East Coast Customs
Phone (07) 3265 4880Fax (07) 3865 4883

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Contents:

Why choose East Coast Customs to modify your car?

I want to go faster? Where do I start?

So what does ECU remapping do?

Who should remap?

What are the hidden costs or drawbacks?

Why is having a full remap a better option than getting a plug-in tuning box?

What is the difference between a piggy-back ecu, a stand alone ecu, and an ecu remap?

Which is better suited to my car?

Will modifications void my warranty?

Can the car be put back to standard tune or condition?

Should I tell my insurance company?

Will my fuel consumption increase after an upgrade?

Will the life span of my engine be reduced?

What is MAF vs MAFLESS? Which one is better for me?

Is forced induction safe for my engine?

What is the best camshaft for my car?

Do I need a stall converter?

What is the best turbo for my car?

Why are your quotes often VASTLY different from your competitors?

My mates car has the same setup – why does his make more / drive differently?

When I asked you for a quote, why the 20 questions?

How often should I service my car?

What is a carbon clean, and should I get one?

Do I need to run synthetic oils?

Do I need to run premium 98 octane fuel?

I read on the internet that my car should make this? Why doesn’t it?

What tyres should I run ?

Should I run a race fuel, or E85?

What is a “flex fuel” vehicle?

Do I need to upgrade my clutch?

Do I need to upgrade or change my diff gears?

Genuine vs Aftermarket parts?

Are these modifications worth it?

How far will you push my car on the dyno?

How often should I tune my car?

Power FC vs Nistune?

What are the best injectors for my car?

Manual vs electronic boost control?

Why does my car make more power on other dynos?

What to look for in a good tuner?

Do you work on normal cars also?

Do you do normal exhaust repairs / muffler repairs?Can you do 4WD / AWD applications?

Can you do 4WD / AWD applications?

Can I pay off my bill?

Can I supply my own parts?

Do you work on European vehicles?

Do you work on Diesel powered vehicles?

Do you do custom conversions?

Do you sell bodykits?

Do you sell second hand tyres?

Do you sell second hand parts?

Can I use a second hand part?

Can I keep my old parts?

Can I work on my own car at your shop?

Do you sponsor vehicles?

Can I watch my car on the dyno?

Can I watch you work on my car?

Why choose East Coast Customs to modify your car?

East Coast Customs is not just another “slash and burn” performance workshop – modify the car, take with your money, and send you out the door. We are genuinely performance car enthusiasts who truly care about the outcome that you desire, and more importantly, care about the overall experience you receive whilst dealing with us. We will go out of our way, over and above the loftiest of expectations, to ensure you experience with us is nothing short of extraordinary.

Results, knowledge, expertise, and high levels of skill aside, we believe our customer service, after sales support, and customer “experience” is second to none in the industry – just ask your friends, do some research about us for yourself. Still not quite sure? Come in and see us and make up your mind for yourself – I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

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I want to go faster? Where do I start?

This is a fairly open question but one that we receive often. Regardless of engine, make, model or type of induction, the basic premises and principles of an engine remain the same – if we can increase the engines ability to breathe, we increase the engines efficiency, and increase the power / torque output.

In the simplest form, this means we increase the amount of air coming in (intake mods) and in turn the air coming out (exhaust mods) of the engine via modification. Following this, we ideally custom tune the engine for optimum running conditions.

In saying that, here at East Coast Customs we have a slightly different approach to many other shops – our approach entails ensuring reliability. Before diving into any major performance modifications, we suggest ensuring the vehicles engine and support systems are up to the task. This can be done by the customer, or we can happily do this for you. Once we are confident that everything else is up to the task, we can then proceed.

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So what does ECU remapping do?

ECU remapping is a long and complex topic – however, I will try to keep things as simple as possible for now. Many of these questions can be answered in our why dyno section – http://eccustoms.wpengine.com/dyno-tuning/

To begin, when a manufacturer develops a map for an engine or vehicle, they build into it an extremely large margin of error to cope with a wide variety of conditions, as well as levels of user error and / or neglect. The bottom line – manufacturers do not want people breaking down, suffering premature parts failures, or a reputation for uneconomical or unreliable cars.

In combination with this, each and every car that leaves the production line is different – some make less lesser numbers, some exceed manufacturer specifications, some last forever, others don’t survive their first few months on the road. The reasons for these changes are so varied and a whole new discussion for another time – but what must be remembered here is that as part of the manufacturing process, all vehicles of the same make and model receive the same ‘generic map’ – a map that has been developed with a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy, which means that from the day the car rolls off the production line, there are improvements to be made simply by tuning the vehicle on its merits.

Believe it or not, manufacturers quite often use nothing more than a few of the most basic map changes to differ power levels from entry to higher performance models – I could list a few very well known ones here, but shall choose anonymity for now.

ECU remapping is when we use this generic map that the manufacturer has provided us, and improve on it in the areas where the specific vehicle can gain some benefit. This usually comes in the way of optimizing ignition timing, fuelling, throttle body control, transmission control, and torque management strategies. This does not add any extra unreliability into the equation, as all changes are carefully measured and programmed specifically for each vehicle – in a lot of cases, these remaps can ADD reliability to your vehicle.

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Who should remap?

An ecu remap has the potential to provide gains for everyone – some cars are more highly strung from the factory and hence see fewer improvements, whilst others can see absolutely phenomenal gains from nothing more than correct tuning of the engine (upwards of 50 rwkw). In saying that, anyone who has added any performance upgrade parts to their engine should most certainly consider a remap in order to get the maximum gains from their added modifications, as well as to ensure safe and reliable operation by dialing in the engine to suit the new additions.

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What are the hidden costs or drawbacks?

Technically, there are none. However, in reality there are a few considerations we suggest you at address.

Firstly, you will need to be prepared to maintain the car properly. Whilst vehicle maintenance is important all the time, once you start modifying your car for increased performance, you must realize that correct maintenance takes on the utmost of importance.

Secondly, you must be prepared to accept the fact that with increased performance there is a chance that there will be increased strain on engine components. Whilst we will always outline all risks and chances of damage, in some circumstances the increased power will require the use of higher octane fuels, increased servicing, or other preventative measures.

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Why is having a full remap a better option than getting a plug-in tuning box?

To a degree, the plug in box is no different to the ‘one size fits all’ philosophy from the manufacturer. Where these are fraught with danger however is two fold. Firstly, attempting to increase vehicle performance through engine management tuning, no two cars should ever have a blanket philosophy to tuning thrown at them – the manufacturer can get away with it to an extent, being that their intentions are rather different from the “plug in box” manufacturer (reliability vs performance). Too many times we have seen on the dyno a “plug in tune” that has been loaded into a vehicle, and the mapping so horrifically wrong that severe engine damage had the potential to occur if not caught earlier. Just because a certain tweak to mapping will provide a safe performance increase for one vehicle, doesn’t mean it will behave the same in another – hence why we suggest custom tuning for your vehicle – the ability to tune YOUR vehicle.

Secondly, the methods in which some of the “plug in” boxes go about making their desired changes are often crude at best. They generally have a tendency to try and “fool” the ecu into changing certain parameters in an attempt to increase performance – for example, some units simply “bend” or manipulate the measured air flow signals coming into the engine, fooling the ecu into believing more air has been consumed, and hence delivering more fuel. Whilst at times this may give the desired result of “more fuel”, it is most certainly not the correct way to achieve this, and in turn can have dire consequences for all other systems in the vehicle that are also dependent upon the measured (often falsely) conditions.

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What is the difference between a piggy-back ecu, a stand alone ecu, and an ecu remap?

Aftermarket stand-alone ecu’s are just that – a direct replacement for the factory unit, and completely take over all control functions of the old ecu. Sometimes these units are a direct plug in replacement option, whereas other times they may require a full custom rewire of the vehicle’s engine harness. Generally, but not In all cases, these units are more powerful, faster, and provide the user with almost infinite adjustability combined with increased inputs and outputs. Sometimes the manufacturer may provide some form of ‘base map’ for the vehicle, but generally these ecu’s are completely reconfigured from head to toe.

An ecu remap on the other hand, involves us tuning the manufacturers factory ecu hardware. Different platforms do it via different methods (sometimes we must physically solder and de-solder new hardware to the pcm in order to gain access, whilst other times we can read and program directly to the pcm via specialty tuner interface devices. From here, we are actually modifying the factory mapping and parameters, rather than completely devising new ones from scratch. We assess the factory mapping, improve on the areas which we can see potential gains, and leave the other factory protocols in place.

Piggy-back ecu’s connect between your existing factory ECU and the engine sensor inputs and outputs. Different makes and models all go about their business in different ways, but the essence of the piggy back is a ‘combined’ approach between a stand alone or a remap – we can modify certain parameters that we wish or have access too, but can leave untouched the factory areas that are already optimal. It must be noted however, that as a rule of thumb, piggy-back’s quite often fall into the same trap as mentioned earlier in regards to the method in which they make their desired changes.

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Which is better suited to my car?

The question as to what option is best for your car cannot be answered here. Each and every car, engine and setup is unique in its own respects, with different vehicle owners also having different circumstances, goals, budgets and expectations etc. In saying that, if you are contemplating one of the aforementioned upgrades, please give us a call and we can go through all the pros and cons distinctively applicable to your individual needs and work out which one is right for you.

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Will modifications void my warranty?

This is a topic that often comes up, and the short answer is “they may have the potential to”.

Different manufacturers have different warranty protocols and procedures so to give a proverbial yes or no at this point would be misleading.

What we can tell you however, is what we have come across in our dealings with the manufacturers on a day in day out basis. Essentially, the manufacturer will warrant a product, component, or part against manufacturer defaults – if you have a legitimate issue with your exhaust, the manufacturer is obliged to replace it, assuming all other circumstances are in line. If you are going to replace your exhaust with an aftermarket option, then obviously the manufacturer is not obliged to warrant a separate product. The product we fit for you however, will come with its own manufacturer warranty, so one is covered under that basis.

Where the grey area arises is when there may be a claim where the cause of the damage is unknown, or a little less clear-cut. For example, for a manufacturer to deny a warranty claim on an engine failure due to the fitment of an exhaust system, the manufacturer must prove that the exhaust has directly attributed to the component failure – it is illegal for them to do otherwise. They cannot deny a warranty claim on an engine on he grounds of you fitting aftermarket suspension. Make sense? However, if the fitment of the aftermarket part has in some way contributed to the failure, whether it be as a result of extra undue stress on components or incompatibility issues, then there is a chance the manufacturer will be able to deny a warranty claim.

The one thing to keep in mind here is that mechanics, manufacturers, service centres and the likes are all very intelligent – we generally find the main cause of component failures to be sheer user error / mistreatment. Component autopsy generally never lies, and if one blows up their engine being an idiot, the evidence will be there in black and white for the inspector. Regardless of whether you have an aftermarket component fitted or your car is dead standard – your claim will be voided. On a rare occasion, component failure will result from legitimate reasons relating to ones modifications – some engines were just not designed to tolerate some of the incredible gains in power and torque that are achievable via modification. This situation is not a manufacturer fault, and will also likely result in a voided claim. The key here is to be intelligent regarding the chosen modifications and knowing where the boundaries lie (and this where we can help you).

The bottom line to the situation is to be as best informed, educated, and aware of the potential consequences. We have yet to have a customer denied a legitimate warranty claim from a manufacturer on the basis of modifications completed by us. We even regularly perform “pre delivery” modifications on brand new vehicles direct for dealerships and customers, and these vehicles are still sold with a manufacturer full warranty. The key is being as best informed as possible – if you have any further questions, give us a call and I will be happy to explain in further detail.

One final addendum – we will soon be implementing our own in house warranty and protection programs, which are designed to give you the consumer, the added protection knowing that if a manufacturer warranty claim is denied, you may very well still be covered under the terms and conditions of our own specific warranty protection package tailor made for modified vehicles. Stay tuned for more details on this one shortly.

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Can the car be put back to standard tune or condition?

Dependent on circumstance – if a vehicle has just had a custom ecu remap completed, the standard file can be reprogrammed at any stage – free of charge. Certain ecu packages even give the user themselves the ability to return the tune in their vehicle ‘back to stock’ in a matter of minutes.

However, if the vehicle’s level of modification is a little more involved, there may be extra work required before a vehicle could be returned to a state of factory tune – for example – if a vehicle has been fitted with larger injectors, these would have to also be removed and replaced with the factory units before flashing the vehicle back to stock. Any and all of this is possible at all levels of modification, however the more heavily modified vehicles may require slightly more effort which may incur an extra charge.

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Should I tell my insurance company?

The responsible answer here is yes – whilst many modifications may be completely undetectable, it would be a shame to have an insurance claim denied for lack of disclosure.

These days, many insurance companies will allow most modifications as long as they are disclosed upon completion. This is of course, dependent upon your insurer and your policy – confirm what is and isn’t allowed in YOUR policy and circumstances, and make the decision from there.

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Will my fuel consumption increase after an upgrade?

Dependent on the specific upgrades chosen. Naturally, if we were to take one’s 6.0L engine, stroke it out to 7.0L and develop a race car package and tune for a customer, there is a very high probability that it will in fact consume more fuel.

However, in the majority of circumstances, we actually see significant increases in fuel economy to go hand in hand with outstanding performance gains. When a vehicle makes increased power, it then requires less effort or input from the driver to propel the vehicle at a certain speed,than it did previously. With a more powerful and efficient engine, we can achieve the same desired results as previously (eg. accelerating a vehicle to 60 kmh) with less effort, hence the increase in economy. To add to this, we are also able to tailor specific fuel economy maps if desired, as well as simply improving on the often sub-standard factory mapping with which the vehicle currently reads.

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Will the life span of my engine be reduced?

If modifications are performed correctly, within our guidelines and following our suggestions, then not absolutely not at all – we quite often EXTEND the life span of the engine due to careful, individual, and specific tuning for the circumstances at hand – this in fact increases reliability.

We are extremely experienced in knowing the limits of how far different engines and packages can be pushed, and what will and wont cause a detrimental effect on related components. Whilst there are many incidences of vehicles being “over tuned” or pushed to hard in this industry, all modifications performed by our team will only be completed once you the customer, is completely aware of any and all of the resulting effects of modification.

If something has the potential to cause a problem, we will be the first to address this issue with you, and then the appropriate decisions can be made from there.

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What is MAF vs MAFLESS? Which one is better for me?

This is a very common question that we get here at East Coast Customs, so we will do our best to answer it without going into a hour-long diatribe.

Firstly, the MAF is a vehicles Mass Air Flow meter (also commonly referred to as an AFM or Air Flow Meter) – this is a sensor that provides feedback to the engine control unit (ecu) to indicate the volume of air being consumed by the engine. Generally, from this feedback, the main source of engine ‘load’ can be determined and subsequent calculations for fuel, timing and countless other variables can be manipulated. MAF simply refers to tuning a vehicle that still retains its MAF meter. Conversely, MAFLESS refers to tuning a vehicle in which the MAF has been removed.

Why would someone remove the MAF you ask? In certain circumstances, once a vehicle has been modified, it may have the capacity to consume more air than the MAF sensor is capable of accurately reading. When this situation arises, the ecu is provided with inaccurate information to determine load, and hence, many resulting calculations suffer and our ability to derive an optimal state of tune is compromised (often so severely to the point that sever engine damage can occur). One may also remove the MAF if the physical size of the unit becomes a restriction to airflow into the engine. Once one reaches this point, there are generally two options; Firstly, one can upgrade to a different MAF sensor that has the ability to accurately measure and / or support the air flow requirements of the engine, or alternatively, one may look towards removing the MAF and adopting a different strategy for the ecu to calculate and measure load and airflow – this is normally achieved by referencing manifold absolute pressure in relation to rpm to determine load.

Depending on the vehicle / engine setup we are working on this may be done in different ways. When opting down this path, some vehicles are required to change over to a full stand-alone engine management system to do this job correctly. Some vehicles have the luxury of being able to support MAFLESS tuning in factory form, some run a somewhat maf and mafless system concurrently, whilst others require us to make some modifications to the ecu and software to support this method of tuning.

The question as to which one is ‘better’ is a tough one though, as it is fairly subjective and no two individual circumstances are the same. So rather than say which one is ‘better’, I will simply list some of the pros and cons, and when it comes to deciding what is ‘better’ for your car – give us a call!

In favour of the MAF, there is a lot to be said for not over complicating things. If the factory ecu was designed to measure and calculate load via the MAF, then it makes a lot of sense to retain the MAF in order to keep things working the way they should. As the old saying goes, ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat’, and whilst this is true, if you can do it via the ‘technically correct’ way, or the way it was intended, then this is invariably the path of choice. Secondly, removal of the MAF is technically illegal, in the sense that it is an obvious flag to someone that knows what they are looking for, to indicate a defective vehicle that is running in a somewhat form of altered emissions output from factory conditions – depending on location, differing consequences may apply.

Where some of the confusion I believe stems from, is that many people remove the MAF unnecessarily. If the MAF is still completing its job efficiently, then the concept of removal must be based upon a few other factors.

Luckily, in favour of the MAFLESS brigade, there exist many amazing options that allow MAFLESS tuning that also come with a whole bunch of extra features and benefits. If this means changing to a stand-alone unit, with it comes all the extra features and functionality (if required). If this means changing to a different operating system in the factory pcm, it also brings with it some other impressive features that are not available when retaining the MAF. These differ car to car and setup to setup so it would be pointless to elaborate now – but I think the point is clear that unless there are other reasons involved, whether it be maxing out the old MAF, or wanting the extra features available in some of the MAFLESS options, removing the MAF for the sake of removing the MAF is pointless. If the removal is warranted, in the case of desire for extra features, and functionality, size or flow restrictions, or incompatibility with the setup (eg – large camshaft vehicles with lots of overlap at idle and low rpm conditions or will provide false MAF readings compromising the state of tune and drivability in the affected areas).

So, if you’re contemplating taking the next step into a custom tune with your vehicle, hopefully this will help at least clarify some of information involved. As I stated earlier, every setup is unique and ideally, give us a call and we can discuss in some depth exactly what they best option for your individual setup, goals and needs are to ensure optimal results and satisfaction.

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Is forced induction safe for my engine?

This is another common one we get, which once again the answer is very much “how long is a piece of string?”

Every setup, every engine, every customer, every build is different, and adding forced induction (FI) to a setup must be evaluated on its individual merits.

I feel a brief explanation of FI is necessary here – the term ‘forced induction’ refers to a way of artificially ‘forcing’ more air into an engine than what would be available in naturally aspirated format (NA). There are many differing methods of FI, and once again, going over the details of each one right now is not practical – what does remain the same is the concept that in FI applications, we are ‘compressing’ the air before it arrives in the engines cylinder for combustion. By compressing the air, we can squeeze a greater volume of air into the same space or over the same time. This extra air then provides us the foundation to then enter combustion and increase power output.

The biggest factor that must be considered with FI, is that tremendous heat is a byproduct of the compression. Compressed air is much hotter than the cool, dense air, our engine are normally ingesting. With this extra heat comes associated risk factors, such as increasing the chance of detonation, pre ignition, or simply increasing the heat in the combustion chamber to a level where component failure is a possibility for any large number of reasons. Factory FI engines generally run a significantly lower compression ratio to compensate for the extra heat generated from compressed air, so when adding FI to an engine, this is one thing that must be considered. If the engine is a fairly high compression engine from factory, the extra heat from the addition of FI may cause issues and lead to component failure.

Support system upgrades are generally also required to ensure the addition of FI is “safe” –drivelines, fuel delivery, intercooling and many other systems may / should need to be appropriately upgraded in order to ensure optimal reliability.

Whether or not it is “safe” for ones engines is dependent on an infinite number of variables, but the short answer is – if all things are appropriately considered, then absolutely adding FI to an engine is a safe and reliable way of exponentially increasing power output. For what its worth, the addition and upgrading of FI to vehicles has been one of our main areas of expertise for many years now, so if you are contemplating the move, make sure you give us a call at the shop so we can thoroughly go through all the other options and information that must be considered to work out whether FI is right for you.

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What is the best camshaft for my car?

I feel like I am getting a bit repetitive here, but I will say it again – the “best” camshaft, or “best” any upgrade for that matter, is such a subjective term that I can not give a definitive answer whilst writing this post. What is “best” for one person and their desires may literally be the “worst” for another.

There are so many factors that must be considered when helping a customer choose the right camshaft that we generally like to spend a significant amount of time with the customer to thoroughly explain all aspects and information to ensure ensure 100% satisfaction in their decision.

A few things that must be considered are;

  • is the car a daily driver?
  • Auto or manual?
  • Do you have diff gears?
  • What type of idle are you chasing?
  • How much power would you like to make?
  • Are you prepared to spend extra $$ on supporting mods?
  • Are you chasing low down torque or top end power?
  • Considering FI in the future?
  • Is fuel economy a concern?
  • Is low down drivability a concern?

Perhaps the biggest thing to remember or considering when choosing a camshaft is that every choice of a camshaft is a compromise – no one camshaft will do everything perfectly.. A good NA cam is not perfect for FI and vice versa, a giant cam that makes lots of torque higher in the rpm range will compromise power and drivability at the lower end of the scale. Something with a big, lumpy ‘cammed’ idle, is going to be run slightly richer down low. The list of compromises goes on, and I think the best advice I could bestow is to find the cam that ticks ‘most’ of your boxes – but you must also be realistic in what one expects. Think long and hard about what you want to achieve from your camshaft upgrade and possibly also towards future modifications, weigh up the options and make the most informed decision you can. We have fitted, tuned and used almost every cam available, and are more than happy to do whatever we can to help you to make the right decision come cam time to ensure the ECC satisfaction guarantee.

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Do I need a stall converter?

Whilst certain occasions will demand the fitment of a ‘higher stall’ converter, whether or not you NEED one is a personal decision. Almost any auto vehicle, even those with giant camshafts, could get away without upgrading the stall converter, but the power, speed, drivability, and safety on braking etc of the vehicle would be severely compromised and far from optimal.

The fact of the matter is that if it is time slips and going as fast as you possibly can that you desire, then an appropriately matched stall converter to your setup is the optimal way to do it. In saying this, if it is numbers on a the dyno that you care about, putting a race converter in your car, whilst inevitably making the car faster, will output far less impressive figures on a chassis dyno compared to a vehicle with a standard stall due to the principles of how the torque multiplication from the converter works with the dyno.

An appropriately matched converter for a vehicle 100% makes the vehicle infinitely better to drive – choosing the size of the stall is something that we can assist with, once again, after doing some investigation into your desired outcome.

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What is the best turbo for my car?

These questions just keep coming don’t they?

The “best” turbo for ones car, is once again, as subjective and individual as each customer that we speak to. The advice we CAN give, is that before choosing, one must seriously weigh up expected outcomes, budget, etc and ask themselves the appropriate questions to ensure a smart decision is made.

Once again, a few of the more obvious questions to ask yourself are;

  • How much boost are you planning to run?
  • How much power do you want to make?
  • Can your motor handle it?
  • Do you have the appropriate support systems?
  • How much do you want to spend?

One piece of advice I think we can give though is be realistic about how far or hard you are prepared to push the vehicle and / or the support systems in place? Far to often, we see a customer with a grossly mismatched turbocharger to the rest of the vehicle, which always finishes with underwhelming results.

Making sure the turbocharger is going to be operating efficiently is the key factor – there is no point in running a turbocharger that is only efficient at 25 + psi, when you are only prepared to run 14 psi. Conversely, if your trying to run large amounts of boost, ensure your turbocharger is up to the task, otherwise all one is doing is creating heat and damage. Size your turbocharger in accordance with your realistic short and long term goals and you will make the right choice – for the nitty gritty information and information on experience with different setups, give us a call and we can tell you everything you need to know – but be realistic about your direction for the setup, and you are well on your way to choosing the “best” turbo for your car.

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Why are your quotes often VASTLY different from your competitors?

I believe that we sometimes present a vastly different quote from our competitors for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, our business is based upon a foundation of being completely honest with our customers, providing levels of work quality and customer service second to none, at a fair and reasonable price point, and then relying on repeat and referral business from our satisfied customers. This has been the cornerstone of our shop since the day our doors first opened in 2005 and is based upon ensuring undivided customer satisfaction.

What this creates has a tendency to create however, is a very upfront and ‘to the point’ approach to quoting and dealing with our customers. Many of our competitors thrive on the “quote them low, charge them high” system of sales, which ensures high volume but a lack of repeat business due to customers feeling like they have had the wool pulled over their eyes as such. When we do our estimations and quoting, we believe in quoting out for the most realistic scenario, and depending on the job, perhaps even including an extra margin for unforeseeables, which can be an unfortunate part of the performance automotive industry. We would rather provide our potential customers with a realistic estimation of costs based upon countless years of experience at the top of this industry, and be able to deliver a completed job at a final total potentially sub-quote value, than to deliver an invoice to a customer who is potentially not prepared for the final total due to less than honest estimating or “sales” tactics.

It is this attitude that I believe is evident quite clearly when dealing with customers either in person, on the phone or via email – that we wish to ensure that absolutely all information is provided and all questions asked and answered as part of the estimation process.

We are also firm believers in ensuring reliability in our customers cars, and will happily advise potential customers that perhaps one should delay their booking slightly so as to ensure the appropriate funds are available to ensure no corners are cut or parts left out in an attempt to cost cut to book a job – corner cutting is what leads to faults, and faults lead to unsatisfied customers – which is the opposite of what we as a company are trying to achieve – building fast, reliable cars for our satisfied customer. There are many times where a competitors quote can be easily matched or beaten, however, our experience suggests that what has been offered is far from an intelligent or honest estimation – one based more in securing the job than ensuring a satisfied customer.

If one does ever find one of our quotes or price points vastly different from a competitor, please ensure you let us know so we can have the opportunity to explain all the relevant facts. At the end of the day, we are here to provide a service our customers – and if a customer only wants / can only afford to do it an alternative method, then that is absolutely fine and we will complete the job to the same exacting standards as any other, even with a price beating quote – but with the peace of mind knowing that all information was presented and open for discussion before a single spanner has been turned.

We hope you as our customers appreciate our ‘nothing to hide’ honest approach based upon trying to ensure amazing results and can only hope to receive your honest opinion and feedback in return – before, during, and after a job has been booked / completed.

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My mates car has the same setup – why does his make more / drive differently?

Because no two cars or engines are identical!

The largest manufacturers in the world have natural variance during the manufacturing process – so it can only be realistically expected that variances would exist in the real world over time.

No two setup can be compared due to the infinite number of variables present at every opportunity – information and results can be used as an indicative guide, but in the world of high performance modified cars, the variations are what create the uniqueness to the scene anyway – embrace it – not get upset because a magazine or internet forum somewhere suggested a different result.

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When I asked you for a quote, why the 20 questions?

We ask a lot of questions during the initial planning stages of a build in order to thoroughly understand exactly what our customer is trying to achieve, their realistic goals and expectations, so that we can develop a package consistent with their wishes to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.

Building high performance cars is an amazing industry but to ensure success we must ensure attention to detail – hence the myriad of questions. By spending the time communicating with our customers, we can attempt to truly understand exactly what one is hoping to achieve and can work together to ensure a positive outcome and deliver the “East Coast Customs” experience to our customers.

We care about you being 100% happy and satisfied with us – we ask because we want to ensure just that

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How often should I service my car?

Once again, subjective dependent upon the individual setup – but servicing and maintenance is a vital factor to ensuring reliability and trouble free performance motoring.

Using manufacturer specifications as a guideline is generally fine – however for some more heavily modified or performance applications, we suggest to shorten the service interval times or kms. You can’t look after a vehicle too well, and although we pride ourselves on ensuringreliable operation for our customers, preventative maintenance and monitoring is absolutely worth its weight in gold.

As a rule of thumb, we go with 7500 – 10 000kms / 6 month intervals for standard to lightly modified vehicles, approx 5000kms / 3 month intervals for more heavily modified vehicles, and event-to-event maintenance / inspections for competition and race prepped vehicles.

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What is a carbon clean, and should I get one?

A carbon clean involve us hooking our special carbon clean machine up to your vehicle and running it through some very specific loading and cleaning (de-coking) procedures with the vehicle under load in controlled conditions on our in house dynamometer, This procedure is designed to break down and eliminate carbon deposits left in your vehicle as a unavoidable byproduct of the combustion process, and pass them harmlessly out the exhaust oncecompleted.

Carbon build up is an inevitable byproduct of running a fossil fuel for energy – over time our vehicles experience carbon build up, which leads to a significant decrease in performance, efficiency, reliability, drivability and increases harmful emissions. From your carbon clean you can expect the following;

  • improved drivability – less hesitations, smoother acceleration, easier starting, smoother idle,
  • reduced emissions
  • reduced pinging
  • increased power
  • improved fuel economy and mileage
  • improved combustion
  • lowered servicing costs from affected areas (fuel filters etc)

A carbon clean should be included with regular servicing (eg – every 6 months) to ensure consistent, smooth operation and clean engine operation. A carbon clean WILL NOT give your car an extra 20hp (directly), but you WILL notice the difference in day to day driving and operation of the vehicle, once complete and incorporated into a regular servicing program.

Our carbon clean service is vastly different from the generic carbon clean cans you can buy at the local store for two reasons. Firstly, your generic cheaper products are far too diluted to be of any real benefit for the engine. Secondly, and more importantly, to effectively de-carbon the engine, the engine must be placed under continued yet variable loads and speeds, which are simply not possible on the road.

For the performance orientated folk out there, not only does a carbon clean help raise cylinder compression, but more importantly helps to clean off the carbon build up on top of pistons and valves, which left untouched, promotes premature detonation and pinging – leading to either a detuned and reduced power output in order prevent the detonation, or worst case scenario, continues to promote pinging leading to potentially fatal engine damage.

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Do I need to run synthetic oils?

Do you have to? NO.

Should you? Ideally, yes.

Without going into a monumental debate and all things motor oil, I would like to believe that while synthetic oils are not a necessity, for the minimal extra cost involved over the mineral or semi synthetic counterparts, it is worth the benefits and extra technology.

Synthetic oils provide a better lubrication barrier to prevent engine wear, last longer, are cleaner, work faster, and are more resistant than their counter parts. Whilst there are definitely applications where synthetics are not advised (eg – new engine run in procedures etc), considering the importance of oil to an engines health, I believe synthetics are well worth the extra cost. Ensuring the right viscosity for the application is also critical and ensuring correct and regular service intervals is also the final piece of the puzzle.

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Do I need to run premium 98 octane fuel?

You don’t HAVE to, but for any performance application, it would be sheer insanity to run anything less. The crucial thing is to ensure tuning and setup has been completed on the same type of fuel that the car will operate on. Catastrophic damage can occur if a highly strung car went down to a lower octane fuel, and either the conditions, tune, driver, or any numbers of factors weren’t adjusted (either by the driver or automatically via the ecu).

Running a 98 octane fuel is really a no brainer if your vehicle is modified or has any form of performance orientation. Yes it burns cleaner, but it is the extra RON rating of the fuel that helps to prevent detonation and pre-ignition – two power robbing or engine destroying enemies of the performance engine.

If you want any chance at running anywhere near your vehicles potential, you should be running a premium fuel. In fact, a vast majority of performance cars driving around these days really should be running an even better quality fuel, such as race fuel via the drum or E85, in order to achieve what is described as “best power”. Fuel is the major limiting factor for many modified vehicles at the moment, due to the detonation threshold of the fuel preventing the setup from reaching its potential – whilst this limitation is present, a car may produce “good” power, but never “best” power.

Give your engine the best chance at life – whilst 98 octane fuel isn’t anything to rave about in comparison to overseas or performance products, it’s the best unleaded we have readily available – run it (or better!)

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I read on the internet that my car should make this? Why doesn’t it?

Oh my – I don’t even know where to begin in answering this one. I guess I will try to keep it short and sweet and to the point. Bottom line – not everything you read on the internet is true (unless you heard it here ). Bottom line number two – as previously discussed, there are an infinite number of variables that can simply not be accounted for when comparing two different cars tested at two different times in two different places.

Common internet knowledge and hearsay is fraught at the best of times. Add in the “my d*ck is bigger than yours” factor of modified cars and the modified truths behind people bragging about how their car performs make comparison impossible. We are happy to give you a realistic expectation of how we think your car will perform on OUR dyno, under OUR conditions, with OUR tuner, and using OUR experience and knowledge to make an educated estimation. Even then however, sometime numbers can be off the mark, but rest assured, if this is the case, we will do our best to find the reasons why

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What tyres should I run ?

Another subjective questions. A drifter will run a different tyre to a circuit racer, who will run a different tyre to a street car. Some want more performance, some want more life from a tyre, some want less road noise…

This really depends on your application – I can’t answer the question now but give us a call and we certainly can.

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Should I run a race fuel, or E85?

Again, very application dependent. Both give similar results (that being a major increase in performance and engine safety / reliability). Unleaded racing fuels have their place, and so does E85.

Please read our quick guide on our “WHY DYNO” page, and if you have any further questions regarding the issue, give us a call and we can talk you through it step by step.

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What is a “flex fuel” vehicle?

A “flex fuel” vehicle is one that is capable of operating on E85 , unleaded fuels, or any combination of both.

The majority of flex fuel vehicle are fitted with some form of sensor, in order to determine the qualities of the fuel being used – normally ethanol % content and ethanol temperature, however technology now also exists for virtual flex fuel, and modern computers can determine fuel properties via monitoring fuel trims etc.

What this means in a practical sense is that one can have all the performance or cost benefits of E85, but not have to necessarily be concerned about the availability or practicality of it in some instances.

Some vehicles these days are factory flex fuel – the most obvious example being some of the new Holden Commodore range. Alternatively, we can turn any vehicle into a flex fuel vehicle with the right hardware and tuning etc. If this is something that may be of interest yo you, please give us a call and we can explain in further detail.

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Do I need to upgrade my clutch?

Another application specific question. Also, as much application specific, as driver specific.

The major determining factor in whether a clutch will fail is generally due to heat. The inherent operation of a clutch means that a friction material in the clutch disc is jammed between the clutch pressure plate face and flywheel face, in an attempt to mate both surfaces together and provide drive. The amount of load placed on the clutch plates here generate significant heat, and it is this heat that lead to a slip or failure. This heat is generally generated in one of two ways – the materials and pressure plate can simply not hold the amount of load it is being asked too, or alternatively, continued abuse and load from the driver can overwhelm the clutch system.

The short version of all of this is that a driver can slip and overwhelm a certain clutch combination with abuse and driving style (continued riding, excessive clutch kicking, driftingetc), even with the seemingly right clutch in place. A clutch that may handle 500hp of load on the drag strip or dyno, may very well not be up to the task in a drifting application.

In saying all of this, please call us if unsure as to whether a clutch upgrade is necessary for you application. Choosing the right clutch can be a tricky endeavor and dictates how the car will drive and perform for a long time to come. So please, don’t hesitate to ask us for some advice.

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Do I need to upgrade or change my diff gears?

Another common question with another subjective answer. The short answer is no one HAS TO change their diff gearing. However, in many instances, changing to a different diff gear ratio can change the entire feel of how a car drives or behaves.

The best instance of this lies in cars with large camshafts or turbo chargers. Any modification that moves the efficient power band of the engine higher up the rpm range can generally see some benefit from a change in gearing to help the car pick up quicker and easier and get the vehicle into its efficient power band as soon as possible. This is often the big difference between why your mate’s car with the large cam and set of 3.9:1 gears feels so much faster on the road than your car with the same car but standard gearing.

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Genuine vs Aftermarket parts?

The answer to this question really depends on who is asking. There is no solid answer as to which is better, as both can be on their day.

As a rule of thumb, a genuine part is an expensive, yet quality part, and many aftermarket manufacturers develop a part to bridge the gap in pricing for the average consumer. This is very often the case in servicing, and especially for new car warranty servicing, we will only use genuine parts and those which will not invalidate a customer’s warranty terms and conditions.

Conversely, there are many genuine parts which research and development have found to be insufficient, and the aftermarket has found a demand to produce a higher quality alternative.

This debate will rage for many years to come – the safest option is to simply ask us. There are many situations where we will use a genuine part over an aftermarket, and vice versa. The good news for you as the consumer is that we have made these decisions over many years of research and development to discover what works best in each application. Don’t risk it – give us a call.

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Are these modifications worth it?

Pretty pointless question really, but one we get often. Spending $1000 for 10rwkw may be mind blowing for some, yet abysmal for others, It depends on your car, your budget, and your expectations.

What we can promise you is that we will always lay out the best bang for buck options first, and explain the pros and cons of each modification before we go ahead and complete the modification to your car. That way, as a consumer, you know what you should be getting for your hard earned money – and can then make the decision yourself afterwards whether or not you think it was worth it

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How far will you push my car on the dyno?

As far as your comfortable with us pushing it really – to an extent!

If you’re comfortable with the associated risks of pushing your car as hard as possible to extract absolute maximum power output, then we are generally happy to accommodate your wishes. If finite maximum power output is the goal, then that is what you will get – but we will go over all the pros and cons and ramifications of such tuning methodology before we go ahead,

If we feel that the request is seemingly absurd, and is going to end in nothing more than heartache and engine failure, we reserve the right to refuse the request.

For 90% of applications, the customer will ask our opinion of how hard to push the car. The most common request we receive is “as much as safely possible”. In keeping with this, our approach to “safely” is to find the perfect balance of maximizing output whilst ensuring reliability – we would only push your car as hard as I would be comfortable pushing my own. We would much rather ensure an output of 10 rwkw less and ensure an extra 10 years of reliable operation, than pushing beyond reasonable limits.

We take pride in having a very good track record and history of NOT blowing up cars – unlike many of our competitors.

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How often should I tune my car?

I feel like a bit of a parrot here, in once again saying the answer is application specific.

If the vehicle is a performance application, our general recommendation is 1-2 times a year. With the beautiful weather we experience in QLD, a good idea is to look at retuning your vehicle with the change from summer to winter, as the peaks of the hotter months start to cool down during winter.

If approached this way, one can look at pushing their car a little harder with an extra barrier of safety during the colder months, then detune the vehicle slightly to ensure the engine and tune are optimized for the power robbing summer months and soaring temperatures (or vice versa). Certain tables like cold start cranking, engine and air temp corrections and many others can also be perfectly optimized throughout the year.

In the grand scheme of things, this basic season to season dyno / check, is a very small price to pay for the peace of mind. If the vehicle has already had a custom tune, tuning check ups generally require no longer than an hour or two on the dyno – a meager price to pay for the continued benefits.

In a performance application, one should also look at a retune or touch or tune, every time something with the setup on the vehicle changes that will directly affect air, ignition or fuelling.

As long as these basic principles are followed, many years of trouble free operation can be expected for a very small outlay in time and money re-tuning.

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Power FC vs Nistune?

Ah the age old question.

There is no definitive answer to this question really – both platforms have their positives and their negatives – but what must be remembered is that they both inherently do the same thing. What I can say is that I would never remove one platform to fit the other – as they really are that close that it doesn’t matter. In house experience tends to show that for conversion setups, the powerfc does seem to be more stable, however the nistune fantastic for factory fitted ecus. One setup will not make more power than the other – one will not necessarily drive better than the other.

Some basic pros for each:

NISTUNE

  • lower cost
  • better knock control (ability to change to knock fuel and timing mapping)
  • local support

 

POWERC

  • hand controller / display
  • certain end user adjustability
  • slightly higher resolution (20×20)

Both platforms are fantastic in their own right. Call us to go over a list of pros and cons in more details and choose from there.

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What are the best injectors for my car?

Once again but it really does depend on application. There are a lot of shitty injectors out there (generally the cheaper ones), and fortunately injector technology has come along in leaps and bounds throughout the years. What many don’t realize, is that whilst an injector in its most basic form is a solenoid that opens and closes, there are a myriad of other factors that contribute to how an injectors performs and two injectors rated at the same flow rate are not equal. In saying that, an injector is only as good as the engine management system controlling it, so ensure the chosen ecu is going to be suitable for the task.

What we can say here is that we have had amazing success with two different types of injectors. Firstly, the INJECTOR DYNAMICS brand of injectors completely revolutionized the tuning industry, with a highly sophisticated injector, sold in matched and flowed batches, all provided with all the specific injector data a tuner needs to ensure correct calibration that simply outperformed any of its competitors.

The other injectors we have had great success with are the NISMO injectors, built specifically for NISSAN vehicles.

The best advice we can give here is to not try to cut corners or budgets on injectors. These simple little devices will operate thousands of time a second, generally for the entire operational life of your vehicle. Quality injectors ensure safety, reliability, consistency, better fuel economy, idle and starting – given this, is that set of cheap injectors on ebay really worth the $$$ saved?

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Manual vs electronic boost control?

To be honest, it doesn’t really matter. Electronic control is nice, as it can allow us some extra control over the boost response and limits etc, and generally also allows us more than the one boost setting for user adjustability, but at the end of the day, the chosen boost controller will only perform as well as the mechanical limitations of setup will allow.

Too often, we see customers trying to mask or work around boost control issues with their vehicle, which are really mechanical issues in regards to wastegate sizing etc. If the mechanical side of your boost control system is appropriately matched, any form of additional boost control is sufficient. If the extra features an electronic controller offer appeal to you, then go down that path. If not, manual boost control is fine if correctly setup.

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Why does my car make more power on other dynos?

I have no idea. If I was not the operator of the other dyno at the time, I cannot answer that question. Different conditions, different operators, different strapping, different everything all comes into play. There are far too many variables to account for.

The only thing we can do to minimize this anomaly, is that we do complimentary “before” power ramping and testing on the majority of cars we are about to commence performance upgrades on. Not only does this validate the vehicles readiness for the upcoming modifications, but also allows us to establish a realistic and comparable baseline with which to compare.

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What to look for in a good tuner?

One that works at East Coast Customs.

OK, but in all seriousness – there is no one single quality to look for. There is plenty of advice I could think to tout here but it really comes down to personal feel. A few general tips:

  • Take the time to speak to your tuner and make sure he is able to answer all your questions and ensure he is willing to spend the time with you to ensure that you are comfortable with the whole process.
  • Do some research. Facebook doesn’t count! Ask around for some testimonials from other people who have had their car tuned by the same person. Even better, find someone with a very similar setup to yours that a particular tuner has tuned and fish for some information.
  • Ensure the tuner is experienced in your platform. That is not to say that if the tuner has not tuned your particular setup before he will not do a good job, but it generally pays to find someone who is familiar with what you are trying to achieve.
  • Listen to your tuner! They are the ones who will be spending the time to achieve optimal results with your car, and the ones who will be putting their name to your tune. If your tuner has a suggestion, try to listen to it with an open mind – you just may find that they’re not all full of shit and have some valuable insights from countless hours spent on the rollers to save you time, money or both!

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Do you work on normal cars also?

Absolutely!

Whilst we are designated performance specialists, to get to the top of the field we have, we all had to begin with the basics. The technicians at East Coast Customs are all highly trained, and have current and up to date formal qualifications in all associated fields – light vehicle mechanical, auto electrical, air conditioning, underbody, fabrication, and dyno tuning.

We are 100% qualified to service and repair brand new vehicles under warranty, and are equipped to do all kinds of general mechanical repairs, services and inspections. We also have specialist technicians on staff dedicated to everyday general mechanical duties, ready and waiting for your call.

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Do you do normal exhaust repairs / muffler repairs?

Once again an emphatic yes!

We are a fully fledged A1 EXHAUSTS store – Australia’s 2nd largest exhaust group, and are fully equipped for all exhaust needs – from mild to wild.

Our exhaust fitters are some of the best in the industry, and with extensive knowledge and experience of all aspects of exhausts, your vehicle couldn’t be in better hands!

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Can you do 4WD / AWD applications?

YES. We do all forms of regular performance upgrades and mechanical repairs etc on all 4WD and AWD applications.

The only tricky caveat is the dyno tuning side of things. As we currently only have a 2WD dyno, we have two options when it comes to the dyno tuning aspect. Certain vehicles can have drive transmission to the front axles disabled, hence allowing them to be tuned on a 2WD dyno. Alternatively, we do have access to an offsite 4WD dyno for any AWD specific tuning applications.

For further information, please contact us.

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Can I pay off my bill?

NO. Unless a special payment arrangement has been negotiated, we have a very strict policy in regards to finalization of a bill.

We do understand that sometimes situations do not always go as planned, and hence have back up options available, such as interest free finance or direct debit options.

The final total for any invoice will always be made clear to the customer well in advance of delivery with no nasty surprises – please do not expect to be taking delivery of your vehicle if funds are not available unless prior arrangements have been negotiated.

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Can I supply my own parts?

Absolutely, It must be noted however, that any warranty concerns or claims in regards to a faulty part will not be dealt with at the cost of East Coast Customs. If we supply a part and there is warranty or failure, we will happily cover all costs involved in repair / replacement (including labour). In the case of a customer supplied part, these costs are the responsibility of the customer.

Please bear this in mind when shopping around for parts. Is the extra $50 saved really worth it in the long run in the unlikely event of warranty claim or component failure?

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Do you work on European vehicles?

Absolutely, We do full mechanical and extensive performance tuning on a large number of European vehicles. Please keep your eyes peeled for the newly updated Euro section of our website coming soon.

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Do you work on Diesel powered vehicles?

Absolutely, We do full mechanical and extensive performance tuning on a large number of diesel vehicles. We have extensive exhaust and tuning packages available for the diesel 4WD market, as well as offer servicing, accessory fitting and suspension upgrades.

Please keep your eyes peeled for the newly updated 4WD / DIESEL section of our website coming soon.

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Do you do custom conversions?

We used to be extensively involved in the engine conversion scene, however market trends and business has dictated a lesser involvement of late.

In short, we absolutely do still do conversions, however they can be a very difficult job to provide a quote or estimate for. We will always endeavor to provide our customers with the most accurate estimate possible, but conversion work shall be billed out like any other – by the hour @ $125 per hour. Engine conversion can be very time consuming, and also involve maybe hidden costs unforeseeable at conception, so please keep this in mind when considering a conversion,

The golden rule of conversions that I heard many years ago which still applies – work out what you think your budget is for the conversion, then double it. This should get you close

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Do you sell bodykits?

Not anymore. If you wish for us to specifically procure you a bodykit or item, we can offer this service, however take no responsibility for fitment or painting issues.

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Do you sell second hand tyres?

No. On very rare occasions we may have some 2nd hand tyres available, but as a rule of thumb, only supply and fit brand new tyres.

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Do you sell second hand parts?

No. We do have certain parts available that we have acquired over the years that may be hard to find via normal methods, but we generally only supply brand new parts covered by manufacturer warranties.

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Can I use a second hand part?

You can use whatever part you want. We may advise you to use a new part for many reasons, but if you choose to use 2nd hand goods, that is your decision.

Please be aware that any failures or problems that arise from fault 2nd hand goods are 100% the responsibility of the customer.

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Can I keep my old parts?

Absolutely, Your old parts are your property (unless a specific trade in deal has been organized).

It should be noted however, that we are not a 2nd hand storage or junk yard. Upon delivery of your vehicle, you have seven (7) days to collect your parts or they may be disposed of.

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Can I work on my own car at your shop?

Absolutely NOT. As a matter of fact, customers are not even allowed on the workshop floor unless accompanied by a staff member.

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Do you sponsor vehicles?

We have certain sponsorship packages and deals offered to certain customers, but these are all negotiated at our own discretion. Please do not approach us for sponsorship – the answer may offend.

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Can I watch my car on the dyno?

Customers are prohibited from being on the workshop floor at all times unless accompanied by a staff member. The tuner may come grab you for information, or for the opportunity for you to take photos or videos of your car on the dyno, but hanging around expecting to stand next to the dyno and ask questions whilst your vehicle is being tuned will never happen. OH&S prohibits this, and this also leads to longer tuning times and higher costs.

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Can I watch you work on my car?

Once again, no customers are allowed on the workshop floor without staff supervision. For 99% of applications, this means no. We have nothing to hide with our work, but OH&S prevents this, and our staff have unanimously voted to prefer working on vehicles without anyone over their shoulder (other than our ECC supervisors). This leads to aggravated staff, longer turn around times and more money for the consumer.

Please trust in our workmanship, knowledge, experience and qualifications, and enjoy the finished product!

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Jon Luu said this about East Coast Customs...

"I purchased an exhaust for my Mitsubishi Lancer Evo which required welding etc; in order for the exhaust to fit properly and searched around to whom does reputable work. I was referred to East Coast Customs by a personal friend (CON35 180SX), My initial impression of the workshop was, organised, clean and the staff were friendly and helpful. I was picky on how I wanted the exhaust to sit so it took about 20 minutes of remove and refit. The exhaust technician was very patient. The end result, I was happy and will be getting Rob to tune my 2.4L motor once it's been all put together!...."

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