Tech: Top 10 Coyote Tuning Tips

SCT Coyote Class Featured

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We learned the Top 10 tuning tips for the modern 5.0 in SCT Performance’s Coyote class

By Steve Turner

We’ve made a few trips over to SCT Performance lately chasing tech. As such, we learned that SCT would be hosting its first ever Coyote tuning class, so we made it a point to drop by and see what this was all about.

Leading the inaugural Coyote tuning class was Jesse Silva the Technical Support Manager at SCT Performance/Bully Dog. What we quickly learned is that proper tuning requires a working knowledge of math, so your teachers were right. You will need those skills in the real world.
Leading the inaugural Coyote tuning class was Jesse Silva the Technical Support Manager at SCT Performance/Bully Dog. What we quickly learned is that proper tuning requires a working knowledge of math, so your teachers were right. You will need those skills in the real world.

SCT has long supported its dealers by offering training and certification programs under the SCT Custom Tuning University banner. The company offers introductory and advanced classes for Ford tuners, which provides its dealers with a background in tuning basics and a working knowledge of the company’s software and devices. Each of these tuning classes is held at the company’s headquarters in Sanford, Florida.

As we said, the Coyote class was the first of its kind, and in order to take this class dealers must have first completed the introductory and advanced tuning classes at SCT University. With those under their belts, tuners are ready to step up the additional complexities of the Coyote platform and its Copperhead PCM.

The Coyote tuning class is broken up into two segments. The first day is primarily spent in the classroom and the second day the students get practical experience tuning a Coyote in the SCT dyno room.
The Coyote tuning class is broken up into two segments. The first day is primarily spent in the classroom and the second day the students get practical experience tuning a Coyote in the SCT dyno room.

Just a brief time in the classroom with SCT’s tuning instructors and dealers gave us a whole new respect for the talented professionals that tune our rides. We tend to take today’s balance of incredible performance and driveability for granted, but these folks really have to know their stuff to get the job done.

If you are an SCT dealer and are interested in attending this class, the second round of 2014 In-House Coyote 5.0 training dates is August 29-30, 2014. Until then, we are going to share the Top 10 most important aspects of tuning the Coyote 5.0 from SCT calibrator Matt Alderman:

1. Fuel Injectors

You want to start your tuning process by knowing what fuel injectors you are using. Often you can get the fuel injector data you need to plug into the SCT software from the injector manufacturer.
You want to start your tuning process by knowing what fuel injectors you are using. Often you can get the fuel injector data you need to plug into the SCT software from the injector manufacturer.

“The wrong injector data can cause drivability issues, mass-airflow transfer function inaccuracies, and incorrect airflow calculations,” Matt explained. “Always use injectors with good data. Also, beware of data made on a three-bar fuel system. The Coyotes are a four-bar fuel system.”

2. Fuel Control

Once you have a basis to work from with the fuel injector data, tuning the fueling is the basis for making long-tube headers, power adders, and aftermarket fuel pumps work properly.
Once you have a basis to work from with the fuel injector data, tuning the fueling is the basis for making long-tube headers, power adders, and aftermarket fuel pumps work properly.

“When using long-tube headers or turbo kits the transport delays and temp loss values need to be dialed in for that combo,” he said.

3. Idle

Now, we are all spoiled and we want our high-horsepower Fords to idle like stock.  You’ll learn how to do that at this screen.
Now, we are all spoiled and we want our high-horsepower Fords to idle like stock. You’ll learn how to do that at this screen.

“Aftermarket throttle bodies need idle airflow calibrated to prevent oscillation and to prevent the infamous wrench light from airflow errors,” Matt explained.

4. Electronic Throttle

Having electronic throttle control means that adding an aftermarket throttle body means calibrating the drive by wiring tuning to prevent oscillation and error codes.
Having electronic throttle control means that adding an aftermarket throttle body means calibrating the drive by wiring tuning to prevent oscillation and error codes.

“It is very important to have the correct values when using aftermarket throttle bodies or airflow,” Matt said. “ Otherwise torque and drivability issues will result from miscalculations.”

5. Variable Cam Timing

One of the most significant performance enhancements of the Coyote platform is the Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing. Tuning this is quite important, especially if you have added aftermarket camshafts.
One of the most significant performance enhancements of the Coyote platform is the Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing. Tuning this is quite important, especially if you have added aftermarket camshafts.

“When tuning for aftermarket cams it is very important to properly populate the factors with the new cam data and also dial in optimal performance from the VCT,” he said.

6. Torque Tables

Now the Copperhead processor regulates much of the engine’s behavior based on how much torque it believes the engine is producing. As such, calibrating the torque tables for torque management is crucial.
Now the Copperhead processor regulates much of the engine’s behavior based on how much torque it believes the engine is producing. As such, calibrating the torque tables for torque management is crucial.

“When I calibrate the torque tables, I will go through the process doing my sweeps at each valve event and calculating what the flywheel torque actually is,” Matt explained.

7. Spark

Obviously the core of tuning any engine is adjusting the fuel and the timing. You’ll learn how to work with the mysterious HDFX tables in the Coyote class.
Obviously the core of tuning any engine is adjusting the fuel and the timing. You’ll learn how to work with the mysterious HDFX tables in the Coyote class.

“The infamous HDFX tables,” Matt said. “The question of what tables are used and when. The only way to find out is to log HDFX spark for all the functioning tables and that will tell you what it is using and from what tables.”

8. Knock Sensors

Another trick to tuning Coyotes is dialing in the knock sensors. You may need to turn down their sensitivity on a modded engine, but you don’t want to turn them off. They are a great safety net.
Another trick to tuning Coyotes is dialing in the knock sensors. You may need to turn down their sensitivity on a modded engine, but you don’t want to turn them off. They are a great safety net.

“There is power to be found in calibrating the knock sensors,” he said. “When they where calibrated from the factory it was for the stock combo. Well that has all changed. So they will pick up noise. Sometimes you will get false knock,especially with noisy blowers.”

9. Datalogging

You can datalog nearly infinite parameters with SCT’s Livelink software, and the class will teach you what you really need to pay attention to.
You can datalog nearly infinite parameters with SCT’s Livelink software, and the class will teach you what you really need to pay attention to.

“When datalogging these cars, the first parameter that I tell people to watch is the Torque Source. It is often overlooked. These are torque-based systems. If you are dealing with throttle bodies closing, most of the time Torque Source will tell you why instead of chasing your tail,” Matt explained. “Others to include short-term fuel trims, this is the immediate correction, long-term fuel trim (this is the learned correction), HDFX (when doing spark tables) and knock-sensor calibration. MAF frequency or period it will put you in the same place in the transfer function. Very important lbs per/min, I like using this to compare airflow when doing my VCT work.”

10. Dyno Testing

Finally, since most tuning is done on a chassis dyno, the SCT teachers will show you how to properly gather data on a dyno.
Finally, since most tuning is done on a chassis dyno, the SCT teachers will show you how to properly gather data on a dyno.

“When doing a performance tune on a dyno make sure the test conditions are consistent or your numbers will change due to conditions and not the calibration,” Matt added. “Also beware of EGR conditions skewing your air/fuel ratio reading. If your shop does not have good ventilation you will get EGR and that will make your mixture rich, so when you lean it out on the dyno and then take it out on the street you will be lean.”

The guinea pig for this first Coyote tuning class is familiar to SVTP readers. It is SCT Calibrator Matt Alderman’s 2014 Mustang GT. It is equipped with Boss 302 heads, a Ford Racing Cobra Jet intake, custom cams, a full Kooks exhaust, and, naturally, SCT tuning.
The guinea pig for this first Coyote tuning class is familiar to SVTP readers. It is SCT Calibrator Matt Alderman’s 2014 Mustang GT. It is equipped with Boss 302 heads, a Ford Racing Cobra Jet intake, custom cams, a full Kooks exhaust, and, naturally, SCT tuning.

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