Newsletter No 51

 

17 January 2008

Aftermarket stand alone EFi systems and their heartache

 

I hope you all had a relaxing holiday J

 

Over this festive season I had some time to think about the pain & anguish I have been subjected to by working on aftermarket stand-alone Fuel injection systems; especially those installed by somebody else.

As you probably know I have seemed to have gotten quite a reputation as a Tuner of vehicles.

These are cars & bakkies brought in to be perfected using a Unichip or conventional Carburettor tuning. I have been doing Diesels with quite some success over the past few months as well. Either with the Plug Ďn Play (N$ 4900+) or conventional Unichip (N$ 2000+). The advantage of the Plug Ďn Play is that the vehicle owner can remove it at will, personally that would be a moot point for me- but then that is personal J

I can tune cars as close to perfect as is possible, with a vehicle that was mechanically sound & operating as the factory expects it, it can easily be felt by the customer. Therefore I can guarantee that you will feel an improvement. If not I will refund you !

After all, my entire job is to make the customer happy by showing that our work does make a difference.

 

BUTwhere the problem comes in , is when we do Stand alone ECUís such as the Dicktator etc. I can guarantee nothing, unless we built the Engine installed the ECU etc. according to my recommendations

Often such cars get towed in and the expected performance gains are in the customerís mind, so there is no benchmark to compare against.
Furthermore,quite often the vehicle is sick or built up incorrectly from the start.

Case inpoint:

1††††††††† Opel Superboss comes in where the owner installed the system/engine himself with multiple throttle bodies.

It did not want to make proper power or hook up to the Dyno.

 

2††††††††† Somebody shoehorned a VR6 motor into his Golf 2 and then we could never get it to show proper timing.

The owner supplied his own pick-ups etc. and was not prepared to pay us to fix the problem.

 

3††††††††† A Sentra was brought in with a lot of stories on how professional his motor was built; in the end one story contradicted the other.

 

4††††††††† Somebody had a 2.7 motor fitted to his old Hilux in SA and now it did not make power or give a decent fuel consumption.

 

5††††††††† we installed a Gotech unit on a 2.8 Cressida motor that later on failed to run as expected, cause: customer fitted a faulty fuel pump.

 

6††††††††† a 3L Cressida Motor that was installed into a Hilux overheated (as can be expected) and I was told ďtune hom maar soĒ.

Who takes responsibility for the extra time, effort & risk involved ?

 

††††††††††† The list goes on, but I donít want to bore you L

 

I donít want to seem negative, but judging from the above, it seems to me that most of my frustrations stem from a lack of customer information. This then results in unwillingness on the customerís side in having to pay for my having to blunder about in a dark morass ???

My company specialises in enhancing a vehicles efficiency, be it via a Tune-up or through the fitting of performance parts (Exhausts, cams, headflowing etc.), we do not do fault finding, repairs or Voodoo !

Therefore I have decided to draft the following letter that prospective aftermarket EFi customers can peruse.

 

There are a variety of reasons that you might want to fit an aftermarket Electronic Control Unit to your vehicle, according to my experience:

1) You have a factory racer with a state of the art Variable cam, fly by wire, flapped motor and the Unichip seems not to be the answer because you are running way out of stock parameters- although with the new Uni-Q that seems to be a moot point. Then you might want to go for an aftermarket ECU system costing 30 000 + Rands.

2) Your stock ECU is blown and cannot be repaired (we have a company doing ECU repairs for us, usually costing well below 4000 N$)

3) You have bought a fuel injected motor without the original ECU & harness, such as while doing a conversion

4) You have a fuel injected vehicle and want to learn more by having access to its management system

 

You now have the following choices:

1)†††††††† Buy a system from us as per advice and get a certain amount of back-up

In this case we can install and tune it for you. Pre-requisite is that you bring in your vehicle with the Motor fitted and hooked up to your electrical system. It must be able to turn over with its starter and you must provide me with an Ignition wire.

Also the Tank should be full and the fuel pump must be able to supply 200 l/hour at 3bar +.

The Battery must also be strong and fully charged.

I can supply most of the necessary components, such as a quality coil and in-line fuel pump if you donít have.

In interesting cases (race cars, loved vehicles etc.) we can also build and install the motor for you.

2)†††††††† Buy the parts from us, install them yourself and hire our services and/or advice when it becomes too complicated for you.

3)†††††††† Buy a system somewhere else and hope those suppliers will back you, I am only prepared to get involved with the final tuning.

 

In all cases I can only back our parts and our labour. It goes without saying that the whole set-up must be mechanically sound and ready to function 100 %

So if you install dud plugs and it takes me 2 hours to find that problem, you will have to pay my current fees of 2X 300 N$ excl VAT.

If you bring in a motor that has a cam timing switch installed but donít know how it works, you will have to pay for that labour also.

 

In all cases I can only tune fuelling & timing on that motor to the best of my abilities.

If your motor does not want to idle properly or make the expected power or shows any other problems, I cannot help you unless you are prepared to pay for additional services.

If you are not happy with what you are getting- tough, simply because the installation is not a factory one, therefore I cannot have control over unknown variables.

I am always prepared to help, by checking my work. If I am at fault= no charge. If I am not= you have to pay. I do not give quotes on unknowns.

If you lie to me or omit to tell me vital information, such that your motor has been worked on since my last tune; will result in a cancellation of our business relationship and an invoice to be settled in hard cash L

I claim not to know everything and since these jobs are all one-offs, the customer has to foot the bill for research & development on my side.

Please understand that we normally carry these costs and time on a local popular model, if we Unichip it, as we can then pass the cost on to a broad customer base J

 

I do not wish to sound too harsh here, but aftermarket stand-alone fuel injection systems have provided me little joy since servicing these in Namibia.

I want to enjoy my work and will rather not make money than hate my job !

The fault does not seem to lie with the system itself, but rather with the vehicle/customer.

 

I have therefore decided on the following; If you want to bring your car to me for a tune-up on an aftermarket ECU, deposit a minimum of 1000.00 N$ (or what seems appropriate considering the state your vehicle/system is in) into my account.

For this Iíll put it on the Dyno and attempt setting it up. Should it go without a glitch then Iíll refund you the difference.

Should I experience problems I will use your deposit to correct these and advise you should I need more funds.

Please ensure that you have given me an appropriate deposit, since I hate wasting time (your money) on unnecessary communication.

Also strapping a car to the Dyno & taking it off again, whilst awaiting your decision/funds takes time (again costing money)

 

When bringing me your vehicle, please remember to advise me in writing on what exactly you wish me to do or achieve.

It is also a good idea if you need me to do more than adjust timing & fuel, such as boost control, cam timing etc. My guessing = your $$$

Also it would be good to let me know beforehand what your financial constraints are, if any.

Finally if you have doubts about your set-up, also advise me please. This will alleviate stress and financial burden later on.

 

Just to reiterate one point, I am not knocking Fuel injection factory or aftermarket, simply stated the Unichip is an excellent product that will enhance your factory ďcomputer boxĒ. I have not yet come across one SA manufactured aftermarket EFi system that comes close to modern OEM systems. None have proper sequential injection, where I can decide when to inject. All use either MAP or TPS none can interpolate between TPS, MAP & MAF- the Unichip can J

 

Nick

 

 

 

"Man darf in der Demokratie eine Meinung haben, man muss aber nicht. Wenn man keine Ahnung hat: einfach mal die Fresse halten. Ist mir ganz wichtig, dass sich das mal rumspricht."

 

Kabarettist Dieter Nuhr