Before Tune Checklist & Details
Customers must sign our Dyno waiver HERE befor running car on dyno.
Parts List / Setup Details:
- It is always in the customer’s best interest to have a thorough and detailed understanding of the all of the parts in any setup and the details of the build. As a tuner, a lot of my job requires guessing and assuming, and in order to eliminate as many assumptions and make as few guesses as I need to make, I can tune your car more effectively and safely and at the same time make the most power the setup can deliver. If you don’t know what brands were used in your build, or the specs on the parts used in your setup, this makes it harder to do my job since generally I am not the one who recommended which parts you should use or did the build myself. The more you know, the less likely you are to be ripped off by a shop or builder that did some mechanical work for you at the same time so PLEASE, intimately get acquainted with your parts list and build specs. For example, if you have a 800+ HP Drag Car built, I expect you to know what your piston to wall clearance was set at by your machinist.
Boost leak Test/ Intercooler/ Piping/ Throttle Body/Intake Manifold:
- At least 50% of forced induction tuning issues I see on the dyno are from boost leaks. A properly sealed and leak free charge pipe system is very important. Having the proper sized couplers, pipe transitions and quality "T-Bolt" clamps is essential in getting your car dialed in and tuned. Having "worm gear" style clams tend to loosen over time and promote leaks that might pop up after tuning as well. You need to fully test the system from the source (turbo) to the intake manifold. Checking each coupler, clamp, gasket, and even as far as the seals on the throttle body shaft. Most street driven cars rely heavily on a Idle Air Control Valve (IAC) in the throttle body and even the slightest leak will affect your car's ability to start and idle property. We have seen the smallest 1-2 psi boost leak takeaway around 35 hp at the wheels on a 700 HP car to give you an idea. You will need to purchase or make a boost leak tester to properly diagnose boost leaks. If you do not have this we can test your car for an additional charge. Please let us know before you make your appointment if we need to schedule time to take care of this.
- In my opinion, you should know the health of your motor before having it tuned. I can be more thorough when I know that compression is good before beginning a tune. Performing a tune on an unhealthy motor is the quickest way to a disaster and a potential waste of other good parts that might be ruined in the process. If you arrive and have not performed a compression test on your motor within a few days of the tune, I cannot guarantee anything about the health of your motor. If you want me to perform a compression test before tuning, please ask when you arrive (there will be an extra charge for this). This will also give you a ‘baseline’ to monitor throughout the life of your engine. If you would like us to do a compression test before the start of the tune, please let me know. This service would be a $100 additional charge.
The tested numbers should not vary any more than 10% from cylinder to cylinder or this may indicate a problem.
- See the specs for your motor/cams from a Service Manual for what the valve lash should be set to on your motor. Set the valves on a fully cold engine only as metal expands when heated which could throw off your settings when performing a valve adjustment on a warm motor. Please write the settings you used when adjusting your valve lash. Valve lash is VERY important if you want to make POWER, please don’t overlook this as a non-essential piece of the build puzzle. Refer to a factory manual for actual factory specs or your cam manufacturer…and my recommendation is always to set lash on the LOOSER side of the spectrum. If you want us to set your lash, the motor must be fully COLD, and this will result in an additional charge depending on the setup. It may not be possible for us to do this on the same day as your tune.
Intake Setting: ______ Exhaust Setting: ______
Timing Belt and Base Timing:
- The timing belt/chain, camshafts and crank need to all be synched correctly before coming in for your scheduled tune. This is a fairly simple process on a stock motor and you can check your Service Manual for procedures on how to perform this. Various motor combinations (Frankenstein motors with VTEC Heads on Non-VTEC blocks) may affect exactly how you bring the motor into proper spec. Other things that may affect timing will be block and head surfacing, adjustable cam gears set incorrectly, timing belt set on the wrong teeth of the cam gear or incorrectly machined aftermarket cam gears, using the wrong parts for the combination put together and more. Please consult a professional before your tune if you aren’t 100% sure that your timing is set correctly. If mechanical timing is off, this will result in an additional charge for us to repair.
- Also check base timing with a timing light and make sure it is adjusted correctly. Adjust the distributor if this setting is way out of spec to see if you are able to bring it within spec using only the distributor. If you can, chances are everything mechanically is set correctly…if you cannot, then chances are something is set incorrectly. I will set and synch base timing before beginning the tune using a timing light, but I want you to make sure it is close and that something else is not “off” before beginning the tune. If the timing belt is aligned incorrectly, this will increase the cost of the appointment if I need to fix it during the tune or end the day early for you if you don’t have additional funds in your budget to fix it correctly. An engine cannot be tuned properly with cam timing set incorrectly.
Tires, Alignment and Suspension:
- The dyno we use is a Mustang AWD-500. Very sticky tires or slicks DO NOT work very well with our dyno. Normal everyday street tires (all season or summer) work best for traction, wear and straight running. Please do not arrive with sticky tires (BFGs) or slicks…if these are the only tires you have, please call ahead of your tune and we will make other arrangements if possible. A vehicle out of alignment will measure LOWER HP than one in correct alignment. If you are concerned with HP #s, please make sure you give yourself the best chance of achieving your goals.
- Your suspension should be set properly and all bolts, ball joints, tie rods and bushings should be in good shape. Cars are driven in excess of 130 mph sometimes on the dyno and a suspension failure at that speed in this environment could be extremely dangerous. If I look at your car when it comes in and notice a potential problem, I will turn the car away and your deposit will not be refunded.
- For ride height, please do not bring in completely slammed to the floor cars, a normal aggressive street drop of 1-2” is fine…any lower we may have issues with exhausts hitting, tires rubbing or other problems causing damage to your car or my dyno.
- Tire pressure is essential. You need to make sure each tire is at its recommended pressure or towards the max rating. You want the tires to be able to hook up with the rollers. A deflated tire might work better at the track but it can be dangerous on the dyno roller and can cause uneven wear, or help increase the chance of a blow out. Make sure each tire is checked before the car is driven onto the dyno.
Check Engine Lights:
- The car should have ZERO Check Engine Lights. Please do not make an appointment or come until all check engine lights are cleared. If you need help with this, please call or email us well before your appointment and we will help guide you on this. If your car arrives with a check engine light, please expect to pay labor for fixing the light. If it is something we are not able to fix on that day, your car will not be tuned and your deposit will not be refunded. Exceptions to this are O2 sensor codes or the knock sensor…these can generally be disabled in the software being used but please call us prior to the tune if you have any lights.
Electrical and Wiring:
- All wiring should be solid and correct before arriving. Connections that aren’t at least crimped or soldered can vibrate loose and cause intermittent issues or worse, engine failure. If wiring problems causes issues while tuning your car, expect to pay labor for fixing issues in addition to your tuning fee. If any wiring issues cause harm to tuning gear that is attached to your car, you will be expected to pay for my replacement cost of those items. All grounds should be clean (no paint underneath ground wires), connected in the correct spots and corrosion free. Your alternator, battery and charging system should be operating up to par charging the car somewhere in the 13.5 – 14.7 volt range. Any lower or any higher and there can be problems tuning the car properly. Make sure all BELTS are tensioned correctly.
- Your fuel system should be designed to support the Horsepower goals you have for your setup. Properly operating injectors, fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator are required with ZERO leaks. If there is any question about what fuel pump is in your tank, I suggest you remove it and replace it with a proper Aftermarket Fuel Pump for your car. We carry fuel pumps in stock if you need one. In most cases if you need this done, we can supply the fuel pump and we can install this for you for a charge on the day of the tune. Do not install a fuel pump in a dirty or rusted fuel tank…you will have issues immediately or later on down the road when your fuel supply is cut off and engine damage occurs. Fuel filters are important to keep everything running nicely. Use a high quality filter designed for your specific fuel.
- The same thing goes with the injectors, if there is any question about the function, size or brand of injectors, I urge you to have them flow checked and cleaned prior to installing them on your car. If you purchase them new, you should not have to do this. Injectors can be installed as well on the day of the tune if you need this done for a charge. If you install the injectors yourself, please make sure they are secure in the intake manifold and in the fuel rail with good if not brand new o-rings. Please do not use cracked or worn o-rings on either side of the injector and do not FORCE these in when installing them. We do stock a variety of injectors in-house and we can install them on the day of the tune if needed.
- You can use a stock fuel pressure regulator in most cases rather than spending money on an aftermarket piece for N/A or boosted setups under 15 psi…I do suggest though that you acquire a fuel pressure gauge that installs on an aftermarket fuel rail or on the stock fuel filter. If you do go with an aftermarket regulator, PLEASE use a well-known brand name and not some knock-off…your fuel system is the most important system and good parts need to be used…there is no breathing room when your motor is starved for fuel.
- Fuel Pump Used: _______________Injectors Used: __________________FPR Used: _______________
Ignition and Spark:
- Your ignition system is almost as important as your fuel system. Without proper spark, there will be no power and the car cannot run to its full potential. Please make sure your coils/distributor are working correctly. See a Service Manual for procedures on how to check your Coil and Ignitor (ICM). Make sure you have a clean (or new) rotor and cap…and make sure the little rubber seal around the outside of the distributor is present and in good shape to keep moisture out of the inside. Your spark plug wires should be working well, I also like OEM stock plug wires or NGK. I highly suggest staying away from ALL MSD products including external coils, digital spark boxes and plug wires. I have never experienced one benefit to using an MSD product personally. If your arrive with MSD parts on your car, I will tune it, but if the part fails while tuning or is bad from the start, there will be an extra charge or your car may not be able to be completely tuned and you will still be responsible for all of the tuning fees. OEM parts have been used on many 600+ HP cars…there is no need for expensive plugs wires on most applications I am familiar with.
- Make sure your spark plugs are in good shape and gapped correctly. We stock spark plugs here but if you don't want to purchase a set from us, please have at least one or two extra sets with you when you come for your appointment already pre-gapped. Please call well before your tuning appointment if you need recommendations on which plugs to run for your application. Any car being tuned on Hondata S300 or KPRO will need to be running Resistor Plugs, please do not use Non-Resistor Plugs in these applications or there are side effects with the Hondata hardware.
- Make sure you are running the proper amount and proper weight of oil for your application. There should be ZERO oil leaks from the motor for obvious reasons, no exceptions please. Make sure all seals are tight, and that your drain bolt is secure.
- Your coolant system should be running a 50/50 water/glycol mixture for a street vehicle and whatever is required for your track car (normally just straight water with water wetter). There should be no leaks in the radiator, cap or lines…you should have an overflow reservoir and the system should be properly bled and hold pressure. All clamps should be checked and secured prior to arriving for your tune.
- Fuel, That's important. Make sure you come here with enough fuel at least a half tank if not fill it. You would be surprised how many people show up on E. And once we have strapped the car down we notice the car needs fuel. And of course the right fuel. You want the car tuned on E85 make sure thats whats in the tank, or C16, Q16 etc etc.
O2 Sensor Bung:
- You NEED to have an O2 Sensor bung, easily accessible and free and clear from any objects. If you have an O2 sensor currently in a bung in your exhaust, please make sure it is not rust-locked in there and it is able to be removed. If the plug or installed O2 sensor isn't able to be easily removed, you may incur extra labor charges. If you show up without an O2 bung, I may have to put a clamp in your exhaust which is not as accurate and harder to get a good tune with for idle and part throttle. The O2 sensor bung needs to be 12-18” from the turbo outlet if you are running a turbo. If you are N/A or Supercharged, the bung needs to be in the exhaust where ALL exhaust gases travel by…do not put a bung in one or two runners on a header…this can potentially give the tuner bad information and will throw things off.
- Your exhaust system should be free from leaks, cracks or other issues as leaks in the exhaust before the O2 sensor can throw off readings. I am a big believer of high flow catalytic converters but they are not required. Your manifold should be secured to the head of the motor with all bolts and a leak free gasket. If you are running a turbo, it should be secure to the manifold with at least (suggested) 2.5” downpipe and a FULL DUMP TUBE should be venting exhaust gases below the oil pan with an externally gated waste-gate setup. If you arrive without a dump tube, we may not be able to safely tune your vehicle. If you don’t have a FULL EXHAUST exiting out from the back bumper or a dump tube, I need to be made aware BEFORE you arrive…no exceptions.
- Sometimes, we may perform a basic street driving check on cars tuned on the dyno (if weather permits and needed) so unless this is a track only car, the vehicle should be able to be driven on the street. This means, registration, inspection and insurance should be up to date and in the car. The car needs to be safe with all seat belts, supports and bumpers, etc so as not to draw attention of the wrong kind. If your grandmother won't be safe in the car…I won’t do the street test in it. Any questions on this, please call.