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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting tired of not being able to tune my car... to that end I'm investigating aftermarket standalone ECU options. The bottom line is they're all compromises for a street car. The Pectel SQ-6 seems to be the better solution for ignition, fuel and vanos control including drive by wire and traction control. ViPec V88 has a similar solution. ProEfi is a new player, has just finished install on an E46 M3 turbo and seems to work well (no first hand knowledge). The ProEfi solution doesn't control vanos, but integrates with the CAN bus and there aren't any CEL's and the car remains emission compliant with a few tricks. The Pectel and Vipec solutions will cause the DME to throw CEL's if the vanos is in a position the DME doesn't recognize, and for OBDII emissions I'll have to switch back to the factory DME and drive around a bit...

No solution is ideal, what I'm looking for is anyone who's done it and what your thoughts are.

Thanks...
 

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As discussed in the other thread, the only tried and true solutions for aftermarket ECUs with the S62 are Motec M800 and the Pectel SQ-6, each run piggy-back with the stock ECU and each requiring a rewiring of the vanos solenoids to effectuate vanos control. I'll post the description of the vanos modification, which is pretty straightforward, as soon as I find it. I have been told that the Vipec cannot control the vanos, and I'd be very hesitant personally of any tuning solution that doesn't integrate vanos control.

I agree that this is a serious drawback to the E39 M5, viz., having to reflash the ECU in order to tune the car, leaving us at the mercy of the very few who have "broken the BMW code," as it were, and preventing us from switching tunes at will or as a safety valve (e.g., when one runs out of methanol!) I would love to see someone develop a "plug and play" replacement for the MSS52 ECU that provided the same kind of tuning control, flexibility, expandability and data logging as the Motec and Pectel.

I have to install an aftermarket ECU at some point because I have to have the ability to switch between race/street/meth/drag tunes when I want, with the press of a button, and one just cannot do that with the stock ECU. Somebody correct me if I am wrong.

--Peter
 

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sounds like some trips to PRI are in order next year - all the companies in one location and you can ask the technical staff right there.
 
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Professional Racing Industry - it's possibly the single best automotive trade show, usually held around January in Orlando, Florida.

for clarification: SEMA is for marketing guys and show cars - lots of 30" wheels, and body kits. PRI is far more geared towards drivers, engineers, nerds - computer modeling, real no-chrome racecar parts, CNC machines, etc. etc.
 

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HPF has plug and play AEM EMS systems laying around but when I asked about buying one, Chris Bergemann basically told me to **** off.

Motec just came out with an entry level unit (M84) that won't cost you 8 or 10 grand.

Also, have you looked into the AEM FIC 8? I don't see why that wouldn't be able to work well as a piggyback.

Is VANOS really that much of a bear to get right with a piggyback? I don't understand why everyone says it's so complicated.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
HPF has plug and play AEM EMS systems laying around but when I asked about buying one, Chris Bergemann basically told me to **** off.

Motec just came out with an entry level unit (M84) that won't cost you 8 or 10 grand.

Also, have you looked into the AEM FIC 8? I don't see why that wouldn't be able to work well as a piggyback.

Is VANOS really that much of a bear to get right with a piggyback? I don't understand why everyone says it's so complicated.
Vanos isn't so hard to control, the Pectel can do it, Vipec can do single vanos on V8's, not dual. Motec can do it as well, but lots of add on stuff that the other boxes come with, so it gets expensive.

The issue is more integration than any one piece running the engine. Since this is a street car that needs obdii emissions testing etc... going to a complete standalone is difficult. Also the DME will tell when the vanos isn't in a position it likes and throw a CEL, from what the two tuners have told me...

Haven't looked into the AEM FIC 8, the two guys I've talked to (Nick P. and John Reed) have both suggested Pectel as they have succesfully integrated the Pectel SQ-6 into a BMW and have the setup files ready to go and the ViPec for single vanos (target car is a SC M62TU), so this could work...
 

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HPF has plug and play AEM EMS systems laying around but when I asked about buying one, Chris Bergemann basically told me to **** off.

Motec just came out with an entry level unit (M84) that won't cost you 8 or 10 grand.

Also, have you looked into the AEM FIC 8? I don't see why that wouldn't be able to work well as a piggyback.

Is VANOS really that much of a bear to get right with a piggyback? I don't understand why everyone says it's so complicated.
PNP AEM systems for the S62 with VANOS control? That would be astonishing. Honestly, if he's achieved that and is not marketing it for some reason, he's a fool.

Dual vanos is what poses the complexity. It just takes specifically configured or expandable ECUs to handle it, and even then, the wiring has to be changed. It's not that difficult, there just aren't that many aftermarket ECUs that are capable of controling dual vanos. Just about anything can be made to work piggyback. That's not the issue. It's the fact that the S62 has dual vanos.

--PEter
 

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Aem is some of the biggest garbage I've ever laid eyes on. End of story. Find an aem car with smooth transient/tip-in response
 

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Professional Racing Industry - it's possibly the single best automotive trade show, held in December in Orlando, Florida.

for clarification: SEMA is for marketing guys and show cars - lots of 30" wheels, and body kits. PRI is far more geared towards drivers, engineers, nerds - computer modeling, real no-chrome racecar parts, CNC machines, etc. etc.
Fixed :cheers:
 

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If all you want is a bit of control and the ability to switch maps then we already have a solution.
An obd2 cable which allows you to load any file you want.

If your looking into setting up and mapping a standalone yourself then you are potentially entering a world of frustration and high expense. Mapping a standalone ecu to work correctly under various weather conditions is serious hard work and you'll find yourself going through a complete development process.
At the end of it your car will drive not as nice as with a oem ecu and you'll understand why it costs BMW so much money to developed a programme/ecu package for each car.

Most of the time where people go down the standalone route, they end up getting a professional to map the ecu and that won't be cheap if you want to use someone who knows what they are doing.

I would suggest sticking with the oem ecu and work with someone who is willin to explain and show you the programme. Then get some files made and then all you need is a cable/software package which allows flashing.
 

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If all you want is a bit of control and the ability to switch maps then we already have a solution.
An obd2 cable which allows you to load any file you want.

If your looking into setting up and mapping a standalone yourself then you are potentially entering a world of frustration and high expense. Mapping a standalone ecu to work correctly under various weather conditions is serious hard work and you'll find yourself going through a complete development process.
At the end of it your car will drive not as nice as with a oem ecu and you'll understand why it costs BMW so much money to developed a programme/ecu package for each car.

Most of the time where people go down the standalone route, they end up getting a professional to map the ecu and that won't be cheap if you want to use someone who knows what they are doing.

I would suggest sticking with the oem ecu and work with someone who is willin to explain and show you the programme. Then get some files made and then all you need is a cable/software package which allows flashing.
Thanks for this. Those of us considering this route already are spending serious smack to fly tuners in from out of the country to custom tune our ECU. Moreover, standalone ECUs such as the Motec M8800 and Pectel Sq-6 provide flexibility and integration that, by itself, the stock ECU simply does not. For example, I would love to have my ECU immediately switch from a meth tune with advanced timing to a non-meth tune as a fail-safe whenever it detects that I am running low on meth. That's stupid simple to do on a standalone, but impossible to do on the stock ECU. Or how about PWM control of a fuel pump? Easy for a standalone. Not so much for the MSS52.

That all being said, having the ability to switch tunes with an OBD2 to USB cord is definitely something I would like to do in the meantime, but there seem to be a plethora of competing cords and software for accomplishing this, some incompatible. Any recommendations?

--Peter
 

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If all you want is a bit of control and the ability to switch maps then we already have a solution.
An obd2 cable which allows you to load any file you want.
Peter can correct me if I misunderstood, but I believe he would like it to be more simple than lugging the laptop around with him, and would prefer a simple toggle switch/dial setup.

If your looking into setting up and mapping a standalone yourself then you are potentially entering a world of frustration and high expense. Mapping a standalone ecu to work correctly under various weather conditions is serious hard work and you'll find yourself going through a complete development process.
At the end of it your car will drive not as nice as with a oem ecu and you'll understand why it costs BMW so much money to developed a programme/ecu package for each car.
I think you make mapping seem harder than it is, fuel and timing mapping are the easy part - driveability issues are the hassle.

Mapping Alpha-N is more difficult due to the lack of any actual engine-load measuring. You are basically creating a calibration curve for all feasible conditions - temperature, and barometric pressure - via mapping the engine under said conditions.

However, with MAP and MAFS ecus, the job is considerably easier as all the conditions measured are indicative of what the engine will need, and are not based off of ideal [engine] conditions.

I will agree that tuning tip-in throttle, warm-start, cold-start, and all the other peripherals can be tedious and painstaking; but, with a quality ECU and a quality tuner, it shouldn't be an issue.

Most of the time where people go down the standalone route, they end up getting a professional to map the ecu and that won't be cheap if you want to use someone who knows what they are doing.
Considering the level of some of the builds being discussed, I would not expect them to go the amateur tuning route......

However, as an amatuer tuner (re-tuned my 400hp turbo 2.4l after larger turbo, and new Electromotive Tec3 ECU), it is not that difficult, and my racecar's engine was always reliable, always started, and never had any issues.


I would suggest sticking with the oem ecu and work with someone who is willin to explain and show you the programme. Then get some files made and then all you need is a cable/software package which allows flashing.

I like the OEM ECU, too; but, the number of credible people who thoroughly understand the BMW DME is very very limited, even compared with some of the exclusive standalone units. Not to mention, even the credible BMW tuners have to crack the DME; thus, the knowledge of the DME is learned via experimentation vs. documented knowledge of standalone units.
 

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Peter can correct me if I misunderstood, but I believe he would like it to be more simple than lugging the laptop around with him, and would prefer a simple toggle switch/dial setup.



I think you make mapping seem harder than it is, fuel and timing mapping are the easy part - driveability issues are the hassle.

Mapping Alpha-N is more difficult due to the lack of any actual engine-load measuring. You are basically creating a calibration curve for all feasible conditions - temperature, and barometric pressure - via mapping the engine under said conditions.

I will agree that tuning tip-in throttle, warm-start, cold-start, and all the other peripherals can be tedious and painstaking; but, with a quality ECU and a quality tuner, it shouldn't be an issue.



Considering the level of some of the builds being discussed, I would not expect them to go the amateur tuning route......

However, as an amatuer tuner (re-tuned my 400hp turbo 2.4l after larger turbo, and new Electromotive Tec3 ECU), it is not that difficult, and my racecar's engine was always reliable, always started, and never had any issues.





I like the OEM ECU, too; but, the number of credible people who thoroughly understand the BMW DME is very very limited, even compared with some of the exclusive standalone units. Not to mention, even the credible BMW tuners have to crack the DME; thus, the knowledge of the DME is learned via experimentation vs. documented knowledge of standalone units.
There are people around with a very detailed understanding of the ECU.

I Agree, the fuel and timing is easy to setup but it's everything else that's not so easy and takes time unless your using someone who is incredibly well experienced. It can be very very difficult infact.

With AlphaN you would use air temperature, coolant, baromtric etc compensations. Without this you can forget a consistent running car.

Knowledge of the ECU's is not experimental for those who take the correct approach. Read the manual properly and it's no different to a standalone, just much more complicated. Getting hold of the manual is the hard bit!
 

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Thanks for this. Those of us considering this route already are spending serious smack to fly tuners in from out of the country to custom tune our ECU. Moreover, standalone ECUs such as the Motec M8800 and Pectel Sq-6 provide flexibility and integration that, by itself, the stock ECU simply does not. For example, I would love to have my ECU immediately switch from a meth tune with advanced timing to a non-meth tune as a fail-safe whenever it detects that I am running low on meth. That's stupid simple to do on a standalone, but impossible to do on the stock ECU. Or how about PWM control of a fuel pump? Easy for a standalone. Not so much for the MSS52.

That all being said, having the ability to switch tunes with an OBD2 to USB cord is definitely something I would like to do in the meantime, but there seem to be a plethora of competing cords and software for accomplishing this, some incompatible. Any recommendations?

--Peter
Hi Peter,

Yes your right, alot of the functions you mention are impossible.

There are only a handful of USB/software packages that are available for map switching.

Ours for example - £150. It's exactly the same electronics as what we are using with our cable in the USA and not once have we had a problem even with it being shipped to many different addresses.

It's a cheap reliable solution for map switching.
 
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