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Thread: Standalone ECU Advice Please Guy's

  1. #1
    FTOTWINTURBO's Avatar

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    Thumbs up Standalone ECU Advice Please Guy's

    Hello All,

    I'm hoping your experience will point me in the right direction :
    During lockdown I'm managing to move my project forward and i'm on the look out for a
    Standalone ecu.
    So I've squeezed a VR4 lump into my track FTO and I'm running a single turbo.
    I am trying to find a standalone ecu for the project but I'm on a budget, I'm not overly concerned
    About buying the newest/latest tech I just want something capable.
    I have pretty much dismissed anything that comes from a 4 pot engine and I'm looking down the
    6 pot cars. I nearly bought an AEM V1 ecu for a Toyota Supra 2JZGTE and I have found the plugs / wiring
    To go with it for conversion.
    From what I could see comparing pinouts on the 6A13TT ecu and a Supra AEM ecu it has the requirements
    And more but I'm still nervous I'm missing a trick here.

    Has anyone had any experience of ecu's on the 6A13TT ?
    Please don't send me links to expensive ECU's on the market as I just haven't got the funds.

    Any help greatly appreciated.

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    Hi Stuart,

    There's no aftermarket ECU that fits off the shelf. An Evo 4-8 style ECU is plug compatible, but the VR-4 needs extra ignition outputs.

    I have a Link ECU G4+ Xtreme in my Anglia, which is running a 6A13TT engine, and it has been an abolute dream to get set up and running.

    Yes - it's a modern ECU and isn't the cheapest, however, I truly believe that you will spend less money overall by buying a decent ECU now, rather than trying to cobble together something with an ECU designed for a different car, or that's old and doesn't have any of the nice easy-to-tune features.

    The Link ECU, when combined with a wideband O2 sensor, can provide you with log files that you can use to self-tune - you drive a little, create a log, press a couple of buttons, and it updates the fuel tune based on what it was expecting to see compared to what it actually saw. Do this a few times, and you end up with some pretty accurate tuning.

    You could then pop along to a dyno for a couple of hours just to tidy it up, rather than spending a full day on the dyno tuning an older, less capable ECU. There's your cost saving on buying an old ECU immediately down the drain!


    There's also myself, and a couple others, who are running Link ECUs, and can provide you with assistance to get your FTO up and running nicely - we couldn't do that if you buy a random old ECU.

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    Hi Garry, thanks for your quick response.
    I'm supprised to hear the VR4 and Evo 4-8 are plug compatible so that's a bonus as opposed to cutting the loom up.
    I will keep a look out for a Link ECU at the right money from now, I have been looking at the Apexi Power FC units but I don't like the idea of tuning via the commander.
    I will be trying to teach myself to map the ECU so are the Link ECU's easy for a newbie to tuning ? Do you get any base maps to get the car running initially ?

    Thanks
    Stuart

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    The Evo 4-8 are plug compatible, but not pin compatible. You still need to move pins around, it's not plug and play.

    There isn't a base map provided by Link for the 6A13TT, however I am happy to help get you up and running with mine as a basis (although mine is modified reasonably, so again can't drop it in and expect it to go).

    If you've got a basic understanding of engines, fuel, ignition etc, then the Help provided within the PCLink software is excellent, and is really in depth at explaining all the functionality, and even gives tuning tips.

    I was using a stock ECU with a MAP-ECU piggyback, and the difference between that and the Link ECU has been night and day. Seriously, a piggyback or a 15-20 year old ECU will hold you back more than help you IMO.

    The Link Xtreme can also do E-Throttle, traction control, launch control, and has a whole heap of engine protection, which with a single turbo 6A13TT, you want the best you can get to stop your project ending up with an External Combustion Engine due to something exploding because you're not using the right bit of kit.

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    Great, Thanks Garry that's what I wanted to hear.
    I've found a Galant engine wiring loom for sale for £150.
    I was wondering wether with slight mods I could use the FTO loom as the engines are both the same platform ? Just minus 500cc and two turbos.

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    did someone else doing doing FTO 6A13TT swap use a different cheaper after market option ecu.

    i don't think it had all the support that link ecu have but i think it was fully featured.

    i will go find the thread.

    Bye for Now!

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    it is mentioned in the this thread.
    https://www.clubvr4.com/forum/showth...or-Info-needed

    ECUmaster EMU
    https://www.ecumaster.co.uk/

    i think at the time of the thread being created from dazjb
    the ecumaster emu option was aroungd £600
    the Link G4 was about £1000

    but i think the ECUmaster range has increased in price.
    Last edited by Davezj; 23-02-2021 at 11:55 PM.

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    Thanks Dave, I have just looked up the EMU ECU and it's the same price range Thu now as you suspected.
    I guess all the ones I have been looking at so far are "old hat" now hence them being cheaper.

    So far I've been tempted by :
    Apexi FC -but seems a mission to connect a laptop.
    Haltech - but was too old (Windows 98!)
    AEM V1 - Missed the auction by being too tentative
    Autronic SM4 - Used by Richard Batty , still an option ??
    VEMS V3 - Not sure it has the capabilities.

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    All of those are 15-20 year old technology. Back then, it was the best you could get. Nowadays, the options are so much better - there's a reason there's a few of those old things up for sale - people trying to make a quick buck selling them to an unsuspecting buyer, because they've upgraded to something that is so much better!

    The ECU, especially when you've changed an engine massively, like throwing a big single turbo on it, is critical to healthy running of the engine. Having tried to cheap out on ECU, I spent the difference between buying the cheap ECU and buying the expensive ECU on dyno time alone... and the result was STILL worse (less peak power, AND less driveable) than I got after a couple of hourss of self-tuning on the road once I'd finally stumped up the cash for a new ECU.

    I know I can't tell you how to spend your money, or to increase your budget, but I can only give you my personal experiences and findings - a modern ECU from a reputable manufacturer (Link, Haltech etc) will transform the car, and is worth every penny, and I would delay driving any subsequent car I build/modify by a year if I needed to save up more money to buy the ECU.

    The ECU is going to become the most important aspect of any build I do now, rather than the after-thought it has been before.

  10. #10
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    Hi Guy's
    I have just come across an AEM V2 EMS for an Evo 4-8.
    How does this compare to the Link G4 ?
    Thanks

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    Do you have a link to the specific unit, couldn't quite figure out whether this is a model released in 2008 or 2018!

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    Its on eBay , item number 303875161931

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    That's got the wrong loom connection type, so will need a total conversion harness to even get connected to the car.

    It's also discontinued by AEM, so unlikely to be in support - don't know if they provide any kind of extended support for legacy products.

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    Ah , ok thanks for checking I will disguard that then.
    I'm guessing that version of ecu uses patch leads then as opposed
    To the correct plugs built into the ecu.

  15. #15
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    It's an Evo 9 3 plug ECU, or 3 pin Evo 8.

    Most Evo 4-8 has the same physical plug as the same physical 4 pin connector as the VR-4, but with differing pinouts.
    Last edited by Confused; Yesterday at 12:38 AM.

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    What single turbo are you running on the FTO? I'm currently doing the same on my 6A13TT FTO at the moment using a Holset HX35

    The ECUMaster EMU that I use on mine is great for what I paid for it. It can do drive by wire, traction control, launch control, cruise control, anti-lag, etc. The newer ECUs they do are more expensive now though.

    Gary is right in what he is saying about skimping out on the ECU. Having a modern standalone with all the failsafes is essential for a single turbo conversion. Even though mine is one of the cheaper ones on the market it still has all the features needed and is fully supported. You also have the benefit of helpful folk like Gary who can help you out with base maps and tuning advice. I had no end of problems trying to gather all the info for sensors, etc. I needed to get mine up and running a few years ago.

    One thing I would advise is get one with more inputs than you think you will need. You'll no doubt find yourself running out of them down the line as you add more things to log.
    Last edited by dazjb; Yesterday at 04:31 PM.

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