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I took my car to be tuned by a guy who is well known and well respected in the tuning and racing community in the area where I live, John Garner of Horsepower Ranch (Horse Power Ranch - Dyno Tuning Specialists. We Make HorsePower!). He's been tuning since the early 90's (mostly Mustangs) and his tuning has won awards for both himself and the cars he has tuned. But he admitted he had little experience tuning S197s. But there are precious few tuners and zero that specialize or have any real experience with S197 in the entire Seattle area so I thought I'd take a chance with him.

I thought things were going well. We were able to get 609 RWHP and 603 ft/lbs torque at 12 psi. I was thrilled. But there were some drivability issues we could not seem to get rid of. It never would idle well and it was going lean between shifts so the next gear wasn't always ready to go after a power shift. But I thought he was going to find a way to address these issues and we'd be good to go.

Then John calls me one day and says he's not happy about the tune. He said he didn't like the way he was making the power. He tried to explain to me about scalars and fuel tables and MAF tables and that went way over my head so I told him he had to really dumb it down for me. He likened it to a weightlifter. If the weightlifter wanted to lift 500 pounds he would 250 on each side of the barbell. Well he could also put 300 on one end and 200 on the other and just pick up the barbell a little closer to the 300 pound end. It would be balanced but it wouldn't be RIGHT. My tune didn't feel right to him. I sure wouldn't have known. The seemed like it was getting pretty good to me.

Does your tuner use SCT software? If they do, are they SCT certified? If they are not there are many tuning parameters that SCT, for legal reasons, will not make available to tuners who buy their software. According to James at SCT, there are only a handful of shops around the entire nation that are SCT certified and have taken the training from SCT to unlock these parameters for S197s. James also says that S197 are the most difficult cars to tune that SCT has ever worked with. He says the Spanish Oak processor is 200 times more powerful than it's predecessor and 200 times more difficult to tune. He says that a lot of guys can make a tune but very few of them are OEM quality tunes and many do dangerous things such as suppressing knock sensors in order to make their tunes work.

In order to become SCT certified in S197s and to learn how to tune S197s properly as well as have his software unlocked for all the good S197 parameters, John, my tuner, is flying James up to Seattle this weekend to get training. They are going to be using my car for the session since mine is as modified as an S197 comes. He has 2 other modified S197s lined up as well but mine is their primary car and is going to be tuned first. James expects it will take a minimum of 6 hours tuning time on the dyno. John is going to charge me his normal rate of $150 hr but is going to cap it at 3 hours when he knows it will most likely go past 6 hours. I think that's a fair price to have James from SCT tuning my car on John's dyno.

I feel lucky that John decided it was time for S197 because of my car. I'm glad he was honest with me and said he didn't know how to tune my car but would take the steps to learn. I was in the right place at the right time to have my car tuned by an SCT pro. I'll be sure to report the result here first. I'll be dropping it off Friday for a Saturday tuning seesion.
 

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that would be nice hope it goes well for you
 

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I do trust CR at Tillmans Speed. He is certified by SCT. My car was on the dyno for 4 hrs but I think we did 6 to 8 pulls to get the A/F right and then the timing. I was there the entire time and watching him change the tables to get the right. Let us know how you make out.

Thats a good deal that James is coming out to help. Your getting a good deal for 450.

Weren't you getting a good result or feeling with your own tuning?
 

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I use Doug at Bama and I think he knows what he's doing but
I'm not sure he's SCT certified. By hanging with the SCT guys you should be able to pick up some good stuff to pass on the
the rest of us. Good Luck.
 

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That's a stand up guy you are working with. I have a hard enough time with just getting guys to call me when they have problems. :gringreen

I guess I have to trust my tuner; the car hasn't blown up yet. Hopefully one day I'll be able to get up to San Bernadino and let the legendary Adam from ST Motorsports tune my car.
 

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Adam from ST is probably the best tuner for SCT and Diablo in all of CA.

He tuned my car which is just as modified as yours (you may have slightly more mods fuel rails and cops and such) but my car drives like stock. Has no cold start issues and idles nice.

400$ for the tune with no issues and then 150$ for the retune with the new fuel system for more power :) cant beat that. Any one out of CA i advise any of you that live in Souther Cal to contact him for any custom tunes.
 
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I'd give him alot of credits for admitting that the tune wasn't right. many people just will not admit that they are wrong. and good luck with your car. keep us posted
 

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Boy thats very nice of him to call you back and let you know its bothering him and he felt something was wrong. I would be very happy with that kind of service. I hope all goes well for you and I cant wait to hear the new #'s.:bigthumbsup
 
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