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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
after reading the solstice/kappa/sky forums for a few days it looks like a Trifecta tune is in order :)

I have a low mileage 2007 manual transmission solstice GXP and am looking to do a few mods. Am in the Sacramento, CA area and where I live I’m at an elevation of 1200 feet. Gas over here is mostly 91 oct. seeing about 17PSI of boost at the moment.

I’m not going to race the car; just like to do a mild tune at about 300hp. on the flywheel, which from what I understand is not going to be too hard/rough on the engine.

From what I understand trifecta offers a ‘canned’ tune for $200 plus a $200 deposit for the cable. Now, I’m planning on keeping everything stock except perhaps a Werks intercooler, and a high flow cat ( plus 3 bar Map sensors if needed/beneficial.)

To determine if I would need just the canned tune or a custom/full tune, first a couple of questions to help decide which way to go..

Am Thinking of getting the Werks street version intercooler first (Dejon = out of business and not available any more, right?)

Would this aftermarket IC negatively impact the performance of the canned tune? Am thinking about getting this to have a better flow,cooler air in the manifold and have an IC that stands up to the increased boost. (Seen quite a few postings online of blown up stock IC’s… )

Will the Werks Intercooler piping be beneficial?

Are ‘Cooler’ spark plugs needed/ recommended? Will the tune likely make temperatures go up or down, under normal driving conditions?

Are the 3 bar MAP sensors needed or beneficial in combination with the trifecta tune? Stock 2007 MAP sensors go up to 23 psi, at least that’s what I’ve read a few times; will the canned tune go over this / what are the PSI numbers likely going to be for the canned tune?

Since I’m looking for a ‘mild’ tune and keeping the engine temperatures under control I was thinking about max 22 PSI on the turbo ; is this realistic?

cheers,Vincent
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also / another question..

I'm aware of the 'learn down' situation when you have the stock factory settings, but i wonder if i go with the Trifecta tune; will there also be a 'learn up' effect if i were to add the intercooler / do some mods after the Trifecta tune?

Ive asked these questions at both Trifecta and WOT tuning (via email) but so far no reply..
 

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This is reposted from elswhere. Enjoy. And ask more questions

There is a very lengthy post on this subject. Westers did a write up on the GMPP tune and what it does and does not do to the car.
The way the code is written in the ECM, the 2.0 is torque managed. The factory tune manages the engine parameters to produce 260 ft pounds of torque. The horse power is a result of achieving that torque value.
If you add hardware that is capable of producing torque values (and resultant HP) above the 260 ft pounds target, the ECM will "learn down" to achieve 260 ft pounds.
Basically, there are a set of data tables that are fixed. And there is memory that is controlled by the ECM. The fixed parameters cover all the possible variables, timing, fuel, air, boost, cam timing etc. It’s more complicated than that but conceptually you get the idea.
The ECM is constantly looking at all the sensors it has available. It is constantly "learning up and learning down" the various parameters it can control to maintain what it believes to be the settings that produce 260 ft pounds of torque.
It’s not strictly learning down because the ECM is constantly varying in real time the engine parameters it controls. What is really happening is the ECM is choosing specific settings from the pre-programmed tables for timing, fuel, air, boost, cam timing etc. based on near real time calculations. The calculations include throttle pedal setting, ambient temperature, air flow rates, O2 sensor readings etc.
The ECM "remembers" where it is at in each of the data tables. It "learns" where it is in each of the tables as it changes its mind on where to pull the settings from the tables based on current sensor readings. It does not create data per se, it uses the data it has in the tables but changes where it pulls the data in the tables based on a set of rules programmed into the ECM operating system.
Since the ECM can react faster than the mechanical systems it is managing, there is a built in time constraint on how much it can change its entry points into each of the data tables. The time constraint is a real time - mille seconds for some setting changes and key cycles for others.
Typically when you are running an unmodified car, when you start the car it "remembers" where it was when it was shut down and begins with that location as the current setting. It looks at the MAF to update air density and watches the O2 sensors to make sure it’s managing the settings. But it does not make any big changes when you start the car. It is making small "make play" environmental changes to optimize the startup and initial running experience. It may make small changes during that run cycle but is constrained to making small changes per run cycle.
If you bolt on a piece of hardware that can produce 10+ hp, the ECM makes small adjustments per its constraints, but it will experience an increase in torque measured because of the hardware update. It will adjust the engine parameters to avoid damage - that is crank up the fuel to avoid lean runs and vary the timing to avoid knock. So you may see the 10 hp increase for that cycle.

When you shut the car off and restart it - executing one key cycle - the ECM will recognize that it is producing MORE than the target of 260 ft. pounds and will crank down the parameters it controls as much as it can in that key cycle. Over the course of 5-6 key cycles, the ECM will be incrementally adjusting the engine parameters to get back to the ideal 260 ft pounds. After 5-6 key cycles, with each cycle resulting in the maximum "learn down" allowed, the car will be producing 260 ft pounds of torque. Again the HP is a product of producing the value that results from the ECM setting parameters.

The GMPP tune provides a new set of data tables and a new entry point in those tables. The new tables allow more growth in torque (much higher limit for "learn down") and they change the baseline starting point in the tables to the settings that are predicted to produce 340 ft pounds of torque. At that baseline torque, the resultant HP is about 290. There is some variability in HP measured for different cars because there are detail differences in the hardware across the sample set.

All tunes do basically the same thing. They change some of the values in the existing data tables. No tune will support unlimited HP growth because the physical size of the data tables is limited. All have an "edge" somewhere that forms the practical limit for power growth. The GMPP tune and the Westers tune all change the key paramater values in the tables to produce the desired result.

I do not know of any limitation on the boost value that is displayed on the DIC. It is I believe the result of a measurement in near real time and has no practical upper limit that is hard coded into the system. There is no reason to do so. I suppose if you exceeded the allowable digits it would truncate the number but the motor whould be a pile of parts long before that limit is reached.

Here is what I think I know about the GMPP tune:
The GMPP tune loads a new set of FIXED data tables. The ECM operating system still operates in fundamentally the same manner, but when it enters a particular data table it pulls out data that is different. The new data tables are designed to produce 340 ft pounds of torque with the stock hardware. The resultant horsepower is said to be 290 HP but it’s again just a product of the new data tables.
The biggest change in the new ECM software is that it NO LONGER is constrained to the fixed torque rating of 340 ft pounds. It can go higher than the level because the data in the tables allows it to go higher.
There really is NOT a learn down feature.
There are constraints on the allowable settings in the factory tune and the GMPP tune. In the factory tune, the constraints result in the ECM always modifying its entry points into the tables to produce 260 ft pounds. In the GMPP tune, the constraints are higher because there is "room" in the tables for the ECM to "learn up" to a higher torque (and resultant HP) value. If you hit the edge of one of the data tables, then you are through "learning up". So it’s not really a learning constraint, it’s the combination of the data tables are fixed and constrained to max values, and the ECM has built in code that predicts what the turbo will do in the near future and will not allow any combination of settings that is predicted to over speed, over heat or over boost the turbo.

So there is not any real learning going on as I understand the system.
 

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Having said all that. . . .

Any tune you decide on will achieve your goal of ~300 HP.

My car had the GMPP tune, a DeJon IC, tubes, Solo high flow cat and produced 305 HP at the wheels which is well above your goal.

A consideration for me was

The GMPP tune comes with a 12 month warranty. And it is supported by GM. You can take your car to any GM service department and they will honor the warranty and you have a very large engineering team with deep pockets standing behind the product.

If you have an issue with a 3rd party tune, then the warranty and support is dependent on a lot of factors that are out of your control. I currently have one car that has the GMPP tune and a second kappa with a custom tune by a 3rd party provider. If I have a problem with the GMPP car I take it to my local dealer (or any other dealer) and they fix it. If I have a problem with the 3rd party tune, then I have to wait for them to send me a unique hardware cable and some software. Load the software on my laptop. Plug in the cable, run data logs, email the data logs to the tuner. Wait for the tuner to receive, analyze and find time to make a fix. Email the fix back to me. Then I have to load the fix onto my laptop, take the laptop and the cable to the car. Install the new software load. Test the car. And if that fixes the tune, mail the cable back to the provider. If the fix is not sufficient, then you iterate. Or you do what I ended up doing and paid $550 for my own license and cable so I can at least look at the code whenever I need to do so.

A 3rd party canned tune does not change the basic operating software in the ECM. It changes the paramaters it uses to adjust settings for maximum power. the code operates in a manner that will accommodate variations in operating paramaters including if you add or change hardware. A canned tune will not always wring out every ounce of HP possible, but it will allow the hardware that is capable of improving HP will have a positive impact.
 

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From what I understand trifecta offers a ‘canned’ tune for $200 plus a $200 deposit for the cable. Now, I’m planning on keeping everything stock except perhaps a Werks intercooler, and a high flow cat ( plus 3 bar Map sensors if needed/beneficial.)
First things first. If you want the MAXIMUM potential out of an intercooler and high flow cat, you should have it dyno tuned.

Now, with that said, you said were looking for about 300hp. If you go with an intercooler and high flow cat, you WILL need one of his custom tunes. If your going with an IC, go with the piping as well. Then you have done everything you can to give the car the most hp without going with a new turbo.

With that all said, how about a Hahn Racecraft Intercooler? They are the least expensive and from what everyone that tells me that races turbo cars (Dodge Daytona, Dodge Neon SRT4, PT Cruiser turbo, Mustang GTR), they are also the best.
 

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Thanks for the breakdown on the ECM Rob. That was a very good read. I too was planning in getting a budget ( canned tune ) myself but the GMPP tune tune is sounding better and better. So, how do you go about getting a GMPP tune? Head to the nearest GM service center and say juice me up?
 

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Head to the nearest GM service center and say juice me up?
Yep....and make sure you have the juice to give them! Last I checked at my GM dealership, it was $983.25....
 

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Oh, shiiiiit. what I looked at was only (only) 569. maybe that's before the 3 sensors and labor. well, that trifecta budget tune just got a whole lot sweeter then didn't it.
 

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Oh, shiiiiit. what I looked at was only (only) 569. maybe that's before the 3 sensors and labor. well, that trifecta budget tune just got a whole lot sweeter then didn't it.
It's a case of pay me now or pay me later

The GMPP tune can run a grand if you just go ask for it at a dealer

Crate engine depot sells an improved kit for $400 and the labor at the dealer depends on their rate and wether or not you decide you want to install the kit hardware yourself. Most installs take between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on tech experience and network loading on the GM LAN

A good price would be more like $500 to $600 if you buy the kit yourself.

The other price is the warranty and support. GM warrants their tune and their install for 12 months. Each third party vender has their own warranty process, but generally it consists of if you have a problem you call them and ask for help. You have no real recourse.

As to a dyno tune, I agree that a well done dyno tune executed by an experienced tuner who knows your car is best. My personal experience has been that most local tuners lack the experience on our cars and if you go back six months later, they meh or may not be there. It is the nature of the business.

I am not telling you what to do, but telling you what I did do.:thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks all for the input so far. I guess i'll have to pick up the phone at some point to ask the Trifecta's final opinion if it comes to which tune to select; the custom tune or the canned version.

I read that the canned tune is best for stock or 'close to stock' cars, but i'm not sure if an aftermarket IC + high flow cat still fall in their 'close to stock' category :)

Anybody running the budget/canned tune with these mods (IC + high flow cat) ?

As for the Hahn Intercooler, they look great, but from what i understand they're the biggest one out there, 'borderline too big', at least for my goals.

Plus my understanding is that they take more time to get the system up to pressure then a smaller one (Werks = smaller, right?)

I've also seen multiple postings stating that they're not a complete bolt on fit, whereas the Werks apparently is.

Are you guys getting more then 23 PSI boost with the canned tune? (23+ PSI blew up a few stock IC's here and there..)

I'm also trying to understand what happens with a larger intercooler in relation to the workload on the turbo. With an upgraded IC, does the turbo have to work less hard / stay cooler to get to the same PSI as programmed into the tune ?
 

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Not quite true on the Hahn intercooler.
The new revise version of his this product goes in pretty easy.
I will mentioned this one more time. Unless you are racing the OEM IC is fine and so are the charge tubes as long as you have the OEM turbo.
 

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Thanks all for the input so far. I guess i'll have to pick up the phone at some point to ask the Trifecta's final opinion if it comes to which tune to select; the custom tune or the canned version.

I read that the canned tune is best for stock or 'close to stock' cars, but i'm not sure if an aftermarket IC + high flow cat still fall in their 'close to stock' category :)

Anybody running the budget/canned tune with these mods (IC + high flow cat) ?

As for the Hahn Intercooler, they look great, but from what i understand they're the biggest one out there, 'borderline too big', at least for my goals.

Plus my understanding is that they take more time to get the system up to pressure then a smaller one (Werks = smaller, right?)

I've also seen multiple postings stating that they're not a complete bolt on fit, whereas the Werks apparently is.


Are you guys getting more then 23 PSI boost with the canned tune? (23+ PSI blew up a few stock IC's here and there..)

I'm also trying to understand what happens with a larger intercooler in relation to the workload on the turbo. With an upgraded IC, does the turbo have to work less hard / stay cooler to get to the same PSI as programmed into the tune ?
I bought a used Hahn, so I have it sitting at home, have not yet put it in. Hahn was very cool to send me the instructions. It won't be difficult, it's just a tight fit as it is the biggest, taking up every inch.

Have you been on their site? I think you're misunderstanding "size" and "volume" here though.

The Hahn IC uses the same size input/output tubes. The "volume" they talk about on their website is cubic inches of cooling volume at the core (for outside air), not hugely larger internal volume. Their website states that response is improved, including low end throttle, and when I inquired about this on this website those having the Hahn or any larger IC agreed. So my understanding here is that it does not have much more internal air capacity (this would be the air coming from the turbo), it has MUCH more core for cooling from outside air....more width, much more finning as a result (which does nothing for internal volume). It smooths out the internal air flow with the end caps, so that increases flow efficiency.

Bottom line it can handle added heat of the stock turbo or an aftermarket and keep it's cool over a longer period, no added turbo lag, if anything a bit better.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is the input i got from one of the tuners that offers the Trifecta.
Am going for a second opinion of another tuner and will let all the comments/advice made on this forum sink in, and then make a decision..

Hi Vincent,

It sounds like our Budget Tune is probably a perfect fit for you.

Upgrading your intercooler will not require any modification to the tune, nor will the high flow cat (except to disable codes, which you can do with our EZ Flash software and cable).

We strictly recommend the stock spark plugs for all LNFs that we tune.

3 bar MAP sensors aka 'GMS1 Sensors' are absolutely unecessary except when boosting over 26psi, which the stock turbo is usually not even capable of. They are also lower resolution than the stock 2.5 bar sensors, so I'd advise you stick to the stockers.

The Budget Tune will boost anywhere between 21--23psi depending on air density (climate/elevation), but will always try to make the same amount of power.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Ok, an update.

Had 2 tuners give me 2 different answers regarding the need of a custom tune (or not) when also mounting a high flow cat and aftermarket IC.

One tuner, WOT, which you're sent to when you try to get to speak to Trifecta directly, states that with the high flow cat and upgraded IC you do not need to go for a custom tune, the canned tune would be 'a perfect fit' (see above posting). Trifecta so far has not replied to any emails, been about 2 weeks now and sent about 4.

From the second tuner, Bad News Racing i got this:

If you're looking to add parts I would go with the full tune as the budget tune is not eligible for retunes or adjustments and with those parts you may need adjusting. Budget tunes are best for people who just want a tune and maybe an intake but if you are looking to add mods I would definitely go with the full tune.

So, still undecided what to do here, canned or custom...

The high flow cat arrived today and i'm now trying to figure out what to install first, the high flow cat or tune. I know that the cat in itself won't make a difference because of the learn down ECU software, but i'm not sure what would be the best thing to do.

Anybody any input regarding which way to go; cat first, then tune or tune first, then cat.
 

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Tune 1st and sell the high flow cat.
For what you want the canned tune is ALL you need period.
You live in CA and is possible you will fail the emission with the high flow cat if the O2 sensor is not done correctly.
 

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Okay....a few decisions you must make....

1) How much power DO you want?

2) Do you mind spending money to get that power?

So...in asking yourself those questions, here's some food for thought. As the above poster stated, you live in CA. That in itself is an issue. The nice thing about Trifecta is you can get the dual tune where with the press of a button, it goes back to your factory tune. With any tune, the possability of passing an emmissions test in CA is slim to none. With an AM cat, good luck!!!

You can't put the cat on without getting a tune. Your car will revert back to the 260hp/260lbs of torque. So your throwing your money away if you install the cat without the tune. There's no need for an AM IC or piping either if your not tuned. I can say from my car with just the Solo Street Race Exhaust (no muffler) and a tune, I'm pushing about 310-320hp. If I get a HF cat, new piping and a new IC, I should probably (after a re-tune) be about 330-340hp. So, you need to make some financial decisions about what you want....
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Okay....a few decisions you must make....

1) How much power DO you want?

2) Do you mind spending money to get that power?

So...in asking yourself those questions, here's some food for thought. As the above poster stated, you live in CA. That in itself is an issue. The nice thing about Trifecta is you can get the dual tune where with the press of a button, it goes back to your factory tune. With any tune, the possability of passing an emmissions test in CA is slim to none. With an AM cat, good luck!!!

You can't put the cat on without getting a tune. Your car will revert back to the 260hp/260lbs of torque. So your throwing your money away if you install the cat without the tune. There's no need for an AM IC or piping either if your not tuned. I can say from my car with just the Solo Street Race Exhaust (no muffler) and a tune, I'm pushing about 310-320hp. If I get a HF cat, new piping and a new IC, I should probably (after a re-tune) be about 330-340hp. So, you need to make some financial decisions about what you want....
Thanks for the input.

thinking about a reliable tune at 300 HP / a tune that's not that hard on the engine, plus a bit of a sportier sound.

Willling to spend $1k on that, am leaving the exhaust alone, should be flowing plenty for my goal.

As for the CA smog; I understand the risk of the visual inspection, although i have picked up a Werks high flow cat that does now have the big "Werks" logo tack welded on it, so at least it doesn't look that racy. Will keep the old cat for sure.

Here's a pic of it, if it's not a Werks please let me know what it is; as the seller stated it is :)

Have read that a Werks high flow cat can pass here in CA, and am keeping the stock exhaust ' in case'

The only thing that i'm trying to find out if the Werks cat will throw a lasting code, since from what i understand they now check via the OBDII for codes. Anybody in CA with a high flow cat bolted on their GXP who has smog experience?





 

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Thanks for the input.

thinking about a reliable tune at 300 HP / a tune that's not that hard on the engine, plus a bit of a sportier sound.
If these is ALL you want then the $200.00 Trifecta meets your goals.
If you want to be prepare for more then get the other Trifecta tune, iether way you are covered with any of these two tunes for your goals.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
If these is ALL you want then the $200.00 Trifecta meets your goals.
If you want to be prepare for more then get the other Trifecta tune, iether way you are covered with any of these two tunes for your goals.
thanks, think i'll go with the open tune 'just in case'

regarding the cat possibly throwing codes;

Hi Vincent, There is not gasket provided, just use high temp copper RTV sealant on all of the flange surfaces and it will seal up just fine. As long as you install the rear O2 extension it will not throw codes.

Sincerely,
Dave Gilbert
Performance Autowerks, Inc.


so this sounds at least promising :)
 

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The California smog Nazis do the visual before anything else gets tested. That cat probably works better on emissions than the stock cat, but without a C.A.R.B. sticker they don't care. I lived in California most of my life, I know how strict they are. They probably don't offer stickers for AM cats anymore. There is a chance it might get by a visual.
 
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