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Malone Tuning Stage 4 Review

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
Stage 4 tune installed and my experience has been terrible.
I expected some type of tune for my car, but Malone Tuning can't provide any tune that will load on Flashzilla3. Communications is non-existent at the customer level. My local installer complained about their lack of communications and when they finally got contacted by them, Malone Tuning laughed at them. The flashzilla took a month to get initially, and I should of learned my lesson. But I wanted to experience what others here are claiming they are getting. So I ordered the Stage 4 kit, cost excess of $3,000 and nothing. No contact, no shipment, nothing. When they did contact me back, it was excuse after excuse of he's on vacation this week, I'm gone that week, etc. No accountability whats so ever from malone tuning LTD. They sold me $4,000 worth of hardware and software, and it doesn't work. Recommend not waste your money if your an end user. I contacted my local recommended Malone Dealers and they both said yea, thats a problem with Malone... Every time they contact me, they belittle me, make it my fault somehow for contacting them and complaining about my situation. Their hardware, their programmer, and their tune. But its my fault. According to them, I should of planned this months ago. I did. It just took this long to get to where I am at. Very poor customer service behavior. 0 support. If you have an interest, might be best to stay away. Whatever support they throw at you when they do doesn't address the problem. They are just buying themselves another day. DO NOT BUY A STAGE 4!!!! STAY AWAY!!! The stage 2 they sent me was good though. So not all bad.
 

Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
As someone who as a stage 4 Malone tune, it works and I'm quite happy with it. Also, if you're having trouble with a vendor, it would be better to try and work it out with them. If you aren't happy with your results, we can try to help as best we can, otherwise you should probably post something like this under the Vendor Accountability thread https://forums.tdiclub.com/index.php?threads/vendor-accountability-thread.241854/
 

adjat84th

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Location
Virginia Beach, VA
TDI
'01 Jetta TDI/'15 Golf TDI
Eh, I disagree..sometimes communication can be slow, but I've never been belittled or treated anything other than great by either Mark or Owain.
I have had custom tuning through the Tunezilla portal for my 2260 tuning, and it's a great way to communicate and send files back and forth. I can't imagine they wouldn't have an out-of-the-box tune to get your car (which isn't listed or mentioned BTW) running at least decent from the initial startup, and then able to fine tune after that if necessary.
Sidenote: Mark bailed me out big time when the ECU in my MK4 went bad due to bad soldering from the previous tuner. Never was able to get ahold of that tuner via email, PMs, or phone calls. Mark hooked me up with a stage 5 tune on a new ECU for a very respectable price.
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
As someone who as a stage 4 Malone tune, it works and I'm quite happy with it. Also, if you're having trouble with a vendor, it would be better to try and work it out with them. If you aren't happy with your results, we can try to help as best we can, otherwise you should probably post something like this under the Vendor Accountability thread https://forums.tdiclub.com/index.php?threads/vendor-accountability-thread.241854/

I have tried to convey the problem with them. They keep sending me tunes, but I keep telling them its the flashzilla. They are creating a tune like they did for stage 2, however, when I try to load it on the flashzilla, at the end of the load it errors with ERR_INVALID_FILE. Owain created a stage 2 tune, and it wouldn't even load on the flashzilla. It was a replacement flashzilla they overnighted to me (awesome ty Josh), I loaded the Orignal.USR to the device and uploaded it to them. They created a tune and its done nothing but that error. The previous flashzilla had a completely different problem, right in the middle of either reading or writing to ecu, it would intermittently reset. Talking about a scary situation, but it never corrupted it to the point that it bricked the ecu. So here I am, with a stage 4 turbo on the car, and no tune. The car jumps into limp mode if you accelerate any way but slowly. Then your accelerating slowly anyways. So not very useful. So thats my problem. Any help would greatly be appreciated. I personally think its the flashzilla.
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
Eh, I disagree..sometimes communication can be slow, but I've never been belittled or treated anything other than great by either Mark or Owain.
I have had custom tuning through the Tunezilla portal for my 2260 tuning, and it's a great way to communicate and send files back and forth. I can't imagine they wouldn't have an out-of-the-box tune to get your car (which isn't listed or mentioned BTW) running at least decent from the initial startup, and then able to fine tune after that if necessary.
Sidenote: Mark bailed me out big time when the ECU in my MK4 went bad due to bad soldering from the previous tuner. Never was able to get ahold of that tuner via email, PMs, or phone calls. Mark hooked me up with a stage 5 tune on a new ECU for a very respectable price.
Owain told me that they don't provide canned tunes at stage 4. All the stage 4 tunes are custom, which I find hard to believe. I guess he may be partially right, because you can have a tune based on equipment on the car. I'm not even getting to that level, if I could even load one of the tunes they created onto the flashzilla, that would be a major accomplishment. I've been with Malone since 2013, I never went above stage 2 though. This has been a complete nightmare. Would LOVE to talk praise of the stage 4 from Malone Tuning. I'm just not getting anywhere with them.

btw, the tunezilla portal doesn't work for me. I have to open a ticket and request it.
 

Nuje

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
I've cracked jokes at Owain and barely got a chuckle out of him, so your charge that "Malone Tuning laughed at them" rings hollow.

As mentioned above, Malone Tuning has a stellar situation here, and having dealt with them in person, by email, and by text, they have always been nothing short of professional, and offer a top-notch product. I understand your frustration, but it's not at all in keeping with my experience with them, nor the experience of literally hundreds of other members on this board.

Are you 100% sure you have fully charged battery, and have a charger on the battery while you're uploading the tune to the car? Computers (i.e., ECUs) are very fussy when it comes to voltage - even programming keys on a Mk4...if you're below 12.5V it can be an adventure.
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
I've cracked jokes at Owain and barely got a chuckle out of him, so your charge that "Malone Tuning laughed at them" rings hollow.

As mentioned above, Malone Tuning has a stellar situation here, and having dealt with them in person, by email, and by text, they have always been nothing short of professional, and offer a top-notch product. I understand your frustration, but it's not at all in keeping with my experience with them, nor the experience of literally hundreds of other members on this board.

Are you 100% sure you have fully charged battery, and have a charger on the battery while you're uploading the tune to the car? Computers (i.e., ECUs) are very fussy when it comes to voltage - even programming keys on a Mk4...if you're below 12.5V it can be an adventure.

nobody is listening.... sigh... I cannot load the tune on the flashzilla. . Its not loading a tune. The flashzilla only allows me to save the original file only. What am I saying thats not being understood? The car battery can be dead and it won't effect the loading of the tune on the flashzilla. I don't even need the car for what isn't working. yes, I have tried 2 other computers with the same result.

BTW, as for Malone laughing at the installer, (I have no idea who the installer talked to, no idea if it was Owain). This is what the installer told me. I have no reason to exagerate. I just know that my $600 install was raised to $2000. The installer wasn't too happy when he got off the phone with them. He said they are very difficult.

Its also possible your jokes aren't funny, or what Owain considers funny is different.
 
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Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Have you tried emailing Malone directly, instead of going through a third party? Or sending Owain a dm here? Just because one person had a bad experience with them doesn't mean they are a bad company. When I had to email them logs for my car to adjust my tune, it was about a 2-3 day turnaround time. With all the nonsense going on in the world right now, I'd expect it to be a pinch longer.

All I'm saying is, yeah I get it, it's frustrating that it's not accepting the file. But give them another chance and try reaching out to them directly.
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Its also possible your jokes aren't funny, or what Owain considers funny is different.
Ha, I was thinking the same. I think Nuje owes it to everyone here to share the joke that fell flat. :)
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
Yea, unfortunately, I've been emailing and asking them in tickets for assistance, and what I have found out and what I need help with. Its just falling on deaf ears. I'm just burned out trying to contact them. Mark is on vacation this week, and thats what Owain emphasized when he finally contacted me. Not sure if that meant that Owain can't fix it, or Mark is the only one that deals with problems with the flashzilla. I have no idea if they even intend to help me. The only time this week Owain actually communicated with me was when I placed a note of my experience with them earlier this week on this board and on their facebook page. The facebook page idea was given to me by one of Malone's installers when he can't get ahold of anybody at Malone. Now I just feel I"m nagging them, and that they are just ignoring me now. If they don't want to help, then I will share my experience with as many as I can. The above user says he can text Owain. I guess being buddies with him gives you faster responses. I'm not Owain's buddy. Just a customer that wishes Malone Tuning do what I paid them to do.
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Now that was a tasteless joke. I think I see what's going on here.
 

Stiesel

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
Location
Hbg, MS
TDI
None for now
FWIW, a couple years ago I ordered a stage 2 using their Flashzilla. For two days I read and reread the directions because I was seeing the same error pop up. Finally I just called them to see what I was doing wrong. After telling them about the error, they said it was the Zilla; every once in a while they have a bad one.
They sent a replacement shortly after the call, not even waiting to get the bad one first. The replacement worked without a problem.
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
FWIW, a couple years ago I ordered a stage 2 using their Flashzilla. For two days I read and reread the directions because I was seeing the same error pop up. Finally I just called them to see what I was doing wrong. After telling them about the error, they said it was the Zilla; every once in a while they have a bad one.
They sent a replacement shortly after the call, not even waiting to get the bad one first. The replacement worked without a problem.
I've asked them for a replacement flashzilla. I even asked them if they could check to see if they could load up another flashzilla with the original.usr file and the stage 4 tune to see if it works. And if it does, to send it to me. I get no reply.
 

Nuje

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
What car is this on? What computer / OS are you using?

Issue is not Flashzilla Tune-->car, but rather Computer--->Flashzilla, right?

In which case, have you gone through all of the usual computer trouble-shooting steps?

Reboot
Different USB cable
Different USB port
Different computer (if avaliable) - some USB ports on some laptops are lacking in power
Uninstall software - reboot - re-install software --> reboot ---> try again
 

Mongler98

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Location
Northern MD (HAGERBUSH)
TDI
98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress)
This is literally the epitome of the difference between the generation that grew up with "wait 3 to 6 weeks for delivery" and the generation that grew up "2 day prime or next day delivery"

Malone tunning is great. Some have had issues with not having enough patients with him but in the end there are basically no customers who have not ended up with what they needed/paidfor.
Just have patients and talk with him directly.
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
This is literally the epitome of the difference between the generation that grew up with "wait 3 to 6 weeks for delivery" and the generation that grew up "2 day prime or next day delivery"

Malone tunning is great. Some have had issues with not having enough patients with him but in the end there are basically no customers who have not ended up with what they needed/paidfor.
Just have patients and talk with him directly.

My career is in field service. I travel throughout the US, and Canada to fix electro=mechanical problems. When a customer puts a service call in, I contact them within 24 hours. I establish communications with them so they know what I am doing and if necessary, when I'll be there. The workload for me is incredibly busy, but I take ownership of the problem and the customer knows exactly what to expect. I work for a company of 6 of us. Even the owner works because we have that much work. Customers come first. If not, they will just find another company to do business with. Is it too much to expect the same sense of responsibility to their customers? If the time line is 3 days, tell me. If the time line is 4 weeks, tell me. Thats not a hard thing. If its in a bit, what is a bit???? In my line of work, a bit is within the hour. Not next day. I had patience when I ordered a flashzilla, and it took a month to get, same as the turbo kit. Ok, fine, but my car wasn't broken. My car is broken. How hard is it to overnight a flashzilla or work with me on an issue with the flashzilla? I keep reading about that if you are an existing customer, Malone place a high priority on situations that the customer is down. Well, I'm down and its been 6 days.
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
What car is this on? What computer / OS are you using?

Issue is not Flashzilla Tune-->car, but rather Computer--->Flashzilla, right?

In which case, have you gone through all of the usual computer trouble-shooting steps?

Reboot
Different USB cable
Different USB port
Different computer (if avaliable) - some USB ports on some laptops are lacking in power
Uninstall software - reboot - re-install software --> reboot ---> try again

Yes, multiple times. I've tried this on 1 computer and 2 laptops. Both were plugged into power while I did this. I went out and purchased another USB cable and that still got me same results. I installed the software on a computer that never had the software before and it ended with same results. Something noteworthy, is it tries to download the same updates every time I restart. I even turned off antivirus and firewall protection thinking its a compatibility issue. Keep in mind that I used the same computer and have done stage 2 uploads to another flashzilla with same computer. Last time I used it on the last flashzilla was several months ago though. I replaced that flashzilla because of intermittent resets. Too bad I sent it back to Malone Tuning for replacement. I could of used it to check uploads on it as a comparison. If anyone is bored and want to see if they could load my tune on a spare flashzilla, it would be greatly appreciated. I personally think there is something wrong with the flashzilla. There is too much risk in doing this, so I don't expect any takers.
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Keep your skirt on. It's been an unusual summer, if you haven't noticed. First world problems.
 

adjat84th

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Location
Virginia Beach, VA
TDI
'01 Jetta TDI/'15 Golf TDI
I can't stand the updates every time, and skip them sometimes since they take forever. I have used the same flashzilla for probably 40 tunes without issue so likely nothing to do with the tune file as you say. Hopefully you can get another to test with soon.
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
with malone not communicating, I've ordered one from tunemyeuro. Should have it saturday or monday. I'm taking a look at Jeff Stevenson TDI. They are a competitor of Malones. Anybody heard, good, or bad from them? I know they use the PowerGate3. Not sure if he'll take on the big turbo from malone though. I asked. Still waiting on his reply.

update: he's replied, he's done malone's 2260, but not 2056 that I have. He said it will be alot of trial and error that he had to do on the 2260. would be so much simpler to just have malones tune put on, so I'm giving this 2nd flashzilla (actually 3rd flashzilla this year) a shot since its another $1K to go this route.

So communications update from Keir at Malone Tuning. They're going to send me a replacement flashzilla3.
 
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rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
Their communications was through the ticket. I did ask them to preload it, but was told by Keir to hook to car, grab the original.usr file and attach the file to a ticket and request the tune again.

It could be because the tune is linked to the orginal.usr file, and the serial of the flashzilla which ties the tune to the vin and flashzilla. Just a guess though.
 
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tjg

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2019
Location
Ft. Knox, KY
TDI
'13 TDI A3, '14 TDI Sportwagen
I suppose you could pull the stock file, load it on to the flashzilla and then mail it to them to load the tune on to.
 

Nevada_TDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Location
Reno, sort of...
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI
I had some issues with the boys from Canada. I do not believe I was treated fairly, and they still have some of my money... I emailed the guy with the oddly spelled name what had happened, and he asked for details. I sent them to him. The short version is they did not want to write my tune using the altitude compensation-I live at 4600 ft-and occasionally do get down to sea level. I have heard lots of good things and I have heard and experienced the bad things too. We are human, crap happens. Suck it up and move on; I have been using VW Mikel for years, and he is always cordial, helpful, and has written many different files for me as my hardware now is nowhere close to where it once was.
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
I had some issues with the boys from Canada. I do not believe I was treated fairly, and they still have some of my money... I emailed the guy with the oddly spelled name what had happened, and he asked for details. I sent them to him. The short version is they did not want to write my tune using the altitude compensation-I live at 4600 ft-and occasionally do get down to sea level. I have heard lots of good things and I have heard and experienced the bad things too. We are human, crap happens. Suck it up and move on; I have been using VW Mikel for years, and he is always cordial, helpful, and has written many different files for me as my hardware now is nowhere close to where it once was.
Suck it up. lol. What are the choices? lol. there is only, suck it up :) Going forward, I do get to decide whether to continue business with Malone or go with someone else. I'm beginning to realize there is more to the TDI industry besides kerma and malone. BTW, does VW Mikel have a website?
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
I suppose you could pull the stock file, load it on to the flashzilla and then mail it to them to load the tune on to.
I can only speculate why they are doing what they are doing. Its possible the reads from the ECU is crap from the existing flashzilla3. It will just keep pointing to the tune being the problem. So this is probably the best way. They didn't convey that to me, I just speculated.

But yea, they could of offered to do that since they already had the original.usr file. Since they were sending me a replacement flashzilla, I tried to do an erase data, and it errors out "0 CREDIT".
 

rhill2901

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Location
Nashville, TN
TDI
2014 VW Jetta
Ok. the replacement Flashzilla3 that Malone Tuning sent was operational and I was able to put the tune on it and load it to the car. Mark quickly sent me a tune but I wasn't able to test it until the next day (work related busy schedule). I was told by Mark that the Tune is linked to the flashzilla and the car. So even though it was the same car, the flashzilla serial number is different so it wouldn't work. With the DPF on the car, it gives me a solid 26.4 PSI boost. Power seems to drop off considerably at 3.8k. Between 2-3K it pulls like a demon though. Not enough experience with this setup, so not sure why the sudden drop, but the car is actually fun to drive now. I always like the sedan tdi, even over my golf r stage 3+, it doesn't pull like my gasser golf r, but its impressive. Everyone expects the golf r to be fast, nobody expects a jetta tdi to be fast. Thats the unique part about it. Gas mileage is suffering just a tad at the moment, its not the tune, well, actually it is. I can't help pushing the car harder to get the rush. Awesome setup Mark.

Long story short, Malone Tuning is off my dump list. They provide a good product, Its not plug and play; I guess if there was instructions, the installers (who never put one in before and told me they will never do it again lol) would of had a better chance of success and not be taking out on me, the customer. I intended to keep the emissions on the car, but the installers cut my rear egr (low pressure side) pipe too short, and then blamed Malone Tuning. The low side being too short made connecting the silicone intake pipe too short to attach to the egr pipe. I could take that many ways, maybe it would be good if Malone Tuning provided how much to cut the rear egr pipe, or made a template or something. Just telling an installer that works on multiple types of vehicles to cut the pipe, leaves too much to chance, and the risk of cutting too much is high.
 
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