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Old 08-12-2014, 06:20 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by maplesyrupghost View Post
Yeah, that's a concern too. That's why I want to retain the stock exhaust for driving around town... or at least, a stock-ish exhaust. About 50% of my highway drive is outside of the city. Mine's all rusty and it would be nice if they made an exhaust that was non restrictive and still sounded good.. Has anyone put two magnaflow mufflers in series?
Before you buy something,you might consider taking the vehicle to a chassis dynamometer and have it tested under load with the stock exhaust,then with no exhaust,and see what the numbers look like.They can show you exactly what your engine and mpg are going to do.

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Old 08-12-2014, 06:28 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by aerohead View Post
Before you buy something,you might consider taking the vehicle to a chassis dynamometer and have it tested under load with the stock exhaust,then with no exhaust,and see what the numbers look like.They can show you exactly what your engine and mpg are going to do.
Definitely worth the effort to test those numbers, and it would be a great source of information for any onlookers who are considering the same mods. Question I have is my vehicle ready for a dyno? I want it to be in tip-top shape, don't need a blown engine at this point in the game. With my Honda Accord I could do burnouts and rev it to insane levels (after the ECU was replaced) and just literally beat on it.. The Vitara I haven't ever revved past 4500 RPM, I'm driving it like a granny 99% of the time. Initially it just sounded like a bag of bolts when revving but now it sounds like it's back to a healthy state. I'd still want a pro to examine it before dynoing, that's for sure.
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:54 PM   #33 (permalink)
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A dyno run isn't any more stressful than doing that run to redline on the street, as long as the operator is careful.

As for relearning, since it's an '03, relearning is possible. If you've got a piggyback unit that can run the injectors independently with direct input from the MAF, relearning won't hurt you... but otherwise, you have to take it into consideration.

If you've got something like the Split-second AFC or the Unichip, it's an issue. The Unichip has a feature to spoof the O2 sensor to prevent LTFT from drifting, and one to switch maps (if I recall right, my Q had four separate maps) when a trigger was reached (temperature, AFRs, etcetera) or when you flipped a switch.

One guy on our Mazda board with a Split-second got around LTFT drift using an intercept for the O2 sensor.

And yes, tuning it yourself is risky unless you know what you're doing. And dyno time ain't free.

Like I opined earlier... not worth getting for economy... but if you're getting it for the extra power, consider whatever marginal gains you get for economy (and considering an 03 will be OBDII, which already runs stoich at low loads and cruising, they will be!) as a bonus.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:38 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Myself the last place I'd look for gains is in the tune. OEM does a pretty good job IMO there, I'd attach everything else first, first reliablity, then reliablity, then good tires, then add a 1.5" lift but that won't help mpg wise, but it would help in the snow and looks good, then a winch.

I love quiet, if the exhaust is shot, I'd just replace it a the local muffler shop with about same as stock size and call it good, unless I could buy online cheaper, big pipe only helps at big rpm, normal driving doesn't need it.

I'm watching for a Tracker/Vitara but most of the newer ones around here (03 or 04) are v6, don't need a v6. The 2.0 4x4 5 spd 2 door hard top would be ideal, but rare, I'll settle for 2 door rag or 4 door if the price is right. My almost 15 yo already has 3 months driving under his belt, so for the 4 miles to school and back he'll make do fine with the Stratus just like his older sisters did (mom's at school also so can alway leave his car there) it really would be for me for weekends & just allows me to sell/junk the Stratus. Dragging deer out last winter sucked.

What kind of sucks is I can find similar year Explorers for almost 1/2 the price of a Tracker, with better interiors, probably better maintained, better everything, but mpg. But if I get something too nice my wife will want to drive it and not let me put dead things in back.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:42 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by roosterk0031 View Post
Myself the last place I'd look for gains is in the tune. OEM does a pretty good job IMO there, I'd attach everything else first, first reliablity, then reliablity, then good tires, then add a 1.5" lift but that won't help mpg wise, but it would help in the snow and looks good, then a winch.

I love quiet, if the exhaust is shot, I'd just replace it a the local muffler shop with about same as stock size and call it good, unless I could buy online cheaper, big pipe only helps at big rpm, normal driving doesn't need it.

I'm watching for a Tracker/Vitara but most of the newer ones around here (03 or 04) are v6, don't need a v6. The 2.0 4x4 5 spd 2 door hard top would be ideal, but rare, I'll settle for 2 door rag or 4 door if the price is right. My almost 15 yo already has 3 months driving under his belt, so for the 4 miles to school and back he'll make do fine with the Stratus just like his older sisters did (mom's at school also so can alway leave his car there) it really would be for me for weekends & just allows me to sell/junk the Stratus. Dragging deer out last winter sucked.

What kind of sucks is I can find similar year Explorers for almost 1/2 the price of a Tracker, with better interiors, probably better maintained, better everything, but mpg. But if I get something too nice my wife will want to drive it and not let me put dead things in back.
That combination of 2-door 5speeds are particularly rare. When I was looking, there was basically an unlimited supply of GV's with varying conditions, but only one with the 4 cylinder and 5 speed, this silky silver 4-door base model. I basically had to buy it since then I have only seen one or two 2-doors but they cost more, I could have probably looked nationwide and found one but having the 4 doors comes in handy from time to time and the seats folded down you have a HUGE cargo area. If I can afford it one day down the road, it would be cool to really restore and perfect the ultimate 2-door. Until that day comes, I will strive to have a moderately decent 4-door.

The V6 model might be ideal for some, but I agree it's overkill. I couldn't even consider that, I had a V6 or two in my day and the power is nice but it's not an ideal daily runner. Plus since it is designed with a V6 in mind, there is a ton of room under the hood with the 4 cylinder in there! As far as easy-to-work-on vehicles it's basically a best case scenario.

A lift would be nice, a 1.5-2" lift wouldn't have too big of an impact on MPG. Down the road it's something I would like to look into, but increasing winter performance already has priority: a set of winter tires and I want to replace the U-joints on the front driveshaft, I have the slightest vibration in 4x4 at high speed. Maybe all 4x4's are like this, but it's rediculously smooth in 2 wheel drive and in 4x4 it's not.. as smooth. I bet the U-joint has the whole 150k of mileage on it and it's a bit sore. I'm ordering all new U-joints this week and I will have from now until I need 4x4 this winter to install them.
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Old 08-13-2014, 02:47 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sarguy01 View Post
At 30,000 miles, an increase of 10% from 15 to 16.5 mpg will save $636 at $3.50 a gallon. We are also assuming that a good tune can get 10% more economy. I'd bet that figure would probably be more realistic at less than 5%, if there is any gain at all.

But, remember, not everyone can and should tune their own car. A bad tune can destroy an engine quickly. Tuning and dyno time cost money, so you can probably add another $500-$1000 to the $800-$900 tuning hardware. Now we are up to a $1,300-$1,900+ payback of almost 100,000 miles using the above numbers.

The manufacturers do a very good job of tuning and keeping engines safe. Leaning them out and changing the timing gives them less of a safety margin if there are weather changes, bad gas (lower octane), etc.
You can use conservative "canned" tunes that will slightly lean out the highest load cells, which is extremely helpful to fuel economy for aggressive drivers because the factory tune is usually way too rich.

Leaning out the low load cells is done pretty frequently to save gas while cruising, and on less efficiently geared cars like mine you can definitely get 10% back just from the reduced pumping loss on the freeway. My engine runs at 30% indicated load on the freeway! The torque calculations work out to the engine putting out something like 13% of its available torque, and so it's gotta be running at like 400+ g/kWh BSFC. Highway cruising my car only does like 37mpg, when it has similar drag and RR to a Prius. Most economy cars are doing a bit better but any passenger car with a V6 or V8 is probably doing even worse.

Personally, a tune/piggyback would be one of the first purchases for me on my next car, because it both saves fuel and gets you more power (for relatively cheap compared to an exhaust or something too!), plus you get to fiddle with stuff like cam timing (the cam timing on some cars is set for more "response" and less efficiency).

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Old 08-13-2014, 03:53 PM   #37 (permalink)
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You can use conservative "canned" tunes that will slightly lean out the highest load cells, which is extremely helpful to fuel economy for aggressive drivers because the factory tune is usually way too rich.

Leaning out the low load cells is done pretty frequently to save gas while cruising, and on less efficiently geared cars like mine you can definitely get 10% back just from the reduced pumping loss on the freeway. My engine runs at 30% indicated load on the freeway! The torque calculations work out to the engine putting out something like 13% of its available torque, and so it's gotta be running at like 400+ g/kWh BSFC. Highway cruising my car only does like 37mpg, when it has similar drag and RR to a Prius. Most economy cars are doing a bit better but any passenger car with a V6 or V8 is probably doing even worse.

Personally, a tune/piggyback would be one of the first purchases for me on my next car, because it both saves fuel and gets you more power (for relatively cheap compared to an exhaust or something too!), plus you get to fiddle with stuff like cam timing (the cam timing on some cars is set for more "response" and less efficiency).
So, I think the piggyback would be especially useful after getting my header, but it's rare and no ebay seller has returned my message about shipping yet. I'll get it eventually, but the piggybacks are available any time of the day. I'm really interested in getting one, potentially.. tomorrow or the day after. Looks like you have to splice into the car directly in a lot of cases -- I'm dedicated enough that I'm willing to go that far, but I have a plan. Since all I'm doing is intercepting wires that go INTO the ECU, I think I could just as easily buy a 2nd ECU and do the modifications to it directly. Basically, on the inside of the little pin connector there is a 90 degree elbow of metal, seemingly pretty thick, that I could probably cut and then run a small wire from each side to a hole in the side of the ECU's case. This way I could just unplug the modded ECU and put the stock one back at any time. My specific method of doing so I will put in a more devoted thread somewhere, but I would probably want to go the extra mile in spending the $50-60 on a spare ECU to save cutting any wires on the truck. I've installed mod chips on the tiniest circuits inside game consoles so soldering here will be no problem.

But I need your opinion of something. Alright, so, some people say I should get the wideband o2 and whatnot. Is this to basically know EXACTLY my air/fuel ratio at any given time? For like, really tuning it exactly the way I want? But what if I install the most optimum settings on the piggyback, the whole wideband setup isn't really necessary anymore, is it? Cool to play around with, but.. all I need are the right settings, if I am understanding this correctly.

So, roadracemotorsports.com has many products including some very specific SX4 tuning equipment, and since the SX4 also has the same J20A engine as me, I assume things will bolt on. I am not going to buy anything they carry except their piggyback, they keep recommending me to buy the overdrive pulley but I don't like the pulley's disadvantages. Reading online, 100% of people who have installed their piggyback is looking at a ~3 MPG gain on the highway, no complaints, no ECU re-learning, just a performance boost all around. They claim to have sat there tuning it with over 10 hours of dyno time and have perfected the J20A's A/F ratio map. It could probably be pushed a little further in either the economy or performance direction, but whatever software they have come up with is probably the best all-arounder. So I could probably just use their piggyback and not install the wideband o2 (or at least, not initially). I asked them and they said yes, their software will work great on the Vitara's J20A: "Basically the pulley system and the piggyback ECU will work there. It does make a good difference in power and even economy. WIring it in is easy. It is just a matter of knowing the pinouts on your car. WE will give you instructions for SX4 and you adapt from there."

So, pretty much guaranteed that it WILL work, and the tune should be pretty much bang on being the same engine, but I can get the part itself elsewhere for over $150 less. On the website the picture is photoshopped to not show the logo (??) and it looks like they just put a sticker on it. I could just save the $150 and buy the actual part they send me, but tuning it myself might lead me to buy a $200 wideband o2 sensor, and probably would never get a map close to theirs, dyno time would probably cost more than the whole piggyback. If theirs is perfect, the software is worth the cost difference. What would you do? Can I extract a copy of their software from the unit and then later make small adjustments to it? If so, I think it would be wise to have their software as a base-line. Unless I can just obtain a copy of a good AF map. Then there isn't much point in spending the $150 extra on theirs?
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Old 08-13-2014, 03:59 PM   #38 (permalink)
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So, I think the piggyback would be especially useful after getting my header, but it's rare and no ebay seller has returned my message about shipping yet. I'll get it eventually, but the piggybacks are available any time of the day. I'm really interested in getting one, potentially.. tomorrow or the day after. Looks like you have to splice into the car directly in a lot of cases -- I'm dedicated enough that I'm willing to go that far, but I have a plan. Since all I'm doing is intercepting wires that go INTO the ECU, I think I could just as easily buy a 2nd ECU and do the modifications to it directly. Basically, on the inside of the little pin connector there is a 90 degree elbow of metal, seemingly pretty thick, that I could probably cut and then run a small wire from each side to a hole in the side of the ECU's case. This way I could just unplug the modded ECU and put the stock one back at any time. My specific method of doing so I will put in a more devoted thread somewhere, but I would probably want to go the extra mile in spending the $50-60 on a spare ECU to save cutting any wires on the truck. I've installed mod chips on the tiniest circuits inside game consoles so soldering here will be no problem.

But I need your opinion of something. Alright, so, some people say I should get the wideband o2 and whatnot. Is this to basically know EXACTLY my air/fuel ratio at any given time? For like, really tuning it exactly the way I want? But what if I install the most optimum settings on the piggyback, the whole wideband setup isn't really necessary anymore, is it? Cool to play around with, but.. all I need are the right settings, if I am understanding this correctly.

So, roadracemotorsports.com has many products including some very specific SX4 tuning equipment, and since the SX4 also has the same J20A engine as me, I assume things will bolt on. I am not going to buy anything they carry except their piggyback, they keep recommending me to buy the overdrive pulley but I don't like the pulley's disadvantages. Reading online, 100% of people who have installed their piggyback is looking at a ~3 MPG gain on the highway, no complaints, no ECU re-learning, just a performance boost all around. They claim to have sat there tuning it with over 10 hours of dyno time and have perfected the J20A's A/F ratio map. It could probably be pushed a little further in either the economy or performance direction, but whatever software they have come up with is probably the best all-arounder. So I could probably just use their piggyback and not install the wideband o2 (or at least, not initially). I asked them and they said yes, their software will work great on the Vitara's J20A: "Basically the pulley system and the piggyback ECU will work there. It does make a good difference in power and even economy. WIring it in is easy. It is just a matter of knowing the pinouts on your car. WE will give you instructions for SX4 and you adapt from there."

So, pretty much guaranteed that it WILL work, and the tune should be pretty much bang on being the same engine, but I can get the part itself elsewhere for over $150 less. On the website the picture is photoshopped to not show the logo (??) and it looks like they just put a sticker on it. I could just save the $150 and buy the actual part they send me, but tuning it myself might lead me to buy a $200 wideband o2 sensor, and probably would never get a map close to theirs, dyno time would probably cost more than the whole piggyback. If theirs is perfect, the software is worth the cost difference. What would you do? Can I extract a copy of their software from the unit and then later make small adjustments to it? If so, I think it would be wise to have their software as a base-line. Unless I can just obtain a copy of a good AF map. Then there isn't much point in spending the $150 extra on theirs?
Everyone that buys a tuner gets an MPG increase...don't believe everything you read unless they are offering up some detailed before and after testing.

And never, ever, ever, believe the claims of the people selling the product. They are salesman trying to make money. YOUR money.
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:28 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Everyone that buys a tuner gets an MPG increase...don't believe everything you read unless they are offering up some detailed before and after testing.

And never, ever, ever, believe the claims of the people selling the product. They are salesman trying to make money. YOUR money.
I agree and disagree.

I agree that people are shady as hell. On the product page, they have the text "See Dyno Sheet note the stock fuel curves wasting fuel!" and if you click it, [url=http://www.roadracemotorsports.com/images/SuzukiDynoRRM.jpg]here is the image[/img]. Holy smokes, a +15HP gain! I was sold immediately. But I examined it very carefully, in the bottom it says the blue line is "baseline" and the red line is "cold air, exhaust, pully". That doesn't even mention the piggyback at all. This before-after dyno result could very well the the same car but there is nothing to say they even installed a piggyback on it. Why would they even post this? That, the photoshopped images, sticker on the product's casing, and a few dead links on their website have made me aware that they are not perfect. But, they might know engine tuning. There is a chance that this is better than stock. Spare ECU, modified with this piggyback wired in, if I insert it to my stock system it MAY increase my fuel economy. It's worth a shot, even if it only helps slightly. I will not be using their sales tactics to convince me, I'm using the general public, and reading every user who buys it, specifically from them, and the success they have been having. Everyone is raving about it. People are going from 28 mpg highway to 31 mpg highway. Even if it brought me up to 29 mpg, it's technically better than stock.

On the product page: We have maximized the fuel curves to better take advantage of basic mods like intake, header and exhaust. Regardless of mods, this Piggyback unit will increase h.p. for any N/A SX4! It is also proven to INCREASE GAS MILEAGE. .

So reading that they have designed their map to consider headers and exhaust, I think it will be more appropriate to have their piggyback installed once I have the header. The highway MPG numbers before and after the header will be interesting but also before and after the piggyback, and if I have the modded ECU in such a way that I can swap it out any any point, I can show you all 4 of those scenarios. And once I play around with it a bit, maybe I can tune it further. Step one is deciding which path to go down, but I'm thinking 80% likelyhood I will buy it from them, even if there is a bit of bogus going on. That's the plan currently.

However, it isn't the only option. Sure they have tuned that specific piggyback to 100% of it's possible capabilities, and it works just great and gives me what I want, but there are a dozen options for the same task. Look here and there are 9 different A/F controllers, "split second" is just one of them. The 10th option, however, is the most interesting.

There's a company, Dynotronics, that reflashes your ECU to the ultimate settings, and actually I was reading online and the '03 Vitara is compatible with OBDII-port reflashes, it doesn't have antitune. Instead of buying perfected $250 part for $400, this is a $500 piece of software on your existing ECU. This is a scenario when having a spare ECU is handy. This make me want to have a stack of ECUs... Going to the junkyard on Saturday, there are 5 of these trucks and there's a guy who has a half dozen parting out, I bet I can get spare matching ECUs pretty easily.

"It's a well sorted daily driver tune - meaning it has gone through extensive testing and tweaking and is NOT just a WOT remap. It is a completele ECU reflash, not a chip. You can expect a 2-3mpg gain at minimum during normal driving. Expect 8-10% power increase with a completely stock car, more with a car with exhaust/intake work. If you have a datalogger and want to really dial in your tune, they are more than happy to send it back as many times as you want to get it perfect (shipping at your cost). This means if you ad a header and exhaust or even an intake system down the road and want it retuned, just send it back at your cost and they'll dial it in for you."

So, interestingly, it's bascially what I want. Looks like they even have discounted it to a point where it's close to $400, just a tiny bit more than the piggyback would cost me. So both roads are going to set me back similar amounts.

In this thread, they try both that EXACT piggyback tuned from RPM and the performance tune of the Dynotronics. The even took the two dyno sheets and laid them on top of each other, blue is the ECU tune and the red is the piggyback:



Here's the air fuel map for the same test. They are totally different.



They are basically saying the Dynotronics is better. What are your thoughts?
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:51 PM   #40 (permalink)
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If you want to spend your money, then spend it, after all, it is your money! You already have it spent in your head anyway.

But, if you want to get better mileage, then don't buy anything. You don't need to. You only need to mod the driver as a first step.

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