Having been a beta tester the last few weeks of the Vector PCM/TCM tune iterations, I thought it would now be useful to share some of my thoughts of the final released tune, compared to stock. Until now I have been hesitant to share my personal findings because, well, there already was enough hype surrounding "the tune" that there was no need to add any more "lookie what's coming soon" posts until it was finally released (read: now).
With that said, here are my likes and dislikes:
- The studdering 1-2 shift on very slight acceleration (less than 10% throttle) has been eliminated. Until I got the truck tuned, I (like probably many of you) thought I had a slipping tranny problem....and I was starting to dread the impending trip to the incompetent dealer. The 1-2 shift studdered, then bam! it leapt into 2nd. With the revised cal (tune), the light-throttle 1-2 shift is smooth, crisp, and the way that GM should have had it in the first place.
- The low-end acceleration has a SOTP increase, no doubt about it.
- The tranny shifts are firm, but NOT "too firm". They created the tune knowing that many of us use the truck as a family-hauler, and not as a personal sportscar. They realized that there will be many times that wives and children will be in the car, and if your wife + child(ren) are like mine, they don't like neck-snapping shifts when casually accelerating from a stoplight. You'll feel the shifts, but they are not too firm to the point that your child will exclaim "Whoa, dadda!" as it bangs from 2nd to 3rd.
- After each shift, the truck no longer "falls off" before accelerating again. (ie, too much TM). The shifts are crisp and firm, and the truck keeps pulling hard. That lag-feeling is gone. It is important to note that TM has NOT been eliminated. Torque-management, contrary to general belief, is a GOOD thing. It does help prevent premature transmission failure, and Chris/Kirk know this. They were/are not about to sacrafice longevity in the name of squeaking out another possible .05 or .1 from the truck in stock form.
- I have driven the truck significantly during the evaluation phase. My wife has also driven the truck. Her input (a typical 31 y.o. non-car enthusiast mom) was also shared with myself and then with Chris. I wanted her to help make sure that the tune would be suitable for all drivers of various comfort and performance minds. Me, on one side of the spectrum that is an avid HP junkie, and her on the other side that sees vehicles only as merely modes of transportation, not as daily dosages of fun. What this means is that the tune satisfied my craving for performance, but its also forgiving enough that you can take your family to the movies and not be embarrassed with lurching shifts or whatnot. Likewise, for those of you that like to tinker, but try to avoid letting your significant-other know about such modifications, this is one mod that you'll be able to do & she'll never be the wiser - in normal commuter driving the truck still behaves very, very close to stock.
That is, unless she also has a heavy right foot, then she'll know fairly *quickly* (pun intended).
- I dislike the fact that my wife enjoys driving the truck. It KILLS me to not be able to drive the truck on a daily basis.
She now refers to our '02 Trailblazer (I6) as being much too slow for her to drive.
- Too wet recently here in Michigan to get any legitimate Escort G-Timer2 runs in. Soon, though, and I will post my corresponding acceleration graphs.
Chris and Kirk have done a commendable job with creating this tune. It is very clean, no quirks that I have come across. It has not been a hack by any means, and I think you will be quite happy with its performance in your own SS. Worth the $400 bones? Absolutely. Who wouldn't want to have a truck that has better-than-stock behaviors and mannerisms during normal around-the-town grocery runs, but then behave like a coiled-spring when you're commanding spirited acceleration and driving?