A simple way to think of a tune is to think of your Engine Control Module (ECU) as the brain and the rest of the vehicle as a body.
A car’s ECU operates nearly 100% foot he vehicle’s functions. It tells the fuel injectors when to release fuel as well as how much fuel to release. It tells the spark plugs at what point to ignite, etc. Hence, the driveability of a car is highly dependent of the settings within an ECU. If you have a stock ECU, the settings are only set up for a stock engine set up. If you get a standalone ECU, there are no settings currently in the ECU.
A tune, best performed on a dyno machine is the process of fine tuning the ECU for the said goal of performance (high horsepower, gas mileage, etc.)
In order to tune a vehicle, an aftermarket application is typically inserted into the car’s ECU which allows a tuner to access and manipulate the settings within the tune. The aftermarket tuning application (For instance, Honda’s have Hondata, KTuner, AEM, Crome, etc) often also gives the tuner additional means of manipulating the cars driveability (installing 2-step, etc.)
If you have modified the engine compoents of your vehicle - especially internal engine components such as cams, pistons, rods, etc. its is highly recommended to get a dyno tune. Even modifiying the air intake, intake manifold, headers, and exhaust have great influence on a car’s ability to make or increase horsepower.
If you are planning a tune, here are 5 things you can do to optimize your tune and increase your horsepower.
#1 - Do a Valve Adjustment
After a vehicle has had multiple heat cycles, where the valves sit can alter. This can limit air flow in an effective manner for maximum power. For maximum airflow, you want consistent airflow, air/fuel ratios & compression among all cylinders. Doing a valve adjustment ensures the components on the head are doing just that. And, this should ALWAYS be done when rebuilding a head.
#2 - Get a Corner Balance
Getting a corner balance is often an overlooked step in the performance game. A corner balance is getting the weight among your car evenly distributed among all 4 tires. Imagine being in a race and having 80lbs on your right shoulder only. It would be incredibly difficult to run! Your vehicle operates the same way. A corner balance is the adjustment of the spring perches on your cars suspension to balance the vehicle. This improves launch timing - a pertinent component to racing.
#3 - Get an Alignment
Anytime you get a corner balance, you’ll want to get an alignment. This will keep your car straight. A great characteristic for a car while racing and not to mention how much a corner balance will throw an alignment off. Any resistance such as this experienced by a car will hinder overall performance because of the aerodynamics.
#4 - Give Your Engine & Set Up a Cleaning.
Replace the air filter & fuel filter, clean off battery grounds and clean off your battery of corrosion and rust. Contamination of many sorts is often an hindrance while tuning vehicles. Take this simple preventative measure. Your car needs to be able to breathe well, get fuel quickly without fighting dirt, and get electric juice flowing without fighting resistance. Doing these basic preventative measures often costs less than $20 in parts and greatly improves the lifespan and driveability of a car (especially if you’re running race fuel!)
So change your fuel filter, change or clean out your air filter. And wipe off any rust or corrosion on your battery and battery grounds. Your car and all the sensors are sending and receiving messages through these elecrrical currents, it’s important for the pathways of these communications to be clear.
#5 - Know Your Engine
This may seem elementary. But, it’s a really important detail to know and understand the aftermarket performance parts in your car. Every aftermarket part has different requirements for optimal performance. It is the owners job to know the car build and be able to communicate that to the tuner.
There are many variables that make a successful tune and it includes an educated driver, patience and attention to detail. Give your tuner the time to do a thorough inspection and the time to fine tune your vehicle.
If you are interested in scheduling a dyno tune. You can inquire below: