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Putting the knowledge into practice

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As a beginner I want to start practising my tuning skills so I am searching what kind of platform to invest in? Ideally an NA engine is more forgiving and reflash is in a way cheaper than stand alone. I am based in UK so I am not sure if products like COBB or ECU FLASH would work on UK cars? which I think they should. Lastly is it possible to get away with simpler cars rather than the top of the line models to practise? ex. a normal honda civic rather than a type r or a Subaru with a NA EJ20 rather than the turbocharged one WRX? Much appreciated for the help!

Hello, Alexandros!

Currently I am in a similar position as you are, getting ready to tune first engine, so I stumbled over the same questions. Using advises of a professional tuner in my local area, I figured out that its better to keep it safe and simple in the beginning: 4 cylinder NA engine, cheap, common, durable, with parts readily available should suit just fine. Its a good bonus, if 'test vehicle' is relatively new or in excellent condition, this way you'll encounter less pre-tuning issues, like chasing voltage drops. Also, if the chosen engine is popular within a local tuning community, it will be easier to get the advice from tuners with more experiense.

As for the choice of ECU, I think reflashing stock ECU is easier and safer, but if you plan to make big modifications (like adding turbo), stock ECU might not have all needed functionality, so you'll have to switch to standalone. Thus, its better to plan ahead your project to reduce the risk of wasting money on unneeded parts.

If I am wrong somewhere, I hope more experienced guys will correct me.

Hey there AndySolo,

thanks for the information as I agree with your thinking. I am considering a mazda mx5 as they are simple to work on and pretty much cheap on parts and maintenance. The only thing I am bit concerned about is that the na and nb series maybe cheap to find but is the rust I am looking out for as in UK this is an issue. Hope best of lack on your journey mate!

Thanks for the encouraging words!

I heard that mx5 is a good choice for basically any type of project, but in Russia its a rare unicorn. So I go with 2-5 year old LADA and locally developed standalone.

Wish you get what you aim for!

Thanks mate!