_ISF

Lexus IS-F Tuning Options

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So im looking into a tune for my IS-F in the next few months and as always, I research everything before I buy to see what is out there. Obviously RR Racing is a well-known and a very well regarded brand when it comes to Lexus tuning, but there are other options available. I have had some experience with custom tuning in the past, and although they achieve very good results, the fact that the closest tuner is a good 2.5hrs from me pretty much rules them out to me as they are not a convenient option.

So I am interested in an OBD II tune that I can do at home using a hand held device. Although these tunes tend to lose a little power compared to a custom tune, the convenience of being able to do it myself at home is worth it in my opinion.

Out of the US based companies, I am only really considering RR Racing.

But in Australia, I am interested in the CPI option even though it is several hundred dollars more expensive than the RR Racing option. I have emailed them to ask some questions. CPI also offer Zipmoney/ZIppay so that is handy to be able to pay the tune off over a few months interest free.

Please share your thoughts and experiences with any of the companies below – or let me know if I have missed any worth-while tuners and I will add them to the list.


US Based Tunes
 

RR Racing – the original people who cracked the ISF’s ECU (as far as I know) and arguably know the ISF the best out of all other tuning companies. Specialise in Lexus performance parts and tuning.
http://www.rr-racing.com/RR-Racing-Lexus-IS-F-ECU-Upgrade-Tune-p/isftune002.htm (includes hand held OBD II device)
Price: $799 USD + int’l postage

Vivid Racing (VR Tuned) – looks like they offer tunes for a very wide range of cars and brands (jack of all trades but master of none?)
https://www.vividracing.com/tuned-ecu-flash-tune-lexus-isf-50l-vvti-p-151347481.html
Price: $800 USD for the tune and $200 USD for the hand control device + int’l postage

TTFS (Tuning Tech FS) – looks like they mostly specialise in Euro cars but also offer some Toyota/Lexus and Nissan tuning.
http://tuningtechfs.com/lexus-is-f-performance-ecu-tune/
Price: $775 USD + int’l postage


Australian Based Tunes
 

Autowerks Sydney
Price: Approx $1,500 from feedback I have heard

BPS (Bayside Performance Services) Brisbane
Price: Approx $1,500 from feedback I have heard

Euro Car Upgrades
Well regarded company from my days with VW, although I have never used them. They are resellers for other tuning companies so its quite possible the tune they offer is actually developed by one of the other tuners in this list.
https://eurocarupgrades.com.au/lexus-is-f-is-f-remap-re-flash-ecu-for-exhaust-upgrade-chip-tuning-no-faults-error-free.html
Price $1,195

CPI – South African based company specialising in tuning for European cars (mainly VW/Audi) but also offer a tune for the ISF. They claim a 39kw peak increase and more mid-range and throttle response. They are quite well regarded (and I believe they hold several records for fastest ¼ mile time etc) in the VW/Audi world. I have emailed them to ask some questions. See attached marketing advertisement i have found via Google search.
https://www.boostedautosports.com.au/products/lexus-high-performance-ecu-tuning
Price: $1,679
 

CPI Lexus Tune.png

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You will get stuff all change out of $2000 from autowerks he charges $150 hidden cost for dyno time go figure, just go RR Racing with there cold air intake and larger maf and intake pipe or just RR tune don't over think it. if you have to travel factor in all costs, fuel, accommodation, food etc. RR delivered to your door good luck.

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I contacted CPI back in Aug 16 when i was in the same position as you.  Times have changed but back then Joe (Manager with CPI) sent me an email quote of $1979 (software calibrations, dyno time etc).  A bit pricier than others at the time and i didnt know of anyone who had used them).

He sent me a dyno chart of a 2012 ISF stock except K&N typhoon intake kit and on his dyno it produced 283 kw (quite high compared to the only dyno ive been on at Autowerks).  Stock ISF on the CPI dyno was 247kw (quite high).

There was another Sydney tuner BTA.  I recall on their dyno an ISF reading was very high for stock 260kw and with an with an exhuast and tune it came in at 295kw (happy dyno).  No affiliation with them, dont know anyone who has used them etc

I ended up going Autowerks based on a few other forum members going there.  From memory (was over 2yrs ago) i paid $1600 for the tune and recently $550 for a retune as i got a new intake and headers fitted

Fortunately for me i had no dramas, tune was good, car feels good.  He did leave the A/C on my final tune which ive since learned can influence the result by approx 10hp (Sikky video simulating this exact scenerio).  I have always wandered myself about the RR tune as they are very knowledgeable with ISFs, no one can dispute that.

Before committing to the retune with Autowerks, i was looking around but given a new tune would be well over 1k, i couldnt find anyone who could guarantee bigger gains that would i could potentially get from Autowerks so as i already had a tune with them, the retune with them for $550 made sense for me but he does specialise more in HSV's, Euro cars etc.  Retune took about 2.5hrs on his dyno. As said, overall the car feels good but my gut tells me the car can produce more for the mods i have.  No proof, just gut instinct but my result is consistent with other ISF's he has tuned, comparative mods etc.

The gains from BTA and CPI of approx 35-40kw @ wheels from an exhuast and intake did not seem realistic to me (could be wrong though).

Please keep us posted, im keen to know who you go local vs RR and what kind of before/afters you get.

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Thanks for the feedback guys - much appreciated. I have tried contacting CPI via various methods and got a response last night at 11.30pm via Facebook asking where i was located to which i replied NSW Australia. They then told me to contact the Australian CPI page to which i replied that i already had and have not had a response. I also told them the Aust CPI Facebook page looks fake/ not legit. I think i will write them off as an option.

Looks like its RR Racing for me then. 👌

I'll be going back to the same dyno i have used pre-tune (pre-tune results were 249kw atw with xforce exhaust, gutted primary cats, AFE drop in filter and HPS silicone intake pipe) to see the gains from the RR Tune.

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Strange, back in the day when i was looking CPI was very responsive, advising what mods to do prior to the tune, about their facilities etc.

Even when i said ill think about it, they emailed me a week later as a follow up to see if i was still interested etc

Have you emailed them vs FB 

sales@cpituning.com.au  or info@cpituning.com.au

At the time i think their tuning workshop was based in Lansvale 

Regardless, RR is well known so you overall results should be as expected but it would be interesting to see someone use a local tuner.  Yet to hear of any ISF owner to chime in if they are on this forum to share any horror/success stories from the CPI, BTA and other local ISF tuners

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On 5/16/2018 at 11:21 AM, BLK ISF said:

Strange, back in the day when i was looking CPI was very responsive, advising what mods to do prior to the tune, about their facilities etc.

Even when i said ill think about it, they emailed me a week later as a follow up to see if i was still interested etc

Have you emailed them vs FB 

sales@cpituning.com.au  or info@cpituning.com.au

At the time i think their tuning workshop was based in Lansvale 

Regardless, RR is well known so you overall results should be as expected but it would be interesting to see someone use a local tuner.  Yet to hear of any ISF owner to chime in if they are on this forum to share any horror/success stories from the CPI, BTA and other local ISF tuners

Lansvale workshop puts them in the same boat as Autowerks etc for me as its a 2.5hr trip each way. I was hoping CPI could offer a DIY style OBD II hand held device to tune the car so i could do it at home. I have used one of these DIY tuning devices on my previous car (2012 Golf R) and not only had excellent results but the convenience of being able to do it at my leisure at home was well and truly worth it. And on top of those factors, the OBD device doubles as an error code reader so thats a bonus too.

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I know when i was looking around at tuning options, i dont recall finding anyone local that provided a hand held tuning option (self service).  All required our car on their actual dyno to be tuned etc.

I do recall reading about a few options in the states besides RR that do offer a hand held option of tuning but overwhelmingly most search results provided RR links.

Good luck whatever option you choose

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Ok thanks 2bling and BLK ISF for your info and feedback (shame this forum is so dead...would have been nice for more feedback). Much appreciated.

For what it's worth, i got a reply from Boosted Autosports who are a CPI dealer in Sydney - he said they cant do CPI tunes at the moment due to CPI restructuring their HQ or some other rubbish. So i've scrapped that idea.

I made the decision to order the RR Racing tune and hand held controller (ordered last night 11pm and its already shipped...pretty quick turnaround). Cost was $1,180 AUD incl international postage once the USD is converted to AUD. So the price was good, service (so far) was very quick, and RR Racing have a very good reputation with Lexus tuning so im hoping this will end up as a good overall experience. The dyno will show the results (i will compare pre-tune and post-tune results on the same sheet). RR Racing use the Alientech Powergate 3 controller which i have used previously  in another car so i am familiar with the device and the general process of applying the tune.

 

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Recently heard bps are tuning isf’s from $1000

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On 5/19/2018 at 9:45 AM, 18ADF said:

Recently heard bps are tuning isf’s from $1000

That sounds awfully cheap -  are you sure that price is accurate? Perhaps some extra costs are added such as dyno time on top of that price? BPS were tuning VW's when i had my Golf R a few years back and were charging more that that to do the Golf's.

My RR Racing hand controller arrived yesterday (less than a week from order placement to it arriving). Will download my stock file tonight and send it off to them.

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Yeah was speaking to a guy recently who booked his in. No extra costs I’d say, he’s done a couple now and has enough data. Would be simple enough to bring up a previous file, load it in a tweak to suit the individual vehicle. He has no need to charge anyone more than nessesary, he’s about to shift to a new location where overheads are far less so maybe that explains it. 

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Looking forward to your RR tune could you tell us the A/F ratios over the rev range and if possible the timing tables would be good to your tuner can print this out very easily . and of coarse the dyno results cheers and good luck.📈 😎 

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17 hours ago, 2bling said:

Looking forward to your RR tune could you tell us the A/F ratios over the rev range and if possible the timing tables would be good to your tuner can print this out very easily . and of coarse the dyno results cheers and good luck.📈 😎 

I will most definitely be looking at the AFR's once the tune goes on and ive driven it around for a week or two. These cars are nowhere near as easy to extract data on as my previous car (VW) which was so easy to have every parameter you could ever think of logging directly onto my laptop and then i could put the data into a excel sheet to create graphs etc. Not sure how i will be able to access timing tables (i doubt the dyno place will be able to do this?)

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Most likely won’t be able to unless he has some pretty trick data logging software. You might require what James or Sonny use for tuning to access that kind of data. 

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^ yes that's what i was thinking. Not sure if any of those bluetooth OBD devices can deliver part of the information i would like? Any feedback from anyone on those devices in the Lexus?

On a slightly different note, i loaded the RR tune file onto the car last night. Couldn't drive the car last night as i was looking after my toddler while wife was at work but drove it to work this morning and it certainly feels more urgent and throttle response is definitely faster. It was only a 10-15min drive and i spent most of that time letting the engine get up to temp and then couldn't really open it up properly because of traffic/school zones etc. I think ill take it out tonight after work and give it a good run. I will report back in a few days after i've driven it a bit and let the tune fine-tune itself.

Once i am satisfied that the tune is all ok i will book the car back into the dyno for a re-test to see the differences - but so far so good.

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I have a wifi obd2 dongle from jaycar that brings up a lot of data, not 100% sure how far it’ll go into logging and what not as I only set it up for the vital instros at the moment. Also clears codes which is a bonus 

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On 9/5/2018 at 11:23 AM, isf500 said:

@_ISF how did you go with the post tune dyno? 

i'm considering using the RR tune

So 249kw before tune (Mods were: xforce exhaust, gutted primary cats, AFE drop in filter and HPS silicone intake pipe)

So 265kw after tune (no changes to the car other than the RR tune....also same dyno and dyno operator). I will link up my dyno sheet, but its around 8-10kw all through the rev range, and then above 6,000rpm where the stock tune died right off, the RR Tune keeps making power until redline - so the majority of the gains are 6,000rpm and above.

I am going to go back to the same dyno once again in the next month or so to check power gains after having my stock header flanges opened up from a tiny 2" to a more reasonable 2.5". The car feels like it has some extra get up so id like to see how much if any it has gained from doing this. 

When i go back to the dyno i will get him to re-print the dyno run so the scale is smaller and therefore easier to read and see gains. I will also get him to change the torque to "Derived Torque" which is much more realistic. The derived torque reading for the stock tune was 378nm - i expect this will equate to around 390-395nm with the RR Tune.

Dyno run v2.jpeg

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Nice health gains, but you really need a header to make the tune more worthwhile. Upwards to 275kw+ with PPE header, and noticeable power delivery increase in real driving.

See my post here for Dyno result: 

 

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50 minutes ago, kyo said:

Nice health gains, but you really need a header to make the tune more worthwhile. Upwards to 275kw+ with PPE header, and noticeable power delivery increase in real driving.

See my post here for Dyno result: 

 

Yes i have read that thread of yours previously. My issue with the headers is that they are ludicrously expensive to buy, then its 6-8hrs labour to install (so im estimating around $4.5k in total for headers, shipping, import fees and fitting) which is an insane amount of money for 10-15kw ATW. I'd much rather put that towards a forced induction setup or just keep the money in my bank.

And yes i know the stock headers leave a lot to be desired in terms of design and flow capability, but i think having the lower flanges opened up is a decent compromise between some increased performance and flow without breaking the bank. FYI my header flange mod cost me $500 and this was on the expensive side (around $150-200 higher than others have paid).

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On 9/6/2018 at 4:16 PM, _ISF said:

Yes i have read that thread of yours previously. My issue with the headers is that they are ludicrously expensive to buy, then its 6-8hrs labour to install (so im estimating around $4.5k in total for headers, shipping, import fees and fitting) which is an insane amount of money for 10-15kw ATW. I'd much rather put that towards a forced induction setup or just keep the money in my bank.

And yes i know the stock headers leave a lot to be desired in terms of design and flow capability, but i think having the lower flanges opened up is a decent compromise between some increased performance and flow without breaking the bank. FYI my header flange mod cost me $500 and this was on the expensive side (around $150-200 higher than others have paid).

Around the 3 grand mark shipped, pending what options you tick when ordering, plus fitting which is only 500-1000 max. As for power I ended up gaining 20kw and a heap more torque, not to mention the sound it un leashed.

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On 9/6/2018 at 4:16 PM, _ISF said:

Yes i have read that thread of yours previously. My issue with the headers is that they are ludicrously expensive to buy, then its 6-8hrs labour to install (so im estimating around $4.5k in total for headers, shipping, import fees and fitting) which is an insane amount of money for 10-15kw ATW. I'd much rather put that towards a forced induction setup or just keep the money in my bank.

And yes i know the stock headers leave a lot to be desired in terms of design and flow capability, but i think having the lower flanges opened up is a decent compromise between some increased performance and flow without breaking the bank. FYI my header flange mod cost me $500 and this was on the expensive side (around $150-200 higher than others have paid).

Im Syd based and was part of the group buy and got them fitted Dec 17.  I paid 2.7k and then $880 to install (some places could install cheaper but i felt comfortable choosing the place i did as they had done many ISF header installs before).  So for me it was approx 3.5k.  

Its definitely a hard pill to swallow as ive come from other jap cars where headers, exhausts etc are much cheaper but as we all know its not a mainstream car like a Mustang etc and not even made anymore so theres not alot of manufacturers out there lining up to invest in R&D to make up headers and other performance parts.  All i know is that driving with it each day, downshifting etc the noise alone helps me justify spending the $$$ lol.  I'd go as far as saying that going from stock (quiet) to a catback didnt have the same impact as going from a catback to catback with headers.  Sounds unreal, never gets boring, turns heads and just sounds like a beast.

As for power, its one of those mods that really gives most gains pending what other mods you have.  Alone then probably 10-15kw could be accurate but with intake, exhaust, tune and other supporting mods like that, 18ADF is spot on, 20kw or more as the increased flow allows the tuner to get more out of it (so again depends who tunes it) and yes kw increases but torque more so (especially top end).

I guess its like a lot of other things, some mods are a compromise but its such a unique fun car to drive, for mods like that, i know if i compromised, id always be wandering what if etc so i just bit the bullet and did it.  Feeling a lot better today 9 months later driving with headers vs the day i handed over the $$$ haha.

Ps The only warning though is we always get used to the power and want more but i cant imagine it sounding any better (LFA excluded lol).  Also secretly hoping you put the $$ towards forced induction, id love to see that :-)  We need more ISF's that stand out in Oz, so many in the states have headers and the RR kit, very common to see.

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