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Tuning

Discussion in 'FAST Support Forum' started by J.K., May 31, 2017.

  1. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    It's been a long journey tuning this thing but I'm finally at a point where it feels like I'm making progress. Things I changed this year was an aluminum rad and one step colder plugs, but one thing that made the biggest difference so far was adding an octane booster to my tank of fuel. A local shop had this lucas 3x octane booster, so I did some research on it and it seemed to have good reviews. So I tried it and what a difference it's made. 91 octane by itself seems to cause tuning woes. Engine is 10.2:1 with aluminum heads, I could never hear if it was detonating and I'm not to experienced in plug reading. Prior to the lucas additive I idled at 13.4, cruise 13.8. Any leaner on either setting and it would drive like crap.

    Granted I have a manual trans car and the system apparently isn't suppose to work well with stick cars. Not sure where or how this would show itself to be a problem, but one super annoying thing it would do was in between shifts when you get back on the gas it would have a complete lean dead spot before recovering. Kind of like not having enough pump shot on a carb when mashing the throttle. But this was under normal throttle movements where no amount of accel fuel had an effect. Fast forward to adding this additive in the fuel, so far I currently have my idle and cruise fuel at 14.0 and 14.1 and it's working very well. I feel it can go more yet, but I'm working up slowly giving it several trips between adjustments. As for lean flat spots between shifts they are almost non existent. From time to time there's an ever so faint hint of it. If I had to pick an area to improve on it would be off idle transitioning. There's a little bit of a blubber on tip in which could be just a cam shaft gremlin. At slower engine speeds it doesn't have a very clean off idle transition. I took a couple pics of one of the plugs, other than the color probably from the additive, is there clues as to the state of the current tune?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    Those plugs are looking a lot more like they should. You're far enough along now to try a few different things. If you still have the vacuum timing on, change the maximum load from 60% to 45-50%. Other things to work with are increasing the all-in slope RPM and carefully adjusting the mechanical timing in an effort to raise it some. Currently, the additives have allowed you run more timing. The right curve will allow you to run lower octane. You've had pre-ignition and still have a little, but you've got far less pre-ignition now. Just keep going slow and you'll hit that magic setting where you have very few deposits on the plugs with no glazing or fouling. The plug heat range looks very close. You may be able to go a range colder with the settings you have now.
     
  3. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    I was never sure what that vacume threshold adjustment did and how changing that affected it, or the reason for changing it. So I hadn't messed with it yet. Base timing I think I'm pretty good at 24 right now. I didn t see much of any difference from 22 to 24 as far as lowest steady map goes. Unfortunately don't have a decent vacume gauge either. I didn't mention my timing settings in my first post, but along with the current AFR settings my initial is 24, total is 34 all in at 3600, with 10 degrees vacume at the default threshold.
     
  4. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    Lowering the default vacuum threshold will allow the vacuum timing to drop faster under any acceleration - helping to reduce any pre-ignition. You still have some deposits indicating trace amounts. That could also be responsible for not seeing a good heat line on the side electrode. Slope all-in being too low could also be responsible, but try the lower vacuum threshold first and keep it there - it won't hurt a thing, and can help a lot at your compression ratio. 10 degrees is also a lot of vacuum timing when you consider GM only used about 7 degrees with their 1st gen high performance engine distributor vacuum canisters. If the lowering of threshold percentage changes nothing about the heat line on the side electrode, you might pull off a few vacuum degrees and see if that allows a good heat line to appear. If it still doesn't, pull out one or two degrees of total mechanical. If that doesn't do it, raise the slope RPM and see what that does. You may still need to go one range colder on the plugs and start over.
     
  5. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    My 406 actually likes as much as 28 degrees of initial, but I don't see any gains in idle vacuum after 24 degrees - so I leave it there. Get a cheap vacuum gauge - it's a handy old school tool for quick reliable diagnosis.
     
  6. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Quick question regarding start ups after the engine is fully warmed up. Is it common on these systems for initial restart of a warmed up engine to idle significantly higher than target and gradually coming down to set speed? Mine does this and I find it's elevated start up idle speed is a little annoying considering my new car doesn't do that. If it does it is hardly noticeable.
     
  7. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    Yes, it is common for the idle to be slightly faster when restarting a warm engine with FAST EZ EFI 2.0. It may race less once your settings get closer to optimum - can't say for sure as I really haven't paid much attention to it. I have an OEM 1996 Lincoln that has always done the same thing on warm restarts - it's always been noticeable with it. My new OEM Silverado may do it tp some extent, but I've never really paid any attention to it. I just touch the switch on the Silverado and it starts itself.
     
  8. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    A A, I have seen you commenting on some other posts regarding keeping spark plugs at factory gap. Researching plug gap articles there is such a variance in gaps. Some gapped 050 while another is 030. Articles suggest hotter ignitions such as an msd have more energy to jump bigger gaps, therefore allowing a bigger plug gap. I also know boosted or nitrous applications run less gap to prevent spark blow out. To me the bigger the gap (within reason) would have a bigger snap, resulting in a hotter spark. But a spark is a spark and it's job is to light off a fuel/air mix. So is there any benefit on a N/A engine to run 035 vs 050 gap assuming a healthy ignition? The thing that might stand out to me is there would be a heat difference between the two gaps.

    So in my case for example, my plugs I think if i remember right were around the 030 gap from factory. I've always run my plugs at 035 which is the first thing that I do before installing them. Is there a benefit to bringing them back to the factory 030 gap?
     
  9. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    NGK recommends not changing the gaps from their factory setting. They make a number of plug styles, that carry different gaps, that will fit each engine. CD ignitions are multi-strike, which means they are firing over a longer duration during cylinder cycles. Plug gap can also affect heat range, and NGK tries to keep their plug heat ranges as close as possible. The side electrodes are also specifically designed for the gaps the plugs come with. Over time, plug gaps widen - taking gaps out of specific ranges for street vehicles - race vehicles get a new set of plugs for every race. For these four reasons, you shouldn't change plug gaps with modern ignitions. You should use the correct plug for the application.

    Closing and widening gaps was done long ago in an effort to get old factory ignitions to fire in high compression engines, and to improve fuel mileage in low compression engines. We didn't have ignitions that could fire in almost any situation then - even humidity in the air created problems with them. Todays modern ignition systems eliminate that problem.

    EZ systems are always in learning mode and adjusting to provide the best A/F mixes for ever changing conditions. Also, understand denser and leaner fuel mixtures have different spark needs - MSD boxes, and such, provide for these changing needs. So, yes there is a benefit to keep the factory set plug gap - especially when trying to set or keep a correct tune.

    This is information the "Internet" doesn't provide you with - just like you'll see nonsense like cleaning your sparkplugs with a wire brush and re-using them (which instantly contaminates the insulators and ruins them if they weren't already).

    Factory set plug gaps are set for best operation over time using specific plug designs per application. NGK offers retracted, standard, and extended tip designs in street and race styles. Each type carries a different gap for the application.

    I almost forgot. CD boxes also provide enough spark to provide a self cleaning effect to spark plug insulators. Changing the gap can eliminate this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  10. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Thanks for the explanation, I always feel as if I've actually learned something useful from here. The internet is full of misleading info or often a lack of explanation to try and teach why things are or were done a certain way. Such as the reasons why a given plug was gapped different in older cars with older systems, that it's not just here is the answer because that's how it was done for years but don't ask me why.
    I think I will go and take my plugs back to factory gap and give it a try. Who knows, maybe my car will be happier for it.
     
  11. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Well I had a good running car for a while. Seems to have reverted to its old ways again without explanation. Off idle blubbers and lean out conditions just on tip in. Make the car a disappointment to drive again. I know it's been said before that these systems don't work well in manual cars....but I think it's more than just that. As with fuel additives to wake up the octane some it suddenly became such a pleasure to drive. Suddenly as if over night all that was lost and I'm once again faced with an unhappy motor. The odds that I got one bad tank of fuel or a bad octane booster may be a possibility, but I think I would of noticed it earlier on after the fill up and not halfway through the tank.
    I've debated upgrading to the sportsman ecu but I'm really concerned if it's going to be any better.
    Anytime this throttle closes or comes close to closing it can't take a tip in without falling flat lean before recovering. It makes for a hurky jerky Bucky unpleasant driving experience.
     
  12. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    Do a Wizard reset three times and re-input your latest user (and fuel and timing) data. You've made a lot of changes to the fuel maps (and timing) and some data could be corrupted - especially if there was much learning under no load conditions. Resetting sometimes squares everything back again correctly. This happened once last year to my 406 - and it has a Turbo 400 automatic. The resets and re-inputting my user data cured it instantly.
     
  13. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    There's definitely something goofy with it as it has proven itself to work exceptionally well before. The biggest gripe is transitioning off idle. There's been times it has transitioned so clean that it felt like it had a bone stock camshaft in there. You touch the throttle with the slightest of movement and get a good clean increase in engine speed instantly, and make even this manual shift car drive and shift without a hick up. In fact when its running well like this it feels as though the car itself is way lighter then it is. Its just that effortless. If only i could maintain that scenario. If I had to describe what I feel like it's doing is the throttle tip in is light enough that the ecu thinks it's still on idle so it's pulling fuel and idle timing in an efforr to maintain idle target. I haven't observed those parameters closely yet when that happens and I could be out on my theory, but that's how it feels to me.
     
  14. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    If the resets don't help, it sounds like there is a problem affecting the TPS. This could be the wiring, connection or wiring interference affecting same, or a malfunctioning TPS. I would also check all the plug wires are delivering within 40-50 Ohms per foot with no leaks. Check the coil, rotor, and cap also.

    What a manual trans can cause is conflicting maps, since the EZ EFI 2.0 uses fulltime adaptive learning. However, it does sound like there is something intermittent going on like a bad electrical connection somewhere.
     
  15. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    It's about as good as it gets...i need to be able to turn off the learn to eliminate my standard transmission blues. Looking at the xfi upgraded ecu, I have a question....i see a sportsman XFI ecu, and an XFI 2.0 ecu.
    Physical shape of the casing looks to be what mine is, which would make it a direct swap. The XFI 2.0 appears to be a bigger unit, so it wouldn't be such an easy swap out for me. Talking about relocating to a more suited spot again.

    So what are the differences between the two ecu's other than physical shape and size? Which one is best suited to my needs? First instinct would have me leaning towards the sportsman box due to the similarity of the physical shape and size to mine. Easier change over.
     
  16. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    The XFI Sportsman is by far the easier swap-in of the two - with no changes to any harnesses or parts. You really only need the ECU using it. Sportsman is also a lot lower in price than the XFI 2.0. The XFI 2.0 will require a complete changeover of harness wiring and other parts. The XFI 2.0 is a feature rich system with more bells and whistles available than you will probably ever need or use. It is more for the professional tuner and more exotic engines.

    If you switch to either, I suggest using fastmanefi.com (Richard). He provides custom maps for the initial settings of your engine and real tech support of everything he sells. Custom fuel mapping is also much more precise. My suggestion is to get the XFI Sportsman. It will provide you with exactly what you need without the frills and extra cost. It will even provide you with the ability to upgrade to a blower motor - if you ever want one.

    Both XFI Sportsman and XFI 2.0 use the same handheld. But, it is not required and doesn't do much other than act as a heads up display. the EZ EFI 2.0 handheld doesn't work with either.
     
  17. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Thanks A A, that helps me out alot. So I will most likely be looking at making that up grade in the near future. At least for now get an idea or quote for the sportsman ecu. If I understood right it sounds like the ecu is all I really need, remove my current 2.0 ecu from the harness and plug it into the sportsman ecu. Handheld optional for the sake of an onboard dashboard of what's going on. I'm assuming it is just that, and any tuning is done through the laptop.
     
  18. A A

    A A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2014
    You've got it. All you need is the Sportsman ECU and a computer to program it - and it doesn't take much of a computer.

    Before you go that route, I would check the fuel system out for any fuel filter restrictions. But, it may just be the manual transmission use with the EZ EFI 2.0 ECU.
     
  19. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    I just spoke with Richard and he said exactly that. Right now I have no ability to turn off learn or make other adjustments that would be needed with a manual transmission.

    I believe the standard is exactly the problem. Because steady state highway cruising for a period of time seems to help for atleast a short while once back into stop and go driving. The longer the car is exposed to stop and go driving, the worse the issue between shifts becomes. Good long drive on the highway helps again for a while. Makes sense if I could turn learn off after a long drive, I probably wouldn't be experiencing the low speed stop and go issues.
     
  20. J.K.

    J.K. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2016
    Unfortunately I can't make the jump to the sportsman ecu right away, with the dollar exchange and lovely taxes it makes for a pretty expensive purchase at this time. So I'll keep tweaking around with what I have.
    I want to revisit an odd issue (or at least to me it is) with idle. While cruising (2000 rpm) highway speeds my "actual" and "target" AFR are bang on and not much of any deviation. Idle however is different. When stopping at a traffic light and observing the handheld, idle starts out pretty much matching target. After a few seconds of idling it begins to sound as though it's loading up, afr deviates richer than target. Say target is 13.5 , it will hover around 13.0 and map will also go from 60 up to 65-69. Sometimes it will clear itself and once again match the target AFR reading and map numbers will drop back to 60-62 fairly steady while the engine will also sound like it's running cleaner.

    I've read somewhere in the past (and I don't remember where) about injectors maybe getting a signal somewhere that triggers some accel enrichment when it shouldn't be? I think a test was to set accel all the way to negative to see if it changed anything. The first time I did that almost immediately the two afr readings at idle matched eachother far better than they ever had. Although another test like that another time didn't prove any change, so I'm not sure was it just coincidence or not. Having accel all the way negative also gave me decent "normal" drivability, the only thing was mashing the throttle and going through the gears was a bit weak. Not weak enough to cause stumble, but did benefit with going from -8 back to -6. Does that sound right though? Shouldn't there be a significant flat spot with accel set all the way to -8? With a carburetor I would definitely know it if I took all my pump shot away.
     

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