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Old 03-22-2005, 04:04 AM   #1
Back Road Runner
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Default ECU reprogramming and dyno questions

I'm curious about getting my ECU reprogrammed to smooth the engine out and to get as much low end torque possible from the stock setup.

I'm not too keen on the whole proceedure nor about the time involved and the time spend on the dyno tuning the settings.

Does dyno runs and ECU tuning go hand-in-hand? If so, how much time is involved in such an endevour? What's the cost?

I know very little about this aspect of performance. If I seem to be asking the wrong questions or am mixed up on something, feel free to point it out and expand on the discussion. I would like to learn (a lot) more about the whole electronic tuning process.
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Old 03-22-2005, 06:48 AM   #2
Equilibrium Tuning
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ECU tuning generally involves dyno tuning, road tuning, or a combination of both. In either case it is important that the tuner has propper equipment including a wideband O2 sensor, and come well recommended. A good tune usually takes about 2 hours and prices vary quite a bit depending on tuner and on what engine management you buy. Ecutek reflashes, for instace cost a minimum of $650 and a lot of tuners include the custom tuning in that price. Let me know if u have any other questions.

Thanks
-- Ed
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Old 03-22-2005, 12:08 PM   #3
Back Road Runner
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Well, the car's stock, so I currently have the stock ECU. I'm not sure how much can be done with it. Since I have a plain jane 2.5L NA, I'm not sure if I need an aftermarket ECU. If it would be useful, it would only be something affordable and basic, just to allow more tunability than stock.

You mentioned wide band O2 sensor. I've heard talk about this before. Since the stock O2 sensor is only a narrow band, would a wide band one be needed then when tuning and after tuning is finished? Would the car even benifit from wide band one in stock form? What's the cost of one?

This whole thing about finding a "good" tuner always scares me. How do you know who's good or not. It seems to make all the difference, as I've read, but you have no clue other than maybe word of mouth from other tuners. I not a part of any tuner crowd, so I have no idea who's good and who's not. Also, living in the midwest, I don't know how many dyno/tuner shops there are or even where they are, let alone if they're good or not. Is there a national directory of dyno shops or anything. What about the 4wd? Would I need a dedicated 4wd dyno? If so, would I have to make say a 600 mile drive just to use one? It would be a bit out of my way.

Don't worry I've got lots of questions.
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Old 03-22-2005, 12:38 PM   #4
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The wideband is just to accurately measure the air/fuel ratio while on the dyno. It allows the tuner to safely lean out your afr for more power and better fuel economy, you don't drive around with it in as the sensors tend to be fragile and somewhat pricey.

Your awd car will need an awd dyno. I'm mostly familar with the turbo Imprezas but I doubt you'll get much in the way of power from a dyno tune on a stock normally aspirated 2.5l.

-Tim
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Old 03-23-2005, 01:52 AM   #5
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I'm not looking for big power. It's more of a matter of drivability. All I'm looking for is smooth behavior and better low end(below 2k where it needs some). Heck, I'd even expect my peak hp to drop from stock.
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Old 03-23-2005, 09:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner
I'm not looking for big power. It's more of a matter of drivability. All I'm looking for is smooth behavior and better low end(below 2k where it needs some). Heck, I'd even expect my peak hp to drop from stock.
Why do you need this low end power ? Especially sub 2000 RPM ?
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Old 03-23-2005, 09:15 PM   #7
Equilibrium Tuning
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to be honest, there isn't much gain to be had on the NA motors. Its possible to smooth it out a bit and maybe get a very slight increase in torque in a couple places, but I nothing really that would warrant the price of a reflash.

-- ed
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Old 03-24-2005, 02:50 AM   #8
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Why? Drivability. Smoothing it out is one thing I want to do.

As far as the sub 2000 range, it's also a drivability factor. One thing I like with (some) manuals is the ability to go from a stop without throttle input. The Forest pretty much needs a 2k rev just to get moving. I've never liked that aspect of the engine. I've had other vehicles that can take off with no throttle, an old Ranger, old Civic, and even my bro's Protege 5 all were/are able to take off from a dead stop with no throttle input, forward or reverse.

Now this isn't absolutely necessary, but I do find it annoying that I stall the car about once a week taking off from a stop...and I've owned it for over a year. Of course it doesn't help that the gas pedal has so much spring preload either.

Why more low range torque? I don't really use plus 3k rpm except for getting up to speed on the highway. Other than that, most of my driving is done at the 1.5-3k range. Hugh power at 5-6k is meaningless if you're rarely there.

Yes, I know being an NA, and especially a bone stock NA, I'm not going to see maracles. Still, I'm curious what I can do and how much I can get from modifying the computer's behavior.

p.s. From what I've heard, at least for what I'm looking for, someone mentioned cams are my ticket to getting the behavior I want...that and timing. Is this true? Should this be where I should be looking? This is another area of car tuning I know nothing about, so I have no clue where to look or what to look for.
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Old 03-24-2005, 10:52 AM   #9
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I think Vaus has it right. Trying to improve power/torque on a 2.5L NA motor by ECU fiddling--while staying NA--is probably going to have an extremely poor price-performance ratio. Heck, I'm not even sure what product you would use to do it. I suppose it's possible that there is a small amount of room for improvement in AFRs and the amount of advance. Have no clue what you could possibly do to improve sub-2000 RPM power. I was under the impression that usually cam upgrades are for top-end performance, which you've said you aren't interested in.

If we were talking about a Forester XT here, then you'd have a whole slew of options and would stand to gain quite a bit. Modded XT's seem to be real stump pullers from all I've seen.
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