One of the many things we love about this job is access to new and innovative parts that hit the market. We get to play with the latest and greatest automotive aftermarket components and report back to you on our findings. About 90-percent of the time, these new parts do their job as advertised without any surprises, but there are always exceptions, both good and bad. Every once in a while, we will find a gem that not only meets our expectations but exceeds them. Our most recent example is SCT’s Livewire Vision Performance Monitor.
What Is It
The Livewire Vision Performance Monitor is a unique product that allows vehicle owners to monitor the vitals of their car or truck. And while this might sound silly, we will show you why this product is exceptionally diverse and can be used for different scenarios and vehicles, as we found during testing. So far, we’ve used the monitor on a 2000 Pontiac Formula WS6, a 1996 Caprice Classic, and a 2019 Chevrolet Duramax for towing. The Livewire Vision had something to offer in each of these different situations.
The Livewire Vision Performance Monitor name pretty much tells you what it does, or so we thought. This compact unit will display the engine vitals in real-time, so you know what’s going on with your car or truck. You can also access diagnostic codes as they pop up and figure out what the problem might be.
Test Subject #1: 2000 Pontiac Firebird WS6
Just a couple of weeks ago, we loaded up for a substantial road trip in one of our projects, the Dirty Bird, on a 2,500-mile round trip to LS Fest West in Las Vegas. Since the car is now over 20 years old, we need a way to watch the engine and diagnostics as we cruise across America. With any old vehicle, you’re bound to experience a problem or two on a trip like this, and we did. We liked the idea of using the Livewire Vision instead of having to plug in a laptop in the already cramped cabin space to keep an eye on things. The compact design allowed us to mount the unit right on the windshield with the supplied suction cup mount. We hit the road early in the morning on our 16-hour drive from Texas with the product installed.
For this trip, we found that displaying MPH on the monitor allowed us to keep our eyes on the road rather than having to glance down to see the factory speedometer. We also set the monitor up to view the air-fuel ratio since we took a chance on the 20-year-old factory fuel pump, which was probably not the most brilliant of moves.
About five hours into our trip, the dreaded check engine light came on. Typically, we would need to find a parts store or mechanic if you don’t have a way of reading codes and have the vehicle scanned and see how severe the problem was. But, since we had the SCT Livewire Vision plugged into the OBDII port, we pulled off on the road and checked the code. The Livewire Vision showed us the code and gave us a description that kept us from having to do a Google search on the roadside. Since it was a non-critical code, we cleared the warning and proceeded on down the road.
Test Subject #2: Clap’d Out Caprice
For our second test, we installed the Livewire Vision in a 1996 Caprice Classic. These cars are notorious for burning out the digital screens rendering the gauge cluster useless for the vehicle’s speedometer, among other things, and ours is no different.
With the Livewire Vision installed, we could access the speedometer and display it in our line of sight. And since the water temperature and tachometer don’t work in the Caprice, we added those to the display, which gave us another idea. Since this unit will work in any LS-swapped car or truck with an OBDII port, you can use the monitor like a virtual dashboard. The Livewire Vision also allows you to set up warning notifications if a sensor reads too high or low.
Back to the Caprice. Since the check engine light was already on in this 25-year-old vehicle, Once again, we used the LiveWire Vision to look at and clear the codes before heading off to “Mexico” for some test hits. We wanted to check out the 1/4-mile and 0-60 MPH functions on the monitor for this test.
With the 1/4-mile test box selected, we launched the car and recorded our runs. I’m sad to say we only went a few miles per hour over the posted speed limit in our 1/4-mile sprint. But this is an excellent feature that would allow you to test new parts on a car and see if it improves performance. Since our 1/4-mile times were dismal at best, we didn’t even bother checking the 0-60 times and the braking test. Instead, we discussed if we should sell it or put a nitrous system on in the future.
Test Subject #3: The Duramax
Our final test for the LiveWire Vision was a 2019 Chevrolet 3500 Silverado attached to a camping trailer. As you know, it’s essential to keep an eye on the exhaust gas temperatures on any diesel engine. It’s even more critical if that diesel is pulling a heavy load. And even though the Vision Livewire is not a tuner, it certainly has its place in this application.
For this test, we pulled up as many parameters as possible to keep up with our trip. The Livewire Vision allowed us to monitor 12 different sensors at one time. We kept an eye on engine coolant temperature, engine speed, vehicle speed, intake air temperature, fuel rail pressure, barometric pressure, accelerator pedal position, engine oil pressure, turbocharger vane position, turbo boost, EGT 1, and EGT2. Of course, with the trailer unhooked, we had to see what our 1/4-mile times looked like as well. Let’s just say the truck beat our Caprice without much effort. We’re definitely putting a nitrous system on it now.
The Livewire Vision also has some other handy features, like a data logger. So if you’re at the track, you can record a run and then download the file to your laptop and view all of the different information. SCT even gives you a port for an SD card to record the data as needed.
The Livewire Vision can also offer an upgrade for your reverse game if your vehicle wasn’t equipped with a backup camera. You can purchase a camera and plug it into the device. To activate it, you will push the “rear camera” button on the push screen, and you can see what’s behind you.
While SCT calls its Livewire Vision a performance monitor, it’s much more than that. This product is the perfect tool for any LS-powered vehicle and, as you can see by our test, is incredibly versatile. While the monitor is fantastic for displaying engine diagnostics, reading and clearing codes on the fly is an added perk. And being able to data-log without the use of a laptop is another great feature.
For more information on the Livewire Vision, pricing, and other products, be sure to check out SCT’s website. They offer a wide array of tuners for just about every GM vehicle out there with an LS or LT engine, of course.