Typically, desired idle speed has to be increased as does desired air flow (at idle). The question is, how much? Determining idle speed is easy enough- 800-900 rpm usually provides acceptable idle quality with cams designed for street-driven vehicles. But achieving a relatively smooth idle within that rpm range, and a smooth transition from idle to part throttle under load (as when accelerating) requires adjustments to a number of tables including desired air flow, spark timing, and throttle follower. Finding the optimum settings can be a bit tedious, requiring a lot of trial-and-error testing (with error being the operative term).

EFILive's scan program control panel is a useful tool for eliminating some of the trials and the resulting errors. The changes made through this panel are effective only while it's open, and the desired function is active, but the information can be used to subsequently alter settings through the tuning program. As an example, you can vary timing settings up and down while you monitor idle quality. Then you note the setting that produced the best idle quality and enter that in the appropriate position within the timing map.

Similarly, many of the calculated parameter identifiers or PIDs found in the scan program simplify identification of changes that are required to optimize performance. In the case of idle quality, you can access four PIDs that display the amount of air-flow correction being applied by the system to achieve the specified desired idle speed (correction with transmission in gear, air conditioning on, air conditioning off; transmission in park/neutral, air conditioning on, air conditioning off). By logging the appropriate PID you can see the amount of air flow increase or decrease being applied by the operating system. That provides a guide for determining the optimum setting-simply add or subtract the logged correction values to the current settings in the Desired Airflow Table, and the new values will reduce air flow corrections to a minimum, and the engine will idle as smoothly as the camshaft will allow (providing fuel and spark settings are on target).

Another superb aspect of EFILive is the availability of custom operating systems. Although custom operating systems can be used with stock engines, they're designed to address the challenges of tuning engines equipped with radical camshafts, are turbocharged or supercharged, or are equipped with a nitrous-oxide system. Features include VE table scaling for two- or three-bar map sensors, the capability of eliminating the mass air flow sensor and operating in true speed density mode, a VE table that references throttle position instead of manifold pressure, and a "valet mode" to limit engine speed when drivers of questionable judgment are behind the wheel.

In spite of some people's opinions to the contrary, you can't tune a C5 or C6 effectively if your departure from the turnip truck has been fairly recent. However, if you understand the basics of internal combustion and spend a few evenings learning how to operate FlashScan (reference information and a number of tutorials are included with the package), you'll be able to start tuning in short order. But before you make any changes, download and store the original calibration from the PCM or ECM. That way if your trials are filled with errors, you can easily revert to the original calibration and try a different approach.

ANYONE'S PROJECT | no tools required N
BEGINNER | basic tools NN
EXPERIENCED | special tools NNN
ACCOMPLISHED | special tools and outside help NNNN
PROFESSIONALS ONLY | send this work out NNNNN