Risk of blowing a turbo?

maynard001

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I've been debating getting a ktuner for the past two years. Honestly, the only reason I haven't done it is I'm afraid....simple as that. I swear, I was getting close to pulling the trigger this week and then saw a guy in the main forum here mention blowing his turbo on a fairly conservative tune from ktuner.

I know ktuner is very active on this board, but I didn't see them comment on his post. Was wondering what you guys thought? Is this a fluke or something I need to be concerned with?

My civic is my daily driver. Not looking to drag race....was just going to tune to get a little more pep out of the car and make it more fun to drive to work every day....but not at the risk of blowing my engine and voiding my warranty.

Unfounded fears? Or should anyone that tunes (even conservatively) be prepared to trash their engine?



 

gtman

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That's a tricky question in a sense. Some members here will say that Ktuner or Hondata base tunes for that matter are 100% "safe" and that all failed engines and turbos are only caused by abuse.

I was tuned with Hondata for a while and now Ktuner. The tunes transform the car. The power is intoxicating. But, every time I see one of the blown engine posts, I cringe. Then when I read past the sensational and scary topic title, it really does seem that most (if not all) of these cars were driven in an abusive and dare I say, stupid way.

On the other hand, I think if you drive you car normally, the base tunes are fine. That's how I do it. It's just great knowing the extra power is there when you want/need it. You just can't push it to the limit and beyond 24/7.

But, you also have to realize the potential is there for warranty issues. You are stressing the engine and other components more. It's a question of risk/reward. To me, at this point, it's worth that risk. Remember, Ktuner and Hondata aren't selling these with any guarantees regarding the Honda warranty. If you're not comfortable with all that, you shouldn't tune, IMO.
 
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87elco

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Or If you can buy a cheap faster project car mustang camaro gto etc.
 

gtman

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Or If you can buy a cheap faster project car mustang camaro gto etc.
Sure that would be a cool option if you had the extra $$$ to spend.
 

87elco

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How do you like that duckbill spoiler and how's it holding up ?
 

d1zguy

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The turbo itself is not a worry. I would be more worried about the clutch. After you tune it; guaranteed it will slip. If you're CVT I wouldn't go past the stage 0,1,2 and would not enable the fast spool up options or you risk slipping the belt and once it slips it will only get worse.

Personal experience.

EXT with CVT:

Slipped on custom vittune

SI:

Slipped on Base tune stage 2 and any tune with fast/aggresive spool up enabled.

TSP stage 1 slipped on setting 3 when warm, and setting 2 when cold outside. Was okay on stock setting (setting 1, and setting 2, unless it was below 0 degrees)

Notice the clutch slip immediately after boost went over [email protected], kept at or under 19-20PSI it held up
 

KTuner

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It should be easy to see whether it's an isolated instance, or something caused by tuning collectively, by using percentage.

KTuner has had tunes in the field starting with public testing nearly three years ago, totaling over 5000 active 1.5T Civics around the world currently utilizing the software. Mind you there's Accords and other turbo models, too, but let's leave them out for now. Use a round number of 5000 to calculate a percentage for those who have experienced some sort of mechanical issue. If you find 5, that's .001 or .1%. If you find 10, that's .002 or .2%, and so on. It would take 50 failures to reach a 1% failure rate.
 



jms

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The main reason I bought my civic is because it's been a very reliable car. Would a tune negate that reliability? Possibly. My perspective is I would rather have a car that I was confident in being reliable than tuning my car and having the little bit of doubt of reliability constantly in my head. Peace of mind of having a reliable car is in my opinion more important than having a faster car.
 
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gtman

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The main reason I bought my civic is because it's been a very reliable car. Would a tune negate that reliability? Possibly. My perspective is I would rather have a car that I was confident in being reliable than tuning my car and having the little bit of doubt of reliability constantly in my head. Peace of mind of having a reliable car is in my opinion more important than having a faster car.
And that's a very reasonable attitude. I basically am there with you but took the plunge into tuning. I researched and researched and started with Hondata and "graduated" to KTuner.

After about a year of having a tuned turbo CVT Civic, I've come to these three conclusions:

1. The driveability of my tuned car with base Ktuner tunes is vastly improved for day to day commuter driving. I'm not only talking about the increase in ultimate power. The response of the turbo and throttle is much improved even at lower speeds. This helps tremendously in real world driving. The biggest improvement is the reduction in lag.

2. My mileage is somewhat lower. Mostly because I tend to put my foot into it more often than I did before tuning. Driven conservatively though, tuned or stock MPG's are about the same. On highway drives (driving the speed limit), I've seen MPG's in the 40's, tuned.

3. I feel pretty good about tuning and reliability. As long as I do proper maintenance and don't launch my car or drive it abusively on a regular basis, I feel like Ktuner (and Hondata for that matter) have produced reasonable and conservative tunes. Fact is, the Honda OEM tune is tremendously dialed back. And I understand why. At the same time, the vast majority of all tuned Civics have stayed reliable. And when push comes to shove, virtually all the "I blew my engine" topics have involved people pushing things too far.

Yes, tuning these cars means it's possible something could go wrong. It's possible the drivetrain warranty might not be honored. There's also situations where un-tuned cars could have issues or warranty problems, too. Ultimately, each owner has to do what they feel comfortable with.
 

joshhjackson2112

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If your talking about the thread I think your talking about then you really shouldn't be that worried. That guy admitted in his post that he was doing something stupid and his turbo blowing was completely his fault. I would say go for it.... If you use one of these very reputable premade tunes like TSP stage 1 then you really shouldn't have anything to worry about majorly. Just drive the car properly. These people that have failures in the engines could have had the failures with or without the tunes because of improper driving or some kind of excessiveness. I can tell you one thing, you won't regret it once you install that bad boy. The Civics are lagging in power. They need a kick in the ass to be worth a damn in my opinion. When making your decision based on horror stories, make sure you read the whole thing. I have heard way way way way for success stories for tuning our cars than horror stories. Of course I usually tend to be the devil on people's shoulders on these forums.
 

NoHonor937

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I would say no to tune since your worried about reliability. Yes you could blow your engine tuning if something goes wrong. I’m debating the same thing but I will only do it if I have the money for it just to try it out. I believe these succes stories a slightly exaggerated on much it improves. I see no actual times to show improvement. It could easily be a placebo effect. I’m getting one eventually but I’ll make my own judgment.
 

gtman

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I would say no to tune since your worried about reliability. Yes you could blow your engine tuning if something goes wrong. I’m debating the same thing but I will only do it if I have the money for it just to try it out. I believe these succes stories a slightly exaggerated on much it improves. I see no actual times to show improvement. It could easily be a placebo effect. I’m getting one eventually but I’ll make my own judgment.
I was enjoying your post til your last couple sentences. Trust me, it's no placebo effect or exaggeration. Tuned, these cars will spank an un-tuned Civic big time. It's a completely different beast.
 

caspar21

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for every failure you read about, there are probably 100+ instances of no problems.

40k ktuned here. no issues from tuning other than clutch slipping as mentioned. all the rest of the car holding 23psi no problem. currently using tsp1.
 

charleswrivers

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About a turbo specifically:

A used stock turbo can be had for $400 all day long off eBay. It can be replaced in a 1/2 day by an inexperienced person with a little wrenching skill using basic hand tools. If you open your engine bay... it's *right* there.

It is a huge maybe that it would fail. The odds are hugely in your favor that it won't. If it does... get one shipped to your door and replace it.

The Civic is my 5th turbocharged car. All were modded. The only turbos I ever bought were one I bought knowing it's turbos required replacing. That's in about 15-20 car-years across them all. Compared to the expense and ease of replacement of some of the others, the Civic is a piece of cake. I mean... it's *right* there. You don't have pull the engine to get to it... I'm looking at you Z32...
 
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