Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review
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  • 1 Post By Osiris4313
Cadillac ATS Technical Discussion Forum Discussion, Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review in Cadillac ATS Discussion Forums; I recently bought a 2013 ATS 2.0, manual transmission, which I am am completely in love with. I just wanted ...
  1. #1
    Osiris4313 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    I recently bought a 2013 ATS 2.0, manual transmission, which I am am completely in love with. I just wanted to get a little more power and low RPM torque out of it. I remember scavenging this thread trying to read every review I could on the tunes, before making my decision. So, I thought I would post my experience for anybody else coming here looking for reviews. Also, thank you to everybody that helped out by responding to my threads and messages. If you want the quick bottom line: The tune is AWESOME and absolutely gives the car a major kick I was looking for; I'm shocked at the difference.

    I should start by saying that I am nowhere near as car savvy as a lot of the people on this forum. I used to think I knew a fair amount about cars but guys like Siren, Hoosier Daddy, and ATS Turbo quickly made me realize otherwise. To that end, this review will not be very technical, and will not involve a dyno pull, it'll just be my experience on the road.

    Right off the bat, Eric over at Pfadt was extremely helpful and patient. He answered all of my questions over two phone calls, and explained to me the history of pfadt and how much work they have put into this tune. He even asked me, before I even had the tune, to post a review. He said he would have absolutely no input, didn't need to review it, and it didn't even have to be positive. He was so confident in the product that he knew it would be a good review. He estimated that the tune adds approximately 50 hp and 50 pounds-feet of torque

    It is a mail order tune (2nd day UPS), so you install it yourself. I was a bit concerned about this since I do not know anything about how to do it, but it was very simple, and Pfadt will walk you through every step of the way via internet and phone. It is hard not to notice the immediate change after installing the tune. First gear has a bit more pickup, Second gear has a lot more pickup, then third gear and on have a ton of power (relative to stock). The turbo pickup is noticeable much sooner, now starting in the 2,500 to 3,000 rpm range. I do not really notice a change between 1k and 2,400 rpm, though I am barely in that range anyway and did not expect to notice the power at that range. That said, the tune certainly changes the timing of your shifts, as the car blows past the 1k to 2,4000 rpm mark and gets to the 4,000+ rpm range much faster. If you want to just drive normally on the street - like I usually do with my son in the car - you will be shifting through the gears quicker, which I really don't mind. It is certainly not to the point where it obstructs the drive or anything, and it is still easy to casually drive the vehicle.

    When driving fast, like on the freeway, or when I need to give it more gas, I do not have to downshift anymore to get the extra power. I have had several friends drive the car with me since the tune and everybody comments on how much power and torque it has. One friend has a ninja (motorcycle) and sort of joked that it had as much pull when I floored it as his ninja. I also have a friend that drives a Mercedes CL550 and we were flying on an empty freeway one night in the cars. I will certainly not stand here and say that I beat him, but he was very surprised with how well I was able to keep up.

    With regard to the MPG, I probably get about 1 mpg more when driving casually, though that is offset by my constant need to drive aggressively, so be forewarned. Lastly, some tunes have a way to turn it off and on. This tune does not. I was told by an engineer over at pfadt that this is because they completely re-map the computer from top to bottom and it cannot just be blocked/turned off and on.

    I should probably note one last thing. I had a minor stall issue that pre-dated this tune. My car stalled once or twice inexplicably while stock, while I was slowing to a stop or at a stop (I could not figure out anything that prompted it, and it was not due to the way I drove). After the first tune, it stalled a couple of times and I reported it to Pfadt. They immediately jumped all over it and had me send them a data log, then they studied it, talked with me, sent me a new tune, and had me immediately send another data log. Eric told me that: (1) the manual ats's had a minor stall issue; (2) they made sure that I had the most recent update from GM to address the issue; (3)that I also had a "lazy" O2 sensor on the car that was not enough to actually set off any warning lights; and (4) that the computer actually learns the new settings and adjusts. After the first day I have had absolutely no stalling issues, and everything works perfectly. I love this tune, and the people at Pfadt are awesome.

    I hope I covered everything.
    Thanks,
    Mark
    70eldo likes this.

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  3. #2
    Renovatis is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    This was a great review, thanks for writing it up.

    Did you have to buy a cable to upload it to the car?

  4. #3
    Dave3283's Avatar
    Dave3283 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Nice review, can you remove tune and put back when you want?

  5. #4
    Pfadt Engineering is offline Authorized Vendor PLATINUM
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    Re: Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    Mark-
    So glad that you are still loving the performance edge that a Pfadt vehicle offers...It's truly amazing what some quality engineering can accomplish. Sometimes I wish I had the math skills to be an engineer and help with these projects. Either way, the guys upstairs really know their stuff! It was a pleasure to work with you, and feel free to call me if you ever have any more questions. Until then, enjoy your "new" ATS!

    Eric

  6. #5
    Osiris4313 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    Renovatis, I did have to buy the cable, but Eric gave me a great deal.
    Dave 3283, it is very easy to remove the tune and put it back. It all runs through a simple program that you download from the pfadt website and they walk you through.
    Eric, thanks!

  7. #6
    bbrown450's Avatar
    bbrown450 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    Is it available for the 3.6??

  8. #7
    Osiris4313 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    Sorry bbrown, but the website only says 2.0T. I'd give eric a call though and ask - (888) 972-2464 (I think it's ext 105, but there's a recording that'll say "for eric, dial...")

  9. #8
    bungee91 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    You had the manual stall issue also... Interesting!.. I'm really glad they got that fixed for you, here's hoping BNR/Trifecta can do the same for me.

  10. #9
    Osiris4313 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    Dang, I'm really sorry to hear that bungee; apparently it is not that uncommon. Do you still have the tune installed and it is continuing to stall? Or did you remove it? I had an issue the first day, or maybe two, but then it fixed itself. I am not sure whether it was because of Pfadt's tweaks or just the computer adjusting itself, but I hope BNR can help you. If not, maybe it's worth calling Pfadt and seeing if they can do anything. I know how frustrating it is.

  11. #10
    bungee91 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Thanks, and no the tune didn't help, pretty much the same with or without. I'm in contacts with BNR. Looking at the screen shots from Pdaft of the software and cable it looks like they use Trifecta also (I may be wrong, just looks the same), and if this is the case it shouldn't be an issue at all to get fixed.

    You said you had an O2 sensor that was malfunctioning, did you need to replace it?

  12. #11
    Osiris4313 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    The cable is probably the same but I imagine the flash software itself is significantly different. No, I did not replace it and it is a pretty tricky issue. I tried to tell the dealership that I suspected a "lazy" O2 sensor without telling them I had a flash and potentially affecting my warranty. So then the issue really is that if you set it back to stock and it is not setting off a check engine light, they cannot even identify a problem. To them, if there is any issue with the O2 sensor, it will set off an engine light. How often do you stall? and are you sure you have the most up to date software from Cadillac?

  13. #12
    DiabloMike's Avatar
    DiabloMike is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Pfadt ECU (flash) Tune Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Osiris4313 View Post
    The cable is probably the same but I imagine the flash software itself is significantly different. No, I did not replace it and it is a pretty tricky issue. I tried to tell the dealership that I suspected a "lazy" O2 sensor without telling them I had a flash and potentially affecting my warranty. So then the issue really is that if you set it back to stock and it is not setting off a check engine light, they cannot even identify a problem. To them, if there is any issue with the O2 sensor, it will set off an engine light. How often do you stall? and are you sure you have the most up to date software from Cadillac?
    flashing back to stock will clear the code, but you may have to drive it for a while of the code to come back...but I if it is indeed a lazy O2, it will come back eventually.
    Mike Litsch
    DiabloSport Inc.
    Diablosport.com

  14. #13
    bungee91 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Every once and a while, sometimes twice within that day, then everything is good for a week or so, then a random one here and there.. I've verified I have the newest code base from Trifecta/GM on my tune. I've just dealt with it at this point, but checking on here and seeing others having the same issue makes me want to get it fixed even more.

    ----------

    Also the flash software looks the same also. Same V8 in the middle of the software you can click on.. My suspicion is it's the same Trifecta software but I'm willing to be wrong.. LOL.

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