SCT XCalibrator Predator Tuner With Brenspeed Tunes

 

WHY?  Performance.  Even though the 2005-2007 GT's deliver excellent performance in stock trim there is still more power lurking in the little V-8 and its breathing is a good place to start.  I'm not looking to build a 12-second sprinter, but would like to improve on the stock acceleration (it's a lifelong sickness, folks).  The stock air intake has a few restrictions built in to satisfy noise regulations, and there are many aftermarket intake systems available to correct the problem.  After doing a great deal of research on these systems I decided on a system by Steeda Autosports.  Like almost all other intakes for the the current crop of V-8 mustangs this one requires some tuning of the air/fuel ratio to avoid a damaging lean condition.  I have heard many good things about the tunes produced by Brent at Brenspeed so I decided to purchase a package that included the Steeda air kit, an SCT XCalibrator 2 tuner and three tunes written for my vehicle and its mods.  The site is extremely clean and easy to navigate and the prices are competitive.  The list price for this combo at the time I bought was $624, with free shipping.  I placed the order online via credit card

SERVICE.  Fantastic.  Immediately after ordering I received an email confirmation; soon thereafter I received an email asking for more information needed to program the SCT tuner to my car.  In a few days I received a phone call from Brent telling me that they had loaded the tunes into the tuner and were shipping it but that they were out of stock on the Steeda intake and it would be shipped directly from Steeda.  That very day I received shipping notifications and tracking numbers for both the intake and the tuner.  Both packages arrived at my doorstep less that two weeks after placing the order--not a bad wait considering that the tunes had to be custom-written for my vehicle and loaded into the tuner.  I've heard nothing but great things about Brenspeed's customer service and I must concur--this is the way online business should be conducted! 

INSTALLATION.  This job could be accomplished by an owner with modest mechanical skills and required no tools.  The tuner was shipped with a USB cable, a resource CD, and some very elementary instructions; if you're familiar with operation of these devices (which I was) you won't need them, but if you're a novice they're not much help.  When the XCalibrator's cable is plugged into the car's OBD port (located under the dash just to the left of the steering wheel) it comes to life and prompts the user for each step.  Follow the directions on the screen and it's a simple process;  the first time the tuner is used it will store your car's stock tune so that it can be re-loaded in the future if necessary.  After that's done you're given a choice of tunes to download; the unit came with tunes written for my car's configuration to be used with either 87, 91 or 93 octane.  Choose one, press a button and the download takes only 2-3 minutes.  When it's done the tuner will prompt you to unplug the unit from the OBD port and you're ready to run.  Changing from one tune to another is a bit quicker than the initial installation as the stock tune doesn't have to be downloaded.  As easy as the process was, it would be better if Brenspeed would include a more complete "quickstart" instruction sheet.   SCT provides a customer support forum and Brent is reputed to offer excellent customer service for those who encounter problems.

RESULTS.  WOW!  Really nice.  When I first did the installation I was running a tank of 87-octane fuel so I loaded the 87 tune; the difference in the car was incredible.  Things really picked up when I loaded a full tank of 93-octane premium gas and installed the 93 tune!  First, if you have an automatic transmission it's worth buying this tuner just for the improvement in shift quality; shifts are now much firmer and more precise.  The 87-Performance tune delivered noticeably better performance than stock while allowing you to burn regular-grade fuel.  Download one of the premium-octane tunes, however, and your Mustang take on a whole new personality.  The use of premium fuel allows the tuner to dial in some additional timing, and the shifts (if you have an automatic) are dramatically improved.  The "butt-dyno" will tell you that the intake/tuner combo has added a significant amount of power.  The little GT now breaks the tires loose on the 1-2 shift and chirps them on the 2-3 shift.  This thing runs like an entirely different vehicle! 

WORTH THE MONEY? Absolutely.  If you're looking to improve your car's performance this combination (intake and tuner) is just about the best bang (along with new gears) you'll get for your buck.