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      08-27-2011, 07:37 PM   #1
startover909
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Is software only worth it?

Just got a 2011 M3 coupe. I'd like to keep the car stock mechanical wise (no aftermarket intake, exhaust etc), but want to squeeze out a little bit of extra performance. A local tuner is willing to do a custom ECU flash with Dyno for aound $800 (no guaranteed numbers, they have the software, but this will be their first e92 M3 tune, so will be some kind of an experiment).

I understand that these NA engines will not have big gains from software, but do you think it's worth a shot? I'd be happy if it can give 15 whp and improve the lower end.
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      08-27-2011, 07:49 PM   #2
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I wouldn't do this for free because I don't want "experimentation" on my car. Spend the dough and get a reputable/reliable tune.
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      08-27-2011, 07:56 PM   #3
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Eh it's a reputable tuner (Secret Services in Houston). They do a lot of N54 tunes etc (with good reviews) and they do have the software to tune pretty much any BMW.

Supposedly a custom flash like this is superior to generic flahses/piggies. I get to retain all the factory safeguards etc too. They will do it right on the Dyno machine.
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      08-27-2011, 07:59 PM   #4
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Ok then. Good luck.
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      08-28-2011, 01:35 AM   #5
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Yeah, but you guys think software *only* tune truly makes a difference that it's worth the $1k and hassles to revert to stock for service etc?
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      08-28-2011, 03:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by startover909 View Post
Yeah, but you guys think software *only* tune truly makes a difference that it's worth the $1k and hassles to revert to stock for service etc?
Evolve and ESS now give you the option of remote tuning - you can load the tune onto your car yourself and put back to stock yourself before taking the car for service.
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      08-28-2011, 05:31 AM   #7
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Yep, reverting to stock is simple with our remote tuner, you can do it from home

The important point here is the definition of 'custom'. When a project for a vehicle is created it is then the 'optimal' map for that vehicle with that setup. There is no need to create a 'custom' tune - every engine is very similar in output (nowadays) and even then the ECU adapts to smaller changes. The whole generic/custom debate is really only for older/simple ECU's.

The only time you would need to create a custom tune is for a setup you've never come across. Most reputable tuners also retain all factory safeguards.
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      08-28-2011, 10:45 AM   #8
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I would not go with an aftermarket tune for power. I would do it to get rid of the top speed limiter, but I would not mess with the stock tune for a few more HP unless there were other mods involved that would benefit from the tune.
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      08-28-2011, 04:12 PM   #9
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I wouldn't pay $800 to be someone's guinea pig. Either go for one of the established tunes/tuners or negotiate a MUCH better rate.
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      08-28-2011, 06:14 PM   #10
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Please for the M3's sake... either get Evolve or ESS... or maybe Dinan if you just like spending cash for no real gains.. but nothing else.
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      08-28-2011, 06:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by startover909 View Post
Just got a 2011 M3 coupe. I'd like to keep the car stock mechanical wise (no aftermarket intake, exhaust etc), but want to squeeze out a little bit of extra performance. A local tuner is willing to do a custom ECU flash with Dyno for aound $800 (no guaranteed numbers, they have the software, but this will be their first e92 M3 tune, so will be some kind of an experiment).

I understand that these NA engines will not have big gains from software, but do you think it's worth a shot? I'd be happy if it can give 15 whp and improve the lower end.
At that price, who cares about a few hundred more dollars.... I would just get a good tune, Evolove or ESS.... I got the ESS direct flash and I'm happy with it. For me, it does what I want. A little extra HP without going to nuts... Just dont expect a tune to feel like a supercharger....
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      08-28-2011, 08:15 PM   #12
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Thanks for the suggestions.

I just did some research and it seems both Evolve and ESS have great reviews. Evolve recently had an update that allows "fast" flush, and it also has good pricing for future updates/car changes etc. At this point I'm leaning toward Evolve.

Any advantage ESS has to offer?
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      08-28-2011, 08:34 PM   #13
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If you look at how much people spend on just mufflers here that have very minimal gains, then compare it to how much a tune cost that gives solid gains...I'd rather spend that money on a tune.

I will let you know in a few days though. Our E90 M3 is otherwise stock, I'm just waiting for Evolve to send back my new tune.
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Last edited by flipm3; 08-29-2011 at 03:25 PM.
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      08-29-2011, 12:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipm3 View Post
If you look at home much people spend on just mufflers here that have very minimal gains, then compare it to how much a tune cost that gives solid gains...I'd rather spend that money on a tune.

I will let you know in a few days though. Our E90 M3 is otherwise stock, I'm just waiting for Evolve to send back my new tune.
Great. Keep me updated!
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      08-29-2011, 12:18 PM   #15
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tune is not worth it in my opinion. this forum will buy almost anything that is offered, but whenever I talk to people in real life who have bought a tune alone they have all said they really feel no difference. If your goal is stop light racing there's a minute chance a tune will give you an advantage. Aside from that I see no need.
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      08-29-2011, 01:07 PM   #16
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I always say the most potential out of a tune comes out after all the other bolt on mods are already done. I know the AA tune takes into account all the different mods you have and makes everything work well together. That being said for the NA motors gains are there, but imho not necessarily worth it if that's all you plan on doing, it really all comes down to you. On a FI motor, then yes tune only is definitely worth it.
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      08-29-2011, 03:29 PM   #17
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As some have mentioned, a tune is definitely a great way to tie together a host of bolt on modifications. I still personally believe that a tune may be considered better money spent versus what most people purchase being, full intakes and axle-back exhausts, if you were to purchase a single power-adding modification. For about the same money, a car can actually gain real power and in some cases gain extra features with a tune.

Obviously for someone who wants to stay naturally aspirated, I think it would be ideal to get a full exhaust, tune, and pulleys, then tying everything together with a nice tune.
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      08-29-2011, 08:23 PM   #18
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Go to a dinan dealer and get their tune,intake and pulley. You will feel a noticeable difference and keep your warranty.
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      08-30-2011, 08:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy ny View Post
Go to a dinan dealer and get their tune,intake and pulley. You will feel a noticeable difference and keep your warranty.
We've never had anyone lose warranty or even have it questioned. That's why we have a unit that allows returning to stock. For customers visiting our shop and tuning in house our policy has always been free returns to stock for dealers visits also.

If the tune alone didn't make a difference we wouldn't want to sell it. Of course it isn't like an FI application where 60-80hp is achievable on a tune alone, but it still makes a tangible difference on a stock car.

We've recently revisited the tune (literally last week) using a vehicle with the very latest tuner protection and below graphs are from our dyno session during development:

Wheel Power vs Torque


Wheel Power vs AFR


Flywheel Power vs Torque


This was based on our customer feedback mailer we sent out recently, of which a large group of customers will be receiving updated tunes over the next 4-8 weeks.
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      08-30-2011, 10:21 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by startover909 View Post
Eh it's a reputable tuner (Secret Services in Houston). They do a lot of N54 tunes etc (with good reviews) and they do have the software to tune pretty much any BMW.

Supposedly a custom flash like this is superior to generic flahses/piggies. I get to retain all the factory safeguards etc too. They will do it right on the Dyno machine.
Goto BMW North and speak to Scott and get a Dinan flash
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      09-22-2012, 12:57 PM   #21
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LIke the other users here, PLEASE don't go blowing 800$ on some random shop tune. Dinan's is 800$ and you know its top quality. Dinan doesn't advertise any real gains, but then any tune only won't give you much, its more for trimming up other things like throttle response and top speed limiters. Evolve of ESS give you more tangible gains for lik 900-1000$ (not sure on Evolve's pricing), you can do it from home now and flash back whenever you want.
If this guy wants to experiment on your car, he should be paying YOU to do it IMO (or at least free, like Dinan does if you send em your car to experiment with). I'm way too anal about my car to let a guy potentially f*&k it up and charge me 800$ for the pleasure. IT's up to you, but thats a ripoff when you get get more guaranteed results for the same price elsewhere, be a smart consumer!
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      09-22-2012, 01:40 PM   #22
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IMO, a tune is not worth it without an X-pipe.

.
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