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I have a neighbor who revs his engine loudly over and over again, for anywhere from 15 or 20 minutes up to several hours at a time, several days a week, and has been doing this for over a year. It frequently backfires loudly as the engine slows down. It sounds like I live on a racetrack, and it's impossible to concentrate or rest while it's going on. I've talked with him several times, and told him how disturbing it is, and he says he's tuning the engine. Is there really a need to do this to tune the engine?

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Yes, it can help tune aspects of the engine. It's highly unlikely that it's necessary for him to do it incessantly over that long of a period. It sounds to me like he wants everybody to hear his car. I have had a neighbor do that in the middle of the night. I put a stop to it, (can't say how). Your neighbor is either inept at tuning his car or just showing off. I put this as a comment because it's more speculation than answer :) – Seminecis Sep 7 '13 at 0:14
Updated the title to be a bit more focused on the practical aspects. – Rory Alsop Sep 8 '13 at 0:41
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Indeed, some aspects of car tuning to require the revving and letting it drop many times in order to get it just right. If one is fighting a bad part and is doing diagnosis, it can potentially take hours. Then, repeat in a couple days with the new parts until it's fixed. That's a rare circumstance though. Typically it only takes a couple sessions to take care of issues and get it tuned (with periodic testing when the weather changes). I'd say it's most likely that he has no idea what he's doing and/or just likes to hear his car rev.

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I found this snippet of information on It's Greek to me but, it represents a reason someone might rev their engine while tuning it.

In that case you may be idling almost entirely on the PWM Time Threshold. So rev the engine occasionally as you are tuning the PWM parameters, to ensure that you haven't gone too low.

Side note: It is likely, depending on where you live, that there are noise ordinances in place that he is exceeding. I'm sure a friendly visit from the police would make him think twice before he revs up his engine again.


There is a video on YouTube showing how to set an engine idle. They rev it towards the end but not excessively and not many times. It doesn't require the noise level you're describing.

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We've called the police, and they went over to talk with him, but told us there's nothing more they can do because our town doesn't have a noise ordinance. I also called his landlord, who said he'd talk to him, but ultimately all he can do is refuse to extend the lease when it expires in a few months. Apparently he's just an inconsiderate jerk. – Mark Sep 7 '13 at 0:38
@Mark Maybe you should XXX XXXXX XX XXX XXX XXXX or XXXXX XXX XXXXX. Not really. You'll probably just have to wait for him to move and roll the dice with a new neighbor. I don't suppose you want to offer to help him since he can't seem to get it right? – Seminecis Sep 7 '13 at 0:45
I seriously considered offering to help. I have a sledge hammer that I thought would be very useful, but I suspect he wouldn't accept my offer. – Mark Sep 7 '13 at 1:58

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