What the stock 75 TS Motronic can and cannot do. - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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post #16 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Duk, thanks for this information, although I'm now somewhat concerned about how much latitude the Motronic will be able to handle even with a remapped ECU.

What can I expect from a remapped ECU? I certainly don't want to lose all of the good stuff (technical term) but I want the Motronic to be able to recognize 'slightly' oversized injectors. I would think that even if I don't have Spruell modify his 10.5:1 TS pistons to 10.3:1 would that be a big deal with a remapped ECU?

Jim, again thanks for your comments. It sure seems to me that if one stayed with the dual distributors, there should be some sort of solution to have planned (?) pre-detonation. Okay, I have to admit I have no idea how these distributors work. The shop manual only tells how to align them once removed. That said, the rotor in the distributor drawing in the shop manual appears to be an analog rotor. Whereas mine appear to have an electronic pick-up rather than a brass 'contact'.

If I'm correct regarding an electronic pick-up on the rotor, couldn't it be staggered a few degrees clockwise on say the forward distributor? As I think about it, probably not.

I am very interested in having a knock sensor, but is there any way one could be tied into the Motronic's ECU so that it would then retard the ignition timing when sensing knock?

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post #17 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-07-2012, 08:55 PM
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Duk, thanks for this information, although I'm now somewhat concerned about how much latitude the Motronic will be able to handle even with a remapped ECU.

What can I expect from a remapped ECU? I certainly don't want to lose all of the good stuff (technical term) but I want the Motronic to be able to recognize 'slightly' oversized injectors. I would think that even if I don't have Spruell modify his 10.5:1 TS pistons to 10.3:1 would that be a big deal with a remapped ECU?
Ahhh! Proper remaps are the ONLY way to go (within the capacity of the ECU) if you plan to retain the factory computer. There are other ways, but we'll keep that for a different day.
What people need to understand is that there are fuel and ignition maps inside the factory ECU in the same way there are fuel and ignition maps inside an after market ECU. There is, however, a rather different approach in their 'internal lingo' in the way they tend to intemperate certain stuff, particularly engine load.
When a car manufacture/ECU supplier (like Bosch) tune a/their computer, they calibrate the processors interpretation of various sensor's data and change the fuel and ignition maps. What they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO is fiddle externally with sensor values or fuel pressures to get their desired results. And it doesn't matter who's marketing says what (No one here on the AlfaBB, but there are a few aftermarket controller makers that make such claims) about that.
Car manufacturers get right inside the coding in their ECU's.
This can also be done by those who truly know what they are doing. Fortunately there are people in the world who have figured out what is going on inside the ECU. Actually, they have been able to look at the raw Hex code in the ECU 'chip (stupid word)' and figure out what parts of the code do what. That is, what lines of the code represent the fuel maps and the ignition maps (amongst a whole bunch of other stuff!).
Real tuners who want to change fuel and ignition timing at given rev and load points do so by changing the appropriate information inside the Hex code.
That way, 1 breed/brand/model of computer could be used to run an engine from the lowliest shopping trolly to a very decent performance car all because of what is programmed into the 'chip (still a stupid word)'.

*** The 'chip' in older computers (car ECU's haven't had them for 10+ YEARS) is called an EPROM. 2 translations of that are: Erasable/Programmable Read Only Memory or Electronically Programmable Read Only Memory.
On the 'chip' is all of the data that tells the processing unit how to interpret the data from the various variable voltage or variable resistance sensors, how to calculate engine speed and position via the crank/cam angle/engine position sensor(s) and what to do in all of the myriad of combinations of engine speed, load, engine temperature, air temperature, knock sensor feedback, EGO sensor feedback and others. It will also contain the data for the 'self learn' corrections that are applied.***

If you want to have a good look at how Nissan ECU work, have a look at ECU Tuning. You can learn how involved factory ECU's are.
For some offline (not real time) tuning software for Nissan ECU's, go to z31.com | Nissan PROM tuning and download Live Edit.
Now obviously this is not applicable to Alfa Romeo's and Bosch ECU's, but it can help people learn what is going on inside their ECU. If you can get your hands on the software for an EPROM read/programmer like the Darkwire stuff, then you can actually look at the Hex code in the Nissan ECU files that come with the Live Edit software.
Live edit won't let you change certain things in the Nissan coding. In particular, it won't let you change the 'airflow meter limits'. What lots of people call the 'over boost fuel cut'. It's not a fuel cut and it's not based on boost pressure. What it is, is a 'potentially faulty condition' that causes the ECU to dump extra fuel into the engine and retard ignition timing if the airflow meter shows 'to much air flow' (to high an AFM voltage at a given rev point. That will happen when the boost is wound up in turbo cars). These changes can be made in the raw Hex code IF you know where to look!
Why any mention of Nissan stuff? Well I do believe that the very early digital Nissan ECU were based on early Bosch digital systems. Probably not applicable directly to Bosch stuff, but given the sheer lack of REAL info out there (at least in English), and a very good aftermarket support for a the popular Nissan's, you've gotta get your info and education from where you can .

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post #18 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 01:13 AM
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I always wondered why nobody (?) in NA has set up a shop/dyno with the capacity to remap all kinds of factory ecu's. There are several serious companies in Europe who will sell or rent this know-how and equipment to any such aspiring business. These people -as Duk said- get inside the factory codes and have translated the ..alien hex to appropriate x-y tables with load/rpm/fuel/advance/temp/xxxx. When inside, you can access all engine parameters and optimize all on a brake dyno. Its funny, but you can always get more power from the std ecu by doing this! Why? Because the oem guys have allowed for 'worst case condition operation' meaning low octane fuel, high altitude, high temperature an high load...On the average, if all these are eliminated and your only condition is trackday use with great fuel, you can sure get more power out of the std ecu with no other changes. This however, has been minimized with the passing of time, as ecu's have knock sensors, trionic spark systems, sophisticated lamda control and 'learning' features. I am digressing here though..
Ok, back to mapping std ecu's; have a look here: Engine tuning parts - Dimsport Technology
and here: Electronic Chip Tuning
Costs are very reasonable for anyone deciding to add this twist to their business, especially if they already have a dyno. Tech support is great and they will even help you over the phone for hours on end if you have a problem. These people analyze new cars as they appear and they sell/rent the 'ready-to-play' maps to their customers. Just browse the two above sites and see how many cars they deal with. Selling modified chips is only one aspect of what they do.
Back to the TS, distributor positioning has nothing to do with advance. You just have to make sure they line up to supply the spark. That's the reason the rotor has a wide brass tip: the spark will occur sooner or later but the rotor will not 'advance' as in older distributors with springs/weights.
A few words about 'fooling' std management. The std 1.8T has .65bar (9.6psi) boost and 155hp. Since this Alfa engine has proved to be one of the most robust units around, I decided to go for ~18psi boost in my road car, with as few changes as possible, after the initial CR increase to 8:1 -up from 7.5:1 by milling 1mm off the head. There are a few prerequisites before embarking on similar projects and in this case a timing light, wbO2 and a %CO meter. Having the car in proper std form, I drove around with the wbO2 jotting down all different readings and conditions. Light cruising gave 16:1 afr and max power 11:1. Idle CO was adjusted to a factory 1% and fuel pressure a std 2.8bar (41psi). Ok, time for change! Out goes the infamous Pierburg valve (wastegate controller in the std 1.8T) and in goes a manual valve (~40) set at ~1.3bar (19psi). Figuring I would definitely need higher fuel pressure (not changing the injectors) I replaced the regulator with an Aeromotive unit and the pump with a Bosch performance unit, 0580254044 (total ~280). To make a long story short, I ended up having to crank up fuel pressure to 54psi, reduce idle advance to 4* BTDC (from 8*) and tighten the afm clockspring to obtain the same general afr's as before. The car has 210hp and ~32kgm (231ftlbs). Granted, with the ancient Garrett T3 its still a pig low down, but in a little while it'll be replaced with a GT2854R, from which I expect great things! Anyway, I outlined all this to show that sometimes we can change factory systems to our benefit if we really know how. In my case, I even have a set of higher flow matched Weber -044 injectors, which would allow me to reduce fuel pressure to std, loosen the clockspring and increase boost to maybe 1.6bar (over 23psi). In this case, the std ignition ecu becomes very questionable and it would be best replaced with a programmable MSD ignition for excellent tuneability. We're then looking at ~260-270hp from the std fuel ecu and afm....Not bad I'd say. All this, for a total cost of a manual boost valve+Aeromotive regulator+Bosch performance pump+4 injectors+MSD+new snail+exhaust pipe= 1800 = $2300. Sorry for the long post guys....
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post #19 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 02:06 AM
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Jim, there is a seller on Ebay selling Motronic tuning software.
Aspiring tuners would still need an EPROM emulator, a chip reader/writer and blank chips of the size, type and access speed that the Bosch uses. These old digital system EPROM are getting pretty rare these days. It doesn't matter if access speed is faster but slower isn't a good idea.
Electronically rewritable chips (still need a chip programmer but they can just be overwritten rather than erased 1st) can be had but they need to be the right physical size.

Note that it probably can't do realtime tuning like a programmable system can.
This isn't a big deal but having data logging equipment that logs AFR's, engine speed and engine load would be a must, that way you can see what happened in what conditions. Obviously keeping an eye on AFR and ear for knock is essential to make sure nothing dangerous happens when doing data log runs.
The biggest problem is converting the AFM signal to the actual load points used inside the chip. Certainly with the Nissan ECU you can't just look at AFM voltage and interpret that as the ECU's load point, it is MUCH more complicated than that.
That is, the AFM is a 0-5volt device. The maps are 16 rev x 16 load points but you can't just divvy 5 volts up into 16 equal pieces to determine which voltage equal what load point.
I would guess that the Bosch would be similar.

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post #20 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 03:51 AM
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What these guys do (I've sat with them in a couple of sessions with my 3liter) is real time stuff on the dyno. They set the load/speed on the rollers and vary fuel/advance checking torque and afr. All the equipment necessary to do this is offered by the links I posted. When finished with the dyno run throughout the speed/load range, the new info is loaded on a new chip (or an erased old one) and that's it.
One thing, its getting rare to find the old 256/512 DIL-28 eprom chips... Very few places still have them for sale!...Not that our cars are state of the art...
About 5 years ago, a mapping joint closed here in Athens and were offering everything for sale (no dyno) for ~3,000€ ...Unfortunately, I took too long to decide I wanted the stuff and someone else bought it. Them guys are now a few financial light years ahead of me...
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post #21 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 04:04 AM
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What these guys do (I've sat with them in a couple of sessions with my 3liter) is real time stuff on the dyno. They set the load/speed on the rollers and vary fuel/advance checking torque and afr. All the equipment necessary to do this is offered by the links I posted. When finished with the dyno run throughout the speed/load range, the new info is loaded on a new chip (or an erased old one) and that's it.
Was their equipment able to tell them where the Bosch was looking at any given rev/load point? Cost of the equipment they used?

It's all redundant for me, I've got an Adaptronic E420c for my 75

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post #22 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 04:05 AM
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One thing, its getting rare to find the old 256/512 DIL-28 eprom chips... Very few places still have them for sale!...Not that our cars are state of the art...
Just make a simple adapter board and run a 32 pin flash IC in place of the old EPROM, and you can switch the additional address lines to swap between different maps then.

Edit: I just looked at those links, and allcarracing.it's "multi-eprom kit" is just that - with a circuit to switch A lines from a rotary switch.

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post #23 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 05:36 AM
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The x-y maps on the laptop screen gave numerical values (ms) for injector operation and he went to the 'box' in use at any particular time and altered the value looking at afr. I don't know the current cost of everything required (emulators, burners, programmers, universal adaptors etc) but you should be able to get an answer from the two sites mentioned.
I also have a new and still unused E420C I got, but for the 24v I chose to use the std 164Q4 management which will soon be remapped. It has a hot-film afm so no flaps or restriction, sequential injection, two knock sensors, two lamda sensors (one per bank) cam sensor, coil-on-plug...That's std Bosch stuff for this engine and ...1992 vintage, 20 years old now! I just find hard to believe the E420c would do any better!
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post #24 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 05:36 PM
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The cost of the hardware to do this is quite low - you could get set up for just a couple of hundred dollars. The tricky part is knowing where the maps and parameters are that you want to change

I had a very quick look at a rom dump from a 75 last night, and there appears to be a bunch of tables starting at 0x4000H. I also found a few of the functions that reference some of the maps - but without a schematic of the ECU and a *lot* of time and effort, I have no way of knowing what any of these maps are, or how the values are calculated.

If a table was identified, it would be a simple job to write a definition file to get a generic tuning program to interpret the data, then you could edit the table and 'upload' the new bin to an eprom emulator in the ECU - or burn to a flash chip to plug in to the ECU.
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post #25 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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While way over my head, I find this discussion very interesting and keep it going as long as you care to.

However, if any or all of you can give me a reasonable guesstimate as to what an 'enhanced' chip* for a 'stock' engine would offer that the original one doesn't. I'm guessing it allows for an increased rev limit along with more fuel at higher rpm's. I would assume that there also might be changes in the ignition timing at 'some point'.

Perhaps I should start from the beginning. The TS will go into my '75 Alfetta GT daily driver. This means I want a minimum of downtime, so I'm trying to cover all bases beforehand.

It's very doubtful there will be any track-days, but I want to be able to leave it in gear should I be on some twisty roads which might mean high revs. I don't do heel and toe for diddle. Of course all rotating parts will be balanced.

One of the most important features I want is for the engine to maintain a good idle, Especially when the A/C is on.

I'll add should there be any situations where an enhanced chip might cause a problem, the Alfetta does not take well to idling or going slow when the temp is much over 85 F.

This isn't very orderly, but there will be no catalytic converter though I have a bung installed for an oxygen/lambda sensor before the resonator.

I'd be happy with 148 HP at the rear wheels, though a few more would be welcome, providing it doesn't impinge on drivability.

*Sorry Duk, even the fellow who wrote my Bosch (1989) book uses the word chip.

Boy does this look like a magnetic pick-up to me.
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post #26 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-08-2012, 08:52 PM
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This is the top distributor and like the bottom one, it has no pickups, nothing. Both TS engine distributors are 'dumb'; all they do is distribute HV. The sparks are generated by the ecu based on a number of inputs: crank toothed wheel inductive pickup (which supplies rpm+crank angle) afm (load+air temp) coolant temp sensor and throttle switch. As Bosch says, one of the throttle switch functions is to enable proper idle speed which is mostly set in Motronic systems by varying the spark advance as this is considered faster acting than the idle stepper motor. You can verify this by hooking up a timing light on idle and turning various loads on/off (lights/aircon/heater etc).
A 'chip' for the TS will maybe give you 6-8hp more than your engine has, it will move up the rpm limiter and will most probably hurt economy -as some friends observed here. As to your 148hp idea... I know some dynos measure std TS cars at 125-135hp on the engine....so don't be too optimistic about what to expect on the wheels!
One word about your pic: note how wide the brass rotor tip is and remember what I said about this a few posts back.

Festy: As I said, these companies sell/rent what you need to map cars and you are seeing proper x-y maps with real values, just like with the aftermarket ecu's. Buying outright costs a few thousand $$ but you can see and address all important tables (idle, warmup, fuel/rpm, advance/rpm etc).
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post #27 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 12:20 AM
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Festy: As I said, these companies sell/rent what you need to map cars and you are seeing proper x-y maps with real values, just like with the aftermarket ecu's.
Here's a screenshot of how my tables are displayed for editing. I was playing with some rev limiter settings this morning, hence the rev bounce at 3600rpm in the logs (if you can even read those numbers).
This one is an old GM ECU, not a motronic - but it's the same vintage, and it's running a nord now at least

What I was getting at was that if the tables in the motronic were deciphered, they would be displayed just like this - and anyone with an eeprom emulator and a laptop could have a go at tuning themselves.

I found a basic map definition file for the 155 Q4 on the net last night, so 'home tuning' of those is already possible by the looks of it.

The (free) software I'm using is ECU agnostic, it just needs to be told where in the eprom image to find the tables and how to interpret the values.
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post #28 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 01:53 AM
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I also have a new and still unused E420C I got, but for the 24v I chose to use the std 164Q4 management which will soon be remapped. It has a hot-film afm so no flaps or restriction, sequential injection, two knock sensors, two lamda sensors (one per bank) cam sensor, coil-on-plug...That's std Bosch stuff for this engine and ...1992 vintage, 20 years old now! I just find hard to believe the E420c would do any better!
Jim K.
Nissan were also providing that sort of technology back then too (a little earlier). So was Toyota, but they preferred MAP sensors.
Definitely, for a decent road car, a properly sorted and capable factory system with Zillions of dollars/euros/pounds of development will achieve much. Here in Oz, the madest of the Ford Falcon XR6 turbo's use retuned factory ECU. 1 company who were very strong Motec supporters/users dumped Motec systems on their earlier engine once the equipment for properly tuning the OEM ECU became available.
Obviously they have their limitations tho. Packaging is one that I found a problem when adding forced induction to some cars. The AFM can seriously get in the way and cause all kinds of challenges.
Then there are auxiliary control features. Not the the Alfa has it, but the Adaptronic will control continuously variable (not just a single step) valve timing but the E420c can only do 2 camshafts, not 4.
Mad camshafts and AFM's aren't a great combination, but could possibly be made to work.
Reversion back through turbos (big turbo equipped Nissan GTR are pretty notorious for this) can cause the AFM signal to measure air in the opposite direction when the engine doesn't need it and cause fun things to happen. Similar story to externally venting blow off valves.

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post #29 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 09:19 AM
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My most 'sophisticated' application so far is the 24v engine and as long as it has one throttle plate I believe the stock 164Q4 management (Bosch 3.7) to be entirely adequate for any upgrades. If my proposed 3.2 with ITB's ever gets off the ground, maybe it'll be time for the e420c.
On the other hand, the 1.8T engine is clearly ...Bedrock vintage and therefore perfectly happy with the remapped Marelli management from the almost equally ancient Sierra Cosworth 2wd (~1985, L6 ecu) or the very similar -but more advanced- Lancia Integrale management (L8 ecu). Correctly mapped on the dyno (and possibly road-trimmed) these systems are capable of exploiting 100% what these engines can do and I for one, am happy to leave it at that.
I still mess a bit with some electronics wizardry -when I have to- but I think I'll leave the serious delving to more eager and inquisitive minds, as according to the now famous phrase ...I'm too old for this $hit!
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post #30 of 815 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 05:44 PM
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I've disassembled a 75 TS rom image and started work on creating a tunerpro definition file for it this morning.
I have a couple of 3d tables mapped out already - I think I might possibly have a spark advance and/or a VE table from the look of the graphs, but will need to work my way through a lot more code before I can really tell what I'm looking at.
I haven't got as far as determing the calculations to show any 'real world' numbers in those tables yet, but at least it's a start

When I get a bit further with this (assuming I actually do), I'll have to get myself of one of these ECUs so I can play around a bit.
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