Purchasing an ECU reflash solution is not an option for FR-S/BRZ owners. Instead, it should be considered a requirement. In fact, it should be the first performance part purchased for the vehicle. The reason is simple. No significant power gains can be realized on the FR-S/BRZ platform with the factory ECU programming in place. We found out the hard way. The world’s best intake and exhaust systems will only deliver small improvements since the factory program uses torque limiting tables. Fortunately, there is a solution. ECUTEK’s ProECU and RaceROM packages not only remove the performance shackles, but also provide an opportunity for increased performance. In addition, the RaceROM package adds features to the factory ECU that are usually only found on aftermarket stand-alone engine management systems.
Text by Michael Ferrara // Photos by Richard Fong
DSPORT Issue #129
On the FR-S and BRZ, the original factory ECU programming includes torque limiting tables, as well as, engine rev limiters and vehicle speed cuts. The ECUTEK solution allows these tables and limits to be reset above the performance levels of the vehicles. In doing so, the full potential of the engine’s capabilities can be realized.
The ECUTEK ProECU and RaceROM package for the FR-S/BRZ not only allow access to the limiting tables, but also the following: fuel maps, ignition timing maps, knock control maps, injector timing, sensor scaling, cam timing (in/ex), pedal to throttle maps, closed-loop maps and idle control. This access allows air-fuel ratios to be properly tuned, ignition tables to be optimized and the MAF sensor to be scaled properly for whichever intake is being used. The control over camshaft timing on both the intake and exhaust allows the torque curve to be manipulated to start earlier and continue later for a wider powerband. This control is necessary whenever maximum reliable power is desired. In the hands of a capable tuner, the engine calibration can be optimized for whatever mix of performance parts graces the engine.
The RaceROM patch delivers an impressive array of additional features. Map switching, per gear rev limiters, launch control, flat-foot shifting, downshift auto blip, custom maps, Speed Density fuel metering and even a custom fuel economy display can be activated. Map switching allows four different calibrations to be stored in the ECU. The driver can switch between the programs on the fly through the cruise control interface. If a switch to a Speed Density metering system is desired, the RaceROM can deliver. The system can even be configured to use MAF metering under certain conditions while using Speed Density under other operating conditions for the best of both worlds. Two-step rev limiter and the flat-foot shifting feature can improve performance and consistency for 0-to-60 or 1/4- mile blasts.
JUST THE BEGINNING
To make this issues deadline, we only had time to navigate the ECUTEK system for a day. In that short amount of time, we were very happy with our initial results. The RaceROM features are impressive and the ability to reprogram the factory ECU is proving to be a much needed remedy. Even with our tester FR-S back in pure stock configuration, we were able to get an additional 5.0-percent more power after just a few runs on the dyno. Our 74 DSPORT_129 FR-S is now also delivering more repeatable results. Considering that this is just the beginning of our ECUTEK journey on the FR-S/BRZ, we are looking forward to taking back control of the engine’s management. Based on what we’ve learned about the factory ECU, we’d highly recommend a tuning solution (like the ECUTEK) as the first modification for the vehicle.
TESTING, TESTING: PART II
It’s going to be a complete pain in the ass, but that’s what we’ve come to expect with our performance parts showcases. Our plan is to optimize a tune with the ECUTEK for each and every one of the intake systems that we showcased in this issue. In doing so, we will now be able to share which intakes make the best power with a tuning solution in place. We also hope to optimize the intakes with a perfomance exhaust in place. Hopefully, this trio of parts with the proper tuning will allow us to go beyond the 5-percent limit we’ve faced before turning to the ECUTEK. Stay tuned as we get tuned.