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Cadillac ATS Technical Discussion Forum Discussion, KPE ATS tune in Cadillac ATS Discussion Forums; KPE, one of the forum sponsors, is headquartered in the Phoenix area so I dropped by to check them out ...
  1. #1
    Hoosier Daddy's Avatar
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    KPE ATS tune

    KPE, one of the forum sponsors, is headquartered in the Phoenix area so I dropped by to check them out last Tuesday.

    KPE is a subsidiary of and shares offices with Evolution Motorsports. I was aware of Evolution Motorsports from numerous magazine articles but didn’t realize they had a facility in the Phoenix area or that KPE was a part of them.

    Evolution has a huge shop with more than a dozen project cars in the works. They don’t allow pictures in the shop but I was blown away by a new R8 they were working on. Among the upgrades, they were adding multiple direct injectors to each cylinder because there are no direct injectors that can supply the fuel this car will need with just the 10 it came with! And of course there was a plethora of Porsches and the odd Mclaren, Ariel Atom (with the car engine), etc, etc..

    I believe KPE started out specializing Cadillac Vs but have branched out to other Cadillac and GM models. In addition to Vs, they are pretty big in the supercharged Camaro V6 world and gaining market share with other GM models.

    Evolution and KPE are partners with a company in Germany who is one of the best Bosch tuners in the world. You may be aware that some of GMs recent turbo engines used a Bosch system. They are also experts on the GM system used in the ATS and in GM’s other cars now that the Bosch system has been phased out.

    That company and KPE partnered to produce a handheld tuner for GM cars. It’s called the Intelligent Power Flasher (IPF). It has some interesting characteristics I hadn’t seen before. One is that the tuner is not locked to any vehicle or even model of car. Naturally each tune is tied to a particular car. Tunes are downloaded into the IPF over the internet and can be re-downloaded at any time. That saves some times with new tunes and updates to tunes but it also allows one IPF to tune any number of cars without dedicating onboard memory to every one of them. In addition to selling IPFs, they will also rent them for a very nominal fee. Some of these features aren’t big plusses for individuals but could be huge for clubs or groups of friends with GM vehicles. There are currently IPF tunes for 30 GM models from the Sonic to the Z06 Corvette.

    While I was there, KPE’s president (Jason) and sales manager (Andy) asked me if I would like an ATS tune in exchange for reporting about it on the Cadillac forums. They had sold a number of ATS tunes but none of the customers were into forums. I agreed but with the understanding I would report everything, whether good or bad AND only if the car was dynoed because advertising claims or seat of the pants estimates aren’t as useful for forums readers deciding which tune to buy. The main reason I hadn’t bought a tune already was the lack of decent dyno results for a similar car from any of the tuners.

    As you would expect Evolution has a world class dyno facility capable of dynoing supercars putting out over 1000 HP. I was particularly impressed with the air flow. I’m sure theirs isn’t the only one like this but every other dyno I’ve seen in operation relied on large fans blowing air in the direction of the radiators. In addition, the cars being dynoed always had their hoods propped up to maximize cooling which was particularly annoying to see when a manufacturer was dynoing their CAI that seals against the hood in real life! Evolution’s facility has a ducted air system that seals against the front of a car and pumps air thru at high speed. They wouldn’t say how much air it would move but admitted it was over 70 MPH. Another employee commented that it would knock you down if you walked in front of it when it wasn’t stuck to the nose of a car, so I suspect it is pushing a lot of air and maybe over 100 MPH.

    They were prepared to install the tune and dyno the car last Wednesday but I had a conflict so yesterday was the first time the dyno’s and my schedule matched.

    When I got there I met Todd who is the president of Evolution Motorsports and who was going to do the runs himself.

    It was important to get meaningful results so around a dozen pulls were done to make sure the water and air temps were the same for the final base and tuned runs AND to ensure the computer had “forgotten” its real world experiences by the time the final base run was done.

    I own a Syclone and know how much the Arizona heat drains power from a turbo so was not expecting a huge gain in the 100 degree temperatures but it was at the top of the range I expected and VERY noticeable on the street afterwards. The increases are right where I want them for the street.

    The dyno sheet and video are at the end of the post. The other base and tuned runs were very consistent with slight variations due to temperature and computer learning. The posted base and tuned graphs are NOT the highest numbers of either. I and I assume most people who install a tune aren’t doing it for some number on a graph but for real world performance.

    At this time, KPE tunes do not let you switch between factory and KPE tune on the fly. They said their customers had not asked for that. I told them I thought it was not very important for a manual transmission car but even I would like to be able to switch on the fly, if for no other reason than for demonstrating the tune to passengers. I also said I think switching on the fly would be very important to many auto trans owners so they could turn the transmission tune on and off. They said that makes sense and they would be adding that to their tunes. I told them they should try to find a way to switch back and forth with the sport setting but that I understand another company uses cruise control for manual trans cars because those cars don’t have a transmission computer so they could not use a sport mode signal from the car to that computer to do the switch in manual trans cars.

    Interestingly, they said their standard tune for manual trans ATSs like mine does produce slightly more peak torque than their auto trans tune because the auto trans is not as strong as the manual and it would be pushing the limits in the long run. They said it wasn’t much of a difference and no difference for most of the power band, just at the peak and not noticeable by seat of the pants.

    The standard dyno disclaimers apply. If you aren’t familiar, dynos are different. You can’t compare results from one dyno to another, and to some extent, you can’t even rely on graphs from the same dyno under different conditions or calibration. A dyno is really only useful to compare before and after done as close as possible to each other and with meticulous attention to making ALL conditions match. You can not dyno your car and say you have more or less power than someone else who dynoed somewhere else. The closest you can come to meaningful comparisons is if you know the base runs were with identical cars (but unfortunately, cars off the assembly line don’t produce equal power), then you can compare percentage increases but even then you have to trust that the dyno operator knows what he’s doing AND doesn’t want to skew the results. Lastly, peak power and torque numbers are not as important as the “area under the curve”. That’s particularly important with turbo engines. Peak numbers are just that: a peak at a particular RPM. If you are accelerating you have to go thru a wide range of RPMs. A high peak HP loses to a lower one if the lower peak motor has a better average thru the RPMs.

    On to the graph and video:

    And a pic of the car waiting patiently for its turn on the dyno:







    I apologize for the poor video. I have no idea why the sound is so low and the phone didn't deal with the contrast between outside and into the dyno room. And i wish I had gone around to the viewing room inside to get a video showing the awesome air system. It reminded me of a gigantic snake trying to swallow my car like some rodent it caught. LoL

    And the video reminded me I wanted to comment on the fact that it was a Mustang Dyno and that they ran it in all wheel drive mode (if you were wondering why the front wheels were spinning). I don't recall all the technical reasons they had for having the rear drum spin up the front one. I understood it at the time, but I guess there was too much in my head for it all to survive 'till this morning.
    CadillacLuke24 and M5eater like this.

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    CTSCHICK is offline Banned
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    Finally a dyno sheet
    Congrat's

    With the front wheels spinning during the dyno run at least maybe the ABS lights on the dash wasn't on for a little bit afterwards due to the front wheels spinning on the dyno run compared to just the rear wheels spinning and the front abs sensors freaking out because the wheels didn't move lol

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    ATSFL is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    good pickup of area under the curve. how different does it feel on the street.

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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    Since all dynos are apples to oranges, I would love to hook up with someone who has a Trifecta tune or one from that company in the northeast (sorry for not remembering off the top of my head) and dyno them back to back. Anyone who is in or will be passing thru central Arizona and is interested, please PM me. Evolution said they would donate some dyno time, but to eliminate any doubts, I'd prefer to pay a 3rd party to do it.

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    donavo is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    if im reading the sheet correctly, are you seeing a 50whp gain? i have no clue how to read these....

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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    Quote Originally Posted by ATSFL View Post
    good pickup of area under the curve. how different does it feel on the street.
    It feels great. But I never saw much point in saying things like that because almost nobody reading a post knows what that really means. I've known people with greatly over and under sensitive butt dynos. I've even seen someone rave about a tune a few years back and then find out the tune hadn't been activated; I guess a form of placebo effect. I'm particularly leary tunes for auto trans cars because changing shift points or firmness or lockup can fool a butt dyno into thinking there is more power. I'm not saying those things don't affect performance but muddy the water between engine and trans tune gains. I think the most meaningful information you could get on a forum is dyno percentage differences (which I plan to make a graph of) and even that is only valid if the dyno operator is competent AND unbiased. For the latter I spent a lot of time talking to Todd to get a feel. The fact that he didn't just choose the lowest base pull graph and the highest tune pull graph is a good sign.

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    ATSFL is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    thats why dyno sheets are great for quantifying results, but nothing beats the old-fashioned way: 1/4 mile run, vbox run, or "mexican highway" runs
    bluhaven likes this.

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    Hoosier Daddy's Avatar
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    Quote Originally Posted by donavo View Post
    if im reading the sheet correctly, are you seeing a 50whp gain? i have no clue how to read these....
    You may be looking at the torque. The largest HP increase is 33. The largest torque gain was 46. But the max difference isn't that important. The maximum percent increase is 20% and close to that over a wide area. The HP and torque numbers will vary quite a bit based on air temperatures. In this case the air was 100F. But the 20% would not vary as much with lower temps although looking at the curves themselves I suspect the range of RPMs that would see a 20% increase would expand. I'm basing that on the fact that GM says the factory torque curve is almost table top flat. Notice my base (and tuned) torque curve is far from flat which I suspect is due to the much higher air temps when my car was dynoed compared to when GM dynoed their benchmark. People should focus on percent differences (not numeric) and the impartiality of the dyno operator. For example, a tune that added very little HP or torque could easily produce more total HP or torque than my car did yesterday just because it was dynoed in cold dense air, the way to get a feel for which tune is best is to focus on the percentages AND for the entire range someone cares about, not just some spike.

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by ATSFL View Post
    thats why dyno sheets are great for quantifying results, but nothing beats the old-fashioned way: 1/4 mile run, vbox run, or "mexican highway" runs
    I partially agree in that a quarter mile run by a driver who can turn identical times over and over tells you more about the important area under the curve than from just looking at a dyno graph. But you can actually get that from the dyno graph without worrying about the driver repeatability. You just need to plot the power to the wheels at every RPM in every gear taking into account the torque multiplcation of each overall gear ratio. Then you overlay those graphs lining up MPH. You then look to see where the graphs cross and forget about the RPMs below that point for the higher of those two gears because you shouldn't shift up until you hit that RPM (it will often NOT be at redline or max HP or max torque for lower gears). Then you can calculate the area under the graph for the RPM range you used in each gear and their total that will tell you which is the best tune, everything else being equal. Since everything else will seldom be equal (different dynos, different air, different operators, etc.) you focus on the percentage difference of the areas under the curve (before and after a change) rather than the numerical differences. Is it perfect? No, but better than ANY other way including on the track unless you could make a good living doing just driving.

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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    Thanks for the feedback Hoosier Daddy!! And thank you for volunteering your ride. Welcome to the IPF family and we hope your enjoying those extra ponies!! The New ATS Tune is now available, also keep your eye out for other ATS Performance and Vehicle Enhancement products coming soon from KPE and IPF Tuning. Currently accepting orders for PowerTune modules and pre-orders for our new 2.0T exhaust system!

    andy@kpe-products.com


    IPF Tuning - KPE Products
    888.222.4291 Office
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    what is pricing and availability? any plans for some tests with methanol or alcohol injection?

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    roadpie4u is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    The curves tell me a few things:
    1. The factory calibration likes pulling timing - I assume it is due to knock - do I'd like to see what knock (if any) the KPE tune sees in that "worst case" 100 degree heat.
    2. Even tuned, peak power is below 5000rpm. I'm guessing this is either due to airflow (where an intake would help) or the turbo (where it just needs a bigger one and/or a better intercooler).
    3. The stock Wheel values seem okay, but geez the heat out there must be sapping the crap out of the turbo!!!
    272chp=200whp (27% loss)
    260tq=235wtq (10% loss)
    Working backwards with the tuned gains...
    221whp=280chp
    275wtq=302wtq
    Again, looks like there are issues with the car from the factory - not enough airflow or not a big enough turbo.

    Andy- can you put your .02 toward why horsepower is so low? Do you guys think there is anything that us owners can do to help the situation? I know a lot of guys are still miffed the LNF got a GM tune for a big increase - in theory an LNF with the "warranty keeping" GMPP tune would put out similar or maybe more power than the tune you guys just did on the ATS (290hp/325tq).

    Thanks for the thorough write up!

  13. #12
    Hoosier Daddy's Avatar
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    Quote Originally Posted by ATSFL View Post
    what is pricing and availability? any plans for some tests with methanol or alcohol injection?
    I think the regular price for tune PLUS hand held is $495. I don't know what the price of a tune alone or hand held alone is ($3xx and $2xx?). They said they were going to be posting a sale for forum members soon.

    They are also working on a bunch of other mods for the ATS. They will have a full exhaust available this week. Since I do NOT want my car to be louder, it is not a priority for me so I didn't dig into it more. I don't know if they have one ready for the V6.

    And they are ramping up to produce front splitters and rear diffusers.

    And they are VERY big in the supercharged Camaro V6 world and are thinking about doing a kit for the ATS. Since the next Camaro will also be on the Alpha platform with the same V6, it would give them a head start on that.

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by roadpie4u View Post
    The curves tell me a few things:
    1. The factory calibration likes pulling timing - I assume it is due to knock - do I'd like to see what knock (if any) the KPE tune sees in that "worst case" 100 degree heat.
    2. Even tuned, peak power is below 5000rpm. I'm guessing this is either due to airflow (where an intake would help) or the turbo (where it just needs a bigger one and/or a better intercooler).
    3. The stock Wheel values seem okay, but geez the heat out there must be sapping the crap out of the turbo!!!
    272chp=200whp (27% loss)
    260tq=235wtq (10% loss)
    Working backwards with the tuned gains...
    221whp=280chp
    275wtq=302wtq
    Again, looks like there are issues with the car from the factory - not enough airflow or not a big enough turbo.

    Andy- can you put your .02 toward why horsepower is so low? Do you guys think there is anything that us owners can do to help the situation? I know a lot of guys are still miffed the LNF got a GM tune for a big increase - in theory an LNF with the "warranty keeping" GMPP tune would put out similar or maybe more power than the tune you guys just did on the ATS (290hp/325tq).

    Thanks for the thorough write up!
    That all makes sense. And they did say the turbo was too small to make more power at the top.

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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    let's also see some pictures of the 2.0t exhaust system!

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    mikesul is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    The stock turbo is too small for much of a performance increase. I have been told that and have seen that while dynoing my car with and without tunes. I have had the Trifecta tune and am currently running the Vermont Tuner tune (with a handheld also) and bottom line you typically gain around 30-35 hp with a manual RWD car. If you want more , as I do, you need to get a modified turbo, downpipe, and FMIC. Without the more efficient I-C forget trying to get larger HP gains unless you live where the ambient temps never go above 50 degrees. You must be able to control the IAT's to stop timing being pulled.

  16. #15
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    Re: KPE ATS tune

    $349 for the tune, $200 to own the module or $50 + deposit to rent one from us.

    I will take $50 OFF!! the price of the tune for Forum Members ONLY...LIMITED TIME OFFER!!

    No plans for alchohol or methanol injection yet, but we are working on an intake, exhaust and some carbon fiber goodies! I should have pics and prices for the exhaust soon.


    IPF Tuning - KPE Products
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