BullyDog Programmer Review
Just wanted to share what I found:
I recently purchased a Bullydog Tripledog GT, updated it immediately, and installed it per the instructions. Spent about $400, thought it was nice aesthetically, and I was hopeful it would be a great programmer based on their claims. I am a former automotive engineer (with a concentration in internal combustion engines) with a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 with a 5.7 Hemi. I haven’t made any other modifications to the truck yet.
Ever since I purchased this item, I tried emailing customer service and tech support with no response. So if any Bullydog guys are out there, I would LOVE to hear back from you. Otherwise, here are 9 reasons why I think the Bullydog Tripledog GT is GARBAGE with an LCD screen:
#9 When the vehicle is shut off completely, it still adds to the running average mpgs. In other words, if I forget to turn the unit off (which, the on/off switch is located by the OBD2 and not the head unit), it thinks that I’m getting 0 mpg. Even an amateur high school programmer knows how to add a function that stops the running avg when fuel flow is 0.
#8 The unit does nothing to the variable valve timing on the engine. If a company is tuning an engine, this is a great way to get “free energy.” Engine manufacturers are required to “stifle” the engine valves to reduce sound emissions. Optimizing the VVT would be similar to changing out cams in other engines. I’m not suggesting to make it similar to a stage 3, but at least do SOMETHING.
#7 Real time graphs can not be edited. For instance, if I want to monitor my fuel consumption, I cannot because the graph range is 0-150 GPH. Normal acceleration is only 1.5 GPH, so it looks like the engine is flatlining the entire drive.
#6 It does nothing to the max value of the MDS. MDS shuts off at 65mph, so if I want to drive the speed limit (70-75) I’m using all 8 cylinders.
#5 They advertise that the unit can shut off the seat belt chime. The unit says it’s off, but that damn thing won’t stop dinging. Not a huge deal, but it was one of those little things that encouraged me to buy.
#4 I don’t really feel an increase in horsepower in the seat, but what I have noticed is that they make the gas pedal REALLY touchy in the low end range. Yet the high end range of the pedal feels like it’s really weak. I figure that this is Bullydog making their customers happy with their purchase because they think they can feel the “added horsepower.”
#3 I have tried the high octane fuel setting and graphed a performance test. When I compare it to the stock performance test, the difference is negligible. There is a chance that it could have been a slight change in wind that caused the results to be different. 35 hp gain, my ass.
#2 The instant and average fuel economy gauges need calibration but provide no function for it. When comparing it to the truck’s reading and the actual usage, it is about a 1mpg difference. Not a huge deal, but why is this so difficult to be accurate? If you’re measuring the fuel consumption and MPH, why should there be a variance? A different product on their website claims that the fuel economy gauge can and should be calibrated every 6 months. They state that it needs to be calibrated because winter fuels and summer fuels have 1.5% difference in energy. True, however a fuel’s HHV and LHV doesn’t effect the fuel consumption READING. It effects the fuel consumption, but it shouldn’t cause the reading to vary. This is like saying increasing tire sizes by 10% will cause your RPMs to decrease 10% - they’re unrelated for our purposes. Getting a good fuel consumption reading shouldn’t depend on a fuel’s energy.
And #1…. The driving coach is functionally retarded. It gives you these tips at random that were thought up by a 15 year old in drivers ed. It tells you to idle less: no kidding; let me just blow through this red light so I’m not wasting gas. I can get a tip like that from reading an advertisement on a gas station pump. Then it tells you to accelerate gradually to save gas, and yells at you when you don’t. Accelerating gradually to save gas IS AN OLD WIVES TALE!! To anyone that has looked at a BSFC map, you will know what I am about to say. Every engine has a different fingerprint of fuel consumption, and all engine manufacturers keep this information very confidential. What I mean to say is that low RPM acceleration does not always mean the best fuel economy. To go from say 0-60 mph, there is a specific amount of work that an engine has to do. If you accelerate 0-60 in 6 seconds, it takes the same amount of work (ideally) as accelerating from 0-60 in 60 seconds. It’s just that the amount of work in the 60 sec run is spread out over a longer amount of time. It’s like jumping a flight of stairs instead of walking up normally – they both would require the same amount of work to accomplish, but your legs require more power to jump an entire floor. Engines have a certain RPM they run the most efficient on depending on the horsepower. For instance, I’m finding out that my optimum RPM to accelerate is around 2200. I did a bass-ackwards way of testing this logic with the Bullydog (since this is a VERY user-Unfriendly reading with this unit). I went from 0-50 at a 1600 RPMs and 0-50 at 2200. The 1600 trial took 22 units of fuel (like I said – user-unfriendly, so I don’t know the units) and the 2200 trial used 16 units of fuel. Bottom line, if they are playing with your engine’s configuration and don’t know this well-studied fact……
Overall, I’m not sure that I trust what this unit is telling my engine to do “behind the LCD screen,” based on all the issues I have above. What I can say is buying this unit is like marrying a bimbo for her money. She looks good, but she’s dumb as hell.