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Superchips Cortex 1950 Review - Tune - 4.0L

Craigwell

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Just picked up the Cortex 1950 from Superchips.

I had already been running 91 Octane for the last few thousand miles.

Went with performance tune last night to see the result.

More grunt driving around town, shifts firmer.

Drove 60 miles to work today on the highway. Highway performance doesn't seem changed at the moment, but I didn't really expect any change there. MPG may be higher.

I will verify. Also will post more info and results on this thread as I go.
 
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Explorer75

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When you say MPG higher is it better or worse?

It might be the fuel in my country but I feel more pep with 87 octane and the corresponding tune. One crazy thing is that with 91 octane and tune I went back to stock motorcraft air filter (I use afe) and the truck felt more alive, don´t know why is this. Still the more pep driving around town and taking off is with 87 gas and tune. At WOT the 91 probably gives top hp. I know this is for a SCT tuner, maybe since the engine is built to run on 87 that is why.




Just picked up the Cortex 1950 from Superchips.

I had already been running 91 Octane for the last few thousand miles.

Went with performance tune last night to see the result.

More grunt driving around town, shifts firmer.

Drove 60 miles to work today on the highway. Highway performance doesn't seem changed at the moment, but I didn't really expect any change there. MPG may be higher.

I will verify. Also will post more info and results on this thread as I go.
 
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Explorer75

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lol, unless your chips are magically increasing the compression of your engines, I don't think 91 will do a thing for ya.

Interesting point.
The theory however is that using a higher octane fuel you can advance timing and get more power.
But as you mention the compression is not changed and you aren´t adding force induction neither so you have basically the same cylinder design which was made for 87 octane.
 
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Craigwell

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I just run 91 Octane. Had nothing to do with the tuner. I was averaging 16mpg in this truck before the tuner, running 91 octane for at least 3000 miles. I was not under the impression that it would increase my compression, tech by trade.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I find the added power and efficiency running 91 Octane offsets the cost vs. 87. Also the idea of the engine less likely to see a carbon build up in the combustion chamber over time, is something I like. Again, maybe that's incorrect. Maybe now you'll want to talk about each refinery's blend?

I just ran through a tank with the performance tune, and it averaged 17.2mpg. I will need to get more of a sample size before I'll say it's better on fuel in this setup.

Perhaps eventually I'll try the economy tune, and/or 87 octane. The tunes on the Cortex 1950 don't seem to say anything about Octane. I haven't connected it to my computer yet to see if there are updates.
 
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Tech By Trade

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Nope, just talking compression. Actually if the math is right, and 87 octane igniting at a lower compression and burning more thoroughly at that lower compression it should actually give you more power.... in theory. Odds are that boost in power you are feeling is that tuner tightening up the lower end of your throttle response tables, odds are it still tops out at the same point. Just a guess though.
 
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Craigwell

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That seems to be correct.

All effect I notice so far is on low end, and shift points. I didn't figure there was much to be done on the top end, but that's fine.. my goals coming into this was to get a little more low end grunt, and to improve the shift points a bit. To that end, it has been a success so far.

I'm really not expecting to see higher mpg numbers (or less l/100k), and will honestly be surprised if that pattern holds over a few tanks.

I will try 87 Octane at some point, maybe after another couple tanks to get a bit more data from current set up. A counter point to my own argument, perhaps being that the additonal cleaners and such may actually adversely affect mpg.

I can say the cruise control seems to be adversely affected. It doesn't respond well to required downshifts on long grades, and seems to hunt.

Is there truth to the notion the computer has to "learn" again whenever you upload a tune ? Adjusting trims ?
 
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Tech By Trade

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It would depend on how the program interacts with the transmission I guess. I'm not sure on that end.

A way you could get it to give you more snap is to contact the software writer of programmer. See if they can write you a program that deletes the CEL light for the O2 sensors, and optimizes the factory de-tuned fuel air ratio for the operation of the catalytic converters. Have them write a table that optimizes fuel air for fuel economy and power. Then go an chop out your cats. If your Enviro laws are the same as ours in Saskatchewan (we have none) you should be able to actually put that programmer to good use.
 
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Craigwell

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Probably more than I'm interested in doing - at this point. I started fresh 3 year / 60000k warranty when I bought it in June. Don't want to mess with that.

As for cats, Anything after '91 has to physically have them here in Nova Scotia. Some people gut them out, and I've done so in the past when one was plugged. No sniffer emissions testing.

The truck is performing how I would like atm, I'm not trying to achieve the absolute max. My main goals have been met so far (better low end, better shift points & firmness), and I'll simply post here on the outcomes from various tunes for posterity (my take on driveability, effects on mileage with different grades, etc).

There isn't much on these forums here that speaks about tuning results on 4.0L (and I spent a few hours searching), and I figure to try and relate my own experiences - keeps me out of trouble. I got lots of hobbies !
 
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Craigwell

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After a couple of hours trying, I was finally able to install the most recent update to the programmer. It was worth the effort.

There are lot more options available to me now.

Performance tune (91 Octane only) which is what I'm using.
Extreme Towing
87 Octane Performance
Super Mileage.

Within the tune, I now have a lot of transmission options.

Raise or lower rpm/mph that each individual shift occurs,
raise or lower line pressure for each shift up to 20psi additional pressure for firmness.

I modified mine to lower the rpm of some of the shifts (as I found it seemed to want to wind out the mill unecessarily at times before upshifting) and I raised psi by 10 for each shift to get a little firmness.

It's only been about 50 miles since I made the changes, but I'm encouraged. I'm getting closer to the responsiveness I want out of the truck for the mix of city and highway driving I'm doing running around between job sites and suppliers, and with the performance tune and 91 octane fuel, I'm still averaging 15mpg with that type of driving.

I'll tinker a little more with each shift point and pressure to dial it in exactly where I want it, and eventually I'll try both the 87 octane performance tune, and the mileage tune to see what I think of the results.

Very impressed with the programmer at this point.
 
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Explorer75

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WOW, that´s great!

Seems like you don´t need a custom tune or software like with SCT.

About your tuner, you have a Sport Trac?

I emailed superchips because my brother has one and they said the Sport Trac is not supported-....



After a couple of hours trying, I was finally able to install the most recent update to the programmer. It was worth the effort.

There are lot more options available to me now.

Performance tune (91 Octane only) which is what I'm using.
Extreme Towing
87 Octane Performance
Super Mileage.

Within the tune, I now have a lot of transmission options.

Raise or lower rpm/mph that each individual shift occurs,
raise or lower line pressure for each shift up to 20psi additional pressure for firmness.

I modified mine to lower the rpm of some of the shifts (as I found it seemed to want to wind out the mill unecessarily at times before upshifting) and I raised psi by 10 for each shift to get a little firmness.

It's only been about 50 miles since I made the changes, but I'm encouraged. I'm getting closer to the responsiveness I want out of the truck for the mix of city and highway driving I'm doing running around between job sites and suppliers, and with the performance tune and 91 octane fuel, I'm still averaging 15mpg with that type of driving.

I'll tinker a little more with each shift point and pressure to dial it in exactly where I want it, and eventually I'll try both the 87 octane performance tune, and the mileage tune to see what I think of the results.

Very impressed with the programmer at this point.
 
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Craigwell

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Yes. Same as my signature.
I'm going to start trying other tunes soon.. waiting to go through the tank of fuel I'm on now.

Not sure why they would say not supported. Mine is in the drop down menus and everything when I registered it, etc. There are different superchips tuners.. Mine is a Cortex 1950
 
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Explorer75

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Great tech support!

Copy of the email:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I apologize but we do not offer tuning for the Sport Trac

Please reply with previous emails attached as this will help me serve you better.
Thanks, Rich
Customer Service/Sales/Tech
1/888/227/2447
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
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Craigwell

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I don't know what to make of that.

I also did a forum search and see mention of it in a thread not being supported, as of Jan 2014.

All I can say is that it does program my truck, and I do notice changes in operation.

The recent update gave me more options, although I realized the changed shift points are only at WOT, which isn't quite what I was after.. The pressure changes are an improvement however, and overall I'm still happy.

I just changed yesterday to 87 octane fuel and the high economy tune "Super XS Mileage" or something.. It let me do this, and keep my transmission options.

I'll report on the results, and continue to look into the support issue. I'm sure the Sport Trac's have different tables than the regular Explorers, so it will be interesting to see exactly what the tuner is doing - if anything - with them.

I did notice higher economy and better low end grunt in city driving with the high performance tune, but without dyno results, I appreciate that my evaluation is purely subjective.

I've only driven about 20 miles with the economy tune, but I didn't notice any real change for normal around town driving.. I won't have an opinion on it until I go through a few tanks.
 
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Explorer75

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It´s great that you do feel the difference. That´s all that matters, that we are happy with something we put on the truck.

As of the tech support, I think most of them are like robots, they are programmed to give certain answers and almost never double check to see if they are right, wrong or just misinformed. Maybe if I send another email and another guy reads it then he would say that it is supported. Who knows...


Good luck and keep us posted about the economy tune.
 
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Craigwell

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I dug a little more on the superchips forums.. It is the V8 explorers that aren't supported apparently... the 4.0L is ...

This is gleaned from reading through some threads there. I posted a question in one of the threads asking for more clarity.
 
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Explorer75

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Hello

I read the thread on superchips forum. So basically you got lucky. They won't officially support the sport trac. Probably they encountered an ocasional incompatibility issue there...

Thanks for the info. I,m not going to take a $349 risk.
 
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Craigwell

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I don't blame you. As I say, I'm not convinced yet it's doing anything on the engine side - maybe just transmission points.

I do notice the econo tune seems to upshift quicker and hold the higher gears longer before downshifting - i.e. lugging.

I'm already considering alternatives to the cortex, but I won't give up on it yet.
 
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Craigwell

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Yes, I got clarification that the tuner is definitely doing what it reports. I'm continuing to learn a bit and will continue to report my experience here, but yes a serious factor with the Cortex 1950 is that you wouldn't be wise to buy one where Sport Trac's are not properly supported. You might get away with it on the 4.0L like I did, but it's no guarantee.
 
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