Tuning Ecu


Oct 6, 2013
Calgary ab
lately ive been reading it alot about tuning ecu, the more research I do the less I understand it, ive looked into tuner school but im not sure if I can warrant 15,000 dollar for a course? I will only really do it for my cars and maybe the odd friend..... is there a simplified version for the hobbiest? where is the best place to get the software and hardware?
thanks cam.
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I'm not sure which part of the question I am voting yes too. Depends on how enthusiastic you are. A lot of people tune themselves now. Getting a tune done for you is pretty affordable too. Just depends if you are willing and able to make the plunge.

My first question would be:

What is it that you're trying to tune for? I don't see anything in in your signature that necessitates digital tuning.

Edit: I removed the poll because it didn't really fit. It was a very broad question. It had lots of possible answers that depend on a ton of variables.
well eventually I want to go to a stroker or maybe a blower.... just for overall knowledget I wanna mostly understand fuel/spark curve ect...
and thanks I couldn't figure out how to erase the poll
It sounds like, if it's possible, you're doing too much reading and research! There's a ton of very deep and often theoretical knowledge about ecu function out there which can make your head spin. The ecu is a powerful computer, but at the same time you can tune for almost any scenario imaginable without knowing how every last bit & byte works. Just like the computer you're using right now -- you don't have to understand how Intel makes their processors or how your graphics or sound card works to use it. You need good, user-friendly software.

My suggestion would be to download a copy of Binary Editor by Clint Garrity (you can get it and install it free, along with a copy of the stock tune) and start taking a look at what you can actually do. Going to a stroker is literally one parameter you have to change. Just about every parameter or table worth messing with has detailed information about it right on the screen. Fuel mixtures and spark settings are pretty darned optimal already until you start really making the mods, and then it's not all that hard either - MAF transfers, injector parameters, etc. I tuned for a turbo myself and it was my first venture into any type of real tuning. I did so simply because I was cheap and stubborn -- dyno wanted $700, which I'd have to repeat every time I changed something, and mail-order tuners won't do major mods like a turbo. I realized I could get a Moates Quarterhorse, EEC Editor software, and an Innovate Wideband and do it all myself for less and never have to pay someone in the future.

In my opinion the "Getting started with Tweecer" guide you can Google for is a great place to start. And honestly I wouldn't read too much beyond that without getting hands-on, unless you're a electrical engineer with great interest in embedded systems. $15k for a course is probably worth it if you're going to open your own shop, for the hobbyist it's serious overkill. You can do it I promise.

Another thing you have going for you is right here on stangnet. Ask any questions you have about specifics and we're happy to help you out. Lots of good people willing to share what they know for $0 and sometimes not even a "thanks man."
The short link is: http://www.eecanalyzer.net/downloads You can download & install, tinker around for free. To read / write tunes you'll need the hardware (Quarterhorse, Tweecer, etc.) as well as a license. And to do wideband tuning you need to install a wideband. EECAnalyzer is a deeper tuning program add-on to the Binary Editor that lets you do some pretty cool stuff, but I'd start with Binary Editor. You don't "need" EECAnalyzer but you do need Binary Editor for tuning.

Along with the software, download a Strategy and Calibration to match your ECU (the strategy is definitely CBAZA and a sticker on the ECU tells you which calibration you have... a '94 non-Cobra with manual transmission it's pretty sure to be the T4M0 calibration, with automatic probably U4P0. Once you have hardware installed and a license, you can read your calibration from your own ECU (though it's likely to be identical to the one you can download).

ive downloaded the binary editor....how do I get the strategy on the download now....im really getting interested in this....im gonna order a moates quarter horse hardware next week... ill be playing around with it any free tme I get
If you installed BE, strategies & calibrations may already be there under c:\Program Files\Binary Editor\DEF. If not, you can download it from here. http://www.eecanalyzer.net/index.php/strategies-calibrations

There's a helpful document (Start Menu->Programs->Binary Editor->Getting Started) to guide you through it.

Then with Binary Editor launched, just do "Open->Strategy (browse to CBAZA.xls)" followed by "Open->Calibration (browse to T4M0.bin).

I have the older version (Binary Editor 2010) so yours might be a little different but should work just about the same.

It's definitely a lot of fun once you get the hang of it -- seeing all the real-time outputs from the QuarterHorse when you're data-logging give you a ton of visibility into what's happening in your tune. Then you can change almost anything with a few clicks and push it back to the engine while it's running. Makes me wonder why anyone would begin to think about going back to a carb - you don't even have to pop the hood to retune the car.
I just want to emphasize (as you seem to be plowing into this thing full steam ahead) that every opportunity exists for you to grenade a perfectly good motor.

Before you clothes line the UPS man on your way to slap this thing into the car, know this. Something as simple as an overly aggressive fuel or spark curve can send pieces and parts both, through the hood of your car and out of the bottom of your engine block.

I'm not trying to deter you in any way, shape, or form. I just wanted to ensure that you knew these things while getting wrapped up into a bunch of technical discussions about tuning.
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It's not bundled together so you purchase the hardware and software separately. But you can buy both right on Moates.net. They do this because they also sell other software packages that would work - notably EEC Editor. imho EEC Editor is 2nd-best to Binary Editor and I can't make heads or tails of their complex licensing.

For the software (you've already downloaded it), they'll just e-mail you a license key (or a dongle if you want to use it on multiple computers and you pick that option).
I just want to emphasize ... that every opportunity exists for you to grenade a perfectly good motor.
While anything is theoretically possible, on a naturally aspirated engine, you'd have to work pretty hard to actually cause significant damage through tuning -- worst case you run poorly, stall, or get some pinging and start over. While I agree that it's important to work slowly & methodically, and I realize you disclaimed your post saying that you're not trying to be discouraging, but it sounds pretty discouraging.

Just to level-set, you probably wouldn't share the same cautionary advice with someone installing an AFPR or setting their base timing at the distributor. But the truth is, they can do just as much damage with either one of those as they can with the tuner.

I like this quoted from the Tweecer Getting Started guide:
While it is possible to damage your engine using a tuning product as
powerful as the TwEECer, it is far more difficult to do than some “Pro
Tuners” will lead you to believe. It is however, extremely easy to
make your car run like crap just by making a single change that is too
far from what is needed for your setup.
No one is going to add 20 degrees of spark advance and pick up 100 hp,
though it is a good way to cause physical damage to your engine. This
would be over time and you would have to ignore some pretty bad
detonation / pinging and probably less than stellar performance, for
the damage to occur to a naturally aspirated combo. A boosted or NOS
setup would be far more prone to quick damage in such a scenario.
This is not rocket science and is not all that different than turning
the distributor and changing jets on a carb, it’s just the electronic
version of it.

Now I will be a little discouraging and say that by itself, you're not going to get much of ANYTHING out of Tweecer or Quarterhorse. Ultimately you'll need to make mechanical changes which you can then fully enable through the tune. Maybe a tiny bit of extra spark here or there for 93 octane, and firming up the shifts on an automatic, but realistically you're not going to get much. It's still a really good opportunity to learn, however, when you're still stock and naturally aspirated. Once you bolt on a turbo or supercharger mistakes are a bit more costly.
Though I understand the point you are trying to make, it is not difficult at all (even on an NA motor) to lean out and start blowing head gaskets apart.

To the OP... Just be mindful of the potential pitfalls.