: Madtuner ECM and TCM Review - 2005 Cadillac STS N*



aliskerov
04-07-13, 02:28 AM
Hey guys,

I recently purchased Madtuner's ecm upgrade, as well as the tcm upgrade for my 2005 N* STS.

Now I've been looking for something like this just about since I first got the car (2 years ago), as it was the only performance upgrade that could make an actual difference on this car. Cold air intakes have little to no gains, as the stock airbox is sufficient for the engine's air demands, and, since this car is highly computerized, I feel like any gains would be defeated by the stock ecm programming. I do have a Gibson exhaust on my car, but, being an axle-back, it hardly does anything for airflow (makes the car sound awesome though - highly recommended). Sadly, the word around the forum was that the ecm was hard to crack and no one wanted to do it. I even called a local Corvette specialist whom happened to be a test driver for GM and had all the resources to tinker with an STS ecm, but never got a follow-up. Thats when I finally gave up.

After doing some maintenance, some exterior upgrades, swapping the differential bushing with a poly one (common issue - I recommend this as a preventative measure; especially if you'r'll be doing this upgrade), swapping my front and rear sway bars with ones from a V, adding some aftermarket speakers to my BOSE system, a subwoofer system, a lockpick Navi override, and purchasing a nice set of 20" rims, I decided that there was nothing I could do for the engine and stopped looking. I stopped checking the forums for performance upgrades and decided that I should just enjoy the car the way it came.

Little did I know that in June of last year Madtuner bought a V-8 STS with a mission to crack the ecm that no one else cared about. I actually caught wind of this about a month ago, and made fast moves to get this done on my car. I contacted madtuner with what I was looking to get from the tune and, with his help, determined what route to go. His website, which you can find by typing in madtuner in google, will explain some of the things that you can tune. He explained to me that he can individually program certain perimeters individual in D mode, Ds mode, and M mode. This was key for me, as I won't own this car forever, and selling a car that redlines on the highway in D mode might be a challenge; especially if gas prices keep going up :D.

Here's a list of what I got done:

ECM:
- Performance tune - this is the essential ecm tune. This is where the extra ponies come from (and they certainly let themselves be known). It does require premium fuel, but it's well worth the price.
- Fans set to turn on at 211 degrees F (primary fan) and 223 degrees F (secondary fan) - fans come on at lower temperature to keep the engine cooler.
- Knock retarder desensitized - this is explained better on a forum posted by madtuner himself. Read here: http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/cadillac-sts-forum-2005-through-2012/283651-2004-2006-v8-tuning-update.html
- Disabled Speed Limiter - this is more of a braging right :D
- Torque Reduction Managment reduced by 60% - madtuner explained to me that, at launch, the car can automatically reduce torque to minimize wear. For performance purposes this can be desensitized.

TCM:
- Shift time reduced by 50% - car shifts faster.
- Rev limiter set at 6600 RPM
- Shift firmness increased by 20% in D and Ds modes, by 60% in manual mode - this makes the shifts crisp. In M mode the car physically launches into the next gear = awesome

I have a mac computer, so I couldn't program-by-wire and had to get a spare ecm and tcm; madtuner makes it easy with deposits until your old ones are returned. The TCM is located on the side of the fuse box and the ecm is located right in front of the driver-side front wheel, behind the splash guard; just make sure you disconnect the battery's positive terminal before you swap them. If you are, indeed swapping them, don't worry about the anti-theft or crankshaft sensor procedures you'll read about on madtuner's website, as neither proved to be a problem in our cars: antitheft won't be an issue if you disconnect the battery first, as the car will never locate a missing ecu without power. The crankshaft sensor re-learn was nowhere to be found as an option in my buddy's (certified mechanic with his own shop) up-to-date tech 2 tool; popped right up when we plugged it in to his GMC truck; our take on it - it's done automatically. You may want to go over the transmission adaptive functions re-learn procedure, just incase - ask madtuner for the instructions. Do remember to fill your car up with premium fuel BEFORE the install; I did, but could see how someone could forget.

The car may need some time to adjust to the new modules, or the modules may need some time to adjust to the car; whatever you prefer. Give it a day or two before you make your judgements; I didn't feel the full effects on my first drive. After a week of living with the car, however, I can honestly say that there is quite a difference; and I wouldn't tell myself that if it wasn't true. The car seems to accelerate faster and with more ease; less hesitation. The transmission is humble in D mode ( I asked for that with eventual resale and gas milage in mind), intuitive in Ds (holds in gear even with no gas applied), and ferocious in M mode - the gear shifts launch the car forward and press you back in the seat. The rev limiter is set higher, and you can see the needle going a bit past the redline in M mode, which is great, because the car still has alot of power at the top end. A wonderful side effect of this tuning that I wasn't aware of but love is that the car doesn't shut the fuel off at redline anymore, it just stay on it. If I leave the car in first gear and hit the gas, the revs will go up to 6600 rpm AND STAY THERE - now THAT is awesome, because the fuel cut-off was seriously pissing me off. Overall the tune was well worth the $500 (includes $100 discount for purchasing the combo, shipping, and refund of both deposits) that I paid for it; especially considering that the Volant air intake costs $350 and does little more then make your car sound like a vacuume cleaner. If you wish your N* STS had bigger balls you should definitely consider this upgrade, cause there is really nothing else worth doing; especially compared to this. Madtuner was very responsive throughout our email exchange and answered any questions I threw his way. Let him know what you're looking to get out of the tune and he will help you make a decision. Happy motoring!

-Aleks

mckellyb
04-07-13, 05:07 PM
If that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!

The program-it-yourself setup is in my near-term things to do, but funds are a bit short right now. Hopefully by the end of April, I'll be all over it.

orange57
04-07-13, 05:13 PM
If that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!

The program-it-yourself setup is in my near-term things to do, but funds are a bit short right now. Hopefully by the end of April, I'll be all over it.

I'm right there with you. I would love to do the reprogramming, but funds are short. Soon, hopefully.

aliskerov
04-07-13, 07:33 PM
Its not endorsement, its actually sharing a positive experience with an automotive product company, which, from restroring my 1964 corvette, is getting harder and harder to come by. I've been on this forum since 2011, long before madtuner offered any products for our cars. If you find my other posts you'll find great info on what particular speakers to upgrade your Bose Premium sound system with. Did JBL endorse me as well?

I just dont mind promoting a good guy, as well as share some experience/learned tips with fellow forum members. If you're not interested in that then why are you on this forum, my friend?

If you want better performance from your V-8 STS - this is the best bang for the buck. Please feel free to prove me wrong; ill wait.

orange57
04-08-13, 12:26 AM
aliskerov,

I think you may have taken what mckelly said the wrong way. All he is saying is that the review you provided is quite inclusive and provides lots of details regarding the tuning. Not in the terms of "endorsement" such as athletes get where they are paid to wear reboknikeadidas shoes or jersys. I don't think anyone is looking to prove you wrong, in fact I think most are looking for the good reviews you provide.

With regards to Positive Experiences, I think you are correct in that there are few companies still providing a customer service aspect and caring about the outcome. I seem to feel that a lot of people are just out for themselves, but here in the STS forum we seem to have some truly accommodating and caring vendors.

matt

mckellyb
04-08-13, 12:29 AM
aliskerov...chill out man. You're reading WAY to much negativity into this.

I don't mean 'endorsement' as in you were paid for your words or time.

I mean you endorse the the product, as in you support or approve of it.

There are multiple meanings of this word, I did not mean I doubted what you say...quite the contrary, and I'm quite happy to read about someone with an '05, which is what mine is, having done it.

IMO, if "endorsement" is used with a negative connotation, then it's being used incorrectly.

I was hoping to not be the first to write a review of this for the '05, but I may be the first to do one of the tweak-it-yourself version.

Kelly

aliskerov
04-08-13, 01:49 AM
I'm not mad at all, Kelly; I hate that there is more then one way posts can be interpreted lol. I did misunderstand your meaning of the word endorsement and just wanted to elaborately explain that this wasn't the case. I am sorry for misunderstanding though; I haven't heard that word used in a positive way in a while and forgot it's true meaning :D

mckellyb
04-08-13, 07:45 AM
No problem, aliskerov.

I'll have to surf for your Bose posts, 'cause I know it can be better (though, for an OEM Bose system, it's remarkably good...I'm not a Bose fan).

ezed1
05-19-13, 09:43 AM
108778
Im about to do this tune also, here is the before dyno this is with a drop in K&N crossover pipe
and dynomax super turbo mufflers,my cable should arrive tomorrow
I will post an update Dyno to show the results, i have a 07 4.6 V8 ,funny thing is
I have been driving this car for three years now and didnt know it had a sports mode SMDH!!!!:shhh:
The car ran pretty good in auto and manual i drove it in sports mode the other day and man the over drive
kicks in like a mother!!!! and this dyno was baseline in auto mode!!

mckellyb
05-20-13, 12:35 AM
More HP than torque.

I'm a bit surprised, though I should have known the engine was a bit oversquare....

I need to find a period review of this car. I know I have one, in my 33 years of C&D.

Yes...I've kept them all....

Charles Warren
05-20-13, 09:08 PM
Why is it squiggly on the chart lol. And is that after the tune? Because on mustang dyno I put down 225 trq and 230HP. Well let me find my dyno before i say numbers

ezed1
05-20-13, 10:59 PM
lol Before the tune I think the squiggly is the car slipping on the dyno but im not really sure, this being my first dyno :-?

Ludacrisvp
05-20-13, 11:09 PM
lol Before the tune I think the squiggly is the car slipping on the dyno but im not really sure, this being my first dyno :-?

AWD? RWD?

Possibly Bad tires?

ezed1
05-20-13, 11:38 PM
its RWD

Charles Warren
05-21-13, 12:55 PM
I dynoed the car on 22s smh, wont do that again. and I was off 1 hp lol 229 was my hp and 224 was my trq. But stang dyno is a bit stingy because it applies road force similutaion. and I believe the 1/4 times now. Is the dyno graph you posted after the tune though @ezed1 ???

ezed1
05-21-13, 05:43 PM
Charles the dyno was before the tune, after looking at the dyno madtuner said that the car was running pretty good being semi modded and that I may see little to no gain in power, but we will see after the next dyno, I installed the tune today, so far the only thing that really stands out as of rite now is that when the car starts it doesn't rev up as high as it once did it also shifts better in auto before I would get on a hill and it would take a while before it would shift but now it senses the load and shifts quicker ;) also I haven't changed to premium gas yet :yup: I will post the second dyno soon,

orange57
05-22-13, 01:58 PM
...it also shits better in auto...

Ha ha. Sorry, I'm juvenile :)

ezed1
05-22-13, 05:50 PM
LOL! that is funny
Ha ha. Sorry, I'm juvenile :)

Charles Warren
05-22-13, 10:07 PM
Premium gas is recommended in owners manual but hey if you've been driving it using med grade enjoy some bp Amoco premium lol. I'm impressed with dyno since rated at 320 it's not much as a loss

ezed1
05-22-13, 10:59 PM
Humm!! Charles that is saying a lot , I have been using shell 89 since having the car but I would occasionally put BP Amoco 89 in and I did think that the car had a little more pep in its step!! :-) so Bp Amoco Premium it is (so it be written!) LOL :cool:

EChas3
05-22-13, 11:48 PM
I'm not a fan of BP. Before the merger with Amoco, I had gotten bad gas from a couple of their stations. Standard & Amoco were always good but spendy. Exxon/Mobile - not so much.

Shell was my favorite. But around Milwaukee, its all the same crappy E10, anyway, coming from the same pipeline. Only the additive package varies and price-fixing is required by Wisconsin state law (they will prosecute sellers priced below market).

My neighborhood Tri-Par is Top tier. I may as well give them my money.

Charles Warren
05-23-13, 09:24 AM
shell chevron bp all are good down here in atl lol. I like sunoco too. And I need to get my gtp tuned first then sts since sts is a gas guzzler, ill park my sts in storage and drive gtp as my daily so ill be saving $$$$

EChas3
05-23-13, 08:46 PM
I don't see Sunoco or Chevron here.

Cadzilla8
05-24-13, 06:28 PM
Ezed you get those dyno results for after tune? I am seriously considering getting both Tcm and ecm tune from mad tuner. I have intake and axle back exhausts. How was the install?was it easy could I do myself? What sort of gains should I be expecting? Should I bring my car to a shop for this or can I do it in my driveway with basic tools?

ezed1
05-24-13, 08:50 PM
Cadzilla8 I will have dyno result on Tuesday, check your inbox

EChas3
05-25-13, 12:14 AM
What I find most appealing is the faster shifts in manual mode and a more aggressive sport mode.

Did the Mad Bunch ever crack MRC? I'd like to see the Touring setting be more complaint (but maybe that's just the AWD).

madtuner
05-25-13, 04:16 AM
What I find most appealing is the faster shifts in manual mode and a more aggressive sport mode.

Did the Mad Bunch ever crack MRC? I'd like to see the Touring setting be more complaint (but maybe that's just the AWD).


EChas3,

I've done some experimenting on the 05-06 F55 module, but not enough. I'm interested in exploring it some more. Does anyone know which of the STS configurations (including original tire size options and export/AWD versions) had the softest and harshest ride quality?

1BadCadSTS
05-25-13, 12:41 PM
Cars with the pcz performance handling package i would assume were the worse.

EChas3
05-28-13, 02:09 PM
I found mine so stiff that softening it became a high goal of my tire choice and pressure maintenance. I now run 235/50R18's @ 30F-29R with no load or passengers. The tire label calls for 255/45R18's in the rear & 30 psi all around. Here are all my RPO's that are even remotely suspension-related on my 2006 AWD 1SG.

6SD - COMPONENT SUSPENSION
7SD - COMPONENT SUSPENSION
8HJ - SUSPENSION
9HJ - SUSPENSION
F55 - CVRTD MAGNETO RHEOLOGICAL
FE3 - MAGNETIC RIDE CONTROL
GU5 - AXLE REAR, 3.23 RATIO
JE5 - 17" PERFORMANCE BRAKES
JJA - PT DRESS SUBASSEMBLY INSTALLED
LH2 - 4.6L NORTHSTAR V8 VVT 320 HP
MV3 - ALL WHEEL DRIVE
MX7 - MERCH. TRANS
N87 - 18" POLISHED ALUMINUM WHEELS
NV7 - PREMIUM ZF STEERING GEAR
Q12 - MICHELIN P235/50R18 FRONT P255/45R18 REAR W-RATED TIRES

madtuner
05-28-13, 04:53 PM
Alright, over the next couple of days' commutes, I'm going to run through all factory variations and then compare the results. I will then enhance the one that is better overall.

EChas3
05-28-13, 08:34 PM
I don't know about others, but I'd be fine with a somewhat more agressive 'Performance' setting but significantly softer Touring setting. A long time ago, there was a thread debating whether changing the shifter to Sport Mode affected MRC. I don't think it does on my car.

Ludacrisvp
05-28-13, 08:38 PM
I don't know about others, but I'd be fine with a somewhat more agressive 'Performance' setting but significantly softer Touring setting. A long time ago, there was a thread debating whether changing the shifter to Sport Mode affected MRC. I don't think it does on my car.

I would agree. Even though mine is too new for mad tuner's mods that is what I would want.

madtuner
05-28-13, 09:01 PM
I already started driving on AWD touring settings in a non-AWD car and whatever I had left over in there from my last experiments made the AWD settings feel like my old Olds Delta 88 boat. Ha.

Just so it's clear - are you looking for more of a boat feeling on the highway or is the general issue with how rough you can feel everything when you go over an obstacle such as a pothole?

1BadCadSTS
05-28-13, 09:13 PM
Ew. If I wanted a boat I'd buy a Deville. Maybe a little softer in touring would be nice but sport increase in performance I would like.

My awd isn't as firm as I'd like in the twistes at high speed but when I went from p zero Pirellis to dws continentals I noticed a drastic loss in performance handling as well due to the much softer sidewall

Ludacrisvp
05-28-13, 09:21 PM
I would like a Deville DTS F45 CVRSS feeling in touring mode with a sportier performance mode.
Other wise why bother with user controlled suspension settings if it is hard to tell that you've changed it...

EChas3
05-28-13, 09:39 PM
Just so it's clear - are you looking for more of a boat feeling on the highway or is the general issue with how rough you can feel everything when you go over an obstacle such as a pothole?

My comments were more related to lower speeds. The 'slope' of the curve is going to be a very personal decision. Here're my guesses:

The Performance setting needn't be much less compliant below 30 mph but should become firmer at a greater rate as speed increases.

The Touring setting is OK at Interstate speeds but below 65 mph should begin softening and by 50 mph & down soft is good. I'd reserve 'boatlike' for 25 mph & down.

madtuner
05-28-13, 10:41 PM
There is no reason why we couldn't have a tank and boat in the same package if that's we wanted, we just have to find some happy mediums. 1BadCadSTS, is that thing finally fixed? I might ask you to help road test some of these settings since you're good at noticing subtle differences.

PS. I can confirm that the sport shifter mode does nothing to the suspension settings.

1BadCadSTS
05-28-13, 11:00 PM
It's reduced but noticeable especially when I run 87 octane (only when I take it on long trips do I run low octane). I found this (link below) and while my ECM has been replaced (the cause of my constant cam position sensor code issue) and has more recent cals in it it leads me to believe the issue is something in what the ECM commands not the TCM lock up commands.

http://www.cadillacfaq.com/stsfaq/tsb/data/tsb/04-07-30-044.pdf

madtuner
05-28-13, 11:22 PM
It's reduced but noticeable especially when I run 87 octane (only when I take it on long trips do I run low octane). I found this (link below) and while my ECM has been replaced (the cause of my constant cam position sensor code issue) and has more recent cals in it it leads me to believe the issue is something in what the ECM commands not the TCM lock up commands.

http://www.cadillacfaq.com/stsfaq/tsb/data/tsb/04-07-30-044.pdf

You know, I think mine does a bit of that too at low speeds while decelerating and it's not even an AWD. I do think it's driveline-related though. The reason why you might see it more with low octane is because your car has less torque then (the ECM will pull timing with lower octane). I don't think the ECM is directly responsible.

In any case, thanks for the input everyone. I will take all your requests in consideration when I develop the suspension calibrations.

mckellyb
05-29-13, 07:39 AM
Echas, the 2005-2009 Jaaaaaag XJ Super V8, with air suspension, is JUST LIKE THIS!

It's ultra-cushy, until you want to do something, then it firms a LOT before you're done with input from the steering/accelerator/brakes.

Amazing, really.

madtuner
05-29-13, 11:09 AM
I can confirm today that the AWD has the softest settings of all available, which is consistent with my observation yesterday when I mentioned that my car felt like a boat with the AWD settings after the stiffer settings I had in there prior.

Ludacrisvp
05-29-13, 11:38 AM
...the general issue with how rough you can feel everything when you go over an obstacle such as a pothole?

This is certainly part of the issue.

I think E described a pretty well touring setting.
We could give Cadillac its signature ride back being semi floaty in touring mode then go full on tank mode for performance mode.

1BadCadSTS
05-29-13, 11:59 AM
Damn. Sounds like I need rwd suspension settings in my awd lol.

EChas3
05-29-13, 11:25 PM
Evidently the AWD hardware adds so much stiffness and transmits so much of the road to the driver that it would take a dynamic canceling system to achieve the feel in the RWD models.

Calling Dr. Bose....

madtuner
05-31-13, 01:49 PM
Evidently the AWD hardware adds so much stiffness and transmits so much of the road to the driver that it would take a dynamic canceling system to achieve the feel in the RWD models.

Calling Dr. Bose....

EChas3,

I believe you misunderstood. Believe it or not, the AWD has the softest settings of all STS configurations. With that in mind, I don't believe the ESCM has enough of an adjustment range to make you entirely happy, but at least what you have now can be improved.

I've been doing some more testing over the last few days, including a speed bump and Chicago pothole test and I kept refining my "soft" tune only to realize that my end results are almost identical to the SRX SUV settings... :D

At any rate, I will do some testing soon with one of the customers who decided to keep his cable and we'll get a second (unbiased) opinion on this.

1BadCadSTS
05-31-13, 01:51 PM
Is that customer me? Haha.

madtuner
05-31-13, 02:06 PM
Is that customer me? Haha.

Yes, but I might do one more just so we have more feedback. Shoot me an e-mail when you're ready to test.

1BadCadSTS
05-31-13, 02:09 PM
I'm in obx nc on vacation I return Saturday but I have my laptop and cable with me ALWAYS hahaha. Whenever works for you. I have a 9 hour road trip home to test things with.

madtuner
05-31-13, 02:15 PM
I'm in obx nc on vacation I return Saturday but I have my laptop and cable with me ALWAYS hahaha. Whenever works for you. I have a 9 hour road trip home to test things with.

Good thing you've registered in 2010 or someone might think you're working for me! :D You've got mail.

ezed1
06-02-13, 05:02 PM
The first dymo was alittle misleading with the trans lockup squigly :-)
THis is the first madtuner tune!
Ill let you guys be the judge remember my car was already modded
with the first dyno and i was told to expect little to no gain in HP
so far i am very happy with the trans shifts at higher rpms limiter is gone
but you didnt hear it from me LOL!! and gas mileage is up alittle,we get this air/fuel dialed in
and we are done:cool:

the112866

ezed1
06-02-13, 05:20 PM
This is the first dyno before the tune
112922

1BadCadSTS
06-02-13, 06:37 PM
2nd is a dead pic.

madtuner
06-02-13, 06:45 PM
ezed1 thank you for all your help with the R&D on the 2007 ESCM or lack thereof rather. :D

His car is actually a 2007 running a different engine management system than the 2005-2006s (random/abundant knock retard is not an issue on these ECMs).

One thing that can be said about 2000+ Northstars is that they are very consistent in horsepower between runs. They'd make good bracket racing cars.

ezed1
06-02-13, 07:45 PM
its alive now :)

1BadCadSTS
06-02-13, 07:50 PM
Did you post them backwards. Pretune shows more hp and tq?

Cadzilla8
06-02-13, 08:42 PM
The pretune dyno graph wasn't accurate if you look where the little squiggly is it throws off the numbers. Without the squiggly the numbers were about the same in the 260 range

1BadCadSTS
06-02-13, 08:48 PM
No take a look above. It's 271 vs 264 hp. Pretune listed shows 271 tuned shows 264.

Post 50 vs 51.

Cadzilla8
06-02-13, 09:02 PM
Ohh now I see. Not sure. Now I'm wondering same thing ezed.

madtuner
06-02-13, 10:11 PM
What ezed1 meant is that his first graph was inaccurate. You have to look at the right part of the graph where the engine actually should peak horsepower. The peak that you see around 95 MPH (causing the horsepower spike to 271) was most likely his torque converter locking up. His car has some modifications already which is why he has more horsepower than a stock STS. Corrected air/fuel ratio and increased timing on his car didn't make much of a difference in terms of horsepower.

ezed1
06-21-13, 11:02 PM
what do you think? yeah yeah I did'nt have anything better to do LOL!!! :yup:https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/10165_10201267159423036_83257667_n.jpghttps://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/1010786_10201267123982150_1884237810_n.jpg

madtuner
06-23-13, 11:56 AM
Looks great, ezed1! :D Thanks a lot for doing this! I should have some of these made myself because customers ask me about it often.

1BadCadSTS
06-23-13, 12:32 PM
I'd rather run a mad tuner badge than some d3 badge. They are horrible.

ezed1
06-24-13, 11:10 PM
I'd rather run a mad tuner badge than some d3 badge. They are horrible.Here goes your Badge LMAO!! ;)

1BadCadSTS
06-25-13, 09:04 AM
All dead links

Ludacrisvp
06-25-13, 09:11 AM
All dead links

Interesting. They worked yesterday for a bit.
Looked like a modified police badge if I recall correctly.