Explanation about off the shelf tunes...are they all the same? - The Saab Link Forums

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Old 03-16-2014, 09:42 AM   #1
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Explanation about off the shelf tunes...are they all the same?

Is an off the shelf tune one that is mapped out by a tuner and is something stored in the computer as Stage 1/2/3? In other words, say a person has hardware for a Stage 2 tune. Does the tuner simply put the exact same Stage 2 map on Joe's ECU as they do on Tom or Betty's ECU? OR, does the tuner do anything else that is case specific? I.E. Say Joe has a TD04 and 3" DP while Betty has a TD04 and full 3" exhaust. Does the same Stage 2 tune get sent out to Joe and Betty or does Betty get a little different map due to having the bit more free flowing cat-back?

Last edited by Progression; 03-16-2014 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:45 AM   #2
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Tunes are matched with hardware, so when purchasing a mailbox tune make sure its match and you are kind of good to go.
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Old 03-16-2014, 09:56 AM   #3
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So the tune is then based on a single universal map the tuner has made based on hardware? In other words, a tuner could just buy a lot of T5/T7/etc. ecu's, toss on their file with a Stage 1/2/3/etc. tune, then just marry it to the VIN of the buyer's car and that's that...or...does the tuner do anything else specific/specialized beyond this?

I ask because I wonder if ALL Stage whatever ECU's will function "universally" and if I found one on the used market, I can simply plug/play after marrying it to my car?
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:41 AM   #4
 
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In theory, if you have the hardware to support the desired stage, then there shouldn't be an issue with an off-the-shelf "mailbox" tune.

But, as you've noticed, every car is different....
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:57 AM   #5
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True every car is different, but..take the above example where one car has exact same mods, and wants the same stage tune, but the one only has a 3" dp vs. full 3" exhaust. Does the tuner send the same ECU/map to both or does the tuner tweak the map a little different with consideration of the 3" DP vs. full 3" exhaust?
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:37 PM   #6
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I'm going to go ahead and suggest that most all the stage 1/2/3 "tunes" that people are supposedly "making" are all copies or close derivations of the canned "tunes" from T5 and T7Suite software.

Or copies of older crappier stuff from back in the old price gouging days when a hot setup, with "Green Giant" injectors that were still >50% too small went for like $2k before you were finished
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:19 PM   #7
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No, a tuner is not going to change the tune because you have a different setup from the cat back. Most tuners are assuming that if you went though the trouble/expense of installing a 3 inch DP, that you will also change the entire exhaust. But its the dp that makes the most dif.
Listen to Drew, like he stated most tunes/tuners just ripped the others off, sorry, copied, and maybe changed something here or there. The best tunes are the road tunes, one where you live close to a tuner that has this capability, or do it yourself. You can also get a mailbox tune, then put it on a dyno, plot all the a/f ratios, etc then you send that info along with the ecu back to the tuner where he makes adjustments.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:29 PM   #8
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Great point about dyno'ing. Road tune would be my obvious choice, but all tuners are way too far away. I'm near Vancouver BC so we got Hayes in Los Angeles, JZW in CO?, Mike in MA, and of course Drew in TX.

Yeah I didn't mean/intend to make the thread out to be like the tuners just flip on computer, toss on the tune, mail it back because it is quite simple to do if you have done it enough. My intention was just as stated, being about hardware since I want to make sure I don't fubar my car due to lack of support or whatever.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:56 AM   #9
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We add tuning guidelines and hardware requirements so people know what to shoot for for running our staged tunes. In addition if someone has a 3" downpipe, but only wants stage 2, then they do not get the standard stage2, we will make some adjustments for the downpipe. Same goes for most other 'extra' hardware mods that are above the minimum requirements, we will make changes accordingly. I see the canned stages as a starting point from a known set of hardware and software, and we can adapt that to what is actually on the car.

All tuners set the stages and hardware list a bit differently and I would argue that most of us tuners are so far removed from anything autotuned at this point....although it is still happening and it's very obvious when one of those graces my tuning bench.

Honestly, if you want to get a better feel for how the tuners do their thing, give them a call or email and talk about it.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:48 AM   #10
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Great point about dyno'ing. Road tune would be my obvious choice, but all tuners are way too far away. I'm near Vancouver BC so we got Hayes in Los Angeles, JZW in CO?, Mike in MA, and of course Drew in TX.

Yeah I didn't mean/intend to make the thread out to be like the tuners just flip on computer, toss on the tune, mail it back because it is quite simple to do if you have done it enough. My intention was just as stated, being about hardware since I want to make sure I don't fubar my car due to lack of support or whatever.
Flattered to be in that group, but just to be clear, I don't tune cars for people. Sometimes I help people who want to learn about it, but I've never sold a tune. Maybe someday, but I don't need the headaches or liability. I've considered it in the past, but the main idea of ECUProject was to stop the price gouging, and selfishly, so that I could tune my own Saab.

edit: Just to expand, building the tools to do things like un-compress firmware, or navigate checksums is no trivial task and is light years more difficult than applying "tunes" or modifying a spark advance map. It's like the difference between watching TV and building a TV.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:50 AM   #11
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I'm suuuuuuuper curious what makes "your" tunes unique. Mind sending one over so I can take a look at it?

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We add tuning guidelines and hardware requirements so people know what to shoot for for running our staged tunes. In addition if someone has a 3" downpipe, but only wants stage 2, then they do not get the standard stage2, we will make some adjustments for the downpipe. Same goes for most other 'extra' hardware mods that are above the minimum requirements, we will make changes accordingly. I see the canned stages as a starting point from a known set of hardware and software, and we can adapt that to what is actually on the car.

All tuners set the stages and hardware list a bit differently and I would argue that most of us tuners are so far removed from anything autotuned at this point....although it is still happening and it's very obvious when one of those graces my tuning bench.

Honestly, if you want to get a better feel for how the tuners do their thing, give them a call or email and talk about it.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Drew in Houston View Post
I'm going to go ahead and suggest that most all the stage 1/2/3 "tunes" that people are supposedly "making" are all copies or close derivations of the canned "tunes" from T5 and T7Suite software.

Or copies of older crappier stuff from back in the old price gouging days when a hot setup, with "Green Giant" injectors that were still >50% too small went for like $2k before you were finished
This may have been the case back when T5/7 Suite was new, but these days the tuners I have seen make their own files. Theoretically they could all be very similar but you'll really see someone's tuning skill beyond the 1/2/3 level.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:26 AM   #13
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Theoretically they could all be very similar
Right here's ↑ the part that makes most sense to me.

Until someone goes in there and improves/manipulates the actual machine coding, and knows and appreciates what re-compiling might mean, everyone, and I mean everyone, is just messing around within the constraints allowed and designed by the original guys. And believe it, it's difficult to even get close to the level of refinement achieved by the original guys. Especially when you start talking on/off transient responses, compensations, etc.

All these big-head "tuners" running around have probably never even seen a real engine test lab, let alone even know that things like cold rooms exist, let alone step foot inside one to do any real measurements on anything. Truth is, I wouldn't let any of those guys, except maybe Nick at Genuine Saab, touch any of my cars. He's not degreed as far as I know, but I've met the man and he has the snap and initiative to educate himself and also takes the correct methodical data driven approach, and has also shown understanding and commitment by investing in real equipment to get some type of quantitative idea about what he's messing with.

It's really interesting and cool seeing how this whole thing has played-out, some of it predictable, other things not so much. The effect of making the barrier-to-entry so incredibly low that it created a whole cast of script-kiddie-tuners strutting around like a bunch of little roosters, actually selling "tunes" for money(!), was something I don't think anyone considered or planned.

But, you know, it's out of the box now, and it sure did fix the price gouging problem lol (as well as the quality of tunes available).
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:45 PM   #14
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Every tuner does things a little differently, in my experience any of the older pre 2008 tunes are scary, and should not be run on a car. I've seen some things in older software that i am amazed they got away with, without blowing more motors.

these days differences between tunes person to person is simply how far they want to push boost, advance timing. and lean out mixtures. Some people like to crank pressure beyond any acceptable point. others keep it down, and try to make power in timing.

The other large difference is what people call a stage, i wonder why a stage 2 can be run on a bone stock car. Does that mean stage 1 is for a car that's worse than stock?? I've always felt like every stage should have a noticeable hardware change to go with it.

as Casey says, call around, there are a ton of options, and most of us are pretty friendly people, If possible go local with whoever it is, In person tunes ALWAYS see better results. Its amazing what i see roll in every day, and catch on a pre-tune inspection
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:49 PM   #15
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It's really interesting and cool seeing how this whole thing has played-out, some of it predictable, other things not so much. The effect of making the barrier-to-entry so incredibly low that it created a whole cast of script-kiddie-tuners strutting around like a bunch of little roosters, actually selling "tunes" for money(!), was something I don't think anyone considered or planned.
How do you feel about people who make money from tuning in general? Lots of open-course/freeware software being used to make money in the Subaru and Honda worlds. How do you feel about open-source software in general?

Also, in order to complete a good basic tune on a car you need a large shop and hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment?
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:21 PM   #16
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How do you feel about people who make money from tuning in general? Lots of open-course/freeware software being used to make money in the Subaru and Honda worlds. How do you feel about open-source software in general?

Also, in order to complete a good basic tune on a car you need a large shop and hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment?
Let me rephrase your question and pass it back to you: Do you think a large shop with thousands of dollars worth of instrumentation (and people who have studied and know how to apply it) can produce a better quality product compared to no shop and no equipment? What about liability for the quality of their product? In which scenario does the owner/operator have more at stake?

That first question? What kind of question is that? I invented the website that was the catalyst for opening Saab tuning; I thought of it while I was taking a shower. It was my idea. I named it. I spent $1000's gathering and then made public the original source information. You're going to challenge me about open tuning?? ---again, just to clarify, I did NOT do the heavy lifting on the coding/tech side---

But script-kiddie-tuners just need to realize that they're script-kiddie-tuners and take it easy on the e-swagger a little, what do I care if they make money doing it?

edit: In all seriousness, it was nice meeting you in person, and I'm really not trying to be confrontational, just trying to bring a little perspective to things. The world is big, and just because hard core tech people aren't posting a lot (they usually get shouted down), doesn't mean that they don't exist. So I think I'm just going to bow out of this thread now. Have a great weekend everyone!
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Old 03-22-2014, 12:40 PM   #17
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I was honestly trying to gauge your feelings on the open-source community as a whole, it's what I do for work.
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:38 PM   #18
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I was honestly trying to gauge your feelings on the open-source community as a whole, it's what I do for work.
I support open source efforts in general. Linux and other efforts like that are awesome. Totally looked like some begging the question to me.

That said, it gets a little dicey when people begin to take-advantage and monetize the work of others, and when that happens I think that generally depresses the effort. And there are always quality control issues..

What open source stuff are you involved-with?
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:26 AM   #19
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That said, it gets a little dicey when people begin to take-advantage and monetize the work of others, and when that happens I think that generally depresses the effort. And there are always quality control issues..
That happens in every industry, it seems like a special case for open-source software.

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What open source stuff are you involved-with?
I work at a large Linux company that is listed on the NYSE, should be able to figure it out . Small companies start up all the time that re-brand and sell our software. This isn't necessarily a problem because even the small companies can make developmental improvements to the software that can then be added to ours, upstream.

But then there are companies like Oracle that take a linux distribution (usually ours), re-brand it as "Oracles's Unbreakable Linux," and sell it to customers with no actual improvements or new features.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:22 PM   #20
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This is all super interesting info.

The biggest thing I take away from this is that I need to befriend Drew and make a trip to Houston at some point
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