Update EVO 8/9 AccessPORT, RIP :(
In the world of EVO ECU tuning, there is one basic standard form of tuning. OpenECU very quickly became the standard form of tuning because of its open-ness to anyone that wanted to help figure out maps and how the ECU actually worked, oh, and not to mention you could flash your car for $99. Since we have been using the COBB AccessPORT on our Subaru's for a while now, we thought lets tune our EVO with it and see how it goes.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why there are not many AP EVO users out there. The AP costs more than OpenECU, and it came out long after OpenECU. But there are many things that OpenECU can't do compared to the AP. For the end user, the biggest thing is, you do not have to have a laptop to change maps. Other user features for the AccessPORT are its ability to store many maps and be able to change them within seconds, not minutes. The AccessPORT can also be a great diagnostic tool as you can view real-time data from the ECU. It can clear codes, do 0-60 times, quarter mile times, and lots of other things. These are all things that are important to the end user. One great feature for the end user is its live tuning ability. This may seem like a benefit only to the Tuner, but the end user is the one having to pay for tuning time. The live tuning also means you can switch between maps loaded onto the AccessPORT itself. Before we experienced the EVO AP, we had used the EVO Hydra, which does have live tuning, and lots of other great things about it (except cost) and of course we had also used the OpenECU. The problem with OpenECU is how quickly a tuner can tune it. Every change made requires an ECU reflash. This can be very time consuming. With the AccessPORT, 99% of the maps we would actually tune, are live tunable which means, instant changes. So instead of it taking 10 flashes to get the fueling dialed, it can take 10 minutes. This also makes for a great development part. We can test new things, make instant changes and see instant results with the engine still warmed up. One thing that was great to play with was the MIVEC control. More on this later.
Before we stared tuning our EVO 9 with the AccessPORT, we looked to the forums to see what other wonderful things tuners were saying about it. We had come to find that some tuners were frustrated with the bugs and it not working. So they went back to OPENECU to get their tuning done. At first this was not our experience at all. We tuned on our EVO for about a half a day with no issues. It was fun learning how the ECU worked, and the software worked just like the Subaru Protuner software, except a bit slower. After the day stage 1 was done, and it was time to flash the ECU for the second and final time this is when the bugs stared to appear. In the end it came down to some very simple updates and we were back on track.
For this test and tune session we would be starting with John Lietls recently purchase, bone stock EVO 9. We would do our normal base runs to determine what the starting HP is, then from there tune the ECU to build our Stage 1 mapping. After that we would install our PERRIN 3" Turboback Exhaust, with cat, and then tune for Stage 2. For this test we would be using our Dynapack dyno and using the same parameters we always use. The launch time was 3 seconds, and weight of vehicle is 3200 lbs, 3 gear, with a run time of 14 seconds this is also with ZERO SAE correction. Like we have mentioned in other dyno sessions, these numbers can be changed and can affect the overall numbers. Longer time less power, more hold time and the turbo makes more boost and therefore more torque!
Restrictors are for wusses
Before we go to flashing the EVO, we actually read the instructions! If we follow Cobb's instructions on how to setup the EVO for their maps they supply, we were supposed to pull out a restrictor pill in some of the boost tubes. The pill is one that affects how much overall air the boost solenoid can bleed off. We understood, why, but we don't like to follow directions, and with 2 pulls on the dyno we found that the stock setup runs 100% wastegate Duty Cycle. This means that, no matter what we do, we are not going to get more boost on the stock setup. EBCS to the rescue! We thought what another great application for our EBCS, and a great way to get some advantage over the competition offering the AP. This is a powerful tuning tool we have used on many cars with great success, and because of the stock EVO boost control system is totally maxed out it only made sense. Because of this solenoid needing to be installed, and because we didn't want to spend forever tuning the car, we didn't run the Cobb mapping back to back with stock.
We ended up with the power we expected to get. We got just over 240WHP and 255ft-lbs of torque. Compared to other people's dynos, and our previous results we had see on a couple local dynos.
Boost is up first
We know these cars run pretty safe in stock form and run very well with just turning up the boost. So we played with the boost control system first. It's a pretty simple system, not too many variables to play with. Because of this our EBCS worked great and it didn't take long before we were making the boost we wanted. 21-22psi peak tapering to 19psi at redline. With boost dialed, it was time to move onto fueling and timing. We spent some time getting the curve just right, then dialed in timing. Like most people tuning EVO's you quickly find that the timing is rather flat. Overall the tuning is pretty simple, and very fast with using the Protuner software.
This is our first experience with tuning the Mitsubishi version of Variable Cam timing. Our past experiences are with the Subaru's so how much different could the MIVEC be compared to AVCS???? Well its not. I have seen the tuning articles on EVOM regarding how to tune the MIVEC, but I like figure things out for myself, so it was time to play.
The Cam timing map is just like the other maps where its base on Load and RPM. In stock form the cam timing is not very smooth in that it goes up, then down, then up then off. With our experience on the Subaru's, this is not very normal. Because the COBB Tuning Software is loaded with Live tuning maps (Maps that you can change and get instantly flashed to the ECU) we took advantage and played around the numbers for a while. First we stared with a map that had ZERO's in the maps, dynoed it, then a map with 10, 20, 30 and on up. The zero map was horrible and caused a loss in power and spool at lower RPM, but gained power up top. This was expected. On our maps where we experimented with 10, 20, 30 degrees on up, we saw the turbo spool quicker at lower RPM (expected) and power drop up top (also expected). After found the point of no return on the Cam Advance, we over laid the dyno graphs and found where they crossed, modded the map, and bam, a perfect MIVEC map.
With the MIVEC setup and rockin', we found even more gains in low end power, and midrange power. In the end our results were great. Zero loss in power anywhere, and huge gains everywhere.
After the MIVEC and timing were dialed, in, we started to lean it out. Like most people find, 11.5-11.7 is where the EVO is most happy. Any leaner and in stage 1 form, higher knock counts would pop up. Before we were done, we played with the timing a bit more and smoothed out the TQ. Below are the results from base tuning to our Stage 1 tuning. 40WHP and 40ft-lbs of torque, and almost 500RPM quicker spool, can't complain about that.
Stage 2 tuning
Stage 2 includes a turboback exhaust and an ECU tune. The exhaust we would be using is ours of course. The downpipe is our normal 3" downpipe made to fit all years of the EVO's, the cat pipe we used actually contains a cat (I know, not something normal in the EVO world) and the catback is again our PERRIN 3" Stealth Exhaust. Before we did tuning we did another back to back test compared to the stock system. In previous tests we did years ago, we saw about 15WHP gained from the same system with no cats. This was on an untuned EVO. So when we saw even better power on an ECU tune we were very happy, and with a cat!
As expected the turbo spooled up even quicker, this made us do one more MIVEC test to make sure we were not missing out on even better spool or top end power. We did the same test and saw about the same results, the only real difference is the HP crossover points, of the different timing, was slightly lower.
For Stage 2 tuning, we left the boost the same as we felt it was plenty high enough while keeping the stock intercooler and not to mention pump gas. With further fuel and timing changes we got a few more HP and ft-lbs of torque. But from this we can also see we reached the limits of airflow with the current setup. Besides cams being a proven item on the EVO, the other item I think holding it back is the intercooler. Most EVO owners do not look to replace this item right away because it at least has it mounted in the front of the car. The small sized charge tubes are the hold back on the stock core. These do add restriction to the system, and with the HP gains we have seen previously, with our FMIC, I think there is another 20HP sitting there before the cams are installed.
Below is the graph of gains we got over the Stage 1 tuning compared to Stage 2. Again another 300RPM quicker spool, 20ft-lbs, and 20-30WHP can't go wrong with that! The way our dyno works, is that during the launch, it holds the engine at an RPM for a certain amount of time. During this time, the engine builds boost, and in stock form we would see about 3-4psi. With stage 1 we were seeing 5-7psi. What is amazing is during launch with the stage 2 setup, we were seeing 10psi of boost! We understand you will not see this same kind of load on the road, but it is a very accurate test showing the turbo spooling quicker.
The graph below shows the base runs we did compared to the final Stage 2 results. With almost 1000RPM quick spool, 60ft-lbs of torque and 60-WHP, you bet this is a noticeable mod!
Who wouldn't want more power and more reliable power. We are currently selling the AccessPORT for the EVO, and with the results we have, we will be offering it with our EBCS and our custom map. The map will be FREE if you purchase the AP from us, and along with that, we will have a packaged Stage 2 deal for those who are interested. This will only be available to those who have 92 octane fuel or better, and to those with the EVO 9. EVO 8 and 91 octane guys will have to wait. We have lots more