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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Continuing to go through the 89 with 7MGE I picked up last year, I spotted this surprise recently.

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So this is one of those deals where you send your ECU and good money to the performance tuner along with the list of what you have changed on the car and they magically tune your ECU perfectly to match and send it back for claimed 10-15% power gains.

So in my case, the "modified" ECU ran the car last year, but with some caveats...
After putting the intake and exhaust back to stock last year, adding back a catalyst and installing a new and properly located O2 sensor, I had been wondering why I still see evidence of high soot on the new spark plugs and light soot collecting on the rear bumper between car washes. All of the sensors on the car test out good and there are no codes.
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The engine also sometimes cranks a little long and can stumble to a start hot. As for power I would say its adequate but definitely not over what I would expect form a stock 7MGE. Unfortunately I have not gotten around to buying and installing a UEGO yet although my new down pipe has a boss for it. I will add that to the list of to do over the winter.

Of course I couldn't wait to blow past the Void Warranty seals and see what was inside this.
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Pretty much looks like a stock ECU (compared side by side below with another 89661-14320) . No daughter board in the ECU or piggy back anywhere in the car. The harness is unmolested and I am thankful for that.

These ECUs cannot be reprogrammed, the ROMs are one time burn. Possible someone installed a different ROM but all of the chips look original. I don't see the board coating or soldering disturbed anywhere and no sign of a re-soldering job, it all looks factory to me. I suspect that all that was done was to change a tuning resistor somewhere if even that. The one place where a resistor could have been changed without disturbing the board is R801 because it is a raised connection above the board. The performance trick is to enrichen OL fuel by changing to a higher resistance on the incoming IAT signal making the ECU think the incoming air is cold and dense. This "performance tune" would do little to help on the street because we all spend most of our time in the low and middle of the power band somewhere in CL fuel, not WOT. Of course performance and warning stickers were added and that's worth something to someone I suppose but definitely not what was charged for this. Makes me wish I had a chance to buy this car from the original owner who touched nothing.


------------ Stock 89661-14320 ----------------VS---------------- "Performance Mod ECU"
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As far as physical differences lurking between these modules, maybe someone on the forum can judge that better than I can.

I installed a different stock ECU and it looks like an improvement already. The engine fires strong on first crank every time even hot using the stock ECU. I won't know the full story until I drive it again in good weather this spring. If I get the UEGO in over the winter, I might look at OL fuel during warmup on both modules and see if there is a difference.
 

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@3p141592654 would be able to possibly recognize any differences beyond the resistor you already pointed out.
But yes, it's not possible to reprogram the stock ECU, requires daughterboards.

Quite the funny product to empty someone's wallet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the comments.

I'd ask Jet for info, as they're still around.
I would not waste my time contacting the company that did this. I seriously doubt anything would come of it even if they did keep record of what they did or did not do to this ECU. I'm sure they would just say they have some proprietary tuning process and won't tell me anything. I would also bet they probably have the nerve to ask me to send them my money this time and the ECU for another "update". No thanks.

I would be interested to find out if a resistor on the board got changed as that could explain some things for me.

As far as reprogramming or chipping stock ECUs to get more power from stock engines, here is why I'm a skeptic:

There are OL fuel tuning rules that the OEMs must follow in the US that also line up with physics. I have every confidence that the stock ECU is tuned correctly for the hardware it was built for.

Engines don't just keep making power as you enrich fuel for a given open loop operating point. There is a lean best torque point where power begins to flatten out and going richer than that is just wasting fuel and causing high emissions. OEMs all find those points in the mapping for compliance reasons and run there when full power is demanded.

OEMs are allowed to exceed LBT only when hardware protection is needed and they must show that need to the agencies. That's why my friends you get such lousy FE in your newer pickups on the highway above 70mph, your truck is in catalyst protection and running 20% rich.

Soon these allowances for enrichment will be going away in many markets. Now this could open the door to enrichment tunes, but the regulators say they will be strict about tampering rules.
 

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It's actually more along the lines of - these Toyota ECU's were locked down. @3p141592654 has the full history of the ECU challenges with tuning on these old rigs.

Some Honda Subaru and GM ECU's are very easily tuned and reflashed.

Others are locked down, until a method is developed and utilized.

But you are correct that OEM's tune ECUs for key things.
-Reliability under all conditions
-Emissions
-Fuel Economy
-Comfort
They invest millions into getting the combination right.
I used to dyno test vehicles (individual engines or full vehicles), the amount of hours, fuel, parts, test stands, labs, engineers it takes to get things just right is staggering.
 

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JET never had the ability to tune any of these ECU's. It was always a scam. They did the same thing with MK4 ECU's - they'd slap a seal and a JET sticker and a some labels on it but no changes were ever made. Again, without a Techtom based riser daughterboard with an EPROM socket there's no way to remap these stock ECU's.

Mine's Japan did offer retuned 7M ECU's and they did socket it with an EPROM and some other changes. It was very expensive to do but they did have the knowledge and know how.

I spoke a bit about the JET ECU scam BS in this thread discussing MK4 ECU's:


As far as the stock ECU's, there are some ways to play with the ECU's clock speed to change the rev limiter and a few other things, but it's crude and not terribly well advised. I haven't seen a car using an ECU altered in that method that was running for any significant amount of time, because changing the clock speed changes the entire strata on EVERYTHING about the ECU's mapping.

Thanks for the comments.



I would not waste my time contacting the company that did this. I seriously doubt anything would come of it even if they did keep record of what they did or did not do to this ECU. I'm sure they would just say they have some proprietary tuning process and won't tell me anything. I would also bet they probably have the nerve to ask me to send them my money this time and the ECU for another "update". No thanks.

I would be interested to find out if a resistor on the board got changed as that could explain some things for me.

As far as reprogramming or chipping stock ECUs to get more power from stock engines, here is why I'm a skeptic:

There are OL fuel tuning rules that the OEMs must follow in the US that also line up with physics. I have every confidence that the stock ECU is tuned correctly for the hardware it was built for.

Engines don't just keep making power as you enrich fuel for a given open loop operating point. There is a lean best torque point where power begins to flatten out and going richer than that is just wasting fuel and causing high emissions. OEMs all find those points in the mapping for compliance reasons and run there when full power is demanded.

OEMs are allowed to exceed LBT only when hardware protection is needed and they must show that need to the agencies. That's why my friends you get such lousy FE in your newer pickups on the highway above 70mph, your truck is in catalyst protection and running 20% rich.

Soon these allowances for enrichment will be going away in many markets. Now this could open the door to enrichment tunes, but the regulators say they will be strict about tampering rules.
Agree that it's pointless to talk to JET, they're a bunch of scammers and idiots if they're even still around.

Strongly disagree that OEM's magically get everything perfect. Particularly in modern ECU/PCM/DME mapping there's almost always some power and fuel economy 'left on the table' and sometimes even additional reliability/safety.
This is mostly because OEM's are tuning with emissions being the #1 priority, with NVH being a very distant #2 priority, and everything else being a distant #4 or #5 in comparison. Frequently this means factory tuning can be easily improved on both for HP and fuel economy by essentially de-stupifying the stock mapping. Two particularly egregious cases of this I can cite are the 2007 Subaru WRX STi, and the FR-S/BR-Z/GT86 triplets in 2.0L form.

The 07's STi's factory mapping was so notoriously lean near peak torque to reduce NOx emissions that 100% stock factory-mapped cars often nuked engines with less than 20k miles on the odometer regardless of the fuel used. It was a massive conundrum for STi owners at the time, because getting a tune was quite literally a reliability mod, and leaving the engine-frying stock ECU mapping in place was critical to preserving the warranty. Clown shoes!

The GT86 in 2.0L form was notorious for the 'torque valley' in its tuning. All throughout the promotional releases prior to the car's launch, the torque delivery and midrange of the flat-4 was lauded. But by the time it made it to US shores, the tuning had to be so nerfed for emissions purposes that it created that 'torque valley' where anything below 4k was gutless and it'd finally make some power from ~4000-6500. Again, this is something that was easily addressed and largely mitigated (but not eliminated) with some dyno time.

Anecdotally, with all the HPTuners, UpRev, ECUTek, and other tuning that was done in shops I worked at - I can think of exactly one time ever that a dyno tune didn't gain any significant HP or TQ, and that was with a police package ~2007ish Chevy Impala with a 3.8L V6 that picked up like 3whp. We refunded that customer's money, obviously.

Literally every other dyno tune I can recall, from NA Subarus/FR-S's, 350Z's, all sorts of weird/garbage-ish GM's for HP tuners, Even a Hyundai Genesis 3.8L V6 usually gained ~10-15whp peak and ~20-25ft-lbs of torque through the midrange on the same fuel. If a vehicle was tuned for 86, and was getting retuned for 91-93, sometimes even more could be had. I remember an LS swapped 60's Oldsmobile that came in with a stock Chevy van LQ4 6.0L and PCM, and between the existing exhaust work and other changes from the stock LQ4 setup, a retune for 91 picked up close to 40whp and 55ft-lbs.

When combined with things like a quality intake setup and shorty or longtube headers, typical before/after on hardware alone was +25whp, with tuning it was around +40-50whp.


Now, in reference to much older stock ECU's like the TCCS found in the MK3 - state of the art in the 1980's was still very limited by what they had available. Things like wideband O2 sensors, truly effective datalogging, and even accurate ignition timing wasn't yet 'a thing' even with OEM level money.
So in a lot of cases, the EPROM-capable ECU's like oldschool Honda/Nissan ECU's of the late 80's/early 90's often had worthwhile gains 'left on the table' even with 100% stock hardware. But that was mostly because closed-loop correction for something like bad fuel/knock etc wasn't nearly as sorted out as it is today.
So a lot of OEM's were 'soft' on tuning as a layer of safety, so Suzy Soccermom could fill up a 7M-GTE Supra turbo with 85 octane Kwik-e-Mart gas and merge onto a 75mph freeway in 110* heat without instantly frying an engine.

TL;DR - basically the whole aftermarket industry and established knowledge for the past 30+ years disagrees. There's almost always more HP and TQ to find in a stock setup vs OEM mapping, even with 100% stock hardware and the same boost level.
 

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Full agreement on what you are saying.

As far as the Subie engines that are clearly tuned wrong from the factory.
I have no idea why they did this, but yes it's a clear problem.
Either somebody really sucks at their job or it was a poor compromise on tuning targets based upon a management decision.
Also remember FTP/WLTP and other emission drivecycles can achieve better results when the OEM plays tricks or tunes specific areas of the power band.
Also could have been rushed and just never had enough development time.
That 2.0L engine and it's torque dip will follow Subaru forever, a great black spot.
Similar to their Head gasket failures for years they never recalled or acknowledged officially.
(Worked at a Subie dealership for awhile, wow...the sheer number of head gaskets we did was staggering..)

HP numbers are used widely during marketing and one upping the competitor to get more sales.
But OEMs are always leaving HP on the table, it's not their primary target.
Creates a great void where tuners are able to pull gains and improvements over stock.
It's quite interesting to see the perspective from both sides.
 

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When combined with things like a quality intake setup and shorty or longtube headers, typical before/after on hardware alone was +25whp, with tuning it was around +40-50whp.
This and the advances in controlling VVTi (VTC at the time for Honda) were what got me interested in the Toyota V8s back when I had my 1JZ S14 about 17 years ago, which led to finding the Aussie V-8 forum, and then here. I think one of my first posts here was about how the VVTi JZ engines were superior despite what everyone said about the ports on the head.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@Wreckless I see you have been caught up in these discussions before. I did search this and other Forums for Jet and I found some interesting stuff including what you posted. I had never heard of them before and I visited their website to see what they were offering. Again I'm not impressed with what they are doing.

As you and @Piratetip so well said, ECU tuning takes some real work, equipment and resources to accomplish and I just don't see any way for a company to take a random ECU and a list of mods and crank out anything of value. So when I was posting earlier about my skepticism about stock ECU tunes, this is what I was referring to generally. These are the most common because they are readily available and relatively far cheaper than a real tuning experience. If you do get anything out of these offerings, beware it's likely because an important safety factor that was there is now gone. Fuel tolerance is a huge issue in some markets and revised spark maps if not patiently and carefully done can be very costly.

I can agree that OEMs do make power tradeoffs in their calibration process that could be found and exploited. I too have seen some strange decisions made concerning what goes out and it can depend on who's organization has the power to push their metrics the hardest (not kidding here). For example, I've seen things like heater performance settings win out over emissions related settings only because a manager could bark the loudest. For the average case though there really is not much safe advantage left to gain unless hardware is changing. Then aftermarket tuning could be done to take best advantage of the new setup. Not a tune by mail scenario.
 

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calibration process
That's all it is. These guys get sent a lump and told to make it move 'this' in 'that' and beat the nox/emissions for whatever market. Look at all fo the cars sold enmasse in South America with random ass combinations of different manufacturers' parts over the last few decades, DSM, Merc/DC, and all the other nonsense with the changing of regulations. They try to beat the book and move on and hope some retard at VW isn't going to fuck thier retirement plan up before the world has a pandemic and a depression..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Have you taken both boards out and looked underneath?
To answer you question, yes I did remove the bottom covers and look underneath. On the "performance ECU" I was checking carefully for any signs that components were changed out. Found absolutely nothing to indicate a change or alteration took place.

No components were found underneath either board.
 

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@Wreckless I see you have been caught up in these discussions before. I did search this and other Forums for Jet and I found some interesting stuff including what you posted. I had never heard of them before and I visited their website to see what they were offering. Again I'm not impressed with what they are doing.

As you and @Piratetip so well said, ECU tuning takes some real work, equipment and resources to accomplish and I just don't see any way for a company to take a random ECU and a list of mods and crank out anything of value. So when I was posting earlier about my skepticism about stock ECU tunes, this is what I was referring to generally. These are the most common because they are readily available and relatively far cheaper than a real tuning experience. If you do get anything out of these offerings, beware it's likely because an important safety factor that was there is now gone. Fuel tolerance is a huge issue in some markets and revised spark maps if not patiently and carefully done can be very costly.

I can agree that OEMs do make power tradeoffs in their calibration process that could be found and exploited. I too have seen some strange decisions made concerning what goes out and it can depend on who's organization has the power to push their metrics the hardest (not kidding here). For example, I've seen things like heater performance settings win out over emissions related settings only because a manager could bark the loudest. For the average case though there really is not much safe advantage left to gain unless hardware is changing. Then aftermarket tuning could be done to take best advantage of the new setup. Not a tune by mail scenario.
That all makes a lot of sense. I'm saddened, but not surprised, to hear about middle-management Dilbert-esque problems plaguing development with major automakers.

The golden-era tuning methodology of sending in a whole ECU to be 'chipped' by someone like Technosquare, GForce, SARD, Mine's, Blitz worked very well to help accommodate basic upgrades. As you say, they did defeat safety measures like boost cuts, speed limiters, etc, but they also generally 'cleaned up' fuel mapping at higher boost pressures where OEM mapping usually went pig rich as a safety measure.

With modern cars though, a surprising number of tuning software devs/shops have made some very effective 'canned' tunes for specific vehicles. However, those are always aimed at specific year/model/engine etc and tend to be a bit 'softer' for all the reliability reasons you state, e.g. fuel tolerance.

The first really effective PnP 'hand held' tuners for OBD-II came about in the early-mid 00's - mostly for diesels. Those made simple changes to fuel and wastegate mapping by flashing the stock OBD-II ECU for explosive improvements in power and sometimes fuel economy if emissions devices were defeated.
That of course made the diesel tuning shops public enemy no 1 with the EPA, and that industry has gotten a lot smaller as a result.

Following on that trend through the 00's until now, you can find a lot of 'hand held' tuners from Diablo, SCT, Cobb, etc that contain a variety of 'canned' tunes to match a ton of vehicles and often match specific modification packages. E.g. (IIRC) Cobb's 'Stage 1' canned tune for the Focus ST expected a near-stock car but supported downpipe/exhaust changes. The same tuner held a 'Stage 2' tune that supported an FMIC. That was fairly typical of canned tunes for turbocharged vehicles.

More recently the EPA's gone after a lot of those companies too, so many of them have changed their software to no longer allow editing or changes that rely on defeating emissions controls or eliminating error codes for removed/bypassed/defeated emissions control components. It's a weird time for tuning, for sure.
 
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The golden-era tuning methodology of sending in a whole ECU to be 'chipped' by someone like Technosquare, GForce, SARD, Mine's, Blitz worked very well to help accommodate basic upgrades. As you say, they did defeat safety measures like boost cuts, speed limiters, etc, but they also generally 'cleaned up' fuel mapping at higher boost pressures where OEM mapping usually went pig rich as a safety measure.
Too emphasize, they sold them in packages, in 'Japan only' and for 'off road use only'. You'd have to run their full kit, that's how they could afford to produce it. My 89 CRX SiR has everything Feel's sold on it, including the ECU, as it was a package car they did at their shop with some others. The ROM replacements are meant for engines with their mods installed. This was a very common practice in Japan with one make races and other marque racing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's a weird time for tuning, for sure.
Its about to get much more difficult to do things aftermarket without OEM help. The new vehicle networks have multilayer software security built in. These new systems are able to disable the vehicle when an unauthorized software change is detected on any network module. This is mostly in response to concerns about hacking into vehicles.

80's, 90's and early 2000's vehicles are about to get very popular. I'd save as many as possible.
 

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Its about to get much more difficult to do things aftermarket without OEM help.
it has been since the use of CANbus, MOST and Lin (late 90's)
On the prancing pony brand and its parent company (Fiat/Chrysler), all security messages are xmitted via LIN.

Starting with the security module once it receives the correct number sequence from the RFID FOB via LIN. Then all submodules start the negotiation with the security module to enable xmit after codes are verified. This includes the start buttons (no longer just 4 wires for positve and negative pass through). Yes I say buttons as at least most FCA cars have the one you see and a hidden one in the steering column that provides close proximity RFID power incase the FOB battery dies. I know the Prancing pony has the big red start button in the steering wheel and a hidden black start button that is FCA standard (black with white lettering) in the steering column.

Hood Product Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design


BMW and Tesla use a dedicated CANBus for security comms.
 
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FYI,

3P's TCCS Disassembly/Analysis thread is still up on the other site. It is under Non-Poopra/Automotive Tech Q's/MKIII TCCS(ECU) sub forum. Last post was back in Aug 2022 from 3p himself. It has ALL the nitty grity. Take the time to read all of it. It is some BRILLIANT stuff.
 
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