Here’s how this works. Your 2015 Mustang, as you probably know, is fuel injected, which means there’s an electronic system, a computer function of your ECU, that detects how much fuel you need and injects it into your engine. Ford put these programs, called fuel maps together in order to give you the most power they could while remaining efficient, keeping your throttle comfortable, and balancing many other factors that make a car meet environmental regulations and help it remain accessible to the average American carbuyer.
But you only really care about the first of those factors: Power. Performance. So you want to adjust that computer to give you the most performance you can get within the reliable parameters of your engine. That’s what a power programmer will do for you. They’re safe for your engine, extremely easy to install, and provide measurable results. You have two brands to choose from when plugging into your 2015 Mustang: DiabloSport and SCT. Each has two different tuners, so we’ll break each down to help you make the right decision, and we’ll start with the big guns.
Trinity and Livewire
DiabloSport‘s flagship, the Trinity, provides power in a convenient package and an easy-to-use interface. It includes tunes for 93 or 91 octane, though both offer the same performance upgrades. But it also has tunes for both the stock intake and an aftermarket cold air intake (CAI, like the ones we’ll cover next week). Let’s have a look at the power increases first.
Truly an impressive feat for something you can install in under a minute. But the Trinity can do more.
OBDII diagnostic code reader: If your “Check Engine” light comes on (or even if it doesn’t), you can use your Trinity to talk to your Mustang’s computer to find out how it’s doing. Sortof like C-3P0 in The Empire Strikes Back, talking to theMillennium Falcon. The Trinity will give you a diagnostic code, you can look it up online, and then you can tighten your gas cap, because that’s probably what’s wrong.
Digital gauges: There are a billion of these things. Well, that’s probably an exaggeration, but there are many. We have the basics, like a tachometer, an oil temperature gauge, and a coolant temperature monitor. But there are always more you can download. And Diablosport thought to include two analog inputs on the Trinity, so you can plug in probes for other gauges that aren’t accessible through the OBDII system, such as wide band O2 gauges, exact EGT sensors, and vacuum sensors.
Each gauge is extremely customizable, too. You can choose from different sizes, styles, and configurations. Many have extra parameters you can play with, like setting a shift light on the tachometer. This will transform the colored LEDs on the Trinity into a shift light.
Data logging: The Trinity has an entire mode just for logging what’s going on in your car. All those gauges? It can record what happens on them, up to 45 at a time, for five hours. That includes the 0-60 and quarter mile timers, so this feature is perfect for performance testing.
Parameter adjustments: You can mess with the Mustang’s stock vehicle parameters, too. If you’re driving an automatic, this can adjust your shift points. You can remove the Mustang’s speed and rev limiters. You can even tell the computer your new wheel and tire sizes so your speedometer will stay correct.
Custom tuning: If you want to get really advanced and take your Mustang to a tuning shop, the Trinity will store up to five custom tunes while storing your stock tune so you can stay on the dealership’s good side.
You can pick up a Trinity from SSA for $599
It creates more horsepower than the Trinity, but not as much torque. The Livewire does away with on-body buttons for a completely touch screen design. Like the Trinity, it offers a diagnostic code reader, adjustable digital gauges, data logging, and other parameter adjustments. It also has two analog ports for non-OBDII gauges, and it has a similar mount. You can also store custom tunes on the Livewire, though it will remember ten of them, twice the storage of the Trinity.
The Livewire, however, offers wireless updating, which can be incredibly convenient if your router’s signal reaches into your garage. Like most tuner manufacturers, SCT releases periodical data packs, including new tunes, gauges, and other system updates. What better place to download yours than from your garage?
The Livewire’s other standout feature is that you can make tuning adjustments on the fly, without needing to power down the vehicle. This is especially helpful if you have some of those custom tunes loaded and you need more power or more economy, or if you suddenly find yourself on the Autobahn and need to remove your speed limiter.
You can grab a Livewire TS from SSA for exactly the same price as the Trinity: $599.
inTune and X4
There are tuners, and then there are tuners light. Now, we could make you another neat little chart to show you how much power they make, but the awesome thing is, it’s exactly the same increase. Both DiabloSport and SCT are pretty cool about this. They know they can produce the same tune with their smaller, entry-level programmers, so this is what they do. Same horsepower, same torque, no questions asked. There are, however, fewer features on the DiabloSport inTune and SCT X4, which is perfect if you’re trying to save some green and you were never going to use all that stuff anyway. So here’s what you get.
DiabloSport’s inTune is a little smaller than an iPod touch and works much in the same way. The touch screen is full color and easy to use.
Data logging: Though the inTune doesn’t offer virtual gauges like its big brother, it will log up to half an hour of data on virtually all the same sensors. It even includes the same analog sensor inputs as the Trinity, and some PC software. This is pretty cool, because you can hook up to your laptop and run it in your car like old school Brian O’Connor. This will give you more parameters to record, more recording time, and a bigger display. Plus, it will let you know when your manifold is in danger.*
OBDII code reader: Like the bigger tuners, the inTune will still give your your error codes and let you clear them.
Custom tunes: The inTune holds 5 custom tunes, and you can download new ones via email and install them on the module.
You can pick up the compact inTune for $389 from SSA.
The SCT X4 is ten bucks more at $399. For this you get the same 15 more hp and 8 fewer lb-ft of torque as the Livewire TS, but in a smaller package. There is no touch screen navigation, the X4 instead including a button array beside the screen.
The X4 has the dual analog inputs, and seems to offer more on-screen monitoring than the competition. It also streams to a PC and includes software, so you can still keep that manifold safe.*
Like the Livewire, the X4 includes wireless connectivity. It again offers storage for 10, rather than 5, custom tunes, and reads and clears OBDII codes just as well as anyone else.
Those are the numbers, those are the facts. We’ll leave the final decision up to your preference of horsepower or torque, digital gauges or lightweight pricing. Installation note: Be sure to hook your tuner up to your computer and download the latest tunes before attempting vehicle installation.
Be sure to check back next week when we cover your options for cold air intakes for your 2015 Mustang.
*This is a joke, guy.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.