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Old 07-30-2000, 04:30 PM   #1
kgb
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Question Opinions wanted: AMR Kit - ECU Development & future of 2.5 turbo

Just finished browsing thru the AMR kit, looks like they are developing a "cheaper" ECU solution for higher boost in a 2.5 turbo (vs TEC-II).

Not that I will turbo right away, but it seems to be tough choice - TEC-II is more expensive (or will be) compared to the AMR solution, but it's looks to be more flexible (allow more tuning). But unless there are good tuners in BC, using a TEC-II is expensive (and wasteful).

Another thing to worry is when WRX come out, will the aftermarket dry out as far as going the 2.5 turbo route. I think I will keep my RS (most likely for life), and I will only swap in the EJ20 if I (ever) blow the 2.5 with a turbo.

Choices, choices, choices - it's all over the place. I've been monitoring the turbo development - but won't likely do anything soon (unless the aftermarket forces my hand). This car is underpower for its weight all right.

What do you guys think? I also notice that there are not many Canadians with a turbo RS...

P.S: I do know that driver skills come first, and I learn that first hand (though not exactly pleasant experience). But I want to know that my options are there when I need to upgrade the power (and I mean big power).
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Old 07-30-2000, 11:02 PM   #2
Petrie
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I can see where you're coming from by guarding against being shot down about driver skills etc. Like you, I'm considering the 2.5 turbo route as an alternative to the next generation Subie.

Essentially, what I'mm looking for is reliable, 250+bhp that is not a pure competition car and meets the emissions standards on gas that can be had straight from the pump.

With a tuned ECU that has got to be achievable. I don't want an in-car console that requires me to tune the ECU as I drive. Remap/tune at service intervals... fine.

I think the 2.5 can do it. The clutch, transmission & diff may need changing but then so does the suspension, tires, wings & interior.

Oh yes, I would like 350+ bhp but you've got to be realistic.
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Old 07-31-2000, 10:45 AM   #3
Bryan
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So, I have a Minnam Stage I kit on my 2000 2.5 RS. We had to install the Link LEM unit and it seems to be going well. The idel need a bit more attention but all in all it was great for 1000.00 US. I know that LINK is building the plug in for AMR but it wont be out for at least 2 months maybee even 6.
I had to do something now and at least its working safe. BTW its a blast to drive!
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Old 07-31-2000, 11:52 AM   #4
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kgb-- I don't understand why you would consider the TEC-II's flexibility, accuracy and tunability to a be "wasteful" under any circumstance. The goal should be to fine-tune it yourself using a tuner guide or by calling for help. Am I missing something?

Shiv

Edit: Bryan-- What size injectors are you running?

[This message has been edited by shiv (edited July 31, 2000).]
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Old 07-31-2000, 11:44 PM   #5
kgb
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Have a Nice Day?

shiv - the only reason I say the TEC-II is wasteful is only b/c there don't seem to be any good tuners out here (Vancouver, BC, Canada). It's a fine system (though on the expensive side), as long as someone is equip to tune it. If all I can do with it is load some pre-tuned defaults, then it's a very expensive option.
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Old 07-31-2000, 11:57 PM   #6
shiv
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Expensive side? How? Compared to the other alternatives, I would argue that the TEC-II offers the best bang for the buck. High res. crank triggered. Upgraded ignition coils. High output injector drivers. Built-in programmable knock sensor. Programmable 02 feedback parameters.

But if one simply refuses to tune beyond baseline default maps, then yes, it is a waste of money. It's like buying a Porsche and never taking it beyond 3rd gear
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Old 08-01-2000, 12:16 AM   #7
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Don't you need a lap top to tune the
Tech II ? How powerful does the laptop need to be and what operating system does the laptop need? Also do you need to have the lap top plugged in when ever you drive or does the Tech II have some kind of internal memory? Would a Palm Pilot be powerful enough to run the Tech II?
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Old 08-01-2000, 12:22 AM   #8
shiv
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Suberboy-- A laptop is only necessary for tuning/monitoring/downloading files into the TEC, which is a fully contained computer itself. It connects to the TEC-II via a standard serial port. Once tuning is complete, you disconnect the laptop and never worry about tuning again. The TEC-II software is Windows based so you would want to run a laptop capable of supporting Windows. I don' t think this would be possible with a Palm Pilot. Besides, you would miss out on all the pretty color 3D graphs

shiv
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Old 08-01-2000, 01:24 AM   #9
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Shiv..The only problem with your version of the Tec2 is that it just sorta shattered some of us's dreams to go to forced induction...I mean..For $4500 you can get the Turbo Kit...and for another $2000 you can get the Fuel mangament system...I mean..where does it end..????? I want a turbo on my car probably worse than anybody..but it just seemed to get further and further out of reach...Then theres Brakes.($2500)..then theres a new tranny and clutch..($1500)....then Coilover Suspension...and...ETC..

For $6500 I could have the State of the Art Turbo System on my car...I would Love to be able to write you a check right now for the whole shooting match but $6500 also does some other things.....thats a butt load of cash to dump all at one time...Especially for some of us that have budgets that we HAVE to stick to otherwise, no Christmas or College for the kids or the 10th aniversary Gift for your wife...and have to live with the neighbors Dog... ...

Of course if you want to donate to the SCOOBY SOUTH's TURBO FUND..I wouldn't mind
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Old 08-01-2000, 02:53 AM   #10
Jay_UK
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Car tuning and money dont go together...

Erm.. let me rephrase that.. car tuning LOVES money!!

Its a bottomless pit.

My approach is different to most people... I like to try different products.. even if the first works very well...

Thats why I do never rule out other products... Shiv, you might have the "best" solution to a specific requirement... but I wouldnt say it is the only solution...

A few people are running the Link system over there... yes it uses existing coils.. and perhaps lacks a few features of the Tec-II.. but half the price.

If it controls the engine sucessfully.. and delivers what it is suppose to do (power, safety, economy) they what is the problem with it?

J.
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Old 08-01-2000, 03:32 AM   #11
shiv
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Not as much power. Not as much safey. And not as much economy. Not as much driveability. It's as simple as that. There are very few absolutes in engine management. Just degrees of goodness and badness. It's up to the user to decide if the extra $$ is worth the improved performance.

Regarding price, a PossumLink with upgraded injectors, keypad, knock sensor and boost control is not 1/2 the price of the comparable TEC-II kit. If it's anything like the the Miata system, the Link ECU runs ~$1000. The plastic programming keypad add ~$250. 550cc Injectors run ~$420. Boost control is ~$130. Knock sensor is ~$100. Serial link for datalogging is another $100 or so. Total price is right around $2000. Throw in some good ignition wires and your close to $2100. Is the extra $375 for the TEC-II worth upgraded ignition coils, a high res. crank trigger, the ability to drive low impedance injectors, two-way laptop communication, Windows interface, high speed data logging, better boost control, better idle quality, air temp compensation, air temp ignition retard, faster processing and more tunability? To me, yes. To others? Perhaps not.

Each system has its strengths and weaknesses. To me, the strength of the Link lies only its plug-in installation. Not in bang-for-the-buck or in any aspect of performance.

Just my opinion of course. YMMV,

Shiv
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Old 08-01-2000, 04:44 AM   #12
Jay_UK
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Shiv..

I agree and disagree...

I said that each is a solution to a specific problem... I know this debate will never end.. And it will turn out like the water injection thread.... where it just keeps going forwards and backwards... with no real outcome... haha

Not everyone will want the hand controller... chances are people will be happy once the ECU is installed and mapped... not everyone will want datalogging...and what extra boost control device ?

I am not pushing the Link specifically.. just trying to highlight there are alternatives...which do work.. and will work fine for most people.

I have found the FHI ignition wires to be fine? They only reason you supply new ones is because the TEC-II requires them?

I have run other ECU's for a while.. great pieces of kit.. very advanced... but did not meet my changing requirements... so out they came..

I have spoke to the guys at Motec about their ECU's.. but to be honest, I wont gain much in performance... yes.. it will be more refined... the main gains would be in functionality and features.. multiple maps... launch control.. anti-lag...datalogging...etc.... But at present I dont need those features...so why pay for them ?

I can tell you of a guy who had a motec fitted to his modified subie.... and in the end removed it..and had a Link fitted.. and got better results.

I know of another guy who runs a motec... but gets the same results as the Link...

Like I said.. I'm just trying to highlight to others, what is and will be available.

But I can understand why you are suggesting the Tec-II

J.

[This message has been edited by Jay_UK (edited August 01, 2000).]
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Old 08-01-2000, 07:41 AM   #13
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Scooby South - there's cheaper turbo kits out there than Minnam/Car Modifications. Besides, Minnam's kit comes with a lot of electronics that you just don't need with a TEC-II - J&S, S-AFC, etc. Those two alone is almost half the cost of a TEC-II right there.

If you're going to turbocharge and spend that much money to get some power, why not go the extra mile and spend some more money to do it properly? Later on down the road I bet your costs will be less I imagine too, both in times of engine performance/reliability, and your time ... imagine how much time you're going to have to spend tweaking all the various electronic doodads to get things to work right. I'd much rather just get it right once and leave it there until I have the itch to fiddle with the TEC-II settings again.

-Edwin
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Old 08-01-2000, 03:43 PM   #14
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Hey guys

efoo said,
why not go the extra mile and spend some more money to do it properly?

if your definition of 'some more money' is $2500, you have alot more money than most everyone on this board. And the tec II is the only 'proper' way to tune a turbo? If so, there are alot of improperly tuned 2.5 that are really fast and running pretty well. I seem to remember a '300 hp disclosure' article written by Shiv. Awesome article. Shiv, do you believe that article is no longer true?

I agree with Scooby South to some degree on this subject. I have a budget I need to stay within. The fact my wife is letting me put a turbo in in the first place is a miracle, which makes staying within the budget even more important.

Shiv wrote that '300hp disclosure' a while back. Currently I am following those guidelines, and plan on having a fast, safe, super piggybacked turbo within a month. Guess what the next big purchase will more likely be? you got it, a TEC II from Shiv. If I had the budget, I would buy it all now. But I do not.

I can see why shiv is so biases toward the TEC. I have had the peasure of watching shiv tune the TEC II on alex's car. It is fascinating, and educational, and really fun. It has to be, currently, THE best stand alone package you can get. And fairly resonable considering what you get. BUT, I still cannot afford the system, AND a turbo. I am doing it pretty much the same way shiv did it. Piggybacks then hopefully soon, a tec II.

You guys can poo poo the piggybacks all day, but there is a certain fun in tuning those devices as well. I don't know about you guys, but I LOVE toying with my car. Even if it involved three different devices.

I guess I am getting sick of "the tec II is the ONLY way to put a turbo into your car safely" that comes accross in some of these threads. It IS the BEST way right now, but I have to disagree it is the only. I trust Shiv and his experience with the other ECU's, hence why I want a TEC. But again, I can't swollow that the ONLY.

i rambled a bit there, just my .02

josh

 
Old 08-01-2000, 04:28 PM   #15
efoo
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Josh,

Nope, I'm not particularly rich. I get paid well, true, but paying Ivy League-level college tuition for my little sister tends to dampen my spending plans quite a bit. I've just been saving for a while... two years, to be exact. I knew I wanted a turbo before I even bought my RS in spring of 1999. A few more months for a TEC-II doesn't seem that bad to me. So that's my relative view of the situation.

I don't think anyone is saying that the TEC-II is the *only* way to go safely. It may well be one of the best, but I'm not convinced that it is *the* best. There's always better stuff coming down the road. What I *do* think people are saying is that a TEC-II is better than three piggyback controllers, and that if you're starting with a turbo project from scratch, it'd be a good investment - one that will last you the life of the car.

All those people with existing turbo+piggyback kits are working fine too, but they obviously have incentive not to buy a TEC-II - (a) why fix what ain't broke? and (b) they've already spend ~ $1500 on the piggybacks already, so an addl. $2500 makes it a $4000 investment. Not good, unless you sell the piggybacks for close to what you paid for them, which *is* possible.

But for people starting with a clean sheet, the incremental cost from choosing TEC instead of piggyback is $1000 ($2500-$1500), and *that* I think is the real number that should be bandied around. All those little controllers add up too. Don't let the big single sticker price get you.

Those of us who chose to get a security and sound system, and cruise control, with our cars -- why did we do it? Individually, those items are expensive! Couple hundred bucks each. But we rationalized it at the time of purchase because we were buying a $20 thousand dollar car. Compared to 20K, a few hundred extra doesn't seem so bad compared to the convenience gained in the long run. And that's the logic I'm applying to the TEC-II.

If you're going to go ahead and get a TEC-II eventually anyway, why not just wait a few months until you can save the money and then buy it? You'll be able to avoid taking the hit on selling your unused piggyback controllers later. You'd be spending even more money this way.

-Edwin
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Old 08-01-2000, 06:18 PM   #16
shiv
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Josh-- I believe that ~300hp disclosure still holds true. Followings that path, my car made some good safe power. But make no mistake, it was far from perfect. To deter knock and keep EGTs down, I had to dump gobs of fuel into the engine. Fuel economy suffered as a result. So did driveability and partial throttle performance. The car, as you probably remember, also backfired quite gloriously during lift throttle. Not to mention the 4 mass air flow meters I went through during a 6 month period of time. In that same disclosure post, I also said that a programamble engine management system was 100% necessary in order to go any further with the turbosystem. Not only would it offer better performance and driveability, it would allow for a wider margin of safety-- making the engine last longer in the long run.

But the cost of an ITC, J&S, AFC, BEGI fuel riser, Weapon R adj. fuel pressure regulator, and EVC-IV boost controller yeilds is over $2000. A lot of $$ to spend for something that requires constant fiddling, limited performance and daily sacrifice. The advantage of such an approach is that you can upgrade step by step. Whereas programmable engine management requires a hefty one-time expenditure and a good amount of additional tuning.

Shiv
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Old 08-01-2000, 06:31 PM   #17
MattC
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Shiv,
If you don't mind me asking, what kind of gas mileage are you getting? With the turbo my gas mileage has actually gone up. And this is with all of the listed piggybacks. And Josh, the piggybacks is far from optimal. If you are looking for a great daily driver, you are going to want something better. I know I do.

MattC
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Old 08-01-2000, 06:48 PM   #18
kgb
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Exclamation

Jay_UK - there are 2 buckets for your money, your car, and everything else, and it's almost a choice of all or nothing.

At this point, I agree that TEC-II seems to be the best route when you start clean and have lots of money. However, doing it right the first time is not always possible (money being the restriction), but I would love to skip those piggybacks if I get a turbo.

Right now, I would only get a turbo (given enough funds) with a TEC-II as I don't want to mess around with piggybacks. I might not be able to use all the features, but it's the best available option. Things do evolve, and I'm just hoping for a solution for power that wouldn't drain my wallet as much. And last, I'm hoping the turbo 2.5 route won't disappear when I had the money for it.

P.S: There is also the gas mileage problem - I do drive my car daily (and far), and that will be a concern/deciding factor.
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Old 08-01-2000, 06:48 PM   #19
mastervic27
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Question

efoo, which turbo kit are you going to go with? i'm assuming you've decided on Shiv's TEC-II as the engine management system. i'm going to go with that path as well.

minnam
amr
asr??
rallispec/turbo (can't remember the company)
jc sport
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Old 08-01-2000, 07:52 PM   #20
shiv
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MattC-- to run more than 7psi safely, I had to raise my fuel pressure significantly. In order to get rid of tip-in lean run and ping, I had to lower my lo/hi throttle point. Upon decel, the blow off valve would vent to atmos, the MAF would misread and some of unburnt fuel would squirt down the exhaust... kaboooom! Big backfire. I used to see 18-25mpg. Now, with the TEC-II and more ideal tuning, I routinely see 30-31mpg on highway cruise. It can go down to the 15-20mpg range under hard driving tough. Still, it's better than the RX-7 which NEVER gets better than 10-14mpg.

shiv
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Old 08-01-2000, 07:59 PM   #21
Petrie
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Shiv, what would be needed to complete a turbo upgrade on an RS if the TecII was to be used (or which parts are not necessary)?

Which turbo suppliers are happy to work with a system that will use a TecII ?
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Old 08-01-2000, 08:10 PM   #22
shiv
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Petrie-- You would need everything except the electronics (J&S, AFC, etc,.) As for turbo suppliers, hang tight. I'm working on that right now

shiv
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Old 08-01-2000, 08:13 PM   #23
Andre Vandenberg
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I'm with Shiv on this one.
THREE blown motors at $800 to $1500 a piece WILL pay for the tech II in a hurry
Andre
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Old 08-02-2000, 12:15 AM   #24
shiv
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Jay_UK-- That's really funny. If someone is getting beter results with a Link than a MoTeC, I would point a finger at the "tuner", not the hardware. There is no question that the MoTeC will offer better performance.

shiv

PS. I agree that the cost of mods add up pretty quickly. Last thing you ever want to do is make a spreadsheet and add up all the money you've put into the car

[This message has been edited by shiv (edited August 01, 2000).]
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Old 08-02-2000, 02:44 AM   #25
Jay_UK
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Hi all..

I am not comparing piggyback systems with the tec-II...

I have once run piggy-back systems.. and know their good points.. and bad points...

What I am saying is that there are plenty of replacement ECU systems about... Checkout the scene is Oz.. I think that is the capital of replacement ECU's... lol

I have listed many different manufacturers before... half of them can use the stock sensors... and just require a new loom/adapter making to convert the stock ECU plugs into the right type for that ECU.

I am glad shiv has produced this kit.. it was about time someone did.... but I'm just trying to say.."dont be blinkered..and dont rush...". I have in the past.

Shiv.. what will be the specs of the new turbo kits u will be offering ?

You will be employing people soon.. good business

J.
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