From the moment SCT revealed its iTSX at the consumer electronics show, we've been waiting for the opportunity to try this technology in our world. While it's commonplace to think of using our phones for almost everything these days, the concept of using our phones or tablets to load a custom tune into our Mustangs' PCMs is simply cool. Once you hear about it, you wonder why it's just now coming about.
Besides being cool, SCT's new iTSX is poised to open up custom tuning to the mainstream. With other tuning devices, you need a computer to interface with a tuner to load custom tunes and record datalogs. Now you can do all that from the palm of your hand and easily share it with a tuner.
Project Vapor Trail has seen plenty of custom tuning via an SCT XCalibrator 3 and the tuning skills of VMP Tuning's Justin Starkey. The car has, depending on the weather, approached or exceeded 700 rwhp on the VMP Dynojet on 93-octane pump gas from your editor's local Sam's Club.
This '08 Shelby GT500 is essentially done from a hardware standpoint. What's also done is the fuel system, which is running at 95 percent capacity with the two stock pumps feeding FRPP 80-lb/hr injectors. When the good tidings started spreading about Shell's new URT Advanced 116-octane fuel, we knew it was the perfect companion to loading a new custom tune with the iTSX.
As it turned out, the results were quite impressive all the way around, and now PVT is rocking the latest in tuning hardware.
Under the hood, PVT rocks...
Under the hood, PVT rocks a completely stock engine, topped by a VMP-modded 2.3-liter TVS supercharger with a VMP 2.59-inch upper pulley and an FRPP/Innovators West 10-percent overdrive dampener. It breathes through a JLT Big Air cold-air system and a VMP twin 72mm throttle body.
This is the iTSX hardware...
This is the iTSX hardware plugged into PVT's OBD-II port. It offers a mini USB connection for updates, as well as a port for hooking up analog sensors for datalogging. The status light will indicate an active Bluetooth connection between the iTSX and your iOS device. Of course, you'll also need to download the free companion app from the App Store before you start.
In an effort to burn off all...
In an effort to burn off all of PVT's primo wholesale-club pump gas, the trip began with what was thought to be just enough fuel in the tank to make it to VMP Tuning in Deltona, Florida. Well, it was enough to get within a half-mile of VMP. Fortunately, Justin had already picked up 5 gallons of Shell URT Advanced from local dealer Lamotta Performance. He got the show back on the road, ensuring that the new Shell was all that we were burning.
Horse Sense: If you have a stock or lightly modified Mustang, the iTSX offers up preloaded tunes suited for those combinations. Of course, most 5.0&SF readers are likely to take advantage of custom tuning.
It's non-oxygenated and free from ethanol, so it's predictable for tuners
The word on the street is that Shell URT Advanced is legit, and based on our experience, it is the truth. It's designed for friendliness toward modern vehicles with oxygen sensors and the like because it's lead-free. However, it's also built to out-perform leaded fuels. It's non-oxygenated and free from ethanol, so it's predictable for tuners. It even has a two-year shelf life if you want to keep some sealed containers in the garage for those special occasions. We ran the URT Advanced 116, but there are also 100- and 105-octane flavors available.
In practice, VMP's Justin Starkey was able to throw 6 degrees of additional timing at PVT, taking it from its 93-octane-safe 18 degrees up to 24. This and some minor leaning of the air/fuel ratio yielded impressive results. Our baseline was run with PVT's every-day 93-octane tune but burning the Shell URT Advanced. This pull was 2 hp stronger than our last pull on the VMP Dynojet, but we can chalk that up to variances in weather conditions.
With the only change being the tuning to take advantage of the fuel, the URT Advanced proved itself with strong gains across the powerband and peak gains of 42.09 hp and 38.82 lb-ft territory. Peak power was 717 and peak torque was 707, which qualifies PVT for entrance into Tech Editor KJ Jones' unofficial Big Steam Club.
Before getting started with...
Before getting started with the tuning, we made sure to download and install the latest version of the iTSX firmware. You can achieve this via the iTSX app, but you will need a connection to the Internet if you’re using a WiFi-only device.
At the time of our testing,...
At the time of our testing, the iTSX didn't allow for pass-through tuning--plugging a laptop directly into the dongle and flashing. In the interim, Justin developed the new Shell URT Advanced tune using his laptop and the traditional XCal3.
After dialing in PVT on the...
After dialing in PVT on the URT Advanced, Justin restored PVT to its stock programming and emailed the 93-octane and Shell 116-octane tunes, which I saved on my iPad. On the first flash, it's going to take a bit of time with the iTSX. Bluetooth is not the most brisk wireless standard, but it gets the job done. The app must first read the stock file and save it.