Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Discuss VEMS and other standalone ECUs

Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Thu May 14, 2015 11:10 pm

I picked up a project last week that's got MS1 with spark that's been roughed in. It's a 4000 with an MC1 and I've got a thread going on over in Projects that has all the backstory. I'm not quite to the point of trying to make fire yet, but will be close in a couple weeks. I'm not a noob with standalone but am not very well versed with megasquirt. I'm going to try and get this thing to run off the distributor for the time being just out of pure necessity. I've got two builds going on right now so my budget is split in two lol. All the wiring jazz I'm not too concerned about, biggest thing making me nervous is the actual ecu lol.

Is there anything special in the assembly process for audi stuff? I've read different engines/sensors need this or that soldered in and whatnot. Any way to tell just by looking at it?

I've also had a couple people tell me to upgrade right away to an MS2 board. Is that the general concenus? Does adding just that board allow other features like launch control or is that something that needs to have stuff soldered in? Sorry for the ignorance ha! I've got tons of reading ahead of me!! This computer board stuff is all new to me. I'm going to have loads of questions over the next few months lol.... Thanks!
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby DE80q » Sun May 17, 2015 7:22 pm

The MS2 upgrade is strictly a processor upgrade. It is much more powerful, and can handle more operations at one time. With the MS1 CPU, you have to input a ton of variables by hand. Shawn(vt10vt) had his running on MS1, and quite well I might add.

I purchased my setup with an MS2 CPU. Shawn would regularly say there with his setup, he had to figure something out, then plug in the numbers, where as the mine would do it for you. There are a lot of little things that the MS2 will do for you that the MS1 wont. I'm not saying the MS1 wont work, as I know it will, but MS2 will make life easier.

If I remember correctly, you said yours is a V2.2 board. That will limit the amount of items you can add on without making up daughter boards.

Hopefully Shawn, or Eric will chime in here with some real info for you.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Sun May 17, 2015 9:44 pm

Thanks for that clarification. Now that you've pointed that out, bits and pieces I've read about today make a little more sense. I actually spoke with Shawn this evening on the drive home from work. Holy crap, what a helpful guy! Thanks again Shawn! He kind of set out a bit of a path to follow to get started on getting this up and running. I'm thinking staying with what I have(ms1) is going to be the plan for the summer to get it running as well as getting my feet wet. Then I think I'm going to build an MS2 ecu next winter. I'm clueless(quite obviously so!) when it comes to this stuff and I don't think there's a better way to learn the "nuts and bolts" part of these things. I've always been curious about how electronics actually work, just have never had the motivation outside of the car world lol.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby elaw » Mon May 18, 2015 8:35 am

Yeah I hadn't posted earlier as I'm not terribly familiar with MS1 systems... I started out with MS2 and have since upgraded to MS3.

The MS1 definitely works, but as DE80q stated many things are harder to do - and some are impossible. Due to limitations of the processor, the MS1's feature set is pretty sparse and can't really be expanded any more, and for that reason development on its software has pretty much stopped. I've also read that the actual CPU is not being manufactured any more so if you ever burned it out you'd be SOL. So I'd say if at all possible, get yourself an MS2 or even an MS3 processor. Both will give you more accuracy and features today, and the MS3 in particular has a ton of potential and will be gaining a lot more features over the next few years.

And the "mainboard", v2.2 vs. v3.0 or 3.57... the 2.2 boards are kind of evil. They do work in most cases, but have electrical noise issues and lack some features of the 3.0/3.57 boards.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Mon May 18, 2015 1:40 pm

Thanks for the reply elaw. The more I read and hear, the newer boards and processor seems like the way to go. Even with that, I think I'm still going to try and make what I have work for the time being. Just basic, no frills setup will work for me at the moment. I've got two builds going at the moment that have to be mobile(ish) by snowfall.

Getting both cars dialed will have to wait until we get moved and settled out in Idaho next spring. Ideally I'd like to start collecting parts slowly to bolt on a smaller holset, upgrade ecu and run sequ and cop over the next couple years. Was that you elaw that got the jbperf divider board to work right?
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby elaw » Mon May 18, 2015 2:09 pm

deaner wrote:Was that you elaw that got the jbperf divider board to work right?
Yep! Maybe a couple others have too? I've never been sure.

It wasn't a project for the faint of heart though... there's a lot of screwing around involved and having access to an oscilloscope is almost essential. Later I switched to a setup with Hall sensors in place of the factory VR sensors and that worked better but had its own set of challenges.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Mon May 18, 2015 3:04 pm

That's kind of what I'd gathered from your posts on the ms forums. I really need to go back through and reread it all a couple of times to really get my head around it. With all the monkeying around with those two different setups, are glad you went that route or would a guy be better off just using a 60-2 wheel off the crank? Even though it's a little spendy, those rear main 60-2 setups from Europe look like a really nice option.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby bradyzq » Tue May 19, 2015 9:00 am

I have a 4kq running on MS1 (on MSnS) but it's a JT, so no boost. However, if you're running low boost, you _cooouuuulld_ do what I did, and run it off a 5 window distributor. Timing accuracy will suffer, but shouldn't be fatal!!

I cheated on mine and used a 4kq distributor with the mechanical advance active. I used a dial-back timing light to measure what the mechanical advance curve was, then just built that into my timing map.

If you're going to time the ECU off the dizzy, you should use a locked one, like off an NF or NG engine.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby elaw » Tue May 19, 2015 9:32 am

deaner wrote:That's kind of what I'd gathered from your posts on the ms forums. I really need to go back through and reread it all a couple of times to really get my head around it. With all the monkeying around with those two different setups, are glad you went that route or would a guy be better off just using a 60-2 wheel off the crank? Even though it's a little spendy, those rear main 60-2 setups from Europe look like a really nice option.
Well... I guess my best answer is that it depends on a lot of factors. Let me try to give you (IMHO) the pluses and minuses of 3 different options.

First,the OE crank trigger setup with Jean's board. Getting this setup to work can be moderately difficult to darn near impossible depending on your background, patience, and what equipment you have access to. I've got a solid electronics background, lots of test equipment including an oscilloscope, and I'm incredibly stubborn so I'd say for me it was "moderately difficult". If you're not so good with electronics, don't have test equipment (and can't get access to it), or "just want it to work", this setup is probably not for you. Pluses are that it's the closest to OE, and is cheap.

Next is this:Image
It's a neat little 60-2 trigger thingy that sits in place of the rear crank seal. At one point when the OE setup was giving me fits, I actually bought one of these and my bank account never forgave me - it's about 400 bucks! However at the time the engine & tranny were in the car and I decided to put a little more effort into getting the OE setup working (which proved successful) vs. the large amount of effort required to separate the engine & tranny to install that trigger unit. If I'd had the engine out of the car at the time, I probably would have decided differently. Those units are very hard to come by, but Marc Swanson has them. There are also a few issues with them - as you can see in the photo one of the bolt holes doesn't line up right. And routing its cable out to an accessible location requires machining a hole or notch in the engine block as you can also see in the photo - as you can imagine you have to make *really* sure the cable doesn't hit the flywheel! The good thing with this setup is once you clear those hurdles it should be super-easy to get working: connect +12 and ground to the sensor, third wire goes to Megasquirt trigger input, and drive off into the sunset.

Other trigger setups with a wheel on the damper pulley or machined into the flywheel I don't have any experience with but are definitely doable, should be reliable as long as you do it right, and are simple and straightforward electrically. For a pickup I prefer a Hall to a VR sensor but each has its good and bad points. For each, make sure you can adjust the gap between the sensor and trigger wheel (/flywheel) as sometimes that needs to be "tuned". Make sure the sensor is solidly mounted (vibration can affect the signal) and if the trigger wheel is on the damper, give some thought to what could happen if the engine throws a belt (ie protect the sensor and wire).

One last point with any crank-trigger setup: make sure you use good shielded cable for the sensors! Noise problems on crank sensors can drive you absolutely batty trying to track them down and fix them. :bangshead:
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby DE80q » Tue May 19, 2015 9:41 am

I have Jim Green's old damper with the 60-2 wheel attached. That will be the route I will go when its time to upgrade.

If you don't already have a solid state NG dizzy, hit me up. I have 3 of them sitting. Turns out the one I chose to put in has held up thus far.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Fri May 22, 2015 10:59 pm

Thanks for the knowledge bomb elaw! Your write up has definitely helped. I'm thinking the divider board won't be in my cards any time soon. There are some things I'm comfortable spending time on and building and others I'm not so comfortable with. I'm really liking the rear main setup of the 3 you've stated. After thinking about things for a week now, I'm thinking leaving it batch fire for awhile may be best. Realistically, I don't really see trying to make a ton of power with this 10v. A reliable and simple setup may be the best route while leaving the head against the wall stuff for the rally car haha!
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby westco4k » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:47 pm

I have a little experience with ms1 (fuel only) and my current ms3 10vt setup. Here's a little of what I experienced. The 5 window distributor will get you up and running but on a boosted car it was a little to unreliable when it was time to tune. Switching to a 60-2 on the crank and a 1 window "cam sensor" made everything so much easier. Mostly the accuracy of the rpm signal/ignition timing.

I still run a very old ms1 setup on my NA 280z and it runs great as fuel only but definitely has its quirks and limitations. With the weirdness of a 5cyl combined with boost I think it's wise to upgrade your ecu and trigger setup. The time you will spend trying to get it just right enough to run ok. . . . Isn't worth the couple hundred saved. Depending on how it's wired you might not need to change much other than the ecu itself.

I'm no veteran but I can say the newer versions of MS take a lot of the leg work and quirkiness out of the equasion. As with most things in life, sometimes a little more money spent is worth it in the big picture. Even with megasquirt. Lol
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:16 pm

westco4k wrote:I have a little experience with ms1 (fuel only) and my current ms3 10vt setup. Here's a little of what I experienced. The 5 window distributor will get you up and running but on a boosted car it was a little to unreliable when it was time to tune. Switching to a 60-2 on the crank and a 1 window "cam sensor" made everything so much easier. Mostly the accuracy of the rpm signal/ignition timing.

I still run a very old ms1 setup on my NA 280z and it runs great as fuel only but definitely has its quirks and limitations. With the weirdness of a 5cyl combined with boost I think it's wise to upgrade your ecu and trigger setup. The time you will spend trying to get it just right enough to run ok. . . . Isn't worth the couple hundred saved. Depending on how it's wired you might not need to change much other than the ecu itself.

I'm no veteran but I can say the newer versions of MS take a lot of the leg work and quirkiness out of the equasion. As with most things in life, sometimes a little more money spent is worth it in the big picture. Even with megasquirt. Lol


I completely agree with you! Haha. I hadn't planned on buying this car until it popped up again and at a price I couldn't pass up. Under noooooormal circumstances I'd be putting together a setup a lot like you drew out, but being as I've got this car AND my rally car to throw money at, I'm forced to make due with what I have. We're moving out of state next spring and I'm in kind of a mad dash trying to get BOTH 4ks at least somewhat driveable to make life a hair easier for the move. I figure I'll get this car to a stage where I'm content with enjoying it(it's been stashed away for over 10 years!) so I can then focus on getting the rally car to where it needs to be. Kind of.... Lol.

I was talking about this with a friend earlier today about 60-2 wheels, different triggers, megasquirt etc, and I kind of came to a thought of if it's worth it to mess with different triggers that may or may not work reliably with MS or just go vems using factory triggers when/if the time comes when I want to make decent power. Im already planning on dropping an Ms2 processor in this winterrrrrrish, but anything after that and I think I'd want to just go straight to updating everything with MS3. At that point it's down the rabbit hole haha....

How is your MSed 10vt put together? What's your setup? Thanks for your input btw!
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby DE80q » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:01 am

Here is the best place to read his build. He isn't on here much.
https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum ... 655/page1/
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby elaw » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:31 am

Just to provide a little clarity on the issues with distributor triggering...

Dizzy triggering has some problems that are generic, and others that are specific to our turbo 5-cylinder engines.

The generic problems relate to "slop" in the drive for the distributor. Because of the flexible nature of a timing belt, the cam timing varies a little bit. Then on a 20V, you've got the chain driving the intake cam from the exhaust, which can introduce a little timing variation. And the drive gears for the dizzy itself have a little clearance when they mesh. All that adds up to possibly several crank degrees of timing variation by the time you get to the distributor.

The turbo-5-cylinder problems relate to how the injectors must be fired when using dizzy triggering. To get highly accurate mixture control, each injector must fire at the same time relative to the intake stroke of its cylinder. With a non-turbo 4-cylinder engine, you can fire all 4 injectors each time a trigger pulse comes in, so the relative timing of the injections is the same for each cylinder.

Theoretically you could do that with a 5-cylinder too but in practice it doesn't work well. Firing the injectors 5 times per engine cycle requires a very short injection pulse each time. And the larger injectors needed on a turbo engine require even shorter pulses. And most injectors have nonlinearity and other weirdness when run with very short pulses, and the bottom line is it usually just doesn't work well.

So what's the alternative? Most Megasquirts other than the MS3 with MS3X card have two injector channels. So instead of running all the injectors on one channel and firing them together 5 times per cycle, you can wire them in two "banks" and alternate the firing of each bank, effectively firing them 2.5 times per cycle. That lets you use twice the injector pulsewidth since you're firing them only half as often. But wiring the injectors in two banks means you'll have three cylinders on one bank and two on the other. If you do the math, you'll realize that the injection timing (again, relative to the particular cylinder's intake stroke) on that 3rd cylinder can never be the same as the other four. And since AFR is related to injection timing, that means that cylinder's AFR will always be a little different than the others.

But it gets worse. Since there's no cam sensor, the Megasquirt has no way of knowing where the engine is in its cycle... meaning which cylinder has its intake stroke when. So it just alternates firing the injector banks, starting with bank 1 on the first distributor pulse after power-on, then bank 2 on the next pulse, and so on. So every time you start the engine, the injection timing is randomized to one out of 5 possibilities. In practice what this means is that you'll get slightly different AFR every time you start the engine. You could have it happily idling at 14.7, shut it off, restart it, and have an AFR of 14.5.

So the bottom line is if you want really accurate repeatable control of ignition timing and injection timing (and thus AFR), you really need crank+cam triggers and sequential injection. And if you're going to go that trouble, take advantage of the sensors to run coil-per-plug and ditch the cap+rotor and HT wiring and all the issues that go with them.

Incidentally while most of my knowledge is about Megasquirt, I think the above would apply to any engine-management system using distributor triggering. Either the EMS always knows the engine's exact position in its cycle or it doesn't - and with dizzy triggering, there's no way it can know.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby westco4k » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:16 pm

^ this.

If you are content with an engine that runs OK on a good day then run what you brung. Just don't expect crazy power or even a consistent day in day out result. And any fun amount of boost is probably a bad idea till you have a reliable tach input at the least. I'd run it straight wg spring under 10lbs of boost if your going to control fuel only. Keep your ears peeled and the stereo off in case you hear any pre-ignition or knock. I don't believe ms1 has
provisions for a knock sensor

My car was still fun on 7lbs. . . . Most likely because i was used to it being NA :lol:
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:28 pm

As always Eric, chiming in with great insight! The way I am seeing it, for my own personal situation is either run off the dizzy or go full blown sequential with COP. There's really no middle ground being the upgrade in ecu and work involved to change triggers lol.

Westco4k- I completely agree, again! Lol. I'm completely fine with a low powered and inconsistent 10vt 4000 for now. Like I mentioned earlier, this car fell in my lap a few months ago and I'm putting together pieces that someone started literally 10 years ago. There are tons of things that need attending to on this car and for now, the EFI is going to have to be a finicky and simple bitch lol. I've got this car and my rally car that need to be in a "driveable" state come spring so I can at least drive them on to a trailer to move halfway across the country lol. Spending a grand to completely upgrade management is absolutely out of the question, especially since I'm already not far away from being convinced to swap in the AAN from my rally car ha!


On a different note, Elaw is awesome and my ECU showed up today, which is looking faaaaaaaantastic! Thanks Elaw!!
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby DE80q » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:55 am

Running the dizzy isn't as bad as it seams. Yes timing is a little jumpy, and there is the whole variance in start up thing, but I was running 15psi for a while with no problems. Everything internal still looked great when I replaced the faulty head gasket. Just keep your timing map on the conservative side and you will be fine.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby westco4k » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:22 am

It wouldn't cost a grand. . . Maybe half that but I get what your saying. Like I said your results may vary. Mine ran pretty rough on the distributor no matter what I tried to do but others have had better results. I'm still sorting out little mechanical issues and a few other small problems among other things so I'm sure the distributor wasn't my only hindrance.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:55 pm

Thank you Dave for the optimism haha! I'm hoping for decent results. ;)

I tend to have the "while I'm there" mentality to bigger upgrades westco4k lol. With my math for a new ms3x, harness and associated supplies(pins, terminals, connectors, etc), LS coils, and 60-2, me myself would def have a grand into it. Plus a bigger turbo but that's neither here nor there lol. I'm sure I could do it for less especially after selling this old setup off but I like to start completely fresh with wiring. For me it's actually a time saver vs picking through all my old shit. Aannyhow, how's your car coming along? I still need to read through your whole thread. I read through part of it the other day at work but didn't get to finish it. Cheers! :beer:


Sooooo.... This happened today!
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Connected!
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She's online! The power connections inside the car are just roughly attached and I'll go back through and finish up after I get it started and idling. Everything seems to be working just fine. Went through and tested everything that gets power and they're good. Pretty sure the fuel tank is BONE dry haha. I'm hoping the pumps not gummed from sitting for a decade. I had to chase around a little bit with the fuel pump relay but got the pump to kick on like it should. I still need to wire in the wideband, change the oil, put fuel in and add coolant, BUT I'm going to try and start it on Thursday! Woohoo! :drunk:
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby elaw » Tue Aug 04, 2015 2:08 pm

deaner wrote:Pretty sure the fuel tank is BONE dry haha. I'm hoping the pumps not gummed from sitting for a decade. I had to chase around a little bit with the fuel pump relay but got the pump to kick on like it should.

Pumps drying out is definitely a thing... can you actually hear it running when you turn on the ignition? If so, you lucked out!

Either way, I'd put some gas in it ASAP, even if you don't plan to start it for a couple of days.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Tue Aug 04, 2015 2:30 pm

elaw wrote:
deaner wrote:Pretty sure the fuel tank is BONE dry haha. I'm hoping the pumps not gummed from sitting for a decade. I had to chase around a little bit with the fuel pump relay but got the pump to kick on like it should.

Pumps drying out is definitely a thing... can you actually hear it running when you turn on the ignition? If so, you lucked out!

Either way, I'd put some gas in it ASAP, even if you don't plan to start it for a couple of days.



Wwwwwwwell I can't really hear it run, I can feel it though lol. I couldn't remember how loud the stock pumps were. I plan on throwing some fuel in tonight when the wife relieves me from kid duty. ;)
If the pumps bad, I've got a good one in the race car I can rob for the time being. That way I can at least pressurize the system and fix leaks tonight as well.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:33 pm

So it turns out the pump was bad. Yanked the one out of my rally car and it tested good so I threw it in. Keyed it up and fuel pressure went through the roof! Backed the FPR out darn near all the way and it still will climb to over 100lbs if I don't key it off. Uuggghhh....

Edit/update: looks like my return line is plugged off. Pumped it full of air and none made it into the tank. Pulled the rubber hose and pumped it up again. Notta. And here I thought I was gonna get lucky with a stuck regulator haha. :bangshead:
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby DE80q » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:21 pm

I was thinking plugged return. I guess you have 2 options. Replace it with braided line, or try to un-plug the factory line. Obviously option 1 would be much more expensive, but it may be the best option.
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Re: Any Megasquirt vets on here?

Postby deaner » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:25 am

DE80q wrote:I was thinking plugged return. I guess you have 2 options. Replace it with braided line, or try to un-plug the factory line. Obviously option 1 would be much more expensive, but it may be the best option.


Or option #3, steal the line off my rally car. I'll get the line out on Thursday and have a look at it. Maybe its something I can free up and blow out. If not, the line on my race car is good and I've been needing a reason to run all new fuel lines inside with the pump in the trunk. Crap, that "while you're doing it" mentality is kicking in for running the brake lines in there too. Craaaaaaap.... Lol
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