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Old 02-02-2005, 10:59 PM   #1
cabe
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Default EcuTek vs. AP vs. UTEC

Yes, I have searched around, so don't yell at me for not searching, please just answer my questions

I know very little about EM. I am planning on running the following setup...

1. Catless UP
2. vf22 or vf30 turbo (what do you think?)
3. Catless bellmouth DP (3")
4. 3" exhaust the rest of the way, probably catless
5. FMIC w/ BOV of course
6. Depending on my turbo, either pinks or 650 (or larger) cc injectors. Again, what do you think?
7. If I get larger than 550 cc, a Walbro fuel pump.

Now, keeping in mind that I know nothing about engine management, what would be the best EM for me? I guess it boils down to UTEC or EcuTek since AP won't support me here.
Which would be easier for me? I live in the boondocks in PA, no where near any tuners, so keep that in mind as well. Anything I do I'm going to have to do by myself, unless you guys want to take a road trip.
Thanks for your patience and help.
Caleb
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Old 02-02-2005, 10:59 PM   #2
cabe
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Also, is there anything else I need to throw in that setup? Keep in mind the word "need", I'm on a budget.
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Old 02-03-2005, 05:56 AM   #3
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Well... If you aren't near any tuners, EcuTek is not an option. So only the UTEC and Ap are left. As of right now, only the UTEC will support what you want. Also, as of Feb 1st, COBB says that the Streettuner (Tuner for the Accessport), will definately be released in the 1st quarter of this year (exact dates will be available soon). So if you want to wait a month of 2, the Accessport is still an option.

Also... You said you no almost nothing about EM. Is that the same for tuning?
Supposing so....There is a whole lot to tuning EM... It's not just plug and play (for the most part). I would suggest reading a few books on the subject and also read the threads here and also http://www.wrxhackers.com/

A whole lot can go wrong in the tuning process if you don't know what your'e doing, so be carefull.


Good luck,
Adam
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Old 02-03-2005, 12:04 PM   #4
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Thank you very much, Adam. Do you think the add-on for the AP will support what I have?
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Old 02-03-2005, 12:33 PM   #5
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The AP addon will alloow you to do what you need, but the question remains - can you tune the car safely yourself? If not, neither the UTEC nor StreeTuner will be of much value.
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Old 02-03-2005, 03:48 PM   #6
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Yes... The Streettuner(?), or "Ap add-on", will support what you want (as far as I understand), and probably do it a whole lot easier than the UTEC for all the tuning noobs. From the info that I can gather on the Streettuner, it looks like it's as easy as tuning gets.

Check out http://www.wrxforum.com/cgi-bin/ulti...;f=12;t=000038 for all the available info on the Street tuner.

Also Caleb, I suggest reading "How to Tune & Modify Engine Management Systems" by Jeff Hartman. It is a very thorough and easy to follow book for beginners.

Adam
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Old 02-03-2005, 08:28 PM   #7
cabe
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If I were to read Hartman's book about tuning thoroughly, would it be safe for me to tune a UTEC myself? I mean, that way I could do anything to my car my heart desired, even though I probably wouldn't go further than what I said earlier, maybe just a larger turbo and injectors.
I read the Cobb statement about the street tuner and still don't really understand what it's going to do other than make it impossible to download regular AP base maps. If I purchased the AP, then the street tuner, would I be as versatile as I would be with a UTEC?
Thanks again, Caleb
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Old 02-03-2005, 11:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabe
If I were to read Hartman's book about tuning thoroughly, would it be safe for me to tune a UTEC myself? I mean, that way I could do anything to my car my heart desired, even though I probably wouldn't go further than what I said earlier, maybe just a larger turbo and injectors.
I read the Cobb statement about the street tuner and still don't really understand what it's going to do other than make it impossible to download regular AP base maps. If I purchased the AP, then the street tuner, would I be as versatile as I would be with a UTEC?
Thanks again, Caleb
Caleb,

For your first question, it really depends on how well you understand it, how comfortable you are with altering very sensitive parameters, and if you are doubting yourself while tuning. Let me put it this way: First, I have an accessport, not a UTEC. I have never "tuned" an engine. I have read Hartman's book, several times, and understand all of it, or grasp it atleast. If I had a UTEC, I would have no reservation at all about getting in there and tuning it myself. Also, I plan on getting the Streettuner upgrade as soon as it's not on "backorder" or whatever, it might not even be hard to find vendors that stock tons of them... Who knows? I also plan on tuning myself with the tuner.

Really the best way to look at it, and it is hard no doubt, is if you do pop your motor, you'll know what's bad and what's good for the engine.

About being able to go further with the UTEC.... Not really. The Streettuner supposedly, from what I understood from the release notes and product preview, is just as powerful as a UTEC, if not more powerful (ie. not a piggy-back.). It probably will really boil down to personal preference in all reality.

As far as the tuner making it impossible to download "regular AP Base Maps", your'e right, it will. But it will be able to download "a special Streettuner map file format", as Trey Cobb puts it. The new format allows streettuner users to share maps with other steettuner users. All that is about is to make it so "regular" AP users can't use Streettuner maps.

Hope this helped, good night,
Adam
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:11 AM   #9
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Ok, well in that case, I'll probably get an AP and the streettuner with it. That way I'll be able to do whatever I want to my car with less chance of screwing something up... I think? You wouldn't happen to know what the price of the street tuner will be would you?
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Old 02-04-2005, 12:30 PM   #10
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It's like a ~$450 add-on.
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:44 PM   #11
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Ouch. College student here
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Old 02-05-2005, 04:26 AM   #12
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Man, I understand. The COBB route will be a bit more expensive (~$50 more). The reason I am recommending it is because it sounds much easier for a beginer to tune (safely and confidently).

And I completely understand where your'e at with the whole confussion on which unit to go with... EM is one of the most confusing, along with suspension, aftermarket parts choice.

Adam
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Old 02-05-2005, 05:33 PM   #13
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Yeah, I think I am going to go with the cobb when I get the money. It sounds sort of easy and it sounds like I'll be able to do pretty much what I want. Seeing as how I'm not planning on going totally nuts with power, I think it should see me through. Thanks again for all the info.
Caleb
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Old 02-05-2005, 09:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabe
Ouch. College student here
Wow. You're in college, and you get to drive a 20+K car. Waaaah.

Enjoy the car stock, keep it safe, study, and when you get out,
think about mods if you like.

Disposable income now is better spent on books, beer and babes.

If you have a few G's burning a hole in your pocket, open a Roth IRA.

Seriously.

- b
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Old 02-06-2005, 03:13 PM   #15
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What's a Roth IRA?
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Old 02-06-2005, 07:50 PM   #16
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A very good investment.

That said, if you don't take the wise investment advice, and don't want to learn to tune on your own car, you're going to need to figure out how to get the car to a tuner.... if you are not going to continue to mod the car and want set-and-forget EM Ecutek is the way to go.
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Old 02-06-2005, 09:45 PM   #17
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EcuTek is great... But there's one problem with his "set-up".

Quote:
Originally Posted by cabe
I live in the boondocks in PA, no where near any tuners, so keep that in mind as well. Anything I do I'm going to have to do by myself.
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Old 02-06-2005, 11:30 PM   #18
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Cabe

I like UTEC because it's been out a while, there's no doubt you can tune with it, and if you did go to a tuner they'd likely have a lot of experience with it rather than learning on your vehicle once ProTUNER and StreetTUNER come out. Plus, you can switch maps easily with a small switch... with the AP you have to plug it back in each time. No map-switching with EcuTek.

I'd slow down on the StreetTUNER if I were you, and give it some time to settle in. It's original release date was over 14 months ago... it's good Cobb waited until he had the kinks worked out, but did he get 'em all? And who knows if he'll release it with support for wideband O2 sensor input, which most tuners will tell you is a must. Cobb says StreetTUNER doesn't have that yet. I'm sure it will eventually. It has to if it's to be taken seriously. BTW, the wideband's an additional investment if you're self-tuning.

You could take your ride to stage 2 Cobb AP or a stage 3 TXS UTEC (along with your FMIC, etc.) and maybe you'd be happy to hold there a while, 'cause there's a whole lot of power there. You'll be blown a way with a stage 3 UTEC if you're at stock now. While you enjoy this level of power for a bit, you could learn more about tuning.

Then -- if you started with an AP -- the whole StreetTUNER / ProTUNER thing would have settled in. Maybe by then you'll have dug into tuning and decided it's better to have a professional do it at least once (IMO it is, then you can tweak if you want to, down the road). If you've gone Cobb, your tuner's going to want to use his own ProTUNER because it's more capable... and your StreetTUNER would have been a big waste of money.

I think someone without any tuning experience would have to be nuts to jump right in to trying to tune to stage 4. It's very possible you could sacrifice your engine to the experiment. Zero horsepower.

Driving on stage 3 without a professional tune means sacrificing some power and some smoothness through the rev range. Driving stage 4 without a tune is reckless. We're not just talking reductions in air intake temperatures and exhaust back pressures, we're muckin' with the compression and seriously increasing the rate of fuel flow. If you don't get the boost, ignition timing, and air / fuel ratio right, it doesn't take too many revolutions to knock your block into oblivion. I prefer the word detonation... it's more descriptive!

If you really want to go stage 4 right away, do it when you have a few days off and have it all set up in advance. Drive to Scranton or wherever to put your new turbo and injectors on, and have an appointment with a tuner right afterward. Then drive back to school with your stage 4 monster all tuned up!

I'm upgrading from stage 3 to a bigger turbo and fuel system in a couple of weeks, having waited 'til a topnotch tuner is coming to town for a dyno- and road-tuning. In the few days between bolt-ons and dyno day, the car will be parked, and when I drive to the dyno to meet him, I'm staying out of boost. If I'm going to take risks, I'd rather do it trying to get top performance out of my ride and not just in the process of upgrading. That's my .02.

EDIT: Here's a thread with experiences from happy and unhappy AP customers... http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=699875&page=1&pp=25

Last edited by ka mano; 02-07-2005 at 02:15 AM.
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Old 02-07-2005, 06:47 AM   #19
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if you want to be self-sufficient, you NEEEEEED to have a wideband o2 sensor. budget that in first.

to those who think the AT will be easier to tune than the utec, i don't agree. in fact, you've got a lot more load sites to screw up. i appreciate the fact that in 90% of my driving, the unadalterated oem ecu is calling the shots.

in my mind, the utec is like a "super carburator" and "super distributor."

it is "better" than old school carbs in that you have an infinite array of "jet sizes" to choose from, and you can switch them in seconds. you can have different jets at different loads, rpms, etc. but just like carbs, the mixture STAYS WHERE YOU SET IT.

it is similar wrt timing... you can set arbitrary numbers for iginition advance, creating curves that would be totally impossible with a mechanical distributor. but once it is set, the advance STAYS WHERE YOU SET IT.

with the adaptive ecu in control, neither of those things is really set in stone. fuel trims and knock correction have their OWN agendas. sometimes they coincide with what you want to do as a tuner. sometimes they do not.

i love having total MANUAL control over fuel and timing, so for me the utec is a perfect fit. also, having a pre 04 ecu is a good thing, since i don't have to screw around with low TPS crossovers to avoid the open loop fueling delay. my tps xover is set at 60%. i never have hesitation issues.

jm2c
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Old 02-07-2005, 07:22 PM   #20
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Ka mano,
Thanks, that was a huge help (thanks adam and everyone else too!).
Again to ka mano, what's a wideband 02 sensor and where do I get one? Secondly, I still think I am just going to go big and get everything I mentioned in the original question, but will take your advice and take it somewhere to put it on and drive conservatively. Is there someone in Scranton who could tune a UTEC if I got one with all those mods? What stage would you call that?
Thanks again,
Caleb
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Old 02-07-2005, 08:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabe
I live in the boondocks in PA, no where near any tuners, so keep that in mind as well.

you know TurboXS is in MD right?
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Old 02-07-2005, 08:58 PM   #22
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What are your goal(s)? Work that out first. Be realistic.

I want my car to perform better than stock?
I want to learn to tune cars, may car?
I have time to learn tuning, I have resources to learn tuning (WB sensor, some dyno time and access)?
Am I a methodical person who enjoys problems solving?
Am I willing to put my car at risk when I tune it (again resources to accept risk)?
Do I want the option of tuning at a later date, but for now I'd like to just drive?
Do I want total control over everything that relates to electronic control of my car? What limits to control are acceptable or unimportant to me?

There are other options to the one's discussed that are cheaper, but offer less of a user base. Answer some of the questions above and we'll know more about you and what tools would be best for you.
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:00 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ride5000
in my mind, the utec is like a "super carburator" and "super distributor."
I like that... it's not 'in place of' the carburator, it's the carburator returned as superhero!

Cabe:

Here's a link to some WB O2 sensor info.
http://www.alamomotorsports.com/fjo_...?source=google

How far are you from Gaithersburg, MD? Like Azezial says, there a good UTEC tuner there.

Yeah, if you get your uppipe, exhaust, UTEC (comes with a manual boost controller), larger intercooler (I vote FMIC) and BOV, bigger turbo / fuel system, and a one-off tuning, you're at stage 4. I'd get gauges for boost (not OEM) and EGT, with the warn feature, like Defi, Apex-i, or GReddy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bboy
What are your goal(s)? ...Answer some of the questions above and we'll know more about you and what tools would be best for you.
I second that. If you do that, you'll get better advice, for example, on your turbo / fuel injector flow rate questions.
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:20 PM   #24
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OK, first of all, I'd like my car to perform WAY better than stock. I've driven cars with Cobb stg. II and it's nice but I want more bang than that for sure.
I don't have access to a dyno, but I can solve problems if forced to. Like I said earlier, I'm a college student, although fortunate, I'm not fortunate enough to buy a new engine if I blow this one up. I would like to tune my own car, at least the basics. I definitely want the afore-mentioned setup. I can tune now, I'll just need help from someone who knows what they're doing.
Also, I have an OEM boost gauge (what's wrong with it, I can read it) but I know I'll get an EGT and AFR gauge when the time comes. I am 188.55 miles away from Gaithersburg, MD btw.
BTW, as opposed to the original post, if I get a UTEC, I'll prolly end up going with a vf22 turbo and 850 cc injectors and upgraded fuel pump.
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:28 PM   #25
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Oh, Gaithersburg is only about 2 hours from my sisters house tho.
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