Performance Tunes

One of the first mods on your truck (if not the first) should be a performance tune. There are four basic types of tunes:

  • Handheld tuner
  • Professional Tune
  • Self tuning with packages like EFI live or HP Tuners
  • Dyno tuned from your local tuner.

Handheld tuners are very limited in capabilities and at time of writing do not even support aftermarket intakes. If you consider doing extensive mods like camshaft upgrades, do not consider this as a viable option.

Professional Tunes from companies like ADM, PCM of NC, Tune Time, Vector or Westers are the most common choice and often the best solution for TBSS owners. One of the main advantages of using one of the companies is you reap the benefits of a tuner that has experience with moving a 5000# brick (Trailblazer SS) down the road and not just making power.

Self Tuning with HP tuners or EFI live can achieve excellent results but I would not recommend it for most users. The learning curve is steep not to mention the hours of time involved in making changes, driving and burning fuel. If you are going to self tune, I suggest you buy a base tune from a company like PCM of NC to get you started.

Dyno Tuning from your local tuner can be an excellent option IF your tuner has a LOT of experience with the Trailblazer SS. I firmly believe that a "mail order" tune from a tuner that has TBSS experience will be superior to a dyno tune from someone used to tuning Corvettes and GTO's.

A few things to consider

  • Getting a professional tune requires reprogramming the ECM/TCM. This means you need to either send the modules to the tuner requiring down time of your truck, get loaner modules to run on while yours are being tuned or flash the tune yourself using HP tuners or EFI live. Information on location and removal of ECM & TCM can be found here.
  • If you switch modules from another truck or purchase new modules you will have to do a case relearn. Any module that was installed in another truck previously will also need the security code cleared. The case relearn requires a trip to the dealer or special equipment. Information about both can be found here.
  • Some tunes are locked which means they can't be edited by you or other tuners. Vector is an example of a company that locks their tunes. The disadvantage of this is if you make changes to your truck like adding a stall converter or e-fans you will be forced to go back to the company that locked the tune.
  • A performance intake (IEATSRT8, ADM or Vector) is recommended when you add a tune. The stock intake has a neck down restricting flow and the aftermarket intakes do not. Additional info here.
  • Torque Management (TM) is something GM includes in your factory tune to help protect the transmission. It is common practice to leave 50% in the tune unless you have a built transmission. AWD trucks are more prone to failure than 2WD trucks because they don't spin the tires and have a direct hook. Be sure to let your tuner know what you expect.