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Old 06-14-2008, 11:48 PM   #1
williaty
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Default Subaru Drive By Wire and How to Improve it

To Whom Does This Apply?
Overall, the ideas and thought processes here cover any Drive By Wire (DBW) car. The specific numbers and results here are for the USDM 2005 and 2006 Normally Aspirated Subaru Imprezas. However, the results should be VERY close for any of the DBW H4 Subarus (Impreza, Legacy, Forrester).

In General, What is the Problem?
In a DBW car, the accelerator pedal is not physically connected to the throttle. Instead, the accelerator pedal is just an input device, like a video game controller, to the ECU. The ECU looks at the position of the accelerator pedal, consults some tables, and determines where the throttle plate in the throttle body should be. Depending on the contents of those look up tables, the throttle response can be anything the engineers want it to be. This is how Si Drive is implemented, by the way.In the stock ROM, the DBW tables are set-up in a way that is good for moving the cars off the dealer's lot (they feel "peppy") but bad for performance driving.

In General, What is the Solution?
Via tuning with RomRaider, the contents of the DBW tables can be altered at will. In the case of the cars in question, the throttle response actually needs reduced to make the car easier to drive and more controllable at the limit or in a slide.

Hey, you spelled "accelerator" wrong in all your charts!
Congratulations, you get a cookie. They weren't worth fixing for that mistake.

The Dirty Details:
In Denso's (the company who makes the ECUs for Subarus) DBW system, there are two sets of tables. Roughly you can consider them input (Requested Torque) and Output (Target Plate Angle). The input tables take the position of the accelerator pedal (as percentage) and the current RPM and return a "Requested Torque" number. This Requested Torque number has NOTHING to do with the actual amount of torque the engine is making! It is simply an arbitrary value made up to make the programming possible. Changing the Requested Torque table will not make your engine stronger or weaker! The output tables take the Requested Torque from the input tables and the current RPM and return a Target Throttle Plate Angle (as a percentage). The ECU then moves the actual throttle plate to match the Target Throttle Plate Angle.

We'll start by looking at the 2005 USDM 2.5RS 5MT, ECU ID E2ZJ103G, since it is the simplest DBW setup I have yet encountered. Here is a screenshot of the Requested Torque (input) table. Remember that the values for the columns across the top are the Accelerator Pedal Angle as percent and the values for the rows down the side are engine speed in RPM.



As you an see, the setup is very simple. Basically, the table is just counting to ten. 10% Pedal Angle gets you 10 Requested Torque at all RPM. If we turn our attention to the Target Throttle Plate (output) table, we see the same thing. Again, Requested Torque is across the top and RPM is down the side.



So, what does this mean? If you follow the numbers through the two tables, you'll see that the throttle plate is slaved to the accelerator pedal. In other words, the throttle plate does exactly what your foot does. While this sounds like a good thing, in reality it's a BAD thing. We can see why if we look at a chart that plots the position of the accelerator pedal (as a percentage) against the engine load (as a percentage of maximum load). Recall that engine load looks just like torque, so this also is a graph of pedal angle vs. torque.



As you can see, the relationship is not a straight line! With the first tiny bit of movement of the accelerator pedal, the engine's output increases dramatically! Then, the last half of the pedal travel does almost nothing. This is very bad for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it means that almost half of our available pedal travel isn't being utilized to good effect. if you'll look, 80% of peak torque is available at just 40% of pedal travel! Second, it means that it is very difficult to precisely control the torque going to the wheels to either avoid spinning them or to finely control a slide. Third, it violently exaggerates the bouncyness of the driveline at low speeds near idle (such as in stop-and-go traffic or in a drive-thru). Fourth, because the deepest part of the travel of the pedal does almost nothing, when trying to shift quickly, you have to move your foot a very long way before the drivetrain unloads, slowing down the shift dramatically.

So, how do we approach solving this problem? Ideally, the accelerator pedal is a representation of the output of the engine NOT the position of the throttle plate. After all, it's the output we actually care about, isn't it? Graphically, what this means is that we'd like to take that curved/humped plot of pedal angle vs load and turn it into a straight 45* line. We do this by finding the inverse function of the plot we have now. I'll save you the details of how to do it and just show it to you.



The red line represents the inverse function of the plot. In other words, the red line and the black dots are "reflections" of each other across a 45* line through the middle of the graph. To put this in numerical terms, here's a screenshot of the Requested Torque (table) that represents that red line. As before, Accelerator Pedal Angle (as a percentage) is across the top while engine speed (in RPM) is down the side:



The values in this table are the same as they were stock, however, I rearranged them to make the execution faster. See the section below on how the ECU reads tables.



Now, I'm also including the USDM 2006 Impreza 2.5i 5MT, ECU ID E2VH112C, as another example because the stock mapping is very different. First, let's take a look at the stock Requested Torque and Target Throttle Plate Position tables.





Wow! Something very different is going on here! The throttle is NOT linearly slaved to the accelerator pedal angle in this car! In fact, the relationship between the plate and pedal varies with both pedal position and RPM AND there are 3 Requested Torque tables and seven Target Throttle Plate Angle tables for the ECU to pick from! With something this complicated, the only way to attack it is to log the car. A lot. The plot of Pedal Angle (as a percentage) vs engine load (as a percentage of maximum) that appears below is the result of filtering out the reliable data from about 50,000 lines of logs.



So, that looks nothing like the nice simple plot we got from the 05. In some respects, it's better. I doesn't open quite as fast at the low end. However, it has the throttle plate fully open by 65% pedal travel, leaving the last 35% of pedal travel totally useless. Within the range that it's actually using, the relationship between the pedal and the engine output is constantly changing. In other words, it's as bad as the 05, but just in a totally different way.

To confirm that the 06 would respond to the same fix as the 05, I also took logs to make a Throttle Plate Angle (as a percentage) vs the percent of maximum load. Sure enough, I got a familiar looking graph!



Now, the 06 had to get it's fix implemented slightly differently. First of all, it has all those extra tables. Each of the 3 input tables had to be set to contain the same values. Each of the 7 output tables had to be set to contain the same values. Additionally, the owner of the 06 wanted just a little more punch to the first bit of throttle movement, so used an inverse function that made the lower end pop a little bit. Now, to make things simpler on myself, I made the output table look just like the 05 output table (which had some unexpected benefits, more on that later) and made all the alterations to the input tables. So, here are the modified tables, Requested Torque (input) first and then Target Throttle Plate Angle (output) second.
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Last edited by williaty; 02-15-2009 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:48 PM   #2
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A Note On Not Dying
While, in theory, we can plug just about any value we want into either of these tables and make the math work, we probably shouldn't. The DBW system is not 100% understood. It's highly likely that other parts of the ECU's programming perform "sanity checks" on the values coming out of the DBW system. If the other programming sees a value that it knows isn't allowed to exist in the DBW system, god only knows what will happen. To avoid any potential issues, always use values in the tables that are not larger than the largest value occurring in the stock table. In other words, if the stock table doesn't have any values larger than 100, don't use any values larger than 100. If the stock table's largest value is 232, don't use a value larger than 232.

A Note On ECU Execution Speed
The ECU reads tables backwards of the way you and I do. The ECU reads tables from right to left, bottom to top. I would guess that this is to ensure the ECU can find values the most rapidly under high load, high RPM conditions. What are the practical implications of this? We should stick the important values in the bottom right corner of the table. This first table is done "wrong". The ECU has to read through all those columns of 100's on the right before it ever gets to the important data. It has to read all those columns every. single. time. the DBW code executes.



Here is exactly the same table "fixed" so the ECU gets to the important values first. It will actually never even read all those columns of 0's on the left because, if the input is 0, it would just stop on the first 0 column.



The Results
The cars have been absolutely transformed! I strongly prefer this throttle mapping, but I'm going to address the negatives first because they might put someone off. First, the car feels slower when you first jump into it. This is simply because it lacks that "pop" when you first touch the throttle and you have to move your foot a little farther to get the same surge from the engine. It is absolutely not slower than before, but it is VERY hard to get over that psychological impression of having to move your foot farther. I suspect this is exactly why the cars are programmed the way they are. It makes the engine feel stronger on a test drive. Second, due to the fact that you have to move your foot a little farther, you're going to stall the car for the first few days. Just like getting a lightweight flywheel, you're going to have to move your foot a little farther to move away from a stop smoothly.

The benefits? Well, they're pretty nice! First, because you're using the entire range of pedal motion to select from the engine's entire output, it is MUCH easier to finely control the power to the wheels. This makes it MUCH easier to accelerate right at the limit of traction on a slippery surface and makes it MUCH easier to steer the car with the throttle in a slide/drift. This is the biggest single improvement I've ever made to my car for Rallycross. Second, because the engine's output changes much more slowly at the beginning of the pedal travel, it becomes much easier to smoothly move the car at very low speeds near idle, such as in stop-and-go traffic or in a drive through. No more looking like a student driver! Third, when you start to pull your foot out of the gas for a ****, the driveline unloads right away. This makes it possible to shift MUCH faster once you get used to the timing and eliminates some of that "the car isn't listening" feeling the DBW causes.

The 06 saw an additional, surprising, benefit. The 06's cruise control had always been a little flaky. Frequently, when you would set it, it would floor the car, gain about 8-10MPH and then settle back down to the target value. It also had trouble dealing with any change in the angle of the ground (hills) at all. Altering the DBW tables (and I strongly suspect it's specifically related to simplifying the Target Throttle Plate Angle tables) has completely eliminated the problem with hills and reduced the surge on set to 1-2MPH. A win all around!

What problem still remains?
Sadly, there appears to be one flaw in the DBW system that we do not have the tools to fix. The system appears to be unable to give a truly smooth transition away from idle. Significant testing with some VERY strange maps revealed that there is a small range just above idle that the system WILL NOT use. When you move the accelerator the smallest amount the ECU can detect, the engine instantly jumps from idle to an output about 70-90% above idle without passing the values in between. This is accompanied by a small lurch since the power doesn't come on smoothly. Dropping back to idle sees the same jump in the other direction. So, the bouncyness when trying to drive right above idle isn't totally eliminated due to this small gap in the programming. However, you can ease down to this point very smoothly, greatly improving drivability.

Last edited by williaty; 02-15-2009 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:49 PM   #3
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To make it clear, the overall way in which I dealt with the 06 was to make the Target Throttle Plate Angle table match the stock table from the 05 (in other words 10 Requested Torque =10% plate angle, 20R.T.=20%, etc) and then applied the same "fix" to the Requested Torque table that I developed for the 05.

Last edited by williaty; 06-16-2008 at 02:49 AM.
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:49 PM   #4
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This one is saved too.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:21 AM   #5
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Nice Ty.. i didnt take as scientific approach as you but got a better throttle map than stock.. The 07's seem to have the same as 06's ECU setup for requested torque and target plate angle BUT i didnt actualy look @ the values so they could be a bit different. i will make some more changes to my map now. Thanks.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:28 AM   #6
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thank you very much. this will be added for my future.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:30 AM   #7
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wow i just pulled up my ecu image and looked at the stock tables and that is a ridiculous amount of tables...the '05 system is drastically different from the '06 and '07 system...

thanks for posting up your results for the '06 tables...
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:41 AM   #8
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my head just exploded. Glad I don't have DBW, I wouldn't know what to do.

Props for compiling all this!
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:27 AM   #9
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Ya know that explains so much about why my 08 gets jumpy from a dead stop compared to when I drive other 5spd cars. I hope someone is mapping an 08 like mine so I can get my ECU flashed for this.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:41 PM   #10
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hmmm i have a question about the '06s table now. i see that on that table the values go up to 250...i thought those values originally were %'s but how can the pedal be pressed 250%? if we are going to do this table change should we leave the stock values for the X-axis? would it help or hurt at that point?

since the '06 maps real values up to 250 and not just leaving them stuck at 100 i would assume the newer system can utilize more input then the '05...correct?

also another thing...wouldn't changing the x-axis from 25 to 10 (as you did) increase the amount of time it takes for the car to "get on it"...since the table has as many plots as it does would it not also be better to pick a better value system, say like 15? i understand that lowering as you did allows for more control because there are more steps before the car jumps...but you also mentioned that the jump takes longer because of it...so if you changed the scaling a bit more could you not also allow the car to jump faster then your current design, still retain the ability to get more control over the stock setup and in the end smooth things out a bit more?

edit: do you know why the later system is so complex? like what variables does it use to determine which tables to go with? as i looked at mine i noticed all 3 "Requested Torque (Accelerator Pedal)" maps are different...but "Target Throttle Plate Position (Requested Torque)" A, B, and E are the same as either other, C and F are the same as each other, and D and G are just different all together...is there a table somewhere that shows what is used to determine which "Requested Torque (Accelerator Pedal)" table is used with which "Target Throttle Plate Position (Requested Torque)"?

Last edited by zavier; 06-15-2008 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zavier View Post
hmmm i have a question about the '06s table now. i see that on that table the values go up to 250...i thought those values originally were %'s but how can the pedal be pressed 250%? if we are going to do this table change should we leave the stock values for the X-axis? would it help or hurt at that point?

since the '06 maps real values up to 250 and not just leaving them stuck at 100 i would assume the newer system can utilize more input then the '05...correct?
Nope. When a table has values that aren't physically possible to reach, it's Subaru's way of disabling those ranges or tables.

As you can see in my modified tables, I just filled all the cells I wasn't using with 100's. I could just as easily used 500's.
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
Nope. When a table has values that aren't physically possible to reach, it's Subaru's way of disabling those ranges or tables.

As you can see in my modified tables, I just filled all the cells I wasn't using with 100's. I could just as easily used 500's.
ah i see so on the Requested Torque (raw ecu value) table the X-axis doesn't mean anything over 100? just wondering cause on these tables for the later models they populate data up to about 212 that isn't 100

Last edited by zavier; 06-15-2008 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by zavier View Post
ah i see so on the Requested Torque (raw ecu value) table the X-axis doesn't mean anything over 100? just wondering cause on these tables for the later models they populate data up to about 212 that isn't 100
No, remember that the Requested Torque numbers don't mean anything real. They're just an arbitrary number. You could run them up to 5 million and get the car to drive exactly the same.

In terms of disabling tables, or portions of tables, I'm talking about inputs that are unobtainable. In the case of the Requested Torque table, think about the columns at the top going to 256% pedal angle, or the RPM rows down the side going to 20,000 RPM. That's what I mean.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:32 PM   #14
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ah ok makes sense now, thanks
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:31 PM   #15
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ok i just edited a current ecu pull for my car and put these tables on there and i found a slight flaw that might only be in the 2007 models (?)...but anytime i come to a stop and put the clutch all the way in and brake the car stalls immediately, the rpms drop like a rock...the only way around this is to blip the throttle just before the rpms hit 1000 and then the car recovers but even then the car is dropping below the 500rpm line and it sounds like it is struggling to keep the car going till i give it gas and accelerate...

could the problem be that the old tables held data for 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10 instead of jumping from 0 to 10? could adding in 1, 2, and 5 hurt since the table has a few left over columns after changing over to your design...this is for the pedal angle (%) table btw
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zavier View Post
ok i just edited a current ecu pull for my car and put these tables on there and i found a slight flaw that might only be in the 2007 models (?)...but anytime i come to a stop and put the clutch all the way in and brake the car stalls immediately, the rpms drop like a rock...the only way around this is to blip the throttle just before the rpms hit 1000 and then the car recovers but even then the car is dropping below the 500rpm line and it sounds like it is struggling to keep the car going till i give it gas and accelerate...

could the problem be that the old tables held data for 0, 1, 2, 5, and 10 instead of jumping from 0 to 10? could adding in 1, 2, and 5 hurt since the table has a few left over columns after changing over to your design...this is for the pedal angle (%) table btw
No. Idle control is an entirely different process than anything you're touching here. Something else has gone wrong in your engine or ECU.


EDIT: mine did this one flash when I had made a mistake in the very low end of the MAF scaling. There's numerous things that could be going wrong for you, but none of them have to do with the DBW system because as soon as the pedal angle is 0%, the DBW system no longer has any control of the engine. Best thing to do is to take logs and start a separate thread for this.

Last edited by williaty; 06-15-2008 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:42 PM   #17
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Thanks for the write up, I have been waiting for this information for awhile. Hopefuly the 06 data is the same as the 07, it will make life easier.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by williaty View Post
No. Idle control is an entirely different process than anything you're touching here. Something else has gone wrong in your engine or ECU.


EDIT: mine did this one flash when I had made a mistake in the very low end of the MAF scaling. There's numerous things that could be going wrong for you, but none of them have to do with the DBW system because as soon as the pedal angle is 0%, the DBW system no longer has any control of the engine. Best thing to do is to take logs and start a separate thread for this.
i had flashed the car back to the original ecu pull and it was fine for a few minutes then started to stall out...i turned the AC on to keep the rpms high enough because it seems to be that...now the car is working...

i'm going to drive it on the old image for a day or two to make sure it doesn't stall out anymore, if it doesn't i'll give this image a try again and see if my AC can keep the car from stalling...

but i did want to tell you that when i was just driving it on this image it felt better, i hope i can sort this out thanks
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:07 AM   #19
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Assuming the logic on your car is the same, if the accelerator pedal angle is 0% and the engine speed is greater than 1200RPM, the Injector Duty Cycle goes to 0%. In other words, the ECU completely shuts off the fueling. The ECU then watches the engine speed and fires up the injectors in time to "catch" the engine from stalling. Something in that process is getting interrupted for you and it's either not re-starting the injectors in time, or it's putting in entirely the wrong amount of fuel when it does re-start them.
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:46 AM   #20
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Good work!!!!!!!1
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Old 06-18-2008, 01:35 PM   #21
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holy ****...that a whole lotta info...mad props on doing all that research and everything...little overwhelming....
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Old 07-04-2008, 01:52 AM   #22
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ty what would i need to do this on my own?
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Old 07-04-2008, 01:58 AM   #23
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Minimum of a tactrix cable, the willingness to do A LOT of research to do it safely, and the acceptance that you might brick your ECU or blow your engine.
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Old 07-04-2008, 10:40 PM   #24
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hm.



i might have to hold off on this then
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Old 07-05-2008, 12:19 AM   #25
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It's really not that bad. If you are willing to study up on what you're doing and follow directions/procedures EXACTLY, you're very unlikely to hurt anything.

However, if you just wing it, skip steps, think "I know what I'm doing, it'll be ok!", or listen to your buddy with the pick-em-up-truck, you WILL destroy something.
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