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MegaSquirt - Distributorless Ign. / EFI ?'s

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I've recently done quite a bit of work on my car and one of the next big projects is a motor, combined with an EFI/distributorless ignition system. As most of these things go, take your time and budget and double it - or just plan on spending $1,000 and you're probably pretty close.

I want to be able to understand what I'm doing but also I don't really want to spend the next 6-months learning how to be an electrical engineer. Several setups have been suggested and the bottom line is either I need to bring my wallet to the table or learn how to do this stuff. My fears are as follows and I hope someone can confirm:

#1: Building my own system will still cost me $1,000 - only it won't "feel" expensive because it will be long and time consuming.

#2: Building my own system will not be as reliable because the bolt on products will have better manufacturing and tighter tolerances.

#3: Building my own system will not be as "programable" or as versitile as some of the commercially available products.

Can anyone confirm or deny these thoughts? I'm building two motors with two projects down the line. First, I'm building a 120-130hp (100RWHP) 292cam, 38/38, S14 cranked carbed motor that I thought I could keep carbed and learn about distributorless ignitions. Then once that's tweaked, ditch the 38/38 and bump it up to an ITB injected setup. The second longer term motor will be a forced induction s14 cranked M10 which will require the EFI and electronic ignition.

How hard is MegaSquirt? How costly is MegaSquirt? If I can build a motor, do a 5-spd conversion and get my blinkers to work properly (even the little dash light) will I be able to figure this out? Am I being foolish in trying to save money and should I just buy a kick-ass system out of the box that has all the features I'm looking for?

It's my understanding that the big money savings is more in the ability to fabricate things like crank sensor mounts, brackets and plates, rather than in the actual soldering and wiring. YES/NO??? I'll be buying the crank sensor mount and all of the machined parts so that's what makes me think I won't be able to actually save that much money - only give myself a headache.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

TIA,

TJW

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If you're going the ITB route expect to pay at least $2K if not a lot more from either TWM or Weber for the entire setup. They're really good and highly programmable. Megasquirt is also a much cheaper option at less than $1K total if you plan on making use of ebay and pick and pull for the stock looking parts and is just as programmable, just ask Zenon or Finkbuilt and they can tell you, although you do lose the cool factor with the ITBs. I'm planning on the exact same thing as Fink and from what I can tell it should be more than enough for my needs.

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What did finkbuilt do? And why do ITBS lose the cool factor? I think they are pretty awesome.

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I haven't decided on the ITB / single TB yet. Of course it would be easier to just "upgrade" to forced induction - but since there will have to be changes to compression ratios and cam going from nat. asp. to forced ind. I'm building two seperate motors. For me the question is the overall price of something - say SDS or Haltech VS. Megasquirt. ITB's aside, will I be able to save any money by going MS or am I fooling myself?

With a 2.2L or 2.3L (whatever the S14 ends up being with 89mm pistons) and a 292 cam I think the ITB setup would be nice - maybe even so nice I'd decide not to go forded induction. Either way I want something that's programmable enough that it can run forced induction, ITB, or single TB, and I didn't go to MIT/CalTech but I can solder.

I guess I'll try and do some more homework but it's becoming more and more aparent that this may be a $2K project and will be best suited for use directly with my forced induction motor rather than as an experiment/learning toy.

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Have you rpiced out haltech and some of the other ECUs to compare with? I havent got that far in my stage, although from dealing with some aftermarket units the megasquirt seemed to be a pennies on the dollar kind of deal. I dont think MS is any less programmable than any other stand alone I have used, and with the open source code, new things are being created for it all the time.

It would obviously be smart to find out how much each of the different ECUs would cost and do a comparison that way. Also please post your findings here as Im going to be in that boat soon and Im sure others are as well. From what I have read though I really dont think you can get more for the money that with the Megasquirt stuff. It should be considerably cheaper.

ITBs dont loose any coolness factor. Every time I see a car with side drafts I shudder and think of how much I hate carbed motors. Im younger though and to me carbs are voodo magic to get working properly and EFI makes total sense and is much easier to tune. It all really boils down to how much you are going to use the car, and what you are going to use it for. For the hassle and $ I dont think you can beat sidedrafts for bang for the $.

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What did finkbuilt do? And why do ITBS lose the cool factor? I think they are pretty awesome.

I think that what he meant was that by NOT going ITB, you would sacrifice some cool. In other words, ITB is of course cooler.

The problem is that Megasquirt relies on a MAP sensor, and it is hard to measure Manifold Absolute Pressure with individual TB's.

I am using Megasquirt along with the 1.8 liter style intake manifold, 58mm 325is TB and PWM Idle air control. (as of this writing, I havn't actually finished the install yet )

http://www.finkbuilt.com/blog/efi-conversion-parts/

For ignition I am using a FORD EDIS module with the stock Ford style coil pack. This module has a very easy to install 2-wire interface to the Megasquirt:

http://www.megamanual.com/ms2/EDIS.htm

Not so trivial to install is the crank position trigger wheel and VR sensor. But not that hard, and you have to get a position somehow no matter what distributorless route you go. Junkyard EDIS is dirt cheap and works great.

Tims installation (linked to below in this thread) details the coil on plug experimantation that he did with his EDIS.

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Not sure but I think the Electrimotive Tec 3 ECU is like 1800 alone. I think I had 400 in my whole Megasquirt system (no ITB's) If you can build a motor and make your blinkers work you too can be a Mega Squirter! I'm a Mac guy so learning a little about Windows and looking at the ways to set up the megasquirt took me a while, but I'm a guy that learns from pushing buttons and not reading. I'm sure the MS3 bord and Megasquirt II will be able to do more than you should need. I've messed around with the Tec 3 on my friends Volvo and it is a lot more complicated than the MS. Yea the fuel and ignition resolution is better but there is some debate as to how usefull that is. Tec 3 is like 16 X 16 and the MSII is 12 X 12.

With a 292 cam you dont NEED itb's, however they are cool. I think the latest Megasquirt code allows you to blend AlfaN and Map sensor maps. Like Alfa N for up to 3k and them map after that.

MS has a huge support on the net. Post a question and poof! there's the answer.

I'm gong with MSII, EDIS ignition and itb's with my next motor. (2230 with Schrick 304 ect...

John

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I havent gotten to the assembly stage at all - in fact, i'm still gathering parts - but im going to run MSI with the edis code, 2002 block with 318i head and intake, 8:1 pistons and a turbo mounted on a BAE manifold. I havent picked the turbo yet but im thinking a t3/t4 hybrid. It will be intercooled and oil cooled as well. It's one of those things though where i dont know what I'll do with the power - theres nowhere to drive in houston. :(

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One downside of EDIS is no soft rev limit... just a heads up. I guess you could always put in an extra piece of MSD hardware to do that though if you feel that fuel cut alone doesn't do it. I was going to go EDIS on my Megasquirted 02m20, but I decided on wasted spark via a GM coilpack with the hei module ripped out. Cheap and easy.

Back to the topic, MS was pretty daunting to me at first, but building it myself helped me understand a LOT more about how everything works. As I hooked it to the car, again, I learnt a lot more. And then with tuning it...I learnt EVEN more. Wait a minute, now its fun! Its a lot easier than it seems at first, and places like msefi.com have a wealth of info.

I've always hated electronics...and I suck at it. But hell, if I can do it, so can you :)

Matt

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What compression are you planning to run for the forced induction?

PSloan - Forced Induction Compression..... Not really sure yet. I'd like to get up over ~8.5 maybe around 9.0:1 but we'll see. Most of it will depend on how much boost I run and what happens on the dyno. My initial plan was to build a nice 10.5:1 compression motor and then just throw in a thicker head gasket.... Then I decided this is a bad idea because of cam and other things.

Any CR suggestions???

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Not sure but I think the Electrimotive Tec 3 ECU is like 1800 alone. I think I had 400 in my whole Megasquirt system (no ITB's) If you can build a motor and make your blinkers work you too can be a Mega Squirter! I'm a Mac guy so learning a little about Windows and looking at the ways to set up the megasquirt took me a while, but I'm a guy that learns from pushing buttons and not reading. I'm sure the MS3 bord and Megasquirt II will be able to do more than you should need. I've messed around with the Tec 3 on my friends Volvo and it is a lot more complicated than the MS. Yea the fuel and ignition resolution is better but there is some debate as to how usefull that is. Tec 3 is like 16 X 16 and the MSII is 12 X 12.

With a 292 cam you dont NEED itb's, however they are cool. I think the latest Megasquirt code allows you to blend AlfaN and Map sensor maps. Like Alfa N for up to 3k and them map after that.

MS has a huge support on the net. Post a question and poof! there's the answer.

I'm gong with MSII, EDIS ignition and itb's with my next motor. (2230 with Schrick 304 ect...

John

John my fear is all those letters you wrote in your post.... EDIS, 12x12 vs. 16x16, MAP Alpha N..... This is what's overwhelming not building the darn thing. I'm quite confident that I can build just about anything - understanding it and getting it to work is completely different!

Thanks for the help though! I'm interested in going distributorless because well it's cool, and because I'm sick and tired of my distributor. I want something solid and reliable that will also clean up my engine bay and make things look simple, clean and really nicely put together in the engine compartment.

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I havent gotten to the assembly stage at all - in fact, i'm still gathering parts - but im going to run MSI with the edis code, 2002 block with 318i head and intake, 8:1 pistons and a turbo mounted on a BAE manifold. I havent picked the turbo yet but im thinking a t3/t4 hybrid. It will be intercooled and oil cooled as well. It's one of those things though where i dont know what I'll do with the power - theres nowhere to drive in houston. :(

I'm thinking about going supercharged for the low end torque/power and because I want to drive the thing and keep my license. I have a VW Corrado's complete setup as well as a Pontiac Bonneville AND an old E21 Callaway turbo kit... I'm still gathering parts and getting my ducks in a row as well and honestly if I could find a good turbo setup that would spool up quickly I'd probably be more inclined to run that vs. the Supercharger but we'll see when the time comes. Again, I can play around with the CR a little bit with VAC Motorsports MLS headgaskets by getting them in different thicknesses....

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