: Why you should think twice before modifying your car...



KTSwanson
09-02-06, 01:19 AM
...and have lots of extra cash after the mods for any repair work. Long story, but briefly, the dreaded "reduced power mode" kicked in; a dealer trip ended with "the #6 plug was fried, you're tuned too rich, we replaced the plug, but take it back to the guys who did your mods for further repairs". I did, ended up replacing all plugs (nearly fried), altered tunes, then had poor running/check engine light/starting problems resulting in a tow to the dealer again, on a Fri eve. They worked on it Saturday and Monday; called early Monday, said "due to all the mods, we're charging hourly rates, estimating $800-$900, pick it up tonight". By 4 pm the story changed..."can't get it running, your tune is all messed up, show up with a tow truck, take it away, and we won't charge you (except for the rental car initially covered, it's now on you)". I was able to get it running (barely), to limp it the 4 miles back to the shop that did my mods. The next 3 weeks were filled with multiple and varied tunes, 3 different PCMs, new plugs, with persistent "traction/stability control" error code, and repeated engagement of the "reduced power mode" on test driving, when all seemed right. After a full recheck of all wiring and connections, replacement of the throttle position sensor, module, throttle body, and battery, and retune, it's now running well. The shop's ultimate conclusion was that these items were independent of the mods, and should have been covered under warranty, but weren't as the dealer wouldn't deal with the car due to the mods (beyond reflashing the custom-tuned PCM to a factory tune, not a good idea given the Maggie, and who knows what else during the 2 days they were working on it, resulting in all sorts of additional work to get it back to baseline). Bottom line is...once you do major mods, you're pretty much on your own. Some one might say "they should cover that", but reality is...they don't, and you really become an "orphan" once anything goes wrong. So, make sure you've got a reserve account set up beyond the cost of your mods, as you're going to need it. (This adventure cost me $3700, plus 3 days rental car, plus no car for 4 weeks). :(

commander112
09-02-06, 03:06 AM
Yup. Sorry to read of your issues. I used to have a modded Miata. Once the supercharger went on Mazda had an out on any mechanical issues.

Mark

KTSwanson
09-02-06, 09:40 AM
Sorry to hear about your trouble, but you describe the obvious. Who did your tune? I'm not aware of any quality LSx tuners in San Diego. Sounds like your install shop has no clue.
The custom prior tune was reflashed by the dealer back to stock, so needing an on-site tuner, SVC uses Ron Zimmer of Z-industries Z-Industries Custom Tuning. Chevy Ford and Dodge. Corvette C5 C6 Z06, Duramax Diesels, 6.5 Diesels, Dodge SRT/10/Vipers and all SCT Ford (http://www.z-industries.com/index.htm) . Perhaps it's obvious to you in retrospect, but it wasn't to them...or the dealer...spent days trying various tunes and checking error codes; Zimmer's son is on-site, and sends the programs back and forth via wireless modem to Ron in Temecula, who modifies it, and sends it back for reinstall...it would be running well, then on a test drive the reduced power mode would kick back in (although the code indicated an ABS/traction control issue). Not sure which component was responsible, but by swapping out those I mentioned, the problem is resolved (hopefully, it's only been 2 days).

BigFred
09-02-06, 10:01 AM
It hurts to read that, sorry to hear it. Good post though. I think it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of modding and forget about possible negative effects. I'm too skerred :eek: to let go of my warranty. Props to those that do though, that's livin' the dream! :2thumbs:

Dennisscars
09-02-06, 10:33 AM
I can understand the plugs being effected by a questionable tune but don't understand how it would effect hard parts? the battery? I'm smelling "We don't know what's wrong lets change customer pay parts until it's better." (page 52 of auto repair guide)


I didn't think a maggie would even run (or worth a krap) with a OE tune. How's that working out?

KTSwanson
09-02-06, 11:32 AM
I can understand the plugs being effected by a questionable tune but don't understand how it would effect hard parts? the battery? I'm smelling "We don't know what's wrong lets change customer pay parts until it's better." (page 52 of auto repair guide)

The final thoughts are that the rich tune may have caused a plug issue, but resolving that didn't fix the larger issue of "reduced power mode" activation (presumeably) due to the throttle body/sensor failure.


If what they are saying is valid maybe your first post should be communicated to your tuner for some comp.

That won't happen...the tuner (Zimmer) spent way more hours working on the issues than were finally billed for...it wasn't a cost-productive job for him, but he got it working, when I really had no options.


I didn't think a maggie would even run (or worth a krap) with a OE tune. How's that working out?

The OE tune that got flashed at the dealers barely ran...like I said, they told me to show up with a tow truck...the valet guy was able to finally start it, but it took all my heel-toe experience to drive it the 4 miles down Harbor and Newport Blvd in heavy traffic, with lights, keeping the revs high and braking, knowing if it died, it wouldn't restart, to get it back to SVC. The brand new plugs put in the prior week, with about 15 miles on them, were then were re-pulled and heavily covered in soot due to the OE tune.

Like I said...the dealer is not an option...and I have (had) the extended warranty.

Dennisscars
09-02-06, 11:49 AM
Glad to hear the tune got squared away. I agree that dealers are well behind the learning curve.

Chef
09-02-06, 12:35 PM
The custom prior tune was reflashed by the dealer back to stock, so needing an on-site tuner, SVC uses Ron Zimmer of Z-industries Z-Industries Custom Tuning. Chevy Ford and Dodge. Corvette C5 C6 Z06, Duramax Diesels, 6.5 Diesels, Dodge SRT/10/Vipers and all SCT Ford (http://www.z-industries.com/index.htm) . Perhaps it's obvious to you in retrospect, but it wasn't to them...or the dealer...spent days trying various tunes and checking error codes; Zimmer's son is on-site, and sends the programs back and forth via wireless modem to Ron in Temecula, who modifies it, and sends it back for reinstall...it would be running well, then on a test drive the reduced power mode would kick back in (although the code indicated an ABS/traction control issue). Not sure which component was responsible, but by swapping out those I mentioned, the problem is resolved (hopefully, it's only been 2 days).

Whoa!,

I was heading in that direction here in Az and subsequently heard that name Zimmer? My car was way out of $&^t & and I think the name that was attached to its poor running was that G.M. GURU that I mentioned in a previous post was Zimmer or Zimmerman but Ron was the first name and out of cali! Hmmmmm. I'm glad you're safe now for the time being. If you had stock plugs with a maggie your doomed any way you look at it. I fried 2 within a week of a maggie before I was going to change them out and had misfire codes, running on 6 cylinders, etc. etc. No fun at all!. The right tune coupled with good techs will hopefully assist the life of your car.

Take care,
Chef

wildwhl
09-02-06, 03:51 PM
I don't see any relevance to any of this.

Quite frankly, the only reason to think twice is your DL.

Bent fenders, busted knuckles, empty pocket books, blank checks, shattered diffs, bald tires, burnt plugs, "lightened" pistons, "drilled" blocks, right-angle valves, flat cam lobes, CEL (check engine light) and CFD (Check front door to see if you're locked out light), WRX (waste rice at crossing) and any other mod hell bonus feature that I've encountered simply makes this story, well, humorous.

I know you can't laugh now - but you will :histeric:

(knocking on wood as I type, but the Heineken tells me she'll be OK when I go test drive the new Alky tune)

WW

urbanski
09-02-06, 04:01 PM
(knocking on wood as I type, but the Heineken tells me she'll be OK when I go test drive the new Alky tune)

WW

on my third shiners :highfive:

KTSwanson
09-02-06, 04:20 PM
I know you can't laugh now - but you will :histeric:


WW
Not laughing yet...need to recover from the $3700 hit first, but Maggie is putting a smile back on my face, after 4 wks of driving my '91 Camry. Ahhh, the price we pay for horsepower!

keeksv
09-02-06, 05:52 PM
on my third shiners :highfive:

On my third Optimator....

I have about 5K Maggie miles and stock plugs. No issues.

50 4Ever
09-02-06, 06:17 PM
Sorry to hear about the problems. Seems to me like there are several issues here that people with mods need be aware of, IMO.

If you have a tune, be sure the service writer writes on the work order "DO NOT REFLASH PCM". Depending on the mods, a reflash back to stock could make the car not run at all. This has happened to a Corvette with heads, cam and long tubes only. Dealer had an upgrade and reflashed the PCM and car wouldn't run, the tuner came to the dealer and retuned the car to get it to run.

In my opinion, the only way to get a proper tune is to have someone with a laptop hook up to your ODB II and go for a drive. All LS6's are a little different so a tune that works for one might not be optimal for another. This is the problem you run into with these "remote" tuners. I think if someone had tuned your car as you drive it they would have detected you were running rich in one or more cells, maybe you were even having predetonation in some cells of the map. A/F ratios could be modified and if needed some timing could be pulled out of the offending cells.

Know your warranty. Just because you have mods does not mean your warranty is void. The mod must be shown to directly cause the problem. You might run into other problems if you have an extended warranty with someone other than GM.

This also brings up another fact, there are a lot of dealers that do not have the knowledge to work on a highly modified car. Try to find a fealer that installs mods like S/C and cams. These dealers will be much more likely to have a "clue".

Just my random thoughts. :thumbsup:

KTSwanson
09-02-06, 06:41 PM
If you have a tune, be sure the service writer writes on the work order "DO NOT REFLASH PCM". Depending on the mods, a reflash back to stock could make the car not run at all. This has happened to a Corvette with heads, cam and long tubes only. Dealer had an upgrade and reflashed the PCM and car wouldn't run, the tuner came to the dealer and retuned the car to get it to run.
The problem arises when the car is brought in on the back of a tow truck, for non-starting, the logical place to start is with the PCM...that's when the problems began...and when the dealer realizes that the tune is non-stock, we stop right there...especially if they're not allowed to "play" with the tune (which they did, by flashing stock).


In my opinion, the only way to get a proper tune is to have someone with a laptop hook up to your ODB II and go for a drive. All LS6's are a little different so a tune that works for one might not be optimal for another. This is the problem you run into with these "remote" tuners. I think if someone had tuned your car as you drive it they would have detected you were running rich in one or more cells, maybe you were even having predetonation in some cells of the map. A/F ratios could be modified and if needed some timing could be pulled out of the offending cells.
This was eventually the answer to the tune issue.


Know your warranty. Just because you have mods does not mean your warranty is void. The mod must be shown to directly cause the problem. You might run into other problems if you have an extended warranty with someone other than GM.
The problem again comes up...if the diagnostic testing can't be done because of the mods, then regardless of the root cause of the problem, even non-mod related, you'll never get to the answer (or coverage).


This also brings up another fact, there are a lot of dealers that do not have the knowledge to work on a highly modified car. Try to find a fealer that installs mods like S/C and cams. These dealers will be much more likely to have a "clue".
Are there any dealers in So. Calif. who install (and thereby warranty) superchargers, cams, headers, alternative tunes, etc? I think not...it seems they stop at exhausts, and perhaps springs; please let me know if you know differently.
The bottom line...if you seriously modify your car, you are, in all likelihood, on your own.

wildwhl
09-02-06, 10:08 PM
Just out of curiousity, did you try flashing the Magnuson supplied Superchips tune from the handheld unit? Seems like that should have gotten you home, unless the PCM was fubar'd?

Sorry to hear of your pain. When my car goes to the dealer it has a little red cap over the OBDII port to warn them. Of course, by know, they now this thing has had dozens of mods. A loud ass x-pipe exhaust, headers, and a maggie used to be their first clue :histeric:

WW

KTSwanson
09-02-06, 11:44 PM
Just out of curiousity, did you try flashing the Magnuson supplied Superchips tune from the handheld unit? Seems like that should have gotten you home, unless the PCM was fubar'd?WW
It was running (barely), enough to limp 4 miles, keeping revs high. We did subsequently reflash the Magnuson/Superchips tune, but it didn't solve the other problems related to the throttle body/position sensor/module (obviously, but we were trouble shooting at the time). Tried 3 different PCMs to confirm that the PCM wasn't the problem as well. You're right, though, in a pinch like that, the Magnuson/Superchips tune might have gotten me out of a pinch.

wildwhl
09-03-06, 12:04 AM
Good luck to you. I hate "fixes" where you never really solidly figure out what was broken. Throw parts at it and it works. Always leaves an uncomfortable feeling in my gut when I'm headed on a journey - be it to the store down the road or 2 states away.

Hope all is well now.

WW

KTSwanson
09-03-06, 09:43 AM
Good luck to you. I hate "fixes" where you never really solidly figure out what was broken. Throw parts at it and it works. Always leaves an uncomfortable feeling in my gut when I'm headed on a journey - be it to the store down the road or 2 states away.

Hope all is well now.

WW
All seems well, but now my driving is much more tentative, with this background sense of impending doom...nightmares still recur, replaying that feeling I had when this all began...I was chasing a hot-shot driving a 745i accellerating onto a wide open stretch of freeway (for those around here, the MacArthur onramp to the 73N), pulling up on him fast, with a newer 911 tentatively playing on the side, when all of a sudden: Bang, no power, and that white screen flashing of Reduced Engine Power...it's really uncomfortable to be going 90 and suddenly you've got nothing...hobbled off the next off-ramp with the engine running like crap...that scenerio keeps replaying; hopefully with a few weeks of trouble-free driving, all will be back to normal.

wildwhl
09-03-06, 11:22 AM
I had a bad TPS for a while and this sort of thing would happen to me too. Really, really sucks to stage at a light (on a closed course, of course) and blip the throttle only to have to idle off the side of the road once the light turns.

Sorry if I missed it above - but how long had you been running this tune/setup? Any further thoughts on the communication errors with the other modules?

WW

Luna.
09-03-06, 01:02 PM
I have about 5K Maggie miles and stock plugs. No issues.

Aye. I wouldn't expect anyone to have issues with a maggie and stock plugs with a 2.8" pulley, even with a good tune.

When/if you change to a 2.6" pulley (or something similar), this is when you might want to strongly consider changing your plugs (to, say TR6 NGK plugs)

Chef
09-03-06, 02:12 PM
Aye. I wouldn't expect anyone to have issues with a maggie and stock plugs with a 2.8" pulley, even with a good tune.When/if you change to a 2.6" pulley (or something similar), this is when you might want to strongly consider changing your plugs (to, say TR6 NGK plugs)

I would change them out the second I put the Maggie in without question. TR6 NGK for sure!

Chef