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Old 02-06-2021, 11:45 AM   #26
OldCarNewTricks
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I'm also super interested in Speeduino. I still need to do more reading before I make my final choice, but it's less than half the price for something that should easily handle my B23..
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Old 02-06-2021, 12:10 PM   #27
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So the terminator x max and cable is ~$1350 (when it's not on sale). (this is the one that has trans control). They also say skip the mini display if you're going to use a laptop, so I dunno if that lowers the price any or not.

That's the ecu and transmission control, fully done wiring harness, "an afternoon to install" kind of deal.

the pro evo with a harness is roughly 1800, the micro with a trans harness is 500, for the same kind of afternoon to install setup.

an ms3-x (which is what you'd want) assembled is 760, the unterminated harnesses for that are 85 each for 930ish. then you gotta buy new connectors or splice in old ones, in the correct order-not an afternoon

a microsquirt is 380 I think now, plus the connectors for the transmission, so even for the non-pro ms setup you're looking at $1310, and you still have to spend a while wiring everything up, etc.


seems like a no-brainer to me. You will get more features from an ms3 based system (more specifically, one of the pro offerings, not so much the metal box ms3-x). I'm not an MS hater by any stretch, don't get me wrong on this, but it's not nearly as cheap as it used to be.

You can probably get close to the cost of the terminator x max with an efi source gold box setup... looks like one with the tcu built in and both harnesses is around 1750 (which isn't all that bad either really)

As far as the hpt route, I can elaborate on that a bit as well, so if you don't already have a dongle, you're looking at $300 for the new one, plus probably $200 in credits to license the transmission and engine.. and that is if you get the basic dongle. the pro feature set adds another $250 on top of that (and you may or may not want any of that, you can get a wideband interface with an aem wideband I think, but otherwise you'll need the pro set iirc or hax to get wideband info into your datalogs.. and you will want that).
In terms of standalone harness costs.. most people I've seen that have such harnesses spend somewhere between 5 and 600 on them, I did have a guy that rolled his own the first time, and we spent 2 hours on the dyno tracking down broken wires and incorrect pinouts.. then he was out of gas, so he still had to pay for the full session and got nothing out of it. He was mad at me for a while after that but when the car finally came back after visiting another tuner, getting a new engine, new harness, etc... he was a lot happier with the results.

So realistically, the cost of an ls swap with the stock ecu and hp tuners is going to set the end user back ~$900-$1000, you can obviously trade your time for money on that deal far better than you can with any of the other options, but the time cost for a first timer is going to be significant, esp if it's a gen4 and you're envisioning big cam type stuff.

If you're going to do a mild cam stock intake/tb type setup, it's not bad. Once you get the scanner configured it takes on average half a dozen to a dozen WOT trips to get the maf curve dialed in. You won't be able to trust the knock sensors really anymore with a cam swap, but that'd still be your best bet on a mild setup to get the timing around where it wants to be. On gen4 stuff, jumping into virtual VE tuning is crazy, apparently the best thing to do there is patch the OS and use hpt's normal VE table.. that you'll have to either find someone's or generate an entire map from thin air the first time. I usually do the t00ner thing and flip over to pure MAF, I haven't had any issues with that to date.

The things that are absolutely critical to a good result with the stock ecu are injector data (all of it, not just low pulse numbers and overall flow rates, those are important too), it has tables of offsets that are bigger than most VE maps, and if that information isn't good, you will spend hours trying to get the vehicle to idle right and cruise down the road without doing stupid ****.

I would say Gen3 stuff is my favorite, it's not overly complex beyond the setup information (injector data, etc) and has real time tuning offerings and such. I can usually get a gen3 setup to about 95% map and maf in about 9 or 10 pulls, and then it's another hour or two playing with the timing maps and modifier maps to get things nice.
To date I have only had one or two gen4 vehicles that took me less than about 3 hours to get dialed in on the rollers, they have just... a ton more modifiers and modifiers for modifications, and once you start to get your head wrapped around it it's kinda mind boggling. The Gen5 stuff is apparently even crazier, I think I'm just gonna skip that and outsource it.
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Old 02-06-2021, 01:20 PM   #28
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I have a friend switching from a term X to MaxxECU Race LS PNP+Harness (traction control+EGT+DBW) but the price difference is significant and the Term X will be unbeatable for the cost/features over MS, and not having to wire up anything+Trans control. its also very easy to work with.
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Old 02-06-2021, 02:06 PM   #29
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Excellent information, guys. I've been on LS1TECH quite a bit, and I find the responses there to be less than helpful some of the time. So, thank you.

My 6.0 is a 24x gen 3. I have a 228/230 cam with upgraded springs and corvette heads to bump up the comp (10.7:1). I currently have that DBW throttle body, and Holleys site says the Term X actually does support DBW, so that's incredibly nice! I might sell off the harness I have currently, as it really does seem much more worth it to go for Term. I doubt the Term will have too much issue with a cam like that, as for a 6.0, it's not super radical.

As for my 242, it sounds like my top three options are still Speeduino, MS Micro, and MS 2. All three seem to pack similar features, although, I did notice that MS 2 does have a bit you can add so I could end up using my stock coil. I don't know if that is worth the extra work. I need to check if Speeduino has coil output, as well..
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Old 02-06-2021, 02:55 PM   #30
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on the 242, ms2 and micro are going to be about the same features wise, with the exception of the expansion area on the ms2. I will say that for the most part, few if anyone ever does anything with that any more, and you can do most things with the microsquirt without cobbling together mini-circuits.

the microsquirt can work with the stock ignition system just fine, you'd retain the factory ignitor. This is how my p&p setups work. On your specific car, you'd have to source the ignition module, but they're common to all 7/940s and 89+240's. driving the coil directly from the box is possible, but can generate a lot of heat and serve as a point of electronic noise, I would generally recommend against this.


That cam will be fine, pretty easy to tune out more than likely.
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Old 02-06-2021, 02:56 PM   #31
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the reluctor inputs on the microsquirt more than make up for any alleged drawback of the missing proto area.
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Old 02-06-2021, 04:30 PM   #32
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I suggested the MegaSquirt 2 or MicroSquirt because they're most common here, with lots of support for old Volvo installs. Offhand, I'd guess that it's 10-to-1 MS2/uS versus other ECUs here.

If you want to go low cost, the older MegaSquirt 1 kit is still available. The firmware is somewhat different than the current MS2/uS firmware, so support and example tunes aren't as plentiful.

Out of curiosity, I looked up some current ECU options for a really basic 4-cyl setup with hi-z injectors, a hall sensor distributor, an external ignition powerstage, and a PWM IAC valve. I really like what I'm seeing with the microRusEFI. On the other hand, Speeduino still seems like a DIY work in progress. The price point on the MaxxECU Mini is better than I expected, especially if it includes full featured tuning software. I only have direct experience with the MS2 and MicroSquirt boxes, so others can chime in with real experience on MaxxECU / RusEFI / MS1 / Speeduino.

$686 MaxxECU Mini Standard with 8' harness, usb cable, and MTune software: $686
$598 MegaSquirt 2 assembled + 8' harness: $515 + $83
$455 MicroSquirt assembled w/ 8' harness + GM MAP Sensor: $388 + $67
$381 MegaSquirt 2 PCB3.0 Kit + 8' wire bundle + PWM IAC Mod Kit: $324 + $48 + $9
$357 microRusEFI assembled with 18" harness + GM MAP Sensor: $290 + $67
$254 MegaSquirt 1 PCB2.2 Kit + 8' wire bundle + PWM IAC Mod Kit: $197 + $48 + $9
$188 Speeduino V0.4 assembled + Arduino Mega, no case, no harness: $160 + $22

All except MaxxECU use TunerStudio and MegaLog Viewer software: $free lite, $60+$30 MS standard
Any setup will need: WB02, IAT sensor, TPS. May need serial-to-USB adapter cable.
JimStim $80 kit , $120 assembled.
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Old 02-06-2021, 05:32 PM   #33
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I'm going to read up on the RusEFI micro. It looks incredibly clean, and if it runs on the same tuning software with similar features, it might be the way to go.

bobxyz, the price list is incredibly helpful, thanks for that. Good to see them all in comparison to one another.

As for my coil, I may end up going with the VW coil that VB242 suggested, as it houses the ignition module internally, from what I understand. That would clean up wiring, and make for an easy installation.
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