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Flash tuning or ditch For Aftermarket ECU

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Hey guys, looking at turning my old workshop hack BA XR6 Turbo Auto into a Friday night drag special, it's stock as a rock and obviously getting it flash tuned each time I modify something is gonna cost me an arm and a leg, I'm not familiar with this style of tuning, plus no dyno.. Anyone point me in the right direction? Have looked at HP tuner, but I'm possibly thinking of ditching the whole Factory ECU for either a Link or Motec and running an older turbo trans so I don't have to worry about electronic trans control. Cheers

As far as im aware SCT is one of the best tuners for the Falcons. HP not being all that good, So I would go that way if you were to do the flash...

There is alot of benefits with sticking with the stock ecu, And if your not going all out and going to be adding a bunch of extra sensors or need full motorsport options there is not all that much benefit to a aftermarket ecu. You will still have to pay to hire a dyno either way?

I've enquired directly to SCT and they never replied, it seems it's all stitched up through Australian dealers and they want to send me a SCT flash box with a generic tune, no software. Yes I would eventually have to hire a Dyno, but given I'm new to tuning, was going to use this vehicle as a guinea pig to master road tuning and use Data logging at the drags to see how quick I could go before I had to use a Dyno.

With the automatic trans in your BA turbo, you will find moving to a standalone ECU is actually very difficult. The automatic trans ECU is expecting to see certain signals that are transmitted from the engine control computer via CAN. With these signals missing the trans won't know what to do.

SCT is very powerful and gives complete control over just about every aspect of the engine and transmission but the problem with SCT is that it doesn't support end user tuning - You actually need to be a tuning workshop to purchase it and it is also a significant outlay. HP Tuners works on the BA turbo, but their definitions are very basic and quite incomplete. We have found that it is a workable solution for a stock or very mildly modified car but if you want to fit larger injectors, a bigger turbo or anything serious then you will run into trouble with the torque management on HP Tuners.

I should also say that while I'm very vocal about the EFI Tuning fundamentals being the same across the board, the way the factory Ford ECU works is quite unique compared to everything else I've come across. Particularly if you are used to tuning aftermarket standalone ECUs, the XR6 PCM will have you scratching your head for a while.

Probably more questions than answers in my post but unfortunately you have picked a car that has limited support for hobbyist tuning.

Thanks Andre, Yes I was aware about the electronic trans issue, hence looking at ditching it for a Turbo 400 I have sitting in the workshop, which with an after market ECU would solve the issue plus have a stronger trans. Seems I have picked a difficult car to modify and self tune, which may stop this idea from happening as bigger injectors and all the bolt on mods were the plan. Cheers for the input guys.

If you're prepared to change the trans (which is a weak point anyway on a modified BA) then your options are much wider. A standalone is then an easy option and will solve your tuneability issues. It's also worth mentioning that the dash and aircon (from memory) are controlled via CAN so they won't work. Probably not an issue if you are looking at getting serious with the car.

The other warning would be that the BA rods are a serious weak point so don't go too far without addressing them or you will have an air conditioned block :)