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What exactly does it mean when you get your car "tuned"? I have never done this before but am interested because I hear a lot of people saying that getting the car tuned is a great initial modification.

What type of places offer a "tune"?
How much should I spend for one?
What kind of gains should I expect? My ride is pretty much stock except for an SPT exhaust.

Thanks for any and all advice guys!
 

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Ok our car's mass produced in the factory, including the settings in the ECU.

Since every engine's different, the mass produced ecu have been tuned to a very conservative timing to ensure large proportion of the production cars don't have any problems of engine knocking. (having said that, our ECU's got a very good engine knocking detection system)

So having a tune will allow your tuner to optimise your engine's performance, by bringing the timing closer to the ideal. There's currently ECUTek, a software thats installed into your ECU to allow the tuner to tweak the settings in it.

ECUTek should cost you 400-500USD, and the cost of tuning varys.
 

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This is a very open ended question... Here is my down and dirty opinion

A "Tuned Car" is a car that has its ecu reprogrammed to account for any motor modifications, for example your SPT CBE allows your ride to exhale a little easier and will raise the hp a little. if you add a downpipe to that, you will turn your car into a whole different vehical, more boost, more hp, more sound it goes on and on. If you’re thinking of it as an initial mod, it is a good way to go if you are planning more mods to your motor. The best thing to do is some research, and figure out what you want your car to do for you.

Along with ECUTek there is also the Cobb Access Port or "AP". It does basically the same thing as the ECUTek, but is a hand held device. It is more plug -n- play than the ECUTek and IMO a little more common. It gives the user the ability to store maps and switch maps on the fly. For example... You are taking your significant other out to dinner, show up at a valet some little kid thinks that he is going to get his hands on a new WRX. You can install a valet map, which severely cuts the boost and rev limits. = no fun for the valet kid, but safety for your ride. ;)... The next day you are heading out to a track day and want a super aggressive map, you re-flash the ecu to bring back or even raise the boost levels, tip in enrichment scales, throttle response...

As far as the AP goes there are a couple of different ways to tune your ECU. You can have it tuned on a dyno, which is common, or you can have it tuned on a road dyno, not as common. The biggest difference is the method. On a dyno your car is stationary, and pulls are completed for gain the most HP and Ft lbs for your modifications. A road dyno is done on the road and is more of a "real world" situation and maps are tuned to your driving style. Pulls ore done with a tuner on the road. So it is pretty cool to get seat time with a tuner.

There is an initial cost of $695 for the AP. Then a tune will cost anywhere from $150 - $350.
$150 you could get a map off of the internet, from Perrin, RalliTek, PDX Tuning and increase your numbers with an OTS (Off The Shelf) map
$350 you could get a full tune, with maps designed for your car.

Everyone gains are a little different. Are you running 91oct, 91acn or 93oct. they will all produce different gains... I could not tell you what to expect from your car

A good place to start is Unabomber's Manifesto http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=533787 This is a great source of information, not necessarly to the 08's but Subaru's in general.

Bottom line = IMO if you plan on more engine mods you should think of some form of engine management, like ECUTek or the AP. That should be in place before you go any further. The other thing I would take into consideration is the cost of a tune. Have a clear cut plan on your mods. Tunes are expensive and to have to do them over and over again because you keep adding mods, is a waste of money.

I hope that helps or at least points you in a direction ;D ;)
 
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