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Practical Standalone Tuning: Step 1: ECU Configuration and Testing

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Step 1: ECU Configuration and Testing


00:00 - Our first step is always to configure the ECU so it knows what engine it's controlling and knows what inputs it has connected to it and it knows what outputs it's controlling.
00:12 Now with the AEM Infinity it's actually quite a simple job because this is supplied as a plug and play ECU designed specifically for the Nissan 350Z.
00:23 So in the case of a stock Nissan 350Z we could simply plug this ECU in, connect it and the engine should start and run.
00:33 We're going to still look at the process because it is valuable to understand how to do this, and we've also made a couple of changes to our 350Z that we're going to look at here as well and we're going to adjust the configuration to suit.
00:48 So AEM make our job really easy with this type of task because they include what they call a setup wizard.
00:57 A setup wizard has certain sheets or pages to help us go through the normal tasks of configuring all of the options inside the ECU.
01:07 You can see we've got our basics setup here which is where we're going to focus our energy today.
01:14 We also have our advanced setup and our outputs which include a lot of the more advanced functions that we may choose to use on the ECU.
01:26 We're not going to be looking at those right now though and we're going to start with our basic engine setup.
01:32 This is where we define the type of engine that the ECU is controlling, in particular we need to define the engine displacement in this case we're looking at displacement in liters, the number of cylinders, whether it's a four-stroke or a two-stroke engine, the ignition type and in our case we're running the stock sequential coil-on plug ignition.
01:56 The ECU needs to know what the firing order is and also what our airflow calculation method is going to be.
02:05 In this case we can choose to use volumetric efficiency or VE, or we can use a mass airflow sensor.
02:13 VE is the more usual way of tuning in the aftermarket and that's what we're going to look at today.
02:21 We can also choose under our basic engine configuration the load axis, what the load input will be for both our ignition and our volumetric efficiency tables, in this case I'm using manifold absolute pressure for both.
02:36 So we've completed our first step which is our engine configuration.
02:41 Now we're going to move down I'm going to look next at our injector setup we're going to come back in another module and look at our cam and crank setup, so we're gonna skip ahead a little bit here.
02:53 Our injector setup tells the ECU what injectors are attached or connected to the engine and this is critical for the volumetric efficiency based ECU, it needs to know how big the injectors are so that it knows what amount of fuel is going to be delivered for a certain pulse width.
03:13 And we start here with the fuel pressure regulator reference, now, what this tells the ECU is how the fuel pressure is going to vary in regard to manifold pressure.
03:27 We have the option if we click on this tab here we can choose atmospheric reference or we can choose manifold vacuum reference.
03:35 So atmospheric reference is what we would choose for a returnless fuel system where our fuel pressure is fixed such as our Nissan 350Z.
03:46 If we had a manifold referenced fuel pressure regulator in a conventional return style fuel system, we would choose manifold vacuum reference.
03:56 It's very important to have this selected correctly as it does influence the fuel calculation the ECU makes.
04:05 Next we can choose our actual injector so the injector fitted to the engine and again AEM make this incredibly easy because all we need to do is go through the list of pre-defined injectors and select the injector that we're using from this dropdown menu.
04:22 And you can see here we have our injector dynamics ID 1000 injector and we can simply double click on that particular injector and it will be selected.
04:32 And this tells the ECU everything it needs to know about the injector including the reference flow as well as the injector dead time.
04:42 So this makes it really easy for us when we're adjusting this particular system.
04:47 Next we can define a maximum injector duty cycle limit we can define the number of injectors that are fitted to the engine and if the engine is fitted with secondary injectors we can make that selection here.
05:01 We can also now choose the fuel that we are going to be running on the common fuels that we may choose to use are in this dropdown menu, we're just simply running on normal gasoline so I'm going to select that.
05:17 We've got the option here for selecting the phasing of the injectors so this is essentially the firing order of the injectors.
05:26 Again, because the ECU is pre-configured for the VQ35 engine we don't really need to make any adjustments here.
05:35 Let's move on now and have a look at some of the basic sensors that are configured and being used by the ECU.
05:42 On our basic sensors tab we have the sensors fitted to the engine we have our air temp sensor, our coolant temp, manifold absolute pressure, fuel pressure, oil pressure and throttle position.
05:56 Now again adjusting any of these sensors' calibrations is very easy, we just double click and we can choose the correct sensor from our dropdown menu here.
06:08 Now, when we do make an adjustment to the calibration or choose the calibration for our sensor you can see on the right hand side of the box here we have our live data, so this is the current input from that sensor and you can see at this point we've got a raw input of 3.3, 3.4 volts, and based on the calibration we're using that is scaled to about 20.7 degrees centigrade.
06:36 It's always a good sanity check to have a look at this data once you've made an adjustment and make sure that it's sensible.
06:44 In our situation we've got an engine that we haven't started yet, it's a relatively warm day so 20 degrees centigrade makes sense.
06:52 If on the other hand I was seeing -5 or perhaps +70 degrees, that would indicate maybe I'm using the wrong calibration or perhaps that there is a wiring issue for that sensor.
07:05 If we move down, we also have some adjustments that we can make for the minimum and maximum intake air temperature, above and below which the ECU will detect that sensor as being faulty.
07:20 And in this case if that happens we have a tick box here which says "Air temp fail-safe on".
07:27 And what will happen is the air temp if it goes outside of those normal bounds in this case -19 or +149 degrees it will revert to 25 degrees centigrade.
07:41 OK we can close that down, we'll have a look at one more sensor input which is our fuel pressure sensor.
07:49 Again it's as simple as selecting the fuel pressure sensor we're using from our dropdown menu and in this case we're using the AEM 150 PSI sensor.
08:02 What we can do if we move down is we also have some further information that's quite useful, quite critical to the ECU's fuel control.
08:12 In this case we have an adjustment for our static fuel pressure.
08:16 So this is the base fuel pressure that the engine will run.
08:20 In this case on a returnless fuel system such as our Nissan VQ35, we normally run four-bar or 58 PSI static fuel pressure.
08:31 We also have this tick box here which we can choose to take the fuel pressure reading or the ECU can take the fuel pressure reading straight from our fuel pressure sensor, it makes sense if we have got a fuel pressure sensor fitted, to tick this box as it means that the ECU can actually use the real fuel pressure rather than assuming and this can help improve the ECU's fuel model or the accuracy of the fuel model.
09:01 OK, we can close that box now and we'll move down, before we move down I'll just mention we do have the ability here to setup our throttle position sensor.
09:12 Now, this is what we would use if we had a conventional cable throttle with a single throttle position sensor mounted on the throttle body.
09:21 In our case we have an electronic or a drive-by wire throttle body, so the adjustment for the drive-by wire throttle body is done through the DBW or drive-by wire tuning tab.
09:34 In this case it's as simple if we need to adjust this as clicking on the drive-by wire setup and following through the setup process.
09:43 This is all automated and we just simply need to follow the instructions to calibrate the driver's foot pedal or accelerator pedal and the throttle position at the engine.
09:57 So that takes us through our basic configuration for the ECU.
10:02 The ECU now knows what particular engine it's running.
10:07 If we close down this box, one final sanity check is to just have a look at the inputs that we have set up here and make sure that the readings that we're seeing make sense.
10:18 So in this case you can see our manifold, air pressure is sitting just below 100 KPA.
10:24 You can see our intake air temp and our coolant temp are sitting at 21 degrees and 19 degrees centigrade respectively.
10:33 Again, when the engine is cold, it hasn't been started we can reasonably expect that the engine coolant temperature and intake air temperature should be within a few degrees of each other.
10:45 So if we're happy with all of these inputs and they are all reading sensibly, we can move on to the next step.

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