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Old 06-06-2021, 01:55 PM   #1
OldCarNewTricks
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Default LS Tuning

Hello,

I have an IROC Camaro I am installing a 6.0 ls motor into. Basically, I want to make progress on a budget. Already have most of the physical stuff, but the only thing I haven't figured out is the tuning portion. I know the above isn't about my 240, but here's how it ties in: I've posted in the past about the possibility of learning the very basic components of tuning perhaps with MS or similar engine management ECU systems. From research I've done, HPTuners is one of the more affordable options for getting an LS motor running. I cannot afford the $1600 Holley system to get my motor going.

I'm looking for advice on how to get started on learning the ins and outs of tuning my own car. Would it be wise to start on a simple car like my 83 242 and move on to the more advanced LS brain? My 242 could use some fresh wiring and a more modern ECU system I think.

I'm in college for automotive tech, and I'd like to learn as much as I can for fun, and for a deeper understanding of everything that happens in the newer electronic systems.

Thanks!
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:48 PM   #2
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Might want to try the F-body forum if you're putting this into an IROC.

You can get pretty far with the stock ECU, but without it you're going to need a standalone or (god forbid) that Holley system.
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:56 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by fatcatbestcat View Post
Might want to try the F-body forum if you're putting this into an IROC.

You can get pretty far with the stock ECU, but without it you're going to need a standalone or (god forbid) that Holley system.
Yeah, I tried posting in both LS1TECH and thirdgen forum, but only got a singular response, which was a suggestion to use HPTuners.
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Old 06-06-2021, 03:59 PM   #4
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If you're not going to lose the shop, and you have another car to drive, just save up and get a system that works out of the box.
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Old 06-06-2021, 04:18 PM   #5
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If you're not going to lose the shop, and you have another car to drive, just save up and get a system that works out of the box.
I've thought about that. Any options that are cheaper? I saw that MS makes an electronic control for the GM transmissions.

My camshaft is not stock.
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Old 06-06-2021, 05:51 PM   #6
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PCM Hammer. There's now a freeware tuning solution for LS ecus .
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:06 PM   #7
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PCM Hammer. There's now a freeware tuning solution for LS ecus .
Now this is very new to me! Even the OBD interface hardware is cheap! I'll do more research on this, but looks very promising.
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:26 PM   #8
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I've done a little bit of it already. A cheap cable and the freeware is all it took to change the OS on an ecu successfully .
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:28 PM   #9
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Be the first to put DCOE 40s on an LS.
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Old 06-06-2021, 07:55 PM   #10
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I've done a little bit of it already. A cheap cable and the freeware is all it took to change the OS on an ecu successfully .
Very cool! What cable worked for you?
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:33 PM   #11
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I got this one off Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Being in the USA means you could get the cable that's designed by the people who made the software: https://obdxpro.com/product/obdx-pro-vt/.

The one I used is quite slow, usually around 8+ minutes per read, but it works. The other one is MUCH faster .
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:49 AM   #12
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Just get the Holley- by the time you figure out a harness, relays, a wideband O2 sensor and spend endless hours building and troubleshooting an ECU, you will have spent nearly as much, then you have to get it tuned. All that stuff comes with the Holley, and if you can connect the harness to the engine, provide power , ground and switched power, answer a few questions on the handheld and it will fire up and run.
Or you can build and wire an ecu yourself, make a harness, buy a wideband, then figure out how to set up the ecu and tune, idle, etc. Then be ready to figure out why it doesn’t work. Holley has done all the work for you and has great support.
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:13 AM   #13
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yeah a holly terminator is a pretty compelling thing in terms of the bang for your buck, esp if you assess any value at all to your time. Stock ecu tuning is fine, don't get me wrong (I do a lot of it these days, and I'm kinda getting tired of it tbh), but there are a lot of inter-related tables and settings that you'll spend a fair amount of time chasing down depending on what all you want to change and what you do to the engine.

I've not heard about that other option, pcm hammer (I'm gonna check it out though, hpt is good, but more options never hurt) so I can't speak to it, but figure you're gonna spend ~3 or 400 on hptuners and 2 credits, whatever the cost for the conversion harness, couple hundred bucks for a wideband setup (and whatever it takes to run that wideband input into whatever logging software you end up using)...and hey that's fine, don't take my comments as condemning any of it, just wanting you to be aware, that's all. Holley puts the terminator products on sale fairly often, and they come with a harness. It's not a dominator, and doesn't have all the features the bigger holley systems have, but it works very well.
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Old 06-07-2021, 09:50 AM   #14
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Here's the main thread on LS1Tech about PCM Hammer: https://ls1tech.com/forums/pcm-diagn...ispreloading=1

The meat and potatoes thread on PCMHacking.net: https://pcmhacking.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6080
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:30 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Broke4speed View Post
Here's the main thread on LS1Tech about PCM Hammer: https://ls1tech.com/forums/pcm-diagn...ispreloading=1

The meat and potatoes thread on PCMHacking.net: https://pcmhacking.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6080
neat stuff, it does appear to be somewhat narrow in scope (in terms of what pcms/os's it supports), however if you have a box that falls under those criteria, it seems reasonable. I didn't read the whole 45 page ls1tech thread, what are folks using to datalog? just any obd2 thing?
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:10 PM   #16
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Don't get me wrong, the Holley stuff is SLICK. But I'm on a college student budget for the next year and a half. I have time here and there to work on projects, so it sounds like PCM Hammer might be an amazing option for me. I have my eye on a used OBDII to USB cable for $28, and its listed under the supported hardware of PCM Hammer's page. Luckily enough, the PCM I have is supported by the program, which is very cool. I know the cable is a bit slow, but I won't need to do tuning on the fly, so slow is okay with me.

I expect it will take some time for me to be able to learn all that is required to adjust all the tables to end up with a perfect finished product, but the learning is what is important to me.

I may have to cut out the DBW throttle body I have out of the plans if it ends up causing me grief, but I'm certainly going to try and keep it.

I already have the entire harness and PCM from an escalade, and it is depinned, labeled and stored for now until I get back to it. I started work on the relay portion of things when I was working on that, as well. I have my diagram saved on my computer somewhere...

Thank you guys, this is exactly why I wanted to post here. 100x more helpful than the other forums I tried posting in
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:47 PM   #17
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neat stuff, it does appear to be somewhat narrow in scope (in terms of what pcms/os's it supports), however if you have a box that falls under those criteria, it seems reasonable. I didn't read the whole 45 page ls1tech thread, what are folks using to datalog? just any obd2 thing?
There is a logger portion too, PCM Logger . The big part is that it's able to swap OSs, which makes it easier to use the better-supported ones. It can't do boost tunes or custom OS work like HPT can, but it's getting there. There are open-source segment swap utilities too, although not a part of PCM Hammer.
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Old 06-07-2021, 01:56 PM   #18
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I got as far as downloading the PCM Hammer stuff and setting it up. Gotta build a flashing cable and whatnot.

My suggestion for budget build? Leave the engine 100% stock, figure out how to get it running by turning off security and deleting emissions codes, then move on from there.
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Old 06-07-2021, 03:37 PM   #19
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I got as far as downloading the PCM Hammer stuff and setting it up. Gotta build a flashing cable and whatnot.

My suggestion for budget build? Leave the engine 100% stock, figure out how to get it running by turning off security and deleting emissions codes, then move on from there.
This is something I've really been thinking about. I still have the stock camshaft and springs. The PCM is for an LQ9, and my 6.0 is an LQ4 that I am putting 243 heads on to. It will have a slightly higher comp ratio than an LQ9, about 10.6:1 (LQ9 is 10.1:1). However, I bet that the factory tune is "safe and rich," so maybe the motor would run just fine with that. I have LT headers, high flow cats and dual 2.5s that merge into a single 3.

The camshaft I had purchased for it was a Trickflow 228/230 112 .585/.585. It's not a HUGE camshaft or anything for the 6.0, or so I've been told. It's not supposed to be hard to tune. With this cam, people were estimating a healthy 400 rwhp.

With that being said, I'm going to be running a Chevy 10 bolt and a 4l60e. So the real question is do I really want to run 500 crank HP through that... even with the stock camshaft, I would likely be making a little over 330 rwhp.
One thing to note is that both the 4l60e and the 10 bolt are being built up to handle more power.
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Old 06-07-2021, 03:50 PM   #20
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Just thought of this. How hard would it be to use an LS6 camshaft instead of the factory truck cam and plop an LS6 tune onto my PCM? I figure that since the LS6 is about the same comp ratio, but down .3L, it would be pretty close. What do you think?
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Old 06-07-2021, 07:12 PM   #21
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Just thought of this. How hard would it be to use an LS6 camshaft instead of the factory truck cam and plop an LS6 tune onto my PCM? I figure that since the LS6 is about the same comp ratio, but down .3L, it would be pretty close. What do you think?
Only a couple hours after I posted this, someone on LS1TECH said I should just use the 204/218 LS6 camshaft. It's like he read my mind! Anyway, sounds like a good option and will allow me to use a factory tune.
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