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Help me understand Tuners

Discussion in 'Engine and Performance' started by JMod45, Nov 20, 2019.

Sponsored By: Moe's Performance
  1. JMod45

    JMod45 Senior Member

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    I understand what a tuner does. Basically re-flashes your ECU with different information to make the truck run differently.

    What I am no longer understanding is the difference between the brands. They all talk to the ECU, and give it a new tune based on what company you buy the tune from. Is the interface the only difference?

    I'm not looking to buy a cheap knockoff system on Ebay or anything, so I don't want to compare those, but systems like EFI, MM3, Edge, Bullydog, etc... They can all put the same info in your truck, right?

    I like the idea of the monitor for seeing live data, and making changes when needed, but I don't want the monitor to be permanent. I like low profile. A manual selector switch is the only thing I want to have visible, and even that I will try to blend in to make inconspicuous.

    I am planning on upgrading my valve body, and would like a tuner in order to have transmission tuning for the new valve body. Removing or disabling emissions components does not need to be discussed in this thread.

    I've tried researching this on more dedicated diesel forums, but that is a whole other topic.

    Any help is appreciated, pretty sure I've started overthinking everything at this point.
     
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  2. Dennis Shellito

    Dennis Shellito Member

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    I run an EZlynk tune in my 2011 Cummins that I had installed by a shop near here. Mine is a single 50 hp tow tune, but I could have had a three position EZlynk tune that uses a mounted switch but I didn't need a tune for drag racing. I changed to this tune from the H&S MiniMaxx that I had run for 8 years. I still have the A pillar monitor from the Mini so that I can see boost, EGT, trans temp, etc. My truck isn't as fast with this new tune but the trans temps are cooler. I forgot to mention, I did have a new trans tune installed with the EZlynk which was an extra charge but well worth it. I am getting sorta " long in the tooth" and this technology has surpassed my abilities, so I pay to have a professional do it for me. This tech definitely knows what he is doing. I am a firm believer in having some type of gauges so the operator can see what is happening with all parameters of his truck. My son put a Bully Dog on his 2006 and didn't have any gauges and pulled his camper into the mountains somewhat frequently and didn't realize how hot his EGT was until he finally installed an EGT gauge. The next time, after installing the temp gauge, he was terrified at how hot the exhaust must have been when towing pre-gauge. BTW, my EGTs are a lot more stable running the EZlynk compared to the H&S tunes.
     
  3. MADDOG

    MADDOG Cummins Driver Administrator Supporting Member Military

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    Here's my experience with different programmers and vehicles over the years.

    1. Discarding the old "chips" that mounted inline with your PCM/ECM cable, they all access your computer via the OBD II port.

    2. The tunes are lines of computer code designed to re-write certain portions of your stock code. Programmers may have multiple tunes for you to choose from such as an Economy, Towing or Full performance tunes based on available fuel octane ratings.

    3. Most programmers store a copy of your stock tune in their memory and load the re-written tune after all your user programmable options (tire size, turn off speed limiter, etc...) are selected and you tell the programmer to load the tune.

    I can't comment or provide any comparisons on your intended usage.

    In my case, I have a fully deleted truck with delete and transmission tunes by EFI Live and an Edge CTS-2 unit to hold the tunes and a monitor.

    My monitor is not permanent as it is mounted in a removable A-pillar piece. The tune selection switch is mounted below eye level in the lower dash panel. Not stealthy but very clean. I like it as you can configure it with the gauges you want use to monitor specific functions. I am currently keeping an eye on 9 different parameters.

    070117 07.jpg
     
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  4. JMod45

    JMod45 Senior Member

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    So you have EFI Live tunes, but loading them with an Edge tuner? I keep hearing about EFI, but thought it was the hardware I was being told about. I tried researching the hardware on EFI, but it looks completely different from the other systems.

    Do any of these systems allow you to modify your own tunes if you change something on the truck, or will I have to find someone with a tune for me every time? I like the idea of being self reliant, and think I could learn how to at least modify my own stuff with the right software, and some time.

    A friend of mine actually has EZ Lynk in his Ford, and I had decided to go that route until I read some stuff about security risks, and that EZ Lynk has a cloud server that could control the CAN-BUS system on your truck if someone decided to do so. Makes me just nervous enough to go a different route.

    I do like the idea of gauges, and will likely leave the monitor up most of the time, especially the first time I pull my camper after I do everything, but I want to make sure I can take it down if I ever wanted to. As far as the EGT. I keep seeing additional sensors you can purchase to work with the tuners, but I currently have 5 of them on my truck. Can't the tuner use those? Just curious.
     
  5. MADDOG

    MADDOG Cummins Driver Administrator Supporting Member Military

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    I do not have the software to change the tunes and I believe most owners do not as well. To possess it you'd have to license the product and modify tunes through a specialty tool, then load them to a programmer to load in your truck. I suspect it may require quite a bit of training before you'd be able to do that.

    Yes, my Edge unit holds the EFI Live tunes. And EFI does offer some programmers/scan tools but they are really a tool used by a professional and they are expensive. Remember that special tool I referred to above? Well, the EFI FlashScan HD programmer/scan tool sells at retail for $1,299.99 so you can get a lot of tune tweaks from the shop that programs your truck for that amount of money.

    So what sort of changes are you thinking of? Some tweaks don't really require a new program. But, if you'd like to have more than one tune available to you, say an Economy or Towing or Street or the infamous "OMG, What The Heck Are You Doing???" tune, you can get them from EFI Live. I have four tunes on my Edge and use them as the situation demands.

    I'm not sure what 5 sensors you are referring to but an EGT probe is highly recommended in order for you to be able to watch those Exhaust Gas Temperatures and avoid a turbo meltdown. On my 2017 CTD there was no OEM senso,r or selectable gauge in the EVIC, to monitor that temp.
     
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  6. JMod45

    JMod45 Senior Member

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    I was able to go by a local shop yesterday, and talk to someone face to face. I think I'm going to end up with an EZ Lynk after all. If I go EFI Live, then I have to buy a separate monitor, which gets more expensive. I think...

    My original plan was to do the transmission upgrades, put a straight pipe in place of the DPF filters, and have the EGR stay closed. I wanted to keep my stock muffler and tailpipe, so it stayed quiet and looked stock. The shop corrected me yesterday, as my truck does not have a muffler. So I now need to find a turbo back exhaust system with a muffler, or find a muffler to replace my DPF.

    What will likely end up happening, I will do the transmission, and tuner, but run the engine stock for a while until I get decide what I want to do. Or at least close the EGR and run more Def for a while.

    The changes I would do will be the exhaust system change, and air intake. It would be nice to tweak those things without having to rely on someone else to provide a tune for me. I'm planning on having this truck for a while, so if my turbo goes out at some point, I'll likely upgrade, and then require a new tune once again.

    The exhaust temps can't be seen through the EVIC. I run the OBD Link app on my phone, and can see 5 exhaust sensors. Somewhere I have notes explaining where they are, but I think it's, pre turbo, post turbo, two throughout the DPF and one leaving. That's the sensors I would think can be used without having to purchase and wire an aftermarket one.
     
  7. Dennis Shellito

    Dennis Shellito Member

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    I would warn against deleting the emissions on your truck and running with stock settings, and though I have never done this, people have told me this is dangerous for EGT , etc. I would advise you to call Starlight Diesel Performance in Salt Lake City, Utah and have them provide contact info with a good tech guy in your area that will set you up with what you need. Their phone # is 435-578-1230
     
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  8. JMod45

    JMod45 Senior Member

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    This entire thread is talking about tuners, tunes, and settings in them. I won't be deleting my truck and running stock settings. I'm not even planning on stock settings with the emissions system still in place. Just looking at running stock exhaust/emissions for a while until I figure out what route I want to go with it.
    I already found a local guy this week that gave me info, otherwise I would call them. Thank you for the info.
     
  9. DodgeDude99

    DodgeDude99 Senior Member

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    EZ Lynk with tuning by CTT
     
  10. JMod45

    JMod45 Senior Member

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    This is the route I have decided on. EFI Live is still a close second though.

    Those of you with a selector switch, I have seen some on Amazon, but they are from different tuning companies, and different prices to reflect that. They should all be the same switch though, right?
     

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