Jeff Perrin

Aug 052008

As promised here is our data!  Sorry if the formating is a little confusing.

Good to hear from Matt, we havne’t heard from you lately. Must be all those MC2 articles!

First off, i know understand why there are lots of doubters out there. It could be because our dyno graph wasn’t on our site. When we had an issues with our pictures on the server, this one got missed. On these test conditions, the OEM Intercooler was tested with the hood down as was the V2. The fan we use is not some super over powering fan( that would blow too much air), but one we feel does a good job providing a good middle ground for air flow.


This test was on our 04 shop car. It had stock ECU programming (obvious by the redline), 15% pulley, ALTA intake, ALTA header, ALTA 2.5″ Catback exhaust. If we had a way to raise the redline a bit, then further gains will be seen. The IC we used here was one with the cast tanks, and 12/12fpi.

So when we gave Matt our IC€™s to test, we gave him our normal Classic intercooler, and our V1 ALTA flow through. Its important to note a few things with the ALTA V1 flow through. The tanks were made using parts of our old IC and some sheetmetal. The core was our first prototype core that was a 12.5″L x 2.9″H x 8″D core using 12 fins per inch (very important to note) on both hot and cold sides. This was our first attempt at the core, and Matt was the first to get it and the first to use it!

Here is the data in rough form from Matt.  There is tons more data, but his is enough for you all to see.

Intercooler_____ Average Peak Mass_____ Ave IC efficiency_____ Average Cells with Knock_____Pressure Delta_____ Average Peak HP
Stock _____________714.1_____________ 64.2%_________________7.3 _____________________12.7_____________ 166.4
ALTA TMIC_________708.1______________61.0%________________5.4_____________________15.3______________ 166.8
V1 ALTA ___________720.2_____________ 54.5%________________6.6_____________________ 9.8______________ 171.9
Flow Through


Going into this we knew that our classic IC made power on the dyno, and it did it buy cooler really well. The cooler charge temps allowed the ECU to increase timing a bit and added some power. We had many guys with temp probes in the IC give us feedback in lots of conditions. All showing great IC efficiency.

For SEMA of 2005, we came up with the Twurbo kit and wanted to make a bigger intercooler for it. The idea we came up with was what you see. And was something we made very public a few years back. Going into this new core, we knew it would cool worse, but be much less restrictive. But how much worse at cooling and how much power would be made from it being less restrictive. As we have explained before, when designing an IC (using a given space) intercoolers can become a trade off.

From this data we saw exactly what we expected. It cooled worse but was less restrictive. But it made more HP. Now lets go over the data.
The stock core is our base, and from there we will measure others.
1. The V1 flow through showed the highest Mass readings. Meaning it had the highest air flow, which in turn can means more HP. The classic showed less airflow, which could mean less HP than stock, but there are other variables that play into that, like temp.
2. The Classic IC showed the least amount of knock which makes sense as it has a good balance of cooling and flow. This is why it does make HP on the dyno.

After we got this data we went to our core manufacturer and had them plop the V1 flow-through core into the big special program they have. Actually we were surprised that the temps were almost exactly what we saw in real life.

Design Point: ALTA V1 core 12fpi/12fpi

________________Cold Side ______Hot Side

Fluid ________________Air _________Air

Flow Rate _________225 CFM _____25.72 lb/min

Temperature In______ 60.8F ______216.1F

Temperature Out _____160.5F_____ 149.6F

Pressure Drop _______2.4 “H2O____ .7 psid

Design Pressure _____50 psig ______50 psig

Flow Arrangement ______Cross Flow

Heat Rejection _______412.2Btu/min (7.4 kW)

There is other info we hold secret with the above data, but you get the point. With further tweaking of overall size, and fin type and count, we got and pretty good improvement in overall performance. BTW the effectiveness is not the same as efficiency as it take into consideration a lot more than just temp in and out and ambient. So with that said below is the data with the changes to the core. We lowered the ambient fin count, and added charge side fins. This allowed the ambient air to move through the core quicker and get rid of more heat. The added fins to the charge side means more surface area for the hot charge air to dissipate heat to the cold side of the car.

Design Point: ALTA V2 core 10fpi/14fpi

_____________________Cold Side ___Hot Side

Fluid__________________ Air ________Air

Flow Rate ___________250 CFM ______25.72 lb/min

Temperature In _______60.8F________ 216.1F

Temperature Out ______153.1F_______ 147.8F

Pressure Drop ________2.4 “H2O______ .8 psid

Design Pressure______ 50 psig_______ 50 psig

Flow Arrangement_______ Cross Flow

Heat Rejection _______423.7 Btu/min (7.4 kW)

With our initial findings of the flow though IC making power by being less restrictive and not cooling better, we went with option 2. Things to note on the second option is the CFM. The CFM through the ambient part of the core went up on the V2 core, which is why the Btu/min went up. The more heat it gets rid of the cooler the charge! And we felt that .1psi more pressure drop was perfectly expectable since this will not effect power quite as much as a cooler charge temp is.

So on the dyno, what did we see? The same basic power gains as we had above. At least not definitive enough to make a new graph. But with slightly cooler charge temps and no change in pressure (again not enough to really say we saw a .1psi change) we were happy! Again, this is with our dyno fan which doesn€™t flow like it could when you get above 60MPH.

With that said we feel very confident in our power we got, we feel like we have represented our IC truthfully from day one. The simple truth is it works! Now we haven€™t tested it back to back on our GP, or with a GP intercooler, but we will soon. On that note, our Classic IC is also going through some revisions and as that progresses we will fill you on on that!



This is a pic of the scoop modded to fit our interecooler. As you can see it opens it up a huge amount.  You still can’t see how it opens it up from the other angle.  Imagine having one of the Larger M7 scoops on it!



 Posted by on August 5, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune, Forum Posts, Part Design & Tech Tagged with: , , , ,
Aug 042008


PERRIN EVO 9 Intake Test and Tune

We have been selling our EVO intakes for quite some time now and while we have proven they do not screw up the MAF readings we never did dyno test it.  In the past we had to go to someone elses dyno to test things and in the past this item wasn’t on the top of our list to prove.

Times changed, we have our own dyno, we have time to do all the little tests we wish we could have done in the past, so its time to dyno the intake!

Recently we decided to stop selling both our Air box and turbo inlet hose separately and combine it into one part.  We call this new/old part the Complete Turbo intake.  Since we haven’t ever really dynoed this back to back on a car, we decided to do it!


Yes, black is the new color for our EVO 8-10 parts!

Before we get to the results, most intakes for the EVO are very well know to screw up the MAF sensor and cause the car to run erratic and or run very lean.  Lean is not a good thing and neither is a car that doesn’t run smooth.  We knew why a lot of them didn’t work and fixed the issue and have been selling them ever since.  With that all said, the HP we were expecting was in the 10WHP area.  This is what we normally see on most cars but the EVO would prove to be different.

Our Stage kits for the EVO have revolved around the AccessPORT and our parts, but we have left the intake out of the loop until now.

We first did some tweaking of the Stage 3 mapping (turboback, AccessPORT and FMIC) and before we finished, we prepped some of the clamps to be easier to remove for when it came time to swap the intake. With 7 runs done on this 92 degree day, we swapped the intake as quick as we could (took about 20min), then we did some more runs.

Run one was done while the engine was 170F, and it showed one very interest thing. More boost, oh and some HP. But we chalked it up to being a little cold.  Run 2 the engine was fully warmed and same increase in boost, and even more power! In fact 30WHP!  We were very surprised.  We did 5 more runs to back it up and very consistently we got 30WHP!

First lets look at the boost.  The boost is higher from 5500RPM on up, which is where we also see the HP start to climb. These runs were done with ZERO change to the mapping of the ECU. This means no change to the boost parameters, or targets or anything. These results show the stock intake is a restrictive part of the engine.


Shows how restrictive the stock intake really is in stage 3 form!

The dyno graphs back up the HP we consistently saw from run to run. In fact the run we used to show off the HP was one of the last runs of the set we did. This was done to show the HP gains on a slightly heat soaked car. There is no place the car lost HP. In fact it just gained power everywhere!


Not much to say here, more power!

The last graph we have is the AFR (Air Fuel Ratio) curve showing that the intake doesn’t change MAF readings at all!  This is one of the most important things to look at.  There are intakes that screw up the MAF so bad that CEL’s (Check engine lights) appear and they loose power.  With these 3 graphs you can see that this is just not the case with our Intake system.


Safe AFR’s means safe car, means its runs perfect, and makes great power!

So needless to say, the intake works!  With a solid 20 ft-lbs and 30WHP from the intake, there is no reason why all EVO owners shouldn’t consider this.

Keep in mind not intakes are created equally.  Different pipes, bends, filters, and a few other things can affect how the intake meters air. Small turbulences will affect the readings and screw with how the car runs. The MAF on the EVO is a very sensitive sensor, and is known to not be happy with small changes to filters and BOV’s. The above info proves our PERRIN Intake system runs the car perfectly and safely while making huge power gains!


 Posted by on August 4, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune Tagged with: , , , ,
Jul 102008

We have had our Water injection system installed for a very long time on our R56, and it was sitting there doing nothing because there was no way to turn in on. At least there was no way to turn it on using the injector pulse signal.


The R56, as many know, is a Direct Injection engine.  This means, instead of the injectors firing fuel in the intake runners, the injectors are fired directly into the combustion chamber.  This is a very big thing in the world of gasoline engines because it allows for a better, more complete combustion of the fuel.   This posed a problem, because the signal the injectors put off, is very very short compared to normal injectors, not to mention 80V not 12v!  The injectors pulse is very small because the fuel pressure is more than 30 times more than normal fuel pressures (3bar vs. up to 150bar). The higher pressure means it take less time for the injectors to be open to deliver the same amount of fuel as a lower pressure injector (3ms vs .4ms).  Also at lower engine speeds the injectors fire more than once per cycle!  I could go on an on about DI engine, but that is another thread!  The point of explaining all of this is to explain why we took so long to adapt our Water Injection system to the car.  Our controller just couldn€™t do anything with the signal.  When we got the Unichip installed, we were able to create a normal injector signal to turn on the PWI-1.

Another great thing about using the Unichip on the R56 with the PWI-1, is we can use the failsafe to switch maps! This means that if the PWI-1 sees a blocked nozzle, or hose burst, it can switch to a low boost safe map.  This is a very important feature as a water injection tuned car can run dangerously lean when the water runs out.


Some that are familiar with Water injection might be wondering why we don€™t just hook up a pressure switch to our system to trigger it.  We could, but this would be defeating one of the biggest features of our system, the Progressive injection!  Most WI systems inject a steady flow of water/methanol at all RPMS and load points.  The ALTA PWI-1 injects a steady % of water/methanol compared to fuel.  This way you do not get too much water at lower RPM and load, and not enough at high RPM and load.  Around 20% water/methanol ratio is what is recommended, and this is not something the cheaper systems can do.


The PWI-1 Brain mounts very nicely above the cup holder.  Don€™t worry; your Starbucks will still fit in there!  The brain allows the adjustment of not only the on point of the injection, but the amount of water compared to fuel.  To adjust is just a couple of tweaks of the trim pots.  This allows us to play with the exact amount of water being injected, and adjust from run to run.


Back to the test!

We have proven Water injection on the R53 with a customers car, but we were using the Apex AFC to tune it with.  So we really only had control over fuel.  On this car we gained a decent amount of power by re-tuning for water injection, and not to mention a large amount of safety.  This whole story can be found HERE on our site


But these gains were very good and very promising especially for those who live in California or places with 91 octane fuel.

On the R56, with the Unichip being installed, we not only can tune for fuel, but we can tune the timing, and increase boost!  So on this car we can really push it to the limits and keep it safe.  The R56 test we did was done with our new GT2560R turbo kit installed.  We will soon do something on a stock turbo, and a Unichip and prove its worth there!


This graph shows the tuned GT2560R runs, with the water injection tuned runs on top of it.  The blue line is our highest HP stock turbo R56 runs.
The most important part of this test to note is the boost. Normally with a water injection system, it allows you to run more boost, which we planned on doing, but with the initial tests, we are running the same boost, 18psi.  The only thing that we changed from run to run was fueling and ignition timing.  Running water injection produces a cooler in-cylinder charge, and a cooler boost tube charge temp. This allows for higher ignition timing, and leaner mixtures, without the potential of detonation.  Leaning the engine out produces more power, and torque, as does increasing ignition timing.  Normally both of these are limited by the octane and quality of fuel.  The water suppresses the effects of poor octane, in laymen€™s terms its like running on race gas, but only having to run it under boost!

So why did we stop at 270WHP??   We ran out of our water/methanol mixture!   Just as we were about to turn up the boost, the water ran out.  One of the nice things about our install, is we use the OEM window washer tank, which has a nice warning when the water is low.  This is nice as there is no visual gauge to say when the tank is dry.

In the upcoming weeks, we will be testing the water injection further with different setups, and slowly turning up the wick.  Can we hit 300??  Of course!  Will it hold? I think it will hold just fine, but its better to start slow, then just go blow it up!  At this point the car feels great!  Besides the loss of low end power, the car is much faster and more linear, meaning once the power comes on, it just keeps going!

The DSC really doesn’t like us anymore!
Lots of good info is found here on our site .


 Posted by on July 10, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune, MINI Only Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Jul 082008

We left our rather boring but tuned 08 WRX much faster than it started out but it was dying to get more power.  While we were the first to tune the 08 WRX using an AP (not to mention first to tune an 08 WRX period with the Hydra) it was early enough in our development that we didn’t have an exhaust to install and do further tuning.   Now we do and now was a good time to show off the HP results.

First off we left the WRX in Stage 1 tune. This was only with an ECU tune.  We showed you the Cobb base map compared to our Tuned 93 octane map and the stock HP we found.


Before we get too much further, we needed to do a a few base run to get a good baseline since we last left the car.  At this point we would be only running our maps we give out with our AccessPORT we sell. This would represent exactly what customers should expect to see on their own cars.

CATBACK Back to Back

After the base runs, we would be installing our catback exhaust first, then downpipes after that. Both would be initially ran with the same Stage 1 mapping, the after the downpipes were installed, our Stage 2 mapping would be installed.

To ensure accurate and consistent results were had, we made sure the runs were started at the same coolant temps each time, and same with air temps. But there is one huge flaw we found with the stock intake.  I know everyone claims this is the best intake to have but I beg to differ!   More on this later.

Onto the test…, well not quite.  During our open house we did a custom tune on a Stage 2 WRX with our Stage 2 map. This car with a custom tune made 320ft-lbs and 230WHP.  This was also on a very hot day. So we will see how this stacks up with our own results on our sedan.

Our first runs backed up our previous results (or pretty close) so it was time to throw on the Catback exhaust.  With some gloves and with a little bit of prepping( removing a few unnecessary hangers)  the system was swapped in about 10 minutes. Results were ok, and as expected almost 10WHP.  That seems to hold true on pretty much all the Subaurs we have dynoed so far.



From there it was time to install the downpipes along with the catback. Again, we did this as quickly as we could and with thick gloves!  About 15 minutes later, both front and read downpipes were installed and the car was idling.  15minutes is fast but we had prepred the downpipe and heat shield so it would come off much easier.

First run with a  cold header was very surprising.  Besides there being more HP the one thing that stuck out was how much boost the car started at.  With the dyno holding  2000 as our launch RPM, we were seeing  12-13PSI of boost.  This is compared to the 7psi the was seeing in Stage 1 form.  Of course this better boost response made for more Torque and Power!


The additional boost and power shown here was with the same Stage 1 ECU tuning as the last 2 runs (Stage 1 run, and Catback run).  The low end power is where this thing really rocks.  The best part is this is a legal replacement downpipe  and the car is still very mellow sounding.  The catback exhaust did make some power, but more sound than power.  The downpipes on the other hand make power with no sound change!


With these great gains, it was time to load out Stage 2 mapping and do a few more runs.


The blue line shows the power gained after the Stage 2 ECU tuning was done.  Again even more, low end power and some more top end power.  We are getting close to hitting STI stock Wheel HP levels, but with a lot more Torque!  Yes we gained an additional 10WHP over the DP results but its getting obvious that top end is not this cars strength.

Comparing Stage 1 (stock car with tune) with Stage 2 (turboback installed and tune), Stage 2 nets an additional 40ft-lbs of peak torque and 20 peak WHP. With Stage 2 dialed it was time to do some intake test and tuning.  At this point we already know that the new intake doesn’t replicate the stock MAF curve perfectly.  We have been working on a PERRIN specific intake map for quite some time on the STI and it was time to put it to the test on the WRX.


Then if we compare Stock Vs. Stage 2 we really see a huge gain! For roughly $2000 in parts, you also can have these gains!  For a few hundered more dollars you can add a few more poines as shown below.

Intake HP Results

Because there is ECU tuning required on this intake, this does add a variable to how much power the intake actually makes.  Our goal was simple, make the Air Fuel Ratio match the last few runs on the Stage 2 map.  With the MAF curve dialed and the Air Fuel Ratio dialed we felt comfortable (because we are not pulling a fast one changing other parameters) showing the results below.  While the below results are legit, if we did this on a bone stock car you can expect significantly bigger gains.  The intake system changes the MAF curve by making it read less air. This not only leans out the engine, but also add timing because of how the internal maps work.  Its roughly .7AFR leaner.  On a stock tune this is just fine as they are so detuned!  We are bringing this up because we fell its important for customers to understand how and why its NOT ok to just throw on the intake on a car with any ECU tuing done.  Oh and here are the results!


Yes the timing the car runs, and the Air Fuel Ratio is the same from run to run.  Its not huge but add this to a few other small parts and its something you will notice.  The intake does add some cool turbo sucking sounds along with some BOV sounds!

The first things people are going to say is,”Ya but what were the intake temps?”.  The intake temps is what everyone claims is a huge issue with intakes.  They are not just making this up but you have to understand why it normally is a problem, how it can be fixed, and why its not a problem on the 08 PERRIN intake.

If the temps go above a certain point, the ECU pulls timing, and bye bye power.  Well everyone says their stock intake is the best at consistent temps, but I say NO, not on the 08 cars!   What we found is the intake temps on the stock intake system started out cool, but after a few runs, the temps would climb, and climb and climb, and never cool off.  It seems like the plastic, is ok at first, but over time gets heat soaked and never cools off and there is no way to cool it off quickly.

With our PERRIN intake on the 08 WRX being only a cold air intake, that puts the filter down in the fender well, the temps would be very close to ambient temps.  During runs they were, but like the stock intake, they did go up during the runs(might have been because of the lack of fans blowing over the passenger side of the car) but not quite as much.  The most important thing is how quickly it cooled back down. Within 30 seconds it was back to a normal temp (under 90F), were the stock plastic airbox would be holding 120 degrees and not drop at all.  So what intake would you want on your car?

To help with the intakes causing a loss in power, we have taken it a step beyond making it a cold air intake.   We have modded all of our newer maps so that when the intake air temps go up, the timing doesn’t get pulled.  In stock form timing can be pulled as much as 3 degrees (which can mean 20ft-lbs or more of TQ loss).  We have proven that changing this map doesn’t affect overall performance (except for the better) and provides more consistent runs, and overall more power!   Another great benefit of the PERRIN custom maps!


One last test is Stage 3. Stage 3 is the same as Stage 2 but add a larger intercooler (either Top mounted or Front mounted). For this test we would throw on our PERRIN TMIC.  With no tuning done the AFR’s got a little richer (should as its cooler denser air) and the power went up!  Between the cooler charge the and less restrictive core, it gained some power.  We did some further tuning for the Stage 3 setup, but we needed more time to do more testing. But below are the results .


The midrange power is pretty good, but notice one thing at 2000 RPM, the TQ is about 30ft-lbs more!  This is because the core is allowing even more boost at launch.  The extra PSI or 2 here and the cooler charge makes it a worthy mod.  Don’t forget this is with no ECU tuning.  After we did some playing we did get about 10-15ft lbs of torque and 10WHP more, but its needs more proving before that graph goes up.


That’s simple, Stage 2 with make about 100ft-lbs of torque and 40WHP over stock. You better hope Subaru build that tranny better than the 02 WRX!


 Posted by on July 8, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jul 012008

Finally we have the tools to tune it, and finally we can install the kit on the car and make some power!  With our kit we have the ability to throw on 4 main turbos. The Garrett GT2554R GT2560R, a GT2854R and GT2860R.  There is even a crazy GT2871R, which is good to 450 engine HP, but we won€™t be using that for a little while.

We are starting out with the Gt2560R turbo because we feel this is the best-matched turbo for the Mini. This turbo should be pretty responsive, and still be able to make about 300HP at the engine.  We expect this turbo to spool about 1000 RPM later than the stock turbo, but make about 50 extra WHP up top.  But this is all just a guess until we start tuning the car.

The other turbos that fit this kit will be a good option for those who are looking to get a few extra HP beyond this. But the reason why we didn€™t start with this is because of lag. We think these other turbos are not going to build boost until way after 3000 RPM.  While this may not sound that bad, when you compare that your R56 builds boost at 1500 RPM, this not the best option.



The above charts are Compressor maps for the GT2554R and GT2560R turbos. The plotted lines represent engine airflow at different pressure levels starting with 2000 RPM and stopping at 6500 RPM.

Before we even started to build the turbo kits, you can see that these are the best choices that fit the 1.6L.  While the charts start at 2000 RPM, neither of these turbos will build 14psi at 2000 RPM.  So keep that in mind.  The GT2554R map fits the 1.6L best given the engines 6500 RPM redline and the reasonable boost levels we would be running. But as it gets to 6500, the efficiency really drops off.  The larger GT2560R would give us the best power, because of how much more efficient it is toward redline.  That extra 5-10% points in effiecency is free HP!  Also this turbo will not have the surge issues the smaller one will have running 20psi at low RPM.  The only down fall is a little bit more lag.  But given the same turbine wheel and AR, it will be pretty minor.   Plus the GT2560R would be the best choice when it comes time to raise the redline!

For those who hadn€™t seen the R56 turbo kit we have brought to a few shows, here are some other pics for you.



These are the pics we showed a few months back before our trip to the Dragon.  Until now, this kit was just pics waiting for some Engine Management.  Hmmm, where can we get that???  Unichip!!

Here is the turbo kit installed on the car. Besides the huge turbo, its not too much different than the stock setup, as things are laid out very similar.



Engine bay shot.  Everything looks like its supposed to be there!  The only thing missing from the pictures is the heatshield.
Nice shot of the Garrett GT2560R turbine wheel and wastegate.


I think Mini needs to build a bulge in the hood for our turbo!


So what comes in the kit?  Lots of things but rather simple things.  The big part of the kit is a Garrett Ball Bearing Gt2560R turbo. This is an off the shelf Garrett turbo, we do not modify it in anyway to work on the Mini.  This is important, as if anything ever happened (out of warranty) you can get the parts from tons of different places.  Also this is important, as there are some other turbo options for going bigger (or smaller) down the road.  The rest of the parts include the Turbo Adapter flange, oil line, coolant lines, oil drain hoses and flange, ALTA Pyroshield hose cover, Turbo inlet hose with adapter for intake system, Turbo outlet adapter, boost tube coupler, Turbo heat shield, ALTA Manual Boost controller, ALTA recirc BOV, ALTA UNIchip and last but not least is a catted shorty downpipe.  So what do you need to complete the kit from there? You need to have at Alta Turbo back Exhaust, ALTA intake and ALTA Front Mounted intercooler, along with a boost gauge.  This is how our car is setup currently with the turbo kit to show everyone what they can expect from their mini.


We tried to run the least amount of boost possible to get a good starting point€¦€¦but that€™s no fun!
A couple things to clear up first.  We used our last published runs did on the stock turbo to compare the turbo kit against.  At the time we published those numbers, they were the highest numbers we had ever gotten, and the highest anyone else had ever gotten.  These runs showed 265ft-lbs and 220 WHP.  These runs are with our Turboback Exhaust, Front Mounted Intercooler, Cold Air Intake, Turbo inlet hose, and boost tube kit.


This is the boost we started out with.  The blue line represents the boost we run on the Stage 3 Unichip tune. The 21psi-14psi boost curve happens because of the turbo starting to run out of air, and the efficiency of the turbo dropping off.  From the first few runs we could tell that the turbo wasn€™t going to build full boost until just after 3000 RPM. Not bad compared to other turbo cars out there.  Or for a turbo kit.



The HP results were better than we expect. Looking at peak numbers, we were still hitting 220 WHP, but at a later RPM. The turbo builds full boost about 1000 RPM later, which driving on the road is hardly noticeable. With some initial runs showing a loss in peak torque, it looks like it time to work our magic.


Before we go nuts with trying to blow up the engine with 25psi, we needed to test the waters a bit.  So after we got the ECU dialed in at 16psi, it was time to turn it up a bit to 18psi.  The one thing we really discovered is how smart the ECU is. The entire time we have been playing with this car, we haven€™t heard a single bit of knock.  But we see evidence that the ECU pulls timing, and adds fuel when it gets a bit noisy. I think that it€™s a bit sensitive, but that is a good thing.  After a couple of hours of tweaking and learning, we came to what you see below!



If you look at peak torque numbers, we actually beat our previous numbers with the Unichip, stock turbo and all the other bolt-on parts.  Its not a lot but we beat it.  But from 3500RPM on up, the ALTA turbo kit wins everywhere!  Instead of a bunch of low-end power and a huge loss above 4500, you now have a steadily increasing power curve all the way to redline!  60WHP and 45ft-lbs of torque at 6400!!  The graph shows exactly what the car feels like, nice smooth linear power across the RPM band.

This is a safe tune with safe numbers, and safe boost levels, safe AFR€™s, and best of all your traction control still works, cause you will need it!

Comparisons of ALTA Turbo Kit to Other Cars

So what does all that mean?  Well here are some other dynos of cars to give you an idea what to expect.


This was our runs on our R56 with all of our bolt ons, but NO Unichip tune.  So stock boost levels (kind of), and a rather tame 200WHP.  If you compare our turbo kit to this setup (which is still beyond what most people have), it wins everywhere beyond 3000rpm.  This might look bad on a graph, but who drives below 3000 RPM!


This is my favorite one.  Not that the SC R53 is not a fun and fast car, but check this out!  60-70WHP gain from 4000rpm on up, and nearly 100ft-lbs of torque that might be noticeable!  The only thing that the R56 needs is a little RPM! Then it will really compare.


Ok, this one isn€™t a Mini, but it is a car that people mod and a car you see a lot of. This is a 2002 WRX with a catback exhaust and a custom tune.  So which car would be faster in the 1/4mile??  Tuff to say, but its an interesting comparison.


Yes, the turbo works, and makes power!  Yes, it looses some low end power in trade for some top end power.  At least with the way I drive, as long as I am at 2500RPM or later, the car is just as snappy as the OEM, and way snappier after 4000RPM. I think the one think I really like is the car is way more drivable. Meaning that instant switch type power is gone.  While the instant switch type power sounds good, its not the smoothest power delivery. When feathering the throttle.  With the added lag of turbo at lower RPM it feels like I could drive my wife to dinner, and she would have no idea that something was done to the car (which is a good feature for some). But then when I put my foot into above 3000, the car really comes to life.  Track guys will like this setup much more, as there is more predictable power, and better application of the power.  All this power is still with (2) 49 state legal cats, which means the tail pipe emissions are going good, and still nice and quiet!

Whats next?

Well, that is easy Water injection, and more boost!  The water injection tests are done but we are going to give you all a little while to digest the info presented above.  We feel that 18psi is perfect for the street and perfect for our base kit.  Can we go more?  Sure with water injection, we can surely turn the boost up a bit to 20psi to make some glory runs, but this is not where we will leave it for customers. In the next few days you might see 300WHP, but only with the water/meth injection turned on.









 Posted by on July 1, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune, MINI Only Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Jun 252008

Project 15K started life as a $10K 2002 WRX we purchased to show people how you can get great power from the older 2.0L cars.  The project car was purchased with a lot of miles, but also a few mods already done.  The Blaze yellow WRX had a catback exhaust, catless downpipe, huge diameter uppipe (huge is not a good thing) Version 1 AccessPORT, lowering springs and not to mention a sweet grounding system using  8 gauge near solid core wire from Home Depot.  We wanted to show legal HP at the same time and we installed the OEM downpipe and dynoed the car the way it was with the COBB base map.  Then flashed the stock map on, then finally we did some custom tuning.


Project $15k was called this because we wanted to spend no more than $15K (including the car purchase) to build the car.  The car we got was pretty rough and a lot of man time was spent on it getting it clean and ready to modify. On the list of mods is going to the stock downpipe (because the car came with a catless DP), Blouch Big 16G, Injectors, Fuel pump, intake, TMIC, basically we were going to turn it into a stage 4 setup.  If time and the imaginary budget allowed, we would do a header test on a 2.0L engine.  Not something we have done before.

Besides power adders we had plans for normal maintenance items, brakes, brake pads, lines, fluild changes, wheels and tires, and that kind of stuff.  Most of this info can be found HERE ON OUR SITE

Along the way there were the unexpected parts to be replaced.  Of course there was, there always is with projects like this.  The OEM turbo inlet hose was bad to start with as was the Intercooler Y hose. These were replaced in necessity, and not to mention helped make some more power.

We tried to make this project just as though anyone would do it, by not only “buying” parts, but selling the ones we take off.  So with all these addings and subtractings, we came very close to the $15k price.  But who ever sticks to their budget!

In our last installment showing off the HP we made, we showed the graphs from above, and finally we can show off last 2 steps to Project 15K and even one bonus step to keep the forums  guys happy!  The first test we did was the 2.0L header test. We took our runs on the dyno did a 3 to back up our gains from previous dyno results.  We then, as quickly as we could, replaced the OEM header with our PERRIN header.  The “quick as we can” was actually about a day of work.  This is because a 2.0L WRX requires the STI oil pan and oil pickup in order for it to fit.  So after the header was installed, we did a few runs and found pretty decent gains.


The header doesn’t quite react the same as it does on the STI motors, but still pretty good gains to be had by doing no tuning, and don’t forget stock downpipes are still installed!

Next up is the Stage 4 setup.  Sounds easy to do but this is a big step as a lot of things have to be removed and installed.  The full Stage 4 build up  can be found here, but the biggest thing we installed was the Blouch EVO3 Big 16G turbo. Its capable of flowing enough air to make 395 engine HP.  Which means about 300WHP is what we should see.


Again both results were done with the stock downpipes installed.  Anytime you start increasing the size of the turbo, you start to start to loose bottom end power.  Yup that is for sure!  Just make sure when you are picking your projects turbo, that you pick one that suites your needs for both power and response.  The 280WHP is about what we would expect, as is the TQ numbers.  The loss of bottom end power was expected also, but the bigger more than makes up for it above 4500RPM.  Because this was a pump fuel tune, we ran 18psi peaking to about 19 at 5000RPM.  With the stock downpipes in place, the ECU was still sensitive to timing and fueling. So this was actually a pretty good safe tune, and we know others have made more than this but for 92 octane, and stock downpipes this is pretty good!  Over all this step costs about $2200, not including the money you might make from selling the stock parts after the install.

We keep mentioning the stock downpipe is installed, because hardily anyone does this, and we think that for a legal setup this is pretty potent. But, yes there is a but, we have had lots of forum guys ask about us dynoing the car with a 3″ PERRIN downpipe.  So we did!

Like our other tests, we stared with a few base runs, then swaped the parts right away. This step took about half an hour to install on the dyno.  So after it was all buttoned up, we did 2 or 3 runs with no additional ECU tuning, and the gains were pretty significant!  The downpipe made a huge difference in overall power.   Most guys get 300WHP on this turbo and now we were hitting 315WHP!  Now we are talking!


We  did do some final tweaking of the map but no additional peak HP was found, and not much other than some smoothing of the graph.  Overall, the parts of the map the ECU was now hitting were so dialed that our further tuning was just more for fun, than actually gaining HP.   So keep in mind our downpipe has a cat still and is still a pretty legal part.  As are a lot of the other parts we have installed on the car.

So that’s pretty much as far as we are taking the car.  Any further and tranny issues could arise, or engine failure issues could arise.  So we now have a WRX that could easily hang with a stock STI and do pretty well with a modded stock turbo STI.

So whats next for project 15K?  We are going to sell the car for about $15K, and do the same thing with an STI, most likely dubbed Project $25-30K.  Same thing, we are looking for a rather untouched STI for about $20K and then spend about $5K-10K and see what we can do.


 Posted by on June 25, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune, Project Builds Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jun 252008

As many people now know, we are selling/tuning Unichips for the Mini.  We have proven the Unichip can make big power on the new R56 model, and now its time to prove its worth on the R53 Mini!  It may sound funny that we are re-proving an already proven product for the R53, but no one has really done back-to-back runs proving what it can do.   We like Concrete Evidence that something works, and this is exactly that.

Also it seems as though no one has done back to back ECU tuning on a R53 and proven any engine management to do anything. This is either from them not gaining much beyond stock, or no one has really done it.  The few we found were showing gains from increasing the redline, but no increase in the normal RPM range.

In the past, Unichips for the R53 Mini were sold with off the shelf maps that make a little extra HP over stock.  While these maps made noticeable gains, we wanted more!  The maps created for the Mini were created with smaller exhaust than most people run (2.25€ vs. 2.5€) and we wanted to maximize these newer standards.

TEST #1€¦.The GP

Yes we are starting out with a bit more HP than the other JCW packaged Minis (215 vs 207) this is only from the extra 100 RPM of redline from the normal JCW bolt on package.  During this test we stopped the runs at 7000 to show what other JCW guys and normal S€™s can expect from the Unichip upgrades.  With a few new base runs done, we saw consistently 190-192WHP, and a peak torque of 167ft-lbs.  Time to start tuning!!
There are many things we learned about tuning this engine compared to other Turbo cars we tune. Too bad we can€™t tell you what that was!  J  But being serious, there is quite a bit left on tap with the stock ECU tune.  As with any car manufacture, they detune the car a bit to work well in all parts of the world.  We were very surprised that we got the gains below from an ECU that was €œtuned to the edge€ from the factory.  Just wait until we get our hands on a normal Cooper S and tune it!   Our R53 test and tune with the Unichip is almost done, be on the look out!

We thought it might be a good idea to compare our overall power to the stock GP. This shows what the ALTA UnichipTune/ALTA intake/ALTA 2.5€ Catback gained over the bone stock GP.  This is a package we will be offering for any JCW/GP customer that may want to bump up their existing power to 200+WHP. This package retails for $1775.00 and if purchased together, $1619.99 with free shipping.

While the initial runs were done a few days prior, the ending results from that day were the same as our starting numbers from the Unichip test and tune day.


Proof is in the results. ALTA is once again proving a product we sell and support.  The Unichip has a great name in the land of Mini and we plan to keep it there.  The results we got were very solid, and not on the ragged edge, so the numbers you see above is what you should expect to see with similar mods.  We started with our GP/JCW packaged car because it seems many of current owner of these cars think their car is maxed out.   Well, they are not!

Also in the upcoming months, our new shop will be ready for retail customers, and we will be offering custom tunes. Mainly for customers that might have a special part or two installed.  We are looking for a couple of guys in CA or somewhere with only 91 octane fuel for some further testing.

What can we do next to get more power?

Well there are a couple of things, Header, Water injection, V2 intercooler. Over time these will be installed and tuned.  Be on the look out!

So where can you buy this???

Well on our site of course!!




Hydra graph!!





 Posted by on June 25, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune, MINI Only Tagged with: , , , ,
Jun 252008

We€™re at it again proving more ALTA PARTS!  One question we always wanted to answer was €œDo the ALTA parts make more HP than the JCW parts?€.  We get asked this a lot as customers are torn between parts they can get at the dealer, and aftermarket parts from us.  Our selling points used to revolve around the prices of JCW parts vs. ALTA.  Now we have another angle!  We can now say ALTA parts WILL make more power than the JCW, at a fraction of the cost.  What more can you ask for!

The car we started with was a newly purchased 2006 Mini Cooper S w/ JCW GP package.  For those that do not know, this is highest rated HP of any Mini Cooper produced to date (214hp and 184ft-lbs). While this a rare car, (only 415 were allocated to the US) we still had plans to modify it, and make it better.

First off a little history of Mini S€™s on our dyno.  With a 15% pulley, intake, and catback we would see around 190-195WHP.  This is very typical and we have seen with many other Mini S€™s.  The GP€™s averaged runs were under 180WHP, and while these are the highest rated HP Mini€™s ever made, the 180 is pretty close to what we would expect it to make (using a 15% drivetrain loss, and 215 engine HP).  So naturally getting to that HP should be easy (even with the GP€™s bigger than 15% pulley) with our intake and catback installed.

The first step in our quest to prove we make more power is installing the Intake hose.  We see about 5whp on regular Mini S€™s with 15% pulleys, so I would expect similar on the JCW/GP packages.  Sure enough it was pretty close to that.  The gains with this part were at the upper RPMs where the stock hose becomes a restriction.

With 4whp gained from just the hose, things were looking good!  Now for the part that we have all wondered about making more power than the ALTA Intake. The JCW intake!  For those who do not know, the JCW intake uses a slightly different air box than the normal Cooper S.  2 things make it very different, one it uses a cone type filter (although still paper??) and it has a vacuum actuated flap at the back to allow more air to get into the box. The flap is a good way to add power, and not add noise.  While the ALTA intake definitely adds some cool Supercharger Wine to you car, the customers that want to keep it quiet may stick with the JCW just for that reason. But we now have another reason or two to buy ours over the JCW.

Reason number one.  Cost!  The JCW intake system costs well over $400 where as the ALTA intake costs about $260.  While more money means more POWER/better materials/cooler looks, in this case, we can prove that 2 of those features don€™t work.  Which leads to reason number two, More POWER! While the results are not the 12-15WHP we see on a stock Mini Cooper S, the 7WHP, and 6ft-lbs of torque is definitely a repeatable and accurate gain over the JCW intake system.  Also this makes me wonder what kind of power the JCW intake makes on over the stock Air box on a Cooper S??  Hmmmmm€¦€¦€¦€¦€¦.


So far we are on a high with our gains over the JCW intake system!  Next up is another JCW part people buy before they buy our part. The Catback exhaust!!  Looking at the exhaust there are a few things to take note of.  It uses 2.25€ diameter tubing, and were it splits into 2 mufflers it goes to 1.3€ tubing.  The ALTA exhaust uses 2.5€ plumbing through out with no split.  So bigger should make more power??  The weight of the JCW system was 40.8lbs, were as the ALTA system is 28.0 lbs. So our save a bit of weight over the JCW, which you would expect with the single sided system.  So onto the dyno test.  This test was also done back to back, and the car was left on the dyno between run sets.

dyno_ exhaust_catbacktestwithintakei

So while 5WHP and 5ft-lbs isn€™t a huge gain, it is more HP than the JCW system, which is supposed to be an upgrade from stock.  We see about 12WHP on a 15% pulley car, going to our 2.5€ exhaust, so we can conclude that the JCW exhaust might make about 6-7WHP. The exhaust system prices online vary quiet a bit anywhere from $1000 to $800, where ours is $300-$100 less expensive.  From this testing of the catback exhausts, we now have 3 things that make our system better than the JCW. Cost, weight, and HP!


This is the final gain we saw with replacing the JCW intake and catback, with an ALTA cold air intake, and catback exhaust.  If you are trying to eek out that last bit of power from your JCW packaged car, here is an easy way to get 10WHP.  Also if you are thinking of buying JCW parts vs. the ALTA parts, you will see about 10WHP and 10ft-lbs more torque along with seeing more money in your pocket, from overall part costs, and shipping costs.

We have a few more tests we will be doing with our GP in the upcoming weeks, one of those is the ALTA PnP ECU! Be on the look out!!


 Posted by on June 25, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune, MINI Only Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jun 172008

Like we weren’t going to make a new intercooler for the X. For one, the stock one is pretty restrictive, and two, in order for the EVO to compete with the STI in our EVO vs. STI project it really needed one!  Besides the gains we saw there is one very important thing we found, which will be a Huge concern to all X owners after they find this same thing out.

Before we get too deep, lets look the hard data on both cores.  First off the old EVO and the new EVO have the same exact core, just different tanks.  When designing the new core, the new bumper opening is much smaller, but has much better routing to the core. So more air is pushed directly through it.

Stock EVO 9           19.50″ x 11.5″ x 2.5625″    566.5 cu-in   25   (.167″tall charge tubes)  .268″ tall ambient fins

Stock EVO X           19.50″ x 11.5″ x 2.5625″     566.5 cu-in  25   (.167″tall charge tubes)  .268″ tall ambient fins

PERRIN EVO 9         25.00″ x 11.625″ x 3.5″      1017.2cu-in  14   (.375″tall charge tubes)  .375″ tall ambient fins

PERRIN EVO X         20.75″ x 12.375″ x 3.625″   930.8 cu-in  15   (.375″tall charge tubes)  .375″ tall ambient fins


This is just our prototype core we had built. This was built using a few basic things like make it as big as possible while still fitting easily.  One interesting thing we found was the core wasn’t centered to start with. It actually is off center by about .75″ or so.  Not very noticeable unless you start measuring things. So besides fixing that, we went as reasonably deep as we could, and as tall as the ambient air would still flow through it. It looks like Mitsubishi (using the same size core) got smart about making the bumper match the IC size. THe downfall is it eliminates a few inches on each side for us to make the core wider!


You can see by the pics that there isn’t lots of room to go too much wider. But we push the limits of the core and bumper to ensure all the air goes through the core. This leaves virtually no welds showing from the outside of the car.  Other than that we use the OEM type of hanger system to secure the core. This teamed with the lower brackets makes the core rock solid.

Test Time

Onto the test! For this test we had just finished tuning Stage 1 with the Unichip and bolted on our Turboback exhaust.  We left the bumper off for the test in order to be able to swap the cores quickly. The bumper beam was left on also.  This may put both cores at a slight disadvantage with loosing some of the plastic diverters on the bumper, but still it makes them both equal.  Another thing is our tanks we were using some prototype tanks we built not production cast aluminum tanks.  Then one more thing to keep in mind (important when comparing other IC tests out there) our car is tuned!  This isn’t the stock ECU tuning! Or stock boost!


Like some of our other tests we have show on the net, we are using the Innovate logging hardware to log temps and other important data.  Our (3) temp probes are mounted as follows. One in the aluminum boost tube right after the turbo, one in the lower charge pipe after the intercooler, and the final one is right in front of the IC for ambient temps.  Along with we do have boost, EGT and a few other things hooked up. The only other thing we would be measuring is EGT’s. Normally the IC’s don’t effect this too much, but we noticed a huge difference in some instances.


After a few runs, the IC outlet temps seemed to keep getting worse.  We did about 4 runs with about 30 seconds between them.  The peak IC outlets temps started at 140 and by the last run, 149 degrees!  This is what we seen on small IC’s mounted in crappy places (STI), not on an EVO!  So why is the question??  The EGT’s caught my eyes as they seemed a bit high.  The first run peaked at 1678F, hot for sure, and something too keep an eye on. By the final run 1701F was the highest.  These are pretty toasty!  So why??  The Pre-IC temps were astronomically high!  Normally we see 250-300 on a turbo that is really working or being pushed beyond its normal efficiency range. But we were seeing 400F! You could bake cookies at that temp!!  This was only on the first run! The second run was 418F which it stabilized out from there.  Still this is nuts! So again WHY?? We will answer that later.



So with some scary data behind us we thought, our IC must be able to do much better!  It does and it deals with that extreme Pre-IC temps pretty well.  The Pre-IC temps were still hot but about 20F cooler. First runs peaked at 380F, and the last run peaked at 400F.  Well that is a good start. This drop in temp could be from the IC being less restrictive than the OEM core.  We saw about .9psi vs 1.5psi drop. So the turbo has to work less to make the same boost, more efficient!  Now the data that really matters.  The Post-IC temps were much more inline, but still about 20F higher than we normally see.  The first run showed a peak of 114F and the last run hit 120F.  This was  huge improvement.  With a good tuning tool this could be worth a little extra timing and more power!  Or, if nothing else a safer setup.  EGT’s also improved peaking from 1616F in the first run and 1636F. So overall the PERRIN FMIC ran more than 30F cooler on the IC oulet temps, and almost 80F cooler!  All that means a happier safer engine.

Worst case scenario runs are shown below and temps taken at 7300RPM  and the temps for the day were 67-71 degress.

Stock FMIC Tuned Stage 2                     PERRIN FMIC Tuned Stage 2

3000RPM        Inlet 245F/ Outlet 104F                                    Inlet 238F/ Outlet 101F             \

7300RPM        Inlet 412F/ Outlet 144F                                    Inlet 398F/ Outlet 120F

IC Efficiency    80%-78% at redline                                        82%-85% at redline.

PEAK EGT’s    1678-1701F                                                         1616-1636F

The lower RPM IC efficiency numbers are a little scewed as the temps just started to climb at this RPM.

Which one made the most power? Again to be clear, this started as a stage 1 car with just FMIC’s swaped from one set of runs to the next.  Of course our core made more power. Now it wasn’t tons but there are a few reasons for that. The super high turbo outlet temps, turbo is pushed to the max as far as flow, and we didn’t turn the boost up from where it was or do any ECU tuning to really show the benefits.  What was most important was consistency!  The car would loose HP every run, and by the 5th run it was down 15WHP. With the PERRIN FMIC installed it only lost about 5WHP and it leveled off.




So where is our core??  Well we learned very quickly that sheetmetal tanks is huge labor sucker-upper, and cast endtanks work and look much better. So the downfall is this adds a bit of time (and cost) to get our FMIC out, but it will pay off to those who wait. Some may wonder what is involved with making endtanks? There are many steps, but I bet none of you expected to see wood involved in one of the steps!

Step one is make a prototype set to use, and another to build a pattern from.  We used a couple of our other cast tanks as a starting point, then started to cut an weld until the tanks were done. From there the part goes to the pattern maker who will create our part from one of many different materials, and most commonly use is wood! I know something you might find in your Benz on the dash!  Maple and other dense woods are used to create both the inside cavity and the outside of the part.   With a pattern finished, sand can be poured around the pattern, pattern can then be removed.  The 2 halves are stuck together in a box, and molten aluminum is poored in. After cooling, out comes our end tanks!


Basic prototypes of tanks with notes for the pattern maker


After some back and forth, and test fitting, pattern for the casting process are created

This makes it sound like its a long ways away, but actually our FMIC i just around the corner. This info may sound new to those reading it, but actually we have been sitting on this waiting to release it closer to when we can start shipping the FMIC’s.  In roughly 3 weeks parts will start showing up in customers hands!


In conclusion, Our intercooler works great!  Wait, so, why does the EVO have such high Pre-IC temps??  If the turbo was really pumping out those temps without something else effecting it, the turbo would have to be running about 45% efficient.  This can’t be as we have Compressor maps showing air flow and we know that base on the HP we see it can’t be that, then what?

Wait until your car cools off one day, run your hand above the compressor of the turbo under the exhaust manifold and heat shield. What do you find?  I find nothing, yes almost no room between the turbo and the exhaust manifold!  There is roughly .250″ between the turbo compressor housing and the exhaust manifold.  What happens with exhaust manifold glows red hot under normal conditions?  The extreme radiant heat heats up the entire aluminum compressor housing and in turn heats up the air going through the turbo.  Normally when air gets compressed in this situation it heats up to 250F-ish, and the fact its getting heated up to 400F is a little scary!

Ok so besides the extreme heat coming out of the turbo, I wonder how this is going to effect the longevity of the turbo.  If the turbo outlet temps are 400, the compressor housing must be significantly above this. While the CHRA of the turbo is cooled by coolant, and there is oil running through it, this is much hotter than a normal turbo runs.  I see a potential for future issues. So what are WE going to do about this?  We have 2 things in the works, just wait and see!

The fact the turbo is latterly a quarter of an inch from the glowing red hot exhaust manifold is a major design flaw. Its amazing the Stock FMIC does an OK job of cooling it down, but still the IC out temps were much hotter than we typically see on the Subies and on other cars.  With that said, I am very happy that our PERRIN FMIC did make a difference in all aspects.  If we can solve the Turbo out temps, I think the FMIC can be fully utilized and be worth at least twice as much as it showed on the dyno.   Now its time to do some further tuning!


 Posted by on June 17, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune, Part Design & Tech Tagged with: , , , ,
Jun 172008

These results are also for a product we no longer support (ECUTEK Flashes), but these results are right in line with what we see on our AccessPORT flashes which is what we currently offer.  Just don’t call and ask us for Unichip!!

Stage 2 Unichip tuning, and turboback exhaust is all done and proven.  We then did our FMIC testing and showed the HP gains from it and discovered a major flaw in the EVO’s new engine design.  Read HERE for our Base runs, read HERE for our Stage 1 results,  read HERE for our Stage 2, and read HERE to read about the FMIC.  Now it was time to tune the Unichip with the FMIC and see what we can do.  Well, ya, so we decided to make a change to how we tune the EVO X.  The Unichip is a great ECU tuning tool, its easy to tune, but there are some issues with it that don’t make it 100% perfect.

So what did we change to? ECUTEK!  Its pretty much the only other ECU tuning method out there.  So why did we change?  Well, besides being able to offer a product that is also proven, we could offer a product no one could complain about installation with. The hardwiring of the Unichip leads to quite a few potential issues. All of which could lead to engine failures, and this is not good for anyone! Its not that we had issues with tuning our Unichip’ed cars, but we saw a variant from one car to another with a very small difference in a resistor used to pull down the current from the MAF sensor.  We also didn’t feel this would be a 100% repeatable thing, and while we could tune around this on the dyno, we wouldn’t be able to tune everyone’s car.

Also we can control timing and fueling completely separate from one another.  We could control both before, but changing the MAF signal effects the timing. This also leads to having to trick the MAF sensor and MAP sensor to make sure the ECU didn’t hit boost cut. Then there is the one thing I was most excited about, MIVEC control! More on this later!

That feels good to get off our chest…


This is where we left our car after our FMIC test. This was our Stage 3 setup, which includes our Turboback Exhaust, and FMIC along with a Unichip tune, or at least and ECU tune.  340ft-lbs of torque and 350WHP, not bad, and very solid feeling!

So before we get to the ECUTEK flashing, what do we think we are going to find?  Well, like when we have people ask us about different ECU’s and if there is one better than another, the answer is they all should be able to make the same power if tuned properly. An engine is only going to take so much timing, its only going run so lean, and so on.  So I think the results will be the same, as we tuned the Unichip until we felt it was a safe repeatable level.  The advantage the Unichip has is we used our EBCS on it which means it should build boost better than the stock ECU and hold more to redline. But the ECUTEK can control the cams.  So who will win?

Before we get too deep into the ECU, ECUTEK has both the original ECU rom and the newer updated one. Because we had time, we ran them back to back (well 273 seconds back to back). ZERO difference on the dyno. While we expected to see more boost, or leaner or something, nope nothing.

But an intersted comparo we did.  When we flashed the ECU with the stock ECU rom i noticed the numbers looked very similar to stock……


Very strange, but this is showing our car in stock form, versus Stage 3 with no ECU tuning. This means turboback exhaust is installed, with our FMIC.  So why is it not much better? Well the stock parts at stock boost levels work pretty well. But start turning up the boost and then things start to see their faults.  Its goes to show, ECU tuning will make more power for less money than just about anything!


As expected the peak power and peak torque were very similar. This is because the engine was brought very close to its max power in both tuning methods. But where the ECUTEK really kicks ass is with playing with the MIVEC controls.  Its obvious by the graphs how it effects spool and low end power.

Like we did on our last EVO 9 installment, with the Cobb AccessPORT we made changes to the MIVEC map instantly and found where more advance and less advanced worked and made more power.  While we could do this instantly on the AP, with the  ECUTEK every change required a reflash of the ECU. Each flash takes 273 seconds, so the engine can cool of quite a bit here and make it hard to do really good back to back tests when you have to make little changes.  But none the less we did and spent quite a bit of time playing with both the exhaust and intake cam changes.  Its unbelievable how much difference that the MIVEC makes to the low end power.  Look out STI’s here comes some low end power from the EVO!

Onto our boost findings.  So its obvious changing the MIVEC tables makes a huge difference in spool, so how much exactly?


That’s right 300RPM!  It is an unbelievably huge difference on the road. This car has much less of that off boost lag. Its like it gained .5 liters of displacement!  The ECUTEK boost curve is actually lower at redline than the UNICHIP. This could be from a couple of things.  The Unichip had our EBCS solenoid installed, which may help.  But also the UNICHIP can’t control the cams so some of the increase is boost could be from the “Unichip Trickery” causing the cams to be running more cam advance. Yes too much cam advance can cause excessive boost pressure at redline, but this doesn’t mean more power!

One last test we did after we did a few more back to back runs to ensure its repeatability, is we tested another new part. The turbo inlet hose!  This part in OEM form is a rubber hose that is a bit narrow, and the internals are opposite of smooth. The corrugated rubber inner doesn’t make for the smoothest air flow to the turbo. So it sounds like its got to make a difference.


Well maybe not quite as much difference as I hoped, but it sure did help the turbo spool even quicker. What I can’t imagine is how much quicker the turbo spooled compared to where we started even before our stage 2 setup.  In stock form at 3000RPM we hit 240ft-lbs and 20psi of boost.  With the final Stage 3 setup with the ECUTEK tuning, we were hitting almost 360ftlbs!  Now boost was hitting 20psi at 2500RPM. That is just nuts!

Without a doubt the ECUTEK software is a much better tuner tool, and to the end user we feel you will be happier with its performance. The ECUTEK flashes are $695 each compared to the $595 for the Unichip in hardwire form. So the ECUTEK is more expensive, but with no hardwiring.  The only thing is we need your ECU to flash it.  Not a big deal to us, but for the end user you will have to send us your ECU or drive by with your car and we can flash it.  If you are interested in dyno tuning give us a ring!

Look for our re-tests with the ECUTEK software and our Stage 1 setup and stage 2 setups.  WE have cars lined up already to prove our maps with and for those interested in a Stage 3 PERRIN ECUTEK flash right now, and have better than 91 fuel, give us a ring!

I know, not too many pics of cars and parts in this article, but at least there are some dyno graphs to drool over!


 Posted by on June 17, 2008 Dyno Test & Tune Tagged with: , , , ,