Tuning – it ain’t just for the guitar or piano, it’s also for your truck! The good folks over at SCT have been experts in the field for 15 years, making several advancements in the truck market. The move has been a boon for the company, and contributed a great deal to its evolution of product development.
One such development has been the GTX, a combination of monitor and programmer, packaged in a smartphone-like form factor. The saying “great things come in small packages” has never been more apt than when talking about SCT’s devices, and the GTX represents the newest way of thinking from the company – letting users see things on a large, five-inch, full-color display and use touchscreen controls to navigate swiftly and easily, all without ever having to interact with a computer thanks to the GTX’s wireless internet connectivity.
The GTX's mount used an electromagnetic connector, getting rid of the typical ball mount and making it easy to stow or deploy the GTX at any time.
We received a GTX and installed it onto a 2016 Ford F-150 with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. The motor is a tried and true power plant, making 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque; very respectable numbers from a factory-made twin-turbocharged V6. Where a programmer like the GTX comes in is with its prepackaged and custom tunes, which take what the vehicle has locked away underneath the factory tune, and give the user more control.
Out of the box, the GTX comes with a suction cup mount that works great with the windshield. We swabbed the windshield and mount with some rubbing alcohol, which would provided a clean surface on both sides. Of note was the mount’s built-in magnetic connector, which would keep the GTX in place while also sending electric signals to the device. Rather than having to fiddle with a tightening collar and T-heads, the GTX pops on and off with minimal effort, allowing users to stow the GTX if they prefer it. We also noticed that the magnetic hold on the GTX was firm and more than adequate; it would be able to handle potholes on the street, and would be just fine taking dirt trails and gravel without fear of the GTX falling off.
After plugging the GTX into the OBD-II port, the device lit up. We went through the steps of locating a wi-fi network and the device took care of the rest, downloading tune files and getting ready for use. In a few minutes, we were ready to test out the GTX on the F-150.
The five-inch display was large enough to enable easy touchscreen use, and also allowed for displaying multiple parameters – up to 12 total!
Back at the home screen, the device showed us six different options to choose from: Tune, Gauges, Functions, Diagnostics, Information, and Updates. We tapped Tune and soon saw our engine listed there, as well as the option to select Custom Tune(s). Now, while we didn’t have any custom tunes on hand that we wanted to try out, it was still really cool to see that SCT allowed for this method of tuning. This would definitely make sense for customers that want to get into the nitty gritty of tuning, where it involves air-fuel ratios and multiple dyno tests. But for us, we were happy to check out the choices and see more of what the programmer offered us.
Gauges was another facet of the GTX that caught our eye. Here, we could view a multitude of parameters and stay informed on what the engine and transmission were going through. This would be a big assist for towing purposes. The EcoBoost doesn’t have the highest towing numbers of the F-150 lineup, but it can handle its fair share of weight. Switching to the tow tune and then monitoring the drivetrain while going up a steep grade would be very helpful, and let us know if things were getting too hot or were just fine. On top of this, we could customize the layout of the gauges to show multiple readouts simultaneously; the most we could see at one time was 12!
Getting a GTX is a perfect companion for more, in the sense that it can stay on a vehicle receiving new upgrades. To find out more about the GTX and what vehicles it’s available for, head on over to the SCT website. And don’t forget to stay on top of SCT news by checking out the official Facebook page.