Trying to pick a standalone ecu

Denny Crane

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Hey guys, So for a long time (at least 10 years, probably longer) I've been running the Maft Pro piggyback in my Supra (7MGTE) and it works alright but doesn't quite give me the control I'd like to get. Plus I'm bored and fall/winter is around the corner so a Supra project during the winter would be nice. I haven't really given it much attention the past few years..
My mods are all the usual ones, running speed-density so no AFM, have a 3" turbo back Tanabe exhaust, 660cc injectors, no-name GT35 turbo, Walboro pump... the usual.
The Supra is just kind of a toy for me, I only put on a few hundred miles a year so I don't want to spend a crazy fortune on it. Goals are just like 350-400HP, nothin crazy, just mostly want to tinker around.
There's no real tuners around here and I basically live in the woods so I need something I can setup and tune myself on mountain roads.
I'd be picking up zz coils to go sequential ignition
I'd like to just stick with the stock CPS - seems like most CPS issues are with AEM ecus?

I had pretty much settled on ECUMaster EMU Classic but then in the past few days I've stumbled on a few reviews that make me worry that all the positive ECUMaster stuff online is paid advertising. I also can't think of a reason I'd need the EMU Black over the Classic but if any 7M guys know that would help...

I looked at Megasquirt and at first it looks like it'd save money but, if I'm understanding it all, a lot of add-ons are needed, like knock sensing, that are included in the ECUMaster so price would be about the same'ish. People seem to love the MS software though.

Haltech was always crazy expensive and I thought needed a pro tuner, but the little bit I've looked that might have changed recently with the Haltech Elite? Has anyone even used one of those on a 7M?

I don't need a PnP solution, I'd rather just get rid of the old harness and make a new one from scratch (like I said, looking for a long winter project)

So what ECUs have you guys had success with? Which ones suck ass? Software is almost as important as the ECU, I want something that isn't a buggy mess.

Thanks for any tips or reviews or opinions or anything!
 

figgie

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@Denny Crane

the CPS will always have timing drift just due to manufacturing tolerances.

it is actually WORSE than what the Nissan RB engine guys suffer due to the fact that we have the CPS off the cam based on a helical gear.


on the EMS,

ANY standalone will grenade an engine if the person does not know what they are doing.
What you are paying for is support, and ease of use.

we can give you our opinion as what is best but that is not the question you need to ask.

What BUDGET have you set aside for an EMS and the engine harness? yes you will do the work yourself but then you need the budget for tools.
 

Denny Crane

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See, this is why I ask questions, I hadn't come across anything about timing drift and just assumed if it's good enough for the TCCS it'd be good enough for an aftermarket ecu. I guess I should take a look at crank trigger wheels.. .

For budget, I figure 2 grand or less. I have every tool I could possibly need - father's a recently retired Toyota tech so I have his 40 years of tools including boxes of pins and leads and such to repin connectors.

I guess I was just looking to see what people had had luck with, if there was a point where someone went "ah crap, I should have gone a different direction. "

I've had the Supra for 24 years now, blew it up/raced/auto-x'd it/fixed it/ and did it all again several times over the years - If I get in over my head and grenade it then that's how I learn :) Haven't done anything new and exciting with the Supra in a few years and having to keep an old laptop around to use the maft-pro is kinda lame anyway
 

figgie

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Well all standalones do the same base job, control fuel and ignition.

All the standalones have software that you can download and just mess with short of the professional standalonefrom Bosch, EFI technology and Magnetti Marelli.

What really separates them is the user interface (software).

Now with a 2k budget for BOTH the ecu and harness... you are going to be hard pressed to do it new. Used, no problem and there is nothing wrong with that.
 

JDMMA70

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Figgie is providing great info. From personal experience the MegaSquirt TunerStudio user interface is probably the easiest and most intuitive interface i have seen and used. Its also important to make sure you are comfortable navigating the software of whatever ECU you choose. There is a PnP megasquirt box you can buy which is what I am using. Its also important to make sure you have someone who understands the ECU and car for tuning, unless you are tuning it yourself.
 
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Denny Crane

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Well the EMU Classic with flying lead harness and bluetooth adapter was under $1200 brand new with warranty when I priced it out. I'm sure there will still be a ton of incidentals... The Megasquirt setup ended up coming in around the same price when you add in knock sensing and such to get to an almost equivalent feature set...
After over a decade with the Maft Pro's software an intuitive interface sounds really nice for sure, I just downloaded the MS software and I'm going to play with that - I've been messing with the ECUMaster software and even that's a giant leap into the future from the MaftPro's TunerPro software
My plan is to drop some cash on something like HPAcademy or Evansacademy and tune it myself - all of my books and materials that I originally learned engine management from are from the 90's and early 2000's so not exactly up on current tech.
I guess I was more looking for "stay away from this one" or "I've had great success with this." I do see Megasquirt being the big player in the category I'm looking at and people really seem to like it.
 

figgie

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My plan is to drop some cash on something like HPAcademy or Evansacademy and tune it myself - all of my books and materials that I originally learned engine management from are from the 90's and early 2000's so not exactly up on current tech.
I guess I was more looking for "stay away from this one" or "I've had great success with this." I do see Megasquirt being the big player in the category I'm looking at and people really seem to like it.
That is a good investment. I am part of the HPAcademy and bought their VIP package. Just the wiring stuff is GOLD.

As for the books and materials, the biggest difference is that back then, most standalones did engine management based on pulse width. The modern EMS/ECU should be Volumetric efficiency based which is EASIER than the old pulse width based adjustments so all your documentation is STILL applicable today. It just so happens that all the math is now done in the EMS so you do not need to calculate pulse width, or degrees or any of that.

On the opinion side of things, that is all it would be, an opinion. :) As my initial post stated, all the EMS does is control fuel and ignition. Most of the shortcomings are due to operator not gathering their SPECIFIC requirements and needs for their budget. They just buy something and then they don't like the software UI/UX, or they are lacking inputs or outputs, or they purchase something and then their local "tuner" has no clue on what to do so then the blame goes on the EMS that it sucks, is archaic, etc. Then of course lets not forget support for WHEN the EMS starts acting funky, that is part of the "price of admission" for ALL ems. Some better than others.
 

andrew_mx83

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Happy megasquirt user here.

A ms2 will run a 7m (just) but needs a few add ons and won't be full sequential.
A ms3x or equivalent should do everything you need out of the box and have i/o to spare. I'd have to double check but I'm 99% sure the knock module is included.
 
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Enraged

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I've got an AEM v1 at the moment, planning on upgrading to the ECUMaster Black at some point. The main advantages for me was the modern hardware, better software interface, customer support, and local tuners.

The AEM works fine, but I'd like an upgrade.
 
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CajunKenny

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I'm with you Denny. Still running the Maft Pro...

I like the fact that it allows the TCCS to manage closed loop operations and keeps the car running in stock form. No idle issues, long cranks, starts and dies, ambient air temp corrections, general drive-ability, etc... Can't tell you how many Supra meets I've been to where the standalone guys have one or more of those issues. Not saying that all standalones have those issues, just something I've observed. Likely, they weren't tuned properly.

I had my own dyno for a number of years and tuned a number of cars. I'm a fan of the maft pro. My car is running 27psi of boost and makes a good bit more power than what you're wanting. So, you can certainly meet your power goals with it and then put your money elsewhere.

I know you wanted opinions on which standalone to get. My opinion is none. You can meet all of your goals with what you already have and keep a fat wallet!
 
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JDMMA70

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No idle issues, long cranks, starts and dies, ambient air temp corrections, general drive-ability, etc... Can't tell you how many Supra meets I've been to where the standalone guys have one or more of those issues. Not saying that all standalones have those issues, just something I've observed. Likely, they weren't tuned properly.
You havent been spying on me have you??? lol I have the ambient air temp corrections issue. My IAT is in the 3000 pipe and man that thing heat soaks bad when I park it after a drive, on restarts it runs lean like in the 16's-17's. I know there is a setting in TunerStudio that can be tuned to correct for this but I don't trust myself to mess with it. I have to let the car idle for a few minutes.
 

plaaya69

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I have the ECU Masters classic standalone and I am happy with it. At first things during set-up were a bit of a learning curve such as set up and how the Supra wiring is laid out but everything has been running good now for close to 2 years. I made my engine wiring harness from scratch, run sequential fuel injection, standalone powers factory 7mGTE coils (no igniter needed) and got rid of a bunch of oem parts no longer needed for the standalone. Check out my build thread for more pictures of the set-up.
 
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Zazzn

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So I recently installed my standalone on my very stockish 91.

I bought the PNP ms3 pro unit because it met my needs really well. I have 60k on my 91, and wanted to keep it as mint and OEM as possible. I have a ECUMasters black but for this use case I didn't think it made sense since the MS3pro fits in the stock location, requires no rewiring or jumper harness/adapter box.

What's really nice over TCCS, was I was able to add 2 good features... Launch control, so I can have the pops and bangs if I want, but I just set it up as a 2 step rev limiter since the car has a cat and I don't want to kill my HKS 75mm turbo sport muffler.

The next big thing was adding traction control using the ABS sensors. Adding this made the car much faster in the 1/4 instead of spinning and also saved my stock subframe and diff from the hopping normally associated with stock traction arms.

Car is running 22 PSI on e85 with blending and sensor installed 18 pump... So it's really nice rightnow.
 

Denny Crane

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Wow, thanks for all the replies! That gives me a lot to consider.

CajunKenny - I actually have posts from you that I printed out like 10+ years ago when I was setting up the MaftPro, all tucked away in the pages of my tewd - I don't know why I'm so surprised that people still run it, it's just feels like the world has moved on from piggybacks and the cool kids all have standalones. Over the past few years whenever I've thought about standalones I always end up deciding it's not worth the money since the maftpro keeps on truckin, just feels like it's time for some new automotive adventure and I find the tuning stuff interesting - or the sales pitches on youtube from Ecumaster, etc got me hook, line, and sinker. There's also always that voice in the back of my head saying that if the maftpro dies I'm going to have to go on a scavenger hunt to replace it with it being so old, but you do make a good argument for saving cash

Zazzn, I was thinking the same thing, the launch control with the bangs and pops could be fun to annoy family and friends with, but I don't want to blow up my Tanabe hyper medallion muffler - not sure if it's still a cool exhaust these days but I was quite proud of it back in the day.
The flexfuel stuff looks interesting to me, with the maft pro I was able to run 25psi on e85 and keep AFRs safe, but the closest e85 to me is a 45 minute drive so it's rare that I fill up with it and switching maps with the maftpro is a pain.

plaaya69 - thanks, I'll check out your build
Enraged - back in the day the AEM seemed to be the way to go, now it seems everyone agrees with you and is moving on
andrew_mx83 - yeah, I should look closer at the ms3x stuff to see what exactly is included and what has to be added on

figgie - Thanks for the opinion on HPA, I've been wanting to pull the trigger on their starter package but was looking for some reassurance that I wasn't just flushing like $400. I'm a middle-aged network admin so I'm used to banging my head against a wall until I figure problems out myself -and our local 'tuners' are burnouts and dopes so I wouldn't let them touch my stuff anyway. And blaming the equipment isn't my style, I figure if someone else has gotten something to work there's no excuse not to make it work.
And along those same lines as long as there are reliable high HP 7m's out there I get annoyed when people say the 7m is no good (this is why I don't like the facebook supra groups for the most part, everyone's always saying swap whenever someone has an issue)
 
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Z06gette

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I have the Ecumaster classic. For the Emu I went with the pnp harness as i thought it would make it easier to get up and running. In theory, it is, but in reality after having to repin things or slight tweaks here and there to get it to really work right I would've saved time just making my own engine harness.
The instructions and pin outs are accurate, easy to read, and overall its pretty simple to work with. The software is pretty user friendly also, I was able to get running off the base tune with some minor tweaks with assistance from some of these folks. I am paying to have it tuned remotely by Driftmotion, which is still a work in progress.

One current small hurdle I'm dealing with on the Classic is its inability to drive low Z injectors directly for sequential injection. I have a 6 channel honda resistor pack on the way to work around that.
 
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