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Discussion Starter #1
I finished a 5-speed swap on my 94 a few months ago (M5R2).

I bought a handheld tuner after swap (SCT X3) and uploaded a "mailed" tune from Don Lasotta to avoid having any trouble codes from the EEC-V trying to "see" the 4R70W, no longer there.

Car ran acceptably well right from the beginning, started right up, idled right, no codes, no cel light but a few days after initial test drives, the neutral safety switch on the gearbox died on me (blocking power to the starter) ... so I had to jump the terminals temporarily (or so I believed)

I have enjoyed driving the car slowly in town (saving ga$$$, of course) but when I stump on it for fun, I somehow think "oomph" and performance are just "not there" (or so I feel) I don't know if it's the 4.6's nature or something is amiss.

I read somewhere that the EEC-V changes the spark advance when it sees the transmission in "neutral" (which totally makes sense to me) but the damn neutral switch is toast and still jumped because I haven't been able to find a mother$#%& replacement in any local car-part stores, not even Autozone, which -even with cheapo parts- comes to the rescue in these instances. (I live in Cancun)

I need to find out whether any of you know FOR SURE if having the neutral switch permanently "jumped" might be fooling the ECU into keeping spark advance fixed and, thus, affecting torque this way.

I wrote about this very SPECIFIC doubt to Don a few days after the tune was uploaded but I received a very GENERIC answer like: "You should be good to go" ... I'm not the kind of guy who likes to beg when I pay for a service or someone who settles for generic stuff like that, unfortunately, he was clear about "helping" with the tune for 30 days after the initial purchase and that is long past due because right after the swap, engine developed a bad oil shortage and I had to park the car for several weeks until I gathered enough will and energy to remove the whole front suspension to remove the pan and clean the oil pick up tube (it was completely clogged).

Any SOLID knowledge about the correlation between spark advance tables and this switch will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I would data log it to see what it's doing; post it up, we might be able to help.

I can't find anything in the 4.6l MBE2 file that changes due to the NSS; nothing references it at all that I can find.

Air temp, water temp, and TPS are about it.

Which EEC are you running?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would data log it to see what it's doing; post it up, we might be able to help.

I can't find anything in the 4.6l MBE2 file that changes due to the NSS; nothing references it at all that I can find.

Air temp, water temp, and TPS are about it.

Which EEC are you running?
It's the stock EEC-V

I will sure do that... I just need to get familiar with the process as I've never done that before, but I suppose it's no rocket science.

Will do it tomorrow and upload somethin'

Thanks for the response.
 

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It's the stock EEC-V

I will sure do that... I just need to get familiar with the process as I've never done that before, but I suppose it's no rocket science.

Will do it tomorrow and upload somethin'

Thanks for the response.

There's a sticky in the eec forum; GM did a nice howto.

That's where I always start; these cars have so much going on, it's not like the old days. :)

Check your TPS, it may have issues, and it can cause all kinds of weird stuff.

It should be just below 1V at idle, and increase Smoothly as you open the throttle.

You can check it with a voltmeter, key on, engine off; or datalog it.
 

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It sounds like what mine was doing after my manual trans swap, it wasn’t my wiring causing it either. The problem was the max spark at low load table. For whatever reason off of idle the PCM would use this table which is 15° advance across the board and performance was terrible. I bet if you datalogged spark source, this is the table it’s using in your case too.

Contact Don and have him set all the values to max. The PCM picks the spark table with the lowest number, so maxing it to 60 this will take this out of the equation.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
It sounds like what mine was doing after my manual trans swap, it wasn’t my wiring causing it either. The problem was the max spark at low load table. For whatever reason off of idle the PCM would use this table which is 15° advance across the board and performance was terrible. I bet if you datalogged spark source, this is the table it’s using in your case too.

Contact Don and have him set all the values to max. The PCM picks the spark table with the lowest number, so maxing it to 60 this will take this out of the equation.
I asked Don to send me a second tune with "options enabled" after initial test drives and he did right away :smile2: ... I Haven't uploaded it yet, though. Same tune as the first, only the options were enabled on this one and they weren't before.

I know spark advance is within the options I can tinker with.

First of all, I will datalog with current tune (as Don sent it) and, after that, I will start the learning curve with altering spark advance a little here and there...

Did you change spark advance options yourself or you had a tuner do it for you, XR7-4.6?
 

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When you make the data logs make sure to select "spark source" as well, that will tell Don what table it's using(which I bet is the low load table).

I did it myself through pro-racer, but these are the same tables in dealer level software
 

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Q: How did you get the M5R2 to mate to your 4.6 Modular engine?
Did you get one of the "bastard blocks" (91-92 4.6L block) that had the windsor bolt pattern?


Or, did you source a different manual transmission (T5 I guess)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Q: How did you get the M5R2 to mate to your 4.6 Modular engine?
Did you get one of the "bastard blocks" (91-92 4.6L block) that had the windsor bolt pattern?


Or, did you source a different manual transmission (T5 I guess)
I used an M5R2 from a SC. I had to do a lot of adaptin' and, to be honest, I guess it's too much trouble for someone who wants the car on the road fast. I just did it cause I wanted to accept the challenge to myself.

You have to (among other minor things):

cut a small, non-structural part of the block
modify the starter (half 4.6, half 3.8 starter and get a 10-tooth gear as neither the 3.8 or the 4.6 will work)
get a SC driveshaft... the one on 4.6 autos has a beefier yoke and won't fit in the M5R2
Shorten the driveshaft
Enlarge two holes in the 5 speed to 5/8 with good precision
Get a tune and upload it
Figure out your wiring and work out any electric gremlins that might arise from the swap
Fabricate two angle-iron brackets for the lowermost holes on the 5 speed
Fabricate a plate from 1/2" flat stock to relocate the shifter (it'll end up too close to the dash)

If you are the kind of guy who has fun tinkering and solving mechanical problems, this is one hell of a "fun" project :grin2: but if you're not that much into headaches, better mate a TR3650 from a 2005-10 Mustang to your 4.6 and be done with it... :smile2:

If you do get into this, let me know, I might be able to help.
 

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I used an M5R2 from a SC. I had to do a lot of adaptin' and, to be honest, I guess it's too much trouble for someone who wants the car on the road fast. I just did it cause I wanted to accept the challenge to myself.

You have to (among other minor things):

cut a small, non-structural part of the block
modify the starter (half 4.6, half 3.8 starter and get a 10-tooth gear as neither the 3.8 or the 4.6 will work)
get a SC driveshaft... the one on 4.6 autos has a beefier yoke and won't fit in the M5R2
Shorten the driveshaft
Enlarge two holes in the 5 speed to 5/8 with good precision
Get a tune and upload it
Figure out your wiring and work out any electric gremlins that might arise from the swap
Fabricate two angle-iron brackets for the lowermost holes on the 5 speed
Fabricate a plate from 1/2" flat stock to relocate the shifter (it'll end up too close to the dash)

If you are the kind of guy who has fun tinkering and solving mechanical problems, this is one hell of a "fun" project :grin2: but if you're not that much into headaches, better mate a TR3650 from a 2005-10 Mustang to your 4.6 and be done with it... :smile2:

If you do get into this, let me know, I might be able to help.
Huh, I totally missed this thread. Fascinating read, turboedmav.
I already have a M5R2 mated to my 302 V8 (much easier than your cut the block strategy).

Perhaps the thing that I find most interesting is that you made a hybrid starter for your solution (half 4.6 and half 3.8).

I dunno if its the heat and/or dusty conditions of Baja but almost every v8 powered vehicle I saw in the Mexican 1000 race had a spare alternator and starter mounted on brackets welded to the cage of their race trucks/buggies.

Considering you cannot easily pop out and get a hybrid starter from Autozone, I wonder if it might be worth your effort to go ahead and build a spare (just in case yours dies). Of course, I don't know how dusty things are in Cancun (or if you have another daily driver vehicle) so this might not be an issue for you.


-g
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, I finally had the chance to upload the new tune with user-adjustable options enabled. I think I'm going to do some data-logging tomorrow and see how it goes.

After uploading it, I tinkered a little bit with spark and fuel. I noticed a slight positive change: not so much knocking (or almost gone) in low rev/high load situations (like launching n 2nd gear after a speed-bump), and a bit more torque in the top end, but DEFINITELY not something that would leave me gasping for air, more like... bleh!

I wonder why the only options for spark advance in the tuner are in negative values?

Aren't we supposed to "advance" the spark under load and high rpms using positive values?

The only option where this is possible is in: "WOT Spark/fuel"

Am I getting it wrong? ... or this is one of those cases where the manufacturer lets you have a small taste of what you can do with the device IF, and only if, YOU BUY THE $400 LICENSE!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm reading through the threads on the tuning forum and trying to educate myself on this tuning stuff.

I think this is what got me confused with the tuner values:

If I read "0" spark advance on the tuner, does that mean the ECU will operate on the stock spark advance values from the factory (whatever they may be)?

OR

Does it mean spark advance is fixed at 0 degrees, that is, TDC? (which doesn'n make any sense to me)

If it's the first case, why then can I ONLY substract degrees rather than add when/if needed?
 

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The 0 setting is whatever Don put in the tune; you can adjust EDIT:"Lower" than, LESS "Before Top Dead Center" than whatever advance he set.

You should be able to read the actual setting by datalogging it.

Firing at or past TDC is not something you want to do; it pretty much fires into an open exhaust valve.

You want to find the sweet spot on the fuel first, then do the timing. Then rinse and repeat.

Watch the fuel trims in the datalog; if you're not datalogging, or don't have a wideband, you're just guessing. (LTFT, STFT)

The Butt Dyno Lies, lol.
 

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Spark advance numbers via the tuner mean +- the amount of the existing advance in the tune. Not being able to add advance is likely a safety feature so you don’t ping or detonate since most aftermarket tuners already tend to set the advance curve to the maximum threshold anyway. Being able to subtract timing allows you to back off a bit if you hear pinging or use less octane or bad gas.

It’s not there so you can create your own advance curve. If your tune is stuck in the low load table I was talking about earlier you cannot use the user adjustable parameters to get out of it, that needs to be fixed in the database.

or this is one of those cases where the manufacturer lets you have a small taste of what you can do with the device IF, and only if, YOU BUY THE $400 LICENSE!
Short answer, Yes. Long answer, the device “tuner” is the same thing as a raw chip, the tuner uploads a tune from their computer via their software onto the chip and you the owner install it. With a tuner instead of permanently affixing a chip to the J3 port you simply upload through OBD II the the same way the factory does software updates, the “tuner” is an interface between the car and the computer/software that the tune was written on.

User adjustable options really are not even a taste of what you can do with the device, since you do nothing more with the physical device with Pro-racer than you do with mail order tunes. All real tuning is done via laptop, which is what pro-racer operates on, not the device (I couldn’t imagine the hell it would be looking at the borderline knock table on that tiny screen!)
 

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Setting the advance to an excessive number is a great way to break stuff. :)

Setting the fueling wrong will break stuff pretty quickly also.

There's a book about an inch thick to go thru before you want to start changing stuff on your own, and tuning classes are Expensive.

https://calibratedsuccess.com/live-courses-2/live-public-classes/

Banish's classes start around $400, and that is just How to Use the software. The PRP is Extra.

I've read Don's book, and there's a pretty easy way to set up a car, using the stock o2s and/or a wideband, but small incremental changes are the rule.

By the time the rod bearings are pounded out, or the piston lands and rings are broken, it's too late. :)

The Best case of fail is when it's so rich the combustion chamber fills up with carbon, and that's no fun. (I've seen that on a carbed car before.)
 

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I've read Don's book on tuning with QuarterHorse and Binary Editor (what I used to tune my 302 V8) and found it super helpful. Once you set the baseline (which was pretty easy with my mild engine build since the stock ECU could run it without any drama: 302 -> 306ci, GT40 heads/intake, e303 cam).

From what I can tell, its the partial throttle conditions that are MUCH harder to tune for -- esp if you have a FI setup.

At a very minimum though, i would highly recommend buying a WBO2 sensor with a gauge. I know that even carbed engine guys use them to make sure they aren't running too lean. While datalogging vs RPM would be ideal, just having someone in the car looking at the gauge to see how rich/lean you are running would go a long ways towards getting the tune to better.

I would caution you to NOT buy a used WBO2 setup though unless you know the seller and they can vouch that it works. WBO2 sensors can and do go bad so it would suck to pay $75 for a used setup only to have to spend another $60 for a new WBO2 sensor when new sensor+gauge setups are only $150. I was given both a handmedown Innovate LC1 and an AEM WBO2 setup for our track car. I like the AEM setup better as the LC1 has no gauge and you need to log the data in order to get something out of it.
 

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I have an AEM gauge in Lazarus and the Tbird; it's a lifesaver.

When you hear something funny, you look and see 17:1; you know to turn off the car, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Thanks for your feedback guys.

I'll be doing some reading on tuning to start getting myself more familiar with these things. Now the "negative values only" with the tuner make a lot more sense.

I will get back to this thread when some datalogging gets done.

Car will be boosted in the future and I'm pretty sure I'll get the pro racer package then. I understand this will allow me to edit all the parameters to meet the new demands of forced induction, right?

I don't want to build a beast, just a well-mannered 450 HP streetable car. That's the goal.

What's a good source for M5R2 parts?

I'm having trouble finding the darned neutral switch for the 5-speed. I bought what was advertised on Amazon as a "neutral switch" for 5 speed MN12's but they screwed up and sent me the back up light switch. I'm keeping it as a spare, but I don't want to leave the safety circuit disabled with a jumper wire forever, I want the switch.

Both are physically identical, but "neutral" has a white connector whereas "back up" is red, and internally they're different. Neutral switch is "normally closed" whereas Back up is "normally open", so no interchangeability. :frown2:

Cheers everyone!
 
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