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Handheld Tuners / Computer Chips


Chula Vista, CA
Staff member
Some of you ask me do I need one. Well here is the info you requested:

Computers are a big part of today's automotive aftermarket.

Here's a quick breakdown:
88-93 Mustangs 5.0 cars are equipped with the EEC IV computer.
94-95 Mustangs 5.0 have a variation of the EEC IV.
96-current Mustangs have the EEC V with an OBD-II(On Board Diagnotics)port under the dash.

Now the 88-93 and 94-95 Mustangs 5.0 require the use of a computer chip to modify the engine management systems.

Now for the above applications, if your just upgrading with basic bolt-on items, pulleys, CAI etc a chip is generally not required if you have a Fuel Pressure Regulator and you can manually change the ignition timing. But, if you want to change stuff like your rev-limiter than a custom chip is required..

Now for the 96-04 year mustang 4.6L can use a computer chip but, there are Handheld Tuners available that make tuning easier. Most handheld tuners come with basic programs already installed inside the unit. And is required for basic bolt on's

Now the 05-up Mustangs benefit the most from the addition of a Handheld Tuner. The Drive By Wire parameters are rewritten to help throttle response and torque management. The factory computers are programmed to pull out power through closing the throttle body, reducing timing and even puling camshaft timing. This is done from drivetrain warranties and fuel economy.

The Handheld tuners allow users to adjust many variables like the shift points, gear ratios, Tire Size, and also give you the ability to datalog.

Paul Huizenga

Well-Known Member
In the next couple of days, I'll post up a link to a story on using Sniper's programmer and software on my car. In a nutshell, the consumer hardware/laptop software is super-easy to use, and the same interface box can be used with the pro version of their software to basically do 90% of what a standalone EFI system will do.


Chula Vista, CA
Staff member
I have seen some guys swear up and down on the new sniper stuff... Looking forward to the write up.. Might have to get it to test..:)