Q: How does the e-tuning process work?
A: Read here: The E-Tuning Process
Q: Why don't you guys tune Evos on the COBB Accessport?
A: Although the Accessport is a formidable tuning platform on Subaru, Ford, BMW, GTR, VW, and Porsche platforms, we find it lacks major capabilities on the Evo X, doesn't provide facilities for safety features we build in to our tunes, and presents challenges that simply cannot be overcome while remote tuning.
1. Logging rate - with a regular EcuFlash-based Tephra V1 or V2 ROM, we are able to achieve 15 Hz (15 samples per second) or higher logging rate on GSR cars. The Accessport struggles to deliver 3-4 Hz logging which of course is a major issue when trying to pinpoint things like compressor surge, evaluating knock sum spikes, smoothing boost curves, or tracking down any drive quality issue.
2. SST logging - the Accessport does not support logging any of the important SST-related parameters such as clutch slip rate and clutch pressure. These are absolutely crucial aspects of tuning Evo X MR's and Ralliarts, even on the stock turbo. There have been several instances where we have identified clutch slip on mildly modified cars that we were able to direct the customer to repair by fluid changes and SST teach-in procedures that would haven't even been noticed if we were tuning on the Accessport.
3. Boost safety features - the Accessport only has the factory boost control strategy available, so we're unable to fully set up cars to deliver safe boost output under all conditions and failure scenarios. On EcuFlash + richardjh's RAX patch, we are able to use PSI-based boost control that provides quicker reaction to overboost scenarios, and such a strategy is immune to cases where spool-up compressor surge or inlet pipe leaks cause inaccurate load measuring. We're also able to use the RAX patch in particular with our custom intake temperature compensation curve to ensure that you never overboost in cold weather.
4. Reliability and flashing speed - the Accessport can sometimes brick your ECM while flashing, which of course presents a very tricky predicament while remote tuning your car. It is rare, but we will state we've never had EcuFlash do this to a customer. In addition, flashing speed on the Accessport is very slow on the Evo X and it insists on unnecessarily resetting fuel trims/idle learning after each flash, which takes additional time and requires wait time for idle to re-learn on aggressively-built cars.
5. Map correctness and availability - on several occasions we have determined that ROM mappings have been incorrect on various model years of Evo/Ralliart in COBB's mapping software. This is mostly true for SST-related tables that are crucial in our tuning strategy. For things like Omni 4-bar support, it has taken COBB up to four years to implement features that the rest of us using EcuFlash/EvoScan have been using since 2010.
6. No map discovery on demand - WTF is run by two professional computer software engineers, and quite often due to the open nature of the Evo X tuning world, and the vast array of model/model year combinations in production, we have to custom-define missing or previously-unknown maps after searching through M32R assembly code. Simply put, COBB provide no support to do this with their software, so if there's an undefined map we need to tune your car correctly, we're SOL on the Accessport.
7. No Tephra V2/V3 support - since we rely on EcuFlash or the "OpenECU" method of tuning, we have access to Tephra V2 and Tephra V3 which provide very unique features such as no-lift shift support, heavy knock throttle cut, up to 9 alternate fuel/power level maps, MIVEC crossover for surge prevention in higher gears and optimal spool-up performance in lower gears, and FlexFuel support. Unlike many less specialized tuners on the market, we can give you regular Tephra dual map support on any model year Evo X. USDM 2008-2009, 2010-2011, and 2012-2015, both GSR and MR, are all supported.
Q: Why is a 3-port Electronic Boost Control Solenoid (EBCS) better than the stock boost control system?
A: The stock boost control system on the Evo X consists of two 2-port solenoids in a bleed configuration that regulate the amount of boost reference pressure that reaches the wastegate diaphragm. Since it relies on being able to bleed off pressure from the wastegate control line, which is dependent on the flow of the solenoids and the lines leading to and from them, it is often the case that the wastegate is not able to be kept fully shut, like at full throttle and high RPM use.
Another disadvantage is consistency, as the bleeding off of reference pressure is not able to be perfectly controlled, especially during transient conditions like between shifts. This leads to varying boost levels in different gears, and boost spikes between shifts. Overall, the stock bleed-type setup is slow responding and inconsistent.
A 3-port EBCS has a distinct advantage over the stock setup as it both simplifies the control of the wastegate, and changes the configuration to be able to interrupt or block the pressure hitting the wastegate completely, as desired. This allows one to keep the wastegate shut and boost pressure maximized when appropriate (such as at high RPM on a smaller compressor like the stock 152G). The valve provides very fast and fine control over the amount of pressure that reaches the wastegate, and therefore provides quicker-reacting and more consistent boost control where the dual 2-port system struggles.
Q: Can I install my 3-port electronic boost control solenoid (EBCS) / boost controller before my tune is adjusted?
A: Normally, NO and doing so may present a very dangerous situation with cars like the Evo X which run 100% duty cycle on the primary boost solenoid from the factory. If you were to install your 3-port EBCS and leave the factory or prior tune in place, boost may easily reach over 32 PSI even at partial throttle. On pump gas, this can cause engine damage very quickly, even with just one hit of boost.
The one way you can do this properly and safely is if you install the 3-port EBCS, do all of the hose routing and plumbing (always use zip ties or clamps on all of your 3-port hose ends), but leave the electrical connection unplugged. You will get a Check Engine Light due to the solenoid being unplugged, but it can safely be ignored until tuning occurs.
Q: Can I install my larger injectors before my tune is adjusted?
A: No, any change to your injectors must be compensated for in your tune, or you may run extremely rich during normal driving, which can lead to major complications (fuel dilution in oil, major carbon deposits, catalytic converter damage) if the car is run for longer than just loading it onto a trailer to bring to your tuner.
Q: How do you decide what AFR to run on my Evo at Wide Open Throttle (WOT)?
A: It mostly depends on the detonation resistance of your fuel, the burn properties of the fuel, the usage of the car (track, drag, or street), and the efficiency of your turbocharger and exhaust system. Pump gas likes being run as lean as possible while maintaining proper burn speed and Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) as to not encourage detonation and component damage. This boils down to about 11.0 AFR on 91 octane (R+M/2) fuel and 11.4 AFR on 93 octane, once the placement of peak cylinder pressure (PCP) has been optimized as far as possible on these fuels without detonation occurring. On race gas, one can run much leaner as it is more detonation resistant, but on E85, one can run richer than suggested by many tuners to take advantage of the cooling properties of ethanol and the fact that ethanol can burn efficiently at a rich AFR unlike gasoline. Mid 11's AFR (on a pump gas AFR scale, like your wideband reads) on E85 is more advantageous than mid 12's, for these reasons.
On cars that will see track use, we set the burn ratio even richer to stave off detonation by lowering burn speed and lowering EGT's to reduce the heat load on the exhaust valves as well as the stress on the turbocharger turbine and exhaust manifold. It also sets the car up for safer conditions should the fuel system become heat soaked, leading to cavitation at the pump inlet and air pockets in the fuel charge being fed to the injectors. This is very common on the Evo X.
Other breathing mods, FMIC upgrades, your engine build, and other factors have a small influence on how aggressive the tune is set, knowing what the system can ultimately handle when stressed to the limits.
Q: Why should I get my stock X tuned?
A: From the factory, there are many considerations that the Mitsubishi needs to account for. Of these, the most important are: economy, safety, drivability and performance. Mitsubishi carefully balances these factors so they can deliver a safe, reliable, and eco-friendly automobile to the general public. In order to accomplish these basic design goals, Mitsubishi's stock tune uses a combination of fuel mixture, timing and MIVEC, to provide a configuration optimized for emissions and longevity. The factory tune is configured to be safe for every X that leaves the assembly line. This obviously has to be a conservative setup for warranty and maintenance purposes. With a custom tune, an X can be safely optimized to produce significant gains while still reaching Mitsu's core design goals.
Fortunately for us, the 4B11T has seen a number of improvements since its predecessor, the 4G63. An emphasis on stress dispersion and low friction can be seen in it's reinforcements and smooth design. The die cast aluminum block is has crank caps typically seen on a V-style or race engine with 4 bolts instead of 2. It has a 2-structure, ribbed oilpan that provides rigidity and strength to the block. The semi-closed deck and cast sleeves provide superior cooling and longevity. Increased journal ventilation, baffling and 12 exclusive oil return passages improve oil pressure, reduce blow-by and lower friction. Heavy-duty pistons, large crank pins and beefy connecting rods are included for high horsepower applications. Unlike the 4G63 with a single variable intake cam, the 4B11T is equipped with both intake and exhaust MIVEC. MIVEC allows tuning gains across the entire power band. Lastly, the stock 152G turbo is an eager turbo capable of pushing 370 WHP on a Mustang Dyno. Overall, the 4B11T is a modernized engine with strong internals capable of pushing much more than the stock parameters.
What does this mean in real numbers? With an EBCS and a tune, we typically see an overall performance increase close to 25% over stock. In actual figures, on pump gas and a Mustang Dyno, we typically see gains from 245 to 300 WHP and 260 to 320 lb-ft of torque. With a larger turbo, plumbing and fuel system, you can push the stock block up to 450 WHP on E85.
Q: Do you have any advice for owning an SST vehicle?
A: Read here: SST Do's and Don'ts