1.5T Have a turbo and a CVT? Considering a tune? Read this!

  1. gtman

    gtman Senior Member

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    A little background. My 2017 Civic EX-L is my first turbo and first CVT. It's a great car but I wanted a bit more performance from it. I hate that lag you feel going from a light to heavy throttle. In certain traffic situations it makes accident avoidance and lane changing a bit dicey. And of course, I love the idea of a bit more power overall.

    I'm one of those people that researches and researches before I make a decision. Long time members here know I made topic after topic and post after post asking about tuning. Months of asking and asking and learning.

    I finally decided to get the Hondata Flashpro. After using their tunes for a while I changed to Ktuner. First off, this topic is not a Ktuner vs. Hondata thread, let me make that clear. The truth is, both are quality products and us 10th gen owners are lucky two have two good tuning choices. There are certain areas where I prefer Hondata and certain areas where Ktuner is tops. You can't go wrong with either device.

    Just like most of you on the fence about tuning, I had 3 concerns. Warranty, CVT longevity and the turbo. Would I lose my warranty? Can the CVT and turbo engine hold up with all the extra torque and boost? Well here's the thing. You're NOT going to lose your bumper to bumper warranty on stuff just because you're tuned. But, if you throw a rod or wreck your CVT due to the tune, that's another matter entirely. You have to go into tuning figuring that YES it's "possible" you could screw up your warranty and your transmission and/or engine. But the real question is this... how likely is it that an out of the box base tune will damage your car?

    In my opinion, both Hondata and Ktuner have done their homework. They've created tunes that were tested extensively (and continue to be tested) to make sure they're safe to be daily driven. You may have read about CVT's that have gone up and blown turbos. Read a bit deeper and you'll see that those vehicles were abused. You can only raise boost and torque so high. You can't launch the car holding the brake and revving the engine. But, drive like a normal human being and you will be shocked how much more fun these cars are tuned with just a base tune. Of course, you can take things beyond a base tune safely, but you do need to be cautious. With many mods especially, a custom tune by a pro is the way to go.

    So how does a tuned 10th gen CVT turbo feel compared to stock? It's noticeably quicker and a whole lot more confidence inspiring. Highway passing becomes a no sweat situation. Merging is almost a relaxing event cause you know you have power to spare. There's less lag and more throttle response. Ktuner in particular, has tons of easy quick adjustments that fine tune the way the car drives.

    One thing a lot of people don't realize is that you can tune your car to stock type power levels if you want, but reduce the lag and up the throttle response. Even though you haven't added much boost that way, the adjustments make the car drive so much better than stock. You can even tune the car in such a way that you can change from a higher boost tune to your stock type tune at the switch of a button.

    How does a tune affect MPG's? There can be a small MPG hit at part throttle but for the most part (if you stay out of boost), mileage is close to stock levels. On the other hand, the extra power is kind of intoxicating so it will be hard to keep your foot out of it. :yes:

    If you do get tuned, the extra power means you should upgrade your tires. The stock tires are OK but you'll need something with better traction for sure. Which also brings up another cool feature of tuning... Boost By Gear. With BBG, you can reduce power in low gears to help limit wheel spin.

    All in all, tuning is fantastic with the CVT. In the 5 minutes or so that it takes to upload a new tune to your ECU, you get what almost feels like a new and better car. It's that good. It's easily the best bang for the buck mod you can get.
     
  2. hatchback of notredame

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    thank you for all the advice and heads up I plan on getting my ktuner soon and can't wait I'm just curious did you try the +6 basemap tune I hear it's about the safest highest psi tune that's what I want to do if so do you think it's safe?
     
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  3. SangreRaven

    SangreRaven Senior Member

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    Good read for us cvt guys :)
     
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  4. OP
    gtman

    gtman Senior Member

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    #4 gtman, Dec 12, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
    The 21 psi tune? Absolutely safe IMO. Yes.
     
  5. redstang

    redstang Senior Member

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    100% agreed. Anyone with the 1.5T that wants to mod should get a tuner first. There is no better mod for the money you can do. Ktuner support is awesome. My ECU wasn't supported initially. I emailed and got a quick response, on a holiday weekend even. Followed the instructions to upload my ECU and about a week later got an email with a link to updated software. I was going to try stage 0 at first to see how different the tune was with stock boost but I ended up stage one. Amazing change to how the car operates. A couple of days later I uploaded the dual tune. I love this one. I found myself turning on ECO when it is raining to help with traction. One thing that is pretty cool I discovered the other day. I had left it in ECO and was accelerating away from a light. I noticed the eco light on and turned it off as I accelerated. It was like Boom! and the extra boost came on instantly. Very cool. The car always feels like tons of power is on tap. Very little lag and makes my wife's '18 Accord feel slow. Before the tune, the Accord clearly felt more powerful. If anyone reading this is on the fence, do it. No way you can regret it.
     
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  6. KTuner

    KTuner Senior Member
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    Thanks for the in depth write up and feedback!
     
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  7. OP
    gtman

    gtman Senior Member

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    #7 gtman, Dec 13, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
    I kind of smile when some people say it's a waste to get a CVT tuned. I think they'd be surprised if they drove our tuned cars.
     
  8. Schmullis

    Schmullis Senior Member

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    Good feedback GT Man!
    I agree. My 2017 Touring Sedan has the Ktuner dual 21 standard tune. Works flawlessly, no CVT or Turbo lag noticeable. I also upgraded my tires to V rated Michelin Premier A/S and they are great in all conditions.
     
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  9. Smilo359

    Smilo359 Member

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    I've been running the 21psi tune for a few months now, and it seems pretty solid so far :thumbsup:
     
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  10. er1c_b

    er1c_b Senior Member

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    My mpg's actually went up after installing KTuner on my old CVT sedan. Barely got on boost most of the time. More power when needed, more MPG's when you baby it. I had the 21 starter tune with on the fly map switching. Throttle set on economy.
     
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  11. OP
    gtman

    gtman Senior Member

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    #11 gtman, Dec 21, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
    Hopefully what I'm about to describe will give people a feel for the difference between the stock turbo tune and the Ktuner Starter 21 with some quick adjustments. I'm running only lightly tweaked ramp and turbo response; not aggressive at all.

    So today I was passing a car on the highway. We were doing 65mph and I had the opportunity to easily pass the guy in front of me and have some fun. So I gave it some throttle. Not WOT but a nice jab of the pedal. When my car was stock this would give me a nice whoosh of power and I was surprised when I looked down at the speedo and I was quickly at 85mph.

    Here's the difference with the 21psi tune...

    With that same jab of the pedal at 65mph, I looked at the speedo and was doing 107mph. And the crazy thing was, even going slightly uphill, I had plenty of acceleration left. The acceleration from 60-120 is pretty impressive.
     
  12. Smilo359

    Smilo359 Member

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    This is exactly what happened to me about a month ago or so. Went to pass a guy and expected to look down and see mid-80s and was surprised by a three digit number, about 110ish. My car felt insanely stable and it felt like it had plenty more to give but I backed off.
     
  13. OP
    gtman

    gtman Senior Member

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    Exactly when I back off as well. To feel more confident at those speeds I need better brakes and tires for sure.
     
  14. OceansX

    OceansX Senior Member

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    got my ktuner v2 in the mail for my CVT ST (didn't tune yet), so far I have an Injen SRI, and looking to get a DP. Later on, an exhaust for aesthetic reasons as I've read they're really only there for sound. Nice to hear there are CVTs out there running with tunes that haven't experienced any real issues.
     
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  15. Smilo359

    Smilo359 Member

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    I have the Injen SRI as well and GReddy "catback". It sounds great. 10/10 would recommend! I wanted to do the front pipe/down pipe but I don't know if that's not going to put me in the risky area for low end torque being too high for the CVT.
     
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