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Challenging Tuning—How to get your 2015-newer Dodge vehicle set up for advanced engine calibration

Posted By: Steve Baur
Written By Steve Baur
Photography courtesy of HP Tuners and the NMCA

We’ve come a long way from PROM Chips when it comes to tuning electronic fuel injection systems, with some original equipment manufacturers making it easier for us than others. There is no question that late-model Dodge vehicles are growing more popular by the day, with Challenger outselling Camaro for a few years now and closing in on Mustang, but the company has also made it the most difficult to crack into its ECMs. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and companies like HP Tuners can allow you to tweak your engine calibration for better performance. Here’s what it takes.

Due to the factory equipped encryption in the OEM electronic control modules (ECMs), enthusiasts must remove their vehicle’s ECM and send it in to be decrypted. Only then can one employ a tuning software such as that from HP Tuners to read and modify the engine calibration. HP Tuners offers this service for all Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/RAM vehicles (all FCA models, except the 2015+ Dodge Viper and 2014 to 2019 Jeep/Dodge/Ram vehicles with the EDC17C79 PCM). The company also offers the option to buy a new decrypted ECM so you can keep your original unit in its OE state of tune.
In 2018, Dodge upped the ante once more by adding a vehicle security module. Its integration meant that enthusiasts must now also purchase HP Tuners Smart Access cable, which thankfully is a simple-to-install jumper harness that allows the software to read and write to a decrypted ECM.

With the ECM open to programming, you can use the HP Tuners VCM Scanner and Editor to modify to your heart’s content, and if you’re new to tuning, you may want to get educated through a company such as The Tuning School, which can show you the ins and outs of the tuning software. The Tuning School’s HEMI course will teach students a safe, repeatable, process-based system for everything from the basics of tuning the stock car all the way through full bolt on's and mild boosted applications up to 7-8 PSI.
HP Tuners
The Tuning School
(727) 264-8875

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