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post #1 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Do I Need an EMS?

I'm having my stock 302 built up now by an experienced shop in Dallas (Lone Star Performance). Stock block, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II and Anderson N41 cam and all the rest. They are adding new fuel pump, adjustable regulatory and 30# injectors as well.

The shop is telling I really don't need an EMS. They said that they know how to adjust the timing and fuel pressure to get extract the performance out of this setup.

They have a dyno tuner but don't have the software / systems to do the older cars.

If they get 325 to the wheels, I'm going to call it a win.

What are your thoughts?


1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #2 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 04:28 PM
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I could see tinkering with timing and fuel pressure if you were trying to squeeze 20 more horsepower out over stock. But 100? There are several problems I can see here.

1. Neither the fuel pressure nor the timing can raise the rev limiter past where the stock ECU set it. This combination will make power at a much higher RPM than stock.

2. If you are using the stock MAF, it's going to run pig rich unless they back down fuel pressure enough to make your 30 lb/hr injectors flow 19 lb/hr. And they'll have a worse spray pattern at that pressure than the stock injectors. If you are using a MAF "tune", you won't have this fueling problem, but the timing curve is going to be skewed when not on the WOT timing curve.

3. Base fuel pressure and base timing will give you two points of adjustment. Either a stock ECU hack or an aftermarket ECU will give you hundreds of tuning points (I'm counting each entry in the fuel or spark tables as one point), allowing a tuner to really get all the power and drivability the engine is capable of making.


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post #3 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. Great feedback.

The Anderson N-41 cam is said to make power from 2600 to 6200 RPM per their website. Not sure how much more usable power can be made after that or if I really want to push my motor that high but good point.

I did leave off that they are adding new MAF tuned to the 30# injectors. What's the impact of a "skewed timing curve" when not in wide open throttle?

I should have provider more color on the shop's statements regarding "extracting the performance"....They indicated that they could get most of the performance by tuning it as mentioned but maybe not all.

I'm wondering what compromises they will make to get the top end power out of it and not leave me with bad street manners, low bottom end power, lean or rich mixers at various points, really bad gas mileage or other driveability issues. That cam does not make much power on the bottom end. Even though I'm not taking this one to the track and just driving it on weekends and street racing, I hope it will have decent street manners.

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #4 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 05:43 PM
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I'm having my stock 302 built up now by an experienced shop in Dallas (Lone Star Performance). Stock block, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II and Anderson N41 cam and all the rest. They are adding new fuel pump, adjustable regulatory and 30# injectors as well.

The shop is telling I really don't need an EMS. They said that they know how to adjust the timing and fuel pressure to get extract the performance out of this setup.

They have a dyno tuner but don't have the software / systems to do the older cars.

If they get 325 to the wheels, I'm going to call it a win.

What are your thoughts?
Do you NEED an EMS? -- No
Could you benefit from an EMS -- Yes!

You could run the old A9L ECU with a calibrated mass air meter, and it would run reasonably well. The down side will be that you will have some small drivability problems, cold start surging, etc. There is no way you are going to get the power you want without a tune. I don't think you would get it with a tune either with that engine combo. That parts combination will be a vast improvement, but isn't going to get you 325 at the wheels. Adjusting the timing will give you some power. Adjusting fuel pressure is one of those dumb things that people do that accomplishes nothing. The O2 sensors are just going to pull that extra fuel in closed loop anyway, unless you are going to run in open loop, which I would not recommend. A chip tune will let you advance the timing properly, and command whatever amount of fuel you want.

But now you're tied to that tuner, and you have to hope that he actually knows what he's doing, and you have to pay him over and over again each time you make a change.

My advice would be to get it over with and get an EMS, but shop wisely. Buy the wrong one, and you'll be worse off than you were when you started. The old A9L is a better choice than many of them. If there is an entire forum section dedicated to just the particular management system you're thinking about, maybe that should tell you something. Do not shop based on price. If you can't afford a good one, then don't buy one at all. Look at the experience others have had. How steep is the learning curve? If they had problems, will you have the same problems? Or did they just not follow instructions? Or did they use junk parts? If you have trouble, how good is the tech support? Will the tech people actually be able to solve your problem? What will it cost to install? The price of the system is just the beginning if you cannot install it yourself. If you're going to pay someone to install it, and it doesn't come with a custom fit harness, you're looking at a lot of labor to make a harness, or make a universal harness work. That will be costly. And if the system just uses your old harness, do you really want to rely on the old worn out original harness? Do you need to pay someone to tune it, or can you do it yourself? If you have to pay someone to tune it, well then maybe you should have just had the A9L tuned. Is that tuner any good? How do you know? That tuner will of course tell you he's God's gift to tuning. I can almost guarantee that he isn't. And the testimony of other customers that wouldn't know a good running engine if it bit them in the arse doesn't help. How good are the parts? The quality issues with aftermarket parts are no secret.

In a nutshell, yes I'd buy an EMS. But choose wisely!

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Last edited by Michael Plummer; 02-12-2016 at 08:16 PM.
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post #5 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 05:53 PM
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I did leave off that they are adding new MAF tuned to the 30# injectors. What's the impact of a "skewed timing curve" when not in wide open throttle?
The calibrated maf will throw off the Load calculations, but actually in a positive way. It will add some spark advance. Not a problem with your mild engine combination. Understand that whether you tune or not, you will need a bigger MAF, and one that is properly calibrated. ALL MAF METERS ARE CALIBRATED to work with some range of airflow. Some are calibrated to injector size to either eliminate the need to tune, or at least minimize it. Others have universal calibrations that require tuning. Either way, you will need one that is not only large enough to flow the air you need to make the power you want, but also has the sensor calibrated with enough range to measure that amount of air flow.

Make sure you buy a good MAF though. Again, do not shop price.

Also make sure you buy good fuel injectors. Ford Racing and Pro-M both sell injectors with good calibration data at reasonable prices.

Both of these things will be very important if you decide to tune. Any tuner that is not using known good injector data and a known good MAF transfer function should be avoided.

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post #6 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Is an EMS the same as an ECU or is the ECU just the programable chip inside the EMS?

Since my Mustang is an 1989 GT, I believe it has an EEC-IV Computer (EMS).

Does the A9L just plug into the EEC-IV or is it a completely new computer system for the car?

Thanks for helping me get up to speed on all this!

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #7 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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That parts combination will be a vast improvement, but isn't going to get you 325 at the wheels.

What could I have done different without fly-cutting pistons and going with bigger heads or blowing?

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #8 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by wantabeach View Post
Is an EMS the same as an ECU or is the ECU just the programable chip inside the EMS?

Since my Mustang is an 1989 GT, I believe it has an EEC-IV Computer (EMS).

Does the A9L just plug into the EEC-IV or is it a completely new computer system for the car?

Thanks for helping me get up to speed on all this!
EMS = Engine Management System
Typically when someone refers to an EMS, they are talking about one of the aftermarket engine management systems.

ECU = Engine Control Unit
Other terms are "Computer" or ECM (Engine Control Module) or PCM (Powertrain Control Module)

"Chip" refers to a device that is connected to the ECU in order to change the calibration file or "tune". These are used on older ECU's. With modern systems you "flash" or reprogram the ECU itself.

Your car would have originally used Ford's EEC-IV system. A9L refers to the most common calibration code used in the 89-93 Mustangs.

I'd suggest you have a conversation with Chris at Pro-M Racing. He will normally take the time to educate you about what you do and don't need, whether you plan to buy anything from him or not. You'll know exactly what you need when you get off the phone. www.promracing.com

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post #9 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Understand that whether you tune or not, you will need a bigger MAF, and one that is properly calibrated.


Some are calibrated to injector size to either eliminate the need to tune, or at least minimize it.


I've will have a 75MM Pro M MAF calibrated to 30# Ford Racing injectors.

So it may be close with a little timing and fuel pressure tweak?

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #10 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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A9L refers to the most common calibration code used in the 89-93 Mustangs.

Googleing A9L, it appears to be an ECU (computer).

Is there a "chip" that can be programed and reprogramed?


1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #11 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wantabeach View Post
Understand that whether you tune or not, you will need a bigger MAF, and one that is properly calibrated.


Some are calibrated to injector size to either eliminate the need to tune, or at least minimize it.


I've will have a 75MM Pro M MAF calibrated to 30# Ford Racing injectors.

So it may be close with a little timing and fuel pressure tweak?
Yes, it should be. Read what I wrote in my first post about timing and fuel pressure.

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post #12 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of RWHP should I expect with my setup:

Stock 302 block
AFR 165 heads
Anderson N41 cam, 1.6 RR
Edelbrock RPM intake
Full length 1 5/8 in headers, H pipe (no cats), pypes muffler
PowerPipe CAI
75MM Pro M MAF
70mm Accufab throttle body
255 pump, adjust fuel pressure, 30# injectors
MSD ignition
T5 and 3.73 drive train

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #13 of 28 Old 02-12-2016, 11:08 PM
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280hp on a mustang dyno. Maybe as much a 300.
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post #14 of 28 Old 02-13-2016, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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Wow. That will be a sad day if I hear that I spent a ton of money to get 280 RWHP. I've heard people claim they got 280-300 on a GT40 set up that flows a lot less.
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post #15 of 28 Old 02-13-2016, 07:26 AM
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Honestly it doesn't matter what I think because it will make what it makes and that's it.

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post #16 of 28 Old 02-13-2016, 08:15 AM
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A mustang dyno would read lower than a dyno jet. I go to a mustang dyno. I estimate on the low side. You can go on two different days and get two different results.
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post #17 of 28 Old 02-20-2016, 12:06 PM
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i've tuned your exact setup numerous times and it should make 310rwhp with absolutely no problem, I wouldn't expect any more or any less, if you do you'll most likely be upset

do yourself a favor and buy a quarterhorse from moates.net, the custom tuning software is free on my website along with a free base tune to get you started, just follow the simple directions

A9L2 / EFIDynoTuning

If you follow the links to the write ups all the info is there for you to custom tune your setup self yourself

if you'd rather not and just have it done so you can enjoy it and go about your business your best bet is getting a remote tune

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post #18 of 28 Old 02-20-2016, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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i've tuned your exact setup numerous times and it should make 310rwhp with absolutely no problem, I wouldn't expect any more or any less, if you do you'll most likely be upset

do yourself a favor and buy a quarterhorse from moates.net, the custom tuning software is free on my website along with a free base tune to get you started, just follow the simple directions

A9L2 / EFIDynoTuning

If you follow the links to the write ups all the info is there for you to custom tune your setup self yourself

if you'd rather not and just have it done so you can enjoy it and go about your business your best bet is getting a remote tune

Online Tune / Ford / EFIDynoTuning
Thanks for the feedback. 310 WHP is kinda my base expectation. The shop sold it that 325-335 WHP on cold days and 310 in the summer would be a reasonable expectation. I should get it back next week and I told him to save me print outs of the dynojet runs. I looked at the tuning system you mentioned. I would love to learn about this in time. Lot's of variables though. Not sure if a novice like me (who loves to tinker) could do anything productive with it. They need to develop a dummy interface so I can just push or pull a few nobs and let the software make all the detail changes. You know, just input my motor and drive train components and weather conditions and WaLa! Thanks again.

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #19 of 28 Old 02-20-2016, 02:11 PM
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thats was the a9l2 base cal directions are for, if you follow the instructions you should be able to fire it up and begin playing around with it no problem
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post #20 of 28 Old 02-20-2016, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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thats was the a9l2 base cal directions are for, if you follow the instructions you should be able to fire it up and begin playing around with it no problem
Ok. I will read some more. Thanks.
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post #21 of 28 Old 02-26-2016, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Well I got it back today but it only makes 300 RWHP. Idle drops fast and dies sometimes and heavy smell of gas in my garage when I got it home. Will be taking it back tomorrow.

Pretty darn fun to drive though. Hopefully I can get the kinks worked out.
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post #22 of 28 Old 02-26-2016, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Michael Plummer View Post
Do you NEED an EMS? -- No
Could you benefit from an EMS -- Yes!

You could run the old A9L ECU with a calibrated mass air meter, and it would run reasonably well. The down side will be that you will have some small drivability problems, cold start surging, etc. There is no way you are going to get the power you want without a tune. I don't think you would get it with a tune either with that engine combo. That parts combination will be a vast improvement, but isn't going to get you 325 at the wheels. Adjusting the timing will give you some power. Adjusting fuel pressure is one of those dumb things that people do that accomplishes nothing. The O2 sensors are just going to pull that extra fuel in closed loop anyway, unless you are going to run in open loop, which I would not recommend. A chip tune will let you advance the timing properly, and command whatever amount of fuel you want.

But now you're tied to that tuner, and you have to hope that he actually knows what he's doing, and you have to pay him over and over again each time you make a change.

My advice would be to get it over with and get an EMS, but shop wisely. Buy the wrong one, and you'll be worse off than you were when you started. The old A9L is a better choice than many of them. If there is an entire forum section dedicated to just the particular management system you're thinking about, maybe that should tell you something. Do not shop based on price. If you can't afford a good one, then don't buy one at all. Look at the experience others have had. How steep is the learning curve? If they had problems, will you have the same problems? Or did they just not follow instructions? Or did they use junk parts? If you have trouble, how good is the tech support? Will the tech people actually be able to solve your problem? What will it cost to install? The price of the system is just the beginning if you cannot install it yourself. If you're going to pay someone to install it, and it doesn't come with a custom fit harness, you're looking at a lot of labor to make a harness, or make a universal harness work. That will be costly. And if the system just uses your old harness, do you really want to rely on the old worn out original harness? Do you need to pay someone to tune it, or can you do it yourself? If you have to pay someone to tune it, well then maybe you should have just had the A9L tuned. Is that tuner any good? How do you know? That tuner will of course tell you he's God's gift to tuning. I can almost guarantee that he isn't. And the testimony of other customers that wouldn't know a good running engine if it bit them in the arse doesn't help. How good are the parts? The quality issues with aftermarket parts are no secret.

In a nutshell, yes I'd buy an EMS. But choose wisely!
Well....I got it back yesterday and I'm not to happy. Taking it back today. While it runs great and I'm thrilled about that, the idle dive bombs coming to a stop light or pulling into my driveway. Heavy gas smell even after I turn it off, etc. DynoJet at 300 RWHP and sounds good. Probably need to get a tune.

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #23 of 28 Old 03-09-2016, 06:56 PM
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Or get a good management system. I am very happy with my Pro-M system.
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post #24 of 28 Old 03-09-2016, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Or get a good management system. I am very happy with my Pro-M system.
So is that basically a whole new computer for my car? I assume that would allow me to tune the car myself? How much will that cost roughly?

Why not a custom dyno tune where they flash the settings that would cost my about $600 initially and $100 for each additional tune. HPP Racing in Lewisville TX is a highly regarded Mustang Shop in my area. The guys there are all well known racers locally.

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #25 of 28 Old 05-12-2016, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Michael Plummer View Post
Do you NEED an EMS? -- No
Could you benefit from an EMS -- Yes!

You could run the old A9L ECU with a calibrated mass air meter, and it would run reasonably well. The down side will be that you will have some small drivability problems, cold start surging, etc. There is no way you are going to get the power you want without a tune. I don't think you would get it with a tune either with that engine combo. That parts combination will be a vast improvement, but isn't going to get you 325 at the wheels. Adjusting the timing will give you some power. Adjusting fuel pressure is one of those dumb things that people do that accomplishes nothing. The O2 sensors are just going to pull that extra fuel in closed loop anyway, unless you are going to run in open loop, which I would not recommend. A chip tune will let you advance the timing properly, and command whatever amount of fuel you want.

But now you're tied to that tuner, and you have to hope that he actually knows what he's doing, and you have to pay him over and over again each time you make a change.

My advice would be to get it over with and get an EMS, but shop wisely. Buy the wrong one, and you'll be worse off than you were when you started. The old A9L is a better choice than many of them. If there is an entire forum section dedicated to just the particular management system you're thinking about, maybe that should tell you something. Do not shop based on price. If you can't afford a good one, then don't buy one at all. Look at the experience others have had. How steep is the learning curve? If they had problems, will you have the same problems? Or did they just not follow instructions? Or did they use junk parts? If you have trouble, how good is the tech support? Will the tech people actually be able to solve your problem? What will it cost to install? The price of the system is just the beginning if you cannot install it yourself. If you're going to pay someone to install it, and it doesn't come with a custom fit harness, you're looking at a lot of labor to make a harness, or make a universal harness work. That will be costly. And if the system just uses your old harness, do you really want to rely on the old worn out original harness? Do you need to pay someone to tune it, or can you do it yourself? If you have to pay someone to tune it, well then maybe you should have just had the A9L tuned. Is that tuner any good? How do you know? That tuner will of course tell you he's God's gift to tuning. I can almost guarantee that he isn't. And the testimony of other customers that wouldn't know a good running engine if it bit them in the arse doesn't help. How good are the parts? The quality issues with aftermarket parts are no secret.

In a nutshell, yes I'd buy an EMS. But choose wisely!
I'm thinking of just learning to tune it myself with a Moates or Tweecer chip that plugs into my A9L and get someone like Willie at Dirty Dirty Racing to get me started. I may need some help installing the wideband and chip, etc, but after that, I'll work with a professional tuner over the internet / phone to get it right. What are your thoughts?

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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post #26 of 28 Old 05-13-2016, 06:00 AM
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I'm thinking of just learning to tune it myself with a Moates or Tweecer chip that plugs into my A9L and get someone like Willie at Dirty Dirty Racing to get me started. I may need some help installing the wideband and chip, etc, but after that, I'll work with a professional tuner over the internet / phone to get it right. What are your thoughts?
You can do whatever you like, it's your car and money. Do your research and I mean do your research, which will involve a lot of reading, then make your decision.

In your example above, how are you going to learn to tune? If you have a tune that runs well, what are you going to do or change that will make it better? And if you make a change to your combo or setup, what values are you going to change to make everything work correctly? In your example, I would buy a book on tuning for your type system (VE based) and start to read.

Good luck
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post #27 of 28 Old 05-13-2016, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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You can do whatever you like, it's your car and money. Do your research and I mean do your research, which will involve a lot of reading, then make your decision.

In your example above, how are you going to learn to tune? If you have a tune that runs well, what are you going to do or change that will make it better? And if you make a change to your combo or setup, what values are you going to change to make everything work correctly? In your example, I would buy a book on tuning for your type system (VE based) and start to read.

Good luck
Michael Plummer
Guys like Willie at DDR have you data log and then send them the file so they can analyze what's happening to your cars AFR, timing, etc. under various conditions, they tweek it and send it back to you. You then learn from what they did by comparing the "strategies" as they call them and learn by reviewing there changes, etc. I they also provide some phone time. I will of course be reading a ton like I have been doing but will do some more before I decide. It is a big commitment but it seems like it could be a lot of fun too.

1989 Mustang convertible GT, stock 302 bottom end, AFR 165 heads, Edelbrock RPM II intake, Anderson N41 cam, BBK long tubes, Accufab 70mm TB, Anderson powerpipe.
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Originally Posted by wantabeach View Post
Guys like Willie at DDR have you data log and then send them the file so they can analyze what's happening to your cars AFR, timing, etc. under various conditions, they tweek it and send it back to you. You then learn from what they did by comparing the "strategies" as they call them and learn by reviewing there changes, etc. I they also provide some phone time. I will of course be reading a ton like I have been doing but will do some more before I decide. It is a big commitment but it seems like it could be a lot of fun too.
Good luck

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