How to Tune Your Mustang using an SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer

01
of 10

Overview

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

If you modify your Mustang by adding a performance accessory such as a cold air intake, it’s a good idea to custom tune your vehicle so it will perform better with the new accessory. Your Mustang’s on board computer is programmed to perform based on stock settings. Since you’ve deviating from the stock set up, it makes sense to adjust the program. There are a variety of ways to do this. A popular method is using a hand held performance programmer such as the SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer (Full Review).

The following is a demonstration of the SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer used to tune a 2008 Ford Mustang which had just been equipped with a Steeda cold air intake system.

You Need

  • SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer

*Note: The SCT X3 has been discontinued since we originally published this step-by-step. Newer models are available at SCTFlash.Com.

Time Required

5-10 Minutes

02
of 10

Plug the Tuner Into the OBD-II Port

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Plugging the unit into the OBD-II Port. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

Insert the key into your ignition. Make sure it is in the off position. Then check to make sure all electronics, including the stereo, fans, etc., are turned off. Plug the programmer into the OBD-II port and wait for the main menu screen to appear. The programmer will light up and emit an audible sound. The arrows on the unit will allow you to navigate through the menus. Note: If you already have an aftermarket chip installed in your Mustang, you will need to remove it before you can use the SCT Programmer.

03
of 10

Select Program Vehicle

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Select the Program Vehicle option from the menu. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

Select the "Program Vehicle" option from the menu. This should be one of the first screens you see after the unit activates.

04
of 10

Install the Tune

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Select "Install Tune". Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

Next you will see the "Install Tune" option as well as "Return to Stock". Select "Install Tune".

05
of 10

Select Pre-Programmed Tune

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Select the "Pre-Programmed" option. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

The options "Pre-Programmed" and "Custom" appear on the screen. To use the pre-programmed tune strategies, select "Pre-Programmed". The unit will instruct you to turn your key to the on position. Do so at this time, but do not start the vehicle. The unit will identify your vehicle. When it's finished, it will prompt you to return the key to the off position. Do so at this time. Then press "Select" as instructed.

06
of 10

Select Your Vehicle From the Menu

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Find your vehicle in the menu, then press "Select". Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

Your vehicle should appear in the list. For instance, this vehicle is a 4.0L 2008 Mustang. Therefore, the V6 option appears. Press "Select".

07
of 10

Adjust the Options

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Select "Change" to adjust your options. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

You are now given the opportunity to adjust your existing set up or keep the existing tune. Select "Change" from the menu and press "Select".

08
of 10

Adjust Air Box Setting

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Find your intake, then press "Select", then "Cancel". Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

You will now see various options appear on your screen. Hit the right arrow until you navigate to the "Intake Airbox" setting. It should display "Stock". Using the up and down arrows, navigate through the system until you find the "Steeda" setting. Since we installed a Steeda cold air intake on this Mustang, this is the setting we want to select. One you've selected this setting, press the "Select" button to change the setting. Then press "Cancel" to save the setting.

09
of 10

Begin the Program

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Press "Begin Program" to start the programming process. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

You should now see a menu option that instructs you to begin the program or cancel the program. If you are unsure about a setting, you can hit "Cancel" at this point and run through the set up process again. If you feel confident regarding your set up, select "Begin Program". The "Download Tune" menu will appear. Turn the key to the on position, but do not start the engine. The programmer will now begin to tune your system. DO NOT unplug the tuner during this phase. Also DO NOT turn the ignition to off. Let the tuner run its course. When it is finished, the "Download Complete" screen will appear. Turn the key to the off position, and then press "Select".

10
of 10

Carefully Unplug the Tuner

SCT X3 Power Flash Programmer
Carefully unplug the unit from the OBD-II port beneath the dash. Photo © Jonathan P. Lamas

You have now finished tuning your Mustang to run with the new cold air intake you installed. At this point you can unplug the SCT Programmer from the OBD-II port. Carefully unplug the unit, taking care not to damage the port or the plug.

Note: For complete details on how to program your vehicle, always refer to your the SCT owner's manual. If you have questions, contact your SCT dealer or call SCT customer support.