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2008-2013 Cadillac CTS Performance Mods Discussion, Shift point change in Cadillac CTS Second Generation Forum - 2008-2013; That's fine ... but as this is the "CTS Performance Mods" forum, I'm not sure what other content you'd expect ...
  1. #16
    kingtj is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    That's fine ... but as this is the "CTS Performance Mods" forum, I'm not sure what other content you'd expect to find discussed here?
    Even a mod as simple as putting on a custom airbox has been known to void people's warranties when a dealer decided to be difficult. Really, your options come down to modifying NOTHING, or accepting some risk of hassle/problems with potential future warranty claims. (I mean, even if you tint your rear window, someone at a dealership could claim that voided your warranty on your rear defroster. If you put in a new radio, they could void a warranty claim on a defective door speaker in the future.) Heck, you could theoretically have some idiot mechanic try to void a claim on the AWD system if you used different tires than OEM, claiming it " changed the dynamics of the system".

    For whatever it's worth, Trifecta claims they can apply some sort of "stealth mode" over the top of their tune after they reflash it, which hides it so the system will appear to be stock when checked. (Their software prompts, asking if you'd like to do that, after a reflash.) Does it really work? I don't know... I'm not the guy who designed it, but he DID work for Microsoft as a software developer for a living before starting Trifecta and doing custom tunes. So he may know a thing or two about that stuff?


    Quote Originally Posted by RAB View Post
    Hey guys.. I just wanted to provide a head's up, is all. If you want to modify your engine or transmission calibrations, then all power to you!
    Personally I wouldn't want to be jeopardizing any part of my 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper or 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

    BTW.. are you 100% certain you can flash the calibrations back to the original GM stock settings without leaving some sort of trace of what's been done? If your car ever needs a replacement engine, transmission or other major driveline component you can be sure GM Tech (who would be the ones authorizing the warranty claim) will insist on seeing a full diagnostic/data download from the control module(s).

  2. #17
    kingtj is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Hey, just wanted to give you an update.... I did some driving last night in the CTS, and now, I have a more positive opinion of the custom tune.
    What I've noticed is that although I feel like nothing really changed in the car's feel when driving around town in a typical manner, it pulls noticeably harder under hard acceleration, such as merging onto the interstate from the on-ramp. Before the tune, I recall this car having good, strong acceleration - but not quite "sports car caliber". Much like Road & Track and some other magazine reviewers said ... it feels like the heavy car that it is. You can tell the engine is capable, but it doesn't shine like it would in a lighter vehicle.

    Now, I'd say it just feels like it has more oomph when you demand it - without really changing the performance characteristics much when you don't. Considering I have AWD, this may be all I can really expect anyway. (It'd take a pretty huge performance bump to get to the point where it's burning rubber from a stop sign -- Mustang 5.0 style!)

    Anyway, I'd now declare myself satisfied that especially at the sale price I paid, I got something for my money with this tune. There's still a chance to tweak it further with datalogging and sharing results back to Trifecta, but I'm assuming any such changes would result in gains only noticeable with dyno testing -- not "seat of the pants" noticeable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wag-O-Neer View Post
    For those running this tune....

    Can you please provide an update on your opinion of the power increase, the transmission tune, as well as perceived value, now that you've logged some miles. Do you still like it? Would you recommend it? Do you feel the price was fair, considering the results?

    Thanks in advance, gents.

  3. #18
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingtj View Post
    Hey, just wanted to give you an update.... I did some driving last night in the CTS, and now, I have a more positive opinion of the custom tune.
    What I've noticed is that although I feel like nothing really changed in the car's feel when driving around town in a typical manner, it pulls noticeably harder under hard acceleration, such as merging onto the interstate from the on-ramp. Before the tune, I recall this car having good, strong acceleration - but not quite "sports car caliber". Much like Road & Track and some other magazine reviewers said ... it feels like the heavy car that it is. You can tell the engine is capable, but it doesn't shine like it would in a lighter vehicle.

    Now, I'd say it just feels like it has more oomph when you demand it - without really changing the performance characteristics much when you don't. Considering I have AWD, this may be all I can really expect anyway. (It'd take a pretty huge performance bump to get to the point where it's burning rubber from a stop sign -- Mustang 5.0 style!)

    Anyway, I'd now declare myself satisfied that especially at the sale price I paid, I got something for my money with this tune. There's still a chance to tweak it further with datalogging and sharing results back to Trifecta, but I'm assuming any such changes would result in gains only noticeable with dyno testing -- not "seat of the pants" noticeable.
    I appreciate the feedback. I've been in contact with the same reseller you went through, and they're no longer honoring the $300 w/cable sale price. I'd have pulled the trigger, without pause, at that price. But now I'm finding myself reconsidering. My guess is I'll probably still end up getting it because I can never leave well enough alone.

    I can't stand the way the factory tuned the transmission to always want to be in the highest gear, so even if the tune gained zero power, the TCM tune is probably worth the price of admission.

    Sleeping on it....

  4. #19
    kingtj is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Yeah... that's too bad the sale price ended, but IMO, it's still worth what they're asking. I had to pay about $550 for the custom re-tune I got on my previous car, and that was actually a sale price too. The unfortunate fact with these tunes is that the volume of sales has a lot to do with the pricing. If you drive a really popular car that a lot of owners want to modify and tweak, sure -- you might get a decent "canned" tune for as little as $150 or so. Otherwise, whoever puts in the time and effort to reverse engineer the software in these computers would understandably want to make a little more money back on each one sold -- especially if they're going to be working with you after the sale to analyze logged data and send further adjustments back to you.

    I look at it this way; I've spent a LOT of money on all kinds of bolt-on mods to cars I owned before. Short of a a boost controller for a turbocharged vehicle, not one of those modifications gave me more of a performance improvement than a custom tune did. You might not receive a big, heavy physical product in an oversize box like you do with a full axle-back custom exhaust ... but it can do as much or more for you than that exhaust will.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wag-O-Neer View Post
    I appreciate the feedback. I've been in contact with the same reseller you went through, and they're no longer honoring the $300 w/cable sale price. I'd have pulled the trigger, without pause, at that price. But now I'm finding myself reconsidering. My guess is I'll probably still end up getting it because I can never leave well enough alone.

    I can't stand the way the factory tuned the transmission to always want to be in the highest gear, so even if the tune gained zero power, the TCM tune is probably worth the price of admission.

    Sleeping on it....

  5. #20
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Quote Originally Posted by kingtj View Post
    Yeah... that's too bad the sale price ended, but IMO, it's still worth what they're asking. I had to pay about $550 for the custom re-tune I got on my previous car, and that was actually a sale price too. The unfortunate fact with these tunes is that the volume of sales has a lot to do with the pricing. If you drive a really popular car that a lot of owners want to modify and tweak, sure -- you might get a decent "canned" tune for as little as $150 or so. Otherwise, whoever puts in the time and effort to reverse engineer the software in these computers would understandably want to make a little more money back on each one sold -- especially if they're going to be working with you after the sale to analyze logged data and send further adjustments back to you.

    I look at it this way; I've spent a LOT of money on all kinds of bolt-on mods to cars I owned before. Short of a a boost controller for a turbocharged vehicle, not one of those modifications gave me more of a performance improvement than a custom tune did. You might not receive a big, heavy physical product in an oversize box like you do with a full axle-back custom exhaust ... but it can do as much or more for you than that exhaust will.
    I have a custom ECU dyno tune on one of my cars, and a custom ECU/TCU dyno tune on another of my cars, a V12 Biturbo, that was over $2000.00. So yeah, you're 100% right your assessment. The V12 Biturbo isn't that popular of a car, and the tuning available for it is only offered by a few tuners. I can't imagine that I'll feel much of a HP increase from the Trifiecta tune, but what I'm really looking for is improved drivability. The OEM TCM file on my caddy wagon is silly. The moment you decrease throttle input, it wants to go into the highest possible gear. I live in a very hilly area, so my car is constantly upshifting and down shifting, unless I manually shift it. Hopefully, the Trifecta tune will address that.

  6. #21
    loosend is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Quote Originally Posted by Wag-O-Neer View Post
    I live in a very hilly area, so my car is constantly upshifting and down shifting, unless I manually shift it. Hopefully, the Trifecta tune will address that.
    Please report back if you get the tune and let us know how you like it. Thanks.

  7. #22
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Quote Originally Posted by loosend View Post
    Please report back if you get the tune and let us know how you like it. Thanks.
    Will do. I see you're in Maryland too. I'm in Frederick, on Lake Linganore if you're familiar with the area. If you are, you know how hilly it is. I don't know how your car reacts, but my car is CONSTANTLY hunting up and down looking for the right gear. Dealer flashed it, and says it's normal. I don't think there's a problem with the car, per se. I just think that it's grossly underpowered for this terrain, so it needs to downshift to get up some of these hills. That's fine, but as soon as I let up on the throttle even a hair, it'll upshift into a higher gear and fall on its face. The it'll downshift again.....rinse and repeat. You get the idea...

    You in Frederick County?

  8. #23
    loosend is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Quote Originally Posted by Wag-O-Neer View Post
    Will do. I see you're in Maryland too.
    You in Frederick County?
    Nah, I'm in the low country of southern Baltimore County where it's pretty flat in Edgemere around the Sparrows Point and Miller's Island area. I haven't driven mine on hilly terrain to notice shifting issues like you have but I don't like the delay of the throttle response caused by the electronic throttle control. I miss good old cable linked throttle like in my Chevelle. I also thought about getting the tune because of the tranny improvement but the $300 special is over and I am not going to pay $150 just for a cable. Also I'm a little concerned with voiding the powertrain warranty also as I have had alot of issues with my car and there have been frequent trips to the dealer mostly for leak, seat, and trim related items. I guess I'm getting more cautious as I age. Not that 45 is old, old. LOL I wish we lived closer as I would meet up with you when you did your tune. Keep us posted though as any good information is appreciated.

  9. #24
    kingtj is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Actually, I'd say there's an excellent chance you can get by with some generic "USB to OBDII" cable you can find on eBay for $15 or so.
    The cable I was shipped with my tune didn't even come with a CD containing a device driver for it. My Windows machine simply downloaded a generic "USB serial port" driver from Microsoft when I first attached it and it popped up a "Detecting new hardware" box on the screen. That tells me Trifecta's software has no special need for the specific make/model of cable they ship out.

    Quote Originally Posted by loosend View Post
    I also thought about getting the tune because of the tranny improvement but the $300 special is over and I am not going to pay $150 just for a cable.

  10. #25
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Quote Originally Posted by kingtj View Post
    Actually, I'd say there's an excellent chance you can get by with some generic "USB to OBDII" cable you can find on eBay for $15 or so.
    The cable I was shipped with my tune didn't even come with a CD containing a device driver for it. My Windows machine simply downloaded a generic "USB serial port" driver from Microsoft when I first attached it and it popped up a "Detecting new hardware" box on the screen. That tells me Trifecta's software has no special need for the specific make/model of cable they ship out.
    Very interesting. So, as part of the tuning cable, does it have some sort of data logging hardware built in? I wonder if that's why the cable is so much money. I've read posts on the Camaro forum, that mentioned data logging and having Trifecta customize the tune, after you've sent him logs. I have my own data logging hardware and software, and wouldn't need his. So now I'm wondering if it's possible to purchase just a generic USB--->OBDII cable, that speaks the correct protocol of course, and purchase just his tune. I wonder....

    I've seen a video of the tune being applied on a Camaro as well. The little application that runs and guides you through the tuning process, is that part of the tuning program you received? Or maybe that application lives in ROM on the tuning cable somehow. Because that's definitely something that will be needed.

    ----------

    Would you mind posting 2 pics of the cable for me? One pic of the whole cable just laying flat or whatever. And one close up of the PINOUT on the OBDII side.

    Thanks in advance!

  11. #26
    loosend is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Quote Originally Posted by Wag-O-Neer View Post
    I've been in contact with the same reseller you went through, and they're no longer honoring the $300 w/cable sale price. I'd have pulled the trigger, without pause, at that price.
    I feel the same way and the re-seller said Trifecta may do this again around black Friday at the end of this year but was not positive. Reading the Camaro site, they had an influx of orders and were backlogged when the $300 offer plus cable was in effect.

  12. #27
    kingtj is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Nope.... the included cable doesn't have any data logging hardware or software built into it at all. The software you run is a Windows application Trifecta has you download from a link on their website. (In fact, anyone can download a copy ... he doesn't restrict the downloads to only paid customers. The tune itself is the only part he emails you after verifying your payment. Without that data file, the software is relatively useless.) The software does the data-logging to a file saved on your laptop computer's hard drive, and simply communicates through the USB to OBDII cable.

    The download links can be found here: http://www.trifectaperformance.com/ezflash.aspx

    It looks like whether you tell it you have the "black cable" or the "red cable" (which is what I received), it offers you the exact same software package.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wag-O-Neer View Post
    Very interesting. So, as part of the tuning cable, does it have some sort of data logging hardware built in? I wonder if that's why the cable is so much money. I've read posts on the Camaro forum, that mentioned data logging and having Trifecta customize the tune, after you've sent him logs. I have my own data logging hardware and software, and wouldn't need his. So now I'm wondering if it's possible to purchase just a generic USB--->OBDII cable, that speaks the correct protocol of course, and purchase just his tune. I wonder....

    I've seen a video of the tune being applied on a Camaro as well. The little application that runs and guides you through the tuning process, is that part of the tuning program you received? Or maybe that application lives in ROM on the tuning cable somehow. Because that's definitely something that will be needed.

    ----------

    Would you mind posting 2 pics of the cable for me? One pic of the whole cable just laying flat or whatever. And one close up of the PINOUT on the OBDII side.

    Thanks in advance!

  13. #28
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Quote Originally Posted by kingtj View Post
    Nope.... the included cable doesn't have any data logging hardware or software built into it at all. The software you run is a Windows application Trifecta has you download from a link on their website. (In fact, anyone can download a copy ... he doesn't restrict the downloads to only paid customers. The tune itself is the only part he emails you after verifying your payment. Without that data file, the software is relatively useless.) The software does the data-logging to a file saved on your laptop computer's hard drive, and simply communicates through the USB to OBDII cable.

    The download links can be found here: http://www.trifectaperformance.com/ezflash.aspx

    It looks like whether you tell it you have the "black cable" or the "red cable" (which is what I received), it offers you the exact same software package.
    I did a little more digging after I posed that question, and you are 100% correct. The tune install program, is just that, a software interface that communicates with the car's ECU via the OBD cable. The calibration file for the ECU and TCU are a separate file that's emailed to you, and I'm sure are coded with your VIN. If not, there would be nothing stopping you from emailing me that tune file, right? Here's a video from the reseller showing a how-to guide on the install:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjMR4uJG1ME

    Notice that one of the steps is to install a driver for their proprietary cable(s)? So, that makes me wonder if thats the way of making their software only work with their cable. There's gotta be something, right? I mean, how are they getting away chargin $150 for a $20 cable? I'd understand if the only option was for you to purchase the cable, but they offer a rent-a-cable program, where you leave a large deposit and are refunded the amount when you return their precious little cable. There's no money to be made on that, since they refund you the full amount. Something's a miss here....

  14. #29
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Shift point change

    Ok, so with a little more effort, I was able to get some information about this mysterious cable. Here's a note from the reseller:

    You have to use one of our cables. The ones you see cheap online don't
    have write capabilities to the info we write to the ecm. They work to
    read and clear check engine lights in some cases, but they can't write
    to the ecm. You need something that can send .net code into a CAN-BUS
    system. Honestly, our red cable is the cheapest I've ever found that can
    do that. The only other one out there that I've seen is the Tactrix
    OpenPort 2.0, which I also sell, but it's more money- $185 vs the red
    cable's $150.

    This reseller has been great about correspondence back and forth with me. The Camaro guys with the same 3.6DI swear by this tune. I know it's not gonna add much noticeable power, but I've got to do something about this auto slushbox that always wants to go into 6th gear. The other good thing about this package, is you can reset the transmission adaptations with the click of a button. Awwwww screw it! I'm gonna order....

  15. #30
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Just ordered the whole package. I'll start a new thread with my ordering/install and after thoughts on this ECM/TCM tune.

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