The tuning process itself typically begins with a data logging session to determine the settings that need to be changed. That information may be monitored in real time on FlashScan's virtual dashboard and stored for future playback. The program is supplied with several default dashboards, including one with "Imperial" and another with metric data. These may be easily customized to display virtually any parameter in either measurement system, or a combination of both. As an example, if you want to display air flow in grams per second and inlet air temp in degrees Fahrenheit, all you have to do is set up the appropriate Parameter Identifier (PID) and dash gauge accordingly.

It's also possible to add special PIDs and gauges to display calculated data or data input from an external device-such as a wide-band oxygen sensor. The latter is essential for properly altering fuel flow to achieve air/fuel ratios other than stoichiometric (14.7:1). Although wideband sensor systems, such as Innovate's LM1, include stand-alone data logging capability, the relevance of air/fuel data is much easier to see when it's included in the same log that contains all the relevant PCM/ECM data, such as pulse width, manifold absolute pressure (MAP), and air flow data. If stand-alone data logging/monitoring is not required, Innovate's LC1 is preferable because it's less expensive and is better suited for permanent installation and use with a system like FlashScan.

The process of using logged data to revise PCM calibrations can be long and tedious, but FlashScan's linking capabilities significantly streamlines the process. When you open a stored data log and move the cursor to a position within the recorded chart, the "coordinates" of that point are highlighted on the relevant calibration data table and/or graph within the tuning program. As an example, if you move the cursor along a recorded data graph to a position where spark knock is indicated and then click over to the spark map in the tuning program, the cell that corresponds to the engine rpm and engine load, when the knock occurred, will be highlighted. The contents of that cell can then be changed to a lower value that will not precipitate spark knock.

Similarly, if you move the cursor to a position where excessive fuel trim is indicated, or where the wide-band O2 sensor indicates the actual and commanded AFR are off a good amount, the appropriate cell in the VE map is highlighted. It's also possible to "click and drag" across a data chart to highlight a range of data points. When you switch from the scanning to the tuning program, all the cells that relate to the data points on the graph are highlighted. This capability eliminates guess work as to which calibration values relate to actual operating conditions and greatly simplifies tuning.

Unfortunately, EFILive's extensive capabilities can't guarantee that an engine or transmission will be optimally calibrated, or that a drivability problem will be resolved. The power to accomplish those goals reside with the person operating the keyboard. If you've paid to have your C5 or C6 tuned and weren't happy with the results, you know first-hand that the ability to operate tuning software doesn't guarantee the ability to properly tune an engine.

To be fair, some tuners don't hit the required marks because the software they use is a bit too cumbersome. If certain tables are too difficult to access, or aren't available, the tuner is left with no recourse other than attempting to apply a variety of band-aids because he can't fix a particular problem properly. This is a fairly common scenario when attempting to obtain decent idle quality after an aggressive camshaft has been installed.