Piston Slap: Express-ions Via More Data Points?
TTAC commentator TrenchFoot writes:
Hey, I’ve got a problem in that I like data. As an engineer and car enthusiast, I want to know more data points than the manufacturer thought I would/should. So I want to add some tech to my ride, and I want it all. The problem is, no one seems to sell the all-in-one solution I’m looking for.
I have a 2007 Chevy Express AWD 1500 (backoff with your comments, I love that van!), but tech in that rig is limited to a power locks. Since I use it to tow a smallish travel trailer, I’m always wondering about the state of the tranny. So my wish list is:
- Backup camera
- Tire Pressure Monitoring
- Tranny temp/gear/Torque Convertor Lockup
- Do I want a tuner, too?
Some of what I want is available with low-cost double DIN stereos (backup camera, Bluetooth) and some is available with a tuner like one offered by Bully Dog (camera, gauges). Even though the van has most of the running gear from a Silverado, Bully Dog is one of the few tuner companies that support the Express/Savana vans.
Adding TPMS is the tough one. I’ve had 3 flats this year and lost both a summer and snow tire that probably could have been saved had I known I was losing pressure. I don’t want to end up with a tuner, standalone TPMS, and new stereo as the cockpit will start to look cluttered and inviting to thieves.
Any thoughts on a Swiss Army device or how I can get it all with just a new stereo and one extra display?
I, as a former engineering student, understand your need for data. Hopefully there’s a 12-step program to rid you of a future with analysis paralysis. But let me be the enabler to your addiction!
There are 2DIN stereos that not only have the backup camera and Bluetooth, but also interface with the OBD-II port for useful vehicle information. As this video — disgustingly cute music aside — shows, Android has a nice tachometer for you!
Apple users aren’t left in the cold, either.
Either way, spending a couple hundred more for one of these is worth the upgrade from whatever you see at Best Buy. These new stereos cover a large number of your requirements in one clean(-ish) interface.
The vehicle tuner? Yes, you both need and want it to upgrade air-fuel ratios, transmission algorithms, etc. from the conservative factory setting to something that will perform better and likely net you a modest increase in fuel economy, and assuming the factory settings for torque/throttle management, cushy transmission action, etc. are not up your alley. I mean, you are an Engineer…right?
You’ll want the tuner to see those transmission parameters, as I suspect they’re unique PIDs your average Apple and Android interface cannot grab. Damn those unique PIDs!
So you now have a replacement stereo in your dash hole and a BullyDog display. Brace yourself for an aftermarket TPMS monitoring system. Nobody’s gonna interface with an aftermarket system — unless later model Express’ have factory TPMS and you are willing to re-wire the chassis (and install a new powertrain control module) to make it work. I reckon that ain’t happening, no matter how strong that data obsession lies within your soul.
It’s really not a concern, considering your canvas.
(photo courtesy: www.autoevolution.com)
Take it from the dude that left engineering school to pursue a career in car design (i.e. styling) now doing that Vellum Venom thing: You got ample choices to install both the TPMS and BullyDog modules. Cut a hole, mount them in: use glue, sandpaper and charcoal paint if needed for a super trick installation.
The Express was designed to be upfitter friendly. This is perfect for your needs and maybe 20 more modules!
Go make it happen!
Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
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