May 19, 2012
Interested in learning to tune? Not sure where to start? A little overwhelmed by the whole load of information you're reading about? Well this introduction series on EFILive will introduce you to the basics of navigation and function of the program. These articles are written for those just starting, if you have experience with EFILive or tuning and have a question, we recommend that you post up your inquiry in our forum.
We're starting off with the tune tool.
*Note* EFILive is in the process of updated the tune and logging software to version V8, however currently V7.5 is used for both scanning and logging, these tutorials will be focused on V7.5, and will be updated once V8 is fully released.
The first thing you'll want to do is to download the software. EFILive software is free to download and use. However in order to actually connect to a vehicle to read, flash, log, or scan, you'll need to purchase the hardware, and licensure to do so. There are various setups that you can purchase at various prices depending on what functionality you need. You can download the most recent version of EFIlive software from the EFILive site here: EFILive downloads.
Okay, so now that you have the EFILive software, lets take a look at the tune tool. The tune tool opens, and modifies .tun files. These files are what hold the operating system (OS), as well as the tune parameters. These are the files that you'll be modifying and uploading, or 'flashing', into the PCM/ECM/TCM to control how the vehicle runs and operates.
When you first open up a .tun, .ctz, .ctd, and .bin files, most of the time you'll be dealing with .tun files, and when you open one, you'll see this screen:
Here you'll see the opening information in the large boxes to the right, things like the OS, VIN, and vehicle data can be seen. to the left in the area I've put a blue box around is the navigation area, this is where you will navigate to different portions of the tune that you might be working on, for example the VE tables would be under Engine Calibrations -> Airflow. Up at the top in the area I've put a red box around are the tabs that you can use to view things like the tune history, or out of range data errors.
Now you are ready to start looking around the tune and possibly making some changes, so as you navigate around the tune, you'll find a few different type of data, you'll get single alpha-numeric cells, multiple choice single cells, 2D data tables, and 3D data tables. These data tables and cells are all defined by a alpha-numeric name, for example the VE table on a 2002 Fbody (and others from the same time period) is B0101..here are some examples of these types of inputs:
Here are some single alpha-numeric cells, in these you simply have a cell that you type in your data into, as seen in the red boxed area.
Here are some multiple choice input cells, these cells will give you an option on what can be input into them. You can see the cell values in the lower red boxed area, when you click on the cell you want to change, you can choose the input value from the options in the upper red boxed area.
Then, slightly more complex is the 2D data tables, here you have different input data over a range. What happens is the computer reads the feedback from various engine sensors, and this feedback gives the range, and the data value that you input is typically a translation for the computer to make calculations from. in this example you can see the data input table in the bottom right hand box, the left column in this example shows the frequency that is being fed to the computer from the MAF sensor. the right column is the input data values, in this example the table is translating the MAF frequency into grams per second of airflow for the computer to use.
And you'll also see 3d data tables, these are similar to the 2d tables, but instead of looking at 1 set of sensor feedback data, you're looking at 2 correlating feedback data. It's arranged so that the rows are the feedback from 1 sensor, the columns are the feedback from a different sensor, and the cell where the row and column intersect is the data value. In this example we're looking at the volumetric efficiency table (VE table), in the area marked "A" the rows in this are the engine RPM, the columns are the manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor data. The cell represents the efficiency that the engine is able to fill the cylinder with air at a known RPM and corresponding MAP value. In the area marked "B" you'll see the graphical representation of the graph this is the plot of the data input into the table, you can right click and hold on the graph to rotate it and look from different angles. Watching the graph can be helpful in many ways, one way is to monitor strange trends with data, or inconsistencies (spikes/valleys). the buttons in the blue boxed area will change the view to either show both the graph and the data table, just the data table, or just the graph, this can help with getting some extra space for large tables.
Something you will see with most all areas of the tune are the red boxes in the image above. the red box on the left is a definition and explanation of the cell/table that is highlighted, the red box on the right shows the explanation again, but also gives the input limits of the data in that cell, and it's data units.
When you're analyzing the tune, and deciding what to change, many times it is very beneficial to simultaneously look at another tune and compare them. You are able to do this as long as both tunes that are being looked at are the same OS, or derivation of the same OS (i.e. custom OS's). To do this you first need to load the tune that you'll be working on, then to open the alternative tune for comparison, you'll choose File->Open alternative calibration for comparison (you can also click the button on the left in the blue boxed are of the image below), then once you have the alternative calibration loaded, when you're on any table you can choose Calibration->Show alternative calibration data to show the same table from the alternative tune. Something else you can do is to compare all the differences between the 2 loaded tunes at the same time, if you click the right button in the blue boxed area in the image below it will load a window you see here. it lists every difference between the loaded tune and the alternative tune, and you can order the list by percentage of difference, or percentage of similarities. You can also filter the results by how different the data is.
The red box shows all the differences, the green box on the bottom are the filter and sorting options for the list. If you double click any of the rows in the list it will take you to that specific table/cell.
If you wanting to copy an entire section of one tune to another, you can do a segment swap. It is pretty easy. first you need to open the tune you're trying to copy the segment into, then open the tune that you're trying to copy the segment from as the alternative comparison calibration. Then you need to choose from the menu Edit->Copy Entire Segment->then choose the segment of the tune that you want to copy. You can see the options from the menu here:
After you choose the segment to copy it will copy all the tables from that segment from the alternative calibration to the currently loaded tune.
Once you have the tune altered and setup how you want it, you need to load it into the PCM/TCM/ECM. There is an easy way to flash the tune and/or OS into the PCM. You are also able to use the same menu to read a tune from the PCM. Reading the tune from the PCM and saving it as a backup before re-flashing the PCM with the new tune is a good practice to follow. Once you have the tune all ready to flash, you have 2 options either flashing the calibration data only, or the full OS as well as the calibration data. If you are only changing some of the data within the tune, then selecting the calibration data only is what you want to do. Flashing the full OS is only necessary when you're actually changing or upgrading the operating system.
When you're ready to flash the PCM, and you have EFILive and your laptop connected to the vehicle, you can run the flash. if you choose the full OS then you will get a warning about reflashing the OS, please read it carefully, then you can continue. Please be aware that EFILive is only a tool, if you reflash incorrect, bad, or faulty data into the PCM, neither EFILive, nor GMTruckcentral are liable for any issues or problems you may incur. It is very important to understand what you are changing and to make any changes carefully before re-flashing the PCM.
Once you are ready to reflash the PCM, and then you will get a progress screen like this:
Make sure the key is in the 'on' position, but with the engine off. If you click 'start' EFILive will scan the PCM and perform some tests to ensure that the PCM is ready and able to be reflashed, once that is finished the reflash will begin, it will automatically perform everything. Once it is finished it will have you turn the key off and wait 15 seconds while it counts down. after the countdown then the flash is complete, and you're ready to disconnect EFIlive and your laptop and start up the vehicle.