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@DannyP posted:
.

Old way: throttle cable directly connected to throttle body.

New way: Gas pedal has a potentiometer(variable resistor) and a heavy spring.

Throttle body has a stepper motor attached directly to drive the throttle plate.

Electronic controls and wires in-between the two, ..

The benefit is possibly quicker throttle response…



This always sounded to me like there were too many engineers on the payroll.

@DannyP posted:

Old way: throttle cable directly connected to throttle body.

New way: Gas pedal has a potentiometer(variable resistor) and a heavy spring.

Throttle body has a stepper motor attached directly to drive the throttle plate.

Electronic controls and wires in-between the two, hence drive-by-wire. The benefit is possibly quicker throttle response and other things that mileage misers(EPA) want. The idle speed control is super easy this way with the throttle controlled by the ECU.

There are other advantages as well: cruise control is super easy, etc. The problem (as you pointed out) is the complexity, and the fact that it takes a mechanical connection to the car, and gives control to a bot.

Doing this with a throttle has very few negative ramifications. But once you start down the road, it's easy to give more and more high level function to the ECUs. We've had braking by wire for a while, and are entering into steering by wire (electrically assisted racks make this easy). This is how anti-lock brakes and traction control and crash avoidance and lane assist work - by giving the machine control of the vehicle if the sensors indicate imminent danger. The manufacturers and general public assume everyone is a terrible driver, and really needs/wants something infallible to do it for them.

The automotive press (or what passes for it these days) cheers this on, getting all tingly with "launch control" and "torque vectoring" and with the relentless focus on the fact that a Ferrari (or Corvette or Nissan Juke) ECU and solenoid pack can shift faster than you can. They give lip service to leaving high-level functionality with the driver, but their heart really isn't in it.

High-level functions (steering, braking, etc.) are best done well (by a human) by "feel", and 99% of the feel is filtered out when the mechanical connection is lost. Nobody can threshold brake anymore. Nobody under 40 can drive a car with a manual transmission. That mechanical connection used to be called "driving". What automotive engineering is driving towards can more accurately be called "riding".

I blame the ridiculous and monotonous commutes most people endure on a daily basis in big cities. "Driving" to people sitting in their cars, stop-and-going for 2+ hrs a day is a chore requiring more attention than they'd like to give it, and offering less enjoyment than getting their teeth professionally cleaned. These people would love to be chauffeured, but lack the means to get it done by a human - so the driving pod doing it for them means they get an additional 2+ hrs a day for work or leisure. A self-driving car cannot come soon enough for them.

The cars we love are an antidote to this and are the opposite of a "driving pod". Archaic, dangerous, and decidedly mechanical cars (like a replica) offer something that cannot be purchased for any amount of money out in the general market: a vehicle solely under the control of the operator.

For most of us, "autonomy" or any substantive step along the continuum towards that end is a thing to be avoided and worked around. I don't want a "self-driving car" any more than I want George Clooney to take my wife on vacation because he can do it "better" and insulate me from the experience. Driving is not just getting from point A to point B safely and without any realization of the road one traveled.  Life is in the living of it.

This is my fundamental complaint with the general direction of modern society. It seems as if the large majority of modern humanity would like nothing more than to have a completely safe, fully insulated, boring and coddled existence where they have a long and stress-free life. They avoid restaurants where they might not recognise every item on the menu, and might not like what is offered. They can't go on a vacation unless Yelp or Trip Advisor tells them it's OK. They go to Paris and look for a McDonalds. They seek the safe and familiar and avoid confronting their own limitations, their own weakness, their own mortality. They'd rather let experts make decisions for them and remove any substantive risk involved in actually making them for themselves. These things used to be called "freedom", and used to be a value men and boys fought and died for. This was once a central selling point of an automobile.

We are all living in a time when this idea is mocked and derided as ignorant and uncaring and backward. Decisions are being made for us and "for our own good". It's a tyranny of a totalitarian meritocracy and we are welcoming it. You cannot be trusted to live your own life - the experts know how to do it better, more effectively, safer. The machine knows better than you how to drive your car. You must be saved from yourself, from the risk that you might make a bad decision, a wrong turn. It's Gattica or Minority Report in real-time, and rather than seeing these things as cautionary tales to avoid a dystopian future, we're rushing headlong towards this "inevitable future", this new manifest destiny.

I've got a friend who believes that peak civilization occurred around Y2K. ECUs had made life better - cars had EFI and accurate and mappable spark. They started, responded, idled, and shut off easily and predictably every single time. The electronics were robust, bulletproof, and cheap. High-level functions (shifting, braking, steering, etc.) were left alone. He's probably right.

I live in a world made so much better by electronics. Things that were once a nightmare (things as simple as compressor cycling and fan control) are done so much better with a DDC package assuming control. But even here there are limits - there are a lot of supermarkets (most of them, now) that become a service nightmare because they have too many sensors, too many modules and boards, too many glitches. I can't tell you how much money I've made, driving to a store in the middle of the night to rescan a network or reprogram a parameter in a module. Nothing is broken or worn out, and I don't fix anything - it's just a ghost in the machine. I drive home feeling betrayed by the experts.

I've got all the stuff for a Microsquirt conversion of my Speedster engine. The sensors, the module, everything but the throttle bodies and the harness. I'm hesitating with the installation - not because of the technical challenges (which actually interest me), but because it's a step towards making my car "better" than me by giving functionality to a chip. This is my connection to an analog age, to a time when my car needed my input. I'm not sure I want to filter that.

If this makes me an Amishman or Luddite, I suppose I don't see that as the kind of insult I might have at one time. I guess it just makes me a grumpy old man. What I know is that dealing with the limitations of my car makes it a much, much more desirable thing to me.

Last edited by Stan Galat

I agree with almost everything our sage writer said above.

We all like to improve things from what they were back then. 50s Speedster, you say?

We have more power, better brakes, better tires. Most have added some anti-sway. Some have even(gawd!) changed the swing axle for IRS. How about that rack and pinion steering?

My point is we are all at least a little bit AWAY from the "original" experience.

The real question though: Where is our own personal line drawn? Is it radial tires? Disc brakes? IRS? Crank-fire ignition? 5 speed?

Or is the line EFI? Or the biggest line of all, gateway to all disconnection: drive-by-wire?

@Stan Galat posted:
Nobody can threshold brake anymore. Nobody under 40 can drive a car with a manual transmission.

As I note some hyperbole and generalizations in your writing, I’m sure you did not mean this in a literal sense. However, I just want to add that myself (31) and my wife (30) have been capable of threshold braking and driving a manual transmission since we were old enough to drive. We are definitely the exception, not the rule. You definitely make some good points, Stan! 😊

I'll start with this: My 30 year old daughter can heel and toe, drives a stick daily (taught her hubby) and is pissed that the new FourRunner she wants can't be had in a stick. I love that kid!

Anyway, I think of a simple fuel injection and a carb in similar terms.  The carb has an assortment of analog memory devices (jets and venturies and floats) that remember to let in a certain amount of air or fuel for a given amount of vacuum downstream and at different air speeds.  I tell it what to remember by selecting those analog components.  If I make a mistake I need to tell it to remember something different by replacing, adjusting or cleaning the analog memory piece.  If I don't select well I have a nightmare (garbage in, garbage out).

A simple FI moves that memory function to a digital storage device (a chip) and it will remember what to do at a given vacuum and engine speed, air temp, etc. just like a carb remembers, however, I tell it through a laptop. (In this simple system the "high level" control of the throttle is still in your foot's hands...sorry, couldn't resist).  If I don't select well I have a nightmare (garbage in, garbage out).

Both systems can fail for similar reasons. A dirty jet or injector, clogged fuel filter, bad sensor or vacuum leak, so on and so forth. Maintenance is maintenance and tuning is tuning, it's just that the FI requires a little less of the maintenance and allows a little more fine tuning.  It can also remember more in order to deal better with varying conditions like altitude and temperature, etc.

That's where my line is, a simple Fi system is better for me. A full major manufacturer system doesn't require me to figure anything out and they do concentrate on drivability when programing the ECU, but they don't define drivability the way I define drivability. They slow throttle reaction because you couldn't have possibly meant that request (it'll spin the tires!) or because it's bad for emissions. For 99.9% of what is done with cars by 99.9% of the public that's a really good thing because it can remember what it's been told faster than the average bear can remember what he's been taught.  For someone trying to snap off a crisp heel and toe under trail braking so they can manage the weight shift to help rotate the car...well it can get in they way, especially if it's also tied into the brakes and differential. Porsche and Ferrari and others have shown that you can tell the ECU to remember how to be helpful in those situations, but Subaru and Volkswagen, etc. don't really care about that 99% of the time.  They're concerned with passing government regulations and keeping us in our lane when we're behaving incompetently behind the wheel.  Judging by what I see around town, that describes most driving.

Part of the joy of our chosen hobby is that we can decide where we each want to draw the line.  "You do you," as so many here have said.   It is the way.

Last edited by JMM (Michael)
@DannyP posted:

We all like to improve things from what they were back then. 50s Speedster, you say?

Or is the line EFI? Or the biggest line of all, gateway to all disconnection: drive-by-wire?

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm loving my EFI setup. Easy starts, no stumble and spot on fueling. Mostly I love not worrying about dirty or stopped up carb parts, I just drive.

No drive by wire for me. My analog parts work just fine for that!

Thought of the day .... ever notice that  our worldly friend Stan often posts  during working hours, I wonder who gets these thoughts and proses added to their invoice?    I know on Friday's the old VW shop in NJ the shop would sponsor lunch for all well actually it went down like this:  The next customer's large R/O that was written actually sponsored lunch on that particular day.

My kids are all under 40, and they can all drive a manual transmission as well.

My girls as well, I threatened them the they would take the driver's test in the old VW 5 speed but in the end, they got to use the drivers' ed car. They would have been fine though.  

Great way to prevent 'friends' from ever asking to drive/borrow the car!

Come to think of it I'm not sure I really know anybody who can't drive a stick.  Even some of my friends with teenage or college age kids have made sure they have the skill.  Heck, some of them have even bought their kids track time with an instructor.

You clearly run with a different crowd than I do, Lane. My primary supply house went without a delivery driver for almost a year because they couldn't find anybody who could drive their stake-bed delivery truck (equipped with a stick).

According to one survey, 18% of US drivers (of all ages) can drive a car with a manual transmission. KBB says that number is closer to 66%, but only 13% of new car models even offer a manual transmission - and of that number, the take rate for manuals is vanishingly small.

OTOH, no new car can be sold in the USA without ABS and traction control. Very nearly every new car comes with an electric steering rack.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Last edited by Stan Galat

I have an Outfront EJ25 in my VMC Spyder.  JDM engine.  I got a new shorblock for 2 reasons.  Engine number is on shortblock.  I did not want a Japanese ID number on my shortblock since it is checked by DMV in some states.  The other reason is to guarantee your cylinders are true so you don't get engine blow by.  The cylinders need to be carefully inspected and the heads need to be rebuilt but a new shortblock is the key to engine longevity.  My engine was built with high performance heads with performance in mind and has a "claimed" 230hp.  It flies to 7000 rpms in any gear with a flick of the throttle.  I have a Stinger ECU.  I would say with the Stinger you need to let the engine warm up a while before you drive or it will stall.  But after its warm it's bullit proof reliable.  In my Spyder I went with Outfront because I wanted more than 175hp.  I had the stock EJ25 in 2003 with the stock ECU in the first suby Spyder ever built by VMC.  In no way did that car come close to matching the performance of my current Spyder.  I wanted a stupid fast Spyder and that's what I got.  So if your car needs to be stupid scary fast the stock EJ25 with the stock ECU will not be enough.

That said I have ordered a Beck 356 to be built in a few years by Carey and I will run the stock EJ25 with the stock ECU.  This car will have AC, heat, stereo etc.  I want the dependability of the stock ECU. 

@550 Phil posted:

I wanted a stupid fast Spyder and that's what I got.  So if your car needs to be stupid scary fast the stock EJ25 with the stock ECU will not be enough.

@550 Phil Carey will build my 550 next year or so. My current Alfa Romeo 4C does 0-60 in 4.1 sec., and I want the 550 to better that. The 4C is 237hp pushing 2400lbs, so the 550 should do better if the tires can hold on. BUT, I hear you, and I want mine to be scary fast too. So, what should I be thinking about changing? Is it a different EJ25 from what Carey would normally use, or just some different parts there? Or different ECU? All of these? What would you recommend?

@DannyP posted:

I agree with almost everything our sage writer said above.

We all like to improve things from what they were back then. 50s Speedster, you say?

We have more power, better brakes, better tires. Most have added some anti-sway. Some have even(gawd!) changed the swing axle for IRS. How about that rack and pinion steering?

My point is we are all at least a little bit AWAY from the "original" experience.

The real question though: Where is our own personal line drawn? Is it radial tires? Disc brakes? IRS? Crank-fire ignition? 5 speed?

Or is the line EFI? Or the biggest line of all, gateway to all disconnection: drive-by-wire?

Glad you asked, D! I gave it a lot of thought in my Spyder, which is one reason it has "only" 30 percent more torque than an original. Every gear in my car gets you to about the same speed at redline as the same gear did in an original 550—40ish in first, 60+ in 2nd, 104 or so in 3rd and about 140 in top. But in my car they all come a little quicker—about 6 seconds to 60mph instead of 7 seconds.

And of course my engine's redline is 6000 instead of 7500 as in the 4-cam motor. So not quite like the original experience. But pretty close, I'll bet.

What else? Improvements! Dual circuit master cylinder plumbed to 4-wheel ("barbell") disc brakes. Radial tires with a summer compound—and they're quite a bit wider than the original 16s were (albeit much narrower than what most guys run).

These are just about the bare minimum things you have to alter from OE if you plan to drive these cars on public roads.

Is a crankfire ignition a bridge too far? Given what Rainer Cooney's doing with his replicas, I doubt it. EFI seems to be pretty agreeable to you and some others. I know I wouldn't hate it!

Drive-by-wire though...for me it would depend on the feel. If it felt the same as a throttle linkage (original Spyders had a rod linkage to the accelerator, didn't they?) I'd say go for it. The Morse cable is already "incorrect."

@Foleydb posted:

@550 Phil Carey will build my 550 next year or so. My current Alfa Romeo 4C does 0-60 in 4.1 sec., and I want the 550 to better that. The 4C is 237hp pushing 2400lbs, so the 550 should do better if the tires can hold on. BUT, I hear you, and I want mine to be scary fast too. So, what should I be thinking about changing? Is it a different EJ25 from what Carey would normally use, or just some different parts there? Or different ECU? All of these? What would you recommend?

Sorry it took so long to reply. Out front EJ25 basically has better heads and different ECU. This will provide higher compression which will allow you to take advantage of premium fuel.  I doubt a stock EJ25 would benefit from premium fuel.  I apologize to Carey if I’m incorrect but Carey rebuilds the heads but I’m not sure if he adds any performance modifications. I think the engine is stock and obviously he uses the stock ECU. That Suby engine with a restrictive exhaust system and a cat got 165hp. With the less restrictive exhaust the Beck Spyder is likely about 175hp. Even if Carey builds the heads, without a different ECU you won’t get much more than 175hp. I’m sure the car is very fast with 175hp. Stupid fast?  I don’t know. I know mine is pushing at least 200hp and sings to 7000 rpms. My cars in Charlottesville Va if you want a ride.
Carey has his recipe for success and it works very well. I think he leans toward dependability. I’m leaning that way with my 356 type D build and Carey will put a stock EJ25 in that car.

Phil, don't you have different cam(s) in there too?

And you're right, the Suby even at it's 10.3:1(I think) compression ratio runs great on 87 octane. If the CR is raised then premium is necessary. I think compression is 11.5:1 using the SOHC head gasket. The DOHC gasket is thicker which gives the 10.3:1 ratio.

With 11.5:1 on 93 octane with 2.5 liters of free-breathing massaged heads? Sounds like 200hp to me!

EDIT: I believe the numbers I quoted were hot-rodded numbers from the NASIOC website. I think the stock EJ25 is somewhere from 9.7:1 to 10:1.

Last edited by DannyP
@DannyP posted:

Phil, don't you have different cam(s) in there too?

And you're right, the Suby even at it's 10.3:1(I think) compression ratio runs great on 87 octane. If the CR is raised then premium is necessary. I think compression is 11.5:1 using the SOHC head gasket. The DOHC gasket is thicker which gives the 10.3:1 ratio.

With 11.5:1 on 93 octane with 2.5 liters of free-breathing massaged heads? Sounds like 200hp to me!

EDIT: I believe the numbers I quoted were hot-rodded numbers from the NASIOC website. I think the stock EJ25 is somewhere from 9.7:1 to 10:1.

Agreed.

I'm pretty sure that even with free-breathing heads, an N/A DOHC flat 4 can can't make 200 hp without bigger cam(s), and I'd almost bet that with those cam longer duration (longer overlap) cams and water cooling, 11.5:1 or even 12:1 would be entirely safe and possible. The Subaru bottom end fixes all the Type 1 weak spots and will very easily spin up to 7000 RPM without a lot of drama.

It's hard to see how an engine with more displacement, better cooling, and 4-valve heads wouldn't make at least as much power as a "200 hp" Type 1.

Last edited by Stan Galat

With a different cam and valves and a stinger type ECU, you can get 200hp but not much more.  My builder was adamant that even with all the mods  it still stays around that area.  I was going to have Lachute Performance build one for me but you get to a point of diminishing return as a Turbo is just so much more cost effective to get a 400hp engine if you like the turbo switch.

They also suggested we take a H6 subie and drop it in as the H6-3.0 is 58 lbs more and the 3.6 is 20 lbs more and oodles of torque if you want a solid 250hp with 250ft//lbs with no tune and good stability.

If superchargers come along any more it would be able to use a NA engine and get more than 200hp but then you might need forged pistons etc.  It is still cheaper to do a turbo.

I also enjoy NA better and honestly, if I want to launch myself my GTI is plenty fast with DSG but it is just not the visceral feel of the IM.

I never tried or was in Marty's car but I drove a 180hp turbo Audi in an IM and it was not my favourite as the trottle was more like a switch and you kind of just hung on for dear life when it took off on you.  It reminded me of driving a Kawasaki 1100 and from a standstill I had to hang on for dear life to hold onto the handle bars.  

I passed on a real nice VW bug convert 1959 with a 2110cc bags etc, because I just could not take care of another car. but if Rich Drewek @Rich Drewek sells his Ghia and the border is open I might consider it.

@Stan Galat @IaM-Ray @DannyP @Lane Anderson and all the rest of the boys discussing this subject.....i am sold on the SUBARU engine by OUTFRONT.....7K miles thus far and turnkey!....mine is the single overhead cam 180hp so i'm told....people ask if it is turbocharged...i just smile and say....no need!....it has torque for days....goes around corners in 3rd gear....and just have to press down the skinny pedal and it delivers all i need.....at 4K RPM in 3rd gear the car just comes alive and will scoot out and around what ever needs to be passed on the 2 way roads.....so far ,like i said  turnkey...bulletproof & zero tinkering...what's not to like?

@msjulie  You know I reread this post and it just dawned on me that you ordered a car from Vintage, and an engine from Outback, now called Outfront, so congrats.  

A Stock Subie with minimum mods will be a pleasant car to drive, enjoy the build process.  

One precaution, check the oil often as these engines can sometimes use a bit of oil and even subaru new cars have that warning.  Just don't get caught with the low oil.

Ray is correct. My wife's 2006 Impreza with over 200k on the clock gets checked every other time she drives it. I'd do the same with a new one until it breaks in and proves that oil doesn't isn't getting used.

On another note, after a half-day drive there, two days on the track(beating the snot out of it) and another half-day drive home, the Cayman used 4 ounces of oil. It has 107k on it. I'm pretty happy with that.

@DannyP posted:

Ray is correct. My wife's 2006 Impreza with over 200k on the clock gets checked every other time she drives it. I'd do the same with a new one until it breaks in and proves that oil doesn't isn't getting used.

On another note, after a half-day drive there, two days on the track(beating the snot out of it) and another half-day drive home, the Cayman used 4 ounces of oil. It has 107k on it. I'm pretty happy with that.

I nearly found out the hard way. On my maiden voyage, I just happened to check the oil at a second gaz stop and found my oil down a 1/2 quart, I say quart because I was down in Oregon here we say 1/2 a liter.    

Even modern cars can and do use oil after a big trip but since no one ever checks their oil no one knows.

A friend of ours has a Subaru Outback with the flat 6-cylinder engine.  It has always burned about a quart of oil every 400 or so miles (about a tank of gas) no matter how you drive it.  It was that way when new and has never varied from that rate, which our friend says that Subaru says is "within the normal range".  She's lived with and gotten used to it, just adding a quart or so every fill-up.  She now has well over 100K on it and says it's the best car she's ever had so I guess the oil consumption is just a minor inconvenience for her.

@barncobob posted:

my 17 P doesnt have a dipstick...u have to scroll thru numerous pages of tech questions,oil has to be certain temp,,etc. etc. etc. royal PITA

In 07 it was simpler, no dipstick then either. But when you turn the key to ON, it measures the oil level in a few seconds. If you've run the engine, it can take up to ten minutes(it shows a countdown on the screen).

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