Atlas 40 review
Got the Atlas 40 loaded with php's loaner programmer last night. Php is very easy to work with and I had the tuner in hand about 10 days after I placed order and that was over the three day weekend for shipping too - so that's pretty good. They include clear instructions and it took under 10 minutes. I drove a 10 mile loop of half highway half backroads to test before, with heavy/safe tune, and with an aggressive stud tow tune. I have all mech gauges so was able to view Ficm volts during driving on the monitor. It just bounced between 48.5 and 49.0 the entire time so that seems good.
I run the aggressive tow tune all the time, by request, Jody at DP tune took his aggressive 80HP studded and modified areas to add to give me a bit more performance and match 155s. I did this because I don't like the shifting or light switch effect of all the sheer performance tunes I've run. I like my truck to drive like stock- just more power - anyways. I will pull my trailer with this tune on shorter trips.
Before atlas 40 I would cruise this 7 mile section of highway with cruise on at 55. Steady EGT was 700 on slight downhill it would roll back to 600 and uphill 800 boost 5-7. Smoke only on initial stabs of throttle. Max EGTs full throttle run 1350. After Ficm same stretch boost same, stand EGT was 775 with climbs to 900 on grades. EGT was a constant 75 higher (as expected from php and fcimrepair websites). Smoke was a bit more on throttle stab, a very light haze on full throttle runs, and more black then I like when in OD kinda luggin them flooring it - smokes till downshifts than clears. Max full throttle run (same spot every time 0-85) EGT up to 1450. With these higher EGTs I wanted to try my "tow safe" tune, if EGTs were not lower I was thinking I would keep the programmer to be able to swap Ficm tunes, or just load php's economy tune.
So I loaded my heavy tow tune witch started with a 40hp heavy tow, modded for 155s. This is a 40hp tow safe tune for stock sticks than modified for injectors, turbo, mods. I was very pleased to see a huge drop in EGTs and smoke. Same section of fwy was now 600-625 to hold 55 with increases never over 700 on inclines. Boost was a tad lower at 4-6. Less but some smoke on throttle stab, cleared up on full throttle and only slight haze when in OD and I would floor it, until downshift cleared. Max EGT on full 0-85 run was 1225. This combo made me very happy and I believe this will be the sweet spot for towing my 17-23k trailer (depending on cargo). I think I am probably about 100Hp with this combo with 40HP tow tune (40HP) plus modded for injectors (30-40HP) then atlas 40 (20-30 HP) so that equal pretty realistic max sustained power level with my studs & big trailer IMO - only time will tell lol!.
I do have a performance tune that I have only ran a hand full of times. I did not load it for testing. With the 155s the EGTs were already high, I feel it would be excessive (IMO for my truck)with the Ficm tune- I will never again load the performance tune, which is not sayin much as I've only ran it maybe 300 miles in total ever.
The truck had the "lighter" feel on accelerations after the atlas 40 but nothing close to the differences observed when switching between ECM loads.
Bottom line - the atlas works as advertised. It increased EGTs about 75-100 across board, slight increase in smoke, and a bit better off the line performance. Php website has Dyno graphs and explains how this added power does not increase cylinder head pressure but does EGT. That is perfect for my needs. I will run my hotter tune for normal driving and short tows and load my heavy tow tune for the interstate trips and heavy loads.
I sent the programmer back as I see no need to keep. ($150 for the tune - $250 more if you want to keep tuner-$400)
Outside of the better off the line increase, which I can tell but it's not drastic - I observed much bigger power differences switching between my two tunes than I did when loading the atlas for what that's worth. It's no huge game changer but its increase in fuel is observable based on smoke, EGTs, and to a lesser degree - seat of pants. It was more hesitant to downshift unless being forced, which I really like. These are all exactly in-line with what php and fcimrepair claim- so overall I'm very happy.
I did not try the atlas 80 or Hercules tunes, although the tuner would allow me to. All in all it's a great $150 add for my towing setup but its no lightswitch like an ECM tune.
Last edited by jetjock15; 05-30-2013 at 04:40 AM.