DiabloSport’s Trinity, BAMA Performance, And Our Newest Mustang

StangTV’s newest project machine is this 2011 Grabber Blue Mustang GT six-speed, recently picked up in the fine state of Kentucky and owned by your friendly Technical Editor, the guy at the top of the page. The car has had some previous modifications, but in terms of engine performance the only component that’s been upgraded is the air intake, to one of JLT Performance‘s cold air intake kits. Other modifications to the car include a set of Roush Performance lowering springs and axle-back exhaust, a Barton Industries shifter, and Ford Racing Parts 3.73:1 rearend gears. It’s about as stock as could be expected buying a 30,000-mile Mustang from a private owner that’s had some fun with the modifications list.

We decided that since the vehicle is so close to stock in terms of performance parameters and the previous owner hung onto the stock airbox for us – that we’d return it to stock configuration and do some dyno testing. Helping us are the guys over at BAMA Performance, a division of AmericanMuscle.

After the dyno testing in stock configuration, we installed one of DiabloSport‘s Trinity dashboard programmers to see what kind of gains we’d uncover. We then finished up our day with a true custom tune tested on the dyno by BAMA’s lead calibrator, Paul Meister.

The Trinity package includes the dashboard programmer, OBD-II cable, suction-cup mount, USB cable to interface with your computer, a software disc, and a handy quick-start guide.

The Trinity

Prior to ever getting near your car with the Trinity, it’s required that you load up the software on your computer and update the device to the very latest files from DiabloSport, as they are always updatingthe software with current calibrations.The company provides a handy guide on how to do so in the package with the unit. This step took us about 20 minutes.

Diablosport’s Trinity dashboard programmer is a true tuning powerhouse, but it’s not just the tuning features that are packed inside. This system differs from the company’s handheld programmers in that it offers a ton more features besides the tuning interface.

The Trinity has five specific feature sets that allow it to stand apart from the competition. Not only does it come pre-loaded with a variety of tunes for both gas and diesel vehicles, it can also monitor your engine parameters via the OBD-II interface.

The ability to input custom tuning into the vehicle with DiabloSport’s CMR Custom Tuning is also included, and the Trinity is also capable of reading and clearing any diagnostic trouble codes on supported OBD-II vehicles.

Gauges And Datalogging

The Trinity interfaces with the vehicle’s computer and can monitor up to 45 gauges and record them for up to five hours. Data can be stored to either the unit’s internal memory, the external SD card slot, or even directly to your laptop using DiabloSport’s Data Viewer Software.

The Trinity can be the first performance part you buy for your Mustang the day it rolls off the lot, and it will support every step of modification you add. – Chris Harubin, DiabloSport

Nine customizable screens can each utilize five gauges per screen, and the screens can be customized with the gauges you want to see. You can also use the pre-made gauge layouts that DiabloSport has already built for you.

Since the vehicle’s onboard computer is already monitoring operational data, Trinity can tap into that datastream by connecting to the PCM through the OBD-II port. Having access to the data helps the vehicle owner or the tuner to fine-tune the vehicle parameters assists in making a tune that’s absolutely perfect for the individual vehicle given the operating circumstances.

The unit has nine separate pages that can monitor five separate Parameter IDs - anything that the engine sensors are putting out can be seen on these screens, and they are fully customizable. We haven't even scratched the surface with checking out all of the features of the unit yet.

“We’ve delivered unsurpassed flexibility in tuning and logging Ford ECU’s since the EEC-IV days, and the Trinity is a culmination of years of development. We’ve come a long way from popping a chip into the car’s ECU. The Trinity can be the first performance part you buy for your Mustang the day it rolls off the lot, and it will support every step of modification you add, for as far as you want to take it,” says DiabloSport’s Chris Harubin.

The user can also record specific Parameter IDs (PID) that are set by the user. This includes but is not limited to RPM, Intake Air Temperature, Long/Short Term fuel trims, Throttle Position, Vehicle Speed, Coolant Temperature, Engine Knock, and more.

Another feature of the datalogging software built into the Trinity is that the system isn’t limited to the inputs from the OBD-II system. A user can add up to two analog inputs like a wideband oxygen sensor or boost sensor, and the value can be displayed on the Trinity’s screen.

Built-In Tunes

The Virtual Dragstrip

The Virtual Drag Strip might be the feature of the Trinity that has the most appeal to gearheads – the system can be used in racing mode to allow users to see 0-60, 0-100, eighth-mile and quarter-mile times. It offers the option to launch using the five built-in LED’s or to start recording when the accelerator is pressed from a stop. Of course, it’s not recommended to use this feature on a public road. The feature is helpful, especially in giving you a gauge on whether a modification you’ve made is worth anything on the track.

The Trinity dashboard programmer has a number of built-in tunes right when it arrives from DiabloSport, but the company does recommend hooking it up to your computer and running a software update check through the DiabloSport website prior to beginning any install. As they are constantly releasing software revisions and updates to the tuning files, this step is critical and shouldn’t be skipped. It took us about 20 minutes to get everything set up through our laptop.

The tuner has a number of built-in options to allow you to customize the car right from the outset. Adjustable options supporting speedometer calibration post-gear install or wheel/tire swaps are built in – you’ll just need to know the number of revolutions per mile your tires make, information that’s easily located on the tire manufacturer’s website. You can also remove the top speed limiter with this section.

Performance tunes start with the 87 Octane Performance Tune, which maximizes performance and depending upon the vehicle will boost horsepower from 12-30 horsepower according to DiabloSport.

There’s also a 91 Octane Performance Tune, ideal for those of you who live in sections of the country where 93 premium fuel isn’t available, and the 93 Octane “Diablo” tune, the highest-performing pre-loaded tune in the unit. The Diablo tune is designed to maximize horsepower and torque, improve the drivability of the vehicle, and increase fuel economy at the same time – a win-win for everyone. The pre-loaded tunes also support the addition of aftermarket parts like our JLT cold-air kit, gears, and other commonly-modified items.

On The Roller, Part One

In an effort to gain true and accurate data on how the Trinity performed with the car, we first baselined the car on BAMA’s Dynojet dynamometer with the stock airbox and stock powertrain calibration installed. With the car in set up this way the power numbers were a respectable 364.6 hp and 343.4 ft-lbs of torque. During this portion of the test, the car could not be run higher than approximately 6,000 rpm thanks to the built-in speed limiter.

With the stock airbox still in place, we installed the Trinity and optimized it for our configuration using the 93 octane tune, including the correct rear-gear ratio of 3.73:1 and the proper tire revolutions per mile. With the Trinity built-in tune loaded into the PCM, the car responded with a healthy 392.9 hp and 374.6 ft-lbs – a gain of 28.3 hp and 31.2 ft-lbs at the wheels – with nothing more than a tune loaded up from the Trinity!

BAMA Performance’s lead calibrator, Paul Meister, assisted us with all of our testing and performed the custom calibrations for each step of our test. Here he’s loading the Trinity’s pre-loaded calibration into the car.

Meister subsequently proved the worth of a BAMA Performance custom tune tailored to our particular vehicle; with his handiwork loaded up through the Trinity, our combo maxed out on the roller at 396.5 hp and 382.3 ft-lbs, for a final improvement of 31.9 hp and 38.9 ft-lbs with the stock induction equipment in place. The BAMA tune picked up an additional 3.6 hp and 7.7 ft-lbs over the pre-loaded tuneup.

Stock calibration (green trace) versus DiabloSport’s Trinity pre-loaded calibration (blue) versus the BAMA Performance custom calibration (red), with 93 octane fuel and the stock airbox installed on the car.

Back To The Future – On The Roller, Part Two

AmericanMuscle’s Dan Bailer assisted us with swapping out the JLT cold-air kit for the second portion of our testing.

Now that we had a solid baseline of how the car performed with the stock airbox/tune, with the Trinity pre-loaded tune, and finally our custom BAMA Performance tune all on 93 octane, it was time to swap the stock airbox out for our JLT cold-air kit. This was a quick swap; we had it complete in the amount of time it took Meister to load the Trinity’s built-in 93 octane JLT-equipped tune into the car’s processor.

The results we gathered after a couple of dyno runs were nothing short of shocking. For those of you (like myself) who grew into this sport with Fox body cars that needed nothing short of a supercharger to make any sort of power approaching the 400 horsepower mark at the wheels, the output of the four-valve-per-cylinder 5.0L Coyote engine is astounding.

With the Trinity’s JLT tuneup installed, the display on the dyno popped out a number of 394.4 hp and 375.4 ft-lbs of torque. It should be noted that the vehicle was getting relatively hot at this point; our dyno session took place on an 89 degree day and we had made several back-to-back runs at this point.

BAMA Performance’s Dynojet dynamometer was used for all three phases of our test.

Meister took the time to provide an updated BAMA Performance tune to maximize its performance and account for the cold air kit. At the same time, we allowed the car to cool down for approximately 30 minutes (although it could be said we did nothing but heat-soak it more).

Not only does BAMA’s Paul Meister oversee the custom calibrations for the company’s customers, he’s on the phone working with them daily to build the best mail-order tunes he can based on their current level of modifications.

Here is where we were blown away. The custom BAMA tuneup loaded straight from Meister’s DiabloSport CMR software resulted in a whopping 405.8 hp and 388.6 ft-lbs at the wheels.

The net gain of our modifications on this day are 41.2 hp and 45.2 ft-lbs over the stock Ford tune, all by adding a simple cold air kit and manipulating the computer’s tuneup, both with the Trinity and the BAMA Performance custom tune written specifically for our car.

“We’ve been working very hard to build the safest and most powerful tunes on the market. The power numbers we’re seeing have been very positive,” says Meister. As you can see from our results below, the man knows what he’s doing.

Stock airbox/93 octane (green trace) versus DiabloSport pre-loaded JLT tune (blue) versus BAMA Performance custom calibration (red) with our cold-air kit installed. 405 horsepower at the wheels with a single bolt-on – yep, you’re reading that correctly. This car is a monster.

Final Thoughts

After the second portion of our testing was complete, we also tuned up the car with a set of Performance Distributors‘ Sultans of Spark Coils. With our fresh BAMA Performance tune installed through the Trinity, and the new coil packs, the ride home was much more enjoyable than the ride out to AmericanMuscle. Now, when the throttle pedal is put to the wood, the car responds more quickly than ever before. The best part is that we can either leave the Trinity installed, or remove it, and the tune stays in the car.

Throttle response is immediate, and we’ve also seen an increase of 2 mpg over the last two tanks of fuel we’ve run through the car. We won’t disclose the results of what we found with the Virtual Dragstrip, as those activities aren’t sanctioned for a public road – but it sure was neat to see them without making the hour-plus trip to the track. The end result? Color us impressed, both with the capabilities of the Trinity and all its great features and the solid BAMA tuneup on top of the DiabloSport equipment.

405 horsepower at the wheels is without a doubt just as much fun as you’d think, and we’re just getting started.

Article Sources

About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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