Joined: 6th Mar 2014
Ride: 1998 XHII XR8
Awesome mate! Look ford to some updates.
Love XH's, Got a XR8 myself.
1998 XHII XR8 Falcon Ute
Tune your car they said…
It’s been a busy three weeks. On Thursday I drove my Ute into work early (albeit on the standard ECU) checking for any mechanical issues afterwards. I knocked off early around 4pm to get some time on the roads out back of Werribee. I fumbled around for about half an hour getting my windows 8 tablet to connect to the EMS Stinger. I used the trim function in a similar manor to my last post as the car warmed up to temperature (think of it as a labour intensive cold start). I kept note of the fuel trim percentage at various temps for future use.
Let the games begin
1st gear was rich, which was my intention. So I started broad, adjusting cells in 1000rmp increments and then just smoothing the map out in-between. All the time I was aiming for about 13:1 AFR on the gauge to keep the mixtures safe. I was surprised how quickly I made progress. 2nd gear agreed pretty well with the my original settings, with the only areas that seemed to play up around 1500rpm (when the turbo begins to spool) and then again 2100rpm (around when boost kicks in/ waste gate opens shuts).
The car was pretty drivable after about 20 minutes without any fouled plugs or detonation.
The timing map I have been using is generally between 18-30 degrees advance on vacuum, retarding back as far as 10-15 degrees advance on boost.
From my logbook:
Ambient Air Temp 26 degrees Celsius
Intake Air Temp 35-45 degrees Celsius
Coolant Temp 93-98 degrees Celsius
Idle Vacuum -68KPa
Fuel Pressure 241KPa
Injectors 22 pound
So I adjusted the fuel for 1st and 2nd gears across the entire rev range, as well as up to about 3500rpm in 3rd I then jumped on the freeway and adjusted cruise in 4th and 5th. Battery was getting a touch low so I called in at a friend’s place in Tarniet and recharged the tablet. By this time it was about 5.30pm
With nothing to do while the tablet charged he and I went for a quick spin on the tune I had just pieced together.
Accelerating the AFR gauge looked how I hoped (about 13:1), with only a few lean zones usually upon initial acceleration. However, deceleration mixtures were very rich. My gauge stops goes as low as 10:1 and this is where it sat. Flashing at me.
It was now getting late so I checked what vacuum the engine was seeing on deceleration. This was about -86KPa. So I simply enabled the “deceleration fuel cut” function on the EMS to avoid fouling the spark plugs on the way home. I set this function at -85KPa.
I have since turned this function off as fuel cut makes it very difficult to adjust mixtures on the fly.
The next few days I fiddled with the cold start a fair bit, not very interesting. I didn’t get to tuning on the street. It’s too busy out my side of town to be driving around, watching the road, with a laptop, watching an AFR gauge, and adjusting the mixtures… in a manual.
^^All parked up with nowhere to go
Long story short it took me about four days to convince my girlfriend to take on the role of engine tuner.
Our first car date was on the eastern freeway that Sunday. We drove about 15kms to a BBQ. We only adjusted the cruise mixtures while I relayed my extensive knowledge about tuning. An entire afternoon’s worth.
On the drive home everything f**k up.
After a while of going through maps, settings, and overrides I found that there had been an error in transfer from my laptop to the EMS stinger. Fuel map override adjustment was set to 11600% more fuel at 0KPa and 11680% at 10KPa. A touch high methinks.
I fixed this immediately.
From this point on the occasional ‘spike’ popped up on the fuel grid. This was usually one isolated cell with a ridiculous value; such as 150%.
After a few days of struggling with these ‘spikes’, I ended up contacting EMS. They told me to send the computer in for testing. I did so the next morning. EMS replaced the communications chip and heat sync, as well as reflowing the board with a heat gun. It was back and ready to go by Friday!
Over the week that followed the Ute received three nights of tuning. One night on the freeway, one in the hills, and one that saw us lost somewhere out back of Greensborough for about half an hour!
Saturday lunch we went up into the Dandenong Ranges for a bushwalk at my suggestion. Naturally we drove the sleepy grey XH.
Ambient Air Temp 32 degrees Celsius
Intake Air Temp 55-65 degrees Celsius
Coolant Temp 93-98 degrees Celsius
Idle Vacuum -65KPa
Fuel Pressure 241KPa
Injectors 22 pound
By now the tune was pretty sweet, always sitting around 13:1 on acceleration and at cruise, still rich at 11:1 on deceleration… but who cares.
The real issue was the intake temperatures, peaking at 65 degrees on a 32 degree day concerned me. I installed the intercooler that afternoon.
^^So after a quick trip to Bunnings to grab one last fitting I filled the cooler system up with water and waited for it to self-bleed (video clip)
^^I also did a very rough sand and paint on the tray panel. This is by no means the finished product; it’s just to camouflage the panel in the back tray.
^^I had some ratty old porous rubber mat in the shed, another temporary measure.
So the next morning we went for another bushwalk. The Mrs found my sudden interest in the great outdoors amusing.
Ambient Air Temp 28-32 degrees Celsius
Intake Air Temp 46-56 degrees Celsius
Coolant Temp 93-98 degrees Celsius
Idle Vacuum -65KPa
Fuel Pressure 241KPa
Injectors 22 pound
Monday saw the Sleepy Grey Ute getting tuned over the course of a round trip to Barwon Heads. We shifted the entire fuel map down 4% across the board. By doing so we adjusted the air-fuel ratios to around 14:1 everywhere on the map. Well, almost everywhere. The tune is going well, but I’m still having some issues around 1500rmp and 2100rpm.
We set the fuel percentage to read 14:1AFR then took the Ute for a quick spin to check the ratio was constant. After stopping for lunch the car soon returned to similar intake and air temps. Ambient air temp was roughly the same too. The AFR Gauge now showed anything from 11:1 to 15:1.
Sitting @1250rpm fine
Sitting @1500rpm sometimes s**t (this only happens on the odd occasion)
Sitting @1750rpm fine
Sitting @2100rpm s**t (constantly getting different AFR readings)
Sitting @2200rpm fine again
Anything >2200 good
Any ideas would be appreciated!
For the entire drive home the ambient air temperature was 29 degrees Celsius. Intake temps were firm at 54 degrees whether stopped in traffic or cruising on the highway.
This is better than Saturday’s 65 degree peak, but I still want it cooler. I can see three places where I can improve:
•The intercooler is about an inch below the panel – I think it is sucking just as much air from the hot smugglers area, as from the cool tray
•As Mad pointed out, the intake is just a pod filter at the end of the turbo. Hardly the best place for it.
•A Turbo Beanie could reduce the temperature of the whole area. This would be good for intercooler and intake temps. The turbo is situated so far back that the beanie won’t cook the exhaust housing. Especially given my lowish boost application.
So here is my plan:
1. Fit an auxiliary intake temp sensor further from the motor to check if the temperatures I’m reading are heat soak related.
2. I’m going to fit an inch high apron, initially made from trusty cardboard and gaff tape, around the intercooler. This should encourage the thermo fans to draw air from the tray rather than the smuggler’s area. If this proves effective I’ll be replacing the cardboard apron with rubber… similar to a door seal.
3. I just ordered a Turbo Beanie on ebay.
4. Install a silicon elbow and piece of steel pile to relocate the pod filter away from the turbo, and directly above a 70mm x 40mm hole in the chassis (kindly supplied by Ford). The filter will now be located at the front, driver’s side of the enclosure. The area will later be converted into an air box if temps remain high.
Joined: 23rd Feb 2014
Ride: supercharged el xr6 m112
great build thread mate , any more updates?
do you notice much lag with the setup and have you had it on the dyno for any power runs? look forward to more details when you have them cheers
Duplicate please delete
Last edited by street_xh on Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Finally some results!
Well I’m back after a few months away from the internet! The tunning took a good turn after my last post.
Firstly, I pulled the waste gate apart and cleaned it, then put it back together again, instantly my boost related tune issue disappeared. I also stopped trying to get 14.7 AFR, and settled for around 12-13 most of the time. The car was now driving a lot better.
Next I bought a turbo beanie:
I noticed that my fuel map was showing duty cycles of 50% to 100%. So after discussing it in depth with a mate we decided to fiddle with the injector scaling, so that we would have more control over the map. After adjusting the injector scaling the duty cycle was now between 24% and 100%. This meant I had more adjustment at my disposal, and low and behold tunning got easier.
We were getting ready for a big move from Melbourne to Cairns. The Ute needed to be running sound for this trip. Firstly thing I wanted my air-con back. The problem is when my car is cruising at 110km/h or at 75km/h, it is starting to see boost. This caused my air vents to start opening and closing when the vacuum controls see positive pressure. A one-way valve on the vacuum line fixed my problem; the ventilation system can either see vacuum or nothing. I found this fix in the Fordmods archives.
I was happy with cruising in air conditioned comfort however the 3 foot long 3” exhaust started to get annoying. The Mrs was away for the weekend so I decided to soundproof the interior. I removed the centre console, seats and carpets. At the same time I removed the sub from the smugglers area.
Some photos are below:
Sub Hole – what a mess… this is bit better now but still needs work
New brackets fitted for rear radiator
Soundproof matting fitted
Actual Finished product
The seats are from my old red Ute.
I had meant to measure the sound before and after but never ended up doing this. It made marginal difference. I think I need to do the doors and the pillars near the back window, then the sound dampening will be significant.
I also ran wires and setup a relay for controlling my rear thermo-fans. This will be my last output on the EMS, I will have the rear thermos switch on at around 40 degrees intake temps, but will also fit an override switch.
Next thing was to fix my headlights. The previous owner had fitted HID low-beams and the ballasts were slowly dying. I did some research and apparently it’s caused by switching from high to low beams, such as when I flash someone or dip my headlights. The HID ballasts cannot handle being quickly switched on and off. So with the help of the Fordmods crew I rewired the low beams to stay on when I switch to high beams.
Some cheap EBay ballasts did the trick as a replacement, they haven’t played up yet:
Snort gave me a call to see how I was traveling and he talked me into getting the car professionally tunned given the 3000km I was about to drive… all be it the week we were planning leaving! He came down on the Tuesday night and brought some new 40pound Siemens injectors.
So first thing we did was fit the injectors. These were duds, and didn’t work from the get go. Needless to say Snorty was a bit s**t as he had bought them a while back and didn’t have a receipt. Anyway we ended up fitting some 60 pound injectors instead.
Wednesday morning we got the car on the dyno.
The tuner noticed that I had some lifter noise, which I was aware of but crunch time was too soon to be playing around removing the cam and/or replacing tappets. I was determined to get away that Saturday. After the first few runs the top radiator hose started to bulge. I was a bit s**t because I had replace this 12 months earlier. Snort and I ducked out and got a new one.
After about 40mins on the dyno and having tried a few different combinations with the waste gate we did a power run and the Sleepy Grey XH pulled 245rwkws @ 8-9pounds of boost! We did another three runs and this levelled to 240rwkws consecutively. As I am running the standard diff and transmission we left it here, despite Snorty begging to put the boost back to 14psi where we had it earlier!
We used my timing map, and only made a few minor adjustments which made me feel pretty good as it was my back-yard job! Fuel map was different due to the new injectors. All the settings for the computer were fine, however the water temp sensor was configured wrong, which could have contributed to some of my issues earlier.
Completely forgot to get a print out in the end, but here is the photo I took at the time
Lag was f**k all as I already knew from tuning the car myself but it was good to hear the guys at the workshop mention it was about equivalent to xr6t they had seen.
^^ Ready for the long haul
She’ll hold together
So Saturday lunch time we left on the big trip, the Sleepy Grey Ute was loaded up-to the eyeballs with two dogs, all my tools, and a 10x5 trailer containing most of our possessions. I had purchased about 5 bottles of octane booster and we were carrying about 60 litres of extra fuel.
The brakes on the trailer needed adjusting but I just wanted to get going. We arrived in Cobram around 5pm. We drove out of town towards Tocumwal and set up camp on the banks of the Murray. The first day’s driving went well.
I can’t find the photo of our first nights camp: here’s one of the dogs
Next day we got up early so that we could adjust the high beams on the road; the trailer and the heavy load had thrown them out. While I was doing this Kim noticed some oil under the car. After some investigation I discovered the catch can was leaking.
We drove for about two hundred km made a wrong turn and didn’t realise for about half an hour! Anyway when I was turning around I stalled the Ute and the starter motor wouldn’t engage anymore… bugger
For 12 months the high torque starter motor hadn’t miss a beat!
So we made some food and I had a think about what was wrong. I had a spare starter motor with me however it doesn’t fit up well. The standard motor fouls with my rear throttle body, hence the reason I fitted the high torque one in the first place. In the end we put the car in gear and rocked it… this wasn’t easy with the amount of load on board! The flywheel rotated just a little and the car started again.
Our second nights camp was a few hundred km’s south of Cunnamulla. I drove up a power line access track and found a pretty good campsite. On the rough track the front left of the car was rattling like crazy, so I investigated after we stopped. Due to the gravel driving one of the control arm bushes had packed it in, I forced some rubber mat in there to quieten it down but it was still pretty bad! At least the car started the next morning.
In Cunnamulla we stopped for fuel and water. I checked the car over. It had used about 100ml of oil with some heavy driving when overtaking on the Mitchell Highway. I attributed this oil use to blow by. Front left tyre was a bit low on pressure. I just pumped it up as I was carrying two spares for the car. The rear tyres were at 44psi and still bulging, my toolbox on the draw bar probably wasn’t helping!
From here we pushed on through to Longreach. I had been meaning to get a photo of the Sleepy Ute here next to the entrance to town but it so was late that CBF kicked in. Oh well, another trip maybe…
We camped on the side of the road.
The next morning was a late start; too many roos on the road. We stopped in Winton, fuelled up and got some supplies. From Winton we decided to take the Kennedy Developmental Road to Hughenden. The council website said that it was almost completed, with just 50km left unsealed; the website lied!
While my control arm was rattling a fair bit the car held up ok, and we left arrived in Hughenden mid-morning. In town I did the sums on fuel consumption. So far we were getting 18.5Litres per 100km. By this math we would get to the oasis roadhouse with about 30 litres of fuel to spare so I was happy. More starter motor problems leaving Hughenden but we got going without too much fuss.
10 seconds before a massive stone chip in the front of my bonnet
From Winton onwards Kim (read “my automotive tuner”) had had been setting up a sort of manual “lean cruise” by trimming some fuel while keeping an eye on our temps. However with outside temperatures in the forties this was no longer an option when we left Hughenden on our way to The Lind Junction. We had actually added fuel to the map trying to cool the Sleepy Grey Ute down as intake temps hit 55 degrees. Then they hit 65 degrees.
Bear in mind that with a full tray and dog kennel above the intercooler I had switched my thermo fans off, they weren’t making a difference anyway. Intake temps reached 70 degrees and we decided to pull over and give the Ute a rest.
So at a cosy 45degrees outside we went for a walk up-to Bottle-tree lookout. Nice view, I was keen to get back to the a/c cabin though. The dogs were hating it. I adjusted the trailer brakes some more and finally got them how I wanted.
Back in the Ute and the road started to get really rough. I became the Corrugation King; finding the least worst road position but it was pretty bad! The front left was rattling a lot. Intake air temps sat at 65 degrees as the ambient temperature plummeted to 40.
The fences in this area of the world are really just for show:
That night we camped on the edge of a creek which was a welcome relief, the dogs were the first into the water, closely followed by myself
^^ the Sleepy Grey XH is parked just up the hill above camp, in case of starter motor problems
Final days drive down to Cairns the Ute went fine, however the trailer wiring packed it in and I had to run auxiliary wires for brakes, indicators and tail lights from the back of the car. Cheap Chinese looms are s**t. Lifters are getting super noisy so they are the next on the agenda. That and the front bushes. My starter motor will take some thinking.
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