SCT Livewire TS+ Performance Programmer
More power and performance for our 2013 Ford F-150 Raptor.
Vehicle manufacturers do a really good job of balancing power, performance, comfort, fuel economy, and emissions. To say it's a difficult balancing act would be quite the understatement. Oftentimes this leads to shifts that are comfortable but not quick, or less engine power output than can be reasonably achieved. There are a multitude of reasons for this, but to get into them all would require a novel of its very own.
Thankfully, there are tuning companies such as SCT that are able to tweak a vehicle's engine control module (ECM) to extract greater performance. And this performance isn't always power; for fleets it oftentimes means greater fuel economy. For our 2013 Ford F-150 Raptor project, we were looking for a programmer that supported custom tuning from third-party companies but that also came preloaded with some base files. We also needed the ability to adjust for adding a free-flowing intake and exhaust, and also desired the ability to correct the speedometer for our increased tire size (37-inch vs. 35-inch). Checking all of our desired boxes was the SCT Livewire TS+ performance programmer.
The Livewire TS+ comes loaded with premade tuning options from SCT and also has the option to store up to 10 more custom vehicle tunes. It also works as a monitor for vital engine statistics (which ones are available will vary by vehicle), can read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (that pesky check engine light), and also recalibrate the speedometer for tire size and axle gear ratio.
Before we get too far into the weeds, it's worth noting that on a gasoline engine such as the Raptor's 6.2L V-8, these types of tuning products typically produce an increase of about 10 to 20 hp and 30 to 50 lb-ft of torque. It's enough to feel in the seat of the pants but won't turn your truck into a race car overnight. The biggest felt performance gains come more from the improved throttle response and shift strategy than from actual horsepower.
From unboxing to having the Livewire TS+ up and running took about 15 minutes, not counting running the software update the device required (or finding a PC to use to update it since the software won't run on a Mac). Tuning is quick, as well, and takes about 10 minutes to install a file. During the process the dash flashes, gauges wiggle, and the sync system resets. However, when all is said and done everything goes back to where it previously was set.
Performance gains are immediately noticeable, with crisper throttle response and firmer shifts being the biggest tell that the truck is running with improved tuning. If we were to have two small complaints about the Livewire TS+, they would be the lack of secondary gauge information, and that the tire size recalibration has never actually worked. However, those are more likely issues with our truck than with the programmer itself.
The SCT Livewire TS+ runs about $600, and sorry Californians, it is not CARB approved.