CAN Based ECUs (2)

Question :
Is it possible to configure your own CAN bus messages to be sent out on the CAN interface on the MBE 9A9 ECU? Is it capable of receiving CAN messages and acting on them?

Answer :
The CAN Bus data stream is designed for use to transmit data to either external devices, such as data loggers or data to other MBE systems. It would be possible to control other devices that are CAN Bus controlled.

For example, if you have a gearbox that has a CAN Bus system on it, it can indeed control it. The problem you have is that the manufacturer of the gearbox is unlikely to release the protocols required to control the gearbox and the same would go for any other systems fitted to production cars. If you are able to get the protocols, the software could then be written to control them with the MBE CAN data stream and depending on how complex the system, would depend on how much time was required for the software engineer to write it. This may only be a matter of a couple of days of work, which would then need to be charged to the customer requesting it.

Unfortunately, if the data stream information is not available from the manufacturer, it would be virtually impossible to write controlling software to control the CAN Bus of each product, since you have no idea of what the information requires to control it. It is like looking for a needle in a hundred haystacks. It is potentially months of work just trying to decode what is required and the cost would be far too expensive.

Question :
I have Ford Fiesta Mk7 power steering unit (TRW Column Drive EPS CAN control) and I would like to use it on my Fiesta Mk2 Duratec HE 2.0 Racecar. Can any MBE ECU control this unit?

Answer :
The only problem you are going to have is getting the CAN protocols, no manufacturers release their CAN protocols. In the past, MBE have done development work for large manufacturers themselves and even then they would not release protocols outside.

The problem with anything that is CAN controlled, is that you have no idea what the messages should be and even if you discover some messages that get a system working, there may be other hidden safety messages that are being used to check that the system is working correctly. If these messages are either not received or transmitted, the system may appear to work correctly for a short period of time and then simply switch off assuming there is a fault. Hunting for any CAN data messages is like looking for a needle in 100 haystacks, so without the original CAN datastream protocols, it would be cheaper to fit a completely different system.

Obviously in the event of you being lucky enough to get the information required, if you are running an MBE ECU to control the engine then some protocols could be written to do the job required. We also need to know what other functions are necessarily associated with it, to decide which would be a suitable ECU for your needs.

Category: CAN Based ECUs

Easimap Software (7)

Question :
How do I make a back up on chipfile in my ECU?

Answer :
Simple instructions for making a backup:
1. Power up the ECU, plug in your mapping lead (which must be a proper mapping lead, NOT an RS232 extension lead).
2. Open Easimap 5 programme, this should then identify your ECU and set a real-time view automatically.
3. Select 'chipfile' from the drop-down transfer chip data, provided your ECU is powered up 'ECU' will be highlighted in dark blue. The words above this in the grey section will be 'select source device'. Hit the ENTER key, (do not use mouse keys as you can easily double click and send the information back from where you got it).
4. You will then get a screen appears again with 'select Target device'. With the use of the up and down arrow, highlight 'other chip file', hit the ENTER key, you will then have a box appear as 'save as' and the file name will have a flashing bar. You must then enter the name you wish to give it e.g. Chris Platt 1. Then hit the SAVE button.
5. The map will then be slowly transferred from the ECU to your laptop. This may take a minute or so.
If this does not work, you would need to reinstall Easimap 5.

Question :
I would like to make some alterations to the standard map to improve cold starting (the car struggles to idle when cold). However, I've just realised that my laptop (being fairly current) doesn't have a serial port. Is it possible to connect the ECU to a USB port (and if so can you supply the Farnell parts list) or do you know if the regular serial coiled leads that you supply can be used with a USB to serial adapter?

Answer :
If your laptop is not equipped with a serial port you will need to purchase an adaptor with the appropriate software from a computer supplier. This will allow you to convert your USB port to run serial.

Once you have downloaded the software & have everything talking correctly, your ECU will almost certainly ask you for a PIN code, all our ECUs are coded with 1111. I would suggest before you attempt to make any adjustments that you look at the device info, as the throttle bodies & fuel pressure must be correctly set and the settings for this are written within this section.

Most importantly of all, is before you make any adjustments make a copy of the maps stored in the Ecu. This way if you make any mistakes you can restore your original map, if you lose your original copy we would have to make a charge to replace it. You should find sufficient information within the help file to carry out any modifications you think necessary & you should familiarise yourself with the system before attempting any changes.

Question :
How do we modify the fuel map? How do we send the modified map to the ECU and have the ECU run that map? How do we know the ECU is actually using the map we have modified? We are trying to do this statically before we run the engine because the map that is currently in the engine if far too lean. Unfortunately when I play with the maps and settings and click on the panels in the system, the information about how to save the data, and how to send that data appears to be missing. I have installed a lot of software in my life, and have taught myself how to use a lot of software, so I'm fairly intuitive about learning the software. I am not used to having instructions in the help manuals tell me to do something and then finding that the software doesn't have the commands to follow the instructions. It's a bit frustrating, to say the least.

Answer :
Any ECUs we send out directly to our customers come fully programmed and ready to use, there is information within the device info which normally helps with the set up of the engine. Easimap 6 has all the icons that are normally required across the top of the software, as you pass your mouse across the icon it describes what each function does. Because the software is continually evolving on almost a daily basis, it is impossible to make the help file anything more than a basic guide as improvements are added to the software itself, the information is added to the .ec2 file next to each new function added.

If you can give us more information as far as an invoice number when the ECU was purchased and any relevant information will help us to help you. We try to give as much help as possible to our customers but unfortunately with the many thousand of ECUs that we sell every year, it is impossible to have engineers available to give detailed free support as the cost of the initial ECU is literally the price of the ECU itself.

When you install Easimap 6 from our website, it should install correctly. We have occasionally seen some firewalls block part of the installation and therefore not all files are installed correctly. You could reinstall Easimap 6 as many times as you wish without any problems. When first downloaded, it is in its basic form and this is for the beginner so as to make things as easy as possible. This should normally be all that is required for any ECUs that we have programmed since the most that should normally be needed is to set the throttle pot. If the engine has been tuned, then access to the fuel and ignition maps would be needed but this is available even in the basic access. As you become more skilled you can access the advanced level by clicking on the profile at the bottom of the screen and then Master level has a password which is only normally required by accessing more complex functions, not normally associated with the running of the engine.

Once you give us further information as far as the ECU software is concerned, which will appear at the top of the screen in the panel marked ‘no device’ when the ECU is not connected. Easimap 6 will identify the ECU software and then automatically load the closest matching .ec2 file (for example if your ECU id is #9A4bd600, the .ec2 file it will load will be 9A4bd60a [could be anything from a to z depending on release]), which will then appear in the box to the left. If no ECU is connected, it will remember the last .ec2 file that was loaded by Easimap 6 which may not match the ECU you have connected. Once the ECU is connected If you confirm this software version, if it is later than the version on the website, we will email you a zipped copy for you to install into Easimap 6.

Question :
I made changes across several maps and then chose "Transfer All Data". The transfer seemed to work successfully, but now it appears that the reverse voltage TPS curve for this Cosworth engine has been lost. Prior to making the changes, TPS was at site 5.1 at idle. Now, it is showing site 14.9 at idle, and voltage sweeps *downward*. It appears that something was lost when I transferred all of the maps. I did *not* change the throttle index map.

Answer :
You say you used "Transfer All Data" this tool allows you to move a chip file from one place to another, my guess is that instead of taking a copy from the ECU. You have taken a map from somewhere else and loaded it into the ECU. This means that you have not only loaded a different TPS index map but its setup as well and the rest of the map may also be different.

Hopefully, you made a copy of the map you had been working on previously and you can now reload that. If not I have attached a copy of the map loaded into the ECU when it was first sent to you. Use the 2 Chip Icons on the top left of your screen to save a copy of data in the ECU and send the new map if you need to that I have sent to you.

When mapping an engine I always make a copy of what is in the ECU and then make a copy of that to save changes to at the same time as to make changes to the ECU( use the send but on top of each map to send to map and then ECU). I can then compare changes made with the “ Compare Device Data” to see is I have missed anything or made a mistake. I can then fix or reload earlier maps if needed. I will also keep making copies as I go along so I am only one step away from the last version I was happy with.

Use the “Import Files” function in Easimap 6 for the attached map, it will then be in the correct place in Easimap 6 ready for you to download if needed.

Remember safety first.

Question :
I have a CAN based MBE ECU and I was wondering if you hade a base map for a K8 GSXR 1000 Suzuki. Any help would be appreciated, just want enough to get it up and running to make sure the loom is ok?

Answer :
Within Easimap 6 there are 3 sample base maps for each type of current model of MBE ECU (9A4, 9A8, 9A9), select the most suitable map and then load into your ECU and make small changes to suit your engine specification e.g. sample bike map is 24-1, yours maybe 24-2. All the information you require is detailed within each section relating to trigger wheel type and offsets.

If the ECU was supplied by us, it will normally be provided with a base map which is as close as possible to your engine specification or contact your supplier, if you require further help. We can provide more detailed support but this is chargeable at a rate £50 per half hour.

Question :
How does the Async fuel factor come in to play, this is per throttle site and an exponentially curving slope. I am really tempted to play with this (increasing it) but wanted to check in with you first.

Answer :
The chances are your AFR will read lean. You do have to be a bit careful because if you make the mixture too rich, the AFR will read lean again because the fuel will not burn correctly if the spark is put out and then you will have excess oxygen showing a lean AFR again. Slowly increasing the value as you have done is the correct way to do it. As you experiment further you may find certain areas e.g. speed sites require extra fuel, the Async Accel Pulse Width map is actually temperature vs speed, not throttle vs speed.

The other map you have found the Async Accel Fuel Factor, which shows an exponential curve is actually the rate of throttle change, the column running down the left shows the percentage of fuel that will be added to the overall fuel pulse width. This basically takes the value you have in your Async Accel Pulse Width map and then applies the percentage from the Async Accel Fuel Factor e.g. if the map has 10% whatever the map 'TPS vs Speed Fuel Map' has let's say 10ms so for example 10% of 10ms is 1ms, then depending on the rate of throttle change would depend on the percentage of the 1ms that is added to the overall fuel pulse width. If the throttle is moved extremely fast, it will look at the right-hand end of the Async Accel Fuel Factor map which says 100% currently and therefore 1ms will be added. If the throttle is not moving at all, then the left-hand end of the map is accessed and the percentage is zero so therefore no fuel is added. If the throttle is moved at a rate between these 2 points, then the fuel quantity would depend on the percentage applied. Although you can modify the Async Accel Factor it is normally best to modify the pulse width of Async Accel Pulse Width map as this is easier to understand and simpler to experiment with as each engine will vary. If you then wish to experiment later with the Async Accel Fuel Factor, do so after you have experimented and understand what effect you can achieve with the information described above.

Please take great care when modifying the Async Accel Factor map.

Question :
Do you have a manual for MBE ECUs?

Answer :
There is a Help file within Easimap to guide you through the basic parameters. With this information you can learn to manipulate all the maps within the ECU. All the maps are constructed in a similar way so once you have learnt how to manipulate one map, you will be able to do the same with all the others. Because all the ECUs and software are developed continually over time as new maps and parameters get added, this information is added to the software version which you will be able to see within Easimap when you plug into the ECU itself.

Engine Build (3)

Question:

What performance gains I would see from keeping my engine standard and only changing the camshafts?

Answer:

It really depends on the engine you have, for example the 1.4L, 1.6L & 2.0L Vauxhall engines have only minimal valve to piston clearance in standard form and if you replace the camshafts, they either have to be so mild that a minimum safe clearance is maintained or that they are retarded so as to avoid valve to piston contact. In both cases, any gains are minimal if at all. When using a larger duration camshaft that is timed in a retarded state normally there will be a reduction in bottom end torque and only a slight gain in peak bhp and the overall result normally makes the car slower. So with these particular engines, it is not worth the money.

Some engines such as the 2.0L Duratec and the Hayabusa engine, have slightly more valve to piston clearance in standard form and therefore allow the use of a mild camshaft and will see reasonable gains, but to see any substantial gains in performance, additional components that give increased compression, clearance and strength will be required.

Your intake system and management system are equally important in any improvement. In any engine using a single throttle body, these are particularly restrictive and have been designed by the manufacturer for a specific purpose. Engines such as the Hayabusa, which have 4 individual throttle bodies allow for a reasonable improvement in performance, but the management system fitted to most engines limits what can be done with your engine. 

Category: Engine Build

Question:

Why do you sell camshaft kits where inlet and exhaust is different?

Answer:

Choosing different camshafts for the inlet and exhaust is quite common, it allows the engine designer to produce different characteristics from an engine. Competition engines have a different set of requirements to road engines, road engines are all about emissions first where competition engines are about power and performance. 

There are no hard and fast rules, but a basic guide is that the milder the exhaust cam in relation to the inlet cam, the earlier in the rpm range the engine will produce torque. The more aggressive the inlet cam, the higher up the rpm range, the engine will be able to carry on producing power but there always has to be a compromise. You cannot just fit a very small exhaust cam and a very big inlet cam. 

The only way to discover where the cams should be timed to, so to tune them to optimal performance is to start at some safe values and then swing the inlet cam and the exhaust cam through the range settings (obviously safe to ensure no mechanical contact) on a rolling road noting the results from every setting and every combination to see which produces the best overall performance to suit your requirements. Unfortunately you will need to experiment with not only cam profiles and combinations, but you could then go further with the exhaust design optimising for each setting. This, as you can imagine, is a very time consuming and expensive task, not only are you wearing the engine out, but with the cost of the dyno, fuel and the person mapping the engine, this can very easily cost many thousands of pounds. 

We sell many products not only to the retail customer but also to the trade customers, because we have developed and tested our components and evolved packages over time. 

Category: Engine Build

Question:

Which is the best way to installing steel con-rods, using a torque wrench or stretch gauge?

Answer:

Using a stretch gauge is the best way to get the bolt to the correct length. When doing a torque setting for a bolt, the way this is worked out is to take a bolt, lubricate it with the type of lubricant you are intending on using, slowly tightening the bolt until the desired stretch is reached. Then recording the torque setting used to reach this stretch. This is a fairly accurate way to achieve the correct stretch. But obviously the best way to get the bolt to the correct length is by measuring it, so a stretch gauge is always the correct way to do it and use the best lubricant. We always use stretch gauges here.

We stock an ARP Steel Body Stretch Gauge, RB-STRETCH-G-02.

Category: Engine Build

Exhaust Systems (3)

Question:

Can I fit a lambda sensor to my engine to enable it to pass emissions?

Answer:

Your engine will need to be mapped correctly first and your car needs to be equipped with the correct exhaust system. The engine should not be too highly tuned and capable of running Lambda 1.

Lambda control should only be used as either a tuning aid or for emissions, it cannot fix an engine that has been mapped incorrectly, it is only there to trim or monitor the engine’s emissions to ensure they remain within original programmed limits.

Category: Exhaust Systems

Question:

I decided to have an exhaust manifold and system made, unfortunately your recommended manufacturer was too expensive, so I choose another supplier whose price was more affordable. When the car was finished, the exhaust system looked fantastic and the welding was excellent, unfortunately when it was put on the rolling road the performance did not match what I was expecting. The guys running the rolling road said the engine was performing unusually and believed it was something to do with the exhaust manifold. What can I do?

Answer:

I would check your exhaust manifold dimensions very carefully to ensure all the pipes are equal and the correct length, if they are not, which is quite likely then the contact the manufacturer and see what they are prepared to do for you. Hopefully they will sort the issues out for you, unfortunately the difference between a cheap exhaust manifold and a manifold made to the correct dimensions can take 4 or 5 times longer to manufacture and it is only when you come to measure the manifold itself after an issue has arisen, that this problem is discovered. We have investigated in the past, cheaper alternatives but have always been let down and as the old saying goes you only get what you pay for.

Category: Exhaust Systems

I would say that a good exhaust system couldn't make your engine produce more power as a straight piece of pipe can make your engine work properly, but a system that is unsuitable will cripple it. A well-designed system is made to reduce noise without losing power. The exhaust manifold is the most important part of the exhaust system, but it will only work properly if the system it is connected to is of a good design, e.g. unrestricted and of the same diameter as the exhaust manifold chosen. If it is not, it will reduce the efficiency of the manifold. In some cases we may recommend a system of a larger diameter. The exhaust manifold is one of the most important parts that control the output of an engine. You can spend endless amounts of money on tuning your engine internally, but if the exhaust manifold's design does not complement it, your engine may not produce the power you expect. It may move the torque band into a different place, causing all sorts of problems. For example if the manifold you have chosen to fit on your engine is designed to give an all round mild improvement over the standard item, it would be useless to fit it to a full race engine, which would be strangled and as the engine begins to come on cam at quite high rpm, the exhaust gases would be totally restricted & probably generate nothing like the power expected. If your engine has been designed to produce large amounts of torque at low rpm for a particular type of motor sport, e.g. National Hotrods or grasstrack racing, if you were to fit a full race exhaust manifold it would not help the engine at lower revs to produce its full potential, since the manifold is more suited to higher rpm.

We have done extensive testing with both Vauxhall and Duratec engines, spending hundreds of hours testing manifold designs on the dynamometer & just by changing the diameter of manifold pipes as little as a 1/16", or its length by only ½", you can get quite dramatic changes in the characteristics of an engine. If the manifold you have chosen to use is badly made, or of the wrong design, the problems you will experience will increase as you tune your engine further as time goes by. This is because when the engine is only mildly tuned, although the exhaust manifold is still important with mild cams fitted, the manifold is called upon less to help with the charge of fuel rich air being drawn in to the engine on the overlap. Overlap is when the exhaust cam is about to close and the inlet cam is just opening, but as the engine is tuned further the amount of overlap is usually increased. As this happens the manifold then becomes more important because it is used more and more to help with the incoming air fuel charge which the engine needs to generate power. If its design does not match the characteristics for which the engine has been designed, the manifold could be at its most efficient at the wrong rpm and have past its optimum when the cams begin to start working. Or maybe the complete opposite, the exhaust manifold may not be at its best until the cams have past the working rev range.

In the case of a fuel injection engine, if the manifold you choose to run is not to the same spec that it was originally programmed on and is totally different in its design, not only could it stop your engine from producing the power, it is likely to change the fuel requirements of your engine. So it could even it by under or over fuelling unless it is reprogrammed to suit

Frequently asked questions about exhaust manifolds:

  1. Do I really need a manifold that long?
    Answer: If that is what the engine spec has been designed & tested on then yes.
  2. I have an exhaust manifold a mate of mine says is the best he (or she) has ever seen and it works on his engine, so it will work on mine won't it?
    Answer: It may be the best manifold ever but until it is tested on the dynamometer in a back to back test we cannot know and even if it is better your engine will almost certainly require re-jetting or re-mapping to suit.
  3. The man who is making the exhaust manifold for me says he cannot make it fit unless he makes one of more of the pipes shorter than the others, will it matter?
    Answer: About the worst thing you can do on any exhaust manifold is to make the pipes uneven. What your exhaust manufacturer usually means is if you want the pipes that accurate then the job has been under-priced.

But if you decide to ignore any of the above don't come running to us saying that your engine doesn't produce the power we promised. Since we only know what power your engine should produce when it has been built carefully with the correctly matched and accurately made exhaust manifold and good quality exhaust system.

There are two basic types of exhaust manifolds the 4>1 and 4>2>1. The 4>1 manifold is traditionally used on an out & out racing engine. This is because they work well at higher RPM but they are not very good at low of mid range RPM. The 4>2>1 manifold normally works better in the lower & mid range RPM areas but is not as good at higher RPM. We have developed a range of exhaust manifolds combining the best characteristics of both these types of manifolds, which involves using unusual length primary & secondary pipes. We would recommend a custom made exhaust box be made for your car, since the box specifications will depend on your requirements as regard to use & noise limitations.

BTB Exhaust have made our exhausts & manifold systems for many years; the design, construction & accuracy has always been to a high standard & we have been able to develop increased performance with their help. Unfortunately, in recent times many companies have appeared on the market claiming to produce systems of equal or better quality, this has caused us quite a few problems when people have bought inferior products & then found their engines don't produce the performance that we have quoted, we have then received phone calls & emails asking us why the engines do not perform. We have found it difficult in recent times to be competitive selling the high quality BTB manifolds, so we have now asked BTB to deal direct with any customers of ours & supply the systems at the cost we would pay for a single item. We are still selling a limited number of exhaust manifolds (see below).

We are continuing to develop new designs of manifold to work in line with the ever increasing performance of our engine specifications. When an engine kit is purchased from us, we will supply a drawing so that the manifold can be made to suit that specification. The drawings can be purchased separately, so you can have the manifold made by a company of your choice however if it is not made exactly to our specifications, you will not get the performance.

View an example of the drawing you will receive

Remember the exhaust system & manifold is as important as any other part of your engine & if it doesn't work you will have wasted a large amount of money tuning the engine. Also don't forget that labour is getting expensive & a good quality exhaust manifold & system do not come cheap.

IMPORTANT NOTE

If you have purchased one of our engine kits and want to achieve the full performance, you will need to have an exhaust manifold and system that matches our recommended design exactly. We have spent a considerable amount of time on the dyno, rolling road and track testing to get the designs we have developed to produce the ultimate performance. Even if you are not running our engine kits, we believe our manifold design will allow you to improve the performance of your engine.

If you can find a manufacturer who has produced an off-the-shelf manifold that exactly matches our design, we recommend that the exhaust manifold is fitted when you initially install the engine to ensure it fits your installation correctly as fitting at a later date may mean that the off-the-shelf one may not fit. Some modifications to the shell, engine mounts, cross members and sump pan (if running wet sump) may be needed, as everyone fits engines in different positions (especially rear wheel drive) and we cannot guarantee that it will just bolt straight on. It would be impossible to us to have produced a manifold that suited every car & installation. We have made all our manifolds using a donor car that we hope is characteristic of the majority of installations. Please click here to see modification for the big winged sump.

Even if you are considering a custom made exhaust manifold and system for your car, we would recommend that you ensure you speak to the company that are manufacturing the exhaust for you before completing the installation so that there is sufficient space for the exhaust manifold and system to be made and fitted correctly.

Category: Exhaust Systems

Fuel Injection (1)

SBD taper throttle body kits are made up from 4 single bodies (on a 4 cylinder engine) which taper from the ram pipe end down to the manifold face, with a butterfly in the middle. the taper then continues on through our inlet manifolds to the cylinder head.

The main advantages of using a tapered singled body over parallel bodies & slides that we have found in tests are:

1 - Being individually adjustable they can be perfectly set-up.

2 - We have found that the use of a taper that continues the shape of the ram pipe right through the throttle & manifold up to the valve, has improved torque through almost the entire power band.

3 - Also we have found that the use of a butterfly in junction with a taper has improved throttle response. With our latest development of careful injector positioning and angles we have managed to improve response and peak performance even more.

4 - The peak BHP that we have seen from the tapers with butterflies is better than we have achieved in similar tests using parallel bodies, barrel throttle bodies or a slide throttle assembly.

SBD Taper Throttle Body Kit
SBD Taper Throttle Body Kit
Multi-throttle Bodies
Multi-throttle Bodies

Multi-throttles are pairs of parallel throttles which look almost identical to carburettors, but without float chambers. All our multi throttle kits use throttle bodies with idle for fine adjustment of idle mixture & balance. They are available in 118mm standard Long type (the same length as a normal carburettor).

We are also asked regularly about the difference between direct to head and twin/parallel throttle bodies, they both produce about the same performance, although the direct to head has the manifold cast into the assembly which makes it neat to look at. The advantage is that the separate inlet manifold and throttle bodies is that they are more suitable to mounting throttle linkage kits, they can be fitted where the throttle bodies join the inlet manifold either above or below depending on customers preference. The direct to heads only have provision to mount the throttle linkage underneath up against the air filter backplate mounting.

These types of intake systems, although produce reasonable performance, we consider to be the basic throttle body types, where if you are looking for ultimate performance either now or in the future, you should look at SBD taper throttle body designs.

The latest development of our taper throttle body designs comes supplied with a simple cam design throttle mechanism ready to accept a throttle cable, the inlet manifolds also include the most up to date port shapes. We are always working to improve the performance of all our engine kits and the new port design matches perfectly with our latest CNC cylinder head work, however even if you aren't using our cylinder heads you can potentially gain advantage by matching your cylinder head to our inlet manifolds. Certainly all those who have purchased our taper throttle body systems are extremely complimentary about it and the reports are continually coming in with very positive results.

Category: Fuel Injection

Gearbox & Clutch (6)

Question:

What can I do for gearbox control, there are a lot of products on the market and it is very confusing?

I will give you a little bit more information on the gear change systems and how they work, then hopefully this will give you an idea of what can be done and what the pitfalls are if your system is too simple.

Answer:

I decided to design a gearbox control system in 2003 and it was ready to run for the beginning of the 2004 season. When we initially tested the car, all seemed fine. But as we got to the first event and subsequent events we discovered the gear changes were becoming erratic and as the season progressed, the changes got worse and worse. I looked at the systems before designing ours to see what everybody was doing and assumed that a Gearchange was simply a question of cutting the spark and then pushing it from one gear to the other. At the end of the 2004 season I removed the electronic system and put a manual system onto the car, similar to that you have seen on our web site using a cable or rod operated system which was connected directly to the gearbox. I logged all the information over the season to discover what was going on. We found out that no two gear changes ever take the same amount of time, no matter what the conditions and if the vehicle happens to be wheel spinning, gear changes take even longer.

When you are driving with a gear stick or gear lever or anything where the driver or rider is connected directly to the gearbox, without realising every time you carry out a gear change you actually subconsciously adjust the way you change gear, whether it be foot or hand operated clutch. So when you produce an electronic system to reproduce this, a simple system which we had originally come up with is not capable of doing this. If you simply put a long time for the spark to be cut and the gear changes faster, the gear changes feel as if they take forever and if you put a short time in there, quite often a gear can be missed and the gearbox will become damaged if not straight away over time. So we very quickly learnt that you need to produce full closed loop system which works out drum rotation of the gearbox and therefore the time for the power reduction of the engine can be varied according to how fast the gear change occurs, therefore making a self-adjusting system.

This is just a basic explanation of how it works. Our system is actually considerably more complex than that, so it can actually work out if the gearbox is actually going to change gear, what to do if it doesn’t want to change gear and so on. Next comes the mechanism that you are using to change gear. When you change gear with a bike or car gearbox, you never actually kick it into gear, or smash the gear stick into gear, you actually feel it going into gear smoothly. So the system you use to carry out the gear change needs to be able to give a gentle, yet precise and smooth operation without damaging the gearbox itself. It is not a question of how much power or how fast you can move the stick, as you would simply damage the transmission.

I spent a further 5 years designing and testing our system, so that now that once it is set up it can self-adjust to suit most gearboxes. But this involves quite a few complex components and a powerful ECU that controls not only the engine but the gearbox itself. In fact to give you an idea of how complex it is, if the system senses that the gearbox does not want to change gear, due to the fact that the dogs are jammed or locked for any reason, because the ECU that controls the engine also controls the gearbox, it can do very precise control. So sometimes it fires one spark or removes 1 spark in order to unlock the dogs. This would be impossible for a piggy back system or standard ECU as it cannot know when each spark is going to be delivered.

There are a few high quality systems available on the market which are extremely good, but they are not cheap. The simple system that is listed on our web site which uses the original gear stick or cable is a fairly basic design and allows you to go for faster gear changes, but because of the driver actually being able to feel the gear changing through the lever or paddle, this adjust how the gear change occurs. Any system that is fully electronic e.g. where the driver is not directly connected to the gearbox, would need to be a closed loop design to function correctly in all conditions. With a simple system that simplifies a solenoid or actuator has its limitations and maybe ideal for use with a driver who is disabled or for casual driving where the user understands its short comings.

This is why we only produce the two types of system. Either one where the driver is still directly connected to the gearbox by a mechanical mechanism or a full gearbox control system.

2021 Update: The gearbox control strategy has been completely rebuilt and redesigned from top to bottom using everything that has been learnt in the past to produce a more advanced system to further improve gearbox control. The biggest change is that we now use rev matching, this means that the ECU looks at its next target gear and calculates from gear ratios as to what the rpm needs to be for the next gear and then once the gearchange begins, the rpm is then matched to its target gear, but obviously once the gear change has started effectively the two halves of the gearbox become detached from one another and on the more advanced set ups, which we recommend with 4 wheel speeds, the ECU is then able to work out from the driven wheel speed information the exact rpm required, even if the wheel speeds change during the shift e.g. if you are wheel spinning during the change, the driven wheels would then slow down and the ECU would adjust the rpm to ensure the revs are correct to go into the gear. The same would apply if you lock momentarily the driven wheels whilst downshifting, so the ECU is always accounting for the actual speed that the target gear that is asked for.

Powershift set-up issues

Question:

One of our trade customers was having problems with a powershift set-up on one of their customers cars and asked for some help, he had set up the map using the settings from another car which has worked well.

The car was an Escort with a VX and Elite IL300 box and the description of the symptoms was; "Just been out in the car and it still isn't working correctly, it's very harsh when it comes back on power, not a nice smooth cut at all. It all seems too harsh and needs smoothing out. The setup is just using an ignition cut, cutting the spark, so it's very on and off. The setup allows for torque reduction + recovery, can you tell me a bit more about these settings and also why these aren't been used? There isn't any information available about the MBE settings and if I fiddle with them without knowing their functions, it will end up causing issues."

He also asked: When we have spoken in the past you said you had not found the need to use the torque recovery and that ignition only worked very well. Hence my using the same options. Could you provide any advice as to possible solutions. I notice on the paddle shift set ups I have looked at the "Finish Upshift Drum Rotation Threshold" is at 70% but on the flatshifts its 100% - could this be the issue?

Answer:

Always make sure you are using the latest software, please check our website.

I suspect you have 2 potential issues; the first problem will be how the power shift is triggered. Quite often some of the gearboxes have an adjustable switch or sensor and what the manufacturer quite often does to ensure the powershift works is to make the switch trigger too early. This means that when the gearstick is pulled that instead of triggering just at the point of disengagement, it is triggered much earlier, this effects both single cut time set ups and full closed loop set ups. When used in the single cut time, it means that the time has to be extended to cover the fact that when the driver pulls the gearstick, there can be quite a length of time from the spark being cut before the dogs of the gearbox are actually disengaging and by the time the gearbox has completed its change, the driver will be able to feel this huge delay making for quite often and uncomfortable gear change. When using the closed loop version the same issue applies, the trigger again will be too early and although the gear change time is able to vary due to the ECU knowing the drum position and able to complete the gear change when it reaches a pre-programmed position, it is extended due to the early trigger.

In order to alter the trigger point, you will need to discuss with the manufacturer of the gearbox how this is done and experiment with the trigger point according to the manufacturer's instructions. This could be done by shims or adjustable screw to move the switch.

Once you have sorted the start point, then you will be able to adjust the cut time if using a single cut set up but because no gear changes are ever the same, care must be taken not to shorten the cut time too much. A single cut is also not suitable for cars that could potentially be wheel spinning during gear change. It is always best to use closed loop set up using the trigger to initiate the gear change and drum rotation to complete the gear change. This way the MBE system self-adjusts to the variation in time taken for each gear change.

Due to the fact that every manufacturer of gearbox works slightly differently, therefore the gears drum rotation will also vary. You should experiment with the percentage of drum rotation for completing the gear change. When set to 100%, the power will only re-instated once the gearbox drum has completed its rotation. You can experiment with shortening this value and it will speed up the gear change. Again great care must be taken if the value is set too low, although the gear change would become very fast, if the dogs have only just engaged there is a possibility that damage will occur due to the fact that the power is being re-instated too early. We find that most car gearboxes can go down to 70% of drum rotation and bike gearboxes down to 79%, but it is suggested that you start at 100% and slowly reduce this value due testing. The difference between cut and retard; cut simply removes all the sparks and retard will retard the ignition so the engine produces no power. Cut is simpler and if all the above are set up correctly, the gear changes should be very nice. If you use retard, it can be smoother but produces other issues; whilst retarded the engine will be producing more heat and if the engine itself is prone to any issues, it could amplify an inherent problem with the engine. Also when the ignition is in a retarded state, the fuel is no longer ignited in the combustion chamber, it will be ignited in the exhaust producing additional noise because of this. A combination of cut and retard can be used but more information, as far as suggested settings are concerning, are within Easimap 6.

Question:

How long does the air last in the pneumatic gearchange system?

Answer:

The valves used are an industrial design and will slowly leak air over time (as used by everybody). Air loss varies depending on many variables, but I would normally suggest a minimum would be about 2 hours from fully charged and normally fully discharged by the next day, although I have seen cars hold air for over a week. There is no fixed time. I am always paranoid that the air will run out on a run and because of the noise in the paddock you cannot hear air leaks at the event, so I charge the air on my car after every 1 or 2 runs to ensure it never runs out.

Question:

Does the MBE have an option for queued gearshifts?

Answer:

We did consider adding an option for queued gearshifts but have not found it necessary, most drivers who have used our system including those converting from other makes of gearshift systems find ours usually faster on the shifts (mostly due to the integration of engine and gearbox software) and not thought it necessary once tested. My own personal thoughts on queued downshifts is that when you approach a corner, if you don't know what gear you want you would just keep tapping the paddle hoping you would get enough downshift. If you do know which gear you want, you again have to think how many times you have to hit the paddle, if you then approach the corner and something has changed you may have to hit the paddle for more gear changes. All of the these options require additional thought by the driver and these thought trains will be different based on the discipline you are competing in, simple pull and hold means it will only change down safely and if you let go of the paddle, it will stop changing down. If you simply want one gear change, you tap and release the paddle. I have found that if we attempted to queue the gears, if it wasn't safe to downshift when the paddle was hit and a change occurred later, this was very distracting for the driver and he didn't know what point the change would occur. This was particularly uncomfortable if an unexpected gear change happened when the driver was making an unexpected change in direction avoiding another car or obstacle.

Question:

I purchased one of these a while back. Works great however I'm not sure I got the spacing right. I noticed some slight scuffing inside the cylinder when I changed the seal. What is the correct length of the spacers - or at least the difference in length of the 3 spacers?

Answer:

There is no correct length a such for a spacer. The hydraulic slave cylinder set up is dependant on each installation. The way we normally set up our hydraulic clutch mechanisms is to assemble the clutch with no drive plate in, so in theory the fingers are as far back as they will go towards the gearbox as in a fully worn out state. We then fit a long spacer onto the hydraulic clutch mechanism, ensure that the release bearing is pushed back on the slave cylinder as far as it can go and then press the gearbox and bell housing against the back of the engine and measure the gap between the bell housing and the block. For example, if you had a 10mm gap, the spacer needs to be shortened by 10mm.

If the bell housing goes all the way against the engine, then you need to look through the release mechanism hole or inspection access of some kind and check the distance between the release bearing and the clutch fingers. If there is a gap when the release bearing is fully pressed as far back as it will go, remove the bell housing, pull the bearing and the slave cylinder forwards by slightly more than the gap you would appear to see through the inspection hole. Then reassemble again, this time the release bearing will be pushed back by the fingers as you assemble the gearbox onto the back of the engine until it stops. You can then remove the gearbox again and check the amount that the release bearing is proud of its stop. Then you will need to add this distance to the length of your existing spacer. This is not the overall length you need for your spacer.

Question:

I have a problem with my Westfield. It seems like the car is riding the clutch when you put your foot down. It drives fine at normal speed, but when you floor it you just get engine revs. I have a SBD Standard size lighten flywheel, (the one with posts, a SBD Organic clutch and a SBD hydraulic clutch kit. Some one suggested that as I have been using the car the clutch has worn down so now the spacer in the hydraulic clutch is no longer the right size. So the fingers of the clutch cover do not have the space to come away fully. So do I need to remove the engine and get the spacer removed? Can you offer any advice to me? I have tried bleeding the clutch and it did not help.

Answer:

It sounds as if you are half right. When the assembly was fitted, no account was taken to allow for clutch wear. You must dry fit the clutch cover with no clutch plate fitted, then slide the gearbox with the complete slave assembly and spacer fitted to the gearbox. You should then slide the gearbox onto the back of the engine. Now because the spacer is likely to be too long, you should be able to measure a gap between the block and bellhousing face. Say for example, it was 10mm, the spacer should be shortened by 11mm. This means that when the clutch is fully worn the slave cylinder/release bearing can never apply pressure to the clutch fingers. The extra mm is just a safety margin I always use.

Never leave the spacer out altogether, because the clutch slave only has a certain amount of travel. If you were to leave the spacer out completely, the chances are you could fire the hydraulic slave so far out that all the fluid could leak away.

MBE Management Systems (10)

Question :
Is it possible to configure your own CAN bus messages to be sent out on the CAN interface on the MBE 9A9 ECU? Is it capable of receiving CAN messages and acting on them?

Answer :
The CAN Bus data stream is designed for use to transmit data to either external devices, such as data loggers or data to other MBE systems. It would be possible to control other devices that are CAN Bus controlled.

For example, if you have a gearbox that has a CAN Bus system on it, it can indeed control it. The problem you have is that the manufacturer of the gearbox is unlikely to release the protocols required to control the gearbox and the same would go for any other systems fitted to production cars. If you are able to get the protocols, the software could then be written to control them with the MBE CAN data stream and depending on how complex the system, would depend on how much time was required for the software engineer to write it. This may only be a matter of a couple of days of work, which would then need to be charged to the customer requesting it.

Unfortunately, if the data stream information is not available from the manufacturer, it would be virtually impossible to write controlling software to control the CAN Bus of each product, since you have no idea of what the information requires to control it. It is like looking for a needle in a hundred haystacks. It is potentially months of work just trying to decode what is required and the cost would be far too expensive.

Powershift set-up issues

Question:

One of our trade customers was having problems with a powershift set-up on one of their customers cars and asked for some help, he had set up the map using the settings from another car which has worked well.

The car was an Escort with a VX and Elite IL300 box and the description of the symptoms was; "Just been out in the car and it still isn't working correctly, it's very harsh when it comes back on power, not a nice smooth cut at all. It all seems too harsh and needs smoothing out. The setup is just using an ignition cut, cutting the spark, so it's very on and off. The setup allows for torque reduction + recovery, can you tell me a bit more about these settings and also why these aren't been used? There isn't any information available about the MBE settings and if I fiddle with them without knowing their functions, it will end up causing issues."

He also asked: When we have spoken in the past you said you had not found the need to use the torque recovery and that ignition only worked very well. Hence my using the same options. Could you provide any advice as to possible solutions. I notice on the paddle shift set ups I have looked at the "Finish Upshift Drum Rotation Threshold" is at 70% but on the flatshifts its 100% - could this be the issue?

Answer:

Always make sure you are using the latest software, please check our website.

I suspect you have 2 potential issues; the first problem will be how the power shift is triggered. Quite often some of the gearboxes have an adjustable switch or sensor and what the manufacturer quite often does to ensure the powershift works is to make the switch trigger too early. This means that when the gearstick is pulled that instead of triggering just at the point of disengagement, it is triggered much earlier, this effects both single cut time set ups and full closed loop set ups. When used in the single cut time, it means that the time has to be extended to cover the fact that when the driver pulls the gearstick, there can be quite a length of time from the spark being cut before the dogs of the gearbox are actually disengaging and by the time the gearbox has completed its change, the driver will be able to feel this huge delay making for quite often and uncomfortable gear change. When using the closed loop version the same issue applies, the trigger again will be too early and although the gear change time is able to vary due to the ECU knowing the drum position and able to complete the gear change when it reaches a pre-programmed position, it is extended due to the early trigger.

In order to alter the trigger point, you will need to discuss with the manufacturer of the gearbox how this is done and experiment with the trigger point according to the manufacturer's instructions. This could be done by shims or adjustable screw to move the switch.

Once you have sorted the start point, then you will be able to adjust the cut time if using a single cut set up but because no gear changes are ever the same, care must be taken not to shorten the cut time too much. A single cut is also not suitable for cars that could potentially be wheel spinning during gear change. It is always best to use closed loop set up using the trigger to initiate the gear change and drum rotation to complete the gear change. This way the MBE system self-adjusts to the variation in time taken for each gear change.

Due to the fact that every manufacturer of gearbox works slightly differently, therefore the gears drum rotation will also vary. You should experiment with the percentage of drum rotation for completing the gear change. When set to 100%, the power will only re-instated once the gearbox drum has completed its rotation. You can experiment with shortening this value and it will speed up the gear change. Again great care must be taken if the value is set too low, although the gear change would become very fast, if the dogs have only just engaged there is a possibility that damage will occur due to the fact that the power is being re-instated too early. We find that most car gearboxes can go down to 70% of drum rotation and bike gearboxes down to 79%, but it is suggested that you start at 100% and slowly reduce this value due testing. The difference between cut and retard; cut simply removes all the sparks and retard will retard the ignition so the engine produces no power. Cut is simpler and if all the above are set up correctly, the gear changes should be very nice. If you use retard, it can be smoother but produces other issues; whilst retarded the engine will be producing more heat and if the engine itself is prone to any issues, it could amplify an inherent problem with the engine. Also when the ignition is in a retarded state, the fuel is no longer ignited in the combustion chamber, it will be ignited in the exhaust producing additional noise because of this. A combination of cut and retard can be used but more information, as far as suggested settings are concerning, are within Easimap 6.

Question :
How do I make a back up on chipfile in my ECU?

Answer :
Simple instructions for making a backup:
1. Power up the ECU, plug in your mapping lead (which must be a proper mapping lead, NOT an RS232 extension lead).
2. Open Easimap 5 programme, this should then identify your ECU and set a real-time view automatically.
3. Select 'chipfile' from the drop-down transfer chip data, provided your ECU is powered up 'ECU' will be highlighted in dark blue. The words above this in the grey section will be 'select source device'. Hit the ENTER key, (do not use mouse keys as you can easily double click and send the information back from where you got it).
4. You will then get a screen appears again with 'select Target device'. With the use of the up and down arrow, highlight 'other chip file', hit the ENTER key, you will then have a box appear as 'save as' and the file name will have a flashing bar. You must then enter the name you wish to give it e.g. Chris Platt 1. Then hit the SAVE button.
5. The map will then be slowly transferred from the ECU to your laptop. This may take a minute or so.
If this does not work, you would need to reinstall Easimap 5.

Question :
I would like to make some alterations to the standard map to improve cold starting (the car struggles to idle when cold). However, I've just realised that my laptop (being fairly current) doesn't have a serial port. Is it possible to connect the ECU to a USB port (and if so can you supply the Farnell parts list) or do you know if the regular serial coiled leads that you supply can be used with a USB to serial adapter?

Answer :
If your laptop is not equipped with a serial port you will need to purchase an adaptor with the appropriate software from a computer supplier. This will allow you to convert your USB port to run serial.

Once you have downloaded the software & have everything talking correctly, your ECU will almost certainly ask you for a PIN code, all our ECUs are coded with 1111. I would suggest before you attempt to make any adjustments that you look at the device info, as the throttle bodies & fuel pressure must be correctly set and the settings for this are written within this section.

Most importantly of all, is before you make any adjustments make a copy of the maps stored in the Ecu. This way if you make any mistakes you can restore your original map, if you lose your original copy we would have to make a charge to replace it. You should find sufficient information within the help file to carry out any modifications you think necessary & you should familiarise yourself with the system before attempting any changes.

Question :
How do we modify the fuel map? How do we send the modified map to the ECU and have the ECU run that map? How do we know the ECU is actually using the map we have modified? We are trying to do this statically before we run the engine because the map that is currently in the engine if far too lean. Unfortunately when I play with the maps and settings and click on the panels in the system, the information about how to save the data, and how to send that data appears to be missing. I have installed a lot of software in my life, and have taught myself how to use a lot of software, so I'm fairly intuitive about learning the software. I am not used to having instructions in the help manuals tell me to do something and then finding that the software doesn't have the commands to follow the instructions. It's a bit frustrating, to say the least.

Answer :
Any ECUs we send out directly to our customers come fully programmed and ready to use, there is information within the device info which normally helps with the set up of the engine. Easimap 6 has all the icons that are normally required across the top of the software, as you pass your mouse across the icon it describes what each function does. Because the software is continually evolving on almost a daily basis, it is impossible to make the help file anything more than a basic guide as improvements are added to the software itself, the information is added to the .ec2 file next to each new function added.

If you can give us more information as far as an invoice number when the ECU was purchased and any relevant information will help us to help you. We try to give as much help as possible to our customers but unfortunately with the many thousand of ECUs that we sell every year, it is impossible to have engineers available to give detailed free support as the cost of the initial ECU is literally the price of the ECU itself.

When you install Easimap 6 from our website, it should install correctly. We have occasionally seen some firewalls block part of the installation and therefore not all files are installed correctly. You could reinstall Easimap 6 as many times as you wish without any problems. When first downloaded, it is in its basic form and this is for the beginner so as to make things as easy as possible. This should normally be all that is required for any ECUs that we have programmed since the most that should normally be needed is to set the throttle pot. If the engine has been tuned, then access to the fuel and ignition maps would be needed but this is available even in the basic access. As you become more skilled you can access the advanced level by clicking on the profile at the bottom of the screen and then Master level has a password which is only normally required by accessing more complex functions, not normally associated with the running of the engine.

Once you give us further information as far as the ECU software is concerned, which will appear at the top of the screen in the panel marked ‘no device’ when the ECU is not connected. Easimap 6 will identify the ECU software and then automatically load the closest matching .ec2 file (for example if your ECU id is #9A4bd600, the .ec2 file it will load will be 9A4bd60a [could be anything from a to z depending on release]), which will then appear in the box to the left. If no ECU is connected, it will remember the last .ec2 file that was loaded by Easimap 6 which may not match the ECU you have connected. Once the ECU is connected If you confirm this software version, if it is later than the version on the website, we will email you a zipped copy for you to install into Easimap 6.

Question :
I have Ford Fiesta Mk7 power steering unit (TRW Column Drive EPS CAN control) and I would like to use it on my Fiesta Mk2 Duratec HE 2.0 Racecar. Can any MBE ECU control this unit?

Answer :
The only problem you are going to have is getting the CAN protocols, no manufacturers release their CAN protocols. In the past, MBE have done development work for large manufacturers themselves and even then they would not release protocols outside.

The problem with anything that is CAN controlled, is that you have no idea what the messages should be and even if you discover some messages that get a system working, there may be other hidden safety messages that are being used to check that the system is working correctly. If these messages are either not received or transmitted, the system may appear to work correctly for a short period of time and then simply switch off assuming there is a fault. Hunting for any CAN data messages is like looking for a needle in 100 haystacks, so without the original CAN datastream protocols, it would be cheaper to fit a completely different system.

Obviously in the event of you being lucky enough to get the information required, if you are running an MBE ECU to control the engine then some protocols could be written to do the job required. We also need to know what other functions are necessarily associated with it, to decide which would be a suitable ECU for your needs.

Category: CAN Based ECUs

Question :
I made changes across several maps and then chose "Transfer All Data". The transfer seemed to work successfully, but now it appears that the reverse voltage TPS curve for this Cosworth engine has been lost. Prior to making the changes, TPS was at site 5.1 at idle. Now, it is showing site 14.9 at idle, and voltage sweeps *downward*. It appears that something was lost when I transferred all of the maps. I did *not* change the throttle index map.

Answer :
You say you used "Transfer All Data" this tool allows you to move a chip file from one place to another, my guess is that instead of taking a copy from the ECU. You have taken a map from somewhere else and loaded it into the ECU. This means that you have not only loaded a different TPS index map but its setup as well and the rest of the map may also be different.

Hopefully, you made a copy of the map you had been working on previously and you can now reload that. If not I have attached a copy of the map loaded into the ECU when it was first sent to you. Use the 2 Chip Icons on the top left of your screen to save a copy of data in the ECU and send the new map if you need to that I have sent to you.

When mapping an engine I always make a copy of what is in the ECU and then make a copy of that to save changes to at the same time as to make changes to the ECU( use the send but on top of each map to send to map and then ECU). I can then compare changes made with the “ Compare Device Data” to see is I have missed anything or made a mistake. I can then fix or reload earlier maps if needed. I will also keep making copies as I go along so I am only one step away from the last version I was happy with.

Use the “Import Files” function in Easimap 6 for the attached map, it will then be in the correct place in Easimap 6 ready for you to download if needed.

Remember safety first.

Question :
I have a CAN based MBE ECU and I was wondering if you hade a base map for a K8 GSXR 1000 Suzuki. Any help would be appreciated, just want enough to get it up and running to make sure the loom is ok?

Answer :
Within Easimap 6 there are 3 sample base maps for each type of current model of MBE ECU (9A4, 9A8, 9A9), select the most suitable map and then load into your ECU and make small changes to suit your engine specification e.g. sample bike map is 24-1, yours maybe 24-2. All the information you require is detailed within each section relating to trigger wheel type and offsets.

If the ECU was supplied by us, it will normally be provided with a base map which is as close as possible to your engine specification or contact your supplier, if you require further help. We can provide more detailed support but this is chargeable at a rate £50 per half hour.

Question :
How does the Async fuel factor come in to play, this is per throttle site and an exponentially curving slope. I am really tempted to play with this (increasing it) but wanted to check in with you first.

Answer :
The chances are your AFR will read lean. You do have to be a bit careful because if you make the mixture too rich, the AFR will read lean again because the fuel will not burn correctly if the spark is put out and then you will have excess oxygen showing a lean AFR again. Slowly increasing the value as you have done is the correct way to do it. As you experiment further you may find certain areas e.g. speed sites require extra fuel, the Async Accel Pulse Width map is actually temperature vs speed, not throttle vs speed.

The other map you have found the Async Accel Fuel Factor, which shows an exponential curve is actually the rate of throttle change, the column running down the left shows the percentage of fuel that will be added to the overall fuel pulse width. This basically takes the value you have in your Async Accel Pulse Width map and then applies the percentage from the Async Accel Fuel Factor e.g. if the map has 10% whatever the map 'TPS vs Speed Fuel Map' has let's say 10ms so for example 10% of 10ms is 1ms, then depending on the rate of throttle change would depend on the percentage of the 1ms that is added to the overall fuel pulse width. If the throttle is moved extremely fast, it will look at the right-hand end of the Async Accel Fuel Factor map which says 100% currently and therefore 1ms will be added. If the throttle is not moving at all, then the left-hand end of the map is accessed and the percentage is zero so therefore no fuel is added. If the throttle is moved at a rate between these 2 points, then the fuel quantity would depend on the percentage applied. Although you can modify the Async Accel Factor it is normally best to modify the pulse width of Async Accel Pulse Width map as this is easier to understand and simpler to experiment with as each engine will vary. If you then wish to experiment later with the Async Accel Fuel Factor, do so after you have experimented and understand what effect you can achieve with the information described above.

Please take great care when modifying the Async Accel Factor map.

Question :
Do you have a manual for MBE ECUs?

Answer :
There is a Help file within Easimap to guide you through the basic parameters. With this information you can learn to manipulate all the maps within the ECU. All the maps are constructed in a similar way so once you have learnt how to manipulate one map, you will be able to do the same with all the others. Because all the ECUs and software are developed continually over time as new maps and parameters get added, this information is added to the software version which you will be able to see within Easimap when you plug into the ECU itself.

Oil Systems (1)

Question:
What level should my oil be in my SBD dry sump tank?

Answer:
It is recommended that the bottom of the dry sump tank is level with the bottom of the sump. This is because when a car is stored for any period of time, the oil will automatically drain to the lowest level. It will slowly pass through any gear system over time and the level in the engine and the oil tank will equalize. So if the oil tank is higher than the engine, effectively all the oil will drain into the engine and there will be no oil available to give oil pressure until the scavenge pumps have returned the oil from the engine to the tank. This could obviously create damage if this condition occurs.
Taps or valves should never be used because they can be forgotten and left turned off, they can also create a restriction in the oil flow from the tank.

Filling your dry sump system with oil
Pour oil into the tank until just below the top baffle in the dry sump tank.
Remove the dry sump belt and drive it with an electric drill. For engines which don’t have external oil pumps for oil pressure, remove the spark plugs and crank over until the oil pressure gauge shows a constant pressure. Re-check the oil level in the tank and start the engine. Run the engine for a few minutes, possibly up to full running temperature as you are now going to check the oil’s final level. This allows the oil to fully circulate through the engine, the return oil pipes and oil cooler (if you are running one). Then give the engine a few bursts of acceleration before shutting the engine off, then immediately checking the oil level.* The oil level should now be finally filled to just below the top baffle by approximately 3mm.
Note the amount of oil you have used in total and this will give you an idea of the quantity required if you drain the system down in the future, but this may vary depending on whether the system is completely dry.

*Please note that you can only check or re-check your final oil level after carrying out this final procedure, never check the oil level when the engine has been left standing. Do NOT leave the engine before checking the level, because it will slowly drain into the engine until the oil level balances out with the oil level in the tank and you will over fill it.

Category: Oil Systems

Vauxhall Specific (3)

Question :
I've got 2 C20XE engines built in different years, one has 26,00 mm high lifters, the other one 26,50 mm high ones, they look a little bit different inside. Can I use your hydraulic lifters CMFL-1 on both engines with no trouble?

Answer:
Our CMFL-1 follower is a genuine GM supplied component, there were variations on some GM parts but they are all designed to run on all the XE engines and this the follower is the one we have used for many years. It is the lightest version and should run successfully in any GM engine of this type.

We never use re-ground cam profiles as the base circle of the camshaft has to get smaller to do this. One of the problems associated with re-ground cam profiles is that the follower can sit too high in the cylinder head potentially causing 2 problems; the first being the cam follower runs out of travel and the second is that the oil supply does not reach the follower correctly and therefore does not fill adequately. These problems are normally discovered after installation of the cam profile and when fitting new cam followers, the owner believes it is a problem with the follower when in fact it is the cam re-grind itself.

Our CMFL-1 follower is a genuine GM supplied component, there were variations on some GM parts but they are all designed to run on all the XE engines and this the follower is the one we have used for many years. It is the lightest version and should run successfully in any GM engine of this type.

We never use re-ground cam profiles as the base circle of the camshaft has to get smaller to do this. One of the problems associated with re-ground cam profiles is that the follower can sit too high in the cylinder head potentially causing 2 problems; the first being the cam follower runs out of travel and the second is that the oil supply does not reach the follower correctly and therefore does not fill adequately. These problems are normally discovered after installation of the cam profile and when fitting new cam followers, the owner believes it is a problem with the follower when in fact it is the cam re-grind itself.

Question :
Can you tell me how much a 1.6L 16v Ecotec engine weighs without manifolds & how high it is?

Answer :
The weight varies quite a bit according to flywheel modifications. For example, our engine with dry sump system fitted, lightweight flywheel, clutch & fuel injection is 90kg. Height again varies, but if I give you the height excluding the sump pan, it is approx 440mm high. The dry sump pan we do is a minimum of 65mm at its smallest (wet sump pan likely to be closer to 100mm deep).

Question :
Are the C20xe and C20ex the same motor?

Answer :
There is a 20XE and a C20XE, effectively they are the same engine and the C denotes a catalyst. Any other number and letter combinations would represent a different model of engine.

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