Wandering Gaijin Tuning Pre-Tuning Checklist
Parts List / Setup Details:
It is always in the customer’s best interest to have a thorough and detailed understanding of the all of the parts in any setup and the details of the build. As a tuner, a lot of my job requires guessing and assuming, and in order to eliminate as many assumptions and make as few guesses as I need to make, I can tune your car more effectively and safely and at the same time make the most power the setup can deliver. If you don’t know what brands were used in your build, or the specs on the parts used in your setup, this makes it harder to do my job since generally I am not the one who recommended which parts you should use or did the build myself. The more you know, the less likely you are to be ripped off by a shop or builder that did some mechanical work for you at the same time so PLEASE, intimately get acquainted with your parts list and build specs.
Boost leak Test/ Intercooler/ Piping/ Throttle Body/Intake Manifold:
At least 50%of tuning issues I see during tuning are from boost leaks. A properly sealed and leak free charge pipe system is very important. Having the proper sized couplers, pipe transitions and quality “T-Bolt” clamps is essential in getting your car dialed in and tuned. Having “worm gear” style clams tend to loosen over time and promote leaks that might pop up after tuning as well. You need to fully test the system from the source (turbo) to the intake manifold. Checking each coupler, clamp, gasket, and even as far as the seals on the throttle body shaft. Most street driven cars rely heavily on an Idle Air Control Valve (IAC) in the throttle body and even the slightest leak will affect your car’s ability to start and idle property. The smallest 1-2 psi boost leak can takeaway around 35 hp at the wheels on a 700 HP car to give you an idea.
In my opinion, you should know the health of your motor before having it tuned. I can be more thorough when I know that compression is good before beginning a tune. Performing a tune on an unhealthy motor is the quickest way to a disaster and a potential waste of other good parts that might be ruined in the process. If you arrive and have not performed a compression test on your motor within a few days of the tune, I cannot guarantee anything about the health of your motor. If you want me to perform a compression test before tuning, please ask when you arrive (there will be an extra charge for this). This will also give you a ‘baseline’ to monitor throughout the life of your engine. If you would like us to do a compression test before the start of the tune, please let me know. This service would be a $30 additional charge.
Approximately ‘Healthy’ numbers: These are basic numbers to go by not all will follow these but if you have equal reading across all cylinders you are in the right healthy area. You should be worried if the numbers deviate more than 15% from each. Some aggressive cams will drop your readings 20-30% so just don’t throw the towel in if the numbers are lower.
8:1-8.5:1 compression: 150-170 psi per cylinder
8.5:1~9.5:1 compression: 170-210 psi per cylinder
9.5:1~11:1 compression: 210-275 psi per cylinder
11:1+ compression: 250+ per cylinder (highly depends on cams being used)
The tested numbers should not vary any more than 10% from cylinder to cylinder or this may indicate a problem.
Results: Cylinder #1 ______ Cylinder #2 ______ Cylinder #3 ______
Cylinder #4 ______Cylinder #5 ______ Cylinder #6 ______ Cylinder #7 ______
Cylinder #8 ______
See the specs for your motor/cams from a Service Manual for what the valve lash should be set to on your motor. Set the valves on a fully cold engine only as metal expands when heated which could throw off your settings when performing a valve adjustment on a warm motor. Please write the settings you used when adjusting your valve lash. Valve lash is VERY important if you want to make POWER, please don’t overlook this as a non-essential piece of the build puzzle. Refer to a factory manual for actual factory specs or your cam manufacturer…and my recommendation is always to set lash on the LOOSER side of the spectrum.
Intake Setting: ______ Exhaust Setting: _______ NOT MEASURED: ______
Timing Belt and Base Timing:
The timing belt/chain, camshafts and crank need to all be synched correctly before coming in for your scheduled tune. This is a fairly simple process on a stock motor and you can check your Service Manual for procedures on how to perform this. Various motor combinations (Frankenstein motors with VTEC Heads on Non-VTEC blocks) may affect exactly how you bring the motor into proper spec. Other things that may affect timing will be block and head surfacing, adjustable cam gears set incorrectly, timing belt set on the wrong teeth of the cam gear or incorrectly machined aftermarket cam gears, using the wrong parts for the combination put together and more. Please consult a professional before your tune if you aren’t 100% sure that your timing is set correctly. If mechanical timing is off, this will result in an additional charge for us to repair.
Tires, Alignment and Suspension:
Tires should provide adequate traction for the power you intend to make. Spinning tires causes false values during data-logging which will slow the tuning process. Tire should be in good serviceable condition and not bald, showing belts, bubbles, or gouges.
Your suspension should be set properly and all bolts, ball joints, tie rods and bushings should be in good shape. Cars are driven in excess of 130 mph sometimes during tuning and a suspension failure at that speed in this environment could be extremely dangerous. If I look at your car when it comes in and notice a potential problem, I will turn the car away and your deposit will not be refunded.
Tire pressure is essential. You need to make sure each tire is at its recommended pressure. You want the tires to be able to hook up. A deflated tire might work better at the track but it can be dangerous on the street and can cause uneven wear, or help increase the chance of a blow out. Make sure each tire is checked before the car is driven for tuning.
Please Initial: Tire Check ______ Suspension Check ______
Ride Height Check ______
Check Engine Lights:
The car should have ZERO Check Engine Lights. Please do not make an appointment or come until all check engine lights are cleared. If you need help with this, please call or email us well before your appointment and we will help guide you on this. If it is something we are not able to fix on that day, your car will not be tuned and your deposit will not be refunded. Exceptions to this are O2 sensor codes or the knock sensor…these can generally be disabled in the software being used but please call us prior to the tune if you have any lights.
Electrical and Wiring:
All wiring should be solid and correct before arriving. Connections that aren’t at least crimped or soldered can vibrate loose and cause intermittent issues or worse, engine failure. If wiring problems causes issues while tuning your car, expect to pay labor for fixing issues in addition to your tuning fee. If any wiring issues cause harm to tuning gear that is attached to your car, you will be expected to pay for my replacement cost of those items. All grounds should be clean (no paint underneath ground wires), connected in the correct spots and corrosion free. Your alternator, battery and charging system should be operating up to par charging the car somewhere in the 13.5 – 14.7 volt range. Any lower or any higher and there can be problems tuning the car properly. Make sure all BELTS are tensioned correctly.
Your fuel system should be designed to support the Horsepower goals you have for your setup. Properly operating injectors, fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator are required. If there is any question about what fuel pump is in your tank, I suggest you remove it and replace it with a proper Aftermarket Fuel Pump for your car. Fuel filters are important to keep everything running nicely. Use a high quality filter designed for your specific fuel.
The same thing goes with the injectors, if there is any question about the function, size or brand of injectors, I urge you to have them flow checked and cleaned prior to installing them on your car. If you purchase them new, you should not have to do this. If you install the injectors yourself, please make sure they are secure in the intake manifold and in the fuel rail with good if not brand new o-rings. Please do not use cracked or worn o-rings on either side of the injector and do not FORCE these in when installing them.
You can use a stock fuel pressure regulator in most cases rather than spending money on an aftermarket piece for N/A or boosted setups under 15 psi…I do suggest though that you acquire a fuel pressure gauge that installs on an aftermarket fuel rail or on the stock fuel filter. If you do go with an aftermarket regulator, PLEASE use a well-known brand name and not some knock-off…your fuel system is the most important system and good parts need to be used…there is no breathing room when your motor is starved for fuel.
Fuel Pump Used: _______________Injectors Used: __________________FPR Used: _______________
Ignition and Spark:
Your ignition system is almost as important as your fuel system. Without proper spark, there will be no power and the car cannot run to its full potential. Please make sure your coils are working correctly. See a Service Manual for procedures on how to check your Coil and Ignitor (ICM). Your spark plug wires should be working well, I also like OEM stock plug wires or NGK. OEM parts have been used on many 600+ HP cars…there is no need for expensive plugs wires on most applications I am familiar with.
Make sure your spark plugs are in good shape and gapped correctly. Please have at least one or two extra sets with you when you come for your appointment already pre-gapped. Please call well before your tuning appointment if you need recommendations on which plugs to run for your application.
Make sure you are running the proper amount and proper weight of oil for your application. There should be ZERO oil leaks from the motor for obvious reasons, no exceptions please. Make sure all seals are tight, and that your drain bolt is secure.
Your coolant system should be running a high quality coolant here in Okinawa that is still within the service lifespan. There should be no leaks in the radiator, cap or lines…you should have an overflow reservoir and the system should be properly bled and hold pressure. All clamps should be checked and secured prior to arriving for your tune.
O2 Sensor Bung:
You NEED to have an O2 Sensor bung, easily accessible and free and clear from any objects. If you have an O2 sensor currently in a bung in your exhaust, please make sure it is not rust-locked in there and it is able to be removed. If the plug or installed O2 sensor isn’t able to be easily removed, you may incur extra labor charges. If you show up without an O2 bung, I may have to put a clamp in your exhaust which is not as accurate and harder to get a good tune with for idle and part throttle. The O2 exhaust clamp can only be used on cars without a catalytic converter. The O2 sensor bung needs to be 12-18” from the turbo outlet if you are running a turbo. If you are N/A or Supercharged, the bung needs to be in the exhaust where ALL exhaust gases travel by…do not put a bung in one or two runners on a header…this can potentially give the tuner bad information and will throw things off.
Your exhaust system should be free from leaks, cracks or other issues as leaks in the exhaust before the O2 sensor can throw off readings. Your manifold should be secured to the head of the motor with all bolts and a leak free gasket. If you are running a turbo, it should be secure to the manifold with at least (suggested) 2.5” downpipe . If you don’t have a FULL EXHAUST exiting out from the back bumper, I need to be made aware BEFORE you arrive…no exceptions.
Due to a lack of dyno here in Okinawa all tuning is conducted on the street. This means, registration, inspection and insurance should be up to date and in the car. The car needs to be safe with all safety equipment. If you wouldn’t put your wife/kids in it, I won’t tune it.