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I have a '97 MK VIII 32 valve engine and swapped to the C heads and Marauder intake that I am going to stand alone for a 55 F100 with manual transmission, Crown Vic front and rear end. I am not going forced induction at this point.

I have pruned the MK harness and am at the point of deciding:

Do I continue with the MK harness and ECM and deal with a retune/ delete EGR, Cannister purge etc / PATS delete and dyno? I didn't get a key so it will be winch it on a trailer and take it to the tuner and hope it runs.

Go to something like the MS3Pro? I like the idea of flex fuel compatible tunes and the duel O2 sensors that the competition does not offer.

Different Ford ECM and re-pin if necessary?

Suggestions and thoughts welcome,
 

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Ford ECUs are purpose built systems designed to operate the engine within the regulatory confines of the EPA requirements for the model year vehicle it was offered with. While it does not have code that specifically was designed for performance applications, it does have code that can be used in performance applications — when properly tuned.

What you give up or surrender, if you will, with an OEM ECU is a variety of features that do not add to EPA compliance but do add to engine protection and operating efficacy in a performance application that are only available in aftermarket performance oriented ECUs. Just a sampling of those benefits include things like multiple engine safety shutdowns, designed to save your engine when things like oil pressure, fuel pressure, EGT temps, engine speeds etc exceed programmable thresholds you select for your particular build. Other niceties, one of which you have already identified- flex fuel capability, are simply not available in earlier OEM ECU's and of course lets not forget multiple programable launch mechanisms.

Beyond the flex fuel capability you have things like traction control, multiple accelerator pump enrichment strategies for improved throttle response and drivability to name just two. Some Ford OEM ECUs are hard coded to a relatively small range of fuel inectors and MAF sizes that require a modestly sophisticated scaling methodology for proper engine fueling as you increase injector size and MAF size. The problem with the scaling is it distorts the Ford built in load calculation which changes the part throttle engine response and drivability.

Each ECU strategy Ford creates has invisible thresholds affecting fueling, throttle response and reliable power production which you can't see until you cross over them and then you discover it but by then it's too late. The aftermarket ECU's do not have these artificial limitations that the OEM ECU's possess.

Aftermarket ECU's provide a much less hazardous path to high powered performance fueling strategies and much improved part throttle drivability. While the MS3Pro P-n-P systems offer much the same features as other aftermarket EFI systems do, they do it at a much lower price point and with a lifetime warranty — which nobody else does. Because the P-n-P versions of the system drive your OEM dash clusters and use your OEM Ford wiring harness and sensors several benefits accrue to users of this system that simply are not unavailable anywhere else. I'll touch on some of those in the last paragraph below.

Another consideration is the total ante at the poker table to implement the system. The MS3Pro ante at the aftermarket EFI poker table is much lower than competitive alternatives. One MS3Pro adopter commented that the system was a poor man's Motec or Haltech. While it has a very attractive $1,349 price point for an aftermarket EFI system, Haltech and Motec do offer iimpressively specialized race specific options and feature sets for the professional racer that may not be as fully developed or not available on the MS3Pro as they are on a Haltech or Motec ECUs. That said, if you are in the deep end of the professional racing swimming pool and need Haltech / Motec capabilities you should be shopping the $10,000 Haltech / Motec solutions not the $1,349 MS3Pro solutions. For 99.999% of the rest of us, who live in the real world, non professional race community, the $1,349 MS3Pro solution covers all our bases and the $10,000 solution is not necessary.

Here is another worthy consideration. Although you can build an engine wiring harness, it is not a walk in the park, You do need to buy the sensor connectors and properly attach them to their respective wire ends and build your custom loom. This is both work intensive and once you check out the connector prices, also expensive. The MS3Pro allows you to simply use your OEM harness. If you are using a Mcah I or Terminator engine you can get a harness from a salvage yard(in in the case of the Mach I. A Cobra harness will likely not be found in a salvage yard but can be purchased directly from Ford (which is where I got mine) for about $0.30 on the dollar or less compared to the EFI manufacturer's harness with connectors. One very attractive attribute of the OEM harness is it's durability. They are designed to go 100,000 miles or more in daily drivers in all climates and conditions — an unlikely mileage target for the typical performance car.

The MS3Pro plug and play systems are pretty much a no brainer for anyone building a performance oriented Modmotor powered vehicle. One last thing to keepi in mind is the need for emissions testing. If you live in one of the states that is requiring you to pass a series of emissions tests requiring the OEM ECU, the MS3Pro can be unplugged from your OEM harness and the original OEM ECU reinstalled with perhaps an injector change and one or two other throwbacks to OEM and you could be ready for your emissions testing —this is simply not possible without the OEM harness, the OEM sensors and most importantly the OEM ECU.



Ed
 

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Ford ECUs are purpose built systems designed to operate the engine within the regulatory confines of the EPA requirements for the model year vehicle it was offered with. While it does not have code that specifically was designed for performance applications, it does have code that can be used in performance applications — when properly tuned.

What you give up or surrender, if you will, with an OEM ECU is a variety of features that do not add to EPA compliance but do add to engine protection and operating efficacy in a performance application that are only available in aftermarket performance oriented ECUs. Just a sampling of those benefits include things like multiple engine safety shutdowns, designed to save your engine when things like oil pressure, fuel pressure, EGT temps, engine speeds etc exceed programmable thresholds you select for your particular build. Other niceties, one of which you have already identified- flex fuel capability, are simply not available in earlier OEM ECU's and of course lets not forget multiple programable launch mechanisms.

Beyond the flex fuel capability you have things like traction control, multiple accelerator pump enrichment strategies for improved throttle response and drivability to name just two. Some Ford OEM ECUs are hard coded to a relatively small range of fuel inectors and MAF sizes that require a modestly sophisticated scaling methodology for proper engine fueling as you increase injector size and MAF size. The problem with the scaling is it distorts the Ford built in load calculation which changes the part throttle engine response and drivability.

Each ECU strategy Ford creates has invisible thresholds affecting fueling, throttle response and reliable power production which you can't see until you cross over them and then you discover it but by then it's too late. The aftermarket ECU's do not have these artificial limitations that the OEM ECU's possess.

Aftermarket ECU's provide a much less hazardous path to high powered performance fueling strategies and much improved part throttle drivability. While the MS3Pro P-n-P systems offer much the same features as other aftermarket EFI systems do, they do it at a much lower price point and with a lifetime warranty — which nobody else does. Because the P-n-P versions of the system drive your OEM dash clusters and use your OEM Ford wiring harness and sensors several benefits accrue to users of this system that simply are not unavailable anywhere else. I'll touch on some of those in the last paragraph below.

Another consideration is the total ante at the poker table to implement the system. The MS3Pro ante at the aftermarket EFI poker table is much lower than competitive alternatives. One MS3Pro adopter commented that the system was a poor man's Motec or Haltech. While it has a very attractive $1,349 price point for an aftermarket EFI system, Haltech and Motec do offer iimpressively specialized race specific options and feature sets for the professional racer that may not be as fully developed or not available on the MS3Pro as they are on a Haltech or Motec ECUs. That said, if you are in the deep end of the professional racing swimming pool and need Haltech / Motec capabilities you should be shopping the $10,000 Haltech / Motec solutions not the $1,349 MS3Pro solutions. For 99.999% of the rest of us, who live in the real world, non professional race community, the $1,349 MS3Pro solution covers all our bases and the $10,000 solution is not necessary.

Here is another worthy consideration. Although you can build an engine wiring harness, it is not a walk in the park, You do need to buy the sensor connectors and properly attach them to their respective wire ends and build your custom loom. This is both work intensive and once you check out the connector prices, also expensive. The MS3Pro allows you to simply use your OEM harness. If you are using a Mcah I or Terminator engine you can get a harness from a salvage yard(in in the case of the Mach I. A Cobra harness will likely not be found in a salvage yard but can be purchased directly from Ford (which is where I got mine) for about $0.30 on the dollar or less compared to the EFI manufacturer's harness with connectors. One very attractive attribute of the OEM harness is it's durability. They are designed to go 100,000 miles or more in daily drivers in all climates and conditions — an unlikely mileage target for the typical performance car.

The MS3Pro plug and play systems are pretty much a no brainer for anyone building a performance oriented Modmotor powered vehicle. One last thing to keepi in mind is the need for emissions testing. If you live in one of the states that is requiring you to pass a series of emissions tests requiring the OEM ECU, the MS3Pro can be unplugged from your OEM harness and the original OEM ECU reinstalled with perhaps an injector change and one or two other throwbacks to OEM and you could be ready for your emissions testing —this is simply not possible without the OEM harness, the OEM sensors and most importantly the OEM ECU.



Ed
Excellent explanation as always. I’m considering the same thing after reading this post. I’ve got way too much money tied up into my engine build to chance using the stock ECU. If i would have had some ability to set up a safety or 2 then I’d still be running the stock engine..,well at least until my need for power exceeded the stock WAP internals!

What is your opinion Ed on a green as grass newbie’s ability to tuning with MS3 pro. Is there good support, forums, videos , tutorials to get someone started in tuning safely.
 

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excellent explanation as always. I’m considering the same thing after reading this post. I’ve got way too much money tied up into my engine build to chance using the stock ECU. If i would have had some ability to set up a safety or 2 then I’d still be running the stock engine..,well at least until my need for power exceeded the stock WAP internals!

What is your opinion Ed on a green as grass newbie’s ability to tuning with MS3 pro. Is there good support, forums, videos , tutorials to get someone started in tuning safely.
Do it. The software isn't that bad. Especially compared to something like SCT. I have a knock sensor as well as the A/F safety turned on in my set up.
 

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Bob (01yellerCobra) summed it up eloquently Shawn when he simply said, 'do it'! He is absolutely right when he makes the comparison to SCT or for that matter any of the other OEM ECU programming tools. There are many things that make the OEM programming experience painful, here are three;

  • First, there is no documentation from Ford that is publicly available describing the ECU's engine strategy code architecture, so you have to learn it piece meal from others who themselves have incomplete discovery and understanding,

  • Second, buried in the OEM code strategies there are hard stops that are totally invisible to you until you run into them. Then you need to figure out how to scale other attributes of the OEM strategy to allow you to use variables (i.e. injector size, MAF size, manifold volume, etc) to get the ECU to approximate the correct fueling operation for your chosen componentry — this stuff is not intuitive.

  • When you are done scaling you have screwed up Ford's load calculation making the other than wide open throttle fueling of the engine incorrect.

The MS3Pro system has a stunningly good user group but even better hard copy manuals that actually tell you how they architected the various software features and how to use them. The tuning (and data logging) software (which is included with the ECU) has hot links at each step to coach you through with links back to the manual for a more in-depth discussion.

In an Oh BTW category the system is delivered with a speed density base tune that will work on an original Eaton equipped engine right out of the box. You can use this with a few modifications to handle virtually any engine setup you have. The tuning s/w also supports MAF based (my personal favorite) and Alpha-N tuning models. Here is a screen shot from the tuning software;

175574


The pop up window in the middle of the screen shot is what you get when you click on the Required Fuel button in the window behind it. Tell the s/w you engine displacement in cubic inches or liters (which ever you want) how many cylinders you have, the flow rate for your injectors (I'm using FRPP 80's) and the Stoich point for the fuel you are using. The software uses that to populate the fields behind the popup. Side note, the 11.08 stoich point is the correct stoich point for E-10 (in a supercharged engine) which is what most pumps pump today.

When you click OK, the screen behind looks like this;

175577


Notice the yellow balloon that tells you about the global fuel constant. That showed up because I clicked on the blue box with the white question mark. The tips are very helpful, (something you won't see in aftermarket tuning software for the OEM ECU) and can be used to dig into the manual for a more in-depth explanation.

Here is a screen shot of my MAF transfer curve. Check ou the number of data points,

175578


The tuning software is just flat impressive and the dataloging software is equally stunning.

This decision really is a no brainer. You are going to be in the tank for somewhere north of $800 for an SCT PRP package that they can shut off, deny you access to portions of the ECU code strategy they don't want you to see and in general be a bad business partner after you have spent $800 with them. Oh BTW you can't sell your PRP package if you ever want to — they will disable it if they catch you!

The MS3Pro crowd not only doesn't do any of that stuff, they give you an excellent base tune to start with and actually like you as a customer not to mention appreciate your business.

There is also an included data logger than does not need a hand held to work. For something like $80 extra you can get a blue tooth connection to your laptop so you don't need a cable go from your laptop to your hand held and another to go to your ECU from the hand held like SCT. The bluetooth connection uses error detection and correction so the right 'stuff' goes to the ECU. If you skip the bluetooth connection then there is a single cable from your laptop USB port to the ECU.

This thing really is a no brainer. SCT PRP $800+. MS3Pro ECU with programming s/w and data logging s/w and startup tune - $1.349.

This is the cat's meow!


Ed
 

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Do it. The software isn't that bad. Especially compared to something like SCT. I have a knock sensor as well as the A/F safety turned on in my set up.
yeah my last engine got taken out by low voltage. My guess is that low voltage means low fuel pressure. Tuner said I was around12v while doing a pull. So I’d definitely be putting a voltage limit,A/F limit, and probably fuel pressure

I’m on a Stock ECU right now and was tuned remotely because I couldn’t get across the border from Canada to get to a dyno in the US. Tuner said the tune was soft but whatever happened cost me an engine. I’m a bit leery to chance it again.

The MS3 is attractive because I can do gear changes and correct the speedo myself. Also the pnp feature lets me have all my creature comforts.!😜
 

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Bob (01yellerCobra) summed it up eloquently when he simply said, 'do it", Shawn. He is absolutely right when he makes the comparison to SCT or for that matter any of the other OEM ECU programming tools. There are many things that make the OEM programming experience painful, here are three;

  • First, there is no documentation from Ford that is publicly available describing the ECU's engine strategy code architecture, so you have to learn it piece meal from others who themselves have incomplete discovery and understanding,

  • Second, buried in the OEM code strategies there are hard stops that are totally invisible to you until you run into them. Then you need to figure out how to scale other attributes of the OEM strategy to allow you to use variables (i.e. injector size, MAF size, manifold volume, etc) to get the ECU to approximate the correct fueling operation for your chosen componentry — this stuff is not intuitive.

  • When you are done scaling you have screwed up Ford's load calculation making the other than wide open throttle fueling of the engine incorrect.

The MS3Pro system has a stunningly good user group but even better hard copy manuals that actually tell you how they architected the various software features and how to use them. The tuning (and data logging) software (which is included with the ECU) has hot links at each step to coach you through with links back to the manual for a more in-depth discussion.

In an Oh BTW category the system is delivered with a speed density base tune that will work on an original Eaton equipped engine right out of the box. You can use this with a few modifications to handle virtually any engine setup you have. The tuning s/w also supports MAF based (my personal favorite) and Alpha-N tuning models. Here is a screen shot from the tuning software;

View attachment 175574

The pop up window in the middle of the screen shot is what you get when you click on the Required Fuel button in the window behind it. Tell the s/w you engine displacement in cubic inches or liters (which ever you want) how many cylinders you have, the flow rate for your injectors (I'm using FRPP 80's) and the Stoich point for the fuel you are using. The software uses that to populate the fields behind the popup. Side note, the 11.08 stoich point is the correct stoich point for E-10 (in a supercharged engine) which is what most pumps pump today.

When you click OK, the screen behind looks like this;

View attachment 175577

Notice the yellow balloon that tells you about the global fuel constant. That showed up because I clicked on the blue box with the white question mark. The tips are very helpful, (something you won't see in aftermarket tuning software for the OEM ECU) and can be used to dig into the manual for a more in-depth explanation.

Here is a screen shot of my MAF transfer curve. Check ou the number of data points,

View attachment 175578

The tuning software is just flat impressive and the dataloging software is equally stunning.

This decision really is a no brainer. You are going to be in the tank for somewhere north of $800 for an SCT PRP package that they can shut off, deny you access to portions of the ECU code strategy they don't want you to see and in general be a bad business partner after you have spent $800 with them. Oh BTW you can't sell your PRP package if you ever want to — they will disable it if they catch you!

The MS3Pro crowd not only doesn't do any of that stuff, they give you an excellent base tune to start with and actually like you as a customer not to mention appreciate your business.

There is also an included data logger than does not need a hand held to work. For something like $80 extra you can get a blue tooth connection to your laptop so you don't need a cable go from your laptop to your hand held and another to go to your ECU from the hand held like SCT. The bluetooth connection uses error detection and correction so the right 'stuff' goes to the ECU. If you skip the bluetooth connection then there is a single cable from your laptop USB port to the ECU.

This thing reallyiq a no brainer. SCT PRP $800+. MS3Pro ECU with programming s/w and data logging s/w and startup tune - $1.349.

This is the cat's meow!


Ed
Wow Ed thanks as always for being so clear and concise. It kinda really is a no brainer. For me to get my car tuned as it stands today I’ve got to travel 4 hrs and spend $700 or so for the tuning session. The kick in the pants for me is the exchange rate. That $1349 USD turns into $1689 CDN plus import charge of $289 on top of it all. Might as well say $2000 when all is said and done. Still cheaper that the $8-9000 I spent on rebuilding my engine!

I guess I better start saving up for that one!

Thanks again!
 

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yeah my last engine got taken out by low voltage. My guess is that low voltage means low fuel pressure. Tuner said I was around12v while doing a pull. So I’d definitely be putting a voltage limit,A/F limit, and probably fuel pressure

I’m on a Stock ECU right now and was tuned remotely because I couldn’t get across the border from Canada to get to a dyno in the US. Tuner said the tune was soft but whatever happened cost me an engine. I’m a bit leery to chance it again.

The MS3 is attractive because I can do gear changes and correct the speedo myself. Also the pnp feature lets me have all my creature comforts.!😜
I think if you set an A/F limit you'll be good. I can attest how well it works as I didn't have mine set up quite right and the engine cut out on the freeway when I tried to goose it to get around some slow traffic. That was heart stopping until I figured out what it was.
 

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I think if you set an A/F limit you'll be good. I can attest how well it works as I didn't have mine set up quite right and the engine cut out on the freeway when I tried to goose it to get around some slow traffic. That was heart stopping until I figured out what it was.
yes I suppose the A/F is covering a few potential issue with one gauge. Thanks for the advice!
 

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What is your opinion Ed on a green as grass newbie’s ability to tuning with MS3 pro. Is there good support, forums, videos , tutorials to get someone started in tuning safely.
Have you ever tuned a vehicle? Ever set up VE or timing tables, etc? Ever setup Open/Closed loop tables? If not then, NO, you probably won't be able to do it. Plan to have someone that knows how to do it for you.

The support forums are awful b/c people are slow to respond and most of the time the help is centered around their specific vehicle which rarely corresponds to what you are working on. You can wait several weeks for a response that only takes a few seconds of explanation but even the answer is confusing because they assume that you know the language and the software and how to tune an engine so you wait another week for someone to explain that answer.

Ed, loves the MS Pro, and makes it sound so easy but I've been there. I knew nothing of VE/Timing tables, Load-vs-timing, injector duty cycles, IAC frequency, etc but I thought I could learn it with forum help but after months of trying to get a decent idle tune set up I gave up. I had always planned to have it tuned (and did) but I thought I would see how far I could get with it and I didn't get far at all. In addition, for 4 years my car had a hunting idle when warm and would die when put into gear but just this last week someone on TurboForums took a look at my tune and created an idle tune for it and NOW it idles great. It was probably 5 minutes of their time b/c they know how to tune but it took me 4 years to get there. There are a LOT of little tiny things about tuning an engine that people have learned that makes all the difference when making a good tune and you won't know any of them.

I would never recommend the MS Pro for anyone that doesn't know how to tune an engine unless they had plans to send it to someone. With this said, you will probably be able to test all the functions (injectors, coils, etc) and get it running and drive it around the block using the self adjusting function but it will be far from a good tune.

The MS Pro has a LOT of kewl functions and I recommend it for those functions. I love having the flex fuel option on my car, that's kewl as hell, and I have wired up traction control although I still can't get it working so I have to take it to the tuner and have him get it working for me. Going aftermarket ECU is a great idea and there is nothing wrong with trying to get it set up yourself but I recommend planning in the budget and reasearch a local tuner to do it for you just in case you feel you are over your head.

Helpful suggestion: Before I bought the system I downloaded the manual and spent about 3 months reading it, eliminating the pages that didn't pertain to my car and creating my own wiring diagram so when the time came I knew exactly what wires I needed to use and where the wires were located on the car. This really simplified the installation process and allowed me to become more familiar with the system in case something was wrong but I had 0 issues, everything passed all the tests and the car fired right up instantly.

ks
 

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Have you ever tuned a vehicle? Ever set up VE or timing tables, etc? Ever setup Open/Closed loop tables? If not then, NO, you probably won't be able to do it. Plan to have someone that knows how to do it for you.

The support forums are awful b/c people are slow to respond and most of the time the help is centered around their specific vehicle which rarely corresponds to what you are working on. You can wait several weeks for a response that only takes a few seconds of explanation but even the answer is confusing because they assume that you know the language and the software and how to tune an engine so you wait another week for someone to explain that answer.

Ed, loves the MS Pro, and makes it sound so easy but I've been there. I knew nothing of VE/Timing tables, Load-vs-timing, injector duty cycles, IAC frequency, etc but I thought I could learn it with forum help but after months of trying to get a decent idle tune set up I gave up. I had always planned to have it tuned (and did) but I thought I would see how far I could get with it and I didn't get far at all. In addition, for 4 years my car had a hunting idle when warm and would die when put into gear but just this last week someone on TurboForums took a look at my tune and created an idle tune for it and NOW it idles great. It was probably 5 minutes of their time b/c they know how to tune but it took me 4 years to get there. There are a LOT of little tiny things about tuning an engine that people have learned that makes all the difference when making a good tune and you won't know any of them.

I would never recommend the MS Pro for anyone that doesn't know how to tune an engine unless they had plans to send it to someone. With this said, you will probably be able to test all the functions (injectors, coils, etc) and get it running and drive it around the block using the self adjusting function but it will be far from a good tune.

The MS Pro has a LOT of kewl functions and I recommend it for those functions. I love having the flex fuel option on my car, that's kewl as hell, and I have wired up traction control although I still can't get it working so I have to take it to the tuner and have him get it working for me. Going aftermarket ECU is a great idea and there is nothing wrong with trying to get it set up yourself but I recommend planning in the budget and reasearch a local tuner to do it for you just in case you feel you are over your head.

Helpful suggestion: Before I bought the system I downloaded the manual and spent about 3 months reading it, eliminating the pages that didn't pertain to my car and creating my own wiring diagram so when the time came I knew exactly what wires I needed to use and where the wires were located on the car. This really simplified the installation process and allowed me to become more familiar with the system in case something was wrong but I had 0 issues, everything passed all the tests and the car fired right up instantly.

ks
Hey Kevin,

Thanks for your feedback.

You're right I have never tuned a car before and don't think it will be easy at all. I am willing to learn as you were and have planned to take it to a tuner when needed. I am more interested in the ability of the ms3 to protect my engine. I've already lost an engine due to detonation brought on from low voltage due to my alternator failing. It was working enough to run the car but couldn't deal with a big load at all and I didn't know until it was too late. I also want the abiltiy to tweak it at the track, adjust for a gear swap, datalogging without the handheld that SCT uses, traction control sounds nice too!.

Regarding traction control. Will that work on a stick car too or is it just for Automatics? Hope you get it figured out on how to get it working for your car

That idling issue you had would be super frustrating. Glad you got it figured out but man 4 years you put up with that! That would have driven me nuts!

I do have a buddy who has tuned not specifically with ms3 but with HP tuners. I figure I can at least lean on him for help with the terms and explanations of what I don't understand.

And last but not least, great idea on downloading the manual. I will be pouring over that as much as possible

Thanks,
Shawn
 

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The MS Pro has a lot of available functions to help protect the engine like knock control, boost control, low oil pressure, low fuel pressure, etc so it really comes down to what do you want to monitor then what do you want the MS Pro to do during those critical moments: cut spark, pull boost, toss anchor out of trunk, etc. You or someone will just have to know what values to put into the software and what software “switches” to activate.

The traction control monitors a sensor on one front wheel and one rear wheel then compares their rotational signals, it’s not connected to a transmission at all so it will work for a manual or auto.

ks
 

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The MS Pro has a lot of available functions to help protect the engine like knock control, boost control, low oil pressure, low fuel pressure, etc so it really comes down to what do you want to monitor then what do you want the MS Pro to do during those critical moments: cut spark, pull boost, toss anchor out of trunk, etc. You or someone will just have to know what values to put into the software and what software “switches” to activate.

The traction control monitors a sensor on one front wheel and one rear wheel then compares their rotational signals, it’s not connected to a transmission at all so it will work for a manual or auto.

ks
Thanks Kevin
 

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FWIW, I've been helping a friend tune his MS3 for about a year now. By help I mean texting and emailing as he lives in another state. He's never tuned before. I've tuned using SCT in the past. His car is running pretty decent last I talked to him. Part of it is knowing how to use the tools at hand. I'm still learning them. But my car idles fine and I have no qualms driving it 300 miles to Vegas tomorrow.

There is a learning curve, but you're going to get that no matter what. There are some basic values that need to be entered in the software and if you don't do that things will never be 100%.

As for support, I've had plenty of support between emailing DIY and using the msextra forums. They might not always have the perfect advice, but they usually give you some things to think about and get on track.

Lastly, there is a big difference between tubing what seems like a mostly stock engine and a turboed set up. I'd still go with a MS3. Once you figure things out you'll be happy with your new skill set.
 

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If I remember correctly Kevin’s ECU was an MS3Pro Ultimate which is their top end but generic version of the MS3Pro EFI system for use on any vehicle. The primary differences are significantly increased I/O capability, the use of a custom wiring harness and I believe the Ultimate did not offer support for the OEM dash cluster. You also had to build your own tune basically from scratch, if I remember correctly. Kevin did a yeoman's job of bringing his car to life.

When he began his project it was about two years or so prior to the arrival of the P-n-P version of the ECU so it wasn’t as if he had a choice between the two. The only unit available for Kevin was the Ultimate version. That said, the programming was very similar with some exceptions in the ignition, OEM instrument cluster support and one or two other issues — but your entire tune, at that
time, was an original work of art that you gad to create in it's entirety.

Modern EFI systems use three possible fueling (programming) models. One is called Alpha-N, one is called Speed Density, and one is called Mass Air Flow. Each has their own strengths. Some EFI system can blend the models as we will see.


Alpha-N

Alpha-N is an older strategy that is used most of the time today for applications with aggressive cams and low manifold vacuum and/or sensor failure. The Alpha-N system offers tuning advantages for tuning engines with low vacuum engine idle. It is frequently used by Detroit when a MAP or MAF sensor failure occurs and the preferred fueling strategy (typically mass air but sometimes speed density) ceases to work. If you are familiar with Ford EFI terminology this is what Ford called “Load with Failed MAF” and as the name implies is the fall back condition when MAF failure occurs. The fueling model is treated the same when a failed MAP sensor occurs and the fall back is again the Alpha-N fueling strategy.

Alpha-N is very poor at dealing with hills (think about engine load going up and down hills at a constant throttle position), temperature variations and just about anything else that you’d care about except wide open throttle where it does fine.

In simple terms the Alpha-N strategy just pays attention to the throttle position sensor and bases fueling on throttle position. Ford’s thinking was probably something along the lines of, 'something is better than nothing' because it at least gave the owner the ability to 'limp' home or to a service center for repairs.


Speed Density and Mass Air flow

The next two fueling strategies find differing homes because of
differing demands placed on the powertrain. Speed Density and Mass Air Flow are the two prevailing and most popular fueling strategies in use today. When it is difficult to position a MAF sensor on the inlet side, Speed Density is the fueling strategy that saves the day.

A couple of examples of where you might find speed density is an eight-stack system that mimics the appearance of Weber Carburetors. There is simply no easy way to position a MAF sensor before the air enters the eight individual injector stacks. Another example is with twin screw blowers, or any PD blower for that matter, that uses a throttle body at the rear of the blower to minimize air flow restrictions on the inlet side of the induction system.


Mass Air Flow (MAF) based systems have become the gold standard on OEM vehicles out of Detroit. The primary reason is the imposition of strict emission standards and the requirement to meet the standard virtually anywhere and everywhere the cars are sold. MAF based systems can do this because they measure, with high precision and accuracy, the actual mass flow of air being consumed by the engine. Once you know the air portion of the air fuel ratio it is a walk in the park for the digital electronics to calculate an injector pulse width to provide the correct amount of fuel to hit the target AFR the Detroit calibrators have called out to meet emissions.

For the same reason (fueling precision) you will find MAF based systems on some very exotic high-end racing engines. Again, the engineers are looking for the fueling precision, especially in long endurance races where weather and atmospheric conditions can vary substantially over the time the race is run.

DIYAutoTune, the supplier of the MS3Pro systems, offers all three fueling models in the MS3Pro and provides some blending capability. Aftermarket implementations uses a blending blending model to help with very large camshafts and low idle vacuum. Detroit uses the blending model as a fail-safe for sensor failures that render one of the other two fueling models non-responsive.

As delivered, the MS3Pro P-n-P comes with a DIYAutoTune developed base tune using a Speed Density fueling model. The base tune will start the engine and run the engine right out of the box. The MS3Pro Ultimate which Kevin bought did not have this base tune available.

DIYAutoTune used a Speed Density fueling model because of the wide range of aftermarket MAF alternatives available. By going to Speed Density the MAF was taken out of the fueling calculation and you could reliably start any Cobra. The only other variable the new user would have to attend to was the injector size and manifold pressure (blower size / overdrive). Both were relatively easily handled in the tuning software.

When Kevin bought his system none of this was available and the user/owner was required to build his tune entirely from scratch. As Kevin accurately pointed this can be a bridge pretty far especially if you have never done this kind of stuff before. That is not the case with the P-n-P version of the ECU — it works right out of the box. Can you optimize it for your build? Absolutely and it will reward you with improved performance.

I am a MAF based fueling bigot because the MAF fueling model gives, me initially and the ECU later, complete control over all the fueling variables based upon the commanded lambda (AFR) and it maintains it, based on the feedback from the widebands. When you use Speed Density, changes in atmospheric conditions like an incoming storm, rain, cold weather, going up a mountain to higher ground all require a recalibration. With a MAF based system the MAF measures the air mass the engine is injesting and adjusts the fuel to match it so your commanded AFR is always met!

This can be a big deal, change a blower pulley on your engine and you need to update the Speed Density tune. Change camshaft phasing on your engine — you need to update the tune, change air filters on your Speed Density tune and you guessed it — you need to update the tune. There is a pattern here that is hard to miss. If I change the sentences to reflect Mass Air Flow instead of Speed Density then there is no update requirement.

So why does everyone like Speed Density? It has a higher fiddle factor that allows you to think you have made a positive difference when you actually may have not! Additionally, Mass Air Flow based fueling sounds complicated so guys go to Speed Density because all you need to do is fill in the fueling table with the volumetric efficiency of your engine.


Of course, we all know our own engine gets higher volumetric efficiency than anyone else’s, because it’s ours! Sooo, we get a little ego massage at the same time. Later on when we discover the car is not well mannered when we try to drive it, a lump of hard reality is deposited on our door step. Of course, those drivability problems are not our fault! The real problem springs from that ultimate killer cam we have installed and the unprecedented horsepower we are making that is so difficult to control in a daily driver — right?

The MS3Pro P-n-P comes with a very good ready-made tune (in Speed Density form) for you to lightly tweak to reflect your engine build. The final polishing of the tuning apple however needs to be hand done by you. In the worst-case scenario, you take it to a tuner to get the final wrinkles ironed out. Before you consider doing that I would encourage you to get Greg Banish’s Ford Advanced EFI Tuning DVD from Amazon, Summit or better yet go to one of his How to Tune Classes that he puts on in different parts of the country.

Here is his website
Calibrated Success The course is a two to three-day on-site training that is nothing short of stellar. Greg is a modern day EFI Paladin character for those of you who saw the western series. He is a hired gun that GM, Ford and Chrysler use to augment their own inhouse capabilities when they get painted into various calibration corners.

To say the guy is great would be an understatement. In the past he has given tuition credit for the purchases of his DVD’s. The DVD is an easy way to revisit topics from the school months or years later. IMO the best way to handle the training is treat it like a vacation that you learn on. Set aside a day travel out and a day travel back with three days of learning. It will easily be the best vacation you ever had!

One last comment, remember all the things that required massaging in the Speed Density Tune that the MAF based tune did not require any modifications to accommodate? Well if you opt for a Speed Density solution and you pay to have it done, the next time you begin to mod your engine, you guessed it — it’s time to go back to your tuner and pony up for a retune! Take the time to learn how to tune correctly (Greg Banish Tuning School) you will be glad you did.

BTW this guy speaks the same English you and I do and you don’t need a translator or graduate school ICE engineering degree to understand him. Here is a link to one of his papers on injectors. Download it read it and I know you will be impressed. Here is the link, =>
Are All Injectors Created Equal?
He talks just like he writes. His teaching and messaging ring like a bell on a cold winter morning.


Ed
 

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Ed is absolutely correct with how my system had to be set up since it was one of the very first MS Pro units ever sold which arrived pretty much blank upon arrival. I continue to forget that there is a PnP version that fast forwards the setup so in this regard the available version is light years ahead of where I had to start.

KS
 

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IMO one of the more significant, if not the most significant attribute that the MS3Pro PnP brings to the table for street driven cars, is the PnP attribute. It is nice to run the instrument cluster. Well, I'll agree it is moer than nice, especially on a street driven car but the PnP feature will play even larger on your horizon when it comes time to smog the car. There are simply no aftermarket ECU's that will pass a legit smog inspection anywhere in the country!

When you use a PnP system you can literally unplug the aftermarket ECU and plug back in the OEM ECU and have all the right signals detectable by the smog equipment. It is even better if the PnP ECU used all your original sensors, like the MS3Pro PnP does.

Regulatory zeal for underhood inspections as part of the normal smog test experience is growing. The use of an OEM wiring harness and OEM sensors will allow even a rigorous underhood visual inspection, like Kalifornia does, to come back with a thumbs up experience.

There are increasingly more states that are following or will follow some form of Kalifornia's visual underwood inspection model. These inspections will require a visual passing grade and also a 50 state CARB certificate like Whipple and KB provide for use with their superchargers.

The upshot of emissions non-compliance is obviously an inability to get the car re-registered on your smog check anniversary and we all know how that ends. The PnP approach and saving the OEM ECU is the only win scenario that is currently viable. More may appear with time but, it is something to consider if you are in the market for an aftermarket EFI system for your street driven vehicle right now.


Ed
 

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Ken, the correct plan should be to use the included Speed Density tune that comes with every PnP ECU and if you want to learn how, then go to Banish's school and learn the right things the right way.


Ed
 
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