I enjoy the magazine and look forward to reading your column each month. I own a 2010 Corvette and I am thinking about getting a performance tuner and I was thinking about trying to install the tune myself. Do you think this is something I can do or should it be left to a professional? Since tuners seem to make such a big difference in performance and fuel mileage, why don’t the manufacturers have the best possible tune from the factory?
Installing a custom tune is something that most anyone can do and is the best performance upgrade you can make for the money. Most good entry-level tuners will take you through the simple step-by-step procedures so you can obtain the optimum tune for your Corvette.
You may be asked some simple questions before the tune is installed so it can be optimized for you vehicle, such as if you have installed aftermarket headers on your vehicle.
Another option may include a choice for fuel octane you intend to use. Normal choices are from 91 up to 93 octane fuel.
You also may be able to adjust the speed limiter anywhere from 20 to 130 mph, or it can be removed completely.
A good entry-level tuner is designed to work on a stock vehicle and allow you flexibility for basic modifications such as headers and exhaust. If you decide to exceed the basic modifications you may need to step into the next level of tuner. Some of these tuners are so sophisticated that they will allow you to customize your own personalized tune using your laptop.
By calibrating your vehicle to your specific needs you can increase performance without hurting fuel economy, emissions or driveability. Calibrating your vehicle for high octane fuel will allow you to increase horsepower and torque, and you can also remove the delay in the electronic throttle and make the vehicle respond faster.
Shelby, when the manufacturer is developing a stock calibration (or tune) for a vehicle there are several aspects that need to be achieved. They must encompass several factors including ever tightening emissions standards, raising mile-per-gallon fuel efficiency targets, as well as varying vehicle conditions such as extreme ambient temperatures, multiple altitudes and this list goes on and on. The end consumer expects their vehicle to perform the same using poor quality low octane fuel or high quality gasoline without any performance changes, so the stock tune is the best possible calibration that takes all of these factors into consideration.
If you think about it, nothing has changed from tuning your Corvette from 1953 until now except that we are making the adjustments for timing, fuel and so on from a tuner or a laptop instead of under the hood with greasy hands.
Do your research, there are several good tuners available in the aftermarket. Make sure the tuner you choose will provide all of the options you are looking for and will be flexible enough to change as technology changes. Vette
Photography by James Berry