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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at standalone options for my car as well as the gen5 swap. I was very interested in the gen5 swap for an easy 300hp and the quick spool time of the CT15.

What has made me rethink things though is a friend of mine. He bought the ATS Racing "EMU BLACK" ecu plug and play kit. Turns out ATS doesn't have a real working basemap or plug and play kit. The PNP adapter does not actually just PNP. The pinouts are wrong and the car won't even run on their basemap. ATS pleaded him to have his tuner send them the basemap, so they're going to do so but they're sending it as an invoice.

That being said, I was looking to see if I could just convert the 2nd gen to MAP and some other sensors, and run a Haltech or EMU Black ECU. If I did this, I'd be looking at another turbo setup (obviously, CT26 sucks) and I was wondering what I could get to match the CT15's spool time... without buying a CT15...

Alternatively, if I did the gen5 swap and just had the immobilizer disabled I could make the power I want, have the spool time I want, and all that as well. I don't think I'm gonna go for more than 300whp anyway.

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Forgot to mention, I do plan on going standalone either way down the road, preferably with EMU Black ECU, and down the road I do plan on turning it up to try and make low 11's high 10's in the quarter mile. I think 450whp should accomplish that?
 

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I like my gen5 swap, my car has never been this fast before. I came from a gen3 efi converted gen2 with a billet 20b. My gen2 was very high mile and worn out.
 

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LINK ECU make a plug in for the GEN2 but you still need to add in the air temp sensor to remove the AFM. Well worth it though. They have a base map that will get the engine started ready for a tuner to do their job.

But the GEN2 is old tech so a GEN5 would be a better base to start with. Ok, you need to upgrade the rods and therefore pistons to tune it to where you want but you need to do that with a GEN2 anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I completely forgot about that option, would be nice to try on a gen5 motor. I'll be ordering my gen5 maybe in February or so. Will just have the immobilizer disabled by wiregap and throw it in as is. With the large core intercooler I'm ordering and a custom exhaust... I'm looking at 300hp there. I like the 5sgte route but all we have local to me at the moment is 91 octane and E85 is out of question. I don't think I'll be making enough power here in El Paso to justify the hybrid fully custom build.
 

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As mentioned above install a Link ECU for best control to meet your short and long term goals. Fuel quality will be the greatest hurdle to overcome so look into using water injection to keep engine in one piece. Even the doubters are starting to realise WI advantages over other methods to control detonation and manage air charge temps.

Good luck and I look forward to following your build.

jim
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My friend dyno's in at a little over 300bhp his mods are as follows
-Stock gen4
-Full TCS intercooler kit (side mount)
-Straight pipe to berk technologies muffler
-Electronic boost controller set at 17.9psi
-RacerX airbox kit

Can't think of any of his other mods that involve engine power / management at the moment. His car is currently having a basemap made for it for the EMU Black ECU. Once he has his basemap he's going to share it with me, and I'll use his new pinout to make my own plug and play adapter for the gen5 harness. EMU Black really is one of the better ECU's out there at the moment for the price. Far more IO and features than similarly priced haltech units.
 

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I would do a standalone either way. I'm sure the later ECUs are better, but pushing them to 300 rwhp is probably not something you would want to really push hard with for an extended period of time, especially on the stock turbo as that's pushing it really hard. I'm pretty sure the stock ECU on a gen 5 is a narrowband (wideband on stock ECUs didn't become common until quite a few years later, some cars had it in the late 90's, early 2000's, but it was super rare for Japanese cars due to cost of controllers and sensors), so it's essentially flying blind at WOT, which is dangerous on a MAP tune that you've really modified how the engine breathes.

What works well on the street for brief hits just completely breaks down on a car with a lack of intercooling and high IATs/open loop at WOT. And I honestly wouldn't even think of running a 4 banger on an open loop old tuned ECU above 300 rwhp if you sawhow found someone willing to tune it.

If you want 450 rwhp and a responsive powerband, I'd personally lean towards an EFR 7163 (will do 500-550 rwhp max, and spool like a stock CT20B). It's pretty easy to adapt a T4 twin scroll flange to a stock gen 2/gen 3 manifold as the port spacing isn't that far off (my build thread had lots of pics on this). Or if you want to later use the gen 5 stock manifold you could switch to a v-band inlet and almost surely make that work. It makes packaging easy, keeps things internal wastegate, and puts the turbo in a pretty stock location.

All the stock frame rebuilt turbos with Chinese billet compressor wheels in them seem to have horrible reliability and honestly cost 80% of a street price of an EFR. I am baffled people keep putting them on their cars vs. converting over a more standard turbo flange and getting some basic fab work done.

Other option is Garret's G series like a G30-660 or a GTX3071R Gen 2, but both of those will need an external WG and will still cost as much as the EFR by themselves or more. The EFR 7163 will outspool them both for sure. The EFR street pricing and capability makes me say it's the clear winner personally. Comes with BOV, boost control solenoid, and IWG.


I personally put an AEM Infinity on my 2nd gen 3S-GTE. I like it, but it's not perfect since development has slowed on it for AEM to do more EV stuff lately. But regardless, any of the "reasonable quality" ECUs will be worlds better than any stock ECU on gen 2 through gen 5. I also put on an EFR 6758, as the CT26/CT20B was not very appealing from a power/price perspective. I didn't figure I'd make over 380-400 rwhp ever on a 3S, so it hit the sweet spot for me.

IMO, you can get the major stuff in place to support big power and run your 2nd gen on it all (turbo, ECU). Then get a later 3S of some sort to build to hold 450 rwhp. I'd think pistons + rods + headgasket + big cams are the minimum to think about that sort of power.
 

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Gen5 has a wideband knock sensor thats the main reason I went with it. Or are you talking about oxygen sensors?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the information but my friend is going on 120,000 miles of hard daily use at a little over 300rwhp on stock gen4 ecu. The turbo was fresh (he bought a new one as the original was blown) and this is +the 60k miles on it from Japan. There are so many people out here using gen4/5 and making the power that I want and the spool time is unbeatable. The power I want is there, it's a pretty drop-it-in swap, no need to buy these other third party turbo's just to loose some spool time for a little more overhead that I won't be utilizing. You guys keep talking 450+ horsepower and other things, I explicitly said I was just looking for an easy 300hp. I think after the talking done in this thread I realize the gen4/5 swap is likely the quickest, and best route to that power goal. The best spool time, easiest swap, a lower mileage motor, and it's reliable.
 

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Gen5 has a wideband knock sensor thats the main reason I went with it. Or are you talking about oxygen sensors?
Wideband oxygen sensor. "Wideband knock sensor" has more to do with the circuitry in the ECU as I understand it. All knock sensors have a resonant peak due to their construction.

No wideband O2 = flying blind at WOT. I've done it on tuned stock ECUs, but you're so close to blowing your engine up with any sort of hiccup. I once had my filter come loose a bit at the track, which changed the flow distribution through the MAF, which caused me to drop from 11.5-11.7 AFR to 10:1. Thankfully it went down, but it just as easily could have gone up to 13.5-14:1 under boost and I probably would have smoked the engine before I realized it. I only felt like the car was a tad more sluggish than normal, so I was checking all my gauges at WOT down the front straight and saw the wideband reading way richer than normal.

There's a million things that can happen to an engine that will smoke it when the ECU is flying blind, open loop running the engine. Sure, the knock sensor might save you... might... but most stock ECUs I've seen largely turn it off at higher RPM due to valvetrain noise being such a hard to quantify thing (they don't want an engine pulling tons of power because the valve lash gets on the high end of spec).

Thanks for all the information but my friend is going on 120,000 miles of hard daily use at a little over 300rwhp on stock gen4 ecu. The turbo was fresh (he bought a new one as the original was blown) and this is +the 60k miles on it from Japan. There are so many people out here using gen4/5 and making the power that I want and the spool time is unbeatable. The power I want is there, it's a pretty drop-it-in swap, no need to buy these other third party turbo's just to loose some spool time for a little more overhead that I won't be utilizing. You guys keep talking 450+ horsepower and other things, I explicitly said I was just looking for an easy 300hp. I think after the talking done in this thread I realize the gen4/5 swap is likely the quickest, and best route to that power goal. The best spool time, easiest swap, a lower mileage motor, and it's reliable.
You're the one that said you wanted to run high 10's in the quarter mile and thought 450 rwhp would be needed to get there. I agree, if you're launching on non-slicks, then yea, you'll need to trap 125-130 mph to get there minimum which is easily 450 rwhp+.

And no one said it's going to immediately blow up running a gen4/5 at 300 rwhp on the stock ECU. But it's going to beat the turbo up pretty quickly, and it's also going to have no safety net for anything happening. It's basically rolling the dice on a million things not happening to the engine that the ECU will not be able to react to. I've tuned stock ECUs and standalones for almost 20 years now, and dealing with this lack of safety net thing was something you put up with back in the early-mid 2000's just because there weren't good alternatives. Now that standalones are so much more capable and widespread, it's foolish to really run a modded turbo engine on them if you've at all got plans to go past where they're safe to use (which is pretty near a stock setup IMO).

Keep in mind modern cars running on tuned ECUs are a very very different animal than your 20 year old ECU. Modern ECUs have wideband O2 sensors, and generally a ton more sensors all over the engine to account for all sorts of hardware problems/variations. Fuel pressure sensors, all sorts of temperature sensors, wideband O2 sensor, very nice knock monitoring schemes etc. But a 20 year old stock ECU is a completely different story.


BTW - I just checked out the price of gen 4/5 engines - when did they get so pricey? I seem to recall $1-1.2k bought you a decent one a couple of years ago. Looks like all the nice complete ones are well over $2k now?

I'd likely do rods/pistons in a 4th gen BEAMS 3S-GE if I were staying 3S at those prices...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The question was whether or not 450rwhp would be enough to run high 10s in the quarter mile. The first post directly asked what would be more worth the money, a gen5 or a ECU / turbo / tune on my gen2? I think we can all agree that 300hp from a gen4 is going to run and drive better than anything I put on my gen2. If not for the lighter internals and quicker spooling turbo, for the better sensors and overall improvement to the motor. I Just can't agree with you on the ECU side of things. I think the stock gen4/5 ecu is not flying as blind as you think. To make 300hp all you're doing is restricting air to the actuator a very small amount. It's making a tiny bit more boost, most stock gen5's dyno at 270-280 with a straight pipe and side mount intercooler. The turbo isn't being pushed that much harder. I've already stated that I have a friend who has already run his CT15B more miles than a STOCK ct26 even lasts
 

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Pretty sure my gen 2 with a space-age new turbo and standalone is going to drive way better than a gen 4 and a stock turbo... I hit 19 psi at about 3600 RPM in 4th gear on the street, on a 450 rwhp turbo.

A gen 4 ECU has no idea what the AFR is at WOT - it could be at 16:1 AFR and it'd have no clue as narrowband feedback is turned off at WOT. So yes, while everything is working perfectly, it works... until it doesn't. I've tuned more cars than most here (many dozens), and tuned stock ECUs of that era... Things aren't pretty when a moderately stressed setup has a mechanical/electrical hiccup. There's literally hundreds of components that can fail and result in you completely smoking your engine with no safe guards in place. Anyway, if you don't understand what I'm talking about fine, but come with some more substantial technical rationale for me being wrong than "hey man, I turn the boost up and it works."

A gen 4 stock turbo won't make over 300 rwhp... or at least not much over. That means that's basically the limits of what it can support, so yes, that's pushing it pretty hard. Cruising around on the street out of boost isn't stressing it much... so not sure why that would be a gauge of it "lasting a long time." Anything will last a long time in between getting on boost for a few seconds.

My point of upgrading a standalone/turbo is that you can take those things forward on whatever engine you end up with. But if you just want 300 rwhp, and to get no where near a 10 second quarter mile time (why was that even brought up then???), then yea, a stock gen 4 is probably the cheapest way there for someone who doesn't want to do more than turn wrenches and plug in off the shelf swap wiring kits.
 

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Good points^^. Another way to look at mods is rather than what should I do but what rather what shouldn't I do. See if you can pick out the common thread from link below and don't repeat.


jim
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, my buddy on the East coast is running 17.9psi w/ electronic controller on his stock ECU. He drag races it. He runs 13 flat at the moment.
Eventually, years from now when the car is not my daily I plan on drag racing it, I'd like to see it do 10s which is what I was talking about. I'm not here to talk about what mods will support that.

Anyway, his car will hit peak boost at 2750rpm and pull pretty much to redline. He dyno's in at over 300, looking at close to 320. We will have the results in a few days when he finishes getting it tuned on his EMU Black. He's gonna post up the results for his stock ECU run, and his post-tune run on the EMU Black. The turbo can do 20psi no problem. There are people making ~330hp on the CT15B with the billet compressor wheel. Retaining that spool as well.

My thoughts are that you're biased towards your gen2 build, you fail to see the benefit of running that cast-in-manifold turbo. I can always do aftermarket ECU, internals, whatever I want later on but for now I want ~300 horsepower and a drop-in gen5 will do that for me.
 

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If I were to want a 450whp 3SGTE I wouldn't start with a gen2 or 3 heck on that distributor. I know it works but I'd rather have an actual crank sensor and COP ignition, not to mention my distributor always seemed to leak where it meets the head.

If you were to build up a gen5 where would you get larger injectors? The gen5 ones are special.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Oh, and he drives it quite hard and pretty much daily. I do the same, I am persistently driving my car hard. Every night or every other night I try to take it out and I'm racing Wednesdays and weekends. I am pretty sure the real world results I've seen from these cars is a testament to how reliable they are. If you're scared of the A/F ratio just get a gauge that lights up red above or below a certain number so it alerts you when something's wrong. Check the car over before driving it hard, replace wearable parts often, regularly maintain things and replace before they're likely to break. You shouldn't have a problem with a properly maintained car especially if you leave it mostly stock. I consider running 17.9psi on a gen4/5 practically stock, because it is. The ECU knows how to adjust and does so. The gen4/5 has very good knock detection with ion sensing coils. It can actively advance or pull timing to account for it. It can also cut ignition / fuel should the "knock" be really rough. Especially if the stock knock sensor detects it as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Likely going to build a 5sgte hybrid down the road... that's what DefSport should REALLY be recommending. I'll look up all that info later on. For the next few years I'll just run a stock gen4/5 setup and focus on getting it to run on aftermarket EMS and getting the chassis / suspension figured out in preparation for the 5sgte. It's a long road I'm on but just trying to filter through misinformation and whether I'm disregarding safety precautions or not is something I'll learn the hard way I suppose. Some people will say 17-18 psi on a gen4 is dangerous, they'll cite sources where something failed and caused it to blow. They'll do the same for gen2. The thing that I recognize is common with all these failures and blown motors is that something FAILS before it blows. They don't tend to just blow up because of the boost... so if you take your time and ensure everything is running right before you start turning the boost up... not an issue. Besides, a gen2 long block is like $600-800... minus turbo and accessories. Once covid import restrictions are eased up you'll see gen4/5 at $1000-1200 or so again.
 
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