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  #1  
Old 09-14-2004, 04:09 AM
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Default Chip vs. Programmer

Here is a little "mild" tech:

For those who are interested in purchasing a chip or a programmer and are not sure which way to go, I thought I would put some useful info together. This way, you can answer the question: "which option is best for me?"

CHIP:

Installation: A chip is manually installed into the car's ECU. I personally think it is a pain in the **** as it is time consuming and difficult to clean the ECU terminals. Give yourself 60 - 120 minutes especially if it is your first time. (DISADVANTAGE)

Warrenty: As soon as the chip is installed, say goodbye to the warrenty (if you care). While the chip does not set-off a buzzer, as soon as Ford figures out that it is there or WAS there, most warrenty repairs will be voided. (DISADVANTAGE)

Results: Depends on programmer where the chip was purchased. Chips lack a code reader function. (DISADVANTAGE)

Multiple tunes: Chips can generally have one, two, three, or four programs. Chips with multiple programs will have a switch associated with them. This might allow the user to have a performance tune, 87 octane tune, and a nitrous tune as an example. Chips with more tunes, cost more money.(SAME)

Cost: $200 - $500 depending on the number of tunes, brand used, and retailer. (SAME)

Ability to reprogram: Chips can easily be reburned as a car is modified. However, the chip must be removed and generally mailed to the retailer. This results in delays and you will nopt be able to have the tune to use while you are waiting. This can take a few days to many weeks depending on backlog and difficulty of tune required. In some cases, you can burn the chip yourself with an emailed tune or one downloaded from the internet if you have the right hardware. This adds to cost (DISADVANTAGE).

Ability to switch between tunes on the car: A multiple tune chip can be changed in seconds simply by switching the position of the toggle switch. However, the car must be off and then restarted. This is very convenient. (ADVANTAGE)

Emissions: If the car is equipped with an obd scan for emissions, it will most likely fail (DISADVANTAGE).


PROGRAMMER:

Installation: None required, per se. The programmer is simply attached to a port connection on the driver side below the steering column. The programmer is plugged in, and the tune is downloaded from the programmer to the car in about 3 minutes. Caution is needed, since if the programmer is interrupted while downloading (cable gets pulled), then the car is out of service until the programmer can be returned to the retailer. Also, the correct fuel system fuse MUST be pulled before programming. This is an added, but simple step, but can be a huge problem if you forget to do it. (ADVANTAGE)

Warrenty: Since there is no chip, the programmer will store the stock tune when the performance tune is downloaded. This allows the stock tune to be returned to the car when needed. This can be done before warrenty service. There is no evidence that the car was ever re-programmed, so warrenty problems can be avoided.(ADVANTAGE)

Results: Depends on program. However, these devices also double as a code reader which is a useful feature.(ADVANTAGE)

Multiple Tunes: Simple programmers will have one tune. Some (like SCT) can store 4 tunes including stock.(SAME)

Cost: $350 - $425 (SAME)

Ability to re-program: Programmers can be mailed back to the retailer to have tunes changed for different mods. While doing this, you can still drive the car with the performance tune. This feature can avoid a lot of downtime in certain situations. Also, tunes can be emailed to the customer. This si a very simple process and only requires about a $75 expense for additional hardware.(ADVATAGE)

Ability to switch between tunes on the car: This is a simple function, but can not be done at a stoplight like with a chip. Task takes about 3-4 minutes total.(DISADVANTAGE)

Emissions: If car is equipped with obd scan for emissions, it will still pass even with 02 sensors turned-off if o/r x pipe is in place. (ADVANTAGE)

As you can see, programmers generally are better, however, if you need to change tunes a lot especially while at the track, a multiple program chip may be the way to go.

I hope this is useful.
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  #2  
Old 09-14-2004, 05:19 AM
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Great tech, thanks for posting it up. It answered a lot of my questions but im still on the fence about ordering a predator...AHH! I didnt know that if the cable gets pulled while downloading the tune then your car is outta commission. Man would that suck.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2004, 05:01 PM
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what kind of programmer do u suggest??? and what is the cost of it?
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2004, 05:54 PM
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You have a few choices. The most popular are listed below:

1 - Superchips: Reputable company. The tuner comes with a "mail order" style tune that can NOT be customized for your application. Good for stock or lightly modded cars. Gives you some options to change such as gear ratios and thermostat control, but that is it.

2 - SCT (Superchips Custom Tuning): Also reputable. This is similar to above but is completely custom. The tune will be setup just for your mods. You can not make any changes on your own. The programmer can be sent back to the dealer to have changes made as the car is modified more (ie add a turbo or cams). You can store upto four tunes on it including the stock tune. Ideal for someone who wants an 87 octane program, a 93 octane program, and a nitrous program just as an example. You can also receive tune changes via email.

3 - Hypertech: Similar to #1

4 - Diablo Predetor: Close in many ways to the SCT, however, the user has more control over the functions.

On paper, #4 is the best option. In reality, I believe the SCT to be the best and it is what I use.
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  #5  
Old 09-15-2004, 05:55 PM
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Cost? The SCT is about $425. The Diablo is about $380 and the Superchips is around $300 - $350.
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2004, 12:18 AM
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ive seen the diablo for 320, sct 400, superchips 399 but it was a package with frpp 3.73's.
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  #7  
Old 09-17-2004, 10:35 AM
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Thanks...I have been thinking about one of these for a while....great info...
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  #8  
Old 09-17-2004, 12:07 PM
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Check ebay a lot of times, they will have dealers that sell the Diablo for about 325.
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  #9  
Old 09-17-2004, 07:10 PM
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I have the Diablo Predator and am very happy. I think the Predator and the SCT tuners are both very good and dont think you could go wrong with either. The reason I got the Predator is its ability to read and erase fault codes, and it has Datalogging capability. I am a Ford Tech so I use it at work frequently.
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2004, 04:38 PM
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i got the sct flasher and it is awesome, although i did have to send it back for slight tweaking.
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  #11  
Old 09-18-2004, 07:43 PM
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The SCT Flasher reads and clears codes too BTW.
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2004, 06:51 PM
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where have you guys found sct stuff for cheapest? I think I want to go with the multi position chip so when I add nitrous down the road.
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  #13  
Old 09-20-2004, 07:11 PM
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So if I add a Accufab 75mm TB and C&L Plenum...would the SCT take care of my air/fuel ratio.....or would I have to dyno tune?
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2004, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99GT
where have you guys found sct stuff for cheapest? I think I want to go with the multi position chip so when I add nitrous down the road.
Modular Depot is the best place.

I fyou are planning on Nitrous, the muti-position switch is a great idea!!!

I am adding nitrous this week and have the SCT Flasher. You can't swicth tunes at a stoplight with my setup. However, I have the Venom-1000 nitrous which is self tuning, but, I still have to return my car to stock timing before spraying.

I just wish you could clear codes with the dam flip-chips....that would be cool. This is one good upside of tuners!
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2004, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcler8
So if I add a Accufab 75mm TB and C&L Plenum...would the SCT take care of my air/fuel ratio.....or would I have to dyno tune?
With those modes, you would get a standard, run of the mill, mail order tune. Those mods do not require a true custom tune.

Your tuner may opt to not lean you out quite as much as those intake mods tend to do that already, but that's abou it.

You don't need a dyno tune with those mods. It is always nice, but at most you will spend big bucks for 5 hp and that's about it.

Generally speaking, you don't NEED a dyno tune unless you are adding cams or a blower. But in some cases that is still not required. A milder set of cams can be nailed with a mail order SCT tune....just specify the cams.

Some blowers are added all the time with a mail order tune. Crap, you can buy directly from a Ford dealer a Steeda blower and chip that is setup right from the factory. But, I would have a tune done if I were adding a blower. Also, a dyno tune is a good idea with nitrous.

But again, with basic bolt-ons (cai's, udp's, plenums, TB's, exhaust) a dyno tune is not essential. The SCT will get you real close.

I wish I had a wide-band! That would be the zhit! They are great tools for reading a/f. But $400+ is a lot of bones. It would be great if I had a local Mustang club that could share one of these. Hey, I would throw in $50 to get to use one on ocassion.
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Old 09-20-2004, 07:52 PM
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you can always take your car to autozone to check your codes, or disconnect your battery to clear them.
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  #17  
Old 09-20-2004, 07:56 PM
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Good point! BUT, It is soo much more convenient having it in the trunk. I have had SES lights on about 6 ocassions. With the tuner in the trunk, I can tell if it is a real problem or not. resetting the battery works too, but you never know why you got the code and it also clears your fuel trims which is not good to do.
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  #18  
Old 09-22-2004, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT's#1Customer!
You have a few choices. The most popular are listed below:

1 - Superchips: Reputable company. The tuner comes with a "mail order" style tune that can NOT be customized for your application. Good for stock or lightly modded cars. Gives you some options to change such as gear ratios and thermostat control, but that is it.

2 - SCT (Superchips Custom Tuning): Also reputable. This is similar to above but is completely custom. The tune will be setup just for your mods. You can not make any changes on your own. The programmer can be sent back to the dealer to have changes made as the car is modified more (ie add a turbo or cams). You can store upto four tunes on it including the stock tune. Ideal for someone who wants an 87 octane program, a 93 octane program, and a nitrous program just as an example. You can also receive tune changes via email.

Superchips and SCT are one and the same thing.

Depending on who you purchase it from.......you can get a mail order chip based on what your mods are.(dont have to be stock or lightly modded) They set up the tune on the chip according to what your exact mods are. It has 4 settings, each setting after the first is additional money. It CAN be tuned for performance mods....that is what it is for. It just wont be dyno tuned.

You can also get a chip and have it dyno tuned by anyone with SCT software. This is the best option but also a lot more expensive due to the dyno runs. But this way you can customize your a/f ratio.

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Old 09-22-2004, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSilver88
Superchips and SCT are one and the same thing.

Depending on who you purchase it from.......you can get a mail order chip based on what your mods are.(dont have to be stock or lightly modded) They set up the tune on the chip according to what your exact mods are. It has 4 settings, each setting after the first is additional money. It CAN be tuned for performance mods....that is what it is for. It just wont be dyno tuned.

You can also get a chip and have it dyno tuned by anyone with SCT software. This is the best option but also a lot more expensive due to the dyno runs. But this way you can customize your a/f ratio.

Superchips and SCT (Superchips Custom Tuning) are the same but different. Just like Buick and Saturn are the same. From what I understand, SCT is moving further and further apart from Superchips and they have a different market.

SCT will setup your car for your exact mods as you stated, BUT, for a lightly modded car, the tunes are all the same. A guy who has a CAI, TB, and Plenum, is gonna get the same tune as someone with a catted X pipe as his only mod. Those bolt-ons (according to my dealer) arn't enough to require a differnt tune than their standard "custom" tune. But, when you specify your programmer you need to tell them everything you have so that they can get things right like gears and whether or not you have cats. This concept is really no different if you order a chip from anyone.

The SCT Programmer does not have 4 settings as you call them, but in fact has a data base that can store four discrete tunes. One of which is the stock tune. Also, you get a total of TWO custom tunes when you buy the programmer. Mine came with a 87 octane tune AND a 93 octane tune. So a total of THREE tunes are on my programmer. Additionally, I will soon have a nitrous tune. They due charge for additional tunes or if you need tune changes because you modified your car.

If I add cams, I will need to get all three of my custom tunes changed. This will cost money, but is pretty cool if you think of it.
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Old 09-22-2004, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT's#1Customer!
Superchips and SCT (Superchips Custom Tuning) are the same but different. Just like Buick and Saturn are the same. From what I understand, SCT is moving further and further apart from Superchips and they have a different market.

SCT will setup your car for your exact mods as you stated, BUT, for a lightly modded car, the tunes are all the same. A guy who has a CAI, TB, and Plenum, is gonna get the same tune as someone with a catted X pipe as his only mod. Those bolt-ons (according to my dealer) arn't enough to require a differnt tune than their standard "custom" tune. But, when you specify your programmer you need to tell them everything you have so that they can get things right like gears and whether or not you have cats. This concept is really no different if you order a chip from anyone.

The SCT Programmer does not have 4 settings as you call them, but in fact has a data base that can store four discrete tunes. One of which is the stock tune. Also, you get a total of TWO custom tunes when you buy the programmer. Mine came with a 87 octane tune AND a 93 octane tune. So a total of THREE tunes are on my programmer. Additionally, I will soon have a nitrous tune. They due charge for additional tunes or if you need tune changes because you modified your car.

If I add cams, I will need to get all three of my custom tunes changed. This will cost money, but is pretty cool if you think of it.
We must be thinking of different things here......

I was gonna go with this chip from modular depot when I can get the cash.
http://www.modulardepot.com/product_...products_id=65

With this tune the Mod depot guys will give you a mail order tune custom burned according to each and every mod. This must be different than what you are talking about.
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  #21  
Old 09-23-2004, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MT's#1Customer!
With those modes, you would get a standard, run of the mill, mail order tune. Those mods do not require a true custom tune.

Your tuner may opt to not lean you out quite as much as those intake mods tend to do that already, but that's abou it.

You don't need a dyno tune with those mods. It is always nice, but at most you will spend big bucks for 5 hp and that's about it.

Generally speaking, you don't NEED a dyno tune unless you are adding cams or a blower. But in some cases that is still not required. A milder set of cams can be nailed with a mail order SCT tune....just specify the cams.

Some blowers are added all the time with a mail order tune. Crap, you can buy directly from a Ford dealer a Steeda blower and chip that is setup right from the factory. But, I would have a tune done if I were adding a blower. Also, a dyno tune is a good idea with nitrous.

But again, with basic bolt-ons (cai's, udp's, plenums, TB's, exhaust) a dyno tune is not essential. The SCT will get you real close.

I wish I had a wide-band! That would be the zhit! They are great tools for reading a/f. But $400+ is a lot of bones. It would be great if I had a local Mustang club that could share one of these. Hey, I would throw in $50 to get to use one on ocassion.
Thanks...that clears up a lot!
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Old 09-24-2004, 10:32 AM
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PROGRAMMER:
Also, the correct fuel system fuse MUST be pulled before programming. This is an added, but simple step, but can be a huge problem if you forget to do it.

What do you mean about this? I have a Hypertech and there's nothing mentioned about doing this, so I never did. Never had a problem.
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  #23  
Old 09-24-2004, 01:01 PM
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I have a hypertech power programmer on my stang and I love it! I did not use the hypertech power tune that came with the programmer simply because what it does is change a/f ratio and advances timing..I am running a dry kit and works better with the stock timing! I did however use it to recaibrate my speedometer and raise my rev limiter up to 6500!
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Old 09-24-2004, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bullitt2759
PROGRAMMER:
Also, the correct fuel system fuse MUST be pulled before programming. This is an added, but simple step, but can be a huge problem if you forget to do it.

What do you mean about this? I have a Hypertech and there's nothing mentioned about doing this, so I never did. Never had a problem.
The SCT, Supertuner, and Diablo (I think) all require you to remove this fuse. I was not aware that the Hypertech does not require this. If you have not had any problems, I would not worry about it.
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Old 09-24-2004, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4.6 Love
I have a hypertech power programmer on my stang and I love it! I did not use the hypertech power tune that came with the programmer simply because what it does is change a/f ratio and advances timing..I am running a dry kit and works better with the stock timing! I did however use it to recaibrate my speedometer and raise my rev limiter up to 6500!
You have brought up a good point. For your application, you could have just used a speed cal and a Timing Adjuster. A TA, would give you better control over advancing and retarding your timing for you nitrous and for your na use. But as you have pointed out, the programmer gives you other advantages.

I do know a few guys who use it just the same exact way. It is, of course, totally safe to use the power proram when not spraying. But I would certainly keep the stock program for the juice.
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  #26  
Old 09-25-2004, 12:04 AM
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Default Chipped gains?

Anyone know the rough gains from chipping a 04 GT?
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  #27  
Old 09-25-2004, 03:46 AM
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Depends:

If the car is pretty much stock (say a few bolt-ons), a chip will give you about 10 - 15 rwhp depending on the chip. Expect as low as 5 hp. HOWEVER, chips help in other ways especially if you have an auto. AND, it's all about the area under the pwoer curve. Chips seem to raise the power curve nicely from what I have seen.
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  #28  
Old 09-27-2004, 06:35 PM
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So..... if you add mods AFTER the purchase of the tuner, will you have to send it back to have it reprogrammed? Is there one that does not require you to do that?
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Old 09-27-2004, 08:02 PM
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Yes and no. Any time you modify the car, you may have to have the tune changed depending on what you do. Let's say there are two identical cars with the following mods:

Gears, X Pipe, TB, Plenum, and CAI. One car has a programmer and the other an installed chip. They both decide to add the same exact after-market cam. It's a streetable cam and not too agressive, but needs a tune.

The guy with the chip, must remove it and ship it back to be re-programmed. While waiting, he can't drive the car.

The second guy can either mail his tuner back for re-programming, or simply have an updated tune emailed to him so it can be uploaded to the programmer and then downloaded to the car. This minimizes the downtime. SCT allows you to do this, for example.

Both functions cost money...about $75.

Programmers, unfortunately, do not come with endless options already in the memory that you can pick from. Someday, perhaps.
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Old 02-03-2005, 07:58 PM
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I just bought the Diablo Predator. Will I need to buy additional hardware/cables to get the emailed tunes? Also since I'll be running 93 octane how much can I advance the timing? What other parameters such as fuel should I change? Does anyone have any real numbers on this thing. My car is a 04 GT with 5spd. No other present mods all stock. I saw something called a Diablo Sport Predator Pc interface and power source on ebay. Will I need this?
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