Need Advice on Tuning 3.8

We have a 3.8 that we put together and now it is getting time to start it up. We made quite a few changes to it, so it won't run on the stock ECM. Here is what we have for the engine:

-1997 3.8 Block, bored out to 3.9, with matching ECU and modified wiring harness
-1999+ Split port 3.8 heads
-Windstar Intake Swap (stock throttle body)
-21lbs/hr injectors
-Custom Headers with 2.5" exhaust (no catalytic converters)
-K&N Intake
-EGR, Rear O2, EVAP, and most other emissions components deleted
-T5 Manual Transmission

Since the engine won't run with the stock ECM, I figured I have a few options: Quarterhorse and do a full tune, get a handheld tuner with required software, or I can get a BAMA 4-bank eliminator chip with tunes.

We don't need to squeeze every last bit of horsepower out of this engine, we just want to get it up and running with a conservative tune that will have good driveability. Ideally we don't want to spend a lot of money on an elaborate tuning system if we don't need to.

I talked to the people at AmericanMuscle/BAMA about the BAMA chip, and they said a tune could be made that would disable all the components I deleted and fuel/ignition adjusted for my changes. I was told that most of the handheld tuners wouldn't be able to disable the components I deleted, so I would have to deal with a CEL. The BAMA chip seems like the cheapest and easiest way for me.

I was just wondering if some of you have any advice on what to use, or any experience with the BAMA chip?


Active Member
Recently I did a split port swap into my 96. I have the SCT Pro Racer Advantage III sofware for tuning. I used a computer code for a 99-00 split port as a reference/starting point for my tune. There are many things that needed to be changed, from the 96 to 99. If you are trying to get a tune made vs make your own, then I would suggest sending Justin at VMP tuning an email with your set up. You will need to purchase and SCT tuner (I use the x4). VMP Performance - TVS, Superchargers, Tuners, Custom Tunes, & Performance Parts He has experience with the v6, and may have a good starter tune. He can also turn off all the emission components that you bypassed. I would expect the charge for the tune to be around 175-300. If you want to do your own turning You can try Don Lasota SCT Pro Racer Packages PRP. You will need to purchase the tuning software, and the handheld. If you decide to do your own tuning I would suggest getting a computer code for the year of Windstar Intake you used. You will also have access to bypassing emission parts not used.

Phil II

Cone Destroyer
I chose to use Binary Editor with a mongoose flash cable. Very effective with the caveat of lots of access.

What pcm inputs are different from stock? Ie changing the maf sensor?
No PCM inputs are different, only the emissions components that are deleted. It has the stock MAF sensor.

I looked into the Mongoose Flash Cable and it is about $450, is that the one you are talking about?