Building a performance engine for your car or truck takes some work, and getting all the systems tuned to work together can be challenging. Taking your vehicle to a shop with an engine dynamometer or dyno is one of the best ways to get the information you need to determine how much power and torque the engine is producing. Dyno tuning is not something used for everyday cars, but for performance engines in track-driven vehicles, it can help the builder squeeze out all the power available.
Getting Ready For The Dyno
If you are considering taking your performance car to the shop for dyno tuning, it is critical that the engine is ready. The engine in your vehicle will be put under an extreme load when it is on the dyno, so if anything is going to fail, it will fail during this torture test.
The goal is to determine the top engine horsepower and torque being produced by the engine and then making adjustments during dyno tuning that will add even more power. If the engine is not strong enough to endure the high RPM runs on the dyno, it can fail and cause damage that could be extremely costly.
The engine needs to have run a few hours and been through a proper break-in cycle before it goes through this extreme testing. Talk to the tech running the dynamometer if you are not sure what is required at that shop, and they can help you determine if you are ready for dyno tuning with your engine.
How Dyno Tuning Works
Chassis dyno tuning is the most commonly used system with performance cars. The system works by positioning the vehicle's drive tires on a set of rollers connected to a computer system. The vehicle is strapped to the frame so it can not move, and then the engine is connected to the computer with a wiring harness that allows the tech to read the engine RPMs, temperature, oil pressure, and even boost on turbocharged cars.
Once the car is secure and connected, the tech will run the car through the gears and up to maximum RPMs. The dyno reads the power and torque produced and correlates the data so that the tech can see where the car is making the most horsepower.
The data is then used to make adjustments to the engine to increase the power. Often the fuel curve is adjusted, the engine timing can be changed, and other settings in the computer can be tweaked. Once the adjuments are made, the tech will make another run on the dyno to see if the engine is making more power, and then the process is repeated until the optimal dyno tuning is achieved.