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Old 05-09-2009, 04:14 AM   #1
HamFist
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Default EJ22T on E85: Tuning tips and tricks.

I couldn't resist scooping up a near mint 1992 Turbo Leggy sedan the other day. It's my new daily driver. *Not so ninja edit. Thanks, Doug.

It's actually been on and off E85 and intermediate blends for a while now. The whole time, it's mostly been on wastegate intercooled boost living a mile above sea level. This car has been run on 7psi up to E70 with no issues. Often, an intermediate blend works fine for any of you from 20%-50% E85 without touching anything at all. Dialing back the boost gives you your injector capacity back.

I'll be working with E85 some more and post updates for you T-leg guys and gals. We'll see what further flex fuel tuning does for the grandpa of the WRX. The car has a fuel controller and boost controller already installed. I also have a set of modified fuel rails for 440 and 550 injectors when they're needed. It has a JDM WAIC, catback, and intake already. A VF22 and Invidia DP are the only two other mods I have planned. A modest 200chp+ on wastegate would keep me happy and let the car live a long(er) time.

The 90-94's have a lot going for them for E85 tuning already. They are tuned pig rich on fuel in the first place. The same tricks on a WRX work in it, too. I just put in colder NGK BKR7 plugs as part of the initial tune-up. It needs a bigger fuel pump, too. Nothing is unfamiliar or untested. What's untested is dialing it all in to see what happens on this specific chassis. I'll keep you guys updated.

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Last edited by HamFist; 05-11-2009 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:31 AM   #2
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There we go! Wastegate boost, cold plugs, and a GSS342 Walbro did the trick. The injectors are stock and the fuel trims are untouched. I did fuel and plugs first instead of upping boost, even if this thing does run rich in the first place.

Turning up your boost level is never the first thing you should do for a turbo modification, IMO. When done in the proper sequence, raising your boost level becomes a more devastating move and safer to do later on. Engines don't live every day and get good mileage constantly on scramble boost. I respect something fast on wastegate before something fast at the hairy edge.

I still see everyone arguing online over the fine points of what mods to do, when, and how much each mod is worth to your butt dyno. The fatal flaw procedurally is the order in which these performance modifications are done and how they are ranked and treated. Fuel and plugs are far more vital than bolt-ons or reflashes, even if their measured dyno values say otherwise. These are "mechanical lifelines" not to be ignored or put off until last by a home enthusiast or tuner, yet I see it and read it fairly often. Tune from the "motor outward" and not from the "turbo inward". I'll be able to turn up the boost far more safely with the proper mechanical tune in place first. Plugs and fuel are part of that, including fuel type and quality. You can not tune an ECU effectively at all with the wrong mechanical parts and settings first in play.
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:47 AM   #3
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i am trying not to sound -- argumentative? .. but e85 on 390cc injectors? really?
sure its rich in stock configuration but not 30% rich ...

putting in the 550s and taking an even 10% off across the board with a safc would be a much safer way to experiment
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Old 05-10-2009, 12:03 PM   #4
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The old turbo leggy's run sidefeeds, right? If so, the stock 04/05 STi and 04/05 FXT sidefeeds are 500's. That would be perfectly sized for E85 without any additional tuning. I'm not overly familiar with these, but this is with the assumption that they came with the 390's like the post above said...
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:02 PM   #5
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There is no harm in turning down the boost. I'm a mile above sea level, so there's 25% less air up here. Dropping the boost just a touch gets AFRs inline, and even on the rich side for 370s. This is the other side of the Subaru coin for me to play with now. I'm working within present mechanical limits instead of rushing into shiny upgrades. Instead of using more fuel, I'm using less air.

Remember, you can still increase CFM while using "less boost" according to the gauge. Airflow mods still come into play as does cooling off the intake charge. I'm not fighting detonation at all nor is the car at the hairy performance edge of E85.

http://www.wcengineering.com/articles/boost.html

This leads me to another important point. If you're using more boost, you're using more heat. That's a no brainer for most of you. The hard history lesson is in MON testing, or Motor Octane Number testing. It's an imprecise method of rating fuels and rating knock resistance, but a repeatable one nonetheless when you use a lot of hot, boosted air.

http://www.refiningonline.com/engelh...ep/TCR4_29.htm

With a lot of boost and heat, you are really repeating a widely known testing scenario that involves BEATING UP THE DAMN FUEL WITH HEAT. Whether you're preheating the fuel or the air, the purpose is to find the detonating point of gas. Before you even argue power levels, internet doctrine, or whatever...you are repeating a harsh fuel test when running a lot of boost.

E85 helps the heat issue further, but I'm not MAKING a lot of heat in the first place. Colder air is denser, and also reads as less pressure on a boost gauge.

Last edited by HamFist; 05-10-2009 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:06 PM   #6
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i'm a little confused. are you saying that puttin in colder plugs, mixing in some e85 and messin with the wastegate i can up the boost?
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:05 AM   #7
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No. I described "more boost" akin to a detonation fuel test. Dropping the boost, adding a Walbro, and using colder plugs is how I tuned the car for high ethanol blends.

Power output should be great given the parts and the fuel, but not interstellar. It feels really good on the road with great torque, but we all need harder numbers to argue over . I love how civil the power delivery actually is at the moment.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:58 AM   #8
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What are you trying to accomplish? The Tleg with minor upgrades runs great on 91. If you are running wastegate pressure there is no reason to run E85, colder plugs, or a fuel pump in my eyes; all you get is poop fuel economy. This is also not the way to tune for E85.
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:16 AM   #9
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Is this a modifed 1990 NA legacy? There were no turbo Legacies until 1991......
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:34 AM   #10
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It's a 1992. Sorry. The ink is still wet on the title .

I know it seems a little backwards to tune like this, honestly. Power numbers comes later on this car. For now it runs and runs happily. My NA RS gets 33mpg with colder plugs on E85.
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamFist View Post
Instead of using more fuel, I'm using less air.
your maf will at least partially compensate for the altitude

my take would be that you are dangerously lean, in a part of the map that that has very little advance, on a tiny turbo in a low compression engine that has the worst flowing heads ever sold by subaru

its just setting a scary president - to offer up a solution, with out posting your afrs, that doesn't really make sound mechanical sense
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:22 AM   #12
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Wut?

It has a lot of fuel, going into the worst flowing heads Subaru ever made...with less air. That means AFRs are richer. The MAF isn't doing the compensating, it's the computer.

It might be lean around cruise or idle, but that's no big deal on E85. Temperature control comes in with the colder plugs during lean cruise. Colder plugs absorb more heat but transfer that heat into the cooling system. It ran fine for several thousand miles like this on gas and ethanol blends both.

This isn't a power tune just yet. Boost is turned down on purpose. I worked on this car about a year ago with some fuel tricks and it did great. I know what to expect with the tuning, but I don't know what the potential of the car is exactly. I treat the boost settings with one of two choices--50% (8psi), or 100%(15psi). 14.7psi is one atmosphere. So far I'm just using half of that very much on purpose. If I was trying to run 30psi instead of 8psi, then worry .

Last edited by HamFist; 05-11-2009 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 05-11-2009, 06:28 PM   #13
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what kind of mpg's are you getting then? i'm only getting about 22 mpg usually. occasionally 23. dammit, i forgot what stock max psi i supposed to be, isn't it 9.7 or something like that?
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:33 PM   #14
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I don't quite know yet. I've only gone about 50 miles in it gathering up some parts. I don't know if it will reach 33mpg, but we'll see. It has a boost controller and AVCR, both of which are disconnected at the moment. The idea is to start it off as basic and stock as possible and see what happens first. Stock boost is about 11psi, I think. On wastegate, intercooled, with E50 it's just a bit faster than stock, really. The boost gauge reads .4 bar after the intercooler and I (assume) a 1psi drop across the core.

I just swapped in Legacy Outback seats, all new front brakes, axles, power steering pump, fixed a coolant reservoir leak + burped it, oil + filter, fuel filter, air filter cleaning, plugs, and new fuel pump in the last 4 days. It runs nice, but has an occasional bobble at idle that I hope isn't the dreaded head gasket. There's no chocolate milk in the coolant, white smoke, or anything. It could be a plug wire or loose ground. I'll chase it down .

Last edited by HamFist; 05-11-2009 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:33 PM   #15
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oh yeah, i guess iirc it's 8.7 psi. where'd you get 11? just curious. my boost gauge only goes up to almost 9 so seems like it's about 8.7. sometimes it seems like it'll go a hair over 9 when the turbo builds up between my slow 2-3 shift, but it's only for a half second.

oh, here's a cool article
http://legacycentral.org/articles/turbomag/intro.htm
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:58 AM   #16
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I just got back from my first extended run with the car. It got 25mpg on E50. The torque is pretty nice, actually. It's spunky from about 1500-4500rpm on this dinky turbo.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:15 AM   #17
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I managed about 26-27 stock on my Turbo.
I am curious what you end up with, especially with the VF-22.
( and what you plan on using as tuning)
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:45 PM   #18
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Tuning is a spectra of tasks, not just dialing in the ECU. I include hardware for the engine when I say "tuning", that's why I talk about plugs and a fuel pump so much.

It came with an AVCR and I haven't touch it yet. Driving the car feels a bit quicker than a stock RS in Denver's altitude. The stock USDM T-leg I drove is a real pooch. It was an automatic wagon. It was quick in first gear and that was it.

BTW, thanks for that article posting. I like reading classic stuff like that.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dscoobydoo View Post
I managed about 26-27 stock on my Turbo.
I am curious what you end up with, especially with the VF-22.
( and what you plan on using as tuning)
WHAT??? HOW?? i have a boost gauge installed and tend to stay in vacuum or close to it, but i don't get on it that much. anyway i can only manage to get 23 at most but usually 22, which isn't too bad for a 15 year old beater turbo subie, but 25 would be nice.

the tune seems okay, i mean the plugs seem good, has newer 7 or 8mm silicone plug wires, runs good and all that. maybe the MAF needs cleaning?
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:39 AM   #20
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Further advanced lessons in biofuel tuning and dropping temperatures.

There's a few very basic rules of thumb when dialing in your own engine combinations. Most of you have heard the common rules of thumb to start "rich and go lean" and "start timing retarded and move it advanced" concerning fuel and timing tuning. Well, there's a few more concerning plugs "start cold and work hot" and "gap wide and work narrow".

I was wrong to use colder plugs on such low boost. The stock heat range did fine when I went back to BKR6's. Why? The combination dropped temps TOO far. It's better to be too cold than too hot, especially in the high desert. Just like rich is safer, so is colder. However, you can push cold temps too far just like you can with too much boost and crappy fuel. The prior simply runs a little crappy, while the former explodes.

A key goal of my biofuel tuning regimens is to drop temperatures as much as possible respective to their operating ranges. It is possible to take that too far. I have low boost, an intercooler, cold plugs, and a heat absorbing fuel all working together to drop charge, combustion chamber, and operating temperatures. It was apparently too much. Instead of removing the intercooler, upping the boost, or adding gas...hotter plugs are the change to undo to add more heat BACK into the mix.

Such is the realm of Subzero Biofuel Tuning...it is a lot of work, but I putter right through it because its relaxing.

------------------------------------------------------

Now, I have a few questions for all of you. The above issues are a typical day to me, at home, in private where I study the most. Is this really all over the head of average enthusiasts? I have friends and customers and such who come back, so I know I'm doing my customer service correctly. New people just aren't hopping on board very vocally. I often hear from people after they read and try things, more often than from "planners". Doers aren't always planners, IMO.

We tend to think of "average" here as smart, but I'm consistently proven wrong. It's still average. Biofuels "fits" if you already know how to tune your combination. Is there any hope at all of educating people on how to do these processes and procedures correctly on Subarus? Most of the questions on forums are how to remove or change something, but true innovation and invention is rare for a home enthusiast unless that is what they're into. At this stage in the game, it is more shops doing conversions and biofuel tuning work than home enthusiasts.

One of the first questions I always get in person from Subaru enthusiasts is "who does your tuning?" or "Who does your work?" From a self-proclaimed "smart bunch", I find that question a little odd to hear so often from educated, middle class average joe's. What am I missing? It is sometimes hard to hop out of my own fishbowl.

Last edited by HamFist; 05-15-2009 at 01:50 AM.
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Old 05-15-2009, 05:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skateboy16 View Post
oh yeah, i guess iirc it's 8.7 psi. where'd you get 11? just curious. my boost gauge only goes up to almost 9 so seems like it's about 8.7. sometimes it seems like it'll go a hair over 9 when the turbo builds up between my slow 2-3 shift, but it's only for a half second.
It has to do with our altitude here in Colorado. The early turbo cars (including the Ej20G WRX's) have an atmospheric pressure sensor. They compenstate on their own for the thinner air. Gary's numbers are about right. Generally in the Denver/Boulder metro area these cars run 10.5-11psi against a factory published number of 8.7spi. I've owned 6 of them now and they were all the same. All of my friends with them see the same thing. And you've got to be careful if you drive up into the high country. If you take the car over about 11,000ft it will hit fuel cut because the boost will end up breaking past that magic 12.5psi number set from the factory.

When I swapped an Ej20G into my car it even ran 12psi. I didn't change a damn thing other than the engine. Everything else was bone stock.

Gary,
Your fuel pump must have been tired. The Ej22T fuel pump is one of the highest flowing pumps Subaru has ever put in a car. A 255l Walbro is barely an upgrade on it if the pump is happy.

Furthermore, I suggest you sell off that electronic boost controller and go manual with something like a Hallman. If you go read around on Legacy Central you will find that EBC's in general, and specifically the one you own, have a history of fighting with the factory electronics and doing all kinds of weird things with boost, timing and fueling. It's a recipe for gremlins and inconsistencies in your ability to track the impact of your changes easily. Go manual. You'll thank me later.

That said, if 200chp is the goal I don't understand all this mumbo jumbo. The formula for reliable 200chp on the Ej22T is TBE, intercooler and a couple extra psi of boost. The ECU is smart. It adds more fuel. There's head room on those injectors to easily hit that kind of number. I suspect that with E85, if you just left the boost stock and let the car do it's own thing, with the TBE and intercooler you'd be at your number. It's a circumstance where I think if it's not broke there's no reason to fix it.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:35 PM   #22
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What ever happened to Oxytane?
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Old 05-15-2009, 09:37 PM   #23
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Oxytane is on sale already. Go to Coyote Motorsports at 58th + I25 for some. On my biofuel combinations it drops operating temps even further. That's another thing I'm looking at in this combo.

I'll heed your warnings on the boost controller, Matt. It's good for monitoring the injector pulse width and TPS voltage at the moment. I had to do that funny TPS reset procedure where you turn the key on and hold the pedal to the floor. It only read as 85% throttle on the controller after an ECU reset. IDCs peak at 60% on E70, so its good to go with fuelling right now. Does that compare with anyone's figures on stock injectors? I think it's a tad higher than normal but that's where it's supposed to be on this combination. I purposely turned the boost down to get my injector capacity back on stock fuel pressures.

The boost control portion has been turned off since before I had the car. It needs a hard to find replacement part. I don't trust boost controllers without fuel, honestly. The fuel pump was an older Walbro. It also needed a new alternator and is getting a new combo switch on Monday. I'm replacing everything that it needed before it sat for 8 months.

I just want to play with this thing and not make it a monster. I've never had a T-Leg and want to use my bag of tricks on it and see what happens. It might eventually see more boost, but not any time soon. I actually don't purposely try and break my toys . This car is still on both stock cats and a stock turbo.
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:52 PM   #24
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What's it need? I've probably got the part...
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Old 05-16-2009, 02:58 AM   #25
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It needs a new boost solenoid.
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