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Thread: Interviewing a Potential Tuner - What should I be asking?

  1. #1
    Potential Tuner
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    Interviewing a Potential Tuner - What should I be asking?

    I will soon be in need of a tuner to account for some changes I'll be making to my car.
    I will be the first to state that I am over my head when it comes to this car, due only to lack of familiarity. I can work on anything and will start poking around inside the program to learn what it can do and how to do it myself. I simply don't have the time to learn right now.

    I know I will need to make my expectations clear from the onset. Namely, I need my car to remain reliable. I would like the car tuned on a dyno. I would like the tuner to use my laptop and software. I would like two separate tunes; one for power, the other for economy.

    With that out of the way, what questions should I ask my tuner?
    Those who make a living as tuners, what questions are you not asked often enough?
    What questions do you wish you had asked yours?
    This will prove my ignorance: What is the going rate for a tune? Billed per tune? Per session? Per hour?

  2. #2
    Tuning Addict 5FDP's Avatar
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    Ask them if they have a wideband sensor of their own or will they use the one you supply them. Hopefully you are the one with the wideband already.

    A good tuner doesn't need to make two different tunes. I never made two different calibrations for any car. I can get the power and the economy out of one single calibration. The area's where economy and where power is are in two very different places in one calibration so anyone that is good at what they do will have it done with one tune.

    I'm not a tuner by trade so this just a hobby for me. I make them pay for the credits if I'm using my stuff and they throw some cash in on top of that for my time. I generally don't do things that require a whole day for doing something or a vehicle that needs the dyno to make it right. Mild builds with bolt on's and even small camshaft upgrades in the LS world can be tuned in a few hours when you already know what you're doing.

    I've heard of places charging $400-500 for tunes around here. I'm sure they are considering a shop rate of $80-100 an hour and it taking them at least a couple hours with checking stuff, setup for dyno and tune time.

    Thinks I ask them on just the basics. Like what they did. What engine, what mods like headers, camshaft size, injector size and data if changed. What is their fuel pressure if a swap vehicle. I ask them what they want out of it and certain things for shifting if an automatic transmission.
    2016 Silverado CCSB 5.3/6L80e, not as slow but still heavy.

  3. #3
    Potential Tuner
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    May 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5FDP View Post
    Ask them if they have a wideband sensor of their own or will they use the one you supply them. Hopefully you are the one with the wideband already.
    I bought the car modified but I am almost certain a wideband sensor is installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5FDP View Post
    Thinks I ask them on just the basics. Like what they did. What engine, what mods like headers, camshaft size, injector size and data if changed. What is their fuel pressure if a swap vehicle. I ask them what they want out of it and certain things for shifting if an automatic transmission.
    Thank you because I forgot to consider this. Aside from providing the laundry list of things that are not stock, what other questions should I be prepared to answer?

  4. #4
    HP Tuners Support
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    Bill@HPTuners's Avatar
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    ask if they will tunerlock your calibration, if they do you will essentially be locked to them unless you replace your ecm so this is a big consideration.

    if they are a shop don't be surprised if they won't use your laptop/interface.

    Some shops where they are getting grilled with 100 questions won't necessarily want you as a customer, most do it for a living, and get paid for their time answering a bunch of questions and throwing in stipulations to tuning their car is a turn off.

    I typically recommend asking for recommendations on local forums/facebook pages for shops in your area if you aren't going to tune your vehicle yourself and then talk to the people that got their car tuned there for information.

    Just my .02
    It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be done in two weeks...

    A wise man once said "google it"