Cobb AccessPort custom tuning process with Equilibrium Tuning
As I did with my experience with Freektune, I also documented my protune with Equilibrium Tuning. Unlike before I am not getting an etune, this time it will be a dyno tune. Instead of trading back and forth emails for a few months doing 3rd gear pulls until the tune is completed, I spend one day on a dyno and get it all done. Its more expensive to do it this way, and some will say better results. Safer too since its just on a dyno. I am also excited to have real numbers that my car is putting down instead if guessing based on others with similar setups others have put on a dyno.
Ed who also happens to be involved with some local groups I am apart of, has lots of experience with Cobb AP tuning. He is pretty popular with the Subie, GT-R crowd. When VW released the AP for VW he picked up a Golf R and has been working with it more recently. He has been tracking the R for a while now and has a well refined tune going. A few others in my group were already been tuned by him with fantastic results, some on his new Vortex turbo he released for the MK7 platform which is getting rave reviews.
I conversed with EQT over email at first to settle on a date and get details about the process. They were booked a month and half ahead already, so I had plenty of time to get everything ready. I asked them about spark plugs and what they recommended, mentioned I had another set of RS7 plugs already on hand but willing to purchase what ever they preferred. They said to go for the RS7’s since I already had them.
My list of performance mods is pretty slim, so this is a mostly stock GTI:
- K&N filter in the stock airbox
- Revo Turbo inlet pipe
- Burger Motorsports Turbo Muffler Delete
- RS7 Spark Plugs
- RS3 Coilpacks
- Turbosmart Kompact EM Plumb Back DV
My car is very basic compared to what they normally work with so I wasn’t expecting any big numbers. It was actually the most stock GTI they had ever tuned. Most of the parts I have on it wont add much if anything to performance. After all I still have the stock IHI IS20 turbo, stock downpipe and stock intercooler. The only one that kinda matters is the RS7 plugs since they are one heat range cooler.
While waiting I had some great conversations with their staff, awesome people. Also overheard that the dyno was booked out 2 months ahead. Ed uses a Dynocom dyno and Cobb for his tuning. They try and do two cars a day on the dyno but with VW’s, they schedule only one a day due to them taking longer. Couches are also very comfy, thankfully since pretty much nothing is in walking distance for food and such. Whole thing took about 4 hours.
Here are the results Ed gave me from the tune:
I am very impressed with what Ed was able to get out of a stock GTI on crappy California 91 octane gas. Having both the Stock and early Freektune numbers to compare against really shows the amazing work he did. The 310whp and especially the 390wtq are more than what I was expecting and a pleasant surprise. The stock GTI with Performance Pack is rated at 220HP and 258TQ by VW. Most stock dynos show the average GTI has 5% more performance than what its rated at. The dyno used in these numbers is known for reading a bit high so I made sure to get a stock run in for comparison gains. Even so the stock run was within range of what I would expect out of a GTI so not bad at all.
Along with the ECU tune I also got a TCU (DSG transmission) tune. Ed modified the one he has been perfecting for his R for my GTI. He told me it was already had 20 revisions on it at the time. The GTI and the R use different gearing and a straight copy wouldn’t work well so a little massaging was in order.
Here is what Ed had to say about it when he posted the results on their Facebook page:
Here’s a 2016 GTI that came in for a tune this week. This is the first time I’ve been able to work on a nearly stock GTI. This one does have a high flow panel filter, inlet pipe, and RS7 spark plugs, so its not completely stock, but still pretty close.
This car came in running an e-tune from another tuner. The customer requested that we do a baseline on the e-tune and another baseline with a completely stock tune. I did 3 pulls on each and chose the highest pulls for the comparison. The blue line is the e-tune, the green line is the stock tune, and the pink line is the EQT Custom Tune.
It was nice and cold in the shop, so the car was very happy in general and especially so on the stock tune. They usually pull quite a bit of timing in stock form, but during these pulls there was absolutely no knock recorded on the stock mapping. I think the combination of the cold weather and colder plugs let the stock tune run at full tilt which resulted in about 5whp over what I’d expect out of a completely stock car. The stock tune was hitting a peak of 19-20psi. Note that we couldn’t rev it all the way out because of the speed governor. But peak power had already been reached, so that’s ok.
As you can see, the e-tune made some decent gains over stock. This tune was running about 21-22psi peak.
After getting the baselines out of the way, we spent a couple hours dialing in a proper stage 1 tune. We ended up at a peak of 24psi, tapering to about 16psi by 7000RPM. The results are huge torque through the powerband and a massive increase in power over both stock and the e-tune. I’m really impressed with how well the car did on nearly stock hardware.. and even more so how it felt on the road!
I still need to have more time behind the wheel before I get too prolific with a review. So far the car pulls smooth as silk and consistently for way longer than the Freektune did, even smoother than stock. I hit traffic going home from completing the tuning and it handled it like a champ, no real issue with stop and go. Its very daily driver friendly which is what I wanted.
Updated 11/19/18: Now that I have had some more time with it, I gotta say this tune combo is just fantastic. I was able to get in some nice pulls this weekend and im super impressed with the consistent power throughout the band, I think this is the reason for the smoothness I was mentioning earlier. I find myself at speeds I wasn’t expecting to be at yet due to this. Pretty amazing. I also played around with manual shifting vs Sport and what Ed set me up with is pretty close to the shift points I would be using in most situations. I did message Ed back requesting two things, first “Throttle more sensitive bellow 3200 at low pedal angle, only at low speeds in Sport only” and to enable Cobb’s traction control feature. I was shocked to have an updated file emailed to me with the changes later on that day. Props to Ed for that. He also suggesting fully disabling the Traction Control when using the Cobb TC feature. I did this with my VCDS, flashed the car with the latest file and went out for another run.
From a dig everything is improved due to the changes made, which is what I was after. The Cobb TC does a significantly better job at handling the torque than the stock ever did and being more sensitive throttle at the lower end is more a personal preference.
I cant recommend EQT and more specifically Ed enough, they are extremely profession and want to help out, not just sell you stuff.
Update 11/14/19: Its been a year since I was dyno tuned by EQT and its been fantastic. 23k miles later and no issues related to the tune. It was done right the first, I have not needed to go back due to EPC errors, knock or anything else because its been solid. I did get the updated v2 of the DSG software which was an excellent upgrade and worth while. Cleaned up some of the lower speed shifting when daily driving.