It's official, late Friday night I achieved 'tuner' status by flashing the FR-S with a Stage 2 tune. "Warning: Danger to Manifold" soon to appear followed by the failure of a useless sheet metal panel loosely bolted to the chassis (note - watch The Fast & The Furious if this comment makes no sense…).
My parents will tell you this transformation happened overnight, however those close to me see it as no surprise. I entered the treacherous fold of the tuner scene in early 2013, picking up a few seemingly innocuous TRD parts. The exhaust and intake were OEM parts, covered by factory warranty I told myself. Little did I know, these would prove to be but a gateway drug…
Things were good. For a while I enjoyed the minute change in exhaust tone and peppier engine, yet a more voracious hunger was growing deep down inside. I needed another taste... Click. UEL headers ordered. A 12 week backorder, good, that'll keep my demons at bay.
Soon enough the headers were installed and I blasted through the canyons, albeit to a much more raucous and rumbly tone than before. Life was good, I finally felt I had achieved (read: ordered enough parts) modified status amongst the sea of Honda Civics and Toyota Prius/Prii?.
A couple weeks later I found the hunger fighting its way towards my wallet again. Inconceivable, I just installed new headers and a suspension package! I called my friend up, he said "focus on driving the car bro, I know what you need...track day". Track day, bro?
Track day. I couldn't run a track day on the stock 17x7.5 Prius summer tires could I? enter new wider and lighter wheels, wrapped in expensive summer performance tires. So it was I completed my first track day, and it was the most thrilling driving experience of my life to date.
Like all addicts though, my addiction had left some scars that would no doubt resurface again. A Check Engine Light appeared while driving home on a cold tuesday night, my heart sank. 31,000 miles and the factory warranty coming to its end, I feared the worst. I took it to the dealer and offered up my wallet as penance. Low and behold it was only a P0420, code name for you modified the exhaust/CAT didn't you, bro? "Welcome to modified life," chimed my friend. A few weeks went by, and bam it popped up again and again… and again. Fine, i'll tune the car (which I planned all along fyi) and submit myself to the likes of internet forums to find the best option.
And so folks, enter the Open Flash Tablet and a Stage 2, 91 pump UEL header tune. Night and Day, having a blast driving the car now. Torque and HP is slightly improved, more noticeable is the lack of torque dip between 3500-5000 rpm and improved throttle response.