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  • megasquirt +VQ

    I have been doing lots of planning on what i want my car setup to be for my inaugural race season.

    I am definitely doing a VQ35DE swap but i am not sure on engine management. Martin at XAT claims he can get rid of security so that stock ECU can be used in any chassis ($400) + a ROM tune on top of that is $500 more, $900 just to run stock ECU seems a bit steep. Haltech was my next option, talked with some reps and other users, they praised it and how easy it is to get working without security and stock harness, tho still $$$$.

    My brother asked me about megasquirt, and i havnt ever actually researched it very much, starting to little by little. It would take a bit of wiring to get it all working, but in teh end i would have full engine control for only a few hundred dollars.

    Any thoughts on this potential path? My engine will never be race built, stock with cams, intake and headers, if that helps in any opinions.

    Club - NASA MA
    Class - PTA
    Debut - Aiming for comp license end of next year after i have the car sorted out.
    NASA HPDE Instructor

  • #2
    After owning an AEM, I don't ever really want a stand-alone in my car or any kind of tuning flexibility. I simply want knock monitoring.

    I don't want to be constantly changing the tune for varying conditions and always extracting that last little bit of power. Given my nature to strive for better performance, I know if I have access to my tune, I will mess with it. You may be different, though.

    I remember every time I left the house in the 240 when it had an AEM, I took my computer and did tuning along the way. Looking back, that is not my idea of enjoying a car anymore. I would much rather be watching my Pbox for over 1G lateral on the way to work.
    Cory B.

    "Driving a race car as fast as possible is all about maintaining the highest possible acceleration level in the appropriate direction."
    http://www.youtube.com/user/nissanfanatic240

    Comment


    • #3
      I run Megasquirt on my KA-T currently and i can tell you that it is definitely a handful. I am no electrical engineer, (or an engineer at all for that matter) and had a bit of trouble getting my stuff setup. Once i did get it running, it did just fine outside of tuning some of the minor things like Acceleration Enrichment, and Warmup Enrichment, etc. I honestly don't know a lot about tuning, and for my first standalone would have probably had an easier time doing a AEM or something like that. But i can tell you that now that i have most of the kinks worked out i am happy with knowing that i put all the things together and the car runs fine. I also changed A LOT of things along with swapping over the engine management, so mine might not be the best example. There are some people i believe that are working with 'squirted VQ's. You should check out www.MSRuns.com and see what they have going on over there

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      • #4
        $900 to essentially tune the ECU is ridiculous. I think the VQ is a great engine, but dealing with the ECU of the VQ engine really ruins the affordability of that swap. Do subsequent tunes also cost $500 each time you need them to make a change?

        Just for a reference point, $900 towards my LS1 swap got me a custom harness($500), a stock ECU($100), a tune($80) to convert the ecu to stand-alone, and an aftermarket cam($175 used). Of course, the LS1 6spd transmission probably costs 2-3x what you'll pay for a VQ transmission.

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        • #5
          I think you guys are misunderstanding....

          I am definitely doing the VQ swap, its a race classing thing, not a ton of power to keep me in a less expensive and competitive class.

          The megasquirt as my EMS is just an idea to see how reliable they are, user friendly, and such. I dont plan to tune all the time, i have no interest in that, and my friend is a great east coast tuner who will most likely be doing all the actual tuning while i just peek over his shoulder and learn. Is the megasquirt overall more cost effective than Haltech if you consider rewiring, building, installation and such.
          NASA HPDE Instructor

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sr20goofus View Post
            I think you guys are misunderstanding....

            I am definitely doing the VQ swap, its a race classing thing, not a ton of power to keep me in a less expensive and competitive class.

            The megasquirt as my EMS is just an idea to see how reliable they are, user friendly, and such. I dont plan to tune all the time, i have no interest in that, and my friend is a great east coast tuner who will most likely be doing all the actual tuning while i just peek over his shoulder and learn. Is the megasquirt overall more cost effective than Haltech if you consider rewiring, building, installation and such.
            I built a Megasquirt for my N/A Miata, had fun doing it and learned a TON. It is NOT on the level of Haltech/Motec/AEM/ect but its not that bad either. As far as wiring goes, its actually kinda simple, the MS needs a vacuum line for the onboard MAP, Coolant Temp sensor, Air Temp sensor, wires to the injectors (I used the stock harness), and wire to the ignition sytem (again, stock harness). On something like you are planning, I would think it would be easy.

            Check out the MSruns.com and I will also recomend DIYAutotune.com. Jerry is a great resource and a damn good vendor. TONS of information. The cool thing about MS is since it open source, there are tons of folks developing upgrades for it.

            I found this guys
            http://www.engineswaptech.com/forums/thread/60.aspx

            He posted his MSQ (fuel/spark/base settings) on the MSruns.com. That's a big help.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ohhh I forgot, dont be a cheapass, buy the prebuilt version unless you REALLY know how to solder. I had some prior training and while its not hard, its tedious and time consuming.

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              • #8
                1st off i don't know much about the VQ and its sensors, or VCT. but i did this with my SR.

                just throwing it out there, if you want to grab a cheap honda aem ems box you can send it back to aem and get it changed to hall effect and i have all the wiring diagrams to make it work with an sr. i have a 1020 but i'll bet the pins are close on the 1040.

                http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/OBD1-...#ht_500wt_1478

                you'll need this too
                http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/AEM-3...ht_2201wt_1309

                http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/AEM-E...#ht_500wt_1478

                maybe not as cheap as MS but just another option, $750 max for full aem ems, with a bit of rewiring on your part, which you would be doing anyway.

                I'm with cory too its fun to mess with, but having knock monitoring and control is so worth it.

                Most PM answers: F 17X9 +22, R 17X9 +35

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                • #9
                  I know and work with Martin at ZFever (formerly of XAT), and he's doing some really powerful things with the VQ stock ECU tuning. I was working through a VQ-swap scenario with my car and it would definitely be tuned by/with Martin. By the way, I'm pretty sure that the $400 ECU unlocking is built into a $500 ROM tune cost. There's no way he's charging $900 to mail-order one of these things.

                  I've had to repair and work with an MS2 and it was the sheistiest POS I've ever seen. I design electronics like this for a living, and I'm not impressed. I haven't checked up on the MS3 stuff lately, though. It didn't look very promising at this point last year though.

                  Another thing you should look at is the Haltech Platinum. That supports VQ's and e-throttle.
                  She's built like a Steakhouse, but she handles like a Bistro.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    e-throttle needs to die.. I HATE it on my G.

                    That's all I have worthy of commenting in here.

                    well.. that and "you get what you pay for".
                    Megasuirt + hours of work = $500 + hassles + tuning
                    Or
                    AEM/Haltech/Autech/MoTec + tune = done.

                    What about a NIStune? don't know if it'll work for you at all.... just another name I'm throwing out while I'm half drunk.
                    Originally posted by SoSideways
                    I don't care what color they are as long as they are LONG AND HARD.
                    '04 G35 Sedan 6MT- The DD
                    '96 240SX- The Track Toy

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      i don't see a whole lot of love for the stock ECU here. if you're staying near stock power levels and don't plan on fine tuning regularly, why not? everything will work (engine wise at least) there is probably less rewiring. i'd rather build on a solid stock tune than build something from the ground up. how much will all that dyno time cost?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Around here, dyno time ususally runs about $150/hour. Paying the right guy to do the tuning usually runs about $500, including the dyno time.

                        The benefits to using a "real" ECU on a race car vs. a hacked stock one are plentiful. the factory ECU has so many things it does in the name of emissions and comfort that it sacrifices performance to some extent. Just by switching ECUs, there's usually a 10-15hp gain throughout the usable powerband on the VQ. (People pay a whole lot more than that for an exhaust to gain them just 10hp!)

                        You also don't want a mushy ECU for a race car. you want lots of power or no power. throttle response can be greatly increased, and the rev limit can be moved.

                        With the proper intake, cam, valve springs, and headers-- which are all allowed in PTA IIRC-- the VQ can rev to 7500 rpm pretty reliably and has a pretty massive power curve up there.. you can only get there by yanking the factory ECU with its 6500rpm rev limit.

                        so at the end of the day, you're going to spend ~$200 on a factory ECU and wiring, then 5-600 hacking a factory ECU and having a jungle of useless wiring, OR you're going to spend $2000 on a good ECU and tune with minimal wiring.
                        Considering the cost of the rest of the swap, $1000 is still a chunk of money, but it's small beans when mashed in with the complete picture.
                        Last edited by Matt93SE; 06-27-2009, 02:35 AM.
                        Originally posted by SoSideways
                        I don't care what color they are as long as they are LONG AND HARD.
                        '04 G35 Sedan 6MT- The DD
                        '96 240SX- The Track Toy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i completely agree, a racecar deserves a real ecu, (what makes an ecu "mushy" anyway? ) i'm mostly playing devil's advocate here. wouldn't the point of the rom tune be to remove the emissions and comfort tuning and move the redline? a car specific tune will certainly be better than a mail in tune, but given the same tune, wouldn't the car perform the same?

                          can a haltech run the VCT and e-throttle, or do you even want to?

                          i assume you've already seen this, but here it is just in case.
                          http://www.freshalloy.com/forums/sho...82#post1209782
                          Last edited by cdlong; 06-27-2009, 04:24 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Matt93SE View Post
                            Around here, dyno time ususally runs about $150/hour. Paying the right guy to do the tuning usually runs about $500, including the dyno time.

                            The benefits to using a "real" ECU on a race car vs. a hacked stock one are plentiful. the factory ECU has so many things it does in the name of emissions and comfort that it sacrifices performance to some extent. Just by switching ECUs, there's usually a 10-15hp gain throughout the usable powerband on the VQ. (People pay a whole lot more than that for an exhaust to gain them just 10hp!)

                            You also don't want a mushy ECU for a race car. you want lots of power or no power. throttle response can be greatly increased, and the rev limit can be moved.

                            With the proper intake, cam, valve springs, and headers-- which are all allowed in PTA IIRC-- the VQ can rev to 7500 rpm pretty reliably and has a pretty massive power curve up there.. you can only get there by yanking the factory ECU with its 6500rpm rev limit.

                            so at the end of the day, you're going to spend ~$200 on a factory ECU and wiring, then 5-600 hacking a factory ECU and having a jungle of useless wiring, OR you're going to spend $2000 on a good ECU and tune with minimal wiring.
                            Considering the cost of the rest of the swap, $1000 is still a chunk of money, but it's small beans when mashed in with the complete picture.
                            Wow. I completely disagree with everything said here.

                            First off, what the ECU does while rolling from the garage to the grid has nothing to do with how it performs at WOT on the track or feeding in leaving the corners. Please elaborate on what type of emissions or "comfort" you think that Nissan tuned in at WOT and 5500 rpms. It's just generalization and internet conjecture.

                            Here's the deal on the Nissan ECU. Like every factory tune, Nissan isn't tuning to the ragged edge. They also aren't tuning with your mods (intake, headers, exhaust, race fuel) in mind either. This is where the additional power is to be made. You don't need a completely different system to change the timing and fuel curves. As far as the e-throttle system goes, it's a simple button press to turn off the lazy tip-in/delay and whatever throttle limiting it may be doing up top on early VQ's. The 350Z-era VQ ECUs have knock monitoring. The logging software that I saw would actually populate an empty map with the knock count/level, which is the ultimate for quickly figuring out where an issue is. Knowing what tricks go into engine control, I haven't seen anything that you can't back out or modify in these tuning suites.

                            Standalones aren't some magic box. It's just a bunch of inputs and outputs connected to a few processors that run some firmware. Technologically, there's very little difference between a dusty old KA24E computer and the latest VQ-VHR computer. The processor is faster, there's a servo output for the e-throttle, and there's a few CAN busses to run OBDII and the display. As far as inject XX fuel and spark at YY crank angle, there's basically no difference... and that's where the power is made.

                            The only reason you'd need to go to a standalone these days is if you can't gain the necessary control over the engine that you need. That's simply not the case here.



                            By the way, I was checking prices on the 07-08 VQ35HR plants and they were coming in at around $3500 with low miles. It's a little spendy, but it's a turn-key 300whp setup that's dead reliable, built like a tank, and rev's over 7k. I'm not sure what that price includes though.
                            She's built like a Steakhouse, but she handles like a Bistro.

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                            • #15
                              DO NOT use the megasquirt. The megasquirt ecu is simply inferior to the stock ecu. That's the equivalent of putting a carburateor on an ls1, just doesn't make sense to cheap out a few hundred bucks. I'm also completely sure that someone could tune the vq ecu and eliminate the bcm and nats for significantly less then $900.
                              function > form
                              1990 240sx fastback: IN PROGRESS

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