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Senior Privileged Member
4,101 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For those of you who have asked about Westers Tuning Service:

I have been tlaking with Brian Koontz, one of Westers' dealers, and Lyndon Wester himself.

Lyndon is equipped to do PCM reprogramming on both the 03 / 04 SSRs and on the 05 SSR. (THis solves that problem for 05 owners). He understands torque management, abuse management, and traction control, seems to have a firm grasp on air fuel and spark tuning, and has software that enables him to correctly set air/fuel and spark remotely once he knows your engine configuration exactly. He is comfortable with programming for non-stock, physically modified SSRs, even though your vehicle and he are in different locations. His tunes compensate for individual factors such as elevation and local temperature norms.

He is located in Alberta, Canada, and needs to do physical PCM exchanges. This is for security reasons on the 03 and 04 models (so you don't steal his work and resell it!) and for technical as well as security reasons on the newer 05 CAN architecture. HIs tunes are effectively "locked" to software tuning packages and microtuners as a result, so once you retain him to do your programming, you are effectively committed to continue doing business with him. This is not unique to Westers; It is rather common with other tuning software packages, microtuners, and individual tuners for two reasons:

1. So that people don't steal and resell their hardearned work

2. So that you or someone else does not accidentally blow up an engine or make a PCM unusable by trying to load a program onto an already modified PCM.

Because of the border crossing shipping issues, it is advantageous for you to deal with one of his 14 dealers in the U.S. if possible. Although Lyndon does all the pogramming, they are equipped with core PCMs that make the shipping back and forth to Canada unnecessary for you (his dealers do it as separate transactions).

An important benefit of Lyndon's offering is that ALL future programming changes required to your PCM are FREE. So, even though you are "locked in", you are locked in to a service that costs you nothing after the initial charge. You even get a credit if you change vehicles.

Please don't quote me, as Lyndon needs to set his rates based on current costs of PCM cores, etc, but right now, he charges just over $500 for 03 and 04 SSRs, and $500 to $600 on the 05 SSRs depending on how the physical PCM is handled (it costs you less if you send him your actual PCM to Canada rather than use his core exchange progrma, because the 05 PCMs are costly even to dealers).

The big question and concern I had of course is how good a job of tuning can be done remote instead of on an actual dyno tuning session. Lyndon is very confident on that. He cites average gains of 30 to 40 ft. lb of torque "under the curve" and peak power gains of 30 hp as being not hard to attain. He also cites notable improvements in fuel economy.

He told me a few things in passing that Ithought you gusy would find interesting:

- He confirmed that if the check engine light is not on, the vehicle will pass a sniffer emissions test. However, that does not ensure a pass on an emssions test, as testign also in some jurisdcitions includes physical verification that parts have not been swapped or removed.

- He pointed out that since SSRs are so rare, many emission inspectors would not recognize a substitituted part if they saw one (nothing to compare to!)

- He points out that tuners need to allow for elevation, temperature, and local fuel formulation (some states mandate use of oxygenated fuels, for exmaple).

- He states that if someone guts a cat, they need to "tube" internally, or else the turbulence induced by the cat housing will screw up the exhaust flow

- He agrees with me that defeating torque management TOTALLY on the SSRs is a bad idea, as the transmission will not take that for very long. He politely points out that some of his competitors go for the cheap thrill efefcts of totally defeated torque management, but he doesn't like situations where the client then has to replace a transmission. He does a sensible moderation of torque management instead.

He and I are running an experiment. My already mildly modified SSR is going to get some additional changes made next week at MTI Racing. AFter Reese there does the physical mods, Lyndon has agreed to reprogram my PCM using his normal techniques, and we agreed that I will report the before and after results in my book "The SSR Experience".

While that book chapter will not come out for several weeks yet, I will report back here on the forum sooner than that, and maybe even already at The Homecoming, if things go as smoothly at MTI as we hope.

For those of you who can't wait, you can reach Lyndon at 888-937-8371, or Brian Koontz, his Dallas, TX dealer at 888-873-8012 or 214-693-1011. Or, go to for more info.

Those of you who have an 05 SSR and a local shop that can do physical work for you, but which cannot access the 05 programming, Westers is a good option for you to use. Those of you who just want a gear ratio change right now so you can go to the 4.56 gearing, will have the assurance of knowing that you can later do other mods and get the programming for no extra charge!

I hope to have actual Jim G experience and hard numbers soon.

Lyndon's assistant was pleased to hear that I had grown up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, not very far from where she and Lyndon do their thing,and agreed that in a Westers' retuned SSR, Manitoba to Alberta is a short trip!

Jim G

Premium Member
34,006 Posts
For those interested in the tune, but don't want to have to ship the PCM, you can pick a new one up, sometimes cheaper than the Westers core charge. For example, I did find this one on Ebay last night:

This link is for a single PCM, but he's also got one for a pack of 5 (he claims they're new too):

I did manage to find one for my '99 Silverado so I can also get a Westers soon myself (wanted to have the ability to go back if I needed). Apparently, the '99-00 PCMs are harder to come by anymore.

Senior Privileged Member
4,101 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ssr71: That's a great idea, if the seller is trustworthy.

You have to be a little careful.

For example, many GM vehicles that use the same family of PCM have a mechanical throttle. Our SSRs have an electronic one. Some sellers may truthfully not realize there are differences like this. I would want to talk personally with the seller before buying one, so I have some idea of their level of knowledge and make a judgement call.

Note also that these PCMs, especially the ones for the 05 (because it's so new) are VERY expensive. This makes them theft targets for Tony Soprano type up and comers. Since they are individually identifable via embedded programming, stolen ones can later be "found" during routine maintenance, troubleshooting, or emssions testing. Being in possession of stolen property is, I believe, a felony, plus they seize the sotlen property (your vehicle's brain). Not good.

Be careful to do your homework if going this route.

Tuners like Westers can, if given a VIN, also determine if that VIN is indeed a valid SSR VIN (not say a Silverado VIN with a mechanical throttle setup!). It's not ethical to use them as a VIN identification service if you spend your money elsewhere, but some tuners will help you out if you are a customer of theirs or if you offer to pay them for the lookup.

Remember that tuners can only exist if we support them with our money. If they can't make a living, they go into other work. You guys with 05s know the pain you experience when they do that.

Jim G

ssr71 said:
For those interested in the tune, but don't want to have to ship the PCM, you can pick a new one up, sometimes cheaper than the Westers core charge. For example, I did find this one on Ebay last night:
The core prices set by Lyndon (Wester) are meant to be an incentive
for customers to return their cores so we can take care of other
customers. Neither Lyndon nor me are in the PCM resale business,
although I will occasionally have PCMs for sale if I have enough stock
on-hand to part with one. But that's only if a customer asks me about

Be careful with programmers who claim to send you a PCM as part of the
tuning package. Their pricing doesn't make for a sustainable business
model, and they will eventually be driven to increase prices or even
drop their business altogether if they drive up the cost of PCMs on
the secondary market to the point where they can no longer purchase
them at a reasonable price. More demand on PCMs means higher prices for everyone. We believe the right model is to keep as many "known good" PCMs in circulation as possible, rather than trying to corner the market.

Also, be wary of PCMs on the secondary market. If anything, make sure you
can return it if for some reason it can't be read from or written to.
Even PCMs advertised as "new" might be service PCMs that are not
guaranteed to be readable and/or writeable. (Ask the eBayer you
linked to if he's sending the PCM in its original Delphi/GM packaging.
Also, the cover looks scuffed, which indicates to me it was installed
at one time on a vehicle.)

There's really no reason to hold onto your stock PCM. The PCM we send
you starts out with GM's latest firmware update for your VIN, so in all
respects it's identical to your stock PCM (in fact, the Tech 2 cannot
determine that you have a tuned PCM). When you receive your PCM,
drive it (hard!) for a week or two, make sure it meets your
expectations, then return your stock PCM so we can help out another
customer. If for some reason the PCM we send you ever goes belly-up,
we'll replace it at no cost.


I will go with ED AT fastChip. Already have took yaller dog for a ride sunday. He has a 05 ssr. so he could feel the difference. Of course unless they know how to do away with the break-in program, I would wait till 4000 to 5000 mi for it to go away.
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