Dyno Tune for idiots

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Feb 24, 2003
16,118
84
48
Las Vegas
#1
So I'm going to be pulling the motor out of my truck hopefully here in a couple of weeks for some upgrades, heads, cam, possibly a rotating assembly, studs, and throttle body. Possibly larger injectors too depending if needed.

Couple of questions... How will I know if i need larger injectors? Is this something that will be exposed during the tuning session once I get the motor back in the truck?

In regards to the actual tuning... Will I need to buy an aftermarket computer or anything or is this something they just use my stock ECO and my current harness and tune it all through it?

I'm asking for budget planning purposes basically is all. I've never done the whole dyno tuning deal.

I guess one more question... Pros/Cons on taking the motor to a tuner while it's out of the truck and having them do it on a stand vs. installing and taking the whole truck? Sure it would be cool to know what it's actually putting to the ground but for ease reasons it would be easier to just take the motor itself while it's out of the truck.




Off topic but seems like people that would be knowledgable in what I'm asking above might also know this one... How do I choose an appropriate torque converter? Is this something the motor builder will call out? Tuner person?


I've never been much of a motor person, I can rebuild engines following a book but I've never been one to get into the details of customizing and building them for performance so this is a whole new world to me and I've got newbie level questions for sure!
 

84prerunner

2:AM Fabrication
Feb 7, 2008
21,453
39
48
Covina CA
#3
What ECU and harness do you have? torque converter has to be matched to the cam, so that is an engine builder question. estimated HP will tell you if injectors are big enough, again an engine builder question. Better to have them in before tuning, as you will have to pay for another tunign seesion if it is discovered at that time they are too small.
Always better to tune in the vehicle. engine stand is a good base but running with the real intake, exhaust, accessories etc is a much better idea.
 
Feb 24, 2003
16,118
84
48
Las Vegas
#5
6.0L lq9 out of an 03 escalade. Stock ecu with just the security crap turned off so it runs on a modified stock harness that's just been stripped down to stand alone type thing. 4L80E that Culhane went through and removed the "E" on, it's manual valve body.
 

SByota

Senior Member
Jul 16, 2003
270
16
18
37
#7
As other have said, the torque converter is matched to the engine/cam combo. The idea of added stall speed is to get the engine into the torque quicker since the converter lets the motor rev higher before it “locks up”. Too much stall speed can generate serious heat though. Make sure you pick a something that is below your general operating rpm when driving.

LS tuning can be done in the car pretty easily. I added a Cam, intake, headers to my 1500HD, 6.0/4l80e. I used Blackbear Performance to tune it. 100% satisfied on how it turned out. The difference in how it drives is amazing.

Here is how it went. You order the(refundable) scan cable from them. Hook up a laptop and run the truck creating a “data log”. Email the data log file to them. They look at the file and do their magic. Send you a newly programmed ECU. You install the new ECU and do another data log fun, send that one in to make sure all is well. Once they make sure all is good, you send back the scan cable and old ECU for refunds.

It’s a little bit of a pain in the ass with all the steps, but worth it in the end. I have a local guy, Camarillo CA, that does the same thing in real time, but he charges a lot more than Blackbear. They should be able to answer your injector question too. They tune a ton of LS motors.
 

mjlogan

space cadet
Feb 9, 2007
653
19
18
34
ontario ca
#9
So I'm going to be pulling the motor out of my truck hopefully here in a couple of weeks for some upgrades, heads, cam, possibly a rotating assembly, studs, and throttle body. Possibly larger injectors too depending if needed.

Couple of questions... How will I know if i need larger injectors? Is this something that will be exposed during the tuning session once I get the motor back in the truck?

In regards to the actual tuning... Will I need to buy an aftermarket computer or anything or is this something they just use my stock ECO and my current harness and tune it all through it?

I'm asking for budget planning purposes basically is all. I've never done the whole dyno tuning deal.

I guess one more question... Pros/Cons on taking the motor to a tuner while it's out of the truck and having them do it on a stand vs. installing and taking the whole truck? Sure it would be cool to know what it's actually putting to the ground but for ease reasons it would be easier to just take the motor itself while it's out of the truck.




Off topic but seems like people that would be knowledgable in what I'm asking above might also know this one... How do I choose an appropriate torque converter? Is this something the motor builder will call out? Tuner person?


I've never been much of a motor person, I can rebuild engines following a book but I've never been one to get into the details of customizing and building them for performance so this is a whole new world to me and I've got newbie level questions for sure!
Injectors- If you currently have stock LQ9 injectors, a cam and head upgrade will more than likely put them at or above 100% duty cycle. My brothers truck runs an LQ9 with just a cam and headers and he ran out of injector with the stock ones. This is tuning at the drag strip using HP tuners. They guy tuning it will see the duty cycle. A good budget upgrade are 8.1L injectors, or there are tons of aftermarket options

Torque converter- If you are ordering a custom converter call the trans/converter guy and they will ask you all the questions- rear gear, tire size, cam specs, etc. Engine builder or tuner likely will not spec a converter, but may give you a range or guidelines. Converter will be spec'd to intended useage and the the rest of the drivetrain.

No need to buy an aftermarket computer, the stock PCM in the LS engines are very tuneable and most if not all dyno shops will have the capability. If you want to go down the rabbit hole yourself get a copy of HP Tuners or EFI live.
 
Feb 24, 2003
16,118
84
48
Las Vegas
#10
Interesting on the blackbear tuning option. I had just figured we've got enough tuners here in town up by the speedway that I'd go that route. Hadn't considered something along the lines of what you described. I'll look into that option a bit for sure.

In regards to the torque converter, sounds like the way I was planning to go would be fine anyways. Basically I was going to get the motor built and once that was done, see how many pennies are left in the jar, talk to Culhane and make sure I have enough to send it back to him. Let him do his freshening magic inside and also tell him what's up and assumed he'd be the one to spec out the converter. So if I have my motor info before the trans goes to him I assume he'll be able to take care of it from there.

Happy I should be fine with the stock ECU, one less expense cause I know this is all going to snowball obviously...

I'll just go ahead and budget for injectors. I'd read somewhere about people running stock injectors from the larger LS platforms which is probably the 8.1L mentioned above so I'll check into those and simply pull the plug on them sooner than later and have them ready to go... I just wasn't sure how to know if i really would need them or not. Yes, my current ones are 100% stock so sounds pretty confident I'll need to bump up in size.

Thanks for the info guys!!! Super helpful for my planning purposes! I had a general idea of what needs done and in what order I need to get things pushed through, just wasn't sure these few details for planning/budgeting purposes.

Hopefully get my Mustang out of the garage this weekend, get a race truck part buttoned up so that's out of my hair and then I can push the truck back in and go on it. I've got probably a month's worth of stuff that's mostly labor more than $$$ to deal with on the rear and then turn it around and yank the motor/trans. That'll buy me another month or so to save pennies and hopefully by the time the motor is done I'll have enough piled up to go right into the transmission.


Only thing on the transmission is whether I truly am taking it to Culhane or if I should have another performance builder more local to me here in Vegas do it... It was originally done by Culhane which is why I'm leaning towards getting it back in his hands cause it's having some issues currently and this motor build I'm sure will make those issues even worse. It's just logistics/cost of getting it out to him make it a pain vs. dealing with someone local.
 

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