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NA-T 03 is300

994 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Thatblueis
Hello, I will try and make this as short and informative as possible.

I live in Fresno, CA where there are basically no turbo tuners or actually any tuners at all. I want to know if tuning is very hard to learn on the 2jz platform? I was watching a video right now LOL but this guy was very convincing that all you need to do is air, fuel , and spark.

I am very mechanically inclined so learning new stuff shouldn’t be too much of a hassle but this is also something I know I shouldn’t take lightly so I’m just wondering if it would be worth the money to learn a new skill and take the time to learn how to tune as well as the $$ it probably cost for all the software or would it be more efficient to take my car a couple hours to LA and pay someone
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I understand it’s going to take time LOL if anyone was wondering, time and money aren’t too much of a hassle I’m 20 years old with a full time job and no bills
I could write a treatise on this topic, but I'll try to keep it short and sweet:

1. Internal combustion is going away and "they" will continue to make it more and more difficult to own or operate equipment that uses pursuing tuning as a potential career trajectory may not be the best idea.

2. If your time is worth anything at all, you'll be (a lot of) money ahead just paying a qualified tuner to tune your projects. Can you learn it? Absolutely. But by the time you're solidly competent, you'll be hundreds - and probably thousands of hours into it. It doesn't make sense to spend 500 hours learning something you could pay somebody $500 to do.

3. If tuning just gets you wet - then do it. There's no better way to do it then simply get your hands dirty. Get an inexpensive platform with known potential and get to it.

4. There are many excellent resources out there to help you learn. HP Academy is very solid, though they usually only provide the 20,000 foot view; and they tend to be a bit "elitist". For the nitty gritty of how to work with specific ECU platforms, Evans Performance Academy is fantastic. Youtube is a great resource also - but the problem is any schmuck can self-anoint as an "expert" and pontificate BS down on you. You need to know what is solid, what's an opinion, and what's bunk on the front-end....which is knowledge a newbie won't often have.

5. Understand that Toyota ECUs are not readily re-flashed or chip-tuned. Subies and Mitsushitti ECUs are easily reflashed via RomRaider and other tools, but for Toyotas, you're really talking about aftermarket programmable ECUs.
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perfect you literally answered all my questions, just gonna pay someone then. Another dumb question but on YouTube videos I see guys getting the aftermarket ecu’s tuned via online. Like they’ll be on a call with the tuner and he controls their computer. Any idea what I’ve been seeing?
Any idea what I’ve been seeing?
It's called "remote tuning". It's a viable option. Two downsides:

1. You've chosen a "qualified" tuner to do your tuning remotely; and relegated the dyno-shop owner to basic dyno-monkey status. Your "qualified" tuner will not be available to diagnose/troubleshoot and address any mechanical or electrical gremlins. All he knows is your boost controller isn't responding as expected. He's not on-site to visually inspect/diagnose/discover that you've got the lines to the boost valve arranged wrong.

Usually this hands-on troubleshooting is the hard part to working with customer cars. I know this from first hand experience, second hand experience, and watching professional shops on Youtube.

2. There's an intangible aspect of "goodness" associated with hearing/feeling/smelling what's happening in person.
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I am only going to echo what @Hodgdon Extreme wrote in the above posts. Without going into details of my own experience over the last 20+ years of racing, breaking and (re)building cars, unless you have a keen interest in doing it yourself, find a reputable Toyota / Lexus performance shop and have them do it or point you in the right direction.

And, I don't know anything about your car, but the OEM Toyota / Lexus ECUs are not tuner friendly, so if you are talking about tuning a NA 2JZ-GE engine, the first question you need to ask yourself is whether the resulting ~10hp from a tune are worth the ~$3K it is going to set you back by the time you buy a new ECU and harness in addition to paying someone to do the work.
I started down this path recently, with a firm background in electronics hardware and software: I'm going the "open source" route with rusEFI. You could say I want to get wet, what's important is being able to maintain and understand the setup in case something goes awry and be able to freely fix and improve it and not beholden to others' schedules or whims or even finances.

I will say, what that guy says in his video near the start is very accurate: understanding how the engine works is probably the most important thing if you're serious about tuning (versus the end result). With this understanding, the rest of the specifics about a particular platform will follow: all of that information is readily available, it's just a matter of understanding what knobs/switches that platform has to effect the control you're after. With rusEFI, I can answer questions by inspecting the actual logic that the knobs/switches control, which is extremely insightful, as is the small community (both devs and users) and the knowledge bases that have been developed (wiki, forums, GitHub issues).

I intend to approach my goals in steps:
  • running a known good motor on a stand with the stock ECU (might skip this depending how much I have to trick the ECU).
  • run the same NA setup with rusEFI: developing the infrastructure and getting a firm understanding of the available controls about the basics (fueling, spark/timing, closed-loop, VVT, etc.) and chasing out all of the gremlins
  • adapting the setup to NA-T and understanding those controls and trade-offs, probably with some cheapo turbo
  • swapping to the turbo of choice, dialing, and installing in the finished vehicle

I find it really difficult to meet and get in with [Toyota] knowledgeable members of the local community, but this is something I need to work on: go to events and network, talk with folks, get information and contacts. I'm not even sure if there's a shop I could throw money at to do things the way I'd like, keeping me informed and knowledgeable about my setup.
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If you simply need your car tuned it is exponentially cheaper just to trailer it to a known good tuner. Can you learn to tune yourself, sure but 1 small mistake can lead to engine failure. Even 1 blown engine completely throws away any savings. Unless you rent a dyno yourself you'll never get the most out of your car as you'll never know the difference in power each change makes.
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