Thread: Ask a tuner...
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Old 03-29-2010, 10:43 PM   #30
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2014 P3 Import Auto
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Originally Posted by Phaedron View Post
Heres a question for you. What would be two of the most beneficial books to someone wanting to learn about tuning on modern engines, but lacking much of a background on the subject? Where is a good place to start?
Good question...

First read should be:
This book even has Subaru WRX/STI pics in it with some talk about them.

I think you have an 07 STI. If you already have a tune you should take a look at it and start to examine the tables one at a time and learn what they all do. If you have a Cobb AP2 you can download free software from Cobb to actually view and change your own tune. If you want to use OpenECU thats a great choice as well to view and edit your tune.

The forums have great information if you can pick over the noise and they also go over the tools needed to start going.

If you can get a handle on the fundamentals and how the engine works then understand timing and fuel you can start to tune anything.

Every ECU has its own specilized logic that you have to learn but the more you do it the easier it is to learn new or different ECUs.

The other part of course is understanding the limits of what your tuning and this part is where it gets tricky. Lots of reading and research must be done on the specific model of car to understand things like drivetrain weakness, common points of failure, fuel and timing limits, etc.

The bad part about this for any tuner is doing something new. We have to learn by trial and error of the weakness of the systems if they are not already known. Usually someone else has broken it first and wrote about it some where!

Finally you have to be able to identify existing issues not related to the tune. This is the biggest headache for any tuner.

Its common for some one to call me and say some thing like "My car isn't hitting boost any more, I need it to be retuned.", or "My car has a rough idle and feels slower, I need you to retune it.". 9 times out of 10 there is a mechanical issue like a hose is loose, internals are failing, the list goes on and on. Problems like that should not be tuned out but rather identified and fixed prior to a tune.

An easy example would be a person with a stock tune that claims issues and wants them fixed via a tune. Bad plan. You should never tune a car that you can't verify is properly working from the start. This all requires knowlege of whats normal and whats not. Something I have to repeat to customers all the time is that a tune doesn't change over time, the car and the enviroment do.

I personally will turn away work if the car does not meet my standards or is a "hack job". I would offer to fix mechanical issues but not band-aid them. I simply won't participate in blowing their car up any faster.

I have started to produce some videos for tuning Subarus but have failed in terms of time to get them done. I think others have some stuff out there if you search youtube.
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