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Tuning At Home

  #1  
Old 10-29-2018, 08:02 PM
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Default Tuning At Home

Doing lots of modifications over time, then having to go to a tuner after each mod seems like it would get really expensive. Whats a good way to tune a 2000 monte 3800 at home on a budget?
 
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Old 10-29-2018, 09:43 PM
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Generally people don't do that. They'll buy a bunch of mods at one time and just get that tuned as a set.

If you're a hardcore DIY person, the other option would be to buy Powrtuner or HPTUNERS and learn to tune yourself. Upside is that tuning now becomes basically free (other than your time) and you can make tweaks as often as you want. Downside is that its not particularly easy and the consequences are pretty bad if you get it really wrong (bricked PCM, blown engine, etc). I prefer the second route, but I'll admit it's not for everybody.
 
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Old 10-30-2018, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bumpin96monte View Post
Generally people don't do that. They'll buy a bunch of mods at one time and just get that tuned as a set.

If you're a hardcore DIY person, the other option would be to buy Powrtuner or HPTUNERS and learn to tune yourself. Upside is that tuning now becomes basically free (other than your time) and you can make tweaks as often as you want. Downside is that its not particularly easy and the consequences are pretty bad if you get it really wrong (bricked PCM, blown engine, etc). I prefer the second route, but I'll admit it's not for everybody.
Yeah, I'd rather do it myself. Like the way I built my computer. I pieced it together, and tweaked it to how I wanted. I also don't have a thousand dollars to spend on the valvetrain/cam, three-four thousand dollars on the transmission/diff, two-three thousand on a turbocharge kit, etc, all at once. I haven't looked into Powrtuner, but HP Tuners has the MPVI2 coming out sometime, and it doesnt appear to be that expensive. About 400-650$, depending on the "Pro Feature Set License", and credits.
 
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Old 10-30-2018, 10:02 AM
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The nice thing about saving up and doing big chunks of mods at one time is that it gives you a chance to really think about it before you make the commitment. It's a lot easier to toss a couple hundred here or there than it is to part with $10k in one shot.

In terms of tuning, part of what you have to think about is your longer term plan for tuning - what else you plan to tune. If you just planned to get into it to try it and were only planning to mod your 3800 - I would just pick up a $100 Powrtuner and be done. The nice thing about HPT is that you can tune numerous different vehicles, and it continues to be regularly updated (not for the 3800, but in general for newer cars), but certainly that comes at a much higher initial cost.

The hardest part about tuning is taking the time to dig up the information (especially on PT) and to learn how to do it. You'd hate to get $10k into your setup and cook the engine due to a tuning mistake.




 
  #5  
Old 10-31-2018, 08:42 PM
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So I have been a DIY computer builder (spec-ing and configing system boards, memory, CPUs and such). Building a computer and tuning a PCM are not quite the same thing. Sure, the PCM stuff is editing a file and re-flashing it to the PCM like you do a BIOS update.
To add some things to Bumpin's comments. The DHP PowrTuner is made by a company that does not exist and catered to the 3800/3100/3400 GM v6 cars. These devices change hands a lot for $100-$300 in this arena. The plus side is low cost to get in on the tuning game. The down side is that DHP who made the PowrTuner went out of business, so there is no support for the device. Also, the software to work with it is not as refined as HPTuner (you most likely will work with the a variety of software like PowrTuner the software DHP provided, UVScan, TinyTuner and Excel). HPTuner on the flip side is a current vendor that does support the product and it supports a TON more cars.

I messed with tuning myself. I have learned a lot but I still feel there is a ton more to learn. So, in general, thing of the PCM data like a giant database. The big question is how does each table in that database interact with other tables? The problem is where to find good information. There is an actual training program on how to tune a car (bit out of my price range for my tuning needs). And a lot of people will post information but you have to really spend time sifting through good vs bad info.

After about 2-3 summers of street tuning, I finally caved and took my Monte to have it placed on a dyno and tuned by a professional (starting back from the stock tune). As bumpin mentioned, BIG time investment. Admittedly, I re-tweaked the trans items after my dyno tuning (there was more room for improvement). I am still intrigued with tuning and I am actually playing with tuning on my Grand Am.

The moral of the story, no problem wanting to learn how to tune. It's some really cool stuff, just understand the scope of some of what you are getting into. If you are still interested, start reading up on it now. I have read tuning info for the 3800 v6 but also read from similar era GM v8 cars (much of the concepts are still the same within the same manufacturer). And if it's not what you expected after reading, might be best to find a reputable shop to work with. And not all tuning guys tune the same.
 
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Old 10-31-2018, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by The_Maniac View Post
And a lot of people will post information but you have to really spend time sifting through good vs bad info.
IMO, that's the hardest part of tuning on these cars, especially if it's the 1st platform you're learning. There isn't really a great all encompassing guide you can buy and follow step by step. There are a handful of mediocre 'guides', and the rest has to be picked up by crunching through tons of old forum threads.
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