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      09-07-2011, 06:55 PM   #1
Richbot
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Thumbs up Impressions after 5500 miles with the Evolve Stage I tune

I knew Evolve's reputation well and knew some people who were happy with that they do, and I was not under any circumstances going to settle for the "mail us your DME" tuning by some other companies, so when Evolve released their remote tuning solution I was on board. I'm happy to see other companies jumping into this as well, because competition is A Good Thing, but I still prefer Evolve's laptop-based setup to handhelds for versatility. Customer service was and still is excellent and this company has all of the feel of 5-10 guys doing their best to give every one of their customers the service they deserve. They're really great people and the candor and clarity of Sal's explanations are an incredible help.

The tune itself and the self-tuning process are very easy, partially because my car still has 80E on it. It takes under 60 seconds to load a new file on the car.

Power delivery was noticeably better and throttle response at middle and low rpm was much better, to the point where I no longer feel like I need the "Power" button pressed to execute a decent rev matched downshift, and I never use it anymore. Prior to the tune I was constantly switching back and forth between the "too hot" power button on setting and the "too cold" off setting, now the throttle response is "just right" all the time. The speed limiter is definitely gone, the car was able to achieve 7800rpm in 6th gear on 26.6" rear tires for those people who like doing math. GPS was of course irrelevant because the car wasn't moving. Removing the limiter was one of the main reasons I wanted a tune because speed limiters are dumb, so mission accomplished. I'm not going to get too deep into the power difference which inevitably brings on the Stupid on web forums, though it was and still is there and the car was stronger throughout the rpm band from day one. One of these days I'll have to get the car on a dyno for a health checkup and I'll report that here if I ever do. It makes more sense to spend that time on tuning the racecar but it'd be fun if I get bored one weekend just to hear the car in an enclosed space, which would definitely be cool. My butt-o-meter (and DAQ accelerometers) say the tune makes in the neighborhood of 10-12bhp pretty much throughout the rpm band. The car pulls more G in gear with the tune than without. The End.

Paul has solicited feedback on several occasions and while I was happy with the first file sent to me, I still did not think the tune had totally solved the car's sometimes lumpy power delivery at wide throttle openings at low rpm even when the car is warmed up, and a few weeks later I had a new tune from Sal in my inbox. After downloading their updated software and updating the drivers, I installed the new tune and I can say the power delivery is near perfect now.

One of the things that attracted me to Evolve is their stated tuning philosophy of maintaining the factory safeguards and finding power where it's possible without eating into the safety margins. For those concerned about reliability, there are no guarantees once you start fooling with your car but the car had the tune on it for 3300 miles before my last Blackstone analysis and the car's oil is clean as a whistle at a 7,200 mile change interval, and has gone 2200 more miles since then with no more issues. There is no evidence of knocking or other significant performance issues in super hot weather which was put to the test during many consecutive 100+ degree days of commuting in stop and go traffic and other shenanigans. I would like to have the limiter bumped up a few hundred rpm but in the interest of saving me from myself I elected not to. The car just doesn't feel like it's done yet when the limiter kicks in, even when it lets you rev all the way to 8400 on a cool day.

A few other points:

- Evolve promised me a DIY tuning scheme that would provide me with an easy way to flash my car back and forth between stock and tuned files and they delivered.

- Evolve promised continuing updates and customer support and they've delivered.

- Evolve promised code reading through the cable/software and they've delivered that too.

The people who have been around the block in the world of playing with cars know that this is a track record which should be noted and commended.

I try not to go on and on about how amazing a new modification is as soon as I get it. Of course I like it, I just dropped some large amount + some large ///M tax for a muffler/painted piece of plastic/new rear tires so I like to let my enthusiasm die down before I pass judgment. I'm not always successful but given the huge amount of drama and stupidity surrounding various conversations about engine tuning on this forum I wasn't sure if I wanted to add to the dialog but it doesn't hurt the forum to have more (accurate) information. If it helps one or two more people become happy Evolve customers then that's great.

Back to my hole...
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      09-07-2011, 07:51 PM   #2
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Thank you for sharing!!

I have been working with Evolve for quite awhile now since I elected them to tune my E46 M3 over other very reputable tuners. I agree with everything you have said. The best thing about Evolve is that they are transparent, candid, and they constantly seek to improve their product. Often reaching out to the community to see what they're interested in and they deliver!

Unfortunately during my short stay at home, I didn't get a chance to flash our E90 M3. I am now out of town for the next 3.5 months. Who knows maybe by the time I get back home and have an opportunity to flash our E90, Evolve may have improved the tune and evolve-R software that much more!!
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      09-08-2011, 01:19 PM   #3
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Excellent detailed review on Evolve's product and customer service. Thanks for sharing!
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      09-09-2011, 11:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for the detailed and very down to earth review.

Was a pleasure working with you.
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      09-09-2011, 12:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wall$treet View Post
Checking your oil is not going to tell you if there is increase wear and tear on the engine from the tune. Oil particulates will not illustrate the wear and tear on the main moving parts that could be stressed in a tune. Not saying they are at all but if they were, it would not show up in the oil.
You are not very familiar with oil analysis, are you?
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      02-04-2013, 05:33 PM   #6
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25k miles later, still enjoying this tune.

Couple of notes
- updates have not been as frequent as they once were, but having the ability to quickly clear adaptations and read trouble codes is a nice feature on the software that did not exist when I bought in

- I have flashed back to stock at least a dozen times for competition in a class that does not allow tunes, and I'm always amazed at how quick and easy it is. The downside of being a frequent flasher is the software expiring, i was caught out by this a couple of times, and it is impossible to update until you get a copy of the latest software

All in all, still pleased and have no plans to change anytime soon, unless Evolve updates me again that is!
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      02-04-2013, 11:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richbot View Post
25k miles later, still enjoying this tune.

Couple of notes
- updates have not been as frequent as they once were, but having the ability to quickly clear adaptations and read trouble codes is a nice feature on the software that did not exist when I bought in

- I have flashed back to stock at least a dozen times for competition in a class that does not allow tunes, and I'm always amazed at how quick and easy it is. The downside of being a frequent flasher is the software expiring, i was caught out by this a couple of times, and it is impossible to update until you get a copy of the latest software

All in all, still pleased and have no plans to change anytime soon, unless Evolve updates me again that is!
WOW! 25,000 miles. Driven hard on the track/autocross. Goes to show how safe the Evolve Automotive tune is!

Thanks for the update!
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      02-05-2013, 12:26 AM   #8
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Say you take your car to the dealer and flash it back to stock. How easy is it for the dealer to see that it was flashed prior?

I know in the Porsches, if they look hard enough, they can see that it was flashed prior. Some years back, there was a story of a blown 911 engine that was denied warranty. Even though it had a stock flash on it, Porsche could determine that it was flashed prior.
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      02-22-2014, 11:00 AM   #9
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Another ~12,000 miles (37k total) on this tune and no complaints. Sal updated me to 240E about half a year ago and it's still great. Still easy to flash back to stock for autocross weekends and such, still feels way better with the tune loaded.

Likely going to an HFC setup this year so I might finally eliminate the cold start which will make me sad but will probably keep the torches and pitchforks put away in the neighborhood...
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      02-22-2014, 11:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richbot
Another ~12,000 miles (37k total) on this tune and no complaints. Sal updated me to 240E about half a year ago and it's still great. Still easy to flash back to stock for autocross weekends and such, still feels way better with the tune loaded.

Likely going to an HFC setup this year so I might finally eliminate the cold start which will make me sad but will probably keep the torches and pitchforks put away in the neighborhood...
highly recommend their xpipe and stage 2 tune. no need to get a rear section, you will not be disappointed.
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      02-22-2014, 11:44 AM   #11
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Unfortunately the evolve and akra midpipes which seem the best for power won't hit my requirements, i do not want a setup that has no chance of OBD2 readiness, as we have an OBD emissions check scheme in my area. The ess setup looks like what I will be trying first, and should be a little quieter with my MPE thanks to cat design.

Now, if the stage 2 tunes which eliminate the post cat o2 sensor codes are able to maintain obd2 readiness i might be interested, will have to ping Sal
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      02-22-2014, 12:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richbot
Unfortunately the evolve and akra midpipes which seem the best for power won't hit my requirements, i do not want a setup that has no chance of OBD2 readiness, as we have an OBD emissions check scheme in my area. The ess setup looks like what I will be trying first, and should be a little quieter with my MPE thanks to cat design.

Now, if the stage 2 tunes which eliminate the post cat o2 sensor codes are able to maintain obd2 readiness i might be interested, will have to ping Sal
Stage 2 is obd2 ready. If there are no sniff tests you are fine. Also its not much effort to swap back in the stock xpipe for testing.
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      02-22-2014, 09:05 PM   #13
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Evolve FTW I just got the stage 2
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