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Since my build thread is closed, I figured I'd start another one. Here's a link to the build for those that missed it:

This summer I've been real busy with the Cayman, truck maintenance, and Formula Vee stuff. All that stuff has settled down a bit.

Now I have the time(and nice weather too) to do some Spyder tuning.

Most of you may remember that I had built, wired, plumbed, and gotten the motor to run on EFI. My first attempts at tuning were lame, mis-directed and pretty sad.

I hit the reset button a few times and started over, and got the car to run almost as well as carburetors with my third try at a tune. But it has more torque, especially in the mid-range(2500-4500). I am 100% certain this is due to 48mm air holes versus the 36mm venturi in the carbs. That's a TON more air(56% more surface area) plus the throttle bodies are smooth and flush with the intake manifold openings(they are 48mm at the top). So a nicely tuned intake system coupled with a superior fuel mist is definitely better.

The software is both powerful and relatively inexpensive. It's $100 for Tunerstudio and Megalogviewer HD. Meaning, you own them. And you get free updates. All Speeduino and Megasquirt ECUs use this software.

Tunerstudio allows either USB or Bluetooth connectivity to program, check, monitor, and change all of your tune. You couldn't get one hour of dyno time and a tuner to adjust your settings for that price.

Megalogviewer HD allows you to chart and plot all your data. Then it allows the computer to analyze the data and make suggested changes based on AFR targets that you specify(I run 14.7 at idle and cruise and 12.5 under heavy load).

Thursday night I did a few short logs at different throttle settings through most of the rpm bands. Michelle helped me by calling out the throttle settings on the screen. I sent those to Mike Pickett who has graciously helped me muddle through this. He made some suggestions, I made some changes. The learning curve is starting to flatten.

The next afternoon I continued logging. Mike suggested at least a 45 minute ride to get a decent chunk of data. I made some more changes. Then I added the after-start enrichment, warm-up enrichment, and barometric(altitude) compensation that Mike provided. The tune is starting to really shape up. I leaned the fuel in some areas, richened it in others, and tweaked a few of the outliers(parts of the fuel table that you'll never hit but are there anyway).

It is raining today but that's OK. I have two really good logs to review. Lenny and I went to the Lime Rock Vintage festival yesterday. It's a 1.5 hour drive each way and I logged it all.

There is another program that's free(or $20 for a more featured version). It's called MSDroid(MegaSquirt for Android). This program allows you to see some parameters  on your phone, but the sweetest feature is datalogging. Since I have a bluetooth module in my ECU, it's super easy. Connect phone to car and start logging. Put your phone down and drive normally.

After you're done driving, pull up the datalog and email it to yourself. Now you can pull it up on your computer and make changes. Burn them to the ECU. Easy peasy.

I'm at the stage that it runs extremely well, like a modern car. After thirty seconds it will stay idling(zero cold idle air at this time). The AFR stays where it's supposed to most of the time(I have an under-dash display). I've really only got to do minor tweaking at this point. I'm ready for the mountains in two weeks, that's for sure!

@Michael Pickett Thank you very much!

2016 Vintage Spyder 2165 type1 EFI/Dry Sumped

Last edited by DannyP
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Thanks Mike. I'm thinking of doing added spark advance at low MAP readings, like an old-fashioned vacuum-advance. Eventually I'll do cold start and idle air too.

I've got two words to describe how it runs now:



I'm really happy about it, as I was questioning myself if it was worth all the effort compared to carbs and crank-fired ignition.

Last edited by DannyP

Development has continued. I went to Lime Rock's Vintage Festival over Labor day weekend as I said above. I've been going since 2006 or so. Lenny met me there as well as my customer Mike. Three Spyders parked together in the Porsche corral. There were people around the cars all day. 85, sunny, dry, calm. Perfect day. I love watching racing. Watching the small-bore group was especially cool: Datsun 510s, BMW 2002, some Fiats(there was a street-driven X1/9), a single Pinto, some 356s, and some Alfas. Marty would have loved it, the Alfas are simply beautiful.

I took all that data and loaded the files(you can analyze multiple logs at the same time: thanks Mike Pickett) into MegaLogViewer. MLV crunched the 3 hours of data and made some table changes. The changes are starting to get smaller and smaller. LONGER data files allow the changes the program makes to be more reliable due to the larger sample size. More data in = better tables out.

It's starting to run more and more like a modern car. It won't be 100% by Smo but it will be close.

Cold start and idle are probably 2 of the hardest things to nail with standalone.  I played with them both for a few years when we first started doing Suby builds (probably been 12ish years now), and prior to that I played with on on CB's variations of EFI.  No matter what I did I was just never happy with it, and just when you thought you had it dialed in, along comes a cold(er) morning and it was all back to square 1.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely understand the benefits of being able to tune completely, squeeze that extra power, accommodate for short intake and custom exhaust, etc, etc... but I still swear by the stock ECU for usability and the aforementioned start/warm-up parameters, when it is available.

So, what stock ECU should I use for this application?

There isn't one. Comparing what I'm doing with a one-off type1 to your Subaru builds is apples and oranges.

I do agree with you Carey, for what you are doing, the stock Subaru ECU is the only logical choice. You have customers all over the world in different environments. There simply isn't enough time and/or conditions at your factory to do an effective "all conditions" ECU tune. Plus, you have a boatload of orders and customers. Believe me, I get it.

I certainly wouldn't do what I'm doing for myself for anyone else. It simply takes too much time and energy. The very experienced help of Mike Pickett is the only reason I'm at the point that I am.

Thats why I said "when its available", and we both know there is not an OE solution for aircooled that would work on a big displacement aircooled enigne.  

I'm guessing you and Mike have your EFI dialed in better than just about anyone.  You understand first hand just why it isn't feasible in a production sense as it takes a ton of time, patience, skill, testing, retesting, retesting again etc... and there isn't a universal solution so having it done and dialed in once doesn't mean you don't have to start from scratch to do it again.

I have a local client with CB Gen 4 that we played with, and dialed in, for nearly 2 years before we were remotely happy with it, and much of that was for good idle stabilization.  You can't touch the throttle for about 2-3 minutes after initial start or it dies, no matter what we do, but that is just one of the idiosyncrasies of it all, he knows it, and it forces a little oil temp into things before you take off which isn't a bad thing.  Other than that it has been a dream for 7-8 years.

I can tell you that other than my car needing to be warmed up before driving I’m completely satisfied with my Subaru stinger set up. I’ve had the car out below freezing no problem. I’ve had the car at 6000 feet no problem. The car always starts up immediately. You just can’t punch the accelerator when it’s cold or it will stall. Obviously the reason why you would want an aftermarket ECU in a Suby is to be able to build the heads like my car, increase the compression, allow it to benefit from higher octane fuel and get more power. I’ve got 35 hp more than stock and my car flies to 7500 rpms at the flick of the throttle. If I have to wait 10 minutes to drive it when it’s cold. So be it.

Yours sounds very well sorted Phil, and I'd say they've probably come a long way in 10-12 years since I stopped playing with them.  

The Suby ECU will self tune and correct for a small number of changes.  I don't recall the exact limitations, but Jake (Raby) and I played with them for a while, long ago.  We did a 2.6L (from a 2.5L) with a custom cam grind and and higher compression and the stock ECU adapted.  Probably not a 35hp gain though...

I cut my cold start chops on a 911 with a 930 turbo engine that had been hot-rodded. In Rhode Island. It was my daily driver so I spent the time to get it right. Not everyone has the time or inclination to do that, but Carey is right, it's not easy.

Here's my current situation. It's very important to realize that it's where the nighttime lows are in the 60s. Not really cold.

I've got my 1776cc starting in the first 1/2 second after turning the switch and drivable immediately thereafter with no bucking or stalling. The air:fuel mixtures aren't what I usually run, but they're close enough for safe driving. They settle down after a couple of minutes.

This is done by data logging every cold start and figuring out what the engine likes at different temperatures before cranking (priming pulse width table), in the first few seconds after start (afterstart enrichment tables), the engine warmup enrichment curve and tricks for setting idle cells spark advance and using the idle advance tables and idle air control tables to keep the engine happy as it warms up.

There are a lot of moving parts to a good cold start. It can be done, and I wonder if my settings are close enough to help others get a good start (see what I did there) on their engines with different displacement, compression, cam profiles, etc.

I've encouraged Danny not to make any big changes before the upcoming trip to the Smokies. But maybe we'll get another data point after he returns and colder weather starts to set in.

On a final note, around 20 years ago I experimented with several piggyback ECUs that clipped into the stock wiring harness. They essentially added additional injector time at higher engine loads and speeds. I liked them for the simplicity and the fact that all of the factory programming took care of the hard parts. I haven't looked at them since then, but maybe that's a tool that could be useful for the Suby folks who go for more power.

@chines1 posted:

Yours sounds very well sorted Phil, and I'd say they've probably come a long way in 10-12 years since I stopped playing with them.  

I am pretty sure they are better than a decade ago. The flexibility and feature content is a lot higher than it was in all brands of ECU.

I played with a CB Gen1. It's pretty archaic with the knobs and all. Lenny had a Gen1 SDS, same thing, archaic.

The Speeduino or Megasquirt ECU with Tunerstudio software has capability of methanol injection, turbo boost control, launch control/flat shift, gear sensing, VSS,  staged injection, and engine protection(revs and oil pressure). It can have multiple fuel and spark tables, and do full sequential ignition and injection. It can even run flex-fuel if you desire. I believe the software people are working on knock sensing.

It's a pretty good time to be involved. The data logging and software help is amazing.

Most of you know that a bunch of us just returned from the Smoky Mountains a la Tour de Smo.

The report is IN, EFI on an aircooled motor is pretty awesome. My car ran flawlessly all week and weekend. I had put in an altitude compensation curve(thank you Mike Pickett!) and it worked well. I have to lessen the curve a bit, it pulled back the fuel a bit too much in cruise at 5000 ASL but was otherwise perfect. Every time you turn the key on, the ECU samples the current barometer reading and applies it to the fuel curve.

The engine has more power and torque everywhere. This comes from three different areas: compression, dry sump, and EFI. Maybe four for overall performance if you factor in the stickier Vredestein tires, which are fantastic!

As delivered from Jake, my car had 147 ft. lbs. and 172 hp. That was a 009 distributor with Pertronix, conventional wet sump, and Spanish Weber 44 IDF.

According to a bunch of sources I looked up, you get three to five percent more power with dry sump. That is 5 to 8 hp right there.

When I rebuilt the top end, ten thousandths was flycut from the heads to clean them up, plus I removed ten thousandths of cylinder spacers. I went from 9.8 to 10.2 static compression. That's worth a few hp, making the engine more efficient volumetrically.

Then we have the EFI. Back in the Super Vee era, the 1600cc type3 engines gained 5-10 hp when changing from carbs to injection. That was at 130 hp or so. For me, going from 44 IDF carbs with 36mm venturi to 48mm throttle bodies is key. Fifty six percent larger surface area, that's a huge difference in airflow. Also there is the superior fuel atomization from injectors rather than pouring the gas in from a hose. I'd say a minimum of 10 hp, but WAY more torque, and from lower rpm. The car pulls HARD from 2000rpm all the way up to 6700. It used to only pull hard from say 2500-2800 rpm.

So, no, I don't have any dyno sheet or actual figures. I do have seat-of-pants feel though, and some educated guesses. Plus I was pulling away from a certain modern 2008 911S that was following me on the Rattler.

Conservatively, I'd say 185 or 190 hp at the flywheel. Maybe higher. It is very possible I have more, but I'll never know unless I put the car on a dyno.

All I do know for sure is I have more power and torque everywhere. And it is so much FUN to drive!

If you don't believe me, just ask Stan. He drove the car on carbs by himself. Then this year he rode with me on the Rattler. The car is faster even with almost 500 pounds of people on board.

For a while I questioned myself as to the sanity of doing the EFI. I'm not questioning the decision any more.

Last edited by DannyP

Just a couple of facts...a dry sump is for reliability...whatever you think you gain in HP you loose powering it ! A much better set-up is a properly designed windage tray and as the drag race guys do (less oil in the sump).

As for Super Vee motors...I ran one with a Bertil Roos cylinder head, and no one had one that made 130 HP...even the worst ones were at 150 with Webers !

The mind does wondrous things...perhaps running super-thin low-tension piston rings will get you another 10 hp making it what 200 


I really appreciate your posts, @R Vosari, because you say what you think and have a different perspective. I appreciate anybody who treats these cars like sportscars, rather than investments.

To my knowledge, I was the first guy on this site to dry sump my car. Indeed, I had difficulty finding anybody who wanted to talk about it back in 2008 or so when I did it. I hear what you are saying regarding the power increase, but regardless - to my way of thinking, sportscars are dry-sumped because every engine needs oil, and the main benefit to dry-sumping is to ensure you're going to get it. It's nice to have no oil sloshing around the bottom of the case, but the larger benefit is being able to run the car as low as possible - much lower than is prudent with a wet-sump system, and to always have oil.

I think there's a power benefit, but with an oiling system as bad as the Type 1's, dry-sumping fixes most of it by making sure the things that need oil always gets it.

As for the windage-tray - almost everybody I know in the ACVW hobby hates them, but I've always run one in my wet-sump T1 engines.

What the V8 drag-car guys do has almost no correlation to our cars. All of the big-power VW drag guys run multi-stage dry-sumps.

Again - I always appreciate your input, but I'll be over here doing my thing.

@DannyP, congratulations on a great implementation. With all the tweaks you've done mechanically as well as the EFI/spark work, your car must be sweet! Nicely done!

I drove it at the high-water mark of "the carb era", and right-seated while he drove it on road back from Hot Springs with EFI this year.

It was eye-opening. I've never been in a faster air-cooled 4-cylinder car, and that includes a Raby 2.6L T4 in Rich Drewek's car.

Well done.

Well if you like “dry-sump” that’s fine by me…but I like simple…no twin plug heads, no complex crank induced (timing sensors), “any-color boxes” etc. They malfunction and leave you stranded !

As for V-8 iron, do realize, as my countryman Johannes Persson did, that 90% of all AC VW cam grinds are copies of old Ed Iskendarian's (Ford/Chevy) designs…


Hey, Rev, do you even have a Spyder, or did you sell it?

Any engine makes more power with a dry sump, and obviously it is a good thing to have a constant supply of non-aerated oil. Every engine has to have an oil pump, and they all require some power to run them. How many articles would you like me to quote? They all must be fools in Formula First because they all use a dry sump setup. The regular Formula Vee guys don't BECAUSE the rules don't allow it. There they use a windage tray. Simple is good, but not always better.

It is also a fact that the same engine will make more power with injection than carbs. It's about what I said: better atomization of fuel and no venturi in the way. You know they use restrictor plates in Nascar right? Take out the plate and make more power, same thing with a carb venturi. Whether Super Vee engines had 130 or 150 hp with whatever induction is immaterial. I read some stuff online, I wasn't old enough to compete back then. Injection makes more power. Period.

As I stated, I have MORE power and torque. How much more is anyone's guess, which is why I specifically DIDN'T state an actual number. As my friend Stan says, more is more. I have more.

You can say whatever you'd like, but it does not change the facts. My friend Stan does not lie, and I don't either.

Your problem with me stems from way back in the old days at Spyderclub. I dared to disagree with you. But hey, this is America, you're free to have your own opinion, as I am mine.

Just do me a favor, and leave your ramblings off of my threads. It's kind of funny that you don't comment much at all, except here.

Last edited by DannyP
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