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Thread: Teching electronics

  1. #1

    Teching electronics

    Our group (Houston, TX area) run stock 1000cc FI motor rules. The problem we are faced with is how to tech/interrogate the CPU box. There are plenty of companies flashing, and otherwise modifiying stock boxes, some as cheap as $300, some much more expensive depending on the modifications, which include altering the fuel curves, ignition timing, rev limiters, TRACTION CONTROL, and probably things I haven't even heard of. I've contacted several companies who have the capability to flash boxes, and they've been very helpful-right up until they find out what I want to do, then they won't talk to me or return my calls. Big surprise! LOL Are any of you teching boxes, and if so, how are you doing it? The boxes offer a real performance advantage, and so far we have no way to tech them. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    David McKinney
    Dwarf #97
    Galveston, TX

  2. #2
    DCR Supporter
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Re: Teching electronics

    A laptop and $1,600 in software and connectors and you can read everyone's electronics.

  3. #3

    Re: Teching electronics

    Its not quite that easy Trey.

    Theres a reason why no one is trying to do any real ECU tech, its one of those things that is going to be dam near impossible to do. All the newer ECUs have a fair amount of restrictions built in.
    Opening them up to flashing makes so much sense, you cant tech them so it takes all the bitching away, and second it gets everyone on a level playing field. All the restrictions are gone.
    All the talk about traction control.... its just hot air.

  4. #4

    Re: Teching electronics

    MC is right, Trey, it's not that easy. Mostly because we can't find anyone willing to sell us the software. We don't care what's been altered in the ecu, we just need to know if everything is reading within stock specs.

    And yes, if everyone has one, then they're all equal. Unless I find a guy who can flash my box better than yours. Then yours is junk, and you have to buy another one to keep up. Then there is the matter of reliability/longevity of the engine. The stock stuff lasts forever with proper care. Start tweeking them, and they start burning pistons, dropping valves, etc. Already seen this happen to people who later admitted to running flashed boxes. And if everyone was truly equal running open boxes, then why have the additional expense, if there is no advantage? We're just looking for the tools to tech them. Our rules require stock, un-altered boxes, and we want to make sure that's what everyone is running. I don't like seeing anyone get beat, because they didn't know how to, couldn't afford to, or just plain refuse to cheat.

    Thanks for both of your replies.

  5. #5

    Re: Teching electronics

    Monte is correct that you are heading down an unnecessary dead end road with this.
    You say that you are running a stock rule program. Are you equipped with both the equipment and qualified personnel to properly inspect for legality of what that means? Rules only make sense if they can be enforced. This is why "stock" is such a loose term. If you can't inspect compression height, cam timing, valve seat profile ETC at the track after a race, then your rules are a waste of time.
    I am not trying to cause an argument here, I just want to point out that before chasing an even bigger unknown like electronics, make sure you are able to tech basic engine legality.
    This is why Spec programs make sense. They allow the tweaking that happens regardless of "stock" rules or not and provide simple tests that can be performed at the track with the required tools.
    More people are spending wasted money hiding "tweaks" in engines than getting magic HP from ecu's.
    On a final note: fuel mapping changes done properly, will only help the lifespan and reliability of an engine.
    Last edited by RKENGINES; 09-01-2014 at 05:26 PM.

  6. #6

    Re: Teching electronics

    Thanks, RK. This what we wanted, informed opinions.
    Yes, we do have qualified personnel to inspect our engines, and if the protest goes beyond the point of basic compression, dispalcement, valve train inspections, the car would be impounded and teched at a proper shop, not out in the dirt at the track.

    Stock is not a loose term. If you want to get picky about it, a part that has all the factory deminsions, metal, manufacturing process, etc., but is not produced by the original manufscturer, i.e. OEM, is not stock.

    I agree with you that, when done properly, fuel mapping shouldn't hurt the engine. But, racers like to push everything to edge, and fuel mapping can cause burned pistons and dropped valves, among other problems. Then you have to throw in changes to the ignition timing and rev-limiter, not to mention traction-control. Personally, traction-control is my biggest concern.

    I really do appreciate your response, and I'm not trying to pick a fight, just trying to get a handle on this before it's too late, and really do appreciate any help, info or advice offered.

  7. #7

    Re: Teching electronics

    I must respectfully disagree about your ability to tech "stock". Here is my reason: In over 25 years as a motorcycle technician, I have never seen an OEM service manual that contains the information required to complete the inspections you have outlined. Even the cranking compression numbers that every organization is using, does not represent anything provided by the manufacturer (look it up).
    Unless a governing body provides parameters for deck height, head & gasket thickness etc, let alone cam numbers that spec the same, you have nothing to work from.
    Custom ECU tuning for use and environment will not cause engine failure. Generic flashing or box exchange is about as useful and safe as buying liquid HP. It is nothing more than electronic snake oil and likely to cause problems as none of these companies have a Modlite tune.
    Traction control comes "stock" these days on most models. It doesn't matter if its called wheelie or wet weather control, it is all the same.
    I appreciate what your trying to do here, but it's not a possibility yet. Some other motorcycle powered classes are limiting and checking RPM limit. The specs and tools for this are pretty easy to obtain..just a thought.
    Last edited by RKENGINES; 09-02-2014 at 08:12 AM.

  8. #8

    Re: Teching electronics

    Thanks RK, your info helps answer some questions and inspire new ones. Just because the specs you refer to are not in the OEM service manual does not mean they are not available. Rod lengths, deck heights, wrist pin location, base and head gasket thickness, all of these are readily available.

    Cams and cam gears are some of the easiest things to tech. Even if they are using a re-ground stock cam casting, a dial gage will catch it.

    Until we come up with a better idea, we have a 2010 or older rule for our engines to try and avoid the traction-control problem. We don't want to become like drag racing, where the driver is just along for the ride and the electronics do all the driving.

    Thanks for the tip on checking the RPMs. It sounds like a good place to start.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 44Dwarf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Central Mass

    Re: Teching electronics

    Racers are racers and want to go faster and faster that will not change.
    It's a fact that most motors put in dwarfs do not make the same power as they did in bikes even "all stock" motors once you change the header and open up the muffler cut the air box apart you need to map the ECU to "fix" what you've changed. This is why I HATE efi. You never would see rules like this in a carbed motor class. Must use stock jets NEVER. 95% of the original dwarfs ran a large jet in the cyl against the fire wall cause that cyl didn't get air flow. yes not needed with water cooling and EFI but you've still changed from stock on most headers let them have the tuning.
    When I built my VERY legal all stock 600 car to run with the NECL I made the header with the lengths of each pipe with in 1/16 of the stock header and made dam sure there were no leaks.
    Car ran great but others just slapped on crappy headers and wondered why there car ran badly even with open air cleaners and resistors in the air temp sensors etc....
    So my point being unless you make them run a stock header too and full stock un modified air box your spending time teching something that not worth your time and spending crap loads of money to do it.

  10. #10

    Re: Teching electronics

    It seems like you guys have figured out how to tech stock engines which is awesome. You mentioned that the specifications required that you use not found in the service manuals in post race inspection are "readily available". Are these measurements etc available somewhere in print? It is my duty as an engine builder (as it is for every competitor), to assure an engines legality PRIOR to competition.
    Even stock engines will require refurbishment in time. Often gasket surfaces need to be machined for reliability purposes and or repair. What amount is considered performance enhancement?
    I am also curious how to check angles and radius of valve seat profiles as well as cam timing changes on engines with press on gears?
    It is in the off season when we are busiest preparing engines for the following season, which is why i would like to clear up my understanding of all rule enforcement beforehand. Sorry to ask all these questions, but the methods to police "stock" have always been a mystery to me.

  11. #11

    Re: Teching electronics

    RK is absolutely is basically impossible to tech a stock engine, what even makes it harder is that the engines are not all the same to begin with....I have found cam timing numbers all over the place and compression tests are different from engine to engine.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Crosby, Tx

    Re: Teching electronics

    So you guys are saying we should just have "open" rules? I think that was tried in our area once before and it killed the class.

  13. #13
    DCR Supporter
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Re: Teching electronics

    That's what it looks like to me too Mini7. Almost makes me wanna buy a dwarf to run when the modlites aren't running. I figure 3 weekends will pay for the box modifications and by summer the cheater motor is paid for. Besides seem like anytime a modlite driver comes down they run away with it.

    Just sitting here stirring my pot. Lol

  14. #14

    Re: Teching electronics

    I agree with stock rules and we run them here in Az.......but truth be told there is no feasible way to tech a stock motor unless you want to completely take it apart. Open motors can be teched pretty easy...but spec stuff not so easy. Out here we run on dry slick...Im running a gear tall half the time just to get something to the ground, so there is no real advantage to a guy that wants to build his motor. We do send cars to the dyno from time to time and send 3 or 4 other cars with them......everyone always comes up pretty close. At that time we check RPM limits as well

  15. #15

    Re: Teching electronics

    At no point have I ever mentioned open motors. I personally don't like them for many reasons.
    My question was where can I find written rules about stock engine parameters, just like the ones that make chassis rules clear to understand?
    I do however believe that the "spec" engine program makes total sense for divisions that race with used donor engines rather than a sealed new crate type (which as far as I am concerned is the only way to police a true "stock" program).
    Instead of making rules for things that never get checked, I believe it is better to structure rules around reality.
    Now the discussion has moved to more complex matters that are out of the scope of most of rule makers out there.
    We do work with traction control for other areas of motorsport which do NOT use wheel sensors. The primary use is motocross. These systems work so well that the units are not permitted in some AMA flat track classes. Having said that.. No signs of this technology has been shown in Modlites IMO. The reason is simple: If someone went to the all work involved to develop this, it would have to be mainstream to make enough money to justify. It would not be for a couple of lucky cheaters. for the same reason, why would anyone develop a tech tool of this magnitude for the fun of it?
    Stop the paranoia and work on a set of rules that make sense and actually get enforced.

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