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PostPosted: September 15, 2023, 9:40 pm 
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This isn't a topic I need an answer on right away to make a decision with. Rather, I want to start educating myself with respect to what's available now in terms of ECUs I could potentially use in my Locost build (3.8L OHV Ford V6).

I saved my donor ECU thinking I'd adapt it to my build, but I'm now questioning if that's the best solution today. At the time I started my Locost, Megasquirt was the only viable aftermarket ECU and it was both pricey and complicated. Things have changed. I know there are alternatives now that are off-the-shelf (Megasquirt was a self-build kit back then) and simpler to install and tune. I just don't know the companies that are currently building aftermarket ECUs, and which of those are best suited to the amateur builder.

Which companies should I start looking at in 2023?

Thanks,

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

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PostPosted: September 16, 2023, 12:55 pm 
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Given that you aren't doing anything crazy like a twin-turbo setup, it seems like a modified OEM ECU that just has all the emissions and interlocks turned off is what you're looking for. I'm not in the Ford or Chevy game and don't know what's out there, but because Ford 5.0s get put in all sorts of projects, there's got to be a ready-to-go modified ECU just for that market.

I on the other hand, had to go full gonzo and used an AEM Infinity, a virtual blank sheet, but it required dyno tuning plus hundreds of hours (no exaggeration) of street tuning to get it to run like an OEM car. For your setup I strongly recommend a modified OEM ECU.

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Last edited by KB58 on October 31, 2023, 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: September 16, 2023, 1:02 pm 
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Kurt is spot on. If its at all reasonable use OEM. Only switch to aftermarket if there is a specific need(s). What has changed your mind about the original ECU?

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PostPosted: September 16, 2023, 2:16 pm 
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On my '61 Chevy C10, with a boosted 6.0L LS, I'm using HPTuners to hack the factory computer - that way I can mooch off of thousands of hours of GM engineers and their everyday driving expertise, and I just have to tune boost.

If your engine is something wild, I'd look into standalone, maybe even (still) megasquirt (My current Locost is still Megasquirt). But stock? Hack the factory ECU.

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PostPosted: September 16, 2023, 5:27 pm 
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Thanks, all. I'm reading your input.

I've been trying to help Tibor with his 442E suspension and work on my own build too. I'll put up a decent response tonight when I have some free time.

Cheers,

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: September 16, 2023, 9:38 pm 
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OK, here are some of my concerns about using the stock ECU:

1) At startup time, it checks a world of stuff besides the basic engine-oriented sensors I'll be using.

2) I don't know what will happen if checks fail, which they will, because I won't have most modules it checks for.

3) I don't know if, or how, those checks can be eliminated, or bypassed, in the ECU code.

4) Sometimes factory ECUs go into a "limp home" mode when major tests fail. I've had that happen on a vehicle. it limits a lot of stuff like engine speed (RPMs), fuel flow and spark advance.

5) The stock ECU wiring harnesses plugs (there is more than one into the ECU) are very large and complex with connectors going (in part) to several modules, e.g., keyless entry & security. There are a lot of wires to identify & remove.

6) Companies like HP Tuners don't support my 1994 ECU - it's too old and a V6.

7) I'm not sure I can still get any software to interface with my '94 V6 ECU.


Why I thought an aftermarket ECU might be better:

A) I'm going to be unseeing a very reduced set of sensors - only ones necessary to run the SEFI, cooling fan, fuel pump & ignition.

B) Figuring out the wiring diagram, and wiring the engine, should be much simpler if I get a simple standalone ECU that doesn't care about things like keyless entry modules, door control modules, multizone A/C systems and the airbag system.

C) I will likely be able to tune things from a laptop with modern interface software.

Please feel free to comment, or tell me about solutions that would handle my concerns.

Thanks,

Lonnie

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: September 16, 2023, 11:16 pm 
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Hey Lonnie
I don't believe the Engine Control Unit looks at things like keyless entry and security, or doorbells, or anything other than what it needs to monitor to keep the engine running.
You will have all the required sensors on your engine and exhaust to keep the ECU happy.
Trimming the wiring is to rid of stuff like interior lights, radio, cig lighter, door bell, glove box light, personal vibrater, seat belt buzzer, power seats, power antenna, yada, yada, yada.

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PostPosted: September 17, 2023, 11:06 am 
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@horchoha

I believe you're right about that, Perry. It doesn't look at them directly. I think it does get "reports" from the other modules that self-check on startup through a data bus.

Just for giggles, here's the pinout tables for my ECU.
Attachment:
Pinouts 1.jpg

Attachment:
Pinouts 2.jpg


Cheers,


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: September 17, 2023, 11:31 am 
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I would suggest finding a company/person that can reprogram your ECU(PCM) to your needs for a baseline cost. This would eliminate the learning curve you would otherwise have. At minimum, it would give you a comparison for decision making.

I found that the MS2 did everything that asked it to do for my rotary engine. I did have to make some additional circuits on the circuit board. I also did not need any add-on boards. I think (?) the MS2 and an EDIS6 would handle your v6 just fine. DO your own research on that. I built mine from a kit to keep the costs down. You might even find one used. I will admit that it does take some electronics knowledge and skills to pull it off.

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PostPosted: September 17, 2023, 11:55 am 
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Location: Sunny-Okanagan, Canada, eh?!
Moates used to sell chip burners and things that would work for your EEC-V system. They've closed, but https://boostednw.com is selling their products, and may be able to help you out.

Also, a quick google to help send you down a path: http://www.gearhead-efi.com/Fuel-Inject ... -for-Fords!

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PostPosted: September 17, 2023, 2:56 pm 
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Location: SoCal
Agree with all the above. After having worked with a true aftermarket standalone ECU, I promise that it'll take hundreds of hours of street tuning to get it to work "like OEM" for idle, throttle tip-in, cruising at a fixed rpm, and keeping it from stalling when coming to a stop. The above assumes that it's taken to a proper tuning shop to establish a baseline tune, but know that all that does it ensure that the air/fuel ratio is correct under hard acceleration. I strongly recommend finding someone who has used this engine, find what modified OEM ECU they used, and look into going that way.

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Midlana book: Build this mid-engine Locost!, http://midlana.com/stuff/book/
Kimini book: Designing mid-engine cars using FWD drivetrains
Both available from https://www.lulu.com/


Last edited by KB58 on October 31, 2023, 8:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: September 17, 2023, 9:16 pm 
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Quote:
I would suggest finding a company/person that can reprogram your ECU(PCM) to your needs for a baseline cost. This would eliminate the learning curve you would otherwise have. At minimum, it would give you a comparison for decision making.

I found that the MS2 did everything that asked it to do for my rotary engine. I did have to make some additional circuits on the circuit board. I also did not need any add-on boards. I think (?) the MS2 and an EDIS6 would handle your v6 just fine.


I'd love to pass this task off to someone who has already done it. I haven't made any attempt to find someone yet. Few American outfits seem to be interested in V6's. Maybe a tuner for Japanese cars might be a better avenue to explore?

That MSII/EDIS-6 is a promising combination, Chuck. I found this very relevant webpage after doing a Google search.

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: September 17, 2023, 9:33 pm 
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SkinnyG wrote:
Moates used to sell chip burners and things that would work for your EEC-V system. They've closed, but https://boostednw.com is selling their products, and may be able to help you out.

Also, a quick google to help send you down a path: http://www.gearhead-efi.com/Fuel-Inject ... -for-Fords!


Thanks for both those links. Although Moates appears out of business, there is an archive of their website and I even found a reference to the Ford 3.8L V6 on this page of the archive.

The BoostedNW folks have a product entry for a future replacement of the Moates products for Fords, but only have replacements for GM cars at the moment.

Many thanks,

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: September 17, 2023, 9:42 pm 
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@KB58
The Ford 3.8L V6 and its 4.2L derivative were quite popular for off road use in the 90's, Kurt. There were several tuners in the Southeast and one in Canada back then, but obviously they're not local to me. They've switched to the more modern Ford engines now.

There is a pretty skilled amateur builder back in Kentucky, but he's strictly into the mechanical side not electronics. You'd think will all the off road stuff here in SoCal there would be someone who is expert in them. Maybe there is, but I haven't found them yet.

Cheers,

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: September 21, 2023, 12:55 pm 
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Would TWEECER work with your stock ECU?

For a Lo(w)cost type project, perhaps Speeduino might also be worth looking into as a stand-alone option.

Disclaimer: I have zero first hand experience with either of these.

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