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Hi all:

As promised, I’m writing a more detailed review after having the Trifecta tune programmed in my ATS-V for several days now, and have sought opportunities to experience it in various scenarios. As you will see, I have been blown away, and couldn’t be more pleased with the “bang for the buck” this upgrade provides an ATS-V driver.

My ATS-V is a 2017 sedan, 6-speed manual transmission, with approximately 12,500 miles. Prior to adding the Trifecta tune, it was 100% stock.

First off, let’s start with an overview of what the tune does. Trifecta’s website provides a very descriptive explanation of how the Trifecta tune brings the stock ATS-V’s 464hp to somewhere in the neighborhood of 600hp. Although the LF4 is advertised to provide 18lbs/in2 of boost from the twin turbochargers, those that watch the digital boost gauge have likely asked the same question I did. “How can we be achieving 18psi of boost when the most I ever see on the gauge is 12psi?” And the answer is because our LF4s do not provide 18psi (at least mine doesn’t), the reasons for which I do not know.

The Trifecta tune brings the maximum boost up from around 12psi to around 18psi, and also provides what Trifecta describes as, “active rail pressure management, bi-directional enhanced knock control and zoning, enhanced engine and transmission response,” and various other features. Their website goes into detail for each of these features. The tune is also advertised as significantly enhancing the 8-speed auto transmission; although as noted I have the 6-speed manual.

Trifecta also provides what, to me, was a convincing argument as to choosing their tune over taking my car to a local dyno shop, noting, “Why buy a tune from a dyno shop that might run your car on the rollers 10 times when you can buy from a company that's channeled over several hundred dyno pulls' worth of testing into their product? Rather than relying on a “dyno tuner” that may or may not have experience tuning the ATS-V (but almost certainly to their local area only), with TRIFECTA you can rest assured you're purchasing from the company that's been in the GM factory turbo vehicle tuning business longer than anybody else, in many cases pioneering the tuning aftermarket for these vehicles. The TRIFECTA ATS-V calibration has been subjected to over 300 chassis dyno pulls, on dynos across multiple continents, and tens of thousands of test miles have been accumulated in virtually every climate, elevation and season.” As I mentioned, this was a convincing selling point to me personally.

I would never describe the ATS-V as being underpowered in its stock form. Those of us (i.e., most of us) that have read and watched the multiple reviewed by the various car magazines and auto journalists have seen the incredible stock performance displayed by the ATS-V, such as zero-to-60 in 3.8 seconds (MotorTrend actually achieved 3.7 seconds), while receiving near-unanimous praise for its incredible handling, steering feel, chassis stability, strong braking performance, and track programming modes. During my research and conducting test drives in the quest of deciding what my next car would be, I knew within five minutes of driving the ATS-V that both the BMW M3 and MB AMG C63s had each fallen a notch in their ranking on my personal comparison list. Plus, with Audi deciding not to bring the new RS4 to the US market, the decision to buy the ATS-V became even easier. Also, an attractive factor for me is that the ATS-V is something I don’t see every day on the roads. I enjoy being a little different and unique, and I’m certainly not a person that buys just for the name or emblem, or the perceived status symbol.

I have greatly enjoyed the ATS-V in its stock form, but soon decided I wanted to experiment with a little more performance. Given the inherent increased ability to tune cars with forced induction, I started by looking at performance upgrades via changes in calibration. After researching the options, the Trifecta tune appeared to be developed over considerable time with precision, by a company that seemed to know what they were doing. I asked multiple questions prior to buying, and they were professional and detailed in their responses (more on that later).

Purchasing the tune from Trifecta provides the buyer with the tune itself and the cable that connects the user’s laptop (via USB port) to the ATS-V’s OBD-II port. Trifecta asks for your VIN number, presumably to ensure their tune is customized for your car (i.e., year, transmission type, etc.). Their website is well-developed and convenient to use. Customers can ask questions via a personalized “forum” type of experience, with just the customer and Trifecta Q&A. I asked multiple questions prior to purchasing, and the team at Trifecta were consistently very quick to answer my questions thoroughly and in a professional, patient, and friendly manner. Once your tune is ready, it is available for download in the customer’s forum. The customer also receives a detailed list of the types of additional modifications that are compatible with the Trifecta tune. For example, one of my questions was whether the tune would need to be adjusted for a set of down-pipes and mid-pipes that I have on order from my friends at Weapon-X. Luckily, the stock tune is 100% compatible with downpipes, with cats or cat-less. However, the stock tune is not compatible with aftermarket air intakes. Thankfully that was not an issue for me, given my ATS-V was 100% stock.

Installation was conducted using Trifecta’s step-by-step installation guide, which also includes a video of the process. Installation was completed without a hitch, and took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Couldn’t be easier!

So, here are my summarized observations after driving for a few days with the Trifecta tune:

- I’m very impressed with the increased power! This car is now incredibly fast; night and day versus stock!

- The added power is quite linear throughout the powerband, meaning it’s not an on/off type of feel. The power is very smooth in its delivery, feeling almost as if
it were a stock LF4 but with significantly more power and torque. And speaking of torque, this motor is now very “torque-ee.”

- Trifecta’s site has the dyno charts. The horsepower and torque provided by the Trifecta calibration are available early…literally from about 1,500rpm through to
the redline.

- You never get the feeling that the new calibration is something that’s been added “on top” of what was already there. Rather, it’s more of “an overall integrated
package” of performance (I hope that makes some sense!).

- In its stock form, I could tell when the turbos had worked their way up to boost (approximately 3,500rpm). As you all know, the stock LF4 does have some level
of turbo lag, but much less pronounced than many other turbocharged cars. The Trifecta tune seems to even out the boost even further, to where any feel of
turbo lag has been further minimized.

- The added power is very usable, and controllable assuming the user exercises reasonable judgment. Obviously with this much power, you can get yourself into
trouble. Not unlike how one can get into trouble with a stock ATS-V, or any car in this league of performance. However, it’s easily managed based on how much
gas you give it. Again, just use reasonable judgment.

- The ATS-V’s chassis and suspension handles the increased power very well. At no times have I felt like the engine was out-performing the car’s ability to handle.
I think this is a testament to how good the ATS-V’s stock chassis and suspension have been designed. The integrated package, with power and handling, truly
makes one think this is what the ATS-V was designed for.

- All stock functionality continues to work perfectly. The Trifecta tune does not impact tour mode, but is present in sport and track settings.

- I’ve attempted a few launch controlled starts, in both the track “1-wet” and “2-dry” settings, and one in full track just for grins. It’s been anywhere from 12
degrees to 25 degrees here over the past few days. My stock Pilot Super Sports stay very hard in this temperature and, needless to say, the pavement is
extremely cold. Not surprisingly in these conditions, traction is a challenge. I was able to get some decent launches by modulating the throttle less than what I
would in warmer, stickier conditions. I can’t wait till we get back to good weather when the Pilot Super Sports are sticky and the roads are hot. I imagine the
traction challenges will be more manageable then.

Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased! Bang-for-the-buck, I personally feel this is an awesome upgrade! As mentioned above, I have some down-pipes and mid-pipes ordered from Weapon-X, and can’t wait to see what this beast is like once I combine those with the Trifecta tune!

As always, the items noted in this post are just my opinions, my $0.02. However, I’ve tried to be reasonably objective, and hope this is helpful to the others that have expressed interest in possibly getting a tune for their ATS-V.

NO MORE DISCUSSION ABOUT WARRANTY MATTERS WITH AFTERMARKET TUNES - If you wish to debate that topic, then start your own thread. Please be respectful and stop hi-jacking posts on different topics.

For those who wish to discuss the performance improvements from the Trifecta tune, or have legitimate questions about the Trifecta tune, I'd enjoy talking.

All the best - Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I believe you do have the option to datalog if your laptop is connected to the OBD-II. I could be mistaken, but I believe the main reason to provide the datalog to Trifecta is if there are issues or requested tweaks that need to be diagnosed. I have no issues and need nothing changed, and accordingly I have not sent a datalog to Trifecta.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm new to this car so what do we use to datalog. Is that built into their software?
Leesrt - I was stoked to read your report on the other thread, and to see that you've have a great experience too. On the datalog question, once you reach out to Trifecta about your high gear shift changes, they may request a datalog to assist in diagnosing the tweak to your tune. Of course I'm new to all of this too, so I could be mistaken. Man oh man, is this thing fast! A lot of fun, and I can't wait till we get some better weather here and can work on some timed 0 to 60 runs! Best - Mike
 

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Leesrt - I was stoked to read your report on the other thread, and to see that you've have a great experience too. On the datalog question, once you reach out to Trifecta about your high gear shift changes, they may request a datalog to assist in diagnosing the tweak to your tune. Of course I'm new to all of this too, so I could be mistaken. Man oh man, is this thing fast! A lot of fun, and I can't wait till we get some better weather here and can work on some timed 0 to 60 runs! Best - Mike
Probably your best chance at a 0-60 now is using the Track mode with one of the Track settings like S1 for wet. That will use the stock launch control but still try to control wheel spin. Any of the Trifecta launch modes are pointless right now.

I imagine they will respond to my concerns tomorrow at which time I'll ask how to datalog. I do see were it's an option in EZ Flash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Probably your best chance at a 0-60 now is using the Track mode with one of the Track settings like S1 for wet. That will use the stock launch control but still try to control wheel spin. Any of the Trifecta launch modes are pointless right now.

I imagine they will respond to my concerns tomorrow at which time I'll ask how to datalog. I do see were it's an option in EZ Flash.
Agree 100% that with cold tires and cold pavement, the "wet" setting is the most forgiving for tire spin. I believe the suspension is kept in a softer mode, plus stronger input from the traction control (probably stability control too). Please post about how your experience is with Trifecta and your high gear shifting issue. Hoping you can get that tweaked out asap!

I didn't think about this until now, but having the track data recorder would be a great option to have when making performance modifications. It'd be great to see what your zero to 60, quarter mile, etc., performance looks like before and after the mods. Unfortunately I don't have that option on my car.
 

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Agree 100% that with cold tires and cold pavement, the "wet" setting is the most forgiving for tire spin. I believe the suspension is kept in a softer mode, plus stronger input from the traction control (probably stability control too). Please post about how your experience is with Trifecta and your high gear shifting issue. Hoping you can get that tweaked out asap!

I didn't think about this until now, but having the track data recorder would be a great option to have when making performance modifications. It'd be great to see what your zero to 60, quarter mile, etc., performance looks like before and after the mods. Unfortunately I don't have that option on my car.
I don't have the PDR either. I'm sure Trifecta can tweek the sensitivity of the throttle input for a down shift.
 

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I believe you do have the option to datalog if your laptop is connected to the OBD-II. I could be mistaken, but I believe the main reason to provide the datalog to Trifecta is if there are issues or requested tweaks that need to be diagnosed. I have no issues and need nothing changed, and accordingly I have not sent a datalog to Trifecta.
If you’re not data logging then you’re getting a canned tune. Basically a safe tune that is based on a number of cars they had tuned on a dyno. Each car is different so hopefully the canned tune will suit your car. If I were you I would get a good AFR gauge to monitor your air fuel ratio to be sure you’re car is not running too lean. I recommend this as I experienced canned tunes with my mustang by the most reputable tuner out there and even with providing data logs to the tuner my mustang was running too lean and I nearly blew up my engine.


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Everyone - this is the second post I've started that's been derailed by people either asking or debating about warranty matters and the tune.

My personal point of view is that I'm a honest guy who doesn't care if the dealer knows that I have a tune. I've done it on all my performance cars for many years, and I don't try to hide it. I don't try to remove the tune when going in for service...in fact I had my oil changed at the Cadillac dealer this weekend, after the tune had been installed. I believe with modified performance cars you pay to play, and I'm aware of the risks. If I were to blow an engine after having the tune and I have to eat the cost of a new engine, I'm prepared to do that. Those who are not in a position to do the same should not be installing calibration modifications. End of story.

NO MORE DISCUSSION ABOUT WARRANTY MATTERS WITH AFTERMARKET TUNES - If you wish to debate that topic, then start your own thread. Please be respectful and stop hi-jacking posts on different topics.

For those who wish to discuss the performance improvements from the Trifecta tune, or have legitimate questions about the Trifecta tune, I'd enjoy talking.
Trifecta sent me a message and they are going to pass on to their engineer the minor issue I have with switching from 7th to 8th gear while with cruise control on.

Other than that the tune has been great. I think its the perfect way to give the car a little more kick without changing major parts.
 

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Agree 100% that with cold tires and cold pavement, the "wet" setting is the most forgiving for tire spin. I believe the suspension is kept in a softer mode, plus stronger input from the traction control (probably stability control too). Please post about how your experience is with Trifecta and your high gear shifting issue. Hoping you can get that tweaked out asap!

I didn't think about this until now, but having the track data recorder would be a great option to have when making performance modifications. It'd be great to see what your zero to 60, quarter mile, etc., performance looks like before and after the mods. Unfortunately I don't have that option on my car.
It's starting to warm up again so I may be able to get a few 0-60's in.

I noticed one thing with my issue with cruise control. It only happens when I'm traveling at speed higher than 70mph. If I put cruise control on at 65mph it stays in 8th gear like it should.

This confirms to me that what's causing the issue is the higher throttle input required to maintain speeds higher than 70mph is right at the threshold the ECU now see's a the kick down point for a lower gear. As a result any little shift in the load causes it to flip flop between 7th and 8th with cruise control on. The good thing is while cruising I can switch to touring mode and then there's no issue. I've just found sport mode to be my sweet spot and if possible I'd like to leave it there.
 

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My car is stock and I have also been noticing a 8->7 gear change when cruising on the highway. It seems to be switching back and forth which is a little annoying. I am also in sport mode all the time.
 

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My car is stock and I have also been noticing a 8->7 gear change when cruising on the highway. It seems to be switching back and forth which is a little annoying. I am also in sport mode all the time.
Interesting. See if that happens in touring mode.
 

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If you’re not data logging then you’re getting a canned tune. Basically a safe tune that is based on a number of cars they had tuned on a dyno. Each car is different so hopefully the canned tune will suit your car. If I were you I would get a good AFR gauge to monitor your air fuel ratio to be sure you’re car is not running too lean. I recommend this as I experienced canned tunes with my mustang by the most reputable tuner out there and even with providing data logs to the tuner my mustang was running too lean and I nearly blew up my engine.


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It is a canned tune. No one is arguing that. Datalogging won't change the tune they send you. If you read up on Trifecta's website, there's quite a bit of built in controls, unlike most canned tunes. So it will adjust for fuel quality, elevation, etc. to avoid what happened with your Mustang.

Care to expand on "Each car is different"? Assuming stock for stock, aren't they all built on the same assembly line? What's different?
 

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It is a canned tune. No one is arguing that. Datalogging won't change the tune they send you. If you read up on Trifecta's website, there's quite a bit of built in controls, unlike most canned tunes. So it will adjust for fuel quality, elevation, etc. to avoid what happened with your Mustang.

Care to expand on "Each car is different"? Assuming stock for stock, aren't they all built on the same assembly line? What's different?
Just put the same cars on the same dyno, one after the other and you’ll get completely different results. Manufacturing tolerances are such that there will always be a difference in HP, TQ, AF ratios etc.


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It is a canned tune. No one is arguing that. Datalogging won't change the tune they send you. If you read up on Trifecta's website, there's quite a bit of built in controls, unlike most canned tunes. So it will adjust for fuel quality, elevation, etc. to avoid what happened with your Mustang.

Care to expand on "Each car is different"? Assuming stock for stock, aren't they all built on the same assembly line? What's different?
I'll say this. I've had a lot of custom tunes that were tweaked over time on the dyno but none of them were as good as this "canned" tune. A lot of that is a testament to the abilities of this car. Keep in mind also that the factory tune is a "canned" tune as well.
 

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just keep in mind that often when you see variations across the same model compared by dyno, it can have a lot to do with the conditions and operation, not the engine. Even going back to back with two cars of the same make on the same dyno can have different results due to temperature, fuel quality, and even how the car sits on the dyno. GM goes through great lengths to make sure their engines are built with a relatively good degree of consistency so the concept of a "ringer" probably has a lot more to do with how that car was broken in and what kind of fuel the owners have access to, rather than assembly and tolerances. That said these variations that do exist are so slight that a well programed canned tune shouldn't make a difference from one vehicle to the other as far as potential for damage goes. The single greatest thing I've seen that lead to bad results was a bad tune to begin with, and thereafter poor fuel quality, and maintenance. I used to see kids blow up their Hondas all the time not because the engines were weak in some way but because they always overlooked things like what kind of fuel they were using, or the condition of their fuel system which was notorious for pressure drops if the filter was dirty.
 

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just keep in mind that often when you see variations across the same model compared by dyno, it can have a lot to do with the conditions and operation, not the engine. Even going back to back with two cars of the same make on the same dyno can have different results due to temperature, fuel quality, and even how the car sits on the dyno. GM goes through great lengths to make sure their engines are built with a relatively good degree of consistency so the concept of a "ringer" probably has a lot more to do with how that car was broken in and what kind of fuel the owners have access to, rather than assembly and tolerances. That said these variations that do exist are so slight that a well programed canned tune shouldn't make a difference from one vehicle to the other as far as potential for damage goes. The single greatest thing I've seen that lead to bad results was a bad tune to begin with, and thereafter poor fuel quality, and maintenance. I used to see kids blow up their Hondas all the time not because the engines were weak in some way but because they always overlooked things like what kind of fuel they were using, or the condition of their fuel system which was notorious for pressure drops if the filter was dirty.
Or they had that thing so lean at times it shouldn't be.......BOOM!
 

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I'm a big fan of canned tunes.. Extracting every last ounce of power from a tune is where I think people get into trouble. Running a safe, proven tune has its advantages... In the 70's I never bought a new batch of acid till I knew a bunch of people that took it first... Safety in numbers.. haha.
 
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