I have an '89 S10 Blazer with a 4.3 L V6 TBI engine. The motor is all stock and I was thinking of putting in a performance chip in it to get some power out of the V6. I came across the terms stage 1 and stage 2 when it comes to chips. What do they mean? I couldn't find a straight answer that made sense.

Also if anyone has some sites or pointers on TBI chips, I'd greatly appreciate it.


Generally as you start tuning an engine for more power, you get into a cycle where one thing leads to another – for example, I put in bigger injectors, but I don't have enough air to burn the fuel, so I add a bigger turbo, but now there is more power than the clutch can really handle so I put in a new clutch – and around and around it goes. Kind of like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but more expensive.

Very roughly speaking, the various stages correspond to how "tweaked" the engine is, which is another way of saying how much money do you plan on dumping into the project. Stage 1 == "just a little bit"; Stage 2 == "oh, heck that doesn't seem like all that much more, given the huge boost in power"; Stage 3 == "torque is life". And so on… You can also look on it is a rough measure of how likely you are to break some part of the car when you step on the gas.


Basically it is up to the chip creators as to what exactly this means. To one tuner, Stage 1 could mean a 50hp boost, while to another it could mean a 35hp boost. There isn't going to be one set answer for any given chip. The only thing which will usually hold true is Stage 2 will give you a bigger boost than a Stage 1 will. A Stage 3 will give you more than the Stage 2 and so on. You cannot compare a Stage 2 chip from Tuner A and expect it to perform better than a Stage 1 from Tuner B. You have to compare what they say it will give you in direct power/torque boost numbers.

With any chip, you have to ensure you are doing your due diligence, reading about your proposed mods and ensuring it will give you the performance aspects you are looking to add for your vehicle.

When doing the research, you'll also want to read about how customers liked the chips to ensure you are getting what you paid for. Most tuners will exaggerate the gains seen from their chips, to include fuel mileage, etc. Good tuners will give you what you're asking for and you'll never have an issue with them. A custom tune may be a more likeable solution, considering you'll get exactly what you are looking for and the tune is done on a dyno. This method is a little bit more expensive, especially with a chip, but well worth it in the end for the product you're given. The reason doing a custom chip tune is a little bit more expensive is because it takes specialized equipment (chip burner and eprom chip) to finalize the tune. You don't find this very often with tuners because they are used to doing tunes for newer vehicle where tunes are written directly to the ECU.

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