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Thread: Opinions on OBDII auto tuning software

  1. #1
    Carb and Points!
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    Opinions on OBDII auto tuning software

    I have owned and used an original copy of TCII for years, and love it, but I'm looking to see if anyone knows of any good auto-tune software for GM based OBDII ecms.
    I've thought about buying the efilive module, but then I've been told that HPtuner works better, and so on.
    What would you buy if you were me?

  2. #2
    Fuel Injected!
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    I prefer HP Tuners and I'm sure there are others here that prefer EFI Live. It depends on what kind of deal you can get, how many vehicles/types you plan on tuning and personal preference.
    1973 K-5 Blazer, TBI 350, TH400, 1 ton axles & 38" SSRs'
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    1953 M-38A1, TBI Buick 231
    1951 Ford Panel, 5.3 with 4L80E

  3. #3
    Carb and Points!
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    Is there any demo sites to see what it looks like that you know of?

  4. #4
    Fuel Injected!
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    18 months ago my advice would have been buy hptuners and never look back. However there has been a number of changes to the software and specifically the licensing structure that has made it a less valuable tuning package. My advice would be if you want to tune one or two vehicles for personal use and sell the device hptuners is probably your most cost effective tool. If you want to do multiple vehicles, have a "tuning" shop, get into doing engine swaps and vin changing, buy EFI Live to start with.

  5. #5
    Electronic Ignition!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mecanicman View Post
    18 months ago my advice would have been buy hptuners and never look back. However there has been a number of changes to the software and specifically the licensing structure that has made it a less valuable tuning package. My advice would be if you want to tune one or two vehicles for personal use and sell the device hptuners is probably your most cost effective tool. If you want to do multiple vehicles, have a "tuning" shop, get into doing engine swaps and vin changing, buy EFI Live to start with.
    As a new forum member, I am sure I will be late a few more times, but I would like to know why you think EFI Live would be a better pick, even for shop licenses. Lets start out by saying I use both software's and have for over 7 years. I like(d) both of them for various reasons but lately I have not been seeing the support from EFI Live relative to the new platforms (E92/78/39). the now older A6 trans and even less of the A8, non GM platforms (Dodge, Ford etc). Yes, HP Tuners left us in the lurches on VVE (thank you Phil Smith, Bluecat, for filling the void), but over the last 2 years, they have blown by Live on the A6 as well as A8 transmission, provided excellent capabilities to log and tune torque parameters to work the DI platforms and have extensive support for Dodge and Ford vehicles. I wouldn't even think about using anything else other than HP Tuners for A6 (full shift time/pressure tables, upshift torque management etc) or DI platforms such as the C7, Z06, ATS 3.6 etc.

    Licensing is also a bit cheaper at $99.99 per vehicle vs $125

    Lastly the release of 3.0 and now 3.2 has greatly improved an otherwise excellent product with a faster and more effective Scanner, expanded filtering and even now match the Live Serial WB interface as well as an AEM Can Bus interface developed by dr. Mike.

    Yes the Vin changing is a hassel but they are very paranoid of "copying licensed files" from PCM to PCM :-)

    All in all I would recommend HP Tuners at this point only because they are moving forward in their support of gas powered platforms across multiple vehicle platforms and continuimg their R&D. I mean just in the last 3 weeks they have released a means to adjust the dreaded P1516 REP as well as a fix to the stubborn-some E38 Rich after Flash.....

    I'll get down now :-) sorry.....

    Ed M
    Last edited by ERM Performance Tuning; 07-12-2016 at 06:41 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I've got all 3,have had TCII since 05-06 when introduced and got efilive commercial around 09 and I was given Hptuners pro a few years ago in trade for some work.
    TCII is best hands down over all as an editor imo,plus you're not getting sucked dry by vin licensing which is a rediculous concept almost. It includes all available or needed tables with no censoring and you can request what you need. Customer service is the best i've ever had from any product. However it isn't really in the same class as the others since they include scanners and spreadsheets. (Availablish for TCII but not near the useability and ease).

    Efilive is next,I like the interface better than HP and from my use with it editing it seems to be restricted a bit as far as available data/tables. Learning to navigate by their little number identifiers seems key to ease of use. Coming from learning and using TCII the histograms and built in scantool were awesome.

    I've only used Hp tuners a few times and am still unimpressed and is the last tool I reach for.
    Most recently last night trying to look at mode$06 data on a dodge truck,nogo. Not sure if it's there and couldn't find it though.
    I also hate how they restrict tables and such from the software to keep the idiots from bricking stuff. Offhand the ETC rates and mode tables,been awhile since i've checked but as I recall they rationalized it.
    My experience is limited though,I think i've logged a car or two trying it out and i've only actually programmed 2 vehicles.
    1 was because it was a cadillac and the only tuner that supported it,first time using and misread the warning screen. So I blew $100 just to open the file and see if I had the option for VATS shutoff (I didn't) and it had so little support even there I can't believe they would even charge for it.
    However i've never so much as spent the time to set it up for tuning anything really even,so most of that opinion is based in bias.

    I've always seen Hp as the tuner for the beginner/casual DIYer,Efi would be next step up with TCII for basically pro's only or simpler stuff in volume.

    To be clear i'm not a professional "tuner". I'm an extreme enthusiast who started with TCII 10yrs ago and became a highly certified master technician chasing the knowledge to use it. I'm rural and easily program (vats/emissions) more vehicles than I need to tune (VE,timing etc..)
    That point of view should be taken into account,as I really don't use these tools on a daily basis like most do. 99% of my programming is with TCII and not the others. I'm more likely to use Hex editor before paying the crazy license prices. Tuning is part of the job dealing in custom cars, the various tuners/scanners I have (quite a few) are only a tool in my box like all the rest for me (top 5 though).

  7. #7
    It seems you have not used HPT for a while. With the new updates, it can run circles around Efi. It has one of the most extensive Ford tuning support with both editor and scanner. It also works on popular Dodge vehicles including Viper.
    It's being constantly improved.
    I hate the new licensing system, it's very restrictive with VIN/OS changes, but the tuning and datalogging capabilities are superb.

  8. #8
    Electronic Ignition!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montecarlodrag View Post
    It seems you have not used HPT for a while. With the new updates, it can run circles around Efi. It has one of the most extensive Ford tuning support with both editor and scanner. It also works on popular Dodge vehicles including Viper.
    It's being constantly improved.
    I hate the new licensing system, it's very restrictive with VIN/OS changes, but the tuning and datalogging capabilities are superb.
    Agree ^^^^^^ I do not see how you can say that TCII nor EFI Live (I use EFI daily as well) would be less capable than TC. Lets see TCII tune a 2016 A8 Z06 Corvette, Camaro A6 or even a Viper. HP Tuners software (as well as EFI Live to a lesser extent) is integrated to the the vehicle systems including Torque Management, SC/TC control etc. As stated above, HP Tuners engineering is constantly listening to its users and implementing much needed updates such as the ability to change the TAC/PCM delta error to prevent P1516/REP, A6 transmission upshift torque management control (even added clutch air purge to prevent clunking on built trannies and the ability to disable up/downshift skip neutral to prevent rev limit hang). I mean they even just implemented a fix to preclude the E38 Rich after Flash headache and all tables to support a Double Stoich/Half IFR methodology to beating the dreaded hardcoded PCM limits for larger injectors thus precluding the arduos task of scaling the entire PCM/TCM tunes.

    Many shops across the country as well as International (I know, I have them as clients) utilize HP Tuners because it is the best, all around capable GM/Ford (SCT may argue this :-))/Dodge tuning and logging package available. Yes we didn't even begin to discuss the capabilities of the Scanner and complex filters and A6/A8 Parameter logging.....

    So all in all I would have to respectfully disagree with the "beginner/casual DIYer, EFI next.." statement.

    Ed M
    Last edited by ERM Performance Tuning; 07-16-2016 at 01:44 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Hi Ed,

    Glad to see you on this Forum, your input and expertise will be greatly appreciated. I trust your Florida retirement is going well (lucky SOB !).

    This line of discussion is essentially the Chevy versus Ford, Coke versus Pepsi, etc. dialogue. Much like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is the perceived "use" of a given tuning software.

    So I will toss in my highly biased two cents !

    You will find there are people on this Forum who delve into the raw Hex, looking for undiscovered parameters which are specific to their individual tuning needs. Both EFILive and Tunercat allow the user to add their own parameters to the software - HPT does not. This difference alone severely limits HPT's usefulness to me.

    I have always disliked HPT's scanner - EFILive's scanner has always seemed much more intuitive to me.

    HPT's VIN / OS licensing requirement is just a money grab - plain and simple. EFILive licenses the individual controller ($125). Once the controller is licensed, EFILive allows users to flash as many compatible calibrations into that controller as they wish - they can change the OS, change from an automatic to a manual calibration, whatever they wish. HPT requires users to license the controller ($99), and also to license each and every calibration (another $99 for each one) that they wish to flash into their already licensed controller.

    Tunercat has a onetime $80 fee for a specific vehicle / OS type - and does not charge any additional ongoing fees for controllers or calibrations - that is very user friendly, and without any hint of the greed that permeates the other software companies.

    Also, I only work with GM products - so support for other manufacturers is moot to me. HPT does not support the 1995 - 1996 LT1 PCMs, nor the 1996 - 1997 Vortec (Blackbox) PCMs, nor several early OBD2 V6 cars - but Tunercat does support these vehicles.

    To your challenge of "let's see Tunercat tune a 2016 A8 Z06 Corvette or a Camaro A6" - the A8 is not supported yet, but Tunercat certainly can tune the 2016 LT4 Z06 engine, and the Camaro L99 engine and A6 transmission. Most of the A6 features you listed from HPT are available in Tunercat. Any that are not available may be added by the user.

    My crystal ball tells me that the A8 may have a short lifespan - just like the two model year only E40. The A10 will be out in the 2017 ZL1 in a few months. I'm betting the A10s quickly replace the A8s, and the A6 will remain in use in the V6 trucks. If this prediction comes true, then I'm OK if Tunercat never supports the A8.

    You mentioned that "HPT engineering is constantly listening to users and implementing much needed updates". This is only partially the case. HPT has a habit of fixing one thing, and then moving on to something completely different - with seemingly little attention to detail. Take the Gen 3 PCM WOT 4WD shift speeds as an example - they added this "new" table to only one OS - and never went back to add it the rest of the many, many OS that were used between 1999 and 2007. Take the 2007 TBSS Default Trans Limit table, which was completely wrong for quite some time - they eventually fixed this. So, yes, they do push forward, but they often fail to check the validity of their progress, and equally often fail to roll out progress unilaterally.

    I have always been a fan of Coca-Cola - and don't like Pepsi !
    Last edited by LRT; 07-16-2016 at 04:57 PM.

  10. #10
    Electronic Ignition!
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    Quote Originally Posted by LRT View Post
    Hi Ed,

    Glad to see you on this Forum, your input and expertise will be greatly appreciated. I trust your Florida retirement is going well (lucky SOB !).

    This line of discussion is essentially the Chevy versus Ford, Coke versus Pepsi, etc. dialogue. Much like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is the perceived "use" of a given tuning software.

    So I will toss in my highly biased two cents !

    You will find there are people on this Forum who delve into the raw Hex, looking for undiscovered parameters which are specific to their individual tuning needs. Both EFILive and Tunercat allow the user to add their own parameters to the software - HPT does not. This difference alone severely limits HPT's usefulness to me.
    Going well...working harder than ever though with the new business. Passed my 1 year anniversary for ERM Performance Tuning and 2 years retired.....Hope all is well with you. Retirement and the move to Florida, though great, hasn't been quite what we expected what with caring for Karin's parents....but still better than killing myself in that high stress job on Long Island...and we get to see the kids when ever we want to :-)

    I have obviously stumbled into a sandbox where I am not qualified to play :-). I came here a couple of weeks ago because I was Googling an FPCM issue and found a thread here...needed to register to see the attachments, so I did. After being here a while and your assistance, I see this is more slanted for the tuners who are pushing the envelope and doing things that aren't provided by the vanilla providers Like HP Tuners. I knew that Live had the .cax feature and poked around a bit, but never had the time or need to delve deeper.

    With that in mind I'll temper my participation until I either get smarter....or thrown out :-) Whichever comes first :-)

    Ed M
    Last edited by ERM Performance Tuning; 07-17-2016 at 06:44 AM.
    Google and HP Tuners makes me the smartest man in the world

    www.ermperformancetuning.com

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNy...g7mEF6HyfR1a7Q -- Subscribe and Like

    Tuning, Training and Tutorials


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