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Boss Tuning

Ford fans can now rejoice , well BA owners can as finally we have a product that enables nearly all the parameters in the factory computer to be manipulated to gain increased performance and control of the engine especially when modified. Ford tuning has up until this point been cumbersome with all tuning being done by cracking the code and using a emulator to make changes to the base program , with the amount of variations in the Ford programs and the complexity of cracking code it has meant only small areas of the calibration have been able to be changed but now the  new software we have access to nearly all the parameters in the ECU .

The software we are using has been developed by Superchips in America and marketed here in Australia by Capa Performance , as a  WA dealer we have been evaluating the Ford Flasher to what sort of gains are available with the out of the box tune supplied with the Flasher box and how far we could extend those gains with a full custom tune to suit the vehicle on the dyno - being mass produced every vehicle is different and a safe generic tune is suppled by the factory to cover every eventuality that the end customer may encounter , a slightly more aggressive tune is supplied with the flasher unit as it also has to take into account the variances that can occur between cars and different ends of the country.


The tuning system consists of 2 key components

The Ford flasher box -that can hold 3 different custom tunes plus the original tune the car came with so that it can be returned to stock at any time. To change the tune in the vehicle it is simply a matter connecting the flasher box to vehicles diagnostic port and the selecting which program you want to load into the vehicle then turn the ignition on and it is downloaded into the cars computer

Pic of flasher on engine

The Tuning Software - This gives us access to the tables inside the computer to modify things such as torque management , fan controls , fuel and spark curves , gearbox shift quality and timing , boost levels and idle controls. Careful manipulation of these parameters gives us control over the engine in the same way a aftermarket computer system does but without the inconvenience of rewiring and incompatibility of systems. This increased control enables us to make custom programs for supercharged cars and cammed cars as well as being able to extract the maximum hp out of any std combo - be it XR6T,XR6 , XR8 BOSS and FPV GT vehicles .



We could have used a XR6 turbo test vehicle and upped the boost to show the benefits of this new tuning solution but the XR6T has been done to death by every type of piggyback computer with huge boost and power levels but the poor V8 owner has been left in the tuning abyss for so long that we decided to put the spotlight back on the V8 for a change.

Our test mule is similar to what any XR8 owner would have done to try and get some performance out of the std 260kw motor before tuning was available, a good free flowing exhaust has been added , in a attempt to gain more performance , as well as every gizmo on the market such as under drive pulleys , larger throttle body , cold air intake and a helix spacer .


The first step was to get the vehicle on the dyno and lay down a couple of baseline runs to see exactly how the std 260kw Boss had faired from all its bolt ons - 274 hp at the treads indicated that power had lifted from the std 260 hp level we normally see at the rear wheels from these vehicles to a respectable 274hp indicating a 14kw gain at the motor.

Next we connected the Ford Flasher to the vehicle  , the unit comes pre-programmed with a valet tune for when a low rev limit is required , a 92 octane fuel tune for a minor power gain when using the std unleaded and a 98 octane fuel tune for maximum power when using a fuel such as Ultimate 98. We opted to go straight for the 98 program as the car had good fuel we were looking for the best bang for bucks improvement we could find.

A couple of dyno pulls to stabilise the motor and power had jumped from 274hp to 284hp a gain of 10 hp , with good improvements right through the rev range. out on the road the engine felt stronger revving freely to the redline but we felt it still had a bit more in it.

Back to the dyno we started to optimise the fuel and ignition curves  as well as the torque control and a host of little adjustments to gain maximum benefits from the engine. power shot up dramatically to 309 hp giving a total of a 50 kw  increase at the engine from std, out on the road it felt like a totally new car revving willingly and using its new found power effortlessly  , having gone from a 260 kw engine to now punching out 310 kw within the space of a day.




One thing to notice is all the testing was undertaken with similar intake and room temps to ensure consistency , a inflated figure could have been achieved by letting intake temps rise to give a higher dyno correction factors but in the interests of real world testing we opted to not let that happen. One of the benefits of the new shootout mode is that on the bottom of the graph is listed all the atmospheric conditions that  the testing was done under  , starting from the left we have BP ( barometric pressure ) then RH ( relative humidity) , AT ( Air temp) and IT ( intake temp) now the computer model gives us a correction factor of 1.012 - if we allow the intake temp to lift to 40 deg then our correction factor blows out to 1.031 giving us a false rise in power.


So with some careful custom tuning we have improved the std 260kw Boss to a outstanding 310kw along with improved throttle response and drivability , similar gains have been found on the XR6 with a exhaust as well as very good gains on the XR6 Turbo with careful tuning and boost increases. Even the very well set up Boss290 FPV GT will see good gains from careful tuning.

Next time we will look at a upgrade on a supercharged engine to see how we can utilise the functionality in the computer to account for bigger injector , 2 bar of boost  and diff gear changes.