would suggest you need to know. With regards to “Tuners”, years ago it was the best that most could do to enhance the ignition timing, fuel curve, transmission shift points, etc. It is important to verify the “Tuner” is ASE certified in ECM & Trans
programming & current. Plenty of persons advertise their programs to be the best & offer custom tunes, but very few have credentials in these areas. Some of these “geniuses” have caused damage to a few vehicles- just jump over to flatratetech.com & read comments from the MSE techs!
Perhaps what is equally important is the parameters that can be adjusted are set by the OEM vehicle software…so there is really no “magic” in what they are doing anyway. If you look at the dyno charts from many of these supposed HP/TQ increases, they are typically around 5%-7% at peak rpm ranges…….guess what, 5% is a standard deviation even amongst mfg dynos and if you go to this link http://www.fordracingparts.com/downl...ceTechTips.pdf
the engineers at Ford racing have a article on just exactly how these “tuners” play games with the hp/tq ratings, how calibration can cause misleading dyno results, & some of the “tricks” that are used to gain supposed power increases when in fact, mis-managing your engine….. and the most important item is……these “expert tuners” (at least most) do not have or choose not to test their results (in comparison to the oem intakes) during actual vehicle motion (or simulation- such as a wind tunnel) as the oems do nor are these "mail order tuners' regulated like any other auto repair shop in the US...so if they "damage" your car...gee, sorry...sue me!
IMHO, if you live near any major city there are excellent tuning specialists with dynos who for the same price (if not less) will tune your vehicle taking into consideration your specific needs including environmental conditions, for your specific vehicle. IMHO, the best bang for the buck!
If you are comfortable and understand how to tune a vehicle, you can also do this yourself. There are several software programs available, that “Speak Common English” that will allow you to tune your vehicles ECM. One company is HP Tuners, they have a website….they offer two core programs, one for those who are doing dyno tuning and one for the home-garage mechanic (which is priced at about the same as most of the “canned tunes on the market) …this version limits the span of adjustments as a safeguard against doing something outside of the oem scope……basically, keeps you from doing something “too stupid by accident” (grin) and Sniper Delta Force Tuning Software.
If you are absolutely set of a mail order tune, then I would highly suggest Blue Oval Chips (they have been around for 2+ decades and IIRR the gent is a Ford master Tech in both ECM & Tranny applications).
Here's some examples of, well...issues................
Roush Dyno Tune Posted August 26, 2012 Bad situation-Need help! - Vintage Mustang Forums
To make an extremely long story short. I need someone to tell me who to talk to for help. I have posted several times and got a lot of help. Got my engine build finished in May. Ran great. Took it to Roush Racing for a tune. It is a 93, efi, 302 with several upgrades. Went to get it from Roush and the water hose had blown and torn up my brand new hood I just had painted. It can be fixed. Drove the car home and it would not start the next day. Finally found the adapter between the TPS and painless harness was missing. Fixed that. It would not idle consistently. Took it back to Roush. They said it was fixed. Went less than 1/2 mile and it was idling at 2500 rpm. Took it back. They were lost. I need help. I am totally disgusted. If you need to talk, PM me and I will give you all my personal contact info. Thanks for any help. I am out of options.
Frustrated with bama performace
Posted 3/16/14 by Wolfmanron https://www.allfordmustangs.com/forum...ml#post6028497
Well my journey of going back and fourth with bama performance is coming to frustrated halt my story begins with my performance tune that is a excellent tune except for the hard 1-2 banging at 5 mph in traffic very uncomfortable worked with Alex and he couldn't figure it out what was going on that took place for about 3 months then he sent me a 93 hybrid tune that was nice but that was doing the same thing has the performance tune plus the sudden rpm jumps 1200 to 2000 rpm at cruise he couldn't figure that out and he just stop emailing me then I was pushed to don that was trying to work with me about the data logs not coming threw in there end I had to take tunes off update put tunes back on it was to much to do I'm very busy I told don that and I shouldn't have to do all that on a $400 device so then he stop emailing me the I was pushed to another tuner Ryan I thought was gonna be my savior I was wrong cause he sent me (2) revised 93hybrid tunes and they made my torque converter almost jump out the tranny I got so scared about that I came back home quick told Ryan he said it mite not be the tunes turn it back to stock I did ran the car it was perfect so it was the tunes so I said forget It so I put the 87 street tune on the car and the car runs perfect like a rocket ship shifts are perfect and pulls all the way to red line like a hybrid tune should but that also has the rpm jump I'm getting so damn tired of this bull crap I just want a good strong reliable tune for my car I understand its hard to get the shifts just right in a auto but steeda and Lund seem to have master tuning automatics why the hell can't bama do this and they seem to have got sick of dealing with me I'm truly pissed off about this I'm trying to be loyal and stay with bama but I'm thinking about leaving and going to another tuner
Posted 2/4/13 Bully Dog Tuner - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums
About 6 months ago i installed a Bully Dog Tuner in my 2007 F-250 with a 5.4 gas engine . Just before Christmas i decided to sell the truck as my new truck was in . I uninstalled the GT-Tuner as i was going to use it in my new truck . After i un-installed the tuner , the truck would not turn over . All i had was dash lights . My odometer didnt show numbers just lines . After spending days on the phone with Bully Dog , them trying to flash my ECM with the tuner they decided that there was nothing they could do . To my dismay i had to tow my ever so reliable truck to the dealer where they determined my ECM needed to be replaced . After replacing ECM truck works like it used to . My question is , has anyone else has a similar problem ? Worst Service ever at Livernois Motorsports | Mustang Forums at StangNet
Black Stampede, Jul 22, 2008
So today I decided to call to get some information about getting a tune. I had two places in mind I wanted to go and they were Alternative Auto. owned by Lidio and Livernois Motorsports, both located a couple hours from me across the state. I started out calling Livernois even though I know three people who have been screwed by them in the past. Things ranging from them jacking the car up in the wrong spot and bending the crap out of the front fender, to f-ing up my friends side exhaust on his Cobra, to all three people having appointments and them showing up and Livernois acting as if they had no idea who they were. Aside from all of that I still decided to give them a try since they are a big name in the industry.
rio95, Jul 23, 2008
In the end, I refused to go back (which I tried, but the tuner ended up quiting right after etc.) and ended up with a very bad tuning experience at Livernois
BlownFiveLiter, Jul 24, 2008
Livernois was also the same company that screwed Oink over on an engine.
ICEonASID09-16-2006, 11:45 AM
You all will love this. I took my truck to Livernois for a tune. a few weeks after i got it back, i called them and said "i dont notice much difference, could you check it out?" they said thats just how it is and theres nothing they can do. well. My friend has an hp tuner and yesterday he decided to dial my truck up and see what was done. i about died when i saw that my truck had not been tuned. thats right... it was completely stock!!!! i paid livernois $525 to do NOTHING
! Needless to say... they wont give me a refund until i at least let them fix it, which i dont want to do being as I dont trust them at all! Should've known by their service what i was getting myself into. Good luck to whoever decides to let them work on their truck!
Here's a comparison (while it is for a supercharged F150) from a performance & customer service aspect:
Troyer vs VMP vs JDM Troyer vs VMP vs JDM - F150online Forums
For those of you that dont know, I have a 2004 F150 5.4 3v. Its engine performance mods include Whipple S/C @ 11PSI, 47lb GT500 injectors, header back exhaust, Madenterprise E Fan and a 80MM BBK throttle body. I also have the privilege of having tunes from Troyer, VMP and JDM. I thought I would compare my experience with all 3 to possibly help someone who is looking for a tuner or is thinking of switching. These are all based on my PERSONAL experience and you MIGHT have a different one then I did.
Troyer Proformance -
(PROS) For my initial 8PSI Whipple tune to 10PSI custom setup I went with Mike Troyer. If you never have talked to Mike or Anita (his wife and receptionist) they are both very nice curtious on the phone and Mike will talk your ear off. He sold me on what seemed his vast knowledge of these trucks.
(CONS) Tune took about 7-8 months to get. I felt it was rediculous especially after running the tune for a while.
VMP Tuning -
(PROS) While waiting for my Troyer tune I contacted VMP Tuning. I talked to Justin a few times via e-mail and he always amazed me at his quick response time. I was even more amazed that during the Christmas season he punched out my tune in 2 weeks.
(CONS) While all his answers were short and direct I never personally felt anymore then just "another paying customer". He's probably just busy, but I never felt important like I did when I talked to Troyer. This really isn't the biggest deal as I dont need someone to kiss my ass just for $280 dollars.
JDM Engineering -
(PROS) After about a year on my VMP tune, I wanted to mix it up a little and invested in a JDM tune. I waited for about 5 weeks for a tune (which they emailed me and told me was due to the tuner being on medical leave). Julie is always quick to email with responses and seems to generally care that you are taken care of.
(CONS) I noticed while installing the tune I can only change the 'Axle' and 'Tire Size' settings. Not a big deal but it maybe for someone else.
Initial Tune Thoughts
Troyer - I finally get my tune while at work. I download the SCT software onto a computer and load up my tune onto the device. I eagerly load my tune into my truck and get ready to head home from work. First thing that pops into my mind is "WTF?" the truck surges and if I push on the gas hard it wont downshift into 1st gear from second. The truck makes funny noises and just feels bad in general. "Ok" I think, "must be a goof in the tune". I revert back to my VMP tune that I got 2 months prior.
VMP - Get the email while at work again, install it in the truck for the drive home. Driving home is uneventful. Truck has good power, shifts way to soft but other then that feels good. Feels like how this truck should if it came stock with the blower. I end up turning up shift pressure 25% in all gears to get the shift firmness to where I feel is good.
JDM - First thing I notice driving home I notice it stays in all gears way to long causing the truck to feel sluggish. First gear shifts WAY to firm.
Troyer - I called Mike and talked to him about the issues I had with the now infamous "Troyer surge". To my general shock all he could say was "Thats how it is" and that he will not change anything. I even told him about the truck not downshifting like it should into first from second gear even at 20MPH he said "It should?" and that was it. "Put more miles on it" is what he told me. Air/Fuel ratio (AFR) was spot on first try and Wide Open Throttle (WOT) was a monster.
VMP - Justin had me data log 3 times as he brought my tune into perfection. In the end he told me to add 2* global timing with the handheld and it was good to go. I still disliked the shift firmness to the point of I had my transmission guy turn up the shift solenoid in the transmission to make up for lack the handhelds ability to compensate. I was amazed again at Justins speed. I would data log on my way home from work, the next morning I would have a tune adjustment.
JDM - After a few emails and 2 retunes, the 1-2 shift over firmness has been fixed, and the transmission does not stay in gear overly long. Its basically spot on, or atleast close enough that I dont personally feel there is an issue. Sr at JDM was quick to update my tune. Usually I would email Julie and that night Sr would work the tune for me to try the next day. Truck shifts with a very good firmness that the first two tunes lacked.
Troyer - Like I said, with the "surging" problems and inability to downshift it really was laughable. I knew after driving the truck for a week Mike knew alot about trucks, just not how to tune the Whipple so you can do anything other then drive WOT. Everyone that rode in the truck or drove it would tell ask me if "somethings wrong with the truck?". It was actually embarrassing.
VMP - Perfect. Absolutly nothing wrong with the tune for the daily commute. I feel I can control how little/much boost I want at any time. The tune is so uneventful it honestly feels boring. The truck doesnt feel like its high performance but rather a stock tune that came on the truck. To me thats a little bit of a negative I want something a little more 'edgy'
JDM - With the tune fixed daily driving is a pleasure. I still haven't figured out exact pedal position to dip into boost. It seems as if I either have vacuum or lots of boost. I may not have enough pedal time with this tune yet but I would have no issue letting a friend drive my truck being worried they may think its "broken"
Vacuum and WOT Butt Dyno:
WOT - All 3 tunes feel really about the same. I would say the strongest of the 3 would maybe be JDM or Troyer. I know WOT Troyer feels stronger then VMP. I WONT install the Troyer tune to compare WOT to JDM.
Vacuum - JDM has the other 2 beat easily when the truck is driven with no boost applied, or when the truck is easily driven. VMP of course is better then the surging Troyer.
I've only had the Troyer tune dynoed (numbers in sig) and that was on the 10PSI pulley and no Efan so its not going to be apples to apples. I will have the VMP and JDM tunes dynoed back to back and see what puts down more if either does. I will update this come that time.
Troyer - I honestly cannot recommend anyone with a twinscrew supercharger to buy a tune from this guy. I hear the Roush guys dont have issues but from personal experience I never could.
VMP - Possibly the easiest to recommend. If I was to sell my truck, I would probably install this tune as it maybe boring, it still seems the most "stock"
JDM - With the Troyer tune and JDM tune I can put the truck in neutral and rev up the motor and show up a mustang at a light. With VMP it doesn't let you rev the truck at all. As stupid as that sounds. I love that to me it feels like JDM combines the best of Troyer (WOT power and reving ability ) and the best of VMP (good daily driving).
If I was to really recommend one, I would say if you want a stock like driving experience with great power, easy to drive and complete predictability, VMP tuning. If you want something that feels like you are holding back a beast that will bite you in the ass if you dont watch your right foot. JDM