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Old 11-28-2021, 11:29 AM   #1
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5 Star or Ultra Tune

I live in the Denver area so 95% of my trips are immediately right across the Rockies. I would love to have better performance and better gas mileage; but I don't understand how this is really possible with electronics alone.

I average about 6 MPG, I know, that's terrible. I do notice that my engine is quick to downshift, but sometimes it irritates me that it takes so long to upshift to a high gear , like to maybe 2200 RPM at 65 MPH. I'd love to be able to shift it completely manually, like the OTR Trucks, but without the clutch.

I also prefered the 80 MPH speed limiter on my old Workhorse rather than my Ford 75 MPH speed limiter. Not for steady speeds, but better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it. Kinda silly since class Cs seem much less stable with no speed limiter.

So , who has one; and if so which one? Do you feel it is worth the $500 or so? Thanks for your opinion;
but please no bashing me for mentioning the speed limiter.
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:55 PM   #2
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I have the 5 star tuner, on a class A. It really helped the shift points, but it still will hold the gear a while longer than you might think it's necessary. The V10 lives for high RPM's, so that's not going to hurt it. As for manual shifting, you would probably need to put a shift kit in the tranny, and I'm not sure how possible that is with a computer controlled tranny. Plus, you don't have a manual shift gate, to be able to select individual gears. Before messing with the speed limiter, verify the max speed the tires are rated for. As for fuel mileage, your computer controls timing, fuel delivery and amount, so you 'can' change the economy with electronics only.
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Old 11-28-2021, 02:08 PM   #3
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Thanks Harry,
So, do you think you got $500 worth of improvement?

I see you have a 2006 Daybreak. My MH before this one was a 2005 Damon Daybreak 3270 , P32 Chassis with 4 speed tranny with the 8.1 Chevy engine. I down sized with this one, I also mistakenly thought a smaller MH with a smaller engine and 6 speed tranny would give me better gas mileage.
I like the Ford engine, but it gets worse mileage than the Chevy engine.

I realize the V10 doesnt mind reving, but my scan gauge says , the higher the RPM , not MPH, the more gas it needs. I was getting better mileage last month in CA; but gas was almost $5.00 a gallon

The only reason I'd like a little higher speed limiter is when passing some one on the interstate , and they decide to speed up hang me out there.

Hmm; Just checked, tires are rated at 75 MPH, same tires as was on my Workhorse.
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Old 11-28-2021, 02:56 PM   #4
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All of the HP and torque graphs are measured at wide open throttle, or at least with your foot to the floor with throttle by wire.

That means that the tuners claimed extra power also comes at WOT. If that's how you drive, then it will help.

Remember, to make more HP you need more fuel.
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Old 11-28-2021, 03:19 PM   #5
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Best is to feel by throttle though may be more difficult with throttle-by-wire. With experience (and driving souped-up V-8s), I learned to feel by (direct-connect cable) throttle and engine noise what is optimal fuel consumption (throttle should feel firm due to high vacuum). Give it too much throttle and vacuum drops and the throttle feels soft (vacuum is usually 0 at WOT or at least when you initially floor the pedal on a cable-actuated throttle), with fuel economy suffering as a result.


You can install a vacuum gauge tapping into the intake manifold. Aside from being a diagnostic tool, it'll help you learn about finding optimal throttle.


I am not sure how more-modern engines compensate for high altitude (other than by keeping fuel:air mixture ratio at 1:14.7) but changing timing, if it's even at all possible, may help (more advance for high altitude). Not sure if the ECM does that.


Most importantly, if you want better mileage just slow down. RVs are as aerodynamic as brick shacks and fuel consumption goes up geometrically to increase in speed. No tuning is going to be able to defy this simple and basic law of physics.


Just to add: I have the full Banks kit (with the old OttoMind programmer) in my Class A (thankfully put in by a previous owner though the header leak was not a cheap fix). Don't intend to every use WOT (or even close to it), but just be gentle on the throttle for an economic cruise, or perhaps a little bit faster than excruciatingly slow when climbing over the many mountain ranges.

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Old 11-28-2021, 03:35 PM   #6
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Does your current setup get you safely to your destination? Another thing to consider is the engineers and bean counters at the manufacturer have tuned the engine for optimal performance, longest life span and highest fuel economy. Sure, lots of folks have purchased tunes and claim they improve performance but I doubt that is provable vis a vis daily routine driving at normal highway speeds.
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Old 11-28-2021, 03:39 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RetiredbutWorking View Post
Another thing to consider is the engineers and bean counters at the manufacturer have tuned the engine for optimal performance, longest life span and highest fuel economy.

I believe the fuel economy bit, but only on a dyno or whatever road stimulation is used to determine mileage to satisfy the U.S. EPA (or DOT or whatever other departments/agencies). Not sure if it's even required for trucks/RVs/bare chassis.


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Old 11-28-2021, 05:42 PM   #8
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I spent five years with my Winnie class A with the 6.8l and six speed transmission going from Denver to California with a Wrangler in tow. I never got a tuner but always swore I would the next year.

I traded for a F-350 6.2l, six speed with 4.30 gears and. 35’ fifth wheel and the first thing I did was order a Five Star tuner. I haven’t hauled the fifth wheel over Eisenhower yet, but it definitely feels better around town and up to Carter Lake. The shifting with the 91 everyday tow tune is excellent and the power gain is great as well.

I really wish that I had bought one for the Winnie now.
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Old 11-28-2021, 06:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max49 View Post
Thanks Harry,
So, do you think you got $500 worth of improvement?

I see you have a 2006 Daybreak. My MH before this one was a 2005 Damon Daybreak 3270 , P32 Chassis with 4 speed tranny with the 8.1 Chevy engine. I down sized with this one, I also mistakenly thought a smaller MH with a smaller engine and 6 speed tranny would give me better gas mileage.
I like the Ford engine, but it gets worse mileage than the Chevy engine.

I realize the V10 doesnt mind reving, but my scan gauge says , the higher the RPM , not MPH, the more gas it needs. I was getting better mileage last month in CA; but gas was almost $5.00 a gallon

The only reason I'd like a little higher speed limiter is when passing some one on the interstate , and they decide to speed up hang me out there.

Hmm; Just checked, tires are rated at 75 MPH, same tires as was on my Workhorse.
I definitely feel the tuner was worth the cost, just for the change in shift points. I believe the engine pulls hills better as well. I think it can hold the gear going up mild inclines, whereas before, it would shift. Not sure about fuel economy, as it's not going to get great mileage no matter what.
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Old 11-28-2021, 07:18 PM   #10
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I have a friend that did the 5 Star Tuner on a 2015 Winnebago Adventure 37F, he reported great improvements, he has since traded for a DP and I think he still has the 5 Star Tuner.
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Old 11-29-2021, 09:34 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone, I appreciate your thoughts. I also found some older threads about this same topic.

I have the high altitude in my equation too. My scan gauge was reading 7+ MPG when I was at sea level in California. That doesnt sound like much; but for me , that was nice. At home, I live at 5800' and I almost always go higher into the mountains. Eisenhour tunnel is over 11,000'. I almost always see 5 or 6 MPG AVG on the scangauge and it is pretty accurate.

The bummer disappointment is this MH is smaller, lighter than my Workhorse MH but gets worse gas mileage.

Don't misunderstand tho, I don't miss the 8.1 GM engine. My cranshaft broke in 3 pieces approaching the Eisenhour tunnel, right at the Georgetown exit. It only had 24,000 miles on it at the time.
Cost me $14,000 for a new engine. I sold the MH when it had 48,000 miles. But it used to get between 7 & 9 MPG
I am working on a DIY cold (forced) air intake to see if that help a little bit.
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Old 11-30-2021, 10:17 AM   #12
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I have the 5 star tune on this 2013 24K GVW F53, as well as on my previous 2006 22K GVW F53. The change in shift points to much reduce the RPM, and more power is well worth it. My current rig would shift down at the site of an incline before, with the 5 star it stays in gear and growls and pulls the hill. I also have a scan gauge, and the previous poster was correct - more revs take more gas! I got about 1/2 a gal. better MPG running the 5 star.
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Old 11-30-2021, 11:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by max49 View Post
Don't misunderstand tho, I don't miss the 8.1 GM engine. My cranshaft broke in 3 pieces approaching the Eisenhour tunnel, right at the Georgetown exit. It only had 24,000 miles on it at the time.
Cost me $14,000 for a new engine. I
bit.

Would it have been built on an ~'04-ish chassis by any chance? Was looking at a Newmar built on such early this year and the seller said his engine also self-destructed. Seems there was a build issue and he (or the shop he was towed to) managed to get Workhorse to reimburse the replacement.






Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceman-31D View Post
I have the 5 star tune on this 2013 24K GVW F53, as well as on my previous 2006 22K GVW F53. The change in shift points to much reduce the RPM, and more power is well worth it. My current rig would shift down at the site of an incline before, with the 5 star it stays in gear and growls and pulls the hill.

The only concern I have for such is that is may put stress on the crank/bearings and rest of the drive train particularly upstream (and this is coming from someone who has parts of 5 Star Tuning* in his rig). I've never broken at engine in this way but a friend of mine did. Purchased-new Toyota 4x4 (with 6(?) cylinder), late 1990s vintage. She managed to break the crank, I believe, on the Sierra Nevada hills around Reno. Before that happened, I noticed she liked to drive in the highest gear possible when driving (might have been a manual) when climbing some of the hills. I questioned her about it and she told me that she did it as not revving the engine saved it from stress.



* - The Banks AutoMind (OttoMind in the previous incarnation in a different package but functionally the same) and the 5 Star Tuning module have the same engine tuning. Where it differs is 5 Star offers more transmission tuning than Banks).

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Old 11-30-2021, 07:11 PM   #14
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Yes it was an 05 Damon Daybreak, of course on an '04 Chassis.
Of course Workhorse would do nothing and GM would not either. In fact, the brand new engine they sold me only came with a 1 year warranty because they said the engine was never designed to power a motorhome. Even though they sold thousands to Workhorse just for that.
It was a nightmare getting it repaired, engine replaced.
It was towed 100 miles to this Chevy dcealer, it still ran but sounded terrible. Then when they brought it in to their shop, they tied to drive it, and one rod came thru the block, so it was not even worth the core.
They held it ransom for $14,000 even tho they were able to change the engine through the drivers door.
When they gave me the price the suited writer said they had to drop the entire front end and bring out underneath.
Other shops said they'd do it cheaper, but Id have to tow it 50/ 60 miles to them and then theres no guarantee they wouldnt say "Oh something is wrong , it's gonna cost more"
Rant is done now, lol
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