Tech: 2015+ Mustang nGauge Tuning

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VMP Tuning wakes up a stock Mustang GT with a performance calibration

By Steve Turner

You might not have heard about it yet, but VMP Tuning added another new Mustang to its stable of project cars. This GT is destined for life as an all-out race car, but before things headed in that direction, main man Justin Starkey wanted to get work his tuning magic on the stock car to see what kind of gains were available on the stock platform.

VMP Tuning picked up another S550 project car. It will eventually become an all-out race car, but VMP’s Justin Starkey first used the car as a test bed for its latest custom calibrations for the HP Tuners nGauge.
VMP Tuning picked up another S550 project car. It will eventually become an all-out race car, but VMP’s Justin Starkey first used the car as a test bed for its latest custom calibrations for the HP Tuners nGauge.

“Ford has continued to improve the 5.0-liter calibration straight from the factory since the Coyote’s introduction in 2011,” he said. “They still assume very poor fuel quality though, so if the owner is willing to run top-tier premium all the time, there is power to be had there with the right custom tune.”

On a recent visit to VMP headquarters we documented one of Justin’s early experiences with the nGauge flash tuner paired with HP Tuners’ VCM Suite tuning software. You might recall that the nGauge was one the most exciting products to debut at the 2014 edition of The SEMA Show. Not just an OBD-II gauge, the nGauge will display those factory data parameters. However, it will also allow flashing the PCM with a custom calibration.

Because it uses a Micro SD memory card, the nGauge has room for plenty of calibration files. After baselining the stock car on VMP’s in-house Dynojet, Justin saved the stock calibration to the SD card.
Because it uses a Micro SD memory card, the nGauge has room for plenty of calibration files. After baselining the stock car on VMP’s in-house Dynojet, Justin saved the stock calibration to the SD card.

“We also make advances in part throttle power, response, and elimination of the factory torque limits,” Justin explained. “The factory cal will sometime close the throttle at high rpm. It will also limit torque in the first few gears, presumably to try to keep the MT-82 happy. There is also the dreaded torque limits during shifting which keep you from really grabbing the gears.”

After making a some pulls to datalog the factory calibration, Justin saved the stock file to the SD card in the nGauge. He then built a custom calibration that tweaked the car’s timing, air/fuel ratio, and more. After saving that file to the SD card, Justin could then install the card in the nGauge and flash the stock Mustang with the hotter calibration. Once it was uploaded, it was time to spin up the Dynojet rollers again…

“Being a power adder guy, I haven’t seen NA tuning as something very exciting, but I can tell you with the combination of a VMP custom tune on the HP Tuners’ nGauge it’s a whole new car,” he added. “The raised rev limiter, extra power, and elimination of torque limits makes it feel like a monster on the street or track. The stock 235s no longer suffice, they are holding on for dear life when you hit 6,500 rpm in First gear. I’m very excited about some of the NA packages and tuning that VMP will be offering in the future.”

While testing the stock car, Justin used the nGauge’s expansive datalogging capabilities to see what the stock calibration brought to the table. From there he was able to create a more aggressive calibration that tweaks the air/fuel, timing, shifting, redline, and removes the factory torque limiters.
While testing the stock car, Justin used the nGauge’s expansive datalogging capabilities to see what the stock calibration brought to the table. From there he was able to create a more aggressive calibration that tweaks the air/fuel, timing, shifting, redline, and removes the factory torque limiters.
After saving the new calibration to the nGauge’s memory card, Justin reinstalls the card. The nGauge allows you to save multiple calibration and datalog files to the card. That means you can have several calibrations on tap for various fuel octanes, racing conditions, and more.
After saving the new calibration to the nGauge’s memory card, Justin reinstalls the card. The nGauge allows you to save multiple calibration and datalog files to the card. That means you can have several calibrations on tap for various fuel octanes, racing conditions, and more.
Using the nGauge’s easily navigated windows, Justin selects the hotter VMP custom tune and uploads it to the factory PCM.
Using the nGauge’s easily navigated windows, Justin selects the hotter VMP custom tune and uploads it to the factory PCM.
After briskly uploading the new calibration, the nGauge lets you know it is finished. You could just use this device to flash the PCM, but its customizable gauges let you have ready access to the OBD-II data stream, so mounting it in the interior is the way to go.
After briskly uploading the new calibration, the nGauge lets you know it is finished. You could just use this device to flash the PCM, but its customizable gauges let you have ready access to the OBD-II data stream, so mounting it in the interior is the way to go.
When you have a new Mustang project, it’s handy to have your own Dynojet. Justin Starkey baselined and datalogged VMP’s new Mustang and tuned it right from the driver seat using the HP Tuners nGauge.
When you have a new Mustang project, it’s handy to have your own Dynojet. Justin Starkey baselined and datalogged VMP’s new Mustang and tuned it right from the driver seat using the HP Tuners nGauge.
With nothing more than a custom tune created using HP Tuners software and delivered via the nGauge flash tuner, VMP Tuning’s Mustang GT project picked up peak-to-peak gains of 17.99 horsepower and 15.57 lb-ft of torque.
With nothing more than a custom tune created using HP Tuners software and delivered via the nGauge flash tuner, VMP Tuning’s Mustang GT project picked up peak-to-peak gains of 17.99 horsepower and 15.57 lb-ft of torque.
When possible, we like to examine a sampling of the dyno data in chart form, as it often better illustrates the under the curve gains. As you can see, the VMP custom tune wakes up the stock Coyote’s output with from 2,400 rpm on up.
When possible, we like to examine a sampling of the dyno data in chart form, as it often better illustrates the under-the-curve gains. As you can see, the VMP custom tune wakes up the stock Coyote’s output from 2,400 rpm on up.

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