Category Archives: Tuning Blog

9 Second Streeter

I purchased myself a new toy the other week, a 2009.5 Special Edition SSV Ute with the ambition to run at least one or two 9 second passes down the 1/4 mile with the stock 6L80e automatic trans.

Luckily for me it had already had a good load of money spent on it by the previous owner so the mods list is below:

Harrop FDFI 2300 supercharger & OTR
Comp Cam’d- unknown specs around 228/237 ?
Pedders Coil Overs
Pacemaker 1 7/8 into twin 3″ custom exhaust -nice and quiet when cruising
3.27 diff ratio with trutrak
Mod Plated
TCE 3200 converter (already replaced as it had burnt out the lockup material, more on this later)
trans cooler
20″ rims


Stay tuned for more

Civic Racecar

I had someone from a local car forum I’m on ask me about taking a look at his civic which he races regularly at Wanneroo Raceway as he wasn’t happy with a recent tune-up after a cam swap.

So with some spare time on my hands today we put it on the dyno. What was apparent straight away was the car was running extremely rich from idle until “VTEC” was activated around 6000k rpm & was lacking in power at all rpm’s below.

Considering this is the first time I’ve ever done one of these motors/ecu combo’s & it only took a few short hours to sort out. We got some pretty good gains below the vtec change over point along with gains in fuel economy both at wide open throttle and normal throttle points.


E85 Cruze Tuning

I spent some more time this weekend playing with the Cruze on the dyno again after installing a de-cat pipe along with the bigger injectors for running E85.
cruze-decatWith the new pipe in, exhaust note & noise is still the same. At least within the car.

Tuning wise it seems to have helped improve the power in the top end from fading, even though boost is still dropping away.



As always a dyno graph tells it like it is.

Dyno Wideband Upgrade

With the LSM11 wideband sensors becoming quite costly and very outdated compared to the latest Bosch LSU 4.9 sensors, I decided to replace the factory Dyno Dynamics (Autronic) wideband with an ALM-LED that has both analog and serial output (along with a couple of inputs if required).

As such with a bit of digging and tracing the wires, the below information might come in handy for some one else looking to do the same. I simply made up a male DB9 connector to match the existing autronic cable from the dyno. I originally planned to replace the round connector at the dyno controller, but after ordering the wrong “AMP” connector size I went with the DB9 connector instead.

Original Autronic Wideband Connector Wiring:
Cable Colour – DB9 PIN # – Round Connector Pin # – Usage

Green – Pin 1,2 DB9 – Pin 1 – Power Ground

Brown – Pin 4 DB9 – Pin 4 – Sensor Ground

Red – Pin 5 DB9 – Pin 5 – 0-5V from Wideband to Dyno

Yellow – Pin 8 DB9 – Pin 8 – 0-1V output

White – Pin 6/7 DB9 – Pin 6 – 16v Supply from Dyno

Dyno software will either need to modified to suite a 10-20afr range if that’s what your wideband uses by default or you need to program your widebands analog output to the standard 10-30 afr range the Autronic uses.

widebandWith the new wideband sensor being able to read much leaner mixtures, the lambda value on the led display is pretty high. But testing on a car proved to be dead on accurate from the digital to analog lambda value.

Just a Quikie

With Mon5ta currently getting an over due freshen up after years of abuse to the driveline. Owner/Driver Matt has decided to debut his new blown setup on another car.

With another stock ls1 motor with a suspected vcm-7 camshaft (232/234@112) and 6/71 blower setup by Nelg’s Alloy Mods slid into place of a previous factory v6 vy commodore. We finally hit the dyno for an initial tune up today and too see what bugs might be thrown at us on the new combo.

matt-blower2 matt-blower3  matt-blower








Apart from a stuffed wideband cable to delay tuning for 30 minutes, everything went rather smoothly with an initial power run of 470rwhp with a very safe 9 degrees of timing on E85 & 0.82 lambda thanks to it’s maximum 7.5psi of boost.

With a couple of tuning adjustments to fuel & timing, it was decided to leave the car at a maximum of 520rwhp & 6300rpm limiter for it’s initial tune up.

We will more than likely look into a water/meth injection kit to assist with keeping the air temps in check for long duration burnout’s rather then running injectors within the hat.

More Km’s, Still more power

With over 16k km’s on the motor now, I thought I would have do a quick check of the power output to see how it’s going. I also flashed in the original factory tune so as to have a true comparison with the same temperature/day.

As can be seen, the tune is still making a solid 30whp more today than the factory tune and a solid 310lb more of tractive effort to the wheels below 3800rpm.


Cruze Injector Upgrade

While probably not in the right order in the tuning blog I thought it relevant to post the results from my injector upgrade on the Cruze running standard 98 octane petrol.

The main reason for tuning the bigger injectors on 98 is I’m hoping to find the relevant pin on the ecu that will allow for flex fuel support, What this means is that I can fill up the car with any amount of ethanol or petrol and the ECU will automatically adjust the fuelling to suit, But in order to do so I need a baseline fuel & timing map to start with.

cruze-injector98oct-boostThe 125hp reading is from the factory injectors & tune., 150whp+ are injectors & tune.

Next job is to work out the ethanol pin on the ecu. if there is one that is & possibly some cam timing adjustment.


Ethanol Powered Cruze

Having upgraded the factory injectors a few weekends ago with some spare V8 injectors I had from one of my other cars, I made the switch to Ethanol aka E85 mid last week and put the Cruze back on the dyno today for some initial testing.

The results… Awesome!

Cruze-EthanolThis is still stock turbo catback and dump pipe. Just Injectors & tune.

cruze-injector-upgradeAs can be seen in the above graph the factory tune has the injector duty cycle topping out before 5200rpm, my original tune adjusts the requested fuel injection to hold it out to the rev limiter.

Cruze 1.6T Air Intake

Not happy with the non-existent turbo noise/spool sound, I did some investigating of the factory air intake today and took some pictures along the way.

Unfortunately to do anything with the factory system, it requires removing the front bar which is about a 5-10 minute job. Once that’s done it’s a pretty simple process of removing a single 10mm bolt that holds the snorkel from the front of the car to the lower air box muffler.

The factory air box in the engine bay simply lifts out once the MAF plug and intake pipe are removed, providing access to the lower air box muffler.

Factory Air intake setup
Air intake snorkel
Guard with rubber coupler in place
Guard with coupler removed
Factory MAF sensor in the top of the airbox
Lower airbox muffler bottom
Lower airbox muffler top
Lower air box muffler removed

I was surprised by what can only be seen as a somewhat over the top and restrictive intake system for such a small car. Not even the latest & greatest VF V8’s go this far!

So far for testing I have just removed the lower portion of the air box which I am calling a “muffler” box. While still retaining the front air dam director in place.

While there are aftermarket solutions available for the 1.4T to replace the factory kit, there are currently none being marketed to suit the 1.6T & All though the same kits may fit, I will let someone else take the chance. Personally for the price I believe I can have one made up to suit locally and that will be my next step.

For now, I’ve at least checked to see if it will be possible for what I have in mind for Phase 2 and once that’s done, maybe Phase 3 will be a new front mount intercooler and pipe work? Who knows.

Phase 2 Pod Filter setup

Turbo Cruze Tuning

I wrote the following for a forum reply in regards to a question on how you get more power out of the cruze 1.6 turbo motors, as time goes by I will update this page or add some new “blogs”.

The ecu in the Opel Astra / Cruze / Barina / Sonic range and pretty much all the new gm ecu modules are moving towards torque based ecu’s/calibrations.

Essentially what this means is that the throttle pedal is no longer directly in control of the throttle blade and there for how much power you make, Logically or behaviourily you think the more you push the throttle down, the more the throttle blade opens and therefore the car will make more power.

Now the pedal simply act’s as an input into the ecu as a torque request, Of which there are generally 2. Driver demand (based on accelerator pedal position and road speed or rpm), the other “torques” you need to know is engine output. The control algorithm adjusts engine output (via fuel delivery, throttle position, boost pressure & spark) until it matches driver demand.

How does it know how much torque the engine is making without measuring it -> simple, the ECU contains mathematical models and maps that calculate it based on known input conditions. If you know how much fuel & air is going in, and the engine RPM, and the status of the A/C compressor and alternator, and the amount of friction that the engine has under those conditions, the amount of torque output can be calculated.

Now for the “fuel talk” i’ll be a little less thorough.
The factory tune, tries to keep the car running at stoich (14.7afr) aka lambda 1 as much as possible, even under boost. this is great for fuel economy & emissions. bad for power and potentially engine parts if it’s ran hot for lengthy periods, which is what running at stoich does under boost. At cruise to light to moderate loads this is fine.

Now that we know heat kills engine parts, especially pistons and all that heat goes straight into the catalytic convertor after the turbo, which ironically requires a very high temperature to become efficient in burning out crap that we didnt burn in the combustion champer. we are now left with a potentially red hot steel chamber and to reduce/prevent this from going chernoble on the car they then calculate the temperature of the cat within the ecu. if it’s gets into a certain range it will enrichen the fuel. in our case down to 9AFR which is super duper rich. The purpose is obvious, more unburnt fuel to cool the cat down, but it kills power.

See where im going with this?

Timing wise, this is really simple. There are multiple tables that affect the overall amount of timing the engine commands, these are either based on knock feedback, air & water temp sensors, ethanol percentage or based on the commanded fuel enrichment. each table is setup in it’s own unique way, but not all of them are either used or require to be used. Just depends on how you want to calibrate the output at the end.

In conclusion, In stock form the tune for the cruze & opel 1.6t is woeful and im my opinion has not been calibrated correctly at all, it’s like someone was given a year to come up with a tune from scratch and then 2 weeks in just went fuck it. that’s good enough, but i guess that because they sell it as a “cheap” car they didnt want to spend too much engineering time on it.