Dyno tuning is the process of fine-tuning an engine to maximize its performance. It involves making modifications such as adding new components, modifying existing components, changing air/fuel ratio, modifying ignition timing curve, and any other tweaks that can be made to an engine to enhance its performance.
Dyno tuning is not a simple task; it requires in depth knowledge and experience from tuners who understand the specifics of the engine that is being tuned. Different engines have their own strengths, weaknesses, and respond differently to the changing of various tuning parameters.
At a basic level, a dyno tune makes sure your engine is running at peak performance and making the optimum power possible with the modifications it has. It also ensures the engine is operating within a set of safe parameters.
The process begins by connecting the car to a dynamometer so that its performance can be recorded while various adjustments are made over time. Using data collected from the dynamometer readings, tuners make adjustments to produce optimum results for each particular engine set up.
The tuner will make what is called a baseline dyno pull to get a starting point. Then they will make adjustments and do additional dyno pulls after each adjustment or set of adjustments to see what effect it had on the engine's performance.
This process will be repeated until either no additional gains are made or the desired result is achieved.
This ensures that the vehicle meets its desired performance goals while closely monitoring vital engine parameters. Being able to closely monitor these engine parameters in a controlled environment helps to ensure the engine will not be damaged by improper tuning such as a lean air/fuel ratio or too much ignition timing which can cause detonation or "pinging".
Dyno tuning is a great way to increase an engine's performance. Whether you're looking to get more power out of your car or improve fuel economy, having a proper tune can help you achieve your goals.
Some of the most common benefits of dyno tuning include:
The amount of horsepower gain you will see from custom dyno tuning depends on a lot of factors such as aftermarket engine modifications such as intakes, cams, headers, exhaust, and any other changes. But even stock engines can usually get a power increase from a dyno tune.
You might think that the engine tune from the manufacturer is already fully optimazed from the factory, but there is almost always room for improvement. Manufacturers of mass produced engines build in a margin of safety to take into account various manufacturing tolerances, engine operating conditions, and to improve the reliability of their engines. These tweaks usually come at the cost of engine power output.
We have seen completely stock engines get anywhere from just a few extra horsepower to a 10+% gain in power from custom dyno tuning.
Forced induction engines, those running a turbocharger or supercharger, as well an engines running nitrous oxide injection will usually see the most power gains from dyno tuning. We have seen forced induction engines gain hundreds of horsepower from a dyno tuning session.
The cost of dyno tuning a car or other vehicle will vary greatly depending on many factors such as the type of engine, engine modifications, and tuner reputation/experience.
For most vehicles with common modifications you can expect to pay from $500 - $1,000 for a custom dyno tune. Of course, like anything else, the price can go much higher than that depending on the circumstances. Before having a custom dyno tune it is best to talk to the tuner about what it will cost and any additional charges for extra services.
Some tuners will charge a flat rate for tuning. This is common when a tuner specializes in a certain type of car such as a Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, etc. Otherwise they may charge by the hour for tuning time.
Be sure to ask about anything that might cause additional fees. Here are some common things we have seen that shops and tuners might charge extra for:
Now that you know the basics of what dyno tuning is, how it is done, how much it costs, and any additional fees you might run into you will be better prepared for your first dyno tuning session.
There is no better way to get the most out of your vehicle's performance modifications than a custom dyno tune.