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I haven't used the device that Overkill uses to flash his tunes, but regarding the flashing of the ECM/TCM - I've flashed mine *hundreds* of times (calibration updates - not full flashes). With HPTuners, you normally only do a "Flash Calibration" - a Full flash is something that is only done in rare circumstances. So you don't have anything to worry about in terms of how many times you flash the ECM/TCM. :)

I don't think that you can adjust the trans settings, but I'm sure that Overkill will adjust the tune to stay in overdrive more often. Basically, it's setup based on speed and pedal position - and Overkill usually unlocks the TCC anytime you press the gas more than xx% (you don't want to be in overdrive when trying to accelerate quickly). But like I said, he'll be glad to adjust it for you. Only way to do it yourself is with an HPTuner (or HPTuner-like device).

WIth my car, the high-octane tune was for 91 octane - but I have a different engine (3.6) than you, so I'm not sure about the 3.5.

When flashing, I personally keep all doors shut, fans and radio off, etc - you don't want anything communicating over the CANBUS while flashing. This may be more of a safeguard than a hard-and-fast rule ,but you definitely want to err on the side of caution when writing to the ECM/TCM... You shouldn't need to purchase anything additional to re-flash (regardless how many times you flash.

Hope that helps somewhat...

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Yeah, I'm almost positive that HPTuners will work with the 3.5 as well (I think I've seen tunes for the 3.5 in the HPTuners repository). The HPTuners device is a little pricy ($500 new), but it is *so* nice being able to adjust your tune to your preferences. Simple things like adjusting the shift points slightly can make a big difference. Plus you can fine tune the amount of torque management and lots of other stuff. The 3.5's aren't quite as "tunable" as the newer 3.6, but there is still a lot of things you can do. I've been tweaking mine for years now and I still experiment and tweak things! I was learning as I went, so a lot of what I've done has been trial and error - but I really enjoy being able to tweak things.... I bought my HPTuner used for an excellent price ($150 I think?), but knowing what I know now, I'd pay the $500 for a new one if I had to...

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Believe me, I was *exactly* the same as you when I first got into HPTuners - I refused to change *anything* - but as I spent a little more time doing research on the HPTuners forum and got to know the HPTuners application a little more, I started making very small, simple changes. Now I'm not afraid to change anything - as long as I have a decent understanding of the parameter I am changing (which, with the help of the HPTuners forum, isn't all that hard). Believe me, I knew absolutely nothing about tuning a car when I started and while I'm still a novice, I do feel very comfortable making changes and knowing what to change.

Also, just comparing the stock tune to the Overkill tune also helped a lot (the applications have a tune "compare" function, so you can see exactly what Overkill changed). This gives you a big heads-up as to what tunables you should concentrate on.

Trust me, if you like to tweak a car to you exact preferences, you'll absolutely love it. Like I said, even small (1-3mph) changes to shift points can make a substantial difference! :)

In the end, I actually ended up *increasing* my shift times for low-rpm/low-torque situations (so that shifts take longer instead of occurring faster) - and this has given me the super-smooth, un-noticable shifts that I've been after since I got the car. :) The overkill tune, on the other hand, does the exact opposite - he makes the shifts faster for performance (which also makes them more "noticeable"). Since I prefer comfort over all-out performance, the overkill tune just wasn't for me - but I did at least learn a lot just from comparing it to the stock tune - which helped me get my tune to where I want it to be.

I ended up increasing the shift time for low-rpm/low-torque shifts, keeping the stock shift times for mid-rpm/mid-torque shifts and decreasing the shift times for high-rpm/high-torque shifts. This gives me the best of both worlds, extremely smooth shifts when just cruising and faster shifts when I need the higher performance! :)

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