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starting to tune advice

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hi all, Im brand new to this and would more or less like advice on buying a cheap car to practice tuning on. for me in the uk the 2 cheapest options id have is to buy a mk1 mx5 and maybe use a megasquirt, then start off tuning n/a and maybe move onto a m45 supercharger or tdo4/t25 turbo and do a budget setup then map that in the future. alternatively i could go down the route of a cheaper d series civic and use a hondata s300, again a similar route to the mx5, first tune it n/a then cheap turbo build. the question is would the hondata be more a case of only tuning the WOT areas of the map, does it already have idle cruise and parameters set up? in which case would i be better going the mx5 route so i can tune completely from scratch with a megasquirt, or can i tune from scratch with a hondata?

apologies if the way ive worded this is ambiguous, i tend to waffle on. any advice would be appreciated. the main goal is a budget cost but also which is the more useful learning/practising route.

p.s. if you've seen my other thread re the jzx100, thats just advice for my brothers car.

hi think you would be better off to go for an ecu that is supported by hp academy / does not have to be at a high cost eg the link atom / that way you will have the support and forums to help learn any injected 4cyl car will do the job all the best dwayne j

cheers for the advice there, to be honest i wasnt aware there was an entry level device from link, just having a quick browse and seems alot cheaper than the standard or higher level ecu's so may be that i give the atom a try. cheers appreciate the help/advice. bit of a novice question and ill probably end up buying the wiring fundamentals course, but with the loom id buy would i end up wiring the whole thing myself i.e. not plug and play loom?

copied from intro forum

To anyone who could shed some light. Would driving a car on a basemap say from a house go an industrial estate for the purposes of road mapping be safe?

As I don't have a trailer and want to avoid costs initially, my idea would be to say use a fairly accurate basemap, drive the car (only low revs and load) to a location, then attempt to map the car from scratch (as a blank project, not from the basemap) and if I would be unsuccessful or struggled, I could just reload the basemap and then drive the car home and try another day?

Ive done this many times. There is very low chances of hurting it, provided that you keep it off boost. In cruise and light throttle, there is very little load on the engine. Just make sure you aren't overly rich ( try to get close to stoich, but no richer than lets say 13:1) you dont want to wash your bores down.

Hi Tristan, both of the options you list are great starting points and learning with a naturally aspirated engine is a smart option - You're really hard pressed to damage one if you mess something up. The Hondata system is a reflash style of tuning platform but can still be effectively tuned from scratch. I'd have a think about what you expect to be tuning in the future. If it's most likely to be standalone ECUs then go with the MX5 option. If you're expecting to do a lot of reflashing then Hondata will give you more insight into these platforms.

You're very unlikely to do damage to an engine on a base map but I always suggest watching the AFR and then applying an across the board enrichment/enleanment to get the AFR into some kind or 'reasonable' area while you're driving to the dyno or wherever you intend to tune. If the engine is excessively rich you're probably not going to damage it in a short period, but you may end up fouling the spark plugs which is a time waster.

Hi Andre, really appreciate the advice and can I just say I'm loving the courses so far, I found the worked example of the road tu

nning particularly helpful. I must have already purchased 2/3 to 3/4 of the courses and have found them very insightful. I would ideally prefer a future carer in tuning standalone but ultimately the business demand needs to be there and around my area of south Wales, Honda's are definitely the more commonly modified and mapped vehicles. I'm leaning towards a megasquirt and mx5 at the moment, I would prefer to use the link atom but as there is no plug and play harness and I'm not sure I have the wiring skills to wire generic harness link sell at present. I'm just wanting to concentrate on the mapping side for now and may look into wiring further into the future as I'm assuming being proficient will future costs e.g. building my own harness. Or would you consider building a harness itself a profession/trade in its own right and therefore I should just focus on the mapping side?

Adaptronic has a PNP setup for an MX5.

You would be surprised how easy it is to build a harness. If you take your time, and follow the manual, its fairly simple. Just start with a harness using split loom for your first one. Its alot easier to route wires and wrap them. Im fairly advanced at building harnesses now, and build a lot of custom harnesses for local guys. if you go megasquirt, their manual is VERY thorough and their firmware covers pretty much any trigger wheel you can think of. Plus if you build your own, you can add goodies like ecu controlled boost, pressure transducers, flat shift, antilag, etc. Its really quite a learning experience. Another cool feature about megasquirt, is running shadow dash for your gauges. With a 60$ bluetooth transmitter that they sell, you can have your gauges displayed on a cheap android tablet (=

That all being said, you cant beat plug and play (=

Good luck to you

I've tried the adaptronic plug and play before but out of the 2 i think the megasquirt pnp is the cheaper option.

In regards to making a custom loom, to be honest id really like to as at the moment im house hunting and dont have the car to map and would like to be doing something constructive in the meantime. Ive bought and watched all of the efi wiring course but just cant seem to grasp the designing side of the loom, for example how long for each wire where sensors are closer or further away, and how do i go about planning shared sensor grounds or shard 5v supplies. in my head it just seems like it would be a big spiders web of wiring and im not entirely sure how id go about the planning and design process. i may put a comment in the efi wiring course asking for a sort of starter template or even a template of the terminals excel sheet Ryan uses in the course.

To workout how long each wire needs to be you need to measure it, so you'd really need to get your hands on the car on a similar one.

are you going for the Link or MS?

At present I'm gonna go for the megasquirt from that efi website you linked me, I emailed Phil there and he said they entry price PNP would be fine. As I understand it I would just wire up a iat sensor and run a vac line to the ecu which has an interal map sensor? Simple for cost reasons and they fact there's no link atom PNP harness.

For a first ECU that one will let you do everything, even boost control when the time comes. Although the Link Atom is good as you say you'd need to delve into wiring and that it's a whole different topic to learn, it is a necessary one for fault finding but on a PnP application you shouldn't have any wiring issues