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Thread: Noble M12/M400 ECU alternatives

  1. #1
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    Default Noble M12/M400 ECU alternatives

    I'd like to discuss ECU alternatives to the factory MBE ECU. I'm curious to hear what some of you have done or what some of you would be looking for in an alternative.

    EB Turbo

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    I'll start, and I will start with a disclaimer.
    The US Noble MBE turners can probably do most, if not all, what I want. But they are not local. I have nothing against the existing tunes they provide. They are just not local, and with the ECU being password protected, feel (probably incorrectly) a bit held hostage by that.

    Want to try a cat delete, that requires an ECU tune, but I dont have the password.
    Want to update the turbos, that requires an ECU tune, but I dont have the password.
    Want to try different valve springs, that requires, well you get it.

    #1 is tune-ability. By this I mean the number of shops that can tune the car.
    I would like to be able to make an adjustment to the motor (say new cams for example) and take it to a local dyno shop and be able to fine tune the ECU.

    #2 reliability/availability. The MBE is reliable, but... Getting aged. If it stops working, getting a replacement quickly/reliably is not a sure thing. Using the AEM/Motec/Holly/Your name here, I can order a replacement unit (from multiple vendors) and have it shipped to me in days. Update the tune with my laptop the day it arrives and I am on the road again.

    #3 is knowledge I don't have. What features, if any, do the new ECU's have that MBE lacks.
    There is a lot I don't know about ECU's, but dozens of people in my local area do.
    Do I need, does it work, the multi-boost map and/or multi-maping?
    Do I need, does it work, the anti-lag?
    I do need, does it work, to have traction control. I would like to investigate lower boost in fist gear.
    What dont I know about that I need to be asking about?

    #4 Data logging


    Again I want to (over) emphasize.
    The Noble tuners I know about can probably make the existing ECU do all I want/need and more. The two things I am uncomfortable with these options are:
    Not local
    Password protected.

    What say you?

  3. #3
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    I am not sure who told you that your MBE is locked or password protected but it is not. What i can tell you is that like most stand alone ecu's there is a very few select tuners that can do a great job and there are a lot of people that claim to to know how to make lots of horsepower and blow the motor

    The Ford ECU in the Rossions is not locked but i have hundreds of hours making them work right and if any tuner out there wished to tune a Rossion they are more than welcome to do it. When they are done tell me how well it went.

    I have access to the MBE tune but i delegate it to the master "Troy". He has put the time and effort to understand that ecu and how it works with the engine combo we run.

    Big warning do not become the one lone setup because you will spend 10 times the money that you will pay to get the mod's you need for your current setup.

    The big benefit i have found with the ford ecu or even on my new GM powered setup is that it is self compensation for the ambient conditions verses a stand alone ecu.

    Now i will say if you are building a race car stand alone ecu's do great because all you care about is pretty much wide open throttle

    This is my humble opinion and take it with a grain of salt

    Willy

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    Willy,

    Your Ford ECU is topping my list. I am just having trouble convincing myself that the current setup is $$ broke.

    My very uneducated guesstimate is that I could replicate a hardware solution, ecu and wireing harness, for about 2/3 the cost of your setup. Where your setup/cost becomes a value is the other 60% of the project... The actual tune.

    We can answer these questions off line if you would like.
    Does your setup come with, or use commonly available, tuning software that I can run on my laptop?
    Can I "tweak" the fuel and/or ignition map if I modify my current engine setup, or do i log something somehow and download it to you and you make the adjustment and I upload that?

    I respect your time and Intellectual property and don't want to abuse/share you work, but I also am reluctant to depend exclusively on you, and only you, (I seem to have trust issues) for a $x,000.00 tune with each change.

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    There are a fair amount of standalone ECUs that will work really well in a Noble M12/M400. With M54321's car we chose an AEM Infinity 708 but you can use a 506 with no issues. 506's retail for $1400. You will still need to wire it in and that can be between $1000-2500. So for between $2500-4000 you can have a standalone ecu that will run everything that is needed on one of these cars.

    I will probably have less than 40hrs in starting and tuning M54321's car from scratch including some advanced boost control, drive by wire and other advanced options. With a proper tuner and base map you can have a basic car running exceptionally well with a half day on the dyno and a half day with road tuning to verify the tune and driveability on the street. Plus a few cold starts to make sure all is well there. The AEMs VE fuel model everything works very well and the actual fuel tuning process goes rather quickly. I may be a little optimistic here but in the tuning world the base Noble is a very easy setup.

    EB Turbo

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    EB Turbo summed it up well. I will throw my 2 cents in here. I have fought ECU problems on multiple cars before and nothing makes me more irritated than having to depend on others to tune my car. That being said, Willy is great to work with, and I am running one of his tunes on the stock Ford ECU in my Rossion. So please don't take this as a shot at him, or any of the other trusted tuners on here, by any stretch of the imagination.

    ECU technology over the past decade has come a LONG way. Even the Ford ECU in the Rossion is completely antiquated at this point, not even mentioning something like the Noble ECU. Now, if you need an OBD plug to pass emissions, your options are limited without big $ and the Ford ECU is probably your best bet. That being said, if you don't need the OBD functionality, the aftermarket ECU choices are plentiful and way easier to tune yourself. They will almost all certainly have wideband O2 sensors, unlike either the Noble or Rossion ECU, and be capable of self learning for the fuel mixture. If they are missing either of these features you will want to pass.

    If the self learning has a good algorithm to it, some are better than others, and you have a good understanding of where these turbo engines like to run from an AFR perspective, the fuel table is pretty easy.

    Spark tuning is a bit trickier and really critical in a turbocharged application. This is where you either make no power, good reliable power, or lots of power for a very short period of time. Fattening up the mixture can give you some leeway here, but this is still really where a good bit of time should be spent.

    Next comes the transient tuning, i.e. throttle application, transitioning on and off idle, and warmup parameters. This is more experimentation and really fine tuning. You can get close pretty easily and the last little bit will take some time to get right. The pickier you are, the longer it will take

    All of this requires a really good understanding of internal combustion engine physics, a good knowledge of electronics, and an ability to wrench on your car. This is why a lot of people pay to have this sort of thing done. The pimply kid down the street, to use Doug's analogy, may be able to tune his Subaru but you never know how well his tune runs at anything other than WOT and how often he has to rebuild components in his engine due to experiences which create schrapnel.

    That being said, I have done these aftermarket ECUs on a number of vehicles that were not Nobles/Rossions and my personal hands down favorite is the Holley HP EFI ECU. This thing is way versatile, has a killer self learning algorithm, has a ton of forum and aftermarket support, and can go on anything from a throttle body to a complex sequential system with up to 16 injectors, low or high impedance injectors, multiple custom controls, can be mounted outside or inside, etc. and costs about $1500. It has way more features than the AEM or other systems in this category and that is why I prefer them. The fact that is very closely related to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Car controllers that Holley produces also helps garner support for it. It can interface to Ford or GM sensors and controls and ah as number of pre-built harness options, or a full pigtail version for a totally custom harness. The FAST system is also quite popular but IMHO is no better, if as good, for more $. Also, just about any Dyno Tuner in the US will know how to tune it if you don't want to or can't do it yourself. However, one must be a bit careful in taking these cars to those types of tuners since they will likely have zero experience with a turbocharged Duratec V6

    If I was having ECU problems, the above would be where I would go to without question.

    --Calvin

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    Calvin
    I have A Fast Ecu System "in fact i have 3 on my triple engine boat". We had 48 Hrs of engine dyno time to develop the map for one engine and then copied it to the other two motors, after that i put 20 to 30 hrs fine tuning the rest of the map for weather and drivability conditions. These are 1100Hp blower motors
    The self tuning feature is pretty cool but for turbo or super charged motors is very limited and chases it self into a loop. Once it is close i turned it of and did the fine adjustments.
    I do agree Fast is one of the best stand alone options for the guy that is trying to do it himself and get something that runs reasonably well but you will leave a lot on the table and it struggles with boosted cars in learn mode.

    There is false information that the MBE ecu on the Nobles is locked same thing with the Ford ecu on the Rossions and they are not. They are both wide open, the MBE is a little more difficult because you have to have there software and cable to get in but the ford ecu is wide open to all the after market software out there.

    No different than any other ecu out here each tuner has his own style of tuning and depending on the level of software they pay for and experience we can get into different areas that are not available to the novice.

    Be very careful trying to tune your own motors, my mentor Mike Pirnia and myself are Degreed engineers that and have 1000's of hours doing tuning, Mike has a lot more than myself and we get stumped some times.

    I have approximately 400 hrs improving the factory Rossion map no simple task

    All i am saying is be very careful it is not as simple as it seams. An experienced tuner can make it seam very simple just adjust a couple of numbers here and there and walla it is all done. The issue which numbers really need adjusting
    Last edited by gafernandez; 12-03-2016 at 05:03 AM.

  8. #8
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    I suggest Haltec.
    Years ago, I was going to use a different ecu, but decided to stick with the MBE in our m400 race car to better serve the bulk of the community. However, the current ecu is starting to see signs of age and now discontinued, as far as I know.

    Tuning isn't a mystery nor rocket science, especially if you are more a street/mild track driver. Most shops have enough know-how, especially ones that have professional businesses and facilities. Nowadays, there are no specialty carburetor tuners.

    A full race car is a completely different beast, especially for endurance racing where fuel consumptions must be considered and thermal generation.

    i have a full Rossion set up and that has its limitations- for sale!
    Factory Noble Software
    Noble M400 SCCA GT-1 Podium 2014

    www.Noble-Speed.com

    TurboHoses R&D
    Noble, Rossion and Lotus Performance
    http://www.turbohoses.com/Nobleperformance.htm

    Hooverc@TurboHoses.com
    925-455-1066
    Livermore CA.

    www.OriginSportsCars.com
    HVR & Origin N

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gafernandez View Post
    Calvin
    I have A Fast Ecu System "in fact i have 3 on my triple engine boat". We had 48 Hrs of engine dyno time to develop the map for one engine and then copied it to the other two motors, after that i put 20 to 30 hrs fine tuning the rest of the map for weather and drivability conditions. These are 1100Hp blower motors
    The self tuning feature is pretty cool but for turbo or super charged motors is very limited and chases it self into a loop. Once it is close i turned it of and did the fine adjustments.
    I do agree Fast is one of the best stand alone options for the guy that is trying to do it himself and get something that runs reasonably well but you will leave a lot on the table and it struggles with boosted cars in learn mode.

    There is false information that the MBE ecu on the Nobles is locked same thing with the Ford ecu on the Rossions and they are not. They are both wide open, the MBE is a little more difficult because you have to have there software and cable to get in but the ford ecu is wide open to all the after market software out there.

    No different than any other ecu out here each tuner has his own style of tuning and depending on the level of software they pay for and experience we can get into different areas that are not available to the novice.

    Be very careful trying to tune your own motors, my mentor Mike Pirnia and myself are Degreed engineers that and have 1000's of hours doing tuning, Mike has a lot more than myself and we get stumped some times.

    I have approximately 400 hrs improving the factory Rossion map no simple task

    All i am saying is be very careful it is not as simple as it seams. An experienced tuner can make it seam very simple just adjust a couple of numbers here and there and walla it is all done. The issue which numbers really need adjusting
    Totally understand, Willy. You know my background and occupation, so you know I understand engineering systems with high degrees of complexity. I know it is not to be taken lightly nor is it easy, but the Ford ECU and/or the MBE tuning software packages I have seen are nowhere near as user friendly as the Holley unit. Maybe I am missing something on the Ford front. Is there a software package somewhere that is downloadable that has the same types of features as the Holley package?

    --Calvin

  10. #10
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    no you have to purchase the ford tuning software

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