X3Z (Chipped?) or MS2 PnP?

ZephyrEFI

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Mar 9, 2019
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Okay, so I've got pretty close to a '93 Cobra engine with some minor differences. It has P heads, Explorer intake, 1.6 rockers, and a Flowtech cam. I just got the engine put together at the end of last season, so I don't really know how it's running yet with the X3Z I bought for it. Some mechanical things need ironing out before I can start driving it.

My plan has been to get it dyno tuned because of the different cam. I have VERY little experience with this kind of thing so please excuse my ignorance. Do you think it will run well if I don't? So you know, the MAF is a proper 70mm stock Cobra one, and the injectors are 24#. Seems the consensus usually is, if it's not stock, you need to tune it. But maybe that's just the new stuff? I've heard the factory EEC-IV computers can be pretty forgiving.

But say for example, we do need to go the tuning route, how much do you think I'll be into it before I'm done getting things all running well? I see the chips themselves from Moates are very affordable, but will the tuner dude need me to buy the Quarterhorse for him to even be able to get into the computer? If so, that starts to add up quick, considering I paid $300 for the X3Z to begin with. You're starting to approach MS2 PnP territory very quickly. And how many hours of dyno tuning would I be looking at?

I've heard plenty about how people like the MS and how easy it is to use. BUT, how much fiddling am I really going to need to do to get things right? I believe the MS does not use the MAF, so does that mean I can even actually remove it? If I sell the X3Z, I'd like to package it with the MAF leaving me without one.

Thanks in advance.
 
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a91what

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Any ECU is going to have a learning curve. I have plenty of resources for you to read and watch to help.
The maf is not needed with the ms based system but is an option if you wanted to use it.

I cant speak for the dyno time, I do street tunes or use mph as a tuning tool.
 

ZephyrEFI

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Thanks, I will definitely check those out.

I don't think I could really do the street tune thing though. I have two young kids and am often the only parent at home, so the fiddle, drive, fiddle, drive, fiddle, drive thing isn't a good fit for my life right now. Ideally, I would just have it tuned once and then be done.
 

a91what

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Thanks, I will definitely check those out.

I don't think I could really do the street tune thing though. I have two young kids and am often the only parent at home, so the fiddle, drive, fiddle, drive, fiddle, drive thing isn't a good fit for my life right now. Ideally, I would just have it tuned once and then be done.
If you do any kind of standalone it will never be a one and done deal. its just not possible to get everything correct in one go.
I do offer tuning services for a very reasonable price, done on the street. All of the idle and startup tuning [90% of the tune] can be done in your driveway over an internet connection. The rest can be done over datalog if need be.
 

ZephyrEFI

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Mar 9, 2019
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Thank you, I may take you up on that.

So if a standalone is going to require fiddling, do you know if the same is true of a chipped OEM computer? Could I be looking at several sessions here?

I'm starting to feel like I'm opening a can of worms here (when I'd rather be opening a can of whoop***, haha). Maybe I'll wait and see how the thing runs, and then go from there.
 

stanglx2002

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I have personally done both a chipped stock computer (Moates) and the MS Platform. In my opinion it is by far best to go the standalone ECU route over the stock computer. These computers are getting really old, and the capabilities of the MS platform greatly open the doors for your current project with abilities to grow in the future.

I just moved my MS2PNP into my stock 88 Mustang GT over the stock speed density computer, and it runs better then it has in the 15 years I have owned it. No changes were done to the car except the computer and Steve's MAGIC. If you are looking to go down this route I would highly recommend him as he can get everything dialed in for you.
 

ZephyrEFI

Member
Mar 9, 2019
75
12
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44
Shakopee, MN
I have personally done both a chipped stock computer (Moates) and the MS Platform. In my opinion it is by far best to go the standalone ECU route over the stock computer. These computers are getting really old, and the capabilities of the MS platform greatly open the doors for your current project with abilities to grow in the future.

I just moved my MS2PNP into my stock 88 Mustang GT over the stock speed density computer, and it runs better then it has in the 15 years I have owned it. No changes were done to the car except the computer and Steve's MAGIC. If you are looking to go down this route I would highly recommend him as he can get everything dialed in for you.
Thanks for the perspective! I really had no idea how well the chipped ECUs even work.
 

ZephyrEFI

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When I started this process, I didn't even really know what questions I should be asking. I guess I had this idea in my head that starting with a new MS2 PnP and the initial startup tune, I would have a mostly usable car that I can still use mostly to get me places and have some fun with while tweaking things here and there. I'd gotten that idea from stuff like this video from BREW2L.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqas4Me7HXM


From what I see there, it looks like you plug it in, put in a few parameters, and you've got a car you can go out and drive. I've been talking to people a little more lately and apparently that's NOT the case though, correct? I know he says there's more you need to do, but that's a whole world I don't even know at this point. What does that look like? I have no idea. Does it involve a car I can safely go out and use if I want--just not quite getting the performance it could have, or is just sitting in the garage banging my head on the dash trying to figure out what to do next? These are things I didn't know.

What I'm starting to understand is that the X3Z would be the safer (in terms of potential ruining of engine parts from detonation, etc), simpler method for me to end up with a car I can safely jump in and go whenever I want. A street car. Not necessarily trying to MAXIMIZE every pony for the best ET. Of course we know I am still tempted by the power gods, otherwise I wouldn't have gone with the different cam. I'd just have a simple GT40 motor I wouldn't be at all worried about.

I had this other idea that tuning it on a dyno would allow the tuner to simulate driving/load conditions and get the ECU ready for whatever it might encounter in the real world. A shortcut to spending weeks driving around, looking at numbers, and tweaking them, if you will. I'm hearing that's not so either, and the only way I'm going to get any data on what the engine needs is to get a wideband and tuning software and drive around datalogging what happens at part throttle.

What really gets me though is, once I add the price of a Quarterhorse and other tuning stuff I'll need, and a wideband, I've spent as much as the MS2 PnP costs. But, i suppose it's worth it if the existing tune/calibration in the X3Z is far closer to what I need as a street car than what's there in the MS2, especially keeping in mind my MAF and injectors are exactly what the X3Z expects to see. Would you guys say that's fair to say?
 
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