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  1. #1
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    Post Tuning resources for newbs

    Hey guys;

    So I've been here for a few months now and have tried to chime in when I have something useful to say. Regardless, this is my first real post and I'd like to harness the collective intelligence of this community to further benefit myself, and others, who are likely in the same position.

    As it stands, I currently have the Cobb AP on my 135i and love it for its simplicity and ability to download and update maps. What I'm really waiting for is the stage 2 maps to come out, and the AccessTuner software to release so I can get my car custom dyno tuned by ET Tuning, a fairly local Cobb ProTuner. Ideally, I'd like to be able to use their own AccessTuner Race software to tinker with the tunes myself. More importantly, I want to learn the basics of tuning on this platform for my own knowledge and so that I can contribute to the community in a productive, and educated, manner. Click here to enlarge

    What I would like to see come out of this thread is a collection of resources (books, links, videos, etc.) that start with some basic tuning concepts and go into more specific topics like tuning for DI engines, turbocharged vehicles, etc. I pick this community in particular, because the level of knowledge here seems to well surpass that of other forums. I do understand some basic concepts of tuning, but not enough to feel comfortable or speak confidently about the topic. I'm a PhD student in biochemistry, so I'm not afraid of technical information (although I'm no engineer, I do collaborate with plenty of them)!

    Finally, let's keep individual tunes/flashes/piggybacks out of this. I have no desire to see JB vs. Procede, flash vs. piggyback arguments in this thread unless it is done in the greater context of understanding. Click here to enlarge
    Click here to enlarge

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    I like that you have a thirst for knowledge and want to do things yourself. Also, your post is phrased very well and really displays your enthusiasm.

    Tuning your own motor is not going to be easy. You certainly don't want to be learning on your BMW and at least have a basic grasp to begin with. I'm not familiar with Cobb's software but maybe it has an easy interface to prevent you from destroying anything. I have no idea of the depth of it.

    An option you may want to consider is tuning classes.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Kamal Click here to enlarge
    Hey guys;

    So I've been here for a few months now and have tried to chime in when I have something useful to say. Regardless, this is my first real post and I'd like to harness the collective intelligence of this community to further benefit myself, and others, who are likely in the same position.

    As it stands, I currently have the Cobb AP on my 135i and love it for its simplicity and ability to download and update maps. What I'm really waiting for is the stage 2 maps to come out, and the AccessTuner software to release so I can get my car custom dyno tuned by ET Tuning, a fairly local Cobb ProTuner. Ideally, I'd like to be able to use their own AccessTuner Race software to tinker with the tunes myself. More importantly, I want to learn the basics of tuning on this platform for my own knowledge and so that I can contribute to the community in a productive, and educated, manner. Click here to enlarge

    What I would like to see come out of this thread is a collection of resources (books, links, videos, etc.) that start with some basic tuning concepts and go into more specific topics like tuning for DI engines, turbocharged vehicles, etc. I pick this community in particular, because the level of knowledge here seems to well surpass that of other forums. I do understand some basic concepts of tuning, but not enough to feel comfortable or speak confidently about the topic. I'm a PhD student in biochemistry, so I'm not afraid of technical information (although I'm no engineer, I do collaborate with plenty of them)!

    Finally, let's keep individual tunes/flashes/piggybacks out of this. I have no desire to see JB vs. Procede, flash vs. piggyback arguments in this thread unless it is done in the greater context of understanding. Click here to enlarge
    Tuning your ECU yourself takes some time to learn. I learned from a friend of mine how to do it by watching him do it for a few years but i still dont know everything and or trust my self to tune my BMW. Its definately not something you can learn from just reading. Basically it all comes down to fuel, timing, and boost(FI cars only). Usually when you tune yourself you are going to want an external wideband 02 with external outputs so you can monitor AFR. Also monitor timing/knock retard, STFT, LTFT, boost. If you check out the HPtuners forums, there is some good info on there. Most of the info there pertains to vehicles with EFI and not DI. So that will pose a problem to me as well. Also check out this website http://www.enginebasics.com/. Also, visit and read a lot of car forums other than bmw's. There are probably millions of car forums online that have a tuning section with most likely a tutorial or where someone has asked the same questions you have.

    At the basics level... If you add boost you add fuel. When you get to a comfortable timing level, start taking away fuel to the point where you start getting timing drops/KR then add a little more fuel back in. You also need to look at STFT and LTFT(fuel trims) and try to shoot for a value as close to zero as possible. These let you know if your computer is pulling fuel or trying to add fuel. Also remember that when you custom tune your car, you will need to have a different tune in the winter than in the summer. The colder, more dense air requires more fuel than the summer air. Its always good practice to tune in the spring where there is a median between winter and summer extremes. That way you can leave enough room in your tune to compensate for the temperature and humidity.
    Last edited by indy99gpgt; 07-15-2011 at 09:24 AM.
    2008 BSM 335i coupe - JB4, BMS intake, meth : Weekend warrior.

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    Here's a great resource.

    http://www.efi101.com/

    +1 to developing tuning skills on a cheaper engine. Small mistakes can be very expensive to fix!

    On a practical note, road tuning is fine for getting 'close', but it's very difficult to optimize a calibration without a dyno.

    Dan

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    Tuning your own motor is not going to be easy. You certainly don't want to be learning on your BMW and at least have a basic grasp to begin with. I'm not familiar with Cobb's software but maybe it has an easy interface to prevent you from destroying anything. I have no idea of the depth of it.

    An option you may want to consider is tuning classes.
    Cobb's end user software is supposedly designed to be easy to use and I believe it limits exactly what you can do so you don't go overboard. I'm not necessarily going to 'experiment' with my own car, but the first step towards an applied understanding of anything is a fundamental understanding of the theoretical aspects of it. Sticky, can you elaborate on tuning classes? I've never heard of any myself, but that's probably because I've never really sought out such courses. I'm guessing these would be the type of classes that mechanics would take to get certified as EFI/DI specialists, etc.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by indy99gpgt Click here to enlarge
    Tuning your ECU yourself takes some time to learn. I learned from a friend of mine how to do it by watching him do it for a few years but i still dont know everything and or trust my self to tune my BMW. Its definately not something you can learn from just reading. Basically it all comes down to fuel, timing, and boost(FI cars only). Usually when you tune yourself you are going to want an external wideband 02 with external outputs so you can monitor AFR. Also monitor timing/knock retard, STFT, LTFT, boost. If you check out the HPtuners forums, there is some good info on there. Most of the info there pertains to vehicles with EFI and not DI. So that will pose a problem to me as well. Also check out this website http://www.enginebasics.com/. Also, visit and read a lot of car forums other than bmw's. There are probably millions of car forums online that have a tuning section with most likely a tutorial or where someone has asked the same questions you have.

    At the basics level... If you add boost you add fuel. When you get to a comfortable timing level, start taking away fuel to the point where you start getting timing drops/KR then add a little more fuel back in. You also need to look at STFT and LTFT(fuel trims) and try to shoot for a value as close to zero as possible. These let you know if your computer is pulling fuel or trying to add fuel. Also remember that when you custom tune your car, you will need to have a different tune in the winter than in the summer. The colder, more dense air requires more fuel than the summer air. Its always good practice to tune in the spring where there is a median between winter and summer extremes. That way you can leave enough room in your tune to compensate for the temperature and humidity.
    Thanks for the links and insight! I wish I had a relationship with somebody that tunes... the closest I get is the Cobb ProTuner who owns ET Tuning, he's a great guy who has always specialized in Euro cars and worked as the master mechanic at a local (St. Louis) specialist for years before leaving to pursue his own dreams. I believe he builds drag cars as well... I've got a good working relationship with him and will probably have him dyno tune my 135i when the oppurtunity arises. Suffice it to say, I'll be standing next to him with a pen and paper in hand.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by GTR-Dad Click here to enlarge
    Here's a great resource.

    http://www.efi101.com/

    +1 to developing tuning skills on a cheaper engine. Small mistakes can be very expensive to fix!

    On a practical note, road tuning is fine for getting 'close', but it's very difficult to optimize a calibration without a dyno.

    Dan
    Thanks!

    Thanks to everyone for their input so far... let's keep this going, if you know of any good books in particular, please let us know!
    Click here to enlarge

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    Thanks for the links and insight! I wish I had a relationship with somebody that tunes... the closest I get is the Cobb ProTuner who owns ET Tuning, he's a great guy who has always specialized in Euro cars and worked as the master mechanic at a local (St. Louis) specialist for years before leaving to pursue his own dreams. I believe he builds drag cars as well... I've got a good working relationship with him and will probably have him dyno tune my 135i when the oppurtunity arises. Suffice it to say, I'll be standing next to him with a pen and paper in hand.
    Just ask the tuner as many questions as you can think of. I'm sure he would be glad to answer them.
    2008 BSM 335i coupe - JB4, BMS intake, meth : Weekend warrior.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by indy99gpgt Click here to enlarge
    Just ask the tuner as many questions as you can think of. I'm sure he would be glad to answer them.
    Definitely will do, although that may be awhile away and I'd like a comprehensive list of resources to educate myself in the meantime.
    Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Kamal Click here to enlarge
    Sticky, can you elaborate on tuning classes? I've never heard of any myself, but that's probably because I've never really sought out such courses. I'm guessing these would be the type of classes that mechanics would take to get certified as EFI/DI specialists, etc.
    These are not mechanics classes but tuning classes from actual tuners. The guy who tunes the Underground Racing twin turbo Gallardo's, F430's, etc., hosts tuning classes you can take. They seem to range from entry level to expert, might be exactly what you are looking for.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    These are not mechanics classes but tuning classes from actual tuners. The guy who tunes the Underground Racing twin turbo Gallardo's, F430's, etc., hosts tuning classes you can take. They seem to range from entry level to expert, might be exactly what you are looking for.
    Sounds awesome, not sure if it would work out for me unless he travels... got a name?
    Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Kamal Click here to enlarge
    Sounds awesome, not sure if it would work out for me unless he travels... got a name?
    I wish I could find the thread but the search function is kind of messed up at the moment. Let me see what I can find, forget the guys name but he is well known.

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    ls1 Tech has some very good general information about tuning including FI. Garrett turbo basics is good starting source.

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