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      11-18-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
TLud
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Another PowerChip Success Story

Mike and Jeremy flew out to Houston this past weekend to tune some cars here in Texas. I had a great time hanging out with these guys. They're a lot of fun and true car guys. Even more importantly, Jeremy is a mad scientist and spent hours on each car tweaking things until the cars ran as smoothly and as powerfully as possible. Many, many thanks are due to Mike for his tireless efforts to pull this group buy together and make it happen despite a few hiccups.

The Results

I'm sure all of you have seen Nawaaz's numbers. It's very important to me to keep my car close to stock in terms of every day driveability, so I obviously don't have the same numbers he does, but the gains from the PowerChip tune itself are at least as impressive. All I have on my car is the Dinan axle-back exhaust and MS filter. Without further ado, here are the results:

**UPDATE: SEE PAGE 2 FOR CORRECT DYNO CHART**



The baseline is the best of three initial runs. The tuned run was my best run in terms of power, but not torque (I had another run where I hit 252 lb-ft). One thing to keep in mind is how warm it was. It was the middle of the afternoon and the temp was about 90 degrees on the dyno. The most impressive thing to me looking at this chart is the size of the gains throughout the whole range. This tune doesn't just improve the top end. The 16 whp/16 lb-ft improvement at 5500 rpm is very noticeable.

Driving Impressions

I have to admit that, despite all of the favorable reviews that Mike, Jeremy and PowerChip have received on m3post, my expectations were low. The S65is, after all, a finely tuned, high-compression, NA motor putting out 414 bhp. I wasn't expecting huge gains, and I wasn't expecting to be able to feel much, especially since I've spoken to guys with flashes from other tuners who didn't notice any difference at all.

Immediately after the car was off the dyno, I took it for a romp. I wasn't expecting to notice much improvement, but the difference was stunning. Down low it's noticeably more peppy and MUCH smoother, but right at 5k rpm the motor gets a second wind and just launches forward like a scalded cat. I feel like I have to relearn how to drive this car hard because the rear tires now break loose in many more situations than before. I can't wait to get some wider rubber in back.

What doesn't show up on the chart is that the throttle response and power delivery is so much smoother, especially while the car is still warming up. Before, when easing off the clutch and onto the throttle in first gear, I'd get stuck in a bad jerky cycle, like it was my first time driving a MT. That no longer occurs, even though the throttle tip-in is now more sensitive. This alone was worth the price of admission.

Conclusion

I was very much on the fence about getting a tune at all, but I'm very, very glad that I pulled the trigger. If I had known how much of an improvement I was going to get, I wouldn't have debated the decision for so long. I'm also glad I went through Mike and Jeremy. They were very responsive to my questions, went above and beyond to get each car just right, and I know that if any issues were to arise, they'll take care of me.
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      11-18-2009, 01:33 PM   #2
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Very nice.

It looks as though you get similar numbers out of the tune regardless of the exhaust set-up.
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      11-18-2009, 02:28 PM   #3
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Very nice review Tom!

I'm very happy for you.
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      11-18-2009, 02:39 PM   #4
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Good review Enjoy the new tune and the bumper
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      11-18-2009, 04:05 PM   #5
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Those A/F charts don't look right. Why are you even more lean before 5500 RPM after the tune? You are north of 15:1 before 5500 RPM which is dangerously lean. Did he explain this or are the A/F plots not right? Your also more rich after 5500 RPM after the tune which is different than how my car was tuned. In other words the stock tune air fuel plot looks better than the tuned plot.
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      11-18-2009, 04:14 PM   #6
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You're also catless right? AFR's read differently post-cat, so you can't compare your results to his...

Quote:
Originally Posted by King Tut View Post
Those A/F charts don't look right. Why are you even more lean before 5500 RPM after the tune? You are north of 15:1 before 5500 RPM which is dangerously lean. Did he explain this or are the A/F plots not right? Your also more rich after 5500 RPM after the tune which is different than how my car was tuned. In other words the stock tune air fuel plot looks better than the tuned plot.
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      11-18-2009, 04:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HREM3 View Post
Very nice.

It looks as though you get similar numbers out of the tune regardless of the exhaust set-up.
I noticed the same thing. Yes, the gains were pretty uniform for most of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nawaaz View Post
Very nice review Tom!

I'm very happy for you.
Thanks, Nawaaz. Good to finally meet you this weekend. I enjoyed seeing your beast in action.

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Originally Posted by Nate@IND View Post
Good review Enjoy the new tune and the bumper
Thanks, Nate. Looking forward to that bumper. The suspense is killing me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by King Tut View Post
Those A/F charts don't look right. Why are you even more lean before 5500 RPM after the tune? You are north of 15:1 before 5500 RPM which is dangerously lean. Did he explain this or are the A/F plots not right? Your also more rich after 5500 RPM after the tune which is different than how my car was tuned. In other words the stock tune air fuel plot looks better than the tuned plot.
Good question. I already emailed Mike about this and I'll see what he says. When I was watching them tune it, I attributed it to the measurements being taken with a tailpipe sniffer as opposed to a pre-cat bung, which would make the A/F ratio read high for both stock and tuned, especially down low. This makes a big difference on cars running two sets of stock cats, and I suspect that I'm not running nearly as lean as the chart would suggest, but we'll see what Mike has to say.
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      11-18-2009, 04:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powertrip View Post
You're also catless right? AFR's read differently post-cat, so you can't compare your results to his...
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      11-18-2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by PencilGeek View Post
Thank you, sir.
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      11-18-2009, 06:09 PM   #10
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Power gains look good for NA software but hopefully those are not accurate AFR's.
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      11-18-2009, 07:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powertrip View Post
You're also catless right? AFR's read differently post-cat, so you can't compare your results to his...
I'm mostly comparing HIS results to HIS results. The stock tune AFR looks alot better to me. Having the O2 sensor in the tail pipe might make a half point leaner difference when compared to an O2 sensor bung further upstream, but if that is the case then he is running even richer in the top end. Did anyone else get AFR plots?
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      11-18-2009, 07:13 PM   #12
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Safe tunes usually run a little leaner down low and a little rich up top. He's most likely running the car rich up top so that he can add timing up top. Each car is different, and responds differently to AFR and timing changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by King Tut View Post
I'm mostly comparing HIS results to HIS results. The stock tune AFR looks alot better to me. Having the O2 sensor in the tail pipe might make a half point leaner difference when compared to an O2 sensor bung further upstream, but if that is the case then he is running even richer in the top end. Did anyone else get AFR plots?
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      11-18-2009, 07:22 PM   #13
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...looks like I'm off the fence with Tluds review. Now if I can only find a PowerChip source in the Twin Cities. Any suggestions or do I need to scour a source in Chi-town?
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      11-18-2009, 08:30 PM   #14
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t they coming to florida
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      11-18-2009, 09:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLud View Post
Good question. I already emailed Mike about this and I'll see what he says. When I was watching them tune it, I attributed it to the measurements being taken with a tailpipe sniffer as opposed to a pre-cat bung, which would make the A/F ratio read high for both stock and tuned, especially down low. This makes a big difference on cars running two sets of stock cats, and I suspect that I'm not running nearly as lean as the chart would suggest, but we'll see what Mike has to say.
Please post the response here. Your review got me to the top of the fence. I'm almost ready to jump to the other side. Looking forward to what Mike and Jeremy say.
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      11-18-2009, 10:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLud View Post
I noticed the same thing. Yes, the gains were pretty uniform for most of us.
How different were the exhausts car to car?

Congrats on the added power.
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      11-19-2009, 11:11 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powertrip View Post
Safe tunes usually run a little leaner down low and a little rich up top. He's most likely running the car rich up top so that he can add timing up top. Each car is different, and responds differently to AFR and timing changes.
Each car/mods is different and each tune should be different, but the AFR after the tune should be similar on each car. I have tuned cars, and I have looked at many dyno plots and AFR plots. Running extra rich to add more timing is not the proper way to tune a car. You shouldn't be using unburnt fuel to stop detonation from running too much timing. That is a cop out or a way around the problem. The car has a knock sensor if it is running too much timing it will pull timing on its own. He should be running the most timing he can without getting detonation and have a close to 13:1 air fuel ratio. I'm hoping Powerchip can explain these air fuel plots or someone else who was tuned can post theirs up. Personally if after my car was tuned I saw an air fuel plot like that I would be asking the tuner WTF which TLud has. I await his response.
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      11-19-2009, 01:36 PM   #18
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Again, I disagree with your thoughts on a "proper" tune. Some set-ups on cars prefer to run rich up top with a lot of timing, while others prefer to run lean with less timing. In the end, a "proper" tune is the one that makes power w/o knock and provides the powerband that the customer is looking for. A good example of this is two GTR's that we just tuned. Both made 515-520whp with just a flash. However, one car like to run 11.8:1 at redline , while the other made better power running high 10's. Each vehicle is different.

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Originally Posted by King Tut View Post
Each car/mods is different and each tune should be different, but the AFR after the tune should be similar on each car. I have tuned cars, and I have looked at many dyno plots and AFR plots. Running extra rich to add more timing is not the proper way to tune a car. You shouldn't be using unburnt fuel to stop detonation from running too much timing. That is a cop out or a way around the problem. The car has a knock sensor if it is running too much timing it will pull timing on its own. He should be running the most timing he can without getting detonation and have a close to 13:1 air fuel ratio. I'm hoping Powerchip can explain these air fuel plots or someone else who was tuned can post theirs up. Personally if after my car was tuned I saw an air fuel plot like that I would be asking the tuner WTF which TLud has. I await his response.
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      11-19-2009, 02:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powertrip View Post
Again, I disagree with your thoughts on a "proper" tune. Some set-ups on cars prefer to run rich up top with a lot of timing, while others prefer to run lean with less timing. In the end, a "proper" tune is the one that makes power w/o knock and provides the powerband that the customer is looking for. A good example of this is two GTR's that we just tuned. Both made 515-520whp with just a flash. However, one car like to run 11.8:1 at redline , while the other made better power running high 10's. Each vehicle is different.
Turbocharged cars have completely different A/F and timing requirements versus naturally aspirated cars. You can't compare them at all.
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      11-19-2009, 04:07 PM   #20
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My apologies for not responding to the requests for more information sooner -- I've literally been working around the clock this week trying to meet a deadline, so I haven't had time to give Mike a call to discuss this. My understanding is that running A/F ratios in the mid to high 14:1 range at idle and under light loads is not an issue. It is somewhat concerning that my ratio is north of that, but this may be attributable to using a sniffer. I appreciate all the sharp eyes and minds on the forum looking out for each other.

With all of the knowledge and experience that Jeremy has, I'm sure there's a good explanation for this. I've emailed Mike asking him to address these concerns first-hand in this thread, so we're all on the same page.
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      11-19-2009, 04:16 PM   #21
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I wish PG would chime in but I know as a Mod, he won't get into these type of conversations / wars. Quite frankly,messing with AFRs so that they are far from the factory settings can be a a very bad thing. I'm sure there is a right and wrong answer here and I can't imagine any justification for AFRs this lean. But, I learn something new everyday, and I don't tune for a living.

This too much reminds me of the stuff many people ran into and continue to run into with the N54 tuning and the AFR issues that few chose to acknowledge. TLUD, I'm in NO WAY DISRESPECTING YOU or attempting to bring negativity to a happy thread, but damage to engines and other car parts are not always seen while the damage is being done, much like damage to another machine we all have experience with--the human body.

I like to equate tuning of cars to drugs for our bodies, they may help us and make us better, but they can kill us as well. Just because you take a drug and you don't die the next day doesn't mean damage isn't being done, just not making itself apparent to you.

I'm not saying Powerchip didn't do a great job, nor am I saying that the tune or any tune performed by them is damaging to yours or any other owner's S65, but, something like an extremely high or low AFR should not be taken lightly, neither by you and more importantly your tuner.

Cheers,
e46e92
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      11-19-2009, 04:25 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e46e92love View Post
I wish PG would chime in but I know as a Mod, he won't get into these type of conversations / wars. Quite frankly,messing with AFRs so that they are far from the factory settings can be a a very bad thing. I'm sure there is a right and wrong answer here and I can't imagine any justification for AFRs this lean. But, I learn something new everyday, and I don't tune for a living.

This too much reminds me of the stuff many people ran into and continue to run into with the N54 tuning and the AFR issues that few chose to acknowledge. TLUD, I'm in NO WAY DISRESPECTING YOU or attempting to bring negativity to a happy thread, but damage to engines and other car parts are not always seen while the damage is being done, much like damage to another machine we all have experience with--the human body.

I like to equate tuning of cars to drugs for our bodies, they may help us and make us better, but they can kill us as well. Just because you take a drug and you don't die the next day doesn't mean damage isn't being done, just not making itself apparent to you.

I'm not saying Powerchip didn't do a great job, nor am I saying that the tune or any tune performed by them is damaging to yours or any other owner's S65, but, something like an extremely high or low AFR should not be taken lightly, neither by you and more importantly your tuner.

Cheers,
e46e92
Absolutely no disrespect taken. I think it's important to be able to have a frank and honest discussion about such a significant performance modification. Nobody gains anything by burying their head in the sand and ignoring a potential issue.
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