My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon
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2008-2013 Cadillac CTS Performance Mods Discussion, My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon in Cadillac CTS Second Generation Forum - 2008-2013; After spending some time in this forum, as well as the Camaro forums, I've decided to go ahead and pull ...
  1. #1
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    After spending some time in this forum, as well as the Camaro forums, I've decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on the Trifecta ECM/TCM tune, commonly referred to as a Vince Tune, as Vince Geglia is the owner/operator of Trifecta Performance and custom writes each tune that goes out his door.


    So, why do I want a tune? Well quite honestly, I'm addicted. Every car I own has been tuned in some way or another, all with great results. My 2010 AWD CTS Wagon, equipped with the 3.6L DI engine and 6sp auto slushbox, is in need of a kick in the pants. While the car is rated at 304bhp, it feels like it only has 2/3 of that. I believe the reason is more related to the crappy OE calibration of the TCM, more than it is about the calibration of the ECM. I don't know about your CTS, but mine is ALWAYS wanting to find 6th gear just as quick as it possibly can. So when a call for power is made from your right foot, it's not there. You have to wait for the car to downshift, spool up the revs, make a bunch of noise in the process, and then you're finally moving forward at a quicker pace. I don't like this. So now what? Well, a Trifecta ECM/TCM tune is what.


    With only modest power gains, the real value in this tune is the ability to predefine at what speed you'd like to upshift/downshift at, and how firm/quick you'd like that event to take place. So, for normal A6 mode, you could keep the OE calibrations in effect, and unleash hell when you move the gearshifter into the "sport" position. However, that's not the approach I'm going to take. I'm going to have normal A6 shift points moved upwards so that the car holds steady in it's power band at each gear, but I won't change the firmness of the shifts. I'll call this "wife mode". But in sport mode, I'll have the shift points raised, I'll have throttle blip on downshifts like it does in manual mode, and I'll have it stepped up to the firmest/quickest shift allowable. I'll call this "Daddy Mode".

    Another selling point of this tune is if I mod the car in the future, say an intake and/or exhaust, then a retune is free. This allows you to take full benefit of any hardware mods you may add at a later date.

    I'll have the ECM timing advanced to take advantage of 93 octane, and I'll have it leaned out just a hair, but keeping the A/F ratio within safe limits. These cars are equipped with very advanced knock sensors, so I'm not really worried about detonation. Plus, we're not going to tune it aggressively enough to put the car in any real danger. And let's be honest here, we're talking about a naturally aspirated V6, not a Biturbo V12. It'd be pretty tough to mess up a tune on this engine.

    Another nifty feature of the this tune, is the ability to reset the learning transmission adaptives. This is a particularly useful feature when the car has been driven as a daily commuter. Even though we're tuning the TCM, the adaptive nature of the tranny is still in play. So, it'll adapt itself accordingly, but on a sliding scale from our tuning points vs. OE calibrations. As part of your purchase, you'll download a software interface to your laptop, that when connected to your ECM via the OBD cable, you can reset the tranny adaptations with the click of a button. Neat.

    There's also the "Ghost Cam" feature, that's available for the 3.6L DI. It's a gimmicky thing that allows you to click a sequence of buttons on the steering wheel, and enable a lopey idle, just as if the car had a big cam in it. You can preset how agressive you'd like it to lope, but I think this is probably more for the Camaro guys than the Caddy guys. Nonetheless, it's there if you want it.

    I'm using Bad News Racing as the reseller for the tune. It's cheaper to purchase through them, then going direct to Vince and Trifecta. I paid $460, including the tuning cable needed to write the .net code to the car's CAN-BUS. Jerry, the owner of BNR, has been outstanding with communicating to me what to expect, what not to expect, and has always replied to my emails within 24 hrs.

    I plan on updating this thread at each milestone to chronicle everything from purchasing experience to my thoughts on the tune, post install

    2/8/11 - Purchased tune and cable via Bad News Racing's website, and received verification email

    2/9/11 - Received email stating that order has been placed with Trifecta, and cable will be shipped directly from them. Tune will be developed and emailed to me.
    loosend, loosend, CDLCR and 1 others like this.

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    bojangle is offline Awaiting Email Confirmation
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    i have mine on the way so please keep me posted! thanks for the write up

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    kingtj is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    I didn't know anything about that "ghost cam" feature. Was that something Jerry told you about in conversation? It wasn't in a menu on the software to select/de-select or anything, that I recall? Like you say, it's just a gimmick, but I was just curious if it's only something I can enable if I request a special firmware from him with it in there?

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    loosend is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    You can get this as an update but beware that some of the guys on the Camaro site were having a few issues with it. You can get it in a few different lopes from mild to wild and what it does is drop cylinders at idle and then all cylinders respond when you accelerate. I think some people were getting a stall here and there and they might have fixed all the bugs by now.

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    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Quote Originally Posted by loosend View Post
    You can get this as an update but beware that some of the guys on the Camaro site were having a few issues with it. You can get it in a few different lopes from mild to wild and what it does is drop cylinders at idle and then all cylinders respond when you accelerate. I think some people were getting a stall here and there and they might have fixed all the bugs by now.
    Correct. Some of the camaros with remote start were seeing some bugs too, but an update cane out a few weeks ago and everything seems to have been worked out.

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    sfv41901's Avatar
    sfv41901 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    I like the sound of this.

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    tinman's Avatar
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    Has anyone here gone this route?

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    tinman's Avatar
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    I mean this next statement with all due respect to Wag-O-Neer. The prose is admirable, I agree. Are there any documented results?

  10. #9
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    Quote Originally Posted by greenorange View Post
    I not too long ago came across your write-up and have been reading along. I wish to express my admiration of your writing ability and capability to create readers read from the starting for the finish. I'd like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.
    Thanks. I get so frustrated, at times, reading posts that contain mostly "text lingo", that I try to make mine sound like my education was worth something. I'll keep this thread running with updates, as they happen. OMG, I mean WTF.....right?

    Quote Originally Posted by tinman View Post
    I mean this next statement with all due respect to Wag-O-Neer. The prose is admirable, I agree. Are there any documented results?
    Yes sir. There's a few 3.6L DI Caddy folks running this tune, as I type this. All have varying degree of praise for the product. But, if you search the Camaro forums, most notably the camaro5.com forum, you'll find hours of reading on the subject. As you know the 3.6DI engine in that car, is the same as ours, so they've pioneered and guinea pigged a lot, for our benefit. I can't recall the number exactly, but Vince and BNR both mentioned that they have tuned roughly 350 or so 3.6LDI engines.

    I have data logging equipment that I use for some of my other vehicles, so I'll be able to take pre/post logs and see what's what. I probably won't dyno it, though. But I'll be able to look at timing, as well as use applications that utilize the accelerometer in my iPhone, to get 0-60, 1/4 mile, HP and TQ figures. It won't be exact, but as long as I use the same tool to sample both the pre tune, and post tune data, the delta should be accurate.....(ish)

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    tinman's Avatar
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    Thanks for the response.

  12. #11
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    Quote Originally Posted by tinman View Post
    Thanks for the response.
    Yes sir.



    UPDATE:


    I plan on updating this thread at each milestone to chronicle everything from purchasing experience to my thoughts on the tune, post install

    2/8/11 - Purchased tune and cable via Bad News Racing's website, and received verification email

    2/9/11 - Received email stating that order has been placed with Trifecta, and cable will be shipped directly from them. Tune will be developed and emailed to me.

    2/13/11 - Received email from Vince, after inquiring about the shipment date of the cable, stating that the cable was shipped on 2/10/11

    2/14/11 - Received email from Vince stating that the tune will be written and delivered electronically today, via email.

  13. #12
    WRXtranceformed is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    Great writeup Wag. I am really curious to hear how the tune feels. I can definitely feel this engine holding back as well.

    I am enjoying seeing some more well written / informative posts on here as this is one of the more anemic boards I have been a part of as far as technical info / DIY writeups. Keep it coming!

  14. #13
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    UPDATE: Sorry it's been a few days since my last update. I've been getting one of my other cars race-ready for a 1/4 mile event that happened yesterday. Here's the latest:


    I plan on updating this thread at each milestone to chronicle everything from purchasing experience to my thoughts on the tune, post install

    2/8/11 - Purchased tune and cable via Bad News Racing's website, and received verification email

    2/9/11 - Received email stating that order has been placed with Trifecta, and cable will be shipped directly from them. Tune will be developed and emailed to me.

    2/13/11 - Received email from Vince, after inquiring about the shipment date of the cable, stating that the cable was shipped on 2/10/11

    2/14/11 - Received email from Vince stating that the tune will be written and delivered electronically today, via email.

    2/16/11 - Received tuning cable in mail and also received correspondence from Vince apologizing about the delay in emailing my tune. Apparently, he's away from his shop and he's not able to get my base ECM and TCM files from GM. He did say that if I went ahead and pulled the stock files from my ECM/TCM using his cable, and the EZ Flash software, he'd write the tune on the spot and email it back to me. Or, I could wait until he's back in the office on Tuesday and he'd be able to pull my files from GM. Since I've been busy getting ready for race day, I decided to just wait and have him pull the files.



    However, I did get a chance to do some baseline data logging with my own equipment. I'll post that info up here shortly.

    ----------

    Here's a 3rd gear pull I did, to take logs of timing advance, pre-tune. I should note that car has been running 93 octane for the past 3 fill ups.

    Looks like at 6K RPM, the stock file is running (positive)20 degrees of timing. You can also see the car pull 4* at 5220 rpm.


    datetime Timing Advance RPM
    06:40.6 36 2543.75
    06:40.7 18 2543.75
    06:40.8 18 2542
    06:40.9 17 2619
    06:41.0 17 2619
    06:41.1 24.5 2626.75
    06:41.2 24.5 2626.75
    06:41.3 12 2739.75
    06:41.4 12 2739.75
    06:41.6 12 2669
    06:41.7 12 2669
    06:41.8 12.5 2727
    06:41.9 12.5 2727
    06:42.0 12.5 2772.75
    06:42.1 12.5 2772.75
    06:42.2 12.5 2831.25
    06:42.3 13.5 2831.25
    06:42.4 13.5 2876.5
    06:42.5 13.5 2924
    06:42.6 13.5 2924
    06:42.7 13.5 2967.5
    06:42.8 13.5 2967.5
    06:42.9 15 3033.25
    06:43.1 15 3033.25
    06:43.2 15 3081
    06:43.3 15 3081
    06:43.4 15 3138.25
    06:43.5 15.5 3138.25
    06:43.6 15.5 3175
    06:43.7 16.5 3175
    06:43.8 16.5 3232.25
    06:43.9 17 3232.25
    06:44.0 17 3269
    06:44.1 17 3269
    06:44.3 17 3332.5
    06:44.4 17 3332.5
    06:44.5 17 3385
    06:44.6 18 3385
    06:44.7 18 3425.25
    06:45.8 18 3425.25
    06:45.9 17 3699.75
    06:46.0 17 3743.25
    06:46.2 18 3743.25
    06:46.3 18 3813.25
    06:46.4 18.5 3813.25
    06:46.5 18.5 3872.5
    06:46.6 18.5 3872.5
    06:46.7 17 3920.25
    06:46.8 17 3920.25
    06:46.9 16.5 3973.75
    06:47.0 16.5 3973.75
    06:47.1 16.5 4031.25
    06:47.2 16.5 4031.25
    06:47.4 16.5 4031.25
    06:47.5 16.5 4082.5
    06:47.6 16.5 4082.5
    06:47.7 16.5 4149
    06:47.8 16.5 4149
    06:47.9 16.5 4206.5
    06:48.0 16.5 4206.5
    06:48.1 18 4257
    06:48.2 18 4257
    06:48.3 18.5 4306
    06:48.4 18.5 4306
    06:48.6 18.5 4306
    06:50.0 20 4345.5
    06:50.1 20 4683.75
    06:50.2 20 4683.75
    06:50.3 20 4743.5
    06:50.4 20 4743.5
    06:50.6 20 4794.75
    06:50.7 20 4794.75
    06:50.8 20 4849
    06:50.9 20 4849
    06:51.0 20 4913.25
    06:51.1 20 4913.25
    06:51.2 21 4963.75
    06:51.3 21 4963.75
    06:51.4 21 4963.75
    06:51.5 21 5011.5
    06:51.6 21 5011.5
    06:51.7 21 5070.75
    06:51.8 21 5070.75
    06:51.9 21 5125
    06:52.1 21 5125
    06:52.2 21 5125
    06:52.3 21 5173.25
    06:52.4 21 5173.25
    06:52.5 21 5220.75
    06:52.6 17 5220.75
    06:52.7 17 5262.25
    06:52.9 18 5262.25
    06:53.0 18 5323.25
    06:53.1 18 5323.25
    06:53.2 18 5363.75
    06:53.3 18 5363.75
    06:53.4 18 5419.75
    06:53.5 18 5419.75
    06:53.6 18 5419.75
    06:53.7 18 5473
    06:53.8 18 5473
    06:53.9 18 5514.5
    06:54.1 18 5514.5
    06:54.2 18 5568.75
    06:54.3 18 5568.75
    06:54.4 18 5603.5
    06:54.5 18 5603.5
    06:54.6 18.5 5654.75
    06:54.7 18.5 5654.75
    06:54.8 18.5 5695.75
    06:54.9 18.5 5695.75
    06:55.1 18.5 5695.75
    06:55.2 18.5 5733
    06:55.3 19.5 5780
    06:55.4 19.5 5780
    06:55.5 19.5 5780
    06:55.6 19.5 5818.25
    06:55.7 19.5 5818.25
    06:55.8 19.5 5859.25
    06:56.0 19.5 5859.25
    06:56.1 19.5 5901.25
    06:56.2 20 5901.25
    06:56.3 20 5941.75
    06:56.4 20 5941.75
    06:56.5 20 5979
    06:56.6 20 5979
    06:56.7 20 6019.25
    06:56.8 20 6019.25
    06:57.0 20 6054.5
    06:57.1 20 6054.5
    06:57.2 -10.5 6054.5
    06:57.3 -10.5 5901.25
    06:57.4 -1 5901.25
    06:57.5 -1 5908.75
    06:57.6 5 5908.75

    ----------

    I didn't know exact weight of the CTS4 Wagon, and I didn't know the drivetrain loss with an autobox, so I completely guessed at 3600lbs and 20% loss. I'm sure that why the calculated WHP number is off a bit. Doesn't really matter, I suppose. Hopefully after the tune, we should see bett 0-60 and 1/4 mile MPH.








  15. #14
    beanjapan's Avatar
    beanjapan is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: My Trifecta ECM/TCM tuning experience - 2010 CTS-4 3.6L DI Wagon

    The weight of the car correlates to the peak hp the app gives you (in addition to the driveline losses).

    According to the cadillac website the CTS sport wagon comes in at a porkish, 4090 lbs w/ RWD, the AWD comes in at a whopping 4306 lbs. Plus add your body mass.
    (I think the 2014 CTS will be better just based on mass alone, if its anything like the ATS which is <3400 lbs)

    Also, I've used 10% losses for FWD, 15% for RWD and 25% for AWD. These results seem to correlate pretty well with the manufacturer's HP ratings (w/ these simple dyno apps).

    Keep posting information though! You seriously can't post too much! Very exciting & Nice work

  16. #15
    Wag-O-Neer is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Good info on the weight, thanks! I'll recalibrate and try to get another pull.

    New factors will be 4470 for weight w/driver and 25% DLT

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