Spartan vs. H&S vs. KEM write up! ~ The ultimate showdown!!! - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
6.4L Performance Parts Discussion What has or has not worked for you?

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post #1 of 119 Old 07-12-2012, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Spartan vs. H&S vs. KEM write up! ~ The ultimate showdown!!!

Since I had some spare change laying around and I was curious, I bought a Spartan to try. I've been running it for about a month now, so I thought I would share my findings with you guys. Hopefully this will be able to answer some questions for guys trying to decide which to go with.

I'll start with H&S: I love the shift-on-the fly capability of H&S tuning. Their tunes shift closest to stock of the 3. The plethora of tranny tunes is a big plus too. However, the power cannot compete with Spartan or KEM tuning. For the lack of power compared to the other 2, I think the EGTs get too high and I would like to see a little less smoke.

Next, Spartan: If you want just raw, down and dirty power then this is the one I would recommend. It just feels like you could pull anything. I really like the late lock/ early lock option. Plus the Dashdaq is schweeet!!! The bad is that the tranny tuning is by far the worst of the 3. It slams into gear and has no street manners around town. There is no easing into the throttle. It makes it very lurchy in parking lots. The 210 and lower is better than the 250+ but it still is a long way behind H&S and KEM. The spartan runs too hot for my liking and is the smokiest of the 3 by a good margin. But like I said earlier, I think you could pull anything with the Spartan.

Last, KEM: The power is right there with Spartan. It's fast, and it pulls. The transmission tuning is WAY better. Shift quality is great, firm but not hard. The EGTs are by far the lowest of the 3 and it is the least smoky. It also seems to be the easiest on the fuel gauge. The one thing I would like to see out of the KEM tunes is more tuning options, like a late lock/ early lock option like the Spartan.

All 3 tuners make crazy power and put a smile on your face. It all depends on what you want to use it for. I think the KEM tuning is the way to go. It is the best combination of power, shift quality, and fuel mileage. I will be putting my Minimaxx w/ KEM tunes back in my truck this weekend and selling the Spartan. I feel like there is a better chance of tearing the truck up with the Spartan compared to the other 2 and that's a chance I'm not willing to take.

**This thread is not meant to bash any companies, as I think all 3 have great tunes. This is just my opinoin.

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post #2 of 119 Old 07-12-2012, 07:45 PM
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Great reviews. Just what I'll need here shortly. Well hopefully.

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post #3 of 119 Old 07-12-2012, 07:47 PM
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Good read. I'd like to see others opinions too. I've only had the h&s, so I have no comparisons to make. I hope TSD in San Antonio gets into the 6.4 tuning, they're 6.0 tunes (super panty dropper) is *^%#+% badass! Hopefully they'll start tuning the 6.4's


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post #4 of 119 Old 07-12-2012, 07:53 PM
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can't wait for H&S MCC to drop
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post #5 of 119 Old 07-13-2012, 01:02 AM
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Only other tunes I really want to hear about is Matt's tunes from gearhead automotive. First chance I get to pick up an sct I will be dropping it off at gearheads. I hear his tunes are seccond to none.

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post #6 of 119 Old 07-13-2012, 06:31 AM
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great write up. Hopefully it can stay on track and not turn into a bashing contest. that being said I will put in my 2 cents.

I run spartan and KEM on my dashdaq. First off the spartan tunes I have are older tunes because if I updated to the new tunes I would loose the ability to run my KEM tunes. I have the strategy flash up to 250 tunes. The spartan tunes made great power, and ran well, but the shifting just wasnt there. They were very jerky and shifted very hard. Also there were some BP spikes. To my understanding alot of this has been fixed with the new updates but I cant comment on those. I love my KEM tunes. The raw power is awesome, the shifting is great. The street manors of the big tunes is still a little tough to deal with at first, but I overlook this considering the HP numbers the truck is making on those tunes. I have run both my spartan and KEM tunes with a spartan TCM. I think the best of both worlds is running the KEM on the dashdaq. Like the original poster said, it is awesome compared to the xxx max monitor. This is not an option though unless you have had your dashdaq since before the updates.

My truck has never had H&S tunes on it, but many of my friends trucks run the H&S tunes. When I ride in those trucks, the power feels good, and I like the shift on the fly, as well as the large list of tranny tunes. They have great street manors to. If you switch to KEM tunes on an H&S you loose shift on the fly though. That being said, they cant keep up with my truck. They will stay close in a head to head race, but they will still fall behind.

Again thanks to the OP for the write up using the same truck. Its good to see these comparisons on the same truck.

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post #7 of 119 Old 07-13-2012, 08:31 AM
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Interesting to know. I wouldnt have thought the h&s tunes were slower than the spartan tunes.

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post #8 of 119 Old 07-13-2012, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB's 250 View Post
Only other tunes I really want to hear about is Matt's tunes from gearhead automotive. First chance I get to pick up an sct I will be dropping it off at gearheads. I hear his tunes are seccond to none.

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I too would like to know more about his tunes. I've heard great things about his 6.0 tunes and I can only imagine his 6.4 tunes are BAD too! Let me know how you like them if you get them!

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post #9 of 119 Old 07-13-2012, 09:18 AM
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thanks for the write up! good review.

i'm an H&S fan. i like their setup overall for the longevity of my truck, and i don't use it to tractor pull or hot rod. But my buddy has Spartan and wouldn't trade it for his house.

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---Flo Pro Exhaust (5" to 6" tip)
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---------CCV Mod
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post #10 of 119 Old 07-13-2012, 09:52 AM
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Which Spartan tunes did you try? The only tune that I can think of that gets hot fairly quick is the 300 tune. To me it seems that the 250 and 310 tunes (and 350) are the smokiest. The 275 runs really clean in my opinion for a big tune and the 300 tune is a clean tune for a big tune as well. The shifting is harder at first but with our relearn procedure and some time behind the wheel, the shifts smooth out.

Jeff Dodd

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Mods - Spartan tuned via laptop, 4" AFE stainless exhaust system, 2.5" PMF BMC leveling spacers, 3" PMF lift blocks, Fox Racing 2.0 shocks, Recon smoked mirror & cab lights
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