Which tuning ecu to buy?

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Which tuning ecu to buy?

Postby awdmofo » Mon May 07, 2018 12:01 am

The car is a 90 st-185, its getting a fresh stock internal rebuild, rings, head cleaned etc. But stock cams and pistons. Going to run a CT-20B with a little boost, bolt ons and 205 WTAIC. I going to build a 400-450AWHP engine later so i'd like to get a management system to get the most out of the stock rebuild, and of course the next engine I build for high HP. Found some systems but I'd wanted some advice, looking to spend $500 or less if possible. I know these systems usually run more than that but found a few in that range and wanted some feedback. Found a new Greedy E-manage for $350, and a Microtech LTX-8 for $500. Wondering if either one is a good fit for what I'm trying to do, or any other options you guys suggest. Thanks :notworthy:
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Re: Which tuning ecu to buy?

Postby GT4times2 » Mon May 07, 2018 3:13 am

Possibilities are endless. Will you be wiring it yourself? Do you want PnP? The E-Manage is a piggy back, not full EMS. MicroTech makes good stuff. Who will tune it? What are local tuners using? Endless questions to answer before buying.

Is your harness hacked up? Old and brittle? You may want to get a clean/new one built. If yours is in good condition, consider a PnP set up. Link ECU, AEM, Haltech, MSPRo, Ecu Master make them for PnP applications for the 3SGTE (MR2 and AllTrac).

But I personally wouldn't trust a 28 yr old car wiring with high mileage, (constantly exposed to heat) I'd prefer gettting a new harness made (fly lead loom that comes with the EMS). But ultimately the choice is yours. One of the best upgrades you can do to a 3SGTE powered car, is the ECU. Properly tuned, of course.

Best of Luck.

Oh, and another thing. When looking for an EMS, ask about the tuners. Make sure you're not limited to 1 or 2 tuners in your area/state. They end up being divas, and hard to deal with many times over, due to demand and scheduling issues. Get something relatively popular and good, of course. Haltech seems to be popular these days, AEM too. The EMS-4 from AEM is a decent unit. Relatively simple and affordable. But limited. For the hp numbers you're looking for, the right tuner can make do with it.
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Re: Which tuning ecu to buy?

Postby underscore » Mon May 07, 2018 7:19 pm

I've heard a lot of good things from a few friends that have Haltechs, and a lot of headaches from Microtechs unless you're building a drag car. If you're doing a stock rebuild I'd just stick with the stock system for now, there's no point going through the cost and hassle of tuning it now and then redoing it all later.

GT4times2 wrote:Oh, and another thing. When looking for an EMS, ask about the tuners. Make sure you're not limited to 1 or 2 tuners in your area/state. They end up being divas, and hard to deal with many times over, due to demand and scheduling issues.


This is the main thing. I've seen a lot of people over the years pick an EMS and then realize there's nobody within a few thousand miles that has any idea how to work with it. You also want to make sure they've got experience and some sort of training when it comes to tuning, I've also seen the results of a "tuner" just mashing in values and a car running like absolute garbage outside of very specific conditions.
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Re: Which tuning ecu to buy?

Postby Magroo » Mon May 07, 2018 10:01 pm

I agree with the above poster about 28 year old wiring. I'm building a new harness for my megasquirt PNP unit out of a 5sfe harness that's in good shape. That project is currently on hold because I needed to replace the heads on my Subaru daily driver.

I'm partial to megasquirt personally but the tuning and interface can be a little intimidating at first. It does have a nice auto-tune feature though.
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Re: Which tuning ecu to buy?

Postby GT4times2 » Tue May 08, 2018 2:24 am

Magroo wrote:I agree with the above poster about 28 year old wiring. I'm building a new harness for my megasquirt PNP unit out of a 5sfe harness that's in good shape. That project is currently on hold because I needed to replace the heads on my Subaru daily driver.

I'm partial to megasquirt personally but the tuning and interface can be a little intimidating at first. It does have a nice auto-tune feature though.


I hear and read a lot of good things about MegaSquirt. There's a local shop that has experiece with the systems proving many naysayers wrong. Many issues in the past (possibly still ongoing) stemmed from people buying DIY kits and not building them properly, later being plagued with issues. Then blaming MegaSquirt. So it's not all on the manufacturer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_wTuC1CBrQ

underscore wrote:I've heard a lot of good things from a few friends that have Haltechs, and a lot of headaches from Microtechs unless you're building a drag car. If you're doing a stock rebuild I'd just stick with the stock system for now, there's no point going through the cost and hassle of tuning it now and then redoing it all later.


I have yet to hear anything bad about most of the Aussie EMSs, MicroTech included. Depending on tuner/installer. But down here and in Orlando, FL there's a large following of MicroTech, Haltech and EMS Stinger EMSs with great success for street and drag cars. The OP may want to enjoy his car now. He may be happy with less power than the 400-450 goal he has, so I wouldn't delay getting one. That factory ecu is garbage, afm, fuel cut etc. More reasons to say Goodbye and clean up the engine bay (de-clutter that engine bay while he's at it)

underscore wrote:This is the main thing. I've seen a lot of people over the years pick an EMS and then realize there's nobody within a few thousand miles that has any idea how to work with it. You also want to make sure they've got experience and some sort of training when it comes to tuning, I've also seen the results of a "tuner" just mashing in values and a car running like absolute garbage outside of very specific conditions.


Plenty of horrific stories to go around from lack of proper research and crooked tuners/shops. I don't know where the OP is located. I'd ask the EMS company that I'm interested in to recommend a local tuner, or shop. Ask around.

awdmofo wrote:The car is a 90 st-185, its getting a fresh stock internal rebuild, rings, head cleaned etc. But stock cams and pistons. Going to run a CT-20B with a little boost, bolt ons and 205 WTAIC. I going to build a 400-450AWHP engine later so i'd like to get a management system to get the most out of the stock rebuild, and of course the next engine I build for high HP. Found some systems but I'd wanted some advice, looking to spend $500 or less if possible. I know these systems usually run more than that but found a few in that range and wanted some feedback. Found a new Greedy E-manage for $350, and a Microtech LTX-8 for $500. Wondering if either one is a good fit for what I'm trying to do, or any other options you guys suggest. Thanks :notworthy:


Even on a stock engine with a CT20 turbo, fuel etc, there are gains to be made with a decent tune on an aftermarket EMS. Trust me. Seen it a few times with 1st and 2nd Gen set ups where just BPUs and EMS made a considerable amount of power. Long gone are the days of limited black boxes (HKS). Good riddance. Since you're keeping the same gen engine, I say you can go with EMS as soon as now. You'll re-tune when you go for more power. But do your research. Happy Hunting.
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90 ST185 (MRP) Gen4
90 ST185 (Gray) Not sure what gen yet.
88 ST165 Gen3-The works
89 ST165 Gen4-on the way
+ Many other projects, under covers....
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Re: Which tuning ecu to buy?

Postby 3SDNA » Sun May 20, 2018 12:53 pm

I went with a plug n play setup on an ECUMASTER EMU. If I were to do it again, I would just buy the ECU and make the harness myself. Dealing with this 80 year old wiring sucks. I will eventually be pulling all of the old harness out so that I can make a new one.

I really like the ECUMASTER setup. Easy for a knothead like me to mess with and I like the amount of support the company provides.
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