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Not really, but I am cognizant of the of the need for folks to believe mechanical devices can be improved by “fill in the blank” products ... hmmm, let’s just say I am a skeptical about certain products.

I am particularly skeptical that a change in software/firmware could not be detected, and knowing how warranties are handled, that any change wouldn’t be used by the OEM to avoid covering an issue - whether or not the issue was the fault of the changed system components.
 

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Forgot to mention - I am also aware of this being a cool topic of conversation at cocktail parties ... like swapping out a 2 barrel carb for a four barrel and noting how much better everything is ... except the fuel mileage 😯

I had diesel car friends who swore by Water Wetter ... just add it to your cooling system (after significantly decreasing the amount of antifreeze) and your car would run cooler.
 

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IT's good to be skeptical about a lot of things that purport to improve things...the "chips" that the OP asked about are worthy of skepticism for sure as such things have never been very legit. The Cobb system, however, is the real deal with a lot of transparency relative to testing, etc.
 
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Not really, but I am cognizant of the of the need for folks to believe mechanical devices can be improved by “fill in the blank” products ... hmmm, let’s just say I am a skeptical about certain products.

I am particularly skeptical that a change in software/firmware could not be detected, and knowing how warranties are handled, that any change wouldn’t be used by the OEM to avoid covering an issue - whether or not the issue was the fault of the changed system components.
Well, there's snake oil salesman tricks like the chip the OP mentioned. Then there's performance tuning devices like the COBB system, they are completely different things. Your point of "why would the manufacturer not tune it this way if it's so good" is a valid point. But then you need to see how powerplants are created: to last a certain number of years, powering a variety of vehicles for the brand. At first the engine is tuned for mpg and just to beat the competition. In a year or two, the manufacturer issues a few cosmetic changes to the car, and perhaps adds a few HP to catch up with competitors. They don't want to have to reengineer the whole power train to do that, so they always have some reserve power, and simply with a software change they can bring the car back in the fight when they get outsmarted by the competitors.

As far as warranty: I guess if they looked deep enough they might be able to detect if, but why dig so deep. It will certainly alienate the customer if they just void a warranty. Also, they have the burden of proving that the damage was caused by the modifications, which is hard to prove.
 

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I see on a couple of Chevrolet truck sites that GM routinely invalidated warranty work when they detect modifications using systems like Cobb.

I took a look at the Cobb device for Ascent ... looks like their pitch is with ecm tables to increase hp using 93 octane ... not sure the 87 system makes sense. Sure, with boost reset and more resistant detonation, more power.

Given this, if I were Subaru, I would check the data anytime someone presented with an engine issue that related.
 

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Clearly, the Cobb system isn't for you,... ;)
 

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Jim,

I don’t think I would modify a warrantied car, but might consider once out of warranty.

I hope Subaru is getting the feedback that some believe an after market company has improved their engine management systems, and get to work evaluating these products to be able to fix those things inside Subaru.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Jim,

I don’t think I would modify a warrantied car, but might consider once out of warranty.

I hope Subaru is getting the feedback that some believe an after market company has improved their engine management systems, and get to work evaluating these products to be able to fix those things inside Subaru.
Good advice Jim. What about hooking up one of those diagnostic Scan Tools, like maybe resetting the throttle body or resetting any of the available reset functions on a diagnostic scanner for that matter.

Do you think that the use of such a diagnostic tool would be grounds to invalidate a warranty?

Do these diagnostic scanners leave their footprints in the ECM?
 

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Jim,

I don’t think I would modify a warrantied car, but might consider once out of warranty.

I hope Subaru is getting the feedback that some believe an after market company has improved their engine management systems, and get to work evaluating these products to be able to fix those things inside Subaru.
You have to consider that the number of folks who look for a solution like Cobb is pretty limited compared to the overall market for a given vehicle. Enthusiasts, in other words, and they are less likely to worry about the warranty aspects anyway. Subaru tunes for the overall market. Cobb tunes for the individual enthusiast.
 

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In an Ascent, I’m not certain what the problem is one is attempting to solve. Racing or spending bucks to be cool in a WRX or Crosstrek, maybe 😀

Below are the two sets of data for 93 and 87 octane solutions. If one wants to buy 93 octane fuel, then certainly one will feel more power - mostly from more boost, then timing to take advantage of the octane. At 87 octane it seems pretty meh. Max gains are noted at 4400 rpm, and 3800 rpm (hp and torque) ... seems a bit out of the normally used power band?

These sorts of increases on a 4600 pound plus 400 pounds (two people) seems a bit underwhelming, and this not even considering the potential concern of voiding the warranty. Loaded up with six people and stuff - I had three couples in mine two days ago - figure 1050 pounds ... so, right at max of 6050?

A final note relates to this statement from Cobb’s website:

“EMISSIONS
This part is in the process of external testing with the EO process ongoing.

NOT LEGAL FOR SALE OR USE IN CALIFORNIA ON ANY EMISSION CONTROLLED MOTOR VEHICLE.

While we believe that that these parts comply with EPA’s Anti-Tampering Policy we have not completed the testing/CARB EO submission process.”

I think everyone should do what they want, assuming they understand what they are buying, but on an Ascent, it seems somewhat unnecessary since it performs so well, already.

Just one person’s opinion.

13091
13092
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In an Ascent, I’m not certain what the problem is one is attempting to solve.
Why assume there's any kind of "problem". There are many folks who like to do performance modifications on vehicles and some of them own Ascents. This is a perfectly normal and common activity, although less of an avocation than "back in the day" when working on vehicles was a lot more prevalent.
 

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Jim,

Was just following this from your last post - “You have to consider that the number of folks who look for a solution like Cobb...”
 

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Jim,

Was just following this from your last post - “You have to consider that the number of folks who look for a solution like Cobb...”
Yes, the number is limited to enthusiasts as I noted. I guess you could say that wanting more power/performance might be a problem to solve, but I see it more as an opportunity for folks who enjoy tinkering to have some fun.

Just to be clear, I'm not one of them. I don't tinker on vehicles. But over my lifetime, I've known a lot of folks who do.
 

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In an Ascent, I’m not certain what the problem is one is attempting to solve. Racing or spending bucks to be cool in a WRX or Crosstrek, maybe 😀

Below are the two sets of data for 93 and 87 octane solutions. If one wants to buy 93 octane fuel, then certainly one will feel more power - mostly from more boost, then timing to take advantage of the octane. At 87 octane it seems pretty meh. Max gains are noted at 4400 rpm, and 3800 rpm (hp and torque) ... seems a bit out of the normally used power band?

These sorts of increases on a 4600 pound plus 400 pounds (two people) seems a bit underwhelming, and this not even considering the potential concern of voiding the warranty. Loaded up with six people and stuff - I had three couples in mine two days ago - figure 1050 pounds ... so, right at max of 6050?
So, here's the trick....

It's much less about the peak numbers, and more about the area-under-the-curve.

This, and the un-graphed drivability improvements that typically come from even "OTS" (Off the Shelf") tuning. Power delivery tends to be smoother, and in some cases the factory glitches in vehicle behavior that the more attuned among us notice are either minimized or eliminated.

I do believe that your question of "what's there to solve" is a very valid one, and I am among those who think that folks are barking up the wrong tree if they're looking for a 0-60 or even quarter-mile sprinter, when getting the Ascent. The truth is that the Ascent is really not even quick, much less fast. To me, it's the concession made to a 3-row family hauler....well, at least at this price-range...I could pay Audi or Tesla prices, but my wife would have me sleeping in the car, and my daughter would wonder if I'd been skimming off her college fund. :LOL:

That said, for some, even those few tenths makes them feel better about the mid-range 3-row SUV that they're driving. Alternatively, for yet others, it's about knowing that you now/still belong to that "tuner" clique. It's kinda like that strut tower brace or aftermarket air-filter element or a fancy set of slotted rotors and "high performance brake pads." It may help....a little, but oftentimes not in the context that the end user thought it would. ;)

For yet others, they may be seeking that bit of real-world mprovement in terms of drivability. Force-fed Subarus of a certain vintage were noted to have a "stutter/studder," and this was very successfully addressed by aftermarket/end-user tuning. Even today, drivers still complain of non-linear throttle response and at times even audible knocking. Someone who took the time to really look at the fueling, timing, etc. -and who doesn't have to play to the constraints that the OE has to abide by- really can make noticeable real-world differences, here.

Laying it out on the table, no, I'm not an AccessPORT user on the Ascent. And no, I'm no longer even remotely in the "tuning" community (it's been over a decade since I last participated in any club events). I actually didn't even have an AccessPORT when I was active in the tuning community - I had a Tactrix cable and RomRaider, or in the case of my '05 LGT (yes, it was a 5MT), I used the ECUTek interface. I have no dog in this fight, I'm not vested in anything.

I let go of my LGT just before when I had planned to take it to "Stage III." A bigger turbo and an FMIC were calling me, but life took a turn, and I ended up in a '13 Tribeca in stead. :p ECUTek tuned by Tim Bailey of PDXT, my LGT had been taken to as far as "Stage II" could go - and while absolute gains weren't crazy (on Dave Buschur's heartbreaker Mustang, it pulled just a few horses over a factory STi of the same vintage, but trounced it in terms of torque, at nearly +50), driving it, it was a totally different animal, and it really was that area-under-the-curve that changed the entire way the vehicle drove.

Even though I/we currently lease, I do still get the bug to wrench. I can usually satisfy it by just doing all of my maintenance on both of our family's Subaru's. The wifey's currently on '19 WRX. The lease on my '19 Touring is up in November, and I'm likely to end up in a '21 or '22 Touring while she'll likely stick with another WRX (and my daughter will be joining the fold, too, with her first car on the horizon). I confess that I do watch these threads and wonder what a "Stage II" Ascent would be like, and whether if it would really be able to punch above its weight a bit, given the competition. I wonder if it'll be "quick," at least. :)

As for what the OP cite and items like this - Magnum Tuning Dyno-Boost? ?

Absolutely not worth the money. It would be more productive to pray for divine intervention. :ROFLMAO:

But I can see where the attraction of the AccessPORT, even with just "Stage I" being offered, would pose for a select few.

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Good advice Jim. What about hooking up one of those diagnostic Scan Tools, like maybe resetting the throttle body or resetting any of the available reset functions on a diagnostic scanner for that matter.

Do you think that the use of such a diagnostic tool would be grounds to invalidate a warranty?

Do these diagnostic scanners leave their footprints in the ECM?
So, the trick is that there's really not a "voiding the warranty."

Subaru can refute the warranty claim (of a specific component of the vehicle) based on the technician's report of tampering or modification (to that specific component or something that otherwise directly caused the breakage/malfunction of what you are trying to claim) - and towards that, yes, there is a risk -however slight- that if you do hook up even one of these OBD-II "scan-tools" and it somehow just manages (however infinitesimally unlikely) to brick your ECU, well, that could possibly make it so that your claim for a replacement ECU is denied.

And here's where the buck really stops: are you willing to take that chance? There is no right or wrong answer, here: the person asking the question is usually at least of legal age to drive...and in some cases may even be the one paying for the vehicle, so it's time to just Cowboy/Cowgirl-Up, and make a choice. ;)

The only thing that anyone can really say is that the dealership service personnel (and sometimes management's) attitude towards tuning can drastically affect your outcome, should you decide to modify. Understand that this, in the real world, is where the biggest portion of your battle is won or lost. For those with "mod-unfriendly" dealerships, it's an uphill battle from-the-git. For those who are lucky enough to have "mod-friendly" dealerships? The world is your oyster.

I've had friends whose dealerships threaten to "void the warranty" (which, again, they cannot do, legally speaking) if they just wanted to change the engine oil. I also have had the personal experience of a dealership service manager ask me if I'd like him to warranty my factory clutch for the install of the aftermarket clutch that I provided them with. This is the difference, right off the bat (oh, and I'm a "pay to play" type, so no, I declined that very enticing offer).
 

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I'm hoping that more tuners and enthusiasts who self-tune will eventually come to populate our ranks. It'll be interesting to see what folks are able to cook-up. :)

There's already a good off-roading/overlanding and RV/towing contingent here -as we would expect of this type of vehicle- but I'm hoping that those who want to head the other way in terms of ride-height and sidewall aspect-ratio will also come here in-earnest, soon!
 

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Was considering what I would change today .... am in Colorado with hills, mountains, switchbacks, curves everywhere - with six in the car ... I think stiffer springs and shocks would be an improvement. No issues on interstates, but there is a lot of wallowing when stressed. No issues with power for a people hauler.

A corollary to the hp and torque tradeoffs, right?
 

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Great conversation here. For us the prime objective of the accessport for the Ascent was smoother power. The factory tune at neighborhood speeds and routine acceleration to the 45-50 mph range was lack luster, CVT unnecessarily jerky and throttle response too muted. We really like, meaning my wife and I (it's her car) how the ascent drives on the 87 tune. We planned from the start to do the mod as we had similar opinion about the Forester we replaced (but due to normally aspirated engine we never bothered to modify). It's not for everyone but we love it.

Now the accessport on our Speed3 is for performance. I have the car fully stage 2 and have had for 100k miles.

I am the guy that breaks in a car for 2-3k miles and then does my mods and begins tuning - never to stop tinkering. I do all hard duty cycle maintenance. I strive to be smart about the physical mods, doing the preventative stuff first (better gaskets, oil catch can, fuel pump internals, etc) and then power producing mods for air flow and fuel. That way it's safe fun. Tweak timing and boost/load til you get knock at open loop throttle then dial back in minute increments to find the threshold. Anyway, the ascent is just the off-the-shelf map from Cobb so altogether pretty boring from a tweaker perspective.
 

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Was considering what I would change today .... am in Colorado with hills, mountains, switchbacks, curves everywhere - with six in the car ... I think stiffer springs and shocks would be an improvement. No issues on interstates, but there is a lot of wallowing when stressed. No issues with power for a people hauler.
^ So here's the real-world kick for that....

....How much is possible, before the overall ride gets too rough for those same passengers?

A personal example comes from when my daughter was a toddler: she rode most of the time in that LGT that I messed with, and with a much "sportier" suspension overall, it had much less roll and pitch. It was eventually to the point where, er...less enthused? :ROFLMAO: passengers would comment on how it picked up all the imperfections in our Rust-Belt roads here in NE-Ohio, but with her being so young, she didn't have a frame-of-reference. Instead, when my wife went from her '05 WRX lease into her '09 FXT, my daughter initially got quite carsick when she first swapped between the vehicles.

Similarly, how much reduction in roll is possible with the vehicle's center-of-gravity, and how much are owners willing to sacrifice in terms of tire life and expense, versus switching out that one single component which most affects the vehicle's on-road behavior?

For the former, a spirited drive or ride in a Tesla (or other similar performance-oriented EV) demonstrates the physical advantages of putting all that mass down-low. Framed within the context of Subarus, for those who paralleled their drives in the BL-chassis Legacy sedan versus the higher-riding Outback sedan of the same generation, this was also apparent.

As for tires, while there's quite a bit of compliance engineered into the factory-OE setup there alone, a more visceral and more often-heard/read complaint seems to arise after owners switch to (often minus-fitment) winter tires, when they then mention that they "don't like how the softer, higher-sidewall and taller tread-block tires seem to roll-over" versus their OE All-Seasons. As a winter-tire enthusiast, I quite-often find myself reminding folks the reasons for which they purchased winter tires - reminding them that it wasn't ostensibly so they could tackle Nürburgring with it. :p Taken to extremes, we have to remember that for high-performance vehicles, the OE's focus on their "summer tires" often forsake both longevity as well as NVH in-trade for the very least a more engaging on-road feel, if not outright more capabilities on-track (here, it's worth understanding that OE tire-makers literally employ professional drivers who then are trained by both them and individual car-makers to test-and-tune such specialized ("Spec") tire offerings).

As you noted, there's always trade-offs. (y)
 

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Was considering what I would change today .... am in Colorado with hills, mountains, switchbacks, curves everywhere - with six in the car ... I think stiffer springs and shocks would be an improvement. No issues on interstates, but there is a lot of wallowing when stressed. No issues with power for a people hauler.

A corollary to the hp and torque tradeoffs, right?
I'd love to see the suspension tightened up a little bit. It definitely leaves something to be desired in those conditions you mention.
 
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