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9-3 Sedan, Cabrio ('04+)/Combi & 9-3X Performance Mods & Tuning - ALL ENGINES Covers GENERAL Tuning & Performance modifications that are *non-engine specific* in nature

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  #1  
Old 8th June 2012
bg_saab bg_saab is offline
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Post Vtune vs JZW comparison review

After spending over a year just browsing and learning on saabcentral, here goes my first post. Below is hopefully an objective review of my unique experience driving the 2.0T with both JZW stage1 as well as Vtune stage0. I also have some experience corresponding with Brian about his Vtune Stage 0. I am in no way technically inclined to the level of a "tuner" but I like to learn/gather info about the Trionic 8. I did read through the T8 tuning suite manual from (http://trionic.mobixs.eu/) which made my head hurt .

The car I drove had the capability to switch between JZW Stage 1 (advertised as 260 hp/280 torque) as well as Vtune Stage 0 (advertised as 260hp/280 torque). I spent ~ 3 hours total driving time pretty much split down the middle on each tune. The car was equipped with a boost gauge as well as logging capability for basic ODBII available info (temperatures, ignition timing, closed/open loop, etc...).

No need to describe the stock feel of the car. The car had < 100k miles and felt strong in stock form. Under full load boost would go up to ~ 11-12 PSI and turbo gauge would not go past the white/red boundary. As expected the car was fun to drive.

Car with Stage 1 from JZW: I drove around (1 person in the car) for 1.5 hours. Car definitely boosted way into the red of the turbo gauge and under certain conditions would reach up to 21PSI based on the boost gauge. Power delivery was not really to my liking (please note this is my personal opinion, I know many people like the way JZW's tune feel, I personally like linear, strong power delivery). Under certain conditions it seemed like there were hints of over-boost condition with lack of matching power delivery (way high boost under WOT but power delivery simply felt flat until very high in the RPM range). Car did not feel balanced to my liking and was felt a bit flat. Definitely more powerful than stock but not what I expected...

Car with Stage 0 from Vtuner. Similarly, I drove around for 1.5 hours or so.. Car felt balanced, very nice smooth power delivery and I was very impressed with the overall tune. The balance of the car was excellent with nice linear delivery. Peak boost was ~18 PSI. Loved the feel and overall driving experience. Seemed like with less boost (18PSI vs ~ 21PSI JZW) the balance was much much better, car felt stronger over the entire RPM band and never felt overloaded or too stressed out. The entire motor seemed "better tuned" and much more responsive. The temperature (coolant mostly and exhaust temp) were definitely lower with Vtuner (I presume due to the lower boost pressure). Oddly the car with lower boost pressure (18 PSI and of course lower load on the turbo) felt more powerful, more responsive and and was incredibly fun to drive.

In both cases I drove very hard on the same stretches of road, in the Vtuner case the logged coolant temp never went above 205F, with the JZW tune it was consistently ~ 215F. I assume this is due to the higher turbo pressure in JZW's case.

Again, this is my personal experience and my comments inevitably reflect my preference on how a tuned car should behave (not talking about how a crazy "stage 8" car should behave).
I have exchanged a couple of e-mails with Brian and he seems incredibly knowledgeable on the subject. Having read the T8 suite manual I have to say that looks like it takes a lot of skill to properly tune these cars (not as simple as just up the boost and change some torque request/boost limits). Having asked lots of questions (with risk of asking dumb questions), it seems like Brian really has spent a lot of effort tuning multiple parameters providing an excellent balance and really tuning the entire motor behavior and not just adjusting the boost and torque limits. The guy is respectful (at least to my dumb questions) and is very professional in his responses. I was very pleased in understanding exactly what $699 buys you...

Anyway, just wanted to share my opinion here. I have read virtually every thread that has to do with JZW or Brian's Vtune Stage 0 and in the multitude of dyno sheets and various discussions I never found a clear, concise direct comparison between the two tunes with all other stuff equal (same altitude, gas octane, car , etc).

The above is simply my opinion on the subject considering I had the unique opportunity to do this comparison back to back on the same car, same day. If someone has a direct (same car) dyno comparison of the two tunes that would be awesome (I have never come across a direct comparison like that). All I have to offer is my personal driving experience.
I did take some videos of the speedo / turbo gauge during both runs if anyone is interested but there are already plenty of those on youtube

bg_saab
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  #2  
Old 8th June 2012
Turbo_Slaab Turbo_Slaab is offline
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Very nice first post! Maybe JZW can shed some light on the high coolant temps. Both tuners know Saabs very well (my 99 9-3 screams!) and you really can't go wrong with either. Both awesome guys too.
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  #3  
Old 8th June 2012
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Thanks for your thorough feedback. I am doing my first big step by going with Vtunes Stage 0. I want to see how well (personally) this tune can do. From a back ground in race engine machining and building I'll be very curious to see parameters regarding temps and so forth. I plan to coat a bunch of items as well (I do ceramic/dry film lubricant, high performance coatings in house) so I am eager to see how well they aid in power production with this car.

I think for the value though a solid tune is one of the best investments any owner can do.

Thanks again.
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  #4  
Old 8th June 2012
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Thanks boet.

I have been debating whether to get a remap, and this is edging me closer to getting the VTuner from Brian.

Now if only those pesky Europeans would sort their mess out so that the Rand gains against the US$
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  #5  
Old 8th June 2012
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whats the conversion right now?
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  #6  
Old 8th June 2012
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Originally Posted by Tech@EPR View Post
whats the conversion right now?
It went from 6.58 to the dollar last month to 8.58 today

bl$$day greeks!
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  #7  
Old 8th June 2012
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ack! sorry to hear man. Waiting games are crappy.
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  #8  
Old 8th June 2012
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i saw you were logging temps, than noticed they were useless temp :/ coolant temp difference of 5* is no big deal, how bought posting some IAT2 comparisons :/ that would of been more useful
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  #9  
Old 8th June 2012
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decent review but it looked skewed towards vtuner. There was direct mentioning of brian (I talked to Brian, I emailed Brian) nothing about John this would have been more fair if you spoke to both about what they did for your tune. This just wasnt comprehensive enough to be a good review. Overall i give the review a 6 for 2 reasons you are the first to directly compare them back to back.... second the boost levels and coolant temp... but no dyno sheets no logged data and pulls against each other(one car i know). when does boost hit how long does it hold whats left at redline, MPG, exhaust temps, how does each pull from 6th gear cruising feel, launching? etc etc
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  #10  
Old 8th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugsaabaero View Post
decent review but it looked skewed towards vtuner. There was direct mentioning of brian (I talked to Brian, I emailed Brian) nothing about John this would have been more fair if you spoke to both about what they did for your tune. This just wasnt comprehensive enough to be a good review. Overall i give the review a 6 for 2 reasons you are the first to directly compare them back to back.... second the boost levels and coolant temp... but no dyno sheets no logged data and pulls against each other(one car i know). when does boost hit how long does it hold whats left at redline, MPG, exhaust temps, how does each pull from 6th gear cruising feel, launching? etc etc
very well put, i know when i talked to john and brought up a few concerns he was quick to offer solution. Not to mention he stayed in touch well after we were done adjusting my tune to my liking.
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  #11  
Old 8th June 2012
bg_saab bg_saab is offline
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Fair point Jn2. I simply had more communication with Brian and enjoyed my experience. I was trying to compare purely the drive feel of the car.
As far as temperatures, I can log some Intake Temps as well as tranmission temperatures ( I am fairly certain with some tweaking my OBDII scan tool can read my transmission temperature as well). Not sure if the OBDII can read (if available) exhaust temperature which would be nice to have. I can do ignition timing at WOT in any gear as well. As far as intake temperatures, I did a slight mod on my stock intake after toying around with a borrowed BSR optiflow and other open intakes while directly comparing my intake temps (as read by OBDII scal tool). Seems like the stock box is one of the best solutions in terms of keeping intake temps to a minimum. I did modify the piping that goes from right under the fender to the radiator area. The mod preserves the cold air aspect while removes some of the more restrictive piping that goes to the radiator area yet provides the nice turbo whistle I was after. I also removed the plastic covering where the passenger fog light would be and built a nice black steel mesh grille that allows for airflow to enter the fender area. The set up worked really nice for what I was after.

I forgot to mention that I logged MPG on the highway with both tunes too. Cruise control @ ~ 85mph. Same stretch of road back and forth to work ~ 45 miles. Both tunes seemed to be within 1 mpg of each other which was expected since the car was on cruise control.

As I mentioned in my initial post the intriguing thing is that Vtune achieves comparable peak hp/trq (as advertised) at lower boost than JZW.

As far as comparisons, I drove the car with the nominal product from both JZW and Vtuner (meaning there were no additional tweaks, concerns to be addressed etc).
If I ever have the time/funds it would be great to have a direct dyno comparison of the two with temps, A/F ratios, ignition etc.

pugsaabaero -

"decent review but it looked skewed towards vtuner. There was direct mentioning of brian (I talked to Brian, I emailed Brian) nothing about John this would have been more fair if you spoke to both about what they did for your tune".
Pug, fair point but again nothing needed to be "done for my tune", I used their standard advertised products that are sold online, no tweaks of any sort. I think it was fair to say that with the standard product they provide, my personal opinion was that Vtune had much more balance over the RPM range at lower boost levels. I approached this totally unbiased and similar to buying one standard product vs another (say bud-light vs miller-light ).
One of the reasons why Brian sparked my interest was readily addressed "where is the proof" type of reading (which I think are totally relevant when you are spending $700). Multiple threads exist on his progressive work on getting the tune right. Meaning that the progress of "dyno-tuning" the stage0 was very well outlined (multiple threads on this). About JZW, I saw saabstory's dyno chart on JZW's tune and I am not sure if others are available (at least I was not able to find them on JZW's web-site). I also think that Vtuner had a thread where Vtune stage0 was overlaid on JZW's stage 1 (granted not the same car)...

Anyway, I was comparing standard product to standard product.

pugsaabaero,

I can definitely expand on your questions on "when does boost hit how long does it hold whats left at redline, MPG, exhaust temps, how does each pull from 6th gear cruising feel, launching? etc etc" when I get a bit more time..

Hope the above makes sense.
Will keep you posted if I get the time to post some logs of temps/ignition/boost at WOT, etc.

Thanks for the input.
bg_saab
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  #12  
Old 8th June 2012
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I'm on JZW stage 3 now, but it wasn't too long ago that I was on stage 1 and I don't agree with your findings on the uneven boost. I had both a stage 1 and aggressive stage 1 tune from him.
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  #13  
Old 8th June 2012
bg_saab bg_saab is offline
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Fair point,

I am sure it all comes down to preference on how you want your car to feel.
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  #14  
Old 8th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bg_saab View Post
Fair point,

I am sure it all comes down to preference on how you want your car to feel.
Then why didn't you ask for him to adjust it?
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  #15  
Old 8th June 2012
rb88 rb88 is offline
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Great thread. Thank you for giving some fresh perspective on this subject. As a new Saab owner I'm looking at both of these products and I've spoken to both JZW and VTuner and they're definitely bother good guys and honest businessmen which is rare these days.I wish I could test both before buying them... but since I can't info from guys like you who have it already is whats important to me. You said that both tunes were within a mile per gallon of each other on cruise control but what was the MPG? Better or worse than stock? The difference in operating temperature is definitely of interest because 10 degrees can be significant on a daily driver, however; what was the outside temp at the time of the individual drives, where the outside conditions the same? You made it sound as you did the VT right after the JZW and that would mean that the VT is probably a lot more efficient if it was tested right after the JZW. Anyway if you could throw some thoughts at my questions that would be cool, thanks!
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Old 8th June 2012
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The difference in operating temperature is definitely of interest because 10 degrees can be significant on a daily driver, however; what was the outside temp at the time of the individual drives, where the outside conditions the same?
very good point, i was going to ask this as well but forgot.
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  #17  
Old 8th June 2012
GnarlyCharlieOx GnarlyCharlieOx is offline
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Thumbs up Good post, been wondering what tune I should get...

Does the V-tuner stage 0 remove all the stock limiters ( top speed and RPM) ? I heard the BSR PPC doesn't and its $1k, I'd hate to spend that much money and still be stuck with limiters....

Also, any difference in MPG from the V tune and stock?

Last question... Can you have more than one tune and switch them out when ever ( with the v tuner ) One for daily driving ( or the wife driving lol ) and one for playing?

Thanks for any feed back in advance...
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  #18  
Old 9th June 2012
John Z Williams John Z Williams is offline
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I would not say anything if there were not some shady things going on here. I was told I would get a bad review if I did not return this car to stock 2 days after the tune.

The review is biased, the guy was pro vtuner when he talked to me, did not want to hear any cons, only pros, talked up how great Brian seemed, etc. I was suspicious, I thought he was a vtuner spy or something, I did not give him my best stuff on the tune.

He also talked a lot about keeping his tranny safe, longevity, protection of the engine, the tune was conservative and with my suspicion, not my normal stuff.

He did not mention any of the pros in regard to the PPC, nothing about it being a hand held tuner with a big screen that has instructions on it and allows you to do other things and that it hold 3 files.

Its a biased review and happens to omit many pros on my part and pumps up the pros on the others part.

John
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Old 9th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekwilkinson View Post
I'm on JZW stage 3 now, but it wasn't too long ago that I was on stage 1 and I don't agree with your findings on the uneven boost. I had both a stage 1 and aggressive stage 1 tune from him.
What's the real difference between the two? I'm thinking about mailing in my computer for programming rather than spending the $699, just wasn't sure if I'd regret not having the option to switch between tunes.
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  #20  
Old 9th June 2012
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We all generally have a bias towards the brand we bought to validate our decision. But just like in golf, one should not root against the other guy and certainly not give bad reviews if not an equal playing field. I hope that is not what was going on here. Deception or disingenuous behaviour can't be tolerated.
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