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The 5th Gen Piggyback/Tuning Thread

5th Generation Maxima (2000-2003) Learn more about the 5th Generation Maxima, including the VQ30DE-K and VQ35DE engines.

The 5th Gen Piggyback/Tuning Thread

Old 01-25-2010, 11:57 AM
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The 5th Gen Piggyback/Tuning Thread

If the mods like this, make it a sticky

There are a lot of noob threads regarding simple tuning devices and how to tune, etc. So hopefully this thread will clear up most of it.

Why tune an N/A car?

On our cars the fuel/ignition maps are designed rather conservatively to balance performance, fuel mileage as well as knock suppression for those who use less than 92/91 octane fuel. So the timing curve isnít aggressive and fuel maps are on the rich side. For Maximas with breathing mods (headers/exhaust mainly), the carís factory ECU can readjust itself to optimize the Air/Fuel ratio (AFR) inside the engine at part throttle/cruise because it gets feedback from both the MAF sensor and O2 sensor. However, at WOT, the factory ECU goes into ďopen-loopĒ mode, where the fuel/timing is determined by a table using Airflow voltage (engine load) vs. RPM. Since the ECU is ignoring readings from the carís O2 sensors, the AFR is not adjusted, and therefore not optimized.

Bolt-ons/breathing mods are half the battle. With OBD2 cars itís important to realize that optimizing the software/electronics plays the biggest part in good horsepower numbers. So even for something like 00VI swaps, where youíre swapping OEM manifolds/injectors, a tune is important to get the most gains out of it (DEK injectors run pig rich on 4th gens with 00VI swaps)

Notes about AFR:
-AFR ranges from 10.0 to 20.0 (full-rich or full-lean)
-Stoich (where all the fuel is burned with the air in the combustion chamber) is 14.7:1
-The ECU tries to maintain a 14.7-15.5 AFR during part throttle/cruise for maximum fuel efficiency.
-At WOT, an optimal AFR for an N/A VQ is 12.7-13.5.
-Running a less than aggressive AFR (12.5-12.8) is beneficial if you also want to increase ignition timing and push your WHP even farther up.
-An untuned DE-K with intake/headers/exhaust AFR runs 11.9 AFR at WOT, dipping down to about 10.8 at ~6,500 RPM.
-AFR is relatively easy to tune on the street.
Main ways to tune:
-Apexi VAFC/VAFC2

-Apexi SAFC/SAFC2

-GReddy e-Manage Blue & e-Manage Ultimate


Notes about the AFC units (V/SAFC/1/2)
-All of these units adjust your AFR by manipulating the airflow input (MAF) signal.
-Pros:
-Easy to hook up and tune, does fine for N/A AFR tuning.
-VAFC/1/2 units can control the variable intake switchover (00VI swaps)
-Cons:
-Leaning out your AFR using an AFC unit indirectly advances your ignition timing. The con here is you cannot monitor the timing changes.
-Limited ďadvancedĒ tuning options (ie; direct ignition control, rev limiter, launch control, etc.)
Monitoring your AFR:
-You canít tune without a wideband O2 sensor to monitor AFR from your exhaust.
-One thing worth mentioning about widebands is being able to datalog to a laptop or a piggyback. This is especially important for tuning. Innovate LC-1 has the ability to datalog directly to your laptop, whereas the AEM UEGO wideband has a serial and analog (IIRC) output that can plug into certain piggyback controllers.

Ignition timing:

Ignition timing is the main tool for increasing the horsepower in any engine, the AFR only part of the story. The key is getting the entire timing curve correct on your tune. This is best done on a dyno since the timing curve is actually the inverse of the torque curve, meaning that you want to run more advanced timing on your low-end and higher rpm areas, while the area around peak torque will have slightly less advanced (or retarded) ignition timing.

VQ30/35s, as stated above have relatively conservative ignition timing curves in the interest of knock suppression when crappy fuel is used (yes, there are cheap bastards who drive Maximas. Haha) so this is a big power maker for our cars, and even when tuning on the street, my butt dyno saw noticeable gains with about 7 degrees of ignition advance.

Notes about ignition timing:
-To fully optimize your ignition timing, it has to be done on a dyno
-Not only for the reasons stated above, but to get the optimal advance doesnít necessarily mean advance it as far as possible before setting off the knock sensor, since thereís a point where the power gains level off completely, and that is your optimal ignition timing.
Monitoring & controlling ignition timing
-The only way I know of to monitor/datalog ignition timing is by using a piggyback that has outputs for ignition control.
-Examples:
-GReddy e-Manage Blue (not 100% confirmed? A few 5.5 guys who run the Blue say that timing can be controlled)
-GReddy e-Manage Ultimate (datalogger offers ignition monitoring, and allows ignition control for every cylinder.)


Above: e-Manage Ultimate datalogger, recording MAF input, injector pulse, AFR, ignition timing


Above: e-Manage Ultimate fuel maps (I/J map 1) showing injector pulsewidth for MAF voltage vs. RPM.
Thatís a start for now, if anyone has any questions, we can use this thread for discussion, advice, show our maps/datalogs/etc.

**I WILL BE UPDATING THIS WITH MORE 5.5 GEN STUFF LIKE UTECH/TECHNOSQUARE**

People who have used certain software/piggybacks can post their reviews/thoughts/experiences for benefit of the thread.
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:01 PM
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I like it... also, this thread will be moderated at the Org staff's and OP's discretion, so please keep posts on topic and constructive.

Thanks for putting this information together
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:13 PM
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awsome thread! i vote sticky..cant wait to read more..

? for ya.. i have Cattman headers and a safcII going on this spring can you tell me which wideband i should get..or rather which one you use and some info on that thanks,... (..just saw your post puppet...if thats OT feel free to delete)
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mist max2000 View Post
awsome thread! i vote sticky..cant wait to read more..

? for ya.. i have Cattman headers and a safcII going on this spring can you tell me which wideband i should get..or rather which one you use and some info on that thanks,... (..just saw your post puppet...if thats OT feel free to delete)
This has been linked from the Stickies, we already have too many stickied threads.

For a WB, Innovate gets my vote for a variety of reasons. If you have/are planning to get a UTEC then look into the TurboXS Tuner. Here's an old WBO2 thread with relevant information:

http://forums.maxima.org/all-motor/5...ther-info.html
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:27 PM
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awesome thread!

i have a stock 02 SE other than a stillen hi flow intake. more stuff on that way. should i look into getting one of these sooner rather than later? ie. before headers and exhaust?

B
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by NissanMan97 View Post
awesome thread!

i have a stock 02 SE other than a stillen hi flow intake. more stuff on that way. should i look into getting one of these sooner rather than later? ie. before headers and exhaust?

B
Get headers and exhaust first, because when you buy a wideband you'll need to drill a hole and have a bung welded into the exhaust for the sensor.

Originally Posted by mist max2000 View Post
awsome thread! i vote sticky..cant wait to read more..

? for ya.. i have Cattman headers and a safcII going on this spring can you tell me which wideband i should get..or rather which one you use and some info on that thanks,... (..just saw your post puppet...if thats OT feel free to delete)
If you plan on staying with the SAFCII and not upgrading to UTEC, I highly recommend getting an Innovate Motorsports LM-1 with RPM converter. This will not only log AFR vs time to your laptop but it will log the RPM as well. The cheaper LC-1 wideband does not have this option.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:16 PM
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I JUST realized I spelled UTEC "UTECH" noob mistake

Anyways, the most popular choices for 5.5 gens are UTEC/Technosquare/AFCs.

The AFCs are discussed above, however...

UTEC - this is a more advanced piggyback that is a lot like e-Manage Ultimate. Basic features:
  • Datalogging AFR, RPM, IPW, etc...
  • Rev limiter
  • Injector control - stand alone injector control in open loop mode
  • Knock control (awesome feature)
  • Ignition control
There could be some other stuff I'm missing. Like Puppet said you do need a TXS Wideband to datalog directly to it.

Sparks, or anyone else running UTEC should chime in and mention anything else that's important.

Technosquare - This is a flashed ECU so you don't tune it yourself. You tell them what mods you have and they make the adjustments and send the ECU to you. This isn't as accurate as a dyno tune using a piggyback but it's very convenient and you can always piggyback an AFC to it for minor corrections.

Main features that TS offers...
  • Rev limiter
  • Ignition advance
  • AFR adjustment
  • Z33 VTC maps (recommended for SSIM guys - this is available on the F-spec version)

*Z33 VTCs = variable cam timing maps from a 350Z VQ35 engine, which are more aggressive than the Maxima ones, and help increase midrange when combined with SSIM (gutted intake manifold)
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:13 AM
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I like the Zeitronix wideband as it has it's own software and it has rpm logging so you know where to adjust the fuel. A lot of widebands don't have the rpm feature or it costs extra. I know it isn't the most accurate out there, but it is a wee bit cheaper than the high end stuff.
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:20 AM
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Thanks for the thread. Can you post some info on where the wideband bung should be placed on our cars?

Would it be a good Idea to place it on the test pipe? Or is that too far downstream.
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:52 AM
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I placed mine right before the cat.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:16 AM
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I have an LC-1 and Utec at the moment. The Utec is in the car, but with some proprietary software other then hyperterminal from XP, I'm sure I can use the LC-1 to datalog directly to the Utec as well. I'll have to doublecheck that, or if anyone has done this?
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by knight_yyz View Post
I like the Zeitronix wideband as it has it's own software and it has rpm logging so you know where to adjust the fuel. A lot of widebands don't have the rpm feature or it costs extra. I know it isn't the most accurate out there, but it is a wee bit cheaper than the high end stuff.
I was thinking about getting the ZT-2, but I've got an AEM UEGO instead. It's got a signal out put to datalog to my EU.

Originally Posted by essential1 View Post
Thanks for the thread. Can you post some info on where the wideband bung should be placed on our cars?

Would it be a good Idea to place it on the test pipe? Or is that too far downstream.
I put mine right before the test pipe, that's prob where I'd recommend putting it.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by MoncefA33 View Post
I put mine right before the test pipe, that's prob where I'd recommend putting it.
I was going to have mine welded right after the Y before the flex section on the Cattman headers. Is this not that great of a spot to put it?
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Deckdout2 View Post
I was going to have mine welded right after the Y before the flex section on the Cattman headers. Is this not that great of a spot to put it?
That's a good spot, the reason I moved mine further back is because I think it gives a more accurate reading between the two cylinder banks, but I'm sure if it's right after the Y-pipe it should be fine.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MoncefA33 View Post
That's a good spot, the reason I moved mine further back is because I think it gives a more accurate reading between the two cylinder banks, but I'm sure if it's right after the Y-pipe it should be fine.
Check! Preciate the confirm. Great writeup btw! When I get more experience with this Utec under my belt, I'll be sure to add to this thread.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Deckdout2 View Post
Check! Preciate the confirm. Great writeup btw! When I get more experience with this Utec under my belt, I'll be sure to add to this thread.


Tuning is great. My DEK can scare a lot of 5.5s out there, thanks to software
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:21 PM
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Great thread! Thanks

What are your thoughts about the UTEC vs Greddy E-Manage Ultimate for an NA Maxima?
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 03BlkSETE View Post
Great thread! Thanks

What are your thoughts about the UTEC vs Greddy E-Manage Ultimate for an NA Maxima?
For a 5.5 gen, UTEC would be your best bet. e-Ultimate does not work well with the VQ35 ECU. You can only control AFR on the Ultimate if you have a 5.5 gen, you may run the risk of damaging your coilpacks if you try to control timing.

UTEC on a 5.5 gen is the best bet, it cooperates with the ECU better.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MoncefA33 View Post
For a 5.5 gen, UTEC would be your best bet. e-Ultimate does not work well with the VQ35 ECU. You can only control AFR on the Ultimate if you have a 5.5 gen, you may run the risk of damaging your coilpacks if you try to control timing.

UTEC on a 5.5 gen is the best bet, it cooperates with the ECU better.
but greddy emanage ult is the best bet for a 2k right?
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:05 PM
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Yes.

I'll break it down real quick.

DEK - All AFCs, e-Blue/Ultimate.
5.5 - All AFCs, e-Blue, UTEC, Technosquare
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:54 PM
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A few more things that you may want to add:

1.) For the Innovate LC-1 Wideband, you must use the AUX Box or SSI to get AFR logs that are in respect to RPM instead of time. The RPM Converter is only for the LM1 I believe.

2.) For open loop operation, the ECU also takes into account the IAT. This is good because it means that you will not have to re-tune for ambient temperature changes. (Just in case anyone else was wondering)

3.) The ECU's open loop map is also influenced by the long term fuel trims, so changes in the fuel system, such as clogging and pressure changes, do not severely change the open loop operation (unless a severe change is made such as larger injectors). It is not just a simple stored map that is the same for every Maxima.

"While the engine is operating in closed loop fuel control, the short term fuel trim corrections are learned by the PCM as long term fuel trim (LONGFT1 and 2) corrections. These corrections are stored in the keep alive memory (KAM) fuel trim tables. Fuel trim tables are based on engine speed and load and by bank for engines with 2 heated oxygen sensor (HO2S) forward of the catalyst. Learning the corrections in KAM improves both open loop and closed loop air/fuel ratio control. Advantages include:
  • Short term fuel trim does not have to generate new corrections each time the engine goes into closed loop.
  • Long term fuel trim corrections can be used both while in open loop and closed loop modes. "
- F150 Online (Still applies)


Other than that, great post and thanks for putting your time into something that I'm sure many people are curious about.
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:52 PM
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Great. Thanks man, yeah I noticed the LC-1 needs the AuxBox which can log the AFR and RPM, I just forgot to write that down. I didn't do a full wideband comparison. I will here in the next few evenings.
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MoncefA33 View Post
Great. Thanks man, yeah I noticed the LC-1 needs the AuxBox which can log the AFR and RPM, I just forgot to write that down. I didn't do a full wideband comparison. I will here in the next few evenings.
Yeah, it's a pain to do without an RPM converter. I used a video camera pointed at my VAFC and my wideband gauge and went through my runs frame by frame and made my own graph in Excel. PITA.

I think I actually remember you helping me out in my thread when I was in the middle of doing it.
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Unklejoe View Post
Yeah, it's a pain to do without an RPM converter. I used a video camera pointed at my VAFC and my wideband gauge and went through my runs frame by frame and made my own graph in Excel. PITA.

I think I actually remember you helping me out in my thread when I was in the middle of doing it.
Yeah, I remember.

I'm not sure what's more expensive for a viable wideband/AFC combo.

Approximate pricing scrambled from quick google searches.

Innovate LC-1 + AuxBox = $480 new.

Innovate LM-1 + RPM converter = $350 new.

For comparison...

The Zeitronix ZT-2 is $279 new and comes with the signal harness to log your AFR, RPM along with a few other parameters as well. I'd say if your piggyback does not support onboard datalogging (so for those who aren't running UTEC/e-Manage) this one would be the easiest, most cost effective option.

Throw in a V/SAFC/Neo and add another $150-200.

- If you are running an e-Manage, you can run a relatively basic wideband without any extra hardware, because it had an input for the GReddy AF harness, which you can wire into the signal outputs on an AEM UEGO, or Innovate LC-1, etc. I have my AEM wideband hooked up directly to my EU like this.

- UTEC guys, you will need the TXS wideband tuner to monitor/log AFR to the UTEC.

I found this chart in the AM section, it's useful to put here to give you guys an idea of performance comparison. Price is way out of date though


Last edited by MoncefA33; 03-04-2010 at 04:42 AM.
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Old 03-04-2010, 05:34 AM
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Quick demo of AEM wideband in action. 2nd gear pull to 7,xxx.

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Old 03-06-2010, 03:10 AM
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Just for info:
The AEM Uego is cabaple of dataloging with the Innovate SSI-4.
I currently have my A/F, throttle position and RPM monitored with one left over channel.

Last edited by EsQueue; 03-06-2010 at 03:13 AM.
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:40 PM
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Ok, so I need a tune on my car because i have had headers and a catback un-tuned for a while. If I understand my options correctly, I can either:

1. Get a piggyback AFC, a wideband O2 sensor, street tune it, and be able to constantly monitor my A/F ratio, or...

2. Get a piggyback AFC, and take it to get it dyno tuned, which is more accurate, but I won't be able to contantly monitor my A/F ratio...

Is that about right?
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by wyche89 View Post
Ok, so I need a tune on my car because i have had headers and a catback un-tuned for a while. If I understand my options correctly, I can either:

1. Get a piggyback AFC, a wideband O2 sensor, street tune it, and be able to constantly monitor my A/F ratio, or...

2. Get a piggyback AFC, and take it to get it dyno tuned, which is more accurate, but I won't be able to contantly monitor my A/F ratio...

Is that about right?

That's about right.

Bear in mind you can run a wideband O2 in the car and dyno tune it as well. I recommend having a wideband in the car just because you can mount the sensor right before the cat for the most accurate readings. Also if you buy other breathing mods your AFR may change and you can readjust for those changes accordingly.

The "butt-probe" wideband sensors at a dyno will pick up exhaust from the tailpipe and normally catalytic converters will give you inaccurate readings.

I have a wideband in the car, street tuned it and I plan on dyno tuning here in the next few weeks, since the weather is getting nicer.
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:05 PM
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As far as the piggy back stats are concerned are there harness kits available over the counter or do I have to custom make it....I'm currently using a Innovate LM-1 too monitor my AFR only,... but I can't adjust anything on the 2003 VQ35, but I can on the 1990 VG30...Great info dude! I'll be complete with the TS (F- spec) every though I'm an Auto but monitoring my AFR once to that point may push me to get a VAFC/SAFC to fine tune in more power....

Last edited by CMax03; 03-06-2010 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by MoncefA33 View Post
That's about right.

Bear in mind you can run a wideband O2 in the car and dyno tune it as well. I recommend having a wideband in the car just because you can mount the sensor right before the cat for the most accurate readings. Also if you buy other breathing mods your AFR may change and you can readjust for those changes accordingly.

The "butt-probe" wideband sensors at a dyno will pick up exhaust from the tailpipe and normally catalytic converters will give you inaccurate readings.

I have a wideband in the car, street tuned it and I plan on dyno tuning here in the next few weeks, since the weather is getting nicer.
so a good wideband is what, like $190, right? and how hard are these things to install?
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wyche89 View Post
so a good wideband is what, like $190, right? and how hard are these things to install?
A good basic wideband is like $190 to $279 depending on brand and where you get it from.

You need to weld a bung into the exhaust (before the cat) and screw the sensor in, and then run the wiring harness into the car and plug it into the gauge. With the AEM UEGO you also need to hook up a power/ACC and a ground for it to turn on.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by MoncefA33 View Post
A good basic wideband is like $190 to $279 depending on brand and where you get it from.

You need to weld a bung into the exhaust (before the cat) and screw the sensor in, and then run the wiring harness into the car and plug it into the gauge. With the AEM UEGO you also need to hook up a power/ACC and a ground for it to turn on.
yeah, see that's too much work, lol.. i got an safc this weekend, and i'm taking it to get dyno tuned this week.. i'm finished all my mods, i will have no need to monitor my a/f ratio, and i wanna see exactly how much horsepower i'm making.. so i figure dyno tuning would benefit me more than a wideband
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Old 04-16-2010, 02:36 AM
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so how do you go about tuning it with only an uego or the lc-1 without auxbox or rpm converter... just keep messing with the +- corrections until it pretty much continuously says 13.5?
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by McSteve View Post
so how do you go about tuning it with only an uego or the lc-1 without auxbox or rpm converter... just keep messing with the +- corrections until it pretty much continuously says 13.5?
Yes sir.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by MoncefA33 View Post
UTEC - this is a more advanced piggyback that is a lot like e-Manage Ultimate. Basic features:
  • Datalogging AFR, RPM, IPW, etc...
  • Rev limiter
  • Injector control - stand alone injector control in open loop mode
  • Knock control (awesome feature)
  • Ignition control
There could be some other stuff I'm missing. Like Puppet said you do need a TXS Wideband to datalog directly to it.

Sparks, or anyone else running UTEC should chime in and mention anything else that's important.
In addition to what you said, you can get software for the UTEC called UTI made by Jeffsoftware that will allow you to datalog with other widebands.

Personally, i got the TXS tuner for 150 used and a UTEC for 500 used. Spent around $100 in the wiring phase and $20 on UTI.

UTI has great tables, autologging, can datalog basically everything, and has a very effective autotune feature (if you can get it working well). It can be complicated, but is overall great.

The UTEC itself can have some bugs. Can't find the cause, but some UTECs will cause misfires when the box itself is cold. Turning on your floor heater or (in my case) putting a heat pad on the UTEC will quickly remedy the problem. Aaron92se and myself both suffer from this problem.

In terms of tuning, it works great. There is no rich spike from going over the stock limiter since this actually takes over injector control unlike the EU.

I've found the VQ35 loves 12.8-13.2 AFR, picking up several MPH with a proper tune over the 10.X it runs with full boltons on the stock tune.

Also, huge timing numbers (30+) don't seem to make any more power than around 26-27 bottom end, 24-25 midrange, and 27-28 top end. Time and again I've tested that vs numbers in the high 20s upwards of mid 30s and found no additional gains.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:22 AM
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Can anyone prove they have Z33 CTVC curves?

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Old 04-30-2010, 01:23 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by NmexMAX View Post
Can anyone prove they have Z33 CTVC curves?


W/O Catastrophically owning themselves?
Technosquare offers it with their F-spec flash. I believe Gemner has it.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:23 PM
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:38 PM
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Moncef just went up a couple notches on my respect meter. (Which isn't exactly a coveted measurement, but it's all I got.) My point being... this is impressive.

I've been running the Cattman y-pipe and catback with a short-ram for a few years now, without issue. Last fall I installed Phenolic spacers, and since that time I've had some pinging creeping up on me. My first response to this problem was to do an upper-engine cleaning (a BG Products service.) It reduced the pinging for about half a year, but it's been coming back lately.

I got to thinking: I think I need a tune now. Which led me to consider a piggyback. My conundrum is that I'm much less inclined to get down into the weeds of automotive engineering.

So... based on all that and my lack of fine-tuning interest, do you think it's a reasonable course of action to simply get the full TS flash?
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