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Tunes for Tracked Bosses

I'm planning coated LTs, X-pipe and tune this winter and have been researching options. It seems the number of tuners that have tuned more than a handful (or less) of Boss 302s is small, which isn't surprising since there aren't all that many on the road, let alone being tracked. Since none of the major Mustang tuners are near me I'll be going the "mail order" route.

I'm specifically looking for feedback from those that are tracking their cars in a road race environment that have at least 1000 miles on track in a tuned Boss. I'm not looking for MAX power like you'd be after when drag racing, but am looking for the significant hp boost we know LTs and an X pipe can produce on these cars, and also being able to eliminate the associated cat efficiency CEL.
 
Just something to consider, most tuners who do mustangs just look for peak hp numbers and 1/4 mile times. You want to ensure that you get a more conservative tune considering how out on the track you are putting a hell of alot more stress on everything doing 30+ minute sessions as opposed to doing a 12 second burst down the strip.

Thats the reason why I'm scared to tune, Ford has put tons of time testing and researching a safe and reliable tune that can withstand the track abuse. But with that said, in the future I hope to do some l/t's and x pipe with a tune as well.
 

ArizonaBOSS

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I somewhat doubt there's going to be something that's REALLY going to be what you're looking for in a mail-order tune. Even the back-and-forth iteration on the dyno or doing datalog cycles via phone can be frustrating. I think to get what you want in terms of a reliable power gain for road racing, you're probably going to need to fly in a tuner for a day with you at the track. The downside here is of course expense, but you can tweak on-the-fly and do real-time data logging in race conditions, not just WOT operation on a dyno or trying to simulate part-throttle stuff on public roads.
 

Sesshomurai

This is a good question to address. I think some trial-and-error is inevitable but good points are made about being conservative as the "errors" could be bad.

While my local tuner doesn't have a lot of "boss" experience (they do a lot of mustangs), he tells me the main factors of the tune include AF ratio, MAF, O2, timing, etc. Getting the "primary" aspects of engine performance should be something any good tuner can do. From there, there are nuances in the boss ECM I believe that can be further refined as probably boss-specific things. Exhaust note is one (not a performance metric I know). But probably other roadrunner PIDs.

Balancing power and reliability is something the tuner needs to get from you as a requirement. I'm talking with my tuner about the things I need from this tune.
Max HP is not the highest priority. Track reliability is, but more HP is a desire too. Then other things I mentioned earlier such as throttle response, fuel mixture (mine will be slightly rich with a closed throttle burnoff - which will flame out of the side pipes btw). 100+ octane, etc. It will probably take a few iterations and track runs to fine tune, the tune.

Start by making a list of all the things you want (and don't want) from the tune for your tuner. Experience with roadrunner tunes and tracking is pretty rare I agree.

I have about 12 hours of track time on my CAI tune though.
 
BOSS5OH said:
Just something to consider, most tuners who do mustangs just look for peak hp numbers and 1/4 mile times. You want to ensure that you get a more conservative tune considering how out on the track you are putting a hell of alot more stress on everything doing 30+ minute sessions as opposed to doing a 12 second burst down the strip.
Yep. That's why I'm not looking for a bunch of timing advance. I'm really just looking for something close to the factory tune that accommodates the LTs and primarily X pipe without the CELs..... We' seen you can get 35-40 hp from just those mods and that's about what I'm looking to get while keeping it "safe".
 

Sesshomurai

cloud9 said:
BOSS5OH said:
Just something to consider, most tuners who do mustangs just look for peak hp numbers and 1/4 mile times. You want to ensure that you get a more conservative tune considering how out on the track you are putting a hell of alot more stress on everything doing 30+ minute sessions as opposed to doing a 12 second burst down the strip.
Yep. That's why I'm not looking for a bunch of timing advance. I'm really just looking for something close to the factory tune that accommodates the LTs and primarily X pipe without the CELs..... We' seen you can get 35-40 hp from just those mods and that's about what I'm looking to get while keeping it "safe".

Same here. Did you add a bigger CAI as well? I'm doing my "breather" (airflow/exhaust) round of mods now (suspension clearly is first pri to track this car).
 
darreng505 said:
cloud9 said:
BOSS5OH said:
Just something to consider, most tuners who do mustangs just look for peak hp numbers and 1/4 mile times. You want to ensure that you get a more conservative tune considering how out on the track you are putting a hell of alot more stress on everything doing 30+ minute sessions as opposed to doing a 12 second burst down the strip.
Yep. That's why I'm not looking for a bunch of timing advance. I'm really just looking for something close to the factory tune that accommodates the LTs and primarily X pipe without the CELs..... We' seen you can get 35-40 hp from just those mods and that's about what I'm looking to get while keeping it "safe".

Same here. Did you add a bigger CAI as well? I'm doing my "breather" (airflow/exhaust) round of mods now (suspension clearly is first pri to track this car).
I'm just quoting the numbers Cooltech advertised with the LTs and O/R X. I think they were running the factory tune and airbox. I'm still running the factory closed CAI and tunes.
 

steveespo

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Gary
Steeda will put together a good conservative, road race friendly tun for yor and shut off Cat efficiency points to keep the CEL off unless it really means something. You can spend a lot of money for custom work but I don't think anyone can really improve on Ford factory Ti VCT curves. Now if we can get some info on what the programs are for Roush, Rehagen and Capaldi on the Grand Am circuit then maybe we can squeeze out the last 10-15 HP from the package.
Steve
 
Gary. I ran my car with the cooltech cars and the only real difference between my car and Kendall's was the exhaust mods which seemed to make about the claimed HP improvements. He told me that after the dyno runs the Black key tune was pretty much perfect and adjusted nicely to the mods. The Red Key was slightly too lean so he tracks them with the black key.
Also, he does run the stock CAI and my recollection is he solved the CEL finally.
 
motoviper said:
Gary. I ran my car with the cooltech cars and the only real difference between my car and Kendall's was the exhaust mods which seemed to make about the claimed HP improvements. He told me that after the dyno runs the Black key tune was pretty much perfect and adjusted nicely to the mods. The Red Key was slightly too lean so he tracks them with the black key.
Also, he does run the stock CAI and my recollection is he solved the CEL finally.
I emailed him a couple weeks ago asking if he had resolved the CEL but haven't heard back......
 

Sesshomurai

The CELs for the O2 range threshold is really not a big deal - especially without cats. The factory range is very conservative and designed for fuel efficiency and emissions.

I pull my own ECU codes from my OBD2 connector and appropriate Android apps so I'm going to tell my tuner to disable the CEL completely and just monitor the engine PIDs myself.
If anything "unusual" shows up, I check it out. But with the custom exhaust and slightly rich mixture the factory ECU will always complain.
 
motoviper said:
Gary. I ran my car with the cooltech cars and the only real difference between my car and Kendall's was the exhaust mods which seemed to make about the claimed HP improvements. He told me that after the dyno runs the Black key tune was pretty much perfect and adjusted nicely to the mods. The Red Key was slightly too lean so he tracks them with the black key.
Also, he does run the stock CAI and my recollection is he solved the CEL finally.

What were his "exhaust mods"? Are you saying that trak key will still work with Long Tubes?
 
seca954 said:
motoviper said:
Gary. I ran my car with the cooltech cars and the only real difference between my car and Kendall's was the exhaust mods which seemed to make about the claimed HP improvements. He told me that after the dyno runs the Black key tune was pretty much perfect and adjusted nicely to the mods. The Red Key was slightly too lean so he tracks them with the black key.
Also, he does run the stock CAI and my recollection is he solved the CEL finally.

What were his "exhaust mods"? Are you saying that trak key will still work with Long Tubes?
Yes. The wide band sensors on our cars can adjust with to the headers.
 
Gary. I ran my car with the cooltech cars and the only real difference between my car and Kendall's was the exhaust mods which seemed to make about the claimed HP improvements. He told me that after the dyno runs the Black key tune was pretty much perfect and adjusted nicely to the mods. The Red Key was slightly too lean so he tracks them with the black key.
Also, he does run the stock CAI and my recollection is he solved the CEL finally.

The OEM ECU will compensate for the headers and exhaust. BOTH the black key and the red key and just a tad richer (safer) than they were BEFORE the headers. Despite that, when we have pushed the cars hard in very hot weather, we elected to run the black key. However, since that time, we are consistently using the red key. And, by the way, there are 4 cars that we have built tis ame way and they are all tracked together and we have had NO ISSUES.
 
CoolTechLLC said:
Gary. I ran my car with the cooltech cars and the only real difference between my car and Kendall's was the exhaust mods which seemed to make about the claimed HP improvements. He told me that after the dyno runs the Black key tune was pretty much perfect and adjusted nicely to the mods. The Red Key was slightly too lean so he tracks them with the black key.
Also, he does run the stock CAI and my recollection is he solved the CEL finally.

The OEM ECU will compensate for the headers and exhaust. BOTH the black key and the red key and just a tad richer (safer) than they were BEFORE the headers. Despite that, when we have pushed the cars hard in very hot weather, we elected to run the black key. However, since that time, we are consistently using the red key. And, by the way, there are 4 cars that we have built tis ame way and they are all tracked together and we have had NO ISSUES.
Kendall - are you just running them with the CEL illuminated and periodically scanning for codes just to make sure nothing else has cropped up? Maybe I should just go this route for now and live with the CEL. My preference is to stick with the factory calibrations if I can get the gains you've seen with the full Kooks setup.
 

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