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I aint afraid of no boost
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone,

Recently I have had to tune several cars that were not sufficiently prepared for tuning. What I mean by the word "prepared" is the reason for my post. A standalone is not the end all solution to all of a problematic powerplant's problems. It is a computer that is programmed by a tuner to run a car properly. A competent tuner should be able to solve electrical and minor mechanical problems, but is not usually a storehouse of spare parts. It is the car owner's responsiblity to make sure that everything is in order before he brings the car to the tuner, or brings the tuner to the car.

It's very important that the car owner makes sure EVERY system in the car works well with the stock ECU. This means the ignition, electrical, engine, tranny, and chassis mechanical systems, along with the fuel system.

Here are some things that the car owner can take care of before the tuner begins his work.

1)The spark plug wires, plugs, and the cap and rotor should be NEW. There is NO better wire than the OEM wire, no matter what sort of sales pitch one may be led to believe. I have had to replace more sets of plug wires than anything else while tuning a car.
2)There should be a check to make sure things are not leaking.
3)The boost controller AND wastegate should function properly for the turbo system at hand. (<cough>....... TD06 on the stock internal gate is a big no-no)
4)Constant torque or T-bolt clamps should be used at all intercooler connections. Worm gear clamps are undependable, get stripped easily, and frequently do not hold 20psi. Silicone hoses free of rips and tears are also a must.
5)If a fuel system (rail and injectors, etc) is to be installed, make sure that you have the proper parts to make the setup work. Last minute shopping trips take away from tuning time!
6)Do NOT trust a salesperson that assures you that all of the parts you have bought will fit fine, and will work with no problems. The only way for you to discover these sort of things is for you to get things all together beforehand and make sure it all works. Consult the board to make sure everything is together and functioning properly!

In closing, it's never a good idea to take a bunch of shortcuts when putting together a 350+ rwhp powerplant. There's a saying that goes "You can't polish a turd". Don't put a turd together and expect a billion relaible horsepower. Take your time, gather parts, save your money, and do it right the first time!
 

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very good points... i dont know why you would bother brining your car in to tune if you knew it wasnt working/functioning properly anyway.
 

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I aint afraid of no boost
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
posted by OMX
very good points... i dont know why you would bother brining your car in to tune if you knew it wasnt working/functioning properly anyway.
Some people have no idea what functioning properly means. :(
 

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Nicely said Bryan. Made a bunch of wise points, some things that the average, or above average MR2 guy, wouldn't know. Thanks for the info.
 

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Excellent Article Bryan! I would've never though of those clamps you spoke of, having never really worked extensively on a high HP/Boosted car!

Excellent information!
 

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From the old board (and possibly relevant to Bryan's post):

One aspect that I think should also be addressed in this very helpful primer on distinguishing between good and bad performance upgrades, as well as NoShoes' point about picking the right tuner, are some of the oversimplifications and myths around tuning to begin with:

(1) Almost everyone knows a good dyno plot when they see one.

This is a misconception. Reading a dyno plot is a learned skill, like learning to read in another language. I had to learn it and those of you who do not already understand how to extrapolate what a car will feel like based on the shape of a curve will need to learn it too. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: look past the peak HP number. Look at the area under the curve. Look closer at the torque curve than HP. Look at the boost curve (of all the hundreds of dyno plots that you have seen posted here on this board, how many have shown this?). Look at the correction and/or smoothing factor if any. Do not fixate on a peak HP number and a dramatic peak. This isn't a finance curve from your office. Don't try to read it like one.

(2) Richer is safer.

This is a gross oversimplification. Overly rich is arguably safer than overly lean, but both are dangerous and undesirable. Running a super rich air fuel ratio is not healthy and will harm your motor. It is also an indication that your tuner does not know what he/she is doing with boost and/or timing. Healthy combustion requires the right ratio of air to fuel being ignited at the right time for optimum burn. You may not realize this, but fuel is an anti-detonant. If you see a very rich mixture (fuel dumping) it is the hallmark of a tuner trying to cope with inappropriate timing and or boost mapping. Don?t think rich is dangerous? Too rich and carbon will begin to build up in the cylinder head causing pre-ignition, sparkplugs will begin fouling and misfiring, your catalytic converter will clog up, and the long term health of your engine will be compromised. Matter of fact, if you go too rich, you can cause fuel preignition, which goes hand in hand with detonation, which triggers the knock sensor, which the ECU sees, and then the ECU retards the timing, and the EGTs go up. And so begins the vicious cycle to medium and long term engine damage. It won't be the sudden and catastrophic failure one might see with a sudden lean condition, but will do great harm in the long run.

Bottom line. You want efficient combustion, not overly rich and not overly lean.

(3) All tuners deal with timing the same way

As important as AF/R the timing of when the mixture is lit off makes a huge difference in the optimization of the combustion cycle. If you are not sure whether your tuner relies on the factory knock sensor to either pull timing back based on knock, or prevents timing from being pulled where knock might otherwise exist, learn to understand how and why this matters before choosing which flash to buy or assuming that they are all identical.

(4) Higher peak boost is better.

Not if it involves pulling timing or running overly rich.

Take the time to become an educated consumer. You don?t need to understand all the hyper technical babble that the tuners know, but at least understand the fundamentals of how the products differ in what they do and why. Learn to read a dyno plot. Learn to look at and evaluate boost plots. Learn to interpret AFRs. etc. If you are making a choice on how the ECU is tuned based on an assumption that each product and/ot uner's services are the same except for a few hundred bucks here or there in price, then best of luck to you.

-- DavidV :D
 

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It happens all too often that a person will bring the car to me to get a quick pnp install and initial tune and I end up finding that their setup needs work--sometimes a lot of it. Don't mistake a tuner for a mechanic, the two are completely different persons with completely different skills, tools and attitudes. The last thing you want is to get a tuner to the point where all he want to do is get rid of you and your car with its endless list of problems and issues. If a tuner gives you a timeframe in which the system will be tuned, make sure that everything is ready to meet that time frame. Here are the kinds of things that have happened to me that have turned a simple tuning job into a hard or impossible one:

- One bolt holding the O2 sensor would not come off without breaking so that I could not put a wideband on the car and street tune it.
- One car came in with a newly installed kit from a "well known MR2 supplier" that had the O2 sensor bung pointing right at the thermostat water inlet housing so that an O2 sensor could not be installed.
- A car came to me with an aftermarket crank pulley that had no TDC timing mark so that base timing could not be set.
- Owner has to be driven all over town to look for the right pipe to put in place of the AFM he didn't need any more.
- Engine harness was cut unmercifully to install hundreds of black boxes to the point where it requires major surgery just to get it working again.
- Missing fittings to complete fuel rail upgrade
- Battery was on its last legs. Bringing a bad battery to an EMS install and tune is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
- O2 sensor no longer worked and hadn't been working for a while. Makes it hard to verify closed loop operation.

Also, don't expect a tuner to be able to fix or work around deficiencies in your setup to meet your target goals at the dyno:

- Insufficient fuel capacity to keep duty cycles at or below 85%
- Improperly degreed cams
- Ignition system deficiencies
- Inability to control boost pressure

I'm not mentioning any names. If you are one of my previous customers and recognize yourself above, I'm not blaming you and this is just to help those out who come after you.

You need to contact your tuner well in advance and run through all the things that he will be doing to your car and make sure that your setup is 100% ready to do that. It is unfair to expect the tuner to devote extra time and effort beyond what was agreed upon. Some will, but time spent on fixing stupid stuff that you could and should have done yourself or had a meachnic do will detract from the time available to properly tune the car.
 

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Do you guys have any suggestions on good books to help us to understand this black art called tuning? I've installed a wideband system in my 86 that I plan to use to do my AFR tuning throughout the different stages of my turbo conversion project. I've been trying to determine what my goal AFR should be.

Basically- at what point does the AFR become too rich to efficiently combust and start causing carbon buildup issues? 13.0:1? 12.5:1? What goal AFR do you shoot for when tuning a turbocharged vehicle? What AFR do OEM turbo systems generally run when on and off boost?

What method do you use to determine what the correct amount of advance is-- an EGT?
 

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Originally posted by NoShoes
(<cough>....... TD06 on the stock internal gate is a big no-no)
That is a gross generalization. I have an internally gated TD06 running 1 bar, that does not creep or have any problems what-so-ever. I have a lot of customers/aquaintences that have the same experience. Its just that you don't see posts all the time saying "I have a TD06 and it works great!", you see the ones that say "why does my boost creep?".

So IMO the correct way to state that would be "make sure your WG functions properly, and if you have an internally gated turbo (especially the TD06), make DOUBLE sure it works fine"
 

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posted by FoundSoul
Do you guys have any suggestions on good books to help us to understand this black art called tuning?
I sure do. Take a look at my book, "Car Hacks and Mods for Dummies" available everywhere later this month (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc.) There is a lot of good discussion there, and it is far more up to date than some of the other reference guides out there (although Corky Bell's "Maximum Boost" is a good book, if dated)

Here is the link to Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...102-5071414-8548949?v=glance&s=books&n=507846



-- DavidV :D
 

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You say: "It's very important that the car owner makes sure EVERY system in the car works well with the stock ECU. This means the ignition, electrical, engine, tranny, and chassis mechanical systems, along with the fuel system. "


This makes no sense, if everything worked with the stock ECU, then one wouldn't need to go with an aftermarket one. Right? I thought aftermarket tuning (engine control) was because the stock ECU can not handle or was not designed for newer high performance parts.

So to this I premise, that until you ge a car tuned via after market system, your car will run like CRAP, or worse, depending on how extensive the changes made.

You don't expect a stock 4AGE going from 115HP to 300HP to run nicely with no modifications to fuel and air timings, just to take it to a tuner to do what? NOTHING!
 

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broderp said:
You say: "It's very important that the car owner makes sure EVERY system in the car works well with the stock ECU. This means the ignition, electrical, engine, tranny, and chassis mechanical systems, along with the fuel system. "


This makes no sense, if everything worked with the stock ECU, then one wouldn't need to go with an aftermarket one. Right? I thought aftermarket tuning (engine control) was because the stock ECU can not handle or was not designed for newer high performance parts.

So to this I premise, that until you ge a car tuned via after market system, your car will run like CRAP, or worse, depending on how extensive the changes made.

You don't expect a stock 4AGE going from 115HP to 300HP to run nicely with no modifications to fuel and air timings, just to take it to a tuner to do what? NOTHING!
I think he meant the car in it's standard / lightly modified form should be running correctly before an aftermarket ecu is fitted, i think he probably understands that you cant just throw on a GT30, 1000cc injectors etc.. and expect it to run well.

J
 

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Mistatwo Mayn said:
Davidv, wow, that was actually a useful post :). I think POINT no. 2 SHOULD be looked at carefully by all in this community!
I'll second that!

My car got completely riched out by a tuner (not on this board) that I now consider more of a 'mechanic'.
 

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DavidV said:
I sure do. Take a look at my book, "Car Hacks and Mods for Dummies" available everywhere later this month (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc.) There is a lot of good discussion there, and it is far more up to date than some of the other reference guides out there (although Corky Bell's "Maximum Boost" is a good book, if dated)

Here is the link to Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...102-5071414-8548949?v=glance&s=books&n=507846



-- DavidV :D
I am definitely going to purchase your book, but how do you think this book compares to your book and other books when it comes to tuning?
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/cu...14597-2774451?_encoding=UTF8&n=283155&s=books
 

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Wouldn't mind getting a copy of DavidV's book but the international shipping rate is a quite steep. Can't understand how I can send items back to the US for 1/3 the price of getting them sent here. Anyone know if there is an electronic version of the book?

jim
 

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SW20FL said:
I am definitely going to purchase your book, but how do you think this book compares to your book and other books when it comes to tuning?
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/cu...14597-2774451?_encoding=UTF8&n=283155&s=books
I've got a copy of Car Hacks and Mods, and have read the book in the link. They're different books aimed at different readers. David's book is more beginner friendly and covers more areas of tuning - engine, suspension, etc. Four Stroke Performance Tuning is meant to provide more detail in one specific area (naturally aspirated engine buildups) to a more advanced audience. Just like (shameless plug) my own book focuses on engine management, but doesn't cover internal mods. David's book is a general audience how to book, while A. Graham Bell's reads more like a college textbook on horsepower.
 
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