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Vehicle Preparedness Checklist
At King our goal is to provide you with a tune that will extract the most WHP from your vehicle, while maintaining reliability and drivability. In order to do that, your car must be in good operating condition and be ready for the dyno. To help achieve this goal and keep your costs to a minimum, we put together this Vehicle Preparedness Checklist for the benefit of our customers who are coming in for tuning and/or dyno pulls. The list has been compiled to explain some of the routine issues we have encountered, as well as how to avoid them. It’s important to note that it is the customer's responsibility to make certain their vehicle is healthy and ready to tune. Any issues that make your car untuneable will cost you extra to have fixed. As a full-service, professional shop our techs are experienced and capable of getting your vehicle ready for the dyno.
If you come to an appointment with a car that is not in proper working order there are two options: The first is you have informed us that there are additional issues. In this case we will assess the required repairs and give you an estimate. The repairs will then be made and your vehicle will be tuned. By scheduling extra time to address the additional repairs, we can finish your vehicle in a reasonable time frame. In the second option, if you are unaware of, or don’t inform us about potential problems, we will start uncovering them as we tune your car. In this case, we will stop and give you an estimate of what the cost will be. Customers will be charged a portion of the tuning rate and/or the shop's hourly rate for the time spent diagnosing why the car could not be tuned or could not be tuned completely. Additionally, since we were not aware of additional problems, and did not schedule extra time, we may not be able to finish your tune on the same day. In this case, customers may find it more cost/time effective to leave the car with King Motorsports for repairs. Many of the issues that surface are simple to fix and we may very well be able to do so on the same day as the appointment.
Cam Timing/Valve-to-Valve Clearance/Valve-to-Piston Clearance:
If you’re running aftermarket cams or pistons, especially on VTEC and iVTEC motors, it’s IMPERATIVE that these steps have been taken before tuning. If they have not, and you sign the waiver telling us to go ahead and tune, we will not be responsible for any damages when your engine kicks into VTEC. We have seen quite a few “fully built” motors experience interference with these parts when they go into VTEC, and the damage ranges from slight marks on the piston faces to catastrophic engine failure with ruined pistons, bent valves and trashed heads. Please read more HERE . For your sake, let us know if these steps were not taken when your parts were installed. Often we can check for clearance by running your engine “just” into VTEC and scoping the cylinders. If your motor isn’t built yet, make certain the person/shop building it understands all of these issues; if they don’t, go somewhere else. In addition, if you’re running components we’re familiar with, we may be able to tell you if you have an issue just from experience. For example, if you’re running Skunk2 Pro 2’s, and they’re set at zero degrees apart, you’re going to experience serious valve-to-valve interference.
Chassis Tie Down Points:
Make sure you vehicle is either equipped with the OEM Tow Hooks or a safe alternative. We need to be able to strap the vehicle down in a timely manner. There can be additional difficulties on turbocharged and/or vehicles with body kits because of the charge pipes, down-pipes, dump tubes and/or lower hanging body work.
The engine harness should be free from breaks and have no exposed wires. Breaks or exposed wires should not be twisted and taped together. Loose connections and stray wires in the engine bay can be hard to track down, costing time and money, so make sure your wiring is correct and secure.
TPS (Throttle Position Sensor):
A properly set Throttle Position Sensor should read 4.5V at wide open throttle and .5V closed.
MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) Sensor:
A properly installed Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor should be installed directly into or off of the intake manifold plenum. On vehicles equipped with Jackson/ CT Engineering style superchargers the MAP must be installed off of, or in the plenum - this is not an option. Vehicles with aftermarket or bored factory throttle bodies may experience issues while tuning if the MAP sensor is in the factory location and the manifold has not been port matched. We have seen the step from throttle body to intake manifold create turbulence which has lead to bad MAP readings... this negatively affects the tune and needs to be corrected. This issue is made worse on boosted applications. The best solution is port-matching your throttle body to your intake. Read more HERE .
AIT (Air Intake Temperature) Sensor:
A properly installed Air Intake Temp sensor should be installed in the intake manifold. We realize that some vehicles come with AIT sensors in the intake pipe from the factory, but whenever possible, it is best to have it installed in the manifold. We can’t tune for heat-soak if the sensor is located elsewhere. Newer style AIT sensors that are located in the intake pipe should be installed post turbo for accurate readings. We offer billet AIT Bungs that can be welded to your intake manifold or charge pipe so you don’t have to convert to the older style AIT sensor. Don’t install the sensor in a charge pipe using an o-ring or grommet- it will not hold under boost and will need to be fixed.
Fuel Injector Plugs:
All fuel injector plugs should be complete and crack free. Plugs missing their metal retaining clips will present an issue and will be repaired or replaced.
CEL (Check Engine Light):
If you're Check Engine Light is on it’s on for a reason and the chances are you have a problem. Find out why your CEL is coming on and either have the issue fixed, or let us know ahead of time. Exceptions to this are O2 sensor code, O2 heater code, and knock sensor code. These sensors can be disabled during your tuning session, but we prefer to use the O2 sensor and have it functioning.
A properly operating system should be charging at 13.5-14 Volts under all operating conditions. Exceptions are race cars running a 16V System, a vehicle that is equipped with an aftermarket crank pulley that under drives the alternator, or a vehicle equipped w/ a high output alternator.
Make sure your vehicle has good, clean grounds. Older vehicles that have surface rust in and or around the ground strap connection area may benefit from additional grounds. The three (3) major grounds to be aware of are as follows.
-Battery to Chassis
-Transmission to Chassis
-Valve Cover Nut to Chassis
Fuel Issues :
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AT LEAST A HALF TANK OF GAS – or better yet, fill your tank - if we have to put fuel in your car you will be charged for the fuel and time to do it.
Fuel Pressure Gauge:
Many times we have a vehicle strapped down on the dyno and in the process of tuning we find that the injector is either improperly sized or that the fuel pump simply cannot keep up. It is good practice to have a fuel pressure gauge installed to help troubleshoot if it comes to it.
Know what fuel pump is in the vehicle and how old it is. If you have any doubt, check it or replace it. Lack of fuel will show up at the least opportune time. Although it is an easy fix on the dyno, it will cause delays and add extra cost.
Fuel Pressure Regulator:
Not necessary for every application but it can’t hurt. Fuel pressure regulators are great for turning down pressure in applications where it’s not needed. They are also great for increasing the injectors duty cycle if/when you are at its limit. Base fuel pressure with engine on and vacuum line removed from the fuel pressure regulator should be between 40-50psi.
Be sure that there are no vacuum and/ or fuel leaks at or around the injectors. Also, make sure your fuel injectors are sized appropriately for the power that you are trying to make. Below is a quick reference to what a given injector will support.
Injectors can support more power by upping the static fuel pressure. With high base fuel pressures of 60-70psi, a 20-30% increase in flow can be achieved.
Vacuum/ Boost Issues:
Vacuum Lines - Make sure that your intake, vacuum lines, and intercooler piping are sealed when under vacuum as well as sealed when under pressure. A vacuum leak under vacuum can cause an erratic idle and the engine to run lean. A vacuum leak under boost will make the engine run rich. Major leaks can usually be found while dyno tuning because the data will look incorrect, but minor leaks are very difficult to find. No matter the size or nature of the leak, the leak will prohibit us from tuning and must be found and repaired.
Secure all vacuum lines or charge piping so they do not blow off during tuning Tighten all throttle body, intake manifold, exhaust/ turbo manifold, turbo, down pipe, and/ or exhaust hardware.
Exhaust Length – Tuning a car with an open header or open down pipe is sometimes a challenge - depending on the size and length. We have seen compromises in part throttle tunes due to O2 sensor readings and prefer that the car come in with a full exhaust. We can tune either way, but if the car is to be run open header or open down pipe, here are the recommendations for a great tune: O2 sensor bung should be mounted at least 10-14 inches from the turbo and at least 24-30 inches from the exit on turbo cars; and in the collector and at least 24 inches from the outlet on N/A and supercharged cars.
If the vehicle is not equipped with a wideband we will need to remove the narrow band sensor so that we can install ours. Please make sure that the O2 sensor comes out easily, avoiding costly damage due to the sensor being installed without anti-seize. If the sensor must be replaced, you will be charged for the cost of the sensor as well as the additional labor needed to chase the threads. If the bung is ruined beyond repair, we sometimes need to remove that section of pipe to weld a new section of pipe, with a new bung in place.
We do not perform compression or leak down tests on all vehicles that come in for tuning. We assume that you are providing us a healthy motor. If the vehicle is down on power and the Tuner has to stop to check compression and/ or cylinder leak down, you will be charged. Depending on the results of said tests… we may be forced to stop the tune and you may be responsible for a portion of the tune/ time spent.
8:5-9:1 compression: 170-180psi per cylinder
9.1-10:1 compression: 180-210psi per cylinder
10:1-11:1 compression: 210-235psi per cylinder
11:1+ compression: 235+ per cylinder
Call before scheduling an appointment if your compression test shows large variances between cylinders. Your motor should not have more than a 20psi variance in compression or 20% variance in leak down between cylinders. Camshaft can affect compression ratio so the numbers listed above should be used loosely.
Make sure the engine has proper valve lash for the camshafts being used. OEM cams should be set to .007” on the intake and .009” on the exhaust. Performance camshafts typically require different settings and it is best to either contact the manufacturer or refer to your cam card. Valve adjustment should be performed when the motor is completely cool.
The timing belt should be installed properly with minimal to no slack as well as properly timed. A loose timing belt runs the risk of jumping/ skipping teeth which leads to timing issues and unnecessarily wasted time in adjusting. In extreme situations a loose belt may lead to total engine failure.
The gas pedal, throttle cable, and throttle body should move freely and return completely. The throttle body should not bind or stick and the throttle stop should be set. The cable should be adjusted so that there is adequate slack without being sloppy and the bracket should be mounted firmly with all appropriate hardware.
Make sure the clutch you are using is rated for the torque capacity that your vehicle WILL BE MAKING not the power it is currently making. Don’t use a stock clutch or equivalent if your running a supercharger, turbocharger or nitrous equipped engine. If you're unsure what level clutch kit you need, call and talk with Mike L. 262.522.7558 ext. 301, or email: email@example.com.
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