The Fuel parameters offer a bundle of flexibility and adjustability. Have you installed larger injectors? No problem. Want to run E85? Again, no problem. The degree of adjustability that stock, OEM EFI offers is staggering. And why wouldn't it be? The auto manufacturers spend billions developing their engine management systems to carefully control engines so that exhaust emissions are carefully controlled, fuel economy is maximized and engine durability is maintained. You can keep all of these attributes with your project car and enjoy the adjustability allowed by HP Tuners software platform. An example of the Spark/Ignition parameters is shown below...
a defective cam sensor; it was the cam sensor wiring harness connector! In the middle photo of the group above, you can see how one of the pins in the connector was pushed out by whoever installed it last. This was clearly a simple mistake that caused a bit of a pain in the backside. The fix is simple enough. Just pull out the metal connector, re-position the locking tang and simply re-insert the pin into the connector while being mindful of hearing or feeling the click that indicates the pin is locked into position in the connector. Easy-peasy! Now we were all set to show our buddy what his new HP Tuners MPVI Pro could do for him. If you're unfamiliar with HP Tuners or you're just checking around to see if it's for you and your custom ride, below are a few screen shots of the software and a brief description of what it can do for you and what you can do with it. If you have a Factory Five Racing car you've built (or are considering building on, you're probably going to want to grab yourself an HP Tuners kit as well to help you scan, diagnose and tune your car as well. Take a peek below to see what it's about...
The kit car industry has come a long way in the last 30 years. Non-enthusiast folks called these cars "home-built" or "kit cars" and there were a few owner/builders and/or manufacturers who found one name or the other offensive. The thing is, back then, some of the kit cars on the market were poorly manufactured and the end result was a less-than-perfect (and sometimes downright unsafe) vehicle. Things have changes immensely since. The car on these pages is a Factory Five Racing GTM. The company, Factory Five Racing (FFR), and the people who work there are well known for their Cobra replicas as well as their new take on the '32 Ford Hot Rod. They also make the GTM you see here as well as a new sports car called the 818 (the name being the car's weight in kg). The thing is, Factory Five uses sophisticated, modern design and manufacturing equipment that puts it heads and shoulders above the kit-car industry of old. This is probably why they've sold nearly 10,000 kits over the years, and the end result, the cars that people build with these kits, are gorgeous, robust, reliable and fast. The SCCA and NASA even have specific race classes for the FFR Cobra Challenge Car. Nothing proves performance and reliability like racing does and over the years, FFR has gained and earned something many traditional automotive manufacturers still haven't; heritage. After all, anyone can claim they've been around. The question is, what have you accomplished in that time? If you look at FFR, the company, and their customers who build and drive their cars, the proof lies in the pudding. Or the tire tracks, as it were. Both the company and their customers have been around quite a while now, and they've built, driven, raced and successfully run their cars for decades with impressive results on the streets, race track and show car circuit. Like we said, there's a heritage here now that is as deep as it is impressive. They're not Porsche or Ferrari, but then they're nowhere near as expensive, AND, they are just as fast if not faster! And you can build your own car, your own way. If that's not exclusivity, it certainly is character. And that's priceless.
And so we come to our little GTM. This car arrived at our shop for some minor work. The owner reported an intermittent misfire and also wanted a quick tune and ECU re-calibration on the dyno so that the car was tip-top for the coming track-days that are so popular in South Florida during the winter season. We've had more FFR cars in our possession than you could shake a stick at (and we love all models!), so we knew we could get it diagnosed quickly and then get it up to speed on the dyno.
The owner stuck around to see how we went about our business (yes, he's a fellow road-racing buddy) and we finally convinced him to buy an HP Tuners MPVI Pro after seeing how useful it was. In fact, the HP Tuners kit isn't just useful, it's indispensable! We showed him how to use the Scanner to read codes and data log. This helped us diagnose what we first thought was a defective cam sensor. It turns out it wasn't
Here you can see that the ECM maps the Spark Advance based on Engine Speed (in RPM) versus Cylinder Load. You can also view these tables graphically if it's easier, or both if you prefer that. The table you see above is modified from the factory stock setting to suit the high-lift, high-duration cam installed in this engine. The numbers are fiddled with while we're on the dyno looking for the settings that deliver the most power while running the engine in a safe and reliable manner. The data logs in the Scanner are used to help determine which way to go with the numbers. Our shameless plug now refers you to our e-book on the home-page of this site if you're interested in learning how to tune your own engine. It's much easier than you think, and there's one more massive benefit of learning the ins-and-outs of your car's engine computer, and that is track data! Below you can see a sample of one lap of track data. You can record as much data as your laptop can hold in any one event, and you can also record without a laptop using the HP Tuners stand-alone data-logging function. This allows you to review how your engine is running while you're at the track, diagnose anything that may not seem right and tune for the most power possible. Then you hit the track again (more than likely quicker than before) and can keep data-logging until your heart's content to keep a record of vehicle track performance. The only thing more useful to your project car than this piece of kit is a bottomless bank account, but we can't help you with that. MET
In the above you can get a glimpse of the adjustability of the diagnostics portion of the ECM calibration. If you install a set of headers and remove the catalytic converters so that your car can run safely on the race track, you can disable those diagnostic tests here. The same applies to many other components of the engine management system. If you're building your car for street use, you can diagnose your vehicle by scanning it when a Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL, or the "check-engine" light, as it's known) illuminates and then determine what circuits are affected and speed your repair (just as we did with the cam sensor circuit above).
The above screen shows you what the Speedometer Calibration looks like. If you change the actual tire size away from what the ECM was programmed with, you can enter in the new values and correct the speedometer output. This will allow you to hook up aftermarket gauges directly to the ECM and therefore have very accurate speed values, or you can use the new OBD II connected gauges available from manufacturers these days. As you can see above, you can also change final drive gear ratios as well. This is one sample screen from a late-model Corvette ECM. Other ECMs such as those on C5 Corvettes or Gen IV Camaros are slightly different, but similar. There's lots that can be changed and adjusted, and it's easily done. And you can modify GM vehicles, Fords and Chrysler/Dodge as well. There's a complete list of the vehicles supported on the HP Tuners website: www.hptuners.com
You can see above that the ability to control the spark timing is immense. Idle speed spark timing control, Main Spark Advance (the ECM can interpolate values based on the quality of fuel you're using), Cranking/Start-up control, knock retard, etc, etc. It's all here and it's all adjustable to get the most out of your engine while keeping it running safely. How cool is that? Now you may ask "How difficult is it to adjust?" The answer is "not very". Take a look below at the Spark map for the Main Spark Advance.