KDMAX Pro Tune For 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma – Review & Overview

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Last Updated on October 25, 2023

KDMAX Pro Tune For The 2005-2023 Tacoma: Reduce Pedal Lag, Increase Pedal Sensitivity, Alter Shift Points, Support For Larger Tires & Improve Drivability

Most Tacoma owners have more than likely found themselves in a variation of the following situation…

You’re merging onto the highway or turning onto a busy road. You concentrate, check both mirrors, throw on a turn signal, drop the pedal to the metal, and start merging – very slowly.

The worst thing about modern Tacomas is undoubtedly their comically underwhelming automatic transmissions. For example, the factory 6 speed cannot seem to decide what gear it wants to be in above 30 mph. Suffice it to say, it is not necessary to cycle through four different gears to get up to cruising speed.

And while most (probably) do not buy a Tacoma for its speed, it is still frustrating, to say the least.

However, that does not mean that you have to settle. Most of us with any sort of car knowledge know about or have at least heard of tuning. For those who don’t, a vehicle tune reprograms the vehicle’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU). In the case of the Tacoma, has the potential to target a few main areas…

  • Pedal lag
  • Pedal sensitivity
  • Shift points
  • Fuel octane
  • Re-gearing + larger tires

The KDMax Pro tune completely overhauls the feel of your truck. It improves horsepower and torque numbers (tested on a 3.5L 3rd Gen), improving pedal lag, gear hunting and possibly increasing MPG. This tune is a great choice for someone who wants to get the most out of their Tacoma. This applies to both stock and modified users.

Note: 2nd Gen Tacoma and 5th Gen 4Runner tuning is in beta testing.

Find It Online

Why Tune Your Tacoma?

Toyota Truck Tuning From KDMax Tuning Group

For one, as previously stated, the KDMax Pro tune increases horsepower and torque. While this is not the primary focus of the tune, there are noticeable improvements. Future dyno data may become available once routine testing is complete.

Another potential benefit is an increase in fuel economy, however, this varies among drivers.

Without getting into engine modifications, the KDMax Pro tune is probably the most substantial performance upgrade that you can do to your truck.

Moving on to other benefits, we can identify several more.

Want to remove that pesky electronic throttle lag? Done. Increase the general sensitivity of the throttle? Also done. Looking for less gear hunting? Shift points can be altered. Looking to run a different octane gas for potential increases in power and efficiency? Check.

All of these categories total to give you a better driving experience, and they can support your recent re-gear and larger tires.

How To Install KDMAX Pro Tune

How To Install KDMax Pro Tune

The process takes no time at all; maybe 5 to 10 minutes at most. In my case, I contacted a local tuner, and we agreed to meet at an overland event.

He showed up at 10:33, and the whole process was done before 10:45, including conversation and payment. He simply booted up his laptop, plugged it into the factory ECU (via the OBD2 port), and verified that the system was compatible (if not, they can quickly make any necessary changes).

If your ECU software needs to be updated beforehand, your tuner can figure that out and update it for free.

Where Can I Get My Truck Tuned?

KDMax Tuner Map - Where Can I Get My Truck Tuned?

If you live anywhere remotely close to a city, there more than likely exists a tuning service. KDMax’s website lists tuners throughout the United States. With this, you can most likely find a tuner relatively close to home. However, if you do not fancy taking your truck down to the shop, you can always purchase the Remote Tuning License. This gives you everything you need to perform your own DIY KDMax Pro tune.

In my experience, the most favorable option would be to take it to a licensed tuner, instead of bothering with trying to learn the complex art of ECU reprogramming. Attempting to tune your truck incorrectly can cause damage to your ECU and render your truck inoperable.

Regardless of which option you choose, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to upload files to the ECU. The tune will be active immediately upon starting the truck.

To reiterate, I met up with my tuner just after 10:30, and it was all done before 11:00. Quite impressive.

KDMAX Pro Tune Vs. Stock/Factory Tune

KDMax Tune For 3rd Gen Tacoma - Review & Overview

After finishing my tune, the tuner (we will call him R) jokingly said to “carefully return home without sending it too hard.” Initially, I laughed and shrugged his warning off. There could not possibly be that much of a noticeable difference. Clearly, he had to have just been exaggerating.

Then, I turned the truck on.

The difference was immediately noticeable. After putting the car in drive, I jolted the car so badly that my passenger questioned whether or not I was paying attention. The throttle response was vastly different from how it had been for the year or so I had owned the truck up until then. It’s cliche to say, but it really did feel like a brand-new vehicle.

Compared to stock, the overall driving feel of the truck feels significantly more natural. Anyone who has driven a Tacoma for any length of time knows that there is a distinct throttle lag. For example, you could floor the gas pedal and It would take about a second for the engine to realize it. As mentioned before, this is considered problematic when merging into highway traffic.

The KDMax Pro tune also addresses the gear-hunting issue. Before, in order to reach cruising speed, the truck would cycle between gears unnecessarily. The tune optimizes shift points, providing faster and more responsive acceleration.

Changing the shift points also opens the door to better fuel economy. The truck will now take less gas to accelerate, and therefore extend the range of a tank of gas. For anyone with heavy gear especially, more MPG sounds like a pretty good deal.

Final Thoughts

The KDMax Pro tune opens a whole new world of drivability for your Tacoma. Without spending thousands of dollars on engine mods or other performance parts, you can completely transform your truck and unlock the extra power that has previously been restricted by the sluggish 6-speed AT. With hundreds of tuning services across the nation, KDMax is very easily accessible to most. As a result, all Tacoma owners can tap the benefits of increased horsepower, torque, and acceleration.

Overall, the KDMax Pro Tune is a great, budget-friendly, and simple performance modification that will breathe new life into your Tacoma.

If you have any questions about installation requirements, or finding tuners nearby, visit the KDMax website for more information.

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Jeff Lewis
Jeff Lewis
1 year ago

Great review. I have the tune KDMax tune on my 2022 TRD Sport. You did a great job noting the improvements this tune provides Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runners.

1 year ago

Dave, you’re the man!

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