ECU Tuning Lifestyle Performance Tuners

Morendi ECU Tune Giveaway

Morendi ECU Tune Giveaway

Handling Performance

Is a strut tower bar worth it? Check out install and reflections on installing a strut tower brace on C218 CLS 550 AWD

Is a strut tower bar worth it? Check out install and reflections on installing a strut tower brace on C218 CLS 550 AWD

ECU Tuning

Copying MBT to Base Timing and Wastegate Control Using HP tuners

Two powerful heuristics to increase drivability and improve performance are copying the MBT tables over to the similar base tables and changing the manual wastegate duty cycle table.

Some things to note

  • The MBT or optimum spark tables and base tables have slightly different axis
    • Ensure that you copy the tables to the similar table and use to the appropriate axis
  • Manual Wastegate Duty Cycle
    • Using AMG style is a good starting point but note differences in axis
    • I would reduce the low RPM cycle slightly and increase some of the higher RPM cycles slightly
    • Please note the differences in AMG and non base MB
      • Base MB wastegate is basically just a linear boost
      • AMG tries to increase response and takes note of the decel and shift patterns
      • There is some room to improve the AMG tables but if you push too hard you may throw a "ESP not available" induced limp mode
ECU Tuning

Mercedes Driver Demand, Torque Tables, AMG Adaptation

You can often adapt AMG tables to similar non-AMG engines.  Once I have dug into the tune file and compared against AMG, I began to realize Mercedes are somewhat meant to be tuned and out of the gate are a solid platform to start from.

There are a few things to note:

  • AMG and non-AMG engines often have slightly different axis values
    • These need to be adapted
  • There is quite a bit of gain to be had by loosening up the "torque limiting" functions of the ECU
    • These ECUs are sometimes defined as Torque Limiting ECUs
  • Items like driver demand tables adapted to AMG are often smoother than Mercedes
  • After loosening the Torque limits my 0-60 times dropped to 4.1 s from 4.17 s
    • They are also much more consistent
  • Some torque tables do serve somewhat as ESP aggressiveness
    • Stock Mercedes ESP is somewhat too aggressive to me
ECU Tuning

First Read and ECU Unlocking with HP Tuners

In this video I discuss the process of unlocking a Mercedes ECU with HP Tuners.


A few important things to note:

  1. An internet connection is needed when flashing
  2. Not necessary to remove ECU
  3. First read and write is very long
    1. Subsequent changes are quick
  4. No credits are needed for VCM Scanner only writing
  5. Once you use HP Tuners you cannot go back to My Genius files without modifying/resetting the ECU
Mercedes Models Performance

AMG E Performance Platform Analysis

Mercedes just announced their new C63 will be a 4 cylinder hybrid platform, and they have released information about their electrified "73" platform.  These utilize a rear limited slip differential with a integral motor with 2 speed transmission.

This is quite a departure from the 53 platform M256 E30 . Which utilized an integral starter generator behind the engine between the engine and transmission.  These hybrids are more of an addition to traditional ICE engines such as the M177 platform.


Performance Tuners

How to choose a tuner

Choosing a tuner and performance parts suppliers are important decisions, unless the car is a true project car.

There are a few questions you may want to consider before choosing.

Who are you dealing with?

What is their post/social history?

What is their bad reputation?

Can you deal with their bad reputation?

How much do they give back to the community?

Check out the video above for more -- will continue the writeup later.



Performance TCU Tuning

TCU Tune Experience

I've been running a TCU tune for more than a month and several thousand miles.  In this video I discuss some of the reflections and drivability of running a Morendi TCU tune.

Air Intake Performance

Cold Air Intakes — In Progress

Still in progress check back later!

One of the increasingly popular discussions on FB CLS and, of course, tunedmercedes group is building custom air intakes.

Apparently the black box dynos have been confirmed as real by a few people but most of those gains are for "tuned cars" with waste gate cycles dropping by some numbers. Jake may have even thrown in a hieroglyph or two.  It is rumored their e30 flex tune may have had extra-worldy inspirations, and by rumored, I just started it here.  But how else would you describe monolithic like gains from nearly every mod on the m157 and m278 platform.

Blackboost dyno shows something like 50awhp improvement with their cold air intake system I have covered a bit in past posts.

This seems to be insane, but perhaps true.   The 10-20 awhp gained from air risers and filters were so little to Demetre he basically said that is wasn't worth anything and could be a difference in dyno pulls.

Demetre's 1k hp beast with CAI

<style="triple air horn">And then Demetre drops his new cold air intake kit!  Ok so it is $800 for the CAI, and $2500 for the top mount intercoolers, or they can be purchased together for a savings of  $300.</span>

This is insane.  And pushes the platform significantly.  On the one of favorite threads post, I mentioned "G", the Godfather of the M278 tuning, starter of build the fastest CLS550 thread said that the intercooler was a big bottleneck.

This addresses air intake and simplifies things greatly, the airflow isn't merely expanded it is optimized.

DTKM Images in this thread belong to IR Panzar who is one of the first guys in the USA running the system. I have reached out to IR and have am currently in progress asking for permission to share some results.



Some of my favorite threads on MBworld has some amazing knowledge.  It is a little deep though to dig through, and it isn't always the most intuitively laid out.   Here are two of my favorite threads on MBworld.

Build the most powerful CLS 550 4matic is one of my favorite threads on any forum hands down.  First this dude decides to build a 550 instead of a 63.  That right there takes some balls. Then he upgrades the CLS to 63 turbos and tests it.  Decides it is too restrictive and builds his own setup.  The entire time this Ol' G is documenting the restrictions, and his gains.  Pushing the knowledge of the entire platform forward.

Hands down thanks G!

Brabus_TX puts together a two threads about Mods and their efficacy.  He cultivates a group of like minded people who push the e40 tuning to the m157 platform and the gains are awesome.  He puts together a spreadsheet of some of the best cars and notes their gains in an epic sequel to the first thread.  This guy is fucking Rambo of MBworld, cutting through haters and in first blood and coming back to rescue the rest of us who were captured by gasoline and not really knowing the best mods without a such a meta analysis performed in the go fast thread part II.

Brabus_TX to the modding haters.

DIY Electronics Maintenance Performance

Laser Jammer Install on E class w212

Check out this install thread on for AL Priority Laser on a w212.

Very clean and detailed with some help from other members with CAD information on the mounts.

I am not advocating the use of this, but I do love clean installs and have to link to it for that reason.

Electronics Performance

Dragy Review: A GPS Performance Tracker and Social Network

I recently picked up a Dragy which is a 10hz GPS sensor that can track your performance data.  This is pretty cool. BUT the really great part is that you can see the leaderboards by make, comment on other's times (and receive replies).  Which can really demystify tuning.

Leaderboard by Makes

One example of this for me was regarding AMG fuel pumps on non-AMG m278.  Madness Motorsports posted that when he went to bigger turbos he had to go with AMG fuel pumps, this caused many to take similar routes.  Well the top CLS 550 on the leaderboards ran M157 turbos without the AMG fuel pumps.  I was able to ask him and get a reply.

Correspondence with a top of the leaderboard CLS550 tuner

To me that saved a bunch of effort in terms of trying to upgrade my fuel pumps.

There are videos to browse, and it an link to your phone with a mount to take a video.  Unfortunately it can also remind you that real life driving isn't always fun.  I tracked a 4 minute mile...

The dragy is great as a social tool, a performance metric tool, and in general a highly reccomended purchase at under $150, which is far less than existing popular boxes.  These other boxes often do not have the validation feature and the ability to share and track performance with other people.


While I'm not likely going to hard launch my car at this point, the direction it has shown me is invaluable.  No AMG fuel pumps, combined with upgraded billet AMG turbos should make the CLS 550 a compelling performance car that can keep up with some of the tuned AMGs.

I would highly recommend downloading the dragy app for free.  I also think the box works really well.

Recommended Modification :  Put tape over the LED.  Way too bright and distracting when driving.  Perhaps a few layers of scotch if you want to see it a bit, or electrical tape I'd recommend if you don't need to see the LED.

I've read several places 60-130mph is the new quarter mile.  As an owner I feel more comfortable running something running versus launching.


M157 M278 CLS 550 CLS 63 E 550 E 63 Build Thread

If one (yo Gilles this is for you bro! ) were going to buy a completely stock M278 based E class or CLS and build it out, here is some guidance:


  • Open up the hood, take off the engine cover, lifts straight up with tabs but take it slow, look for a coolant tank in the middle of the V
    • This denotes there is split cooling and it will be easier to build from
  • Check out the tires
  • Read the codes
    • Look for any issues that say something like misfire cylinder 5
      • There is an issue with some of these and Mercedes put out a TSB and is aware of it
      • Consider contacting them if you have an issue, it should be a service campaign
  • Ask to see the car cold and unmoved
    • See if it is level
    • Check air springs
    • Rears are cheaper, valve block, leaking lines, compressor are easy to fix
  • Check the condition of the accessory belt
  • Drive the car warm it up, park on an incline nose up.  Wait 10 minutes start the car again.
    • Listen for a few seconds of noise -- if it is likely need the check valve/tensioner fix
  • Open the oil cap, look at the timing chain.  Ones that have thicker center links (than outside) are stronger

Initial Tuning Steps

  • Change the spark plugs
    • Change every 15-30k miles
  • Take out the air dams
  • Change the air intake with
    • UPD air intake riser + K&N Filter
      • I like K&N better in this car, there have been some reports of pulling media through the BMC
    • BlackBoost
    • Adds approximately 23 awhp
  • Change the oil 
    • Change every 2-3k miles
  • Add blow off valve that has the methanol injector ports in it
    • I like Weistec, VRP is cheaper, you may also be able to bring it to a aluminum guy and have him fabricate it
  • ECU Tune
    • Go on MBworld and wait for a sale
      • Or ask Eurocharged, OE
    • Bring the car to a dyno and have them custom remap it if you can
    • Some people actually buy a second ECU and have it copied and updated this way
    • The ECU if physically updated I believe is a bit stronger, more like a firmware update
  • Reset some of the tranny adaptations
    •  Hold down gas pedal 10s, put car into 2nd on position continue holding gas pedal to floor for 30s, turn off car continuing to hold gas pedal for a few seconds.  Chill in your car reading reddit for a few minutes
  • Resonator delete
  • If it is a track car, bring to the exhaust shop ask them to make and install the "down pipes" about $200 per side
    • OR higher flow cats for the street, each side is 2 cell, 200 cell would be much better.
  • Change Tranny oil
  • Consider upgrading the navigation and entertainment now with the best specified Android 10 screen, buy a usb external sound card, the caralink usb adapter for carplay/android (included is junk), and external microphone
  • Get better tires (the stock MB contis are pretty bad, go for ultra high performance
  • Consider adding 10mm or so H&R spacers to improve handling for this platform
  • Add oil catch cans
  • Update batteries
  • Wire the IC pump to always on

Next Steps

  • Gold heat wrap intake and charge tubes
  • Update the IC pump with part # Pierburg: 7.06754.05.0
    • For M278 split cooling, 157 will have a similar pump
  • Drop Engine (for 4matic)
    • Bridge pipe/turbo back pipe for additional 20-40hp
    • Upgrade turbos
      • Either 157 or aftermarket (like Weistec)
      • Or billet turbo upgrade
    • Upgrade motor mounts
Cooling Performance

Force Intercooler Pump to Always Run

While there are conflicting reports about the logic of the intercooler pump.  With mine it didn't run all the time (you can hear it before she comes up to speed), and with this mod it did.  With this mod you get lower IATs.  Check out here:

I've heard a report on the AMG subforum that the IATs reduce with the always on mode but the overall power decreases when running the IAT to always run like this as the ECU "wants" to control the pump.

I have taken the always on mod off for winter, and she seems to drive a bit better.

Air Intake DIY Maintenance Performance

Add An Oil Collector

Adding an oil collector on a direct injection engine can help maintain horsepower and mitigate issues with carbon build up on valves.

I first heard of them reading a online forum "discussion" between two tuners and one brings up GAD tuning.  One thing I realized there are tuners that I need to study and post a section about, like GAD and Masonry.

As I studied the build pages GAD mentions an oil separator and now I'm down that rabbit hole.   Well one of my favorite channels EngineeringExplained went into it and tested them.  TLDR they do work and you may want a bigger one (or an AOS) so it doesn't overflow which might be worse than not having one at all.

Adding an Oil Collector is a fairly inexpensive way to protect your Mercedes.  Just like the blow off valves, lower temp thermostat, this won't actually make your car go faster over a new engine, it will just protect your engine and maintain your performance better.  As it is assumed the carbon build up from DI can lower horse power.  Diverting oil into an oil collector can or an air oil separator oil from going back into the crankcase.

Air Oil Separators are Different than Oil Catch Cans

The oil catch can you have to monitor and empty but the air oil separator takes the same goal but a different operation. In the air oil separator there are baffles to separate the oil and air. The oil is put back into the oil system, the air back to the intake.  This system in the video also uses a coolant system which will help the oil apparently not cake (according to the video).