is the Difference between a Programmer and a Module?
the purpose of this explanation the term tune or tuning will
be used to encompass any signal or communication that occurs
between the vehicles computer and engine.)
a programmer or a module you are adding a new tune to your
vehicle. By adding a new tune to your diesel vehicle, you
are simply modifying the signals that the vehicle’s
computer (ECM) sends to the electrical components of the engine.
The difference between a programmer and a module/chip can
be explained by the manor in which that signal is modified.
Programmers are installed or downloaded directly to the vehicle’s
ECM through the data port under the dash. This new program
or data modifies the ECM’s calibrations so that the
original signals are changed to incorporate the desired effects
created by the selected tune. This new signal is then sent
out to the electrical components of the engine. Thoroughbred
Diesel refers to this kind of tuning as Pre-ECM modifications.
Modules or chips can be installed in many different places
on a diesel vehicle and placement usually varies greatly depending
on the effect the module is intended to have. To explain it
simply, a module is installed somewhere in between the ECM
and at least one electrical component that the ECM communicates
with. When the signal leaves the ECM it travels through its
normal route until it reaches the module. At this point the
signal enters the module, is modified by the computer elements
inside of the modules, and then exits the module and continues
on its path to the desired electrical component. Thoroughbred
Diesel refers to this kind of tuning as Post-ECM Modifications.
a Tuner Increase My Fuel Economy?
Yes, in theory
a tuner will increase your trucks fuel economy by increasing
the efficiencies of your engine. On average we see the best
fuel economy gains occur when using tunes ranging from 65
to 90 extra horsepower. This is not however the case 100%
of the time. Each vehicle and driving style is different and
each owner should try out different tunes in order to find
the most economical one.
Adding a Tuner Damage My Engine?
BE AFRAID OF TUNERS! In the rare case that a tuner is faulty
there is a slim possibility that it could cause damage to
a vehicle. A near impossible set of circumstances would have
to occur in order for a tuner to cause damage. You will often
hear people make claims such as, “ That tuner destroyed
one of my injectors.” From our experience, we have found
that this is usually a result of a preexisting faulty part.
In other words, the injector would have already been failing.
By adding the tuner, the owner was demanding more work out
of that faulty part which in turn caused the part to reach
complete failure at a much faster rate. We encourage you not
to fear tuners. Very few people had any issues at all with
tuners, and those few problems that have occured usually are
a result of user error during install.
a Tuner Damage My Transmission?
Tuners do not
damage transmissions, drivers do. It is important to always
keep in mind that a tune can only deliver as much power as
the person pressing the pedal allows it to. With that in mind,
a driver must realize that a transmission has limits and by
adding a tuner, they are often times pushing that transmission
to its limits. Drivers should practice caution and often times
reprogram their truck to a lower HP tune depending on the
conditions they will be driving in. For example, stock trucks
should not be towing on a 120 HP tune. Instead, the driver
should de-tune the vehicle to around 60-70 HP before departing
on the trip.
Do I Download My Programmer?
will download through the data port. This port is more commonly
referred to as the OBDII port, or the scan port. It is the
same port used to scan a vehicle if a check engine light occurs.
This port is usually located on the divers side, under the
dash, near the steering wheel.
Do I Install My Module?
There is not one
specific place in which a module is installed. Its location
will be dependent upon the electrical component it will be
affecting. To determine the installation location of a module
you will first need to choose a module.
is Shift On The Fly Tuning
In order to change
tuning the programmer or module must be plugged into the vehicle
by some means. For the majority of tuners the vehicle must
be turned off and placed into Park in order for the tuning
to be modified. However, if your tuner is equipped with shift
on the fly tuning then you do not have to turn the vehicle
off to modify the tuning. You can change program levels and
make other modifications while driving down the road.
I have to Leave My Programmer Plugged In?
only have to be plugged in while you are installing or modifying
tuning. The exception to this rule is when you have shift
on the fly tuning or monitoring systems, which accompany the
programmer. Both of these features require that the programmer
remain plugged into the data port at all times in order to
I Need Anything Extra If I Install a Tuner?
Most tuners have
tunes that are made to work with completely stock vehicles.
These tunes are generally rated at 120 HP and under. You might
notice that some tuners come with tunes above 120 HP. If you
tune a stock truck to a setting above 120 HP you will most
likely not have enough fuel to supply the demand that this
particular tune. A simple add-on, and one of the first upgrades
you should install, is an upgraded lift pump filtration system.
We recommend an AirDog of FASS system. These systems supply
more fuel to your engine allowing you to actually achieve
the HP rating that the tunes claim.
- For manual trucks, adding a tune above 120 HP can cause
excess stress on the clutch. Running a tune of this caliber
on a stock or non-performance clutch can cause it to slip,
and eventually cause the clutch to fail, leaving the driver
stranded on the side of the road. We recommend upgrading to
a performance clutch such as a South Bend or Valair Clutch
are not necessary unless you plan to be over aprox. 120 HP.
A stock truck is more than capable of handling 120 HP and
under tunes, as long as the truck is not towing excessively
a Tuner Work On Multiple Truck?
No. Tuners will
only work on one truck at a time. Some tuners do allow you
switch between trucks once the tuner has been completely removed
from the vehicle. Some tuners however, have a feature known
as vin locking. This means that when the tuner is installed
onto a vehicle it registers and permanently mates with that
particular truck. The tuner can be completely removed from
that truck, but it cannot be installed on another vehicle
You Combine Two Tuners On One Vehicle?
In the performance
industry the act of combining two tuners on one vehicle is
known as Stacking. Generally speaking, stacking involves combining
either a programmer and a module or a module and another module
onto one vehicle. It is not possible to stack a programmer
with another programmer. Stacking can be a somewhat risky
ordeal because each tuner was designed and tested to operate
independently. Therefore, when attempting to stack, you can
run into communication conflicts where one tune will over
write the other, or completely block communication altogether.
It is our policy at Thoroughbred Diesel to not recommend any
stacks. If you want to stack we recommend that you browse
through forums and ask other fellow enthusiasts which stack
they have attempted and achieved success with.
I Need Gauges With a Tuner?
As long as you
intend to run your vehicle on a tune under a 120 HP setting,
you will most likely not need gauges. If you plan on doing
any towing, with ANY tune installed on the vehicle then we
recommend you strongly consider gauges.
I Notice an Increase In Power if I Install a Tuner?
Yes! Even if you
install the lowest level tune that we offer, you will be able
to feel a noticeable increase in power.
Adding a Tuner Make My Truck Smoke?
there is not a definitive yes or no answer to this question.
In general, adding a tuner should make your truck smoke more.
However, the degree to which it smokes is completely dependent
upon the tuner.