Used tuners? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Used tuners?


Well-Known Member
January 15, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Middle Georgia
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Ranger
Don't know if this belongs here or up one level.

With the Ex 5.0 swap into my 99 Ranger, I'm eventually going to want a tuner. A few ears ago I woul dhave gone with the Moates Quarterhorse and not looked back. Unfortunately they close shop before I knew I was doing the swap and I'm not going to hold my breath for a used one to hit the market. I'm sure it'll happen, I'm also sure that there are enough people wanting them that I won't stand a chance.

Anyway I've used SCT tuners in the past. Have a Xcalibrator 2 for the current 4.0L in the truck If it could be used I'd be happy with just using it, but I doubt any tuners still support that old device.

I'm looking at the new X4 offering but don't really want to drop the money on new. I know buying new through a tuning company will include tunes, but engine is mostly stock and I don't want to pay for cutom tunes until I get it built. I've also heard that some tuning companies lock the unit down so that only they can change the tunes on it. I want a default SCT unit and be able to use tunes from who ever I want even if it will cost more in the long run.

I'm seeing used X4s on marketplace starting at $100 but I' mot too familiar with these devices and their site literature doesn't really answer my questions. I'm not concerned about buying a used unit because I understand how to check for married and number of unlocks left. As long as it has 2-3 unlocks remaining I'm good, I don't care about future resale.

1) Does it have to be a Ford unit?

The $100 unit I saw had tunes for a Chevy (Comaro?) and I'm not sure if it was locked. Unlocking is easy enough from what I read, but can it be used with an Explorer if the tune files are swapped out?

2) Are the canned tunes available for download, or would they have to be purchased from SCT?

Mostly stock engine, stock drivetrain. Some shift point adjustment would probably be nice, but I'd like to save paying for custom tuning for after getting an engine built. That is assuming that SCT canned tunes are available free or at minimal cost.

3) Does VIN matter?

I've read about people having issues with a swapped ECU and emissions testing because ECU vin does not match chassis VIN. Not an issue where I currently live, but want to be prepared for moving into an area where it could be an issue. If I used a tuner on the ECU now and it locked into the old VIN, would that mean I'd have to use an unlock if I got the ECU programmed to match? If so, I probably need to research how to do that before getting and using a tuner. Like I said, it's not an issue now, but I don't want it to be a potential issue in the future for me or someone else.