You’ve waited for the day to come with great anticipation. You have your new Camaro SS all set to go on the dyno to see what your beautiful baby will do. You get there, you get her strapped down and watch her roar on the dyno. You get your dyno printout and you are pleased with the peak numbers, but something just doesn’t look right. You have dips in the powerband graph that just don’t look right. Was it an error in the readings? Is there something wrong with my car? The answer is most likely no for both questions.
Today’s modern cars are a marvel of engineering, with engine management systems that monitor all kinds of sensors in real time and make changes to the engine to optimize its performance and economy. Along with this marvelous technology there are things that are not so great for the performance enthusiast. Electronic nannies that rob you of the full potential of the engine, suspension, or both.
For the purpose of this article, it’s the engine nannies we will discuss. One of these, the knock sensor, is very important and should never be eliminated under any circumstance, the other, torque management control is one the performance enthusiast can do without and can sometimes show up when you least expect it to ruin your day, or dyno pass in this case.
Torque management involves a variety of engine control strategies meant to limit power output mostly for the purposes of drivetrain longevity. These strategies can also effect the driveability or more accurately, the driving feel of the car. Numbing it down and making the car far less enjoyable to drive in the interests of long term drivetrain durability.
Torque management strategies are in place in everything from tip in to wide open throttle operations affecting power output and overall response. Torque management is always active and cannot be disabled unless you go directly into the engine calibration and do so.
While torque management is always active, it doesn’t always show itself on the dyno. Every car is different and different dyno’s that read and load the car differently all affect whether you will see your car actually see torque management show up while taking a reading on the dyno.
Regardless of whether you see it or not, it is always there. The attached dyno sheets will illustrate this phenomenon. This will help explain torque management for everyone reading this, and for those of us who have experienced for themselves the story this article started with hopefully put your fears at ease that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your car. We will also show you what you can do about it and reach the full potential of your vehicle.
Dyno sheet 1 was done on a 2010 Camaro. For the first pull the only modification was a 2 ½ inch cat back exhaust. The second pull is with an LSR intake with a custom sleeve designed to allow it to run on the factory engine calibration. Notice at 4,000rpm during both pulls you will see an quick, abrupt power drop then power continues to climb as intended. This is torque management rearing its ugly head and interfering with the dyno readings. Notice before and after torque management came in, horsepower and torque were both consistently higher with the LSR intake in place. Had torque management not interfered you would have seen a consistent power increase through the whole RPM range which is what the intake itself actually provides, however torque management prevented us from fully documenting that fact.
So what can be done about this? This is where custom engine calibration comes in. Using SCT tuning software we can eliminate the torque management strategies that rob us of wide open throttle power and we can improve throttle response as well. With the torque management nannies out of the way maximum safe engine power can be achieved.
Dyno sheet 2 we used engine calibration through SCT Tuning software on the same 2010 Camaro SS to eliminate torque management. We also removed the sleeve that was no longer needed to remain within the airflow limits of the factory calibration and adjusted for the extra airflow. The results speak for themselves. There is no longer an abrupt dip at 4000rpm and power just carries upward from there. Between torque management not limiting power and airflow optimization a huge increase in measured mid range torque has been achieved with as much as 44 ft/lbs of torque at certain points. This is power you will feel immediately. Horsepower has increased across the entire powerband with individual points, such as the one at 5800rpm seeing over 39 horsepower over the same RPM point on the stock calibration and stock airbox. Throttle response has been improved as well through the calibration making the car more responsive and much more fun to drive.
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