Jeff Perrin

May 172012

I spent a bunch of time reading about the NAV system and how it works. In doing so, i discovered something pretty cool! Just another cool way to personalize your BRZ/FR-S. 

So how did we do this? Simple, make a graphic, make it high quality, put on an SD card, plug it in and load it up!

The image can be an 16:9 image, and 1980px wide seems to be good, as well as 1280px wide. But other than that, there isn’t much to go on in the manual. I had to experiment quite a bit to get it close.

OEM SD card will not work so you will have to go get your own. While i was looking through the data on the OEM SD card I found this interesting folder….

Speed cam folder? I wonder how this is used, or can be used?


 Posted by on May 17, 2012 BRZ / FR-S, Misc. B.S. Tagged with: , , ,
May 142012

It seems as though most BRZ/FR-S owners same the same thing, DON’T DRILL MY BUMPER FOR THE FRONT PLATE!!!

This is the first Subaru (probably not first Scion) where there is an option for NOT putting holes in the front bumper. Taking advantage of this, we quickly adapted our Impreza “Front License Plate Relocate Kit” to the BRZ. It uses the OEM tow hook hole and port to install the front plate. So NO DRILLING REQUIRED! Check out the pics below! It’s a bit of a work in progress, but its a start. Take a look at a few of the shots!

BTW, this is not our current part we sell. So for those looking for a quick fix, it may take a few weeks.

Mounted with no plate.

This is what it looks like not installed on the car. Simple, aluminum, and stainless steel construction, nothing to rust!

A shot behind the plate.

It didn’t take long to get this prototype going, and we do not expect it to take long to get the production pieces on the shelf. Keep an eye out for this part in the next few weeks!

May 122012

Dealer called me last week saying our BRZ was going to be delivered on the 15th. Thursday May 10th, a BRZ was delivered in Seattle and I just had this feeling…

Friday May 11th, Kalei at Wentworth Subaru called me up and told me the best news I had heard all week!  YOUR BRZ IS HERE

Below are some of the pics I took while at the dealer on Friday.

Before we get to the pics, I took a rather twisty road back to the shop, and while I didn’t “Beat” on the car, I did push it a few times in corners, and lets just say, this IS NOT EVEN CLOSE to feeling like my STI. The steering is better, the car leans less than a stock STI, it sounds cooler than a stock STI (sorry boxer rumble fans) shifter is better than STI (hard to top that), the brakes are very solid feeling, and lastly the seats and seating position make me NEVER want to drive my STI again.

The only minor minor complaint are a couple of rattles. I fixed one of them after putting the car on the lift. The other is in the shifter i think. Nothing to worry about yet.  Oh and a couple more things. Dealer put regular gas in the car (could tell by the knock under full throttle tip in) and i kept waiting for the boost to kick in………

Ummm, what! Ya right, just in the event of a crash. I bet they categorize “near-crash” as drifting or extreme driving…

So much potential just can’t wait!













 Posted by on May 12, 2012 BRZ / FR-S, First Look
May 012012

Spring Rate 101 by Roland Graef.

Suspension customers shopping for aftermarket springs will sometimes resort to shopping for springs by spring rate. While the rate of the spring is a measure of spring performance, it is not the only influence of vehicle performance and handling, especially when the chassis is lowered.  There are many factors that come into play when it comes to suspension tuning.

When does a higher rate spring feel softer than a lower rate spring and a lower rate feel harder than higher rate spring? These differences occur when you lower the chassis and the bumpstop is trimmed or not trimmed. The bumpstop acts like a small progressive spring (see Micro Cellular Jounce Bumper). A lower rate spring that lowers the ride height of the chassis with no bumpstop trimming, making the bumpstop more active, would feel about as stiff as a higher rate lowering spring with the bumpstop trimmed, making the bumpstop less active. Also, the amount of ride height lowering also affects suspension rate.

Since there is no standard for quoting spring rates, most manufactures just quote numbers without any regard for spring function and spring rate ramping. (Spring rate ramping is the difference in ride feel between springs of different shapes with the same spring rates under suspension compression.) The only way to truly compare spring rates is by using working spring rate numbers.

When a manufacture quotes a spring rate, lets say a progressive such as 80#, 150#, 225#, and the stock rate is a liner 135#, the new spring looks super progressive. It seems to start off softer than stock and gets progressively stiffer as needed. But what these rates don€™t tell you, is that the chassis is already sitting at the 170# rate at loaded height, making the working rate actually 170# to 225#. The lower spring rate range below 170# is the dead or inactive spring coils, which do nothing but give the spring tension at full rebound. Note this does not take into consideration bumpstop engagement of a chassis ride height on lowering springs.

Above, is only one example of why using the working spring rate is more accurate when making comparisons. It is important to have already driven on a different rate than stock to feel the difference to start comparing.

There are many other factors that influence suspension rate that include but are not limited to, shock dampening values, tires, bushings, and of course the most important -personal driving style.

So, just to go shopping for springs by spring rates without considering the other variables will not give you a clear picture.

Roland Graef

H&R Springs



Apr 252012

We have listened to our customers and dealers to bring you something that you have been asking for, that hits a particular price point as well as performance levels that until now, we have not offered! Our endlinks have gone through a major revamp over the last few months and we now have three different styles to choose from for each application.

With virtually the same design bodies, we now have 3 different types of bushings you can get in your endlinks. Urethane bushings, Steel Teflon Lined Spherical Bearings, or Stainless Steel Teflon Lined Spherical Bearings.  All of them have their Pros and Cons, and this article is here to help better explain those to help you decide which style best suites your needs.

First we will hit on the bushings/bearings aspect of the endlink. This part of the endlink is what really separates them and is how you should decide which is best for you.


What is an Endlink?

An endlink is a very simple part that is found on virtually any car with a swaybar. An endlink is a simple part that connects a swaybar to the chassis and it’s a vital link to ensuring your swaybar is used to its fullest. Typically the endlink is a rod that has a joint on each end that allows for articulation and rotation. Typically you find rubber, bearings, bushings, and polyurethane for the ends, but this is where endlinks can be very different.

For PERRIN Performance, endlinks have been a staple for our business since 2003. This all started with the 2002 WRX endlinks which were a terrible design made from plastic, and rubber bushings. This design left a ton of room on the table to improve above.


Why Do I Need To Upgrade These?

In 2002, the answer to this question was easy, get rid of a flexible connection between your swaybar and chassis. The plastic “C” shape of the 2002 WRX endlink had a problem because after installing stiffer swaybars, the material would flex and not transmit some of the swaybars stiffness to the car. On these cars the answer was easy, you need to upgrade them to ensure you get the full benefits from your upgraded swaybar.

This question got harder to answer as Subaru installed better designed endlinks that were not made form flexible materials. The 04 STI rear endlink was the first US car to see this type.  But soon after the release, customers were breaking links, popping ball joints out of their sockets and bending them. This is what drove us to continue to make updgraded link on all the future applications.

To fix the problem of the flexible endlink design,we use CNC machined 6061T6 Aluminum for the bodies.Since the first release of these in 2003, we have been using this material exclusively over the year, and its proven strong enough to keep the largest swaybars connected to the chassis. To solve the other problem of the ends popping out of OEM endlinks, we have choosen to use the race car like spherical bearings. These a very well proven item found in all forms of racing and have been proven to hold up on rally cars and other abusive types of off road racing. Being more expensive than other options, we felt that this was the be best and only answer, until recently. Now we  have 3 different types of endlink bearings  to choose from to suite different customers needs.


Polyurethane Bushings

This is the newest type of bearing/bushing we have added to our line up. Two main factors drove us to make these. The first one is cost. We know our endlinks are not cheap and don’t fit all customers budgets for performance parts. Urethane bushings are much cheaper to produce, faster to make, faster to install and also allow us to machine the bodies faster (fewer ops). We took this a step further and changed the endlink body design to be a little simpler to help reduce our cost a bit more. These changes end up saving you about $50 off the price of our regular spherical bearing links.

The second one is salt! Really salt! In states were roads are salted in the winter time, parts on cars just don’t last. Parts (stock and aftermarket) rust, corrode, get loose and cause problems for customers. Short of cleaning every part on your car every day, its something that most customers don’t have time for.  A benefit of Polyurethane bushings is that they hold up to salt, heat, cold, and pretty much anything all while providing the necessary articulation and rotation needed for endlinks.

Unlike other endlinks, PERRIN polyurethane bushings are not off the shelf, but custom made to our specs. We choose a stiff 95a durometer material to provide a feel similar to a solid spherical bearing endlink but without the harshness or noise that can be associated with them after years of use. That is another benefit to polyurethane, even if they loosen up, there is rarely any noise associated with them.  The downfall to polyurethane is that they flex. Under high load as the car transitions left to right, before the swaybar starts to twist the bushings in the endlinks need to compress. This creates a delay in the weight transfer of the car. Why does this matter? For those customers looking for the ultimate in control, they may find that they don’t want this delay, or “slack” in their suspension. For those looking for an endlink that performs very well, and is nearly maintenance free this may be the perfect answer for you! For those looking for a slightly better feeling option spherical bearings may be your answer.

Steel Teflon Lined Spherical Bearings

These bearings are the same ones we have been using since 2002. These are a tried part, that hasn’t changed  much over the years. These bearings are  a Teflon lined spherical bearing which provide the necessary articulation angles while maintaining a smooth resistance free sway bar motion. These precision bearings are used to provide a SOLID connection from your swaybar to the chassis compared to flexible rubber or polyurethane bushings. By far this is the more desirable type of connection for those looking for the most from their suspension.

Like 99% of our parts, these bearings are MADE IN THE USA. The outer race is constructed of steel, with 52100 heat treated and hard chrome plated steel ball in the center. Between these two parts is a special teflon liner that provides smooth movement and also keeps the ball nice and tight for a very long time. The race is formed around the ball, which keeps the ball in place but allows it to spin around. Since teflon is impervious to many chemicals, its a great “Bearing” for extreme conditions. Because of our long standing relationship with our bearing manufacture, we can spec a tightness of bearing. This is critical to the life of the endlink and how long it stays tight. To the end user, this means much longer life before they start to clunk.

The downfall to a spherical bearing is they eventually loosen up. When they get to this point in their life span, they can become noisy and clunk, or rattle. This is more of an annoyance than anything else as in this state they are not in danger of failing. In fact, in this state of looseness, there is no performance degradation as the slop is a very small amount, meaning they will still out perform a urethane bushing. The other downfall is the materials they are made from. Because they are just steel, they will corrode. Especially customers that live in places where the roads are salted, the must expect to clean them often or replace them more often.

So what kind of customer are spherical bearing type endlinks for? These are for the no compromise customer that needs the most from their suspension, and is willing to deal with replacing bearings every few years to keep them maintained. Or a customer that lives in areas that don’t see extremely cold climates where they will last years and years.


Stainless Steel Teflon Lined Spherical Bearings

These bearings are a step above the normal steel teflon lined bearings. These are constructed the same except they use higher quality Stainless Steel, races and ball. These still use a teflon liner between the two pieces which is critical to its life span. These use a heat treated 17-4 PH stainless steel outer race, with a heat treated 440C stainless steel ball. Together this provides all the benefits of the normal spherical bearings we use, but without all the problems with corrosion. This means, customers that live in highly corrosive areas will not have the typical rusting problems, or premature loosening of links.

There is only one downfall to these SS versions, the added expense. Each bearing is roughly 4 times the price which translates in to a much higher retail price. We have specifically cut our margins back on this part to help make them more affordable for our customers. While still being expensive, they are the ultimate in endlink design and bearing technology.


CNC Machined Bodies

This is an important feature, but its virtually the same on all the links. Starting with a block of 6061T6 Aluminum, these are cut out precisely to tolerances plus or minus .001″ (actually .0005″ on bearing bores). The only variables are things like color, overall shape and then the bore for the bearings. While the three styles look different, they all perform the same in giving our customers a zero flex connection between their swaybar and chassis.


Which Endlink Is Best For Me?

After all that there should be enough info to help you decide which style of PERRIN Endlink works for you. Keep in mind, price, performance, weather and maintenance as the factors to help you decide which design is best for you!

Apr 202012

Micro Cellular Jounce Bumper. by Roland Graef.

Attention – calling all bumpstops.Well, we call them bumpstops because we always have. It is what we are used to calling them. But in the age of specialized tech-talk they are “bumpstops” no more; now they are micro-cellular progressive jounce bumpers. – What? … That was a double decafe Mocha, skinny, no whip!

“The song, “Head out on the Highway, look’in for adventure” keeps ringing in my head. Where was I, oh yeah, trying to avoid the dreaded bumpstop (dumpstop).”

Most people think of a bumpstop as a black rubber snubber hanging down from the frame above the axle to protect against metal-to-metal contact. Just like my dad’s 1974 Chevrolet Caprice station wagon. You know, the one with the big block 454 and the hide – away tailgate. The Caprice was the cruising wagon of choice when highway 5 between L.A. and San Francisco first opened and gas stations were few and far between. The song, “Head out on the Highway, look’in for adventure” keeps ringing in my head. Where was I, oh yeah, trying to avoid the dreaded bumpstop (dumpstop). The thing was, no matter where you went in that wagon; you rarely came into contact with the bumpstop.

The micro-cellular progressive jounce bumper, or simply put, the foamy bumpstop, is actually a supplemental spring. It works to make the suspension progressive, allowing a smooth transition to full compression. What most people don’t realize is that the foamy bumpstop is an active part of the suspension. Let’s say you’re sitting in your M3, 996, Accord, Golf, S4, or Civic. (Hmm I can’t decide). They all use the foamy. Ok, you’re in your brand new Integra, just drove it off the showroom floor and are sitting at the stoplight waiting for the green. The foamy is actively engaged even while waiting at the stoplight.

Car manufacturers use this brilliant piece of high-tech engineering for many reasons. By using an almost zero-weight supplemental spring, you can build the main (steel) spring with a reduced spring rate for a comfy ride. The softer spring uses less weight, and, saving weight is a number one priority of new car manufacturers. Cars have thousands of parts. A little weight saved here and there really adds up. When the manufactures save weight they also save costs, less material=less cost. So we now know why these foamy gems are used. But how do they really work?

As mentioned earlier, the foamy bumpstops are an active working part of the suspension. They work in harmony with the springs and the rest of the suspension components allowing the ride to be comfortable while cruising. When the car is in a handling situation, such as in a turn, they make the car feel firmer for better handling. Think of the foamy as a little progressive spring over the shock rod. All car manufacturer bumpstops have a specifically calculated spring rate and compressed height. (block height).When a spring is designed the spring rate must be calculated with the rate of the progressive bumpstop in mind. Otherwise the spring will not work in harmony with the bumpstop and the frequency of the suspension will be out sync. The human body interprets a certain range of suspension frequency as comfortable or uncomfortable. Frequency in an automotive chassis is like chords in music. If two or more notes are combined in a pleasing combination you have harmony, otherwise you have uncomfortable dissonance. The same thing happens in suspension tuning. A balanced suspension is important for correct function. This is why it so critical to understand the true effect of the pro-active foamy and the spring. Everything must work together in harmony!The compressed height is what limits the wheel travel and controls how far the wheel and tire move up into the fender well. Aftermarket suspension designers must consider that enthusiasts will be upgrading the tires and wheels. Therefore, it is vital that these designers take into consideration the needs of tire and wheel fitment. By trimming the bumpstop you allow the tire and wheel to move further into the fender. This can cause the tire to rub where it did not before. If your application does not require bumpstop trimming and you are concerned about tires rubbing, just load up your car with your buddies and drive over some dips and speed bumps. If your tires do not rub with a full load in the car, they should not rub with lowering springs installed.So, what has little Johnny learned today? There is no such thing as a bumpstop in a modern suspension. The bumpstop has been replaced by a supplemental, active foam rubber spring, which is one of the essential components in the suspension. Roland Graef

H&R Springs

Apr 192012

Why Do I need the EBCS Pro?

In Boost Control Systems Explained Part 2, we described the basics behind adding more boost using Manual boost controllers along with how OEM boost control systems work. In this article, we are going to explore using our EBCS Pro solenoid in place of the OEM part. You will see how this can benefit you and your car.

The PERRIN EBCS Pro is a solenoid designed to replace the OEM part to create better boost control.  Our solenoid has a few different modes, but is designed to work best in our “Fast Response Mode” or “Interrupt mode”.  In this mode, the solenoid requires less duty cycle (DC) to get the desired boost. This means that in situations were the OEM solenoid is working at 100% to do a given job/boost level, it can be setup to use roughly half the DC% and get the same results.  In turn this provides more head room for further tuning or adding more boost.  We all want more boost!


EBCS Pro Pro in resting position letting air pass through              EBCS Pro Pro above is turned on, blocking boost.

A benefit is the EBCS Pro keeps more boost pressure off the wastegate actuator.  It does this by blocking pressure going to the wastegate actuator completely when it turns on and off instead of bleeding pressure.  This makes the turbo more responsive and spool quicker.  Above is a diagram showing how our solenoid is different on the inside compared to the OEM type.  It has a few passageways to allow us to set it up more effectively.

Its works like this:  Boost enters the solenoid and passes through to the wastegate actuator when the solenoid is turned off.  When the solenoid is turned on by the ECU, it blocks boost pressure from getting to wastegate actuator and at the same time relieves any pressure built up in the line going to the actuator.  If desired and if programmed to do, so the solenoid can be run to completely block pressure getting to the wastegate actuator until that last moment before a boost spike occurs. This makes for a very fast spooling turbo.

System shown with the solenoid off, and passing the boost right through to the actuator making it open at 10psi.

Now the system is showing the solenoid turned on blocking pressure getting to the actuator and in turn bleeding off any built up pressure that was in the actuator.  In turn increasing the overall boost pressure. Now imagine that happening very fast, on and off, varying the degree at which the wastegate is actually open.

This below example shows a stock EVO 9 the OEM solenoid and then retuning the ECU using a PERRIN EBCS Pro. The red line represents the stock boost curve, and the yellow line is the boost curve after ECU tuning and installation of the EBCS Pro. Before we installed the EBCS Pro, the OEM solenoid had issues with holding more than 18psi beyond 6000. After the EBCS Pro was installed, we were able to hold 22psi-20psi past 6000RPM.


This is the same setup but using an external type wastegate.  You can see in this setup the hose needs to go to the bottom port. Just like the Internal wastegate setup, at rest it allows the boost to open the wastegate. When on, it blocks the boost going to the wastegate and bleeds off pressure that built up. Again, just like the other diagrams, this all happens very fast, on and off, varying the degree at which the wastegate is actually open.

External Wastegate using Top and Bottom Ports

Another benefit is that the EBCS Pro can be used with aftermarket external wastegates as shown above but with a twist. Because of the configuration of the 3 ports, this enables the use of both top and bottom ports found on most aftermarket external wastegate actuators.  In these setups they can provide even better more reliable boost control!  While this is not a typical setup, if you are using an external wastegate and can manipulate the tables in the ECU this can make for a powerful setup.


Shown above is the system at rest controlling boost to 10psi, which is the wastegate spring pressure. The top port on the wastegate is vented to atmosphere through the EBCS Pro.  The Boost pressure from the turbo is blocked at the EBCS Pro, and flow through to the bottom port pushing the wastegate open.


Shown above is the system energized increasing boost pressure. When the EBCS Pro is turned on, both the top and bottom port on the wastegate see boost pressure. This causes the spring in the wastegate to do all the work. In a properly designed wastegate like a Tial MVR, this allows for a very low pressure spring (like 10psi) to be able to run 30+PSI of boost. 


With the solenoid turned off the boost pressure pushes the wastegate open at the set spring rate.  The top port is vented to the outside air. When the solenoid turns on, pressure is diverted to the top of the wastegate holding the wastegate closed longer and better.  This method is great and allows the use of a very light wastegate spring, but still the ability to run huge boost levels. The reason why using a lower rate spring is this allows for better modulation of boost in part throttle situations where you don’t want too much boost.


Dual EBCS Pros Used For Push Pull Operation

Using dual EBCS solenoids to control boost has a whole other benefit over all the other methods shown. This is the ultimate way to control boost in that you can counteract exhaust pressure. We hit on this in Part 1, where we describe how the wastegate is controlling boost by holding back exhaust pressure and forcing it through the turbine side of the turbo. In some cases where a very high boost pressure, or a very flat boost curve is desired,  the exhaust pressure overcomes the wastegate and the spring in it. This is very common to see on small turbos when trying to push them to their limits. In these cases the boost control system and duty cycle of the solenoid are maxed out and still not providing the desired boost. With a properly built wastegate actuator (mainly external types) the two solenoids can be setup to run almost any boost pressure on any turbo regardless of spring installed in wastegate.


Shown above is the dual EBCS Pro system at rest controlling boost to 10psi, which is the wastegate spring pressure. EBCS Pro 1, is blocking boost diverting it through EBCS Pro 2, to the bottom port on the wastegate.  The top port on the wastegate is vented to atmosphere through EBCS Pro 1. 

Shown above is the Dual EBCS Pro system energized increasing boost beyond 10psi. EBCS Pro 1, is allowing boost to pass through to the top port on the wastegate. This pushes the wastegate closed. EBCS Pro 2 is now blocking pressure getting to the bottom port and relieving pressure from the bottom port on the wastegate.  This applies all boost pressure to only the top port keeping the wastegate shut completely.

In this example you can see how this method is very powerful. With a properly designed wastegate with large diameter diaphragm, this can turn a 5psi wastegate spring into one that acts like 30psi!  Add to that a very flat boost curve. On this Stage 2 (stock turbo) STI, we are NEVER able to get more than 1BAR / 14.5psi at 6800. With a proper actuator and the Dual EBCS Pro’s we were able to hold 1.25BAR / 18psi at 6800. The best part is, there is even more boost to be gained!


Which Method Do You Choose?

The question that comes to mind is which one is best for me?? That all depends on your intentions, your tuning ability, your mechanical skills, or you budget.  After reading all the articles, you should be able to see the benefits of each setup, you just need to weigh those decisions to figure out your best option. But there is one HUGE factor to using the EBCS Pro to its fullest. You need to reprogram the ECU to take into account for each setup. We will take an indepth look at this in our next installment.

Look for Part 4 to go over this along with even more info about your boost control system.


Missed First Installment?       Click here to go back to Part 1

Missed Second Installment?  Click here to go back to Part 2




 Posted by on April 19, 2012 About Your Car, Dyno Test & Tune
Apr 062012

Its not really the very first part as we know of a few that already fit the car, but this is at least the first part made specifically for the car.

One of our most popular parts for the EJ engine (current Subaru Engine design) is our lightweight crank pulley. Its been a staple for PERRIN for a long long time, and its only obvious that we need to continue this tradition of removing a few pounds from the rotating assembly.  More so on the BRZ and FR-S, these kinds of parts are going to be what customers want. All the little things that improve the feel and responsiveness of the engine, and chassis are going to be key for us to hit on.

Starting with the OEM crank pulley, we looked at the overall design and translated this into a concept made from 6061 Aluminum. After adding some styling cues from our current WRX part, we settled on the design you see here.

This new pulley design gives us lots of freedom to get creative with the looks and the shape. We think that we nailed the design making it look mean, yet light.


Of course the main goal it is to make something lighter than stock.  Overall this is an easy task. The tricky part is not going super light to where DTC’s can occur from “Ghost” misfires. In some situations (mainly older Subarus), with super light flywheels and crank pulleys, ECU’s “Think” there are misfires happening because the engine is accelerating and decelerating between full rotations (at least more than normal). Even though the engine is running perfectly smooth, the ECU determines this as a misfire and can cause a Check engine light or DTC (diagnostic trouble code).  We could have made this much lighter, but choose to stick with a weight we had proven to work on the other cars.

The savings of 3.7lbs is sure to be noticeable and sure to be something that will make your car more fun to drive.

There is always going to be those asking about the vibration dampener. Yes the stock part has one, yes our part doesn’t.  We and many others have proven over the years that going to a solid pulley on an EJ (current WRX/STI engine) is perfectly fine. There are no issues at all doing this. On the new FA/FB engine, because of the balanced nature, and less vibration in its design, we feel the same can be expected. While only time will tell, our current testers have had ZERO issues with them.






 Posted by on April 6, 2012 BRZ / FR-S, First Look Tagged with: , , ,
Feb 092012

Recently we have been getting more and more customers with poorly runing cars, or check engine codes for super knock.   A large source of these customers are in California or where 91oct fuel is the highest they can get at the pump. In any turbocharged or supercharged engine, octane is very important for performance and for keeping knock/detonation at bay.  This article isn’t about knock or what it is, or why its bad, you can find out about this many places on the web.  This article is to show you how bad your Mini R56 turbo will run when its on 91octane fuel.

This all started a couple years back when customers would call or even complain about their MINI loosing power, has hicupps, or just overall not smooth running engines. Besides all the normal MINI gremlins, we started to see a trend in customers calling. Shortly after that, we came out with the AccessPORT, which allowed us to see much deeper into the problem.

Most likely people that are “feeling” a loss in performance over time are either:

  • Most likely are not running an AccessPORT in 91 oct areas.
  • Are seeing issues from carbon build up
  • BOV’s have ripped diaphragms

Knock Knock……

The first reason is important because I have seen the stock tunes on 91 octane cars in California run very dangerous. Like ignition timing constantly being retard 5 degrees from what the map is calling for. That along with how lean the car is setup to run, its not very good/safe under full throttle. The next problem is that the ECU is constantly testing the octane in the fuel by adding timing until it knocks, then pulls it back. For normal cruising around town this is ok, but for full throttle power runs, this is not.

On the AP, we tell the ECU to start out with less timing so its consistent all the time, and overall makes for a better running more powerful car. Add to that we run a richer safer Air Fuel Ratio under full throttle. This is the other thing that causes MAJOR issues with knock. In stock form MINI programmed the engine to run super lean under full throttle. Its great for fuel economy, but BAD for power and durability under full throttle. This is how engines blow up, knock atr 18psi of boost at 6000 RPM is NOT GOOD!

I truely feel this is one of the many reasons why we are starting to see more and more engine failures in areas with 91 octane fuel.

Proof is in the Datalogs

You can see the left graph is showing the stock ECU on 91 octane. The right is showing ALTA stage 1. This is on a JCW BTW.

We had many customers log their car running the stock maps and then compared it to our map.  What signs you should be looking at is ignition timing, Air Fuel Ratio and Boost. You can see how the igntion timing is all over the place. It should be a nice smooth number increasing as it goes to redline.  On the stock mapping you can see where it pulls timing all over the place and isn’t consistent at all. The second thing is the Air Fuel ratio. Under high load you can see how lean it is. Typically a turbo engine runs between 12-10.5 AFR. Leaner than 12.5 is dangerous as it can lead to knock and higher EGT’s. Because the MINI is a direct injection engine, it can get away with this, kind of……

Don’t Reset Your ECU!

I also hear customers (without AccessPORTs) saying “My car learned around my aftermarket parts I installed, so I have to reset my ECU all the time”. This maybe the case, but in fact, its just your car detuning itself to be safe and not blow up.  For instance on a 91 oct California car, after an ECU reset it may feel faster (because of the higher timing) but over time the ECU retards the timing everywhere to keep it safe.  Resetting the ECU is bad because it will constantly have to deal with knock and constantly be fighting this. It is much safer if you do not have an AccessPORT, to just leave it alone!


Besides our ALTA Tunes making more HP, they are much safer and more consistent power than the stock tune.

The ALTA AccessPORT takes care this problem because we actually tuned the ECU for full throttle. We didn’t care about fuel economy under full throttle, we cared about horsepower, and safety of the engine. The graph above shows a lot of things. It shows the engine is running safer with more boost, its making more HP, and accelerates faster. It may sound like a scare tactic to get customers to buy an AccessPORT, but if you value your MINI and you live where 91 octane is the highest octane fuel you can get, consider your self scared.

 Posted by on February 9, 2012 About Your Car, Dyno Test & Tune, MINI Only
Dec 012011

Around the shop we talked about this a bunch but never actually did it. Of course it sounds crazy to run your STI with no intercooler, but what if we added Meth injection?? Would this solve the air density issue? Would it cool temps enough to run the same ignition timing? Would this offset a necessary richer AFR do to the hotter charge temps?  Would it be more responsive? Results were very interesting for sure.

The car we used was our 2011 STI sedan which has a typical Stage 2 setup but with a PERRIN equal length header, PERRIN CAI, and PERRIN Inlet hose installed.  We flashed our Stage 2 map on and proceeded to do additional tuning by turning up the boost and adding some timing here and there. We left the car with a very high 327WHP and 387ft-lbs of torque (at this point the highest HP Stock turbo STI we had done).  Our boost target was 19psi and like all STI’s it tapered to 14psi at redline.  Our results would be used as a baseline goal for the “No Intercooler” setup.

We installed the boost tube (no intercooler) with dual nozzles for the PERRIN water/meth injection system running a 50/50 mixture.  Before doing any pulls I removed 8 degrees of timing everywhere on boost.  We left the same boost target of 19psi like we did before.   The first pulls we knew would be super safe with less timing, richer AFR (from the WI system) and we also knew it would be down on power.  The biggest surprise was boost, check out how much more boost we were getting with no intercooler causing a restriction.   The additional 3psi was very encouraging as this meant we had the potential for more HP!

Typically when a Water/Meth injection system is installed, you lose HP unless you tune around it. This is because you are replacing fuel and air with water (not combustible).  In order to gain back the HP you need to lean out the AFR to a point that is just slightly leaner than before. From there you normally gain power because you can add more ignition timing, add more boost and lean out the AFR even further. Typically this is worth an additional 20-30WHP on cars were the turbo is large enough to support more air flow.

Well, we did all that and then some, but still couldn’t match the power with an intercooler.  First we slowly added back the 8 degrees of timing we removed to make sure it was safe. Then we leaned out the AFR and still we were not matching the HP and TQ of the stock intercooler.  In this case we didn’t add boost because we wanted to see if we could make the same HP with the same boost. Then I went crazy and added about 3 degrees more timing (3 degress above base line tune) across the board and still the “No-Intercooler” setup couldn’t match the stock intercooler.  And it wasn’t like we were close to where a couple more degrees of timing would fix it.  I was really hoping that the in-cylinder cooling from the Water/Meth system would overcome the cooler denser charge from an intercooler.

As you can see the TQ and HP down low was still off about 60Ft-lbs and 50WHP.  Was there more to go?  Yes, we could have upped the boost, or ran it really lean, but there was no way we were going to match the HP.  So why didn’t it work?

Typically an engine with a good intercooler sees temps that are 10-30F above ambient temp.  In this setup the engine was seeing air temps in the 150-200 higher than ambient temps!  The hotter air is less dense, hindering additional air and fuel from being crammed into the engine. Based on nothing but calculations, a 2.5L engine with a 75% efficient intercooler, at 4000RPM and 19psi will be making 50 more HP compared to the same car with NO intercooler.  With the air being about 20% less dense you would have to come up with a way to get more power (water injection isn’t enough).  Using something VP C16 race fuel or other high quality fuels (do to their higher engery value) might be able to overcome the low end power losses, but I think you could still get more by installing an intercooler on top of race gas.

So in the end, was it worth it?  It only took a few hours to make the pipe, and a few hours of tuning, so for sure it was.  Now we really know you need an intercooler! (Like we didn’t already know that)