Where To Begin?

Anything about Ford EEC tuning. TwEECer and Moates questions dominate, but there's some SCT and OBD-II knowledge too.

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BrooseDaMoose
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Where To Begin?

Post by BrooseDaMoose » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:14 am

I am learning how to adjust tunes for basic, lightly modded, daily drivers. I have a 2007 Ford Ranger 4.0 V6 that I know has a lot more power than what it's putting out. I had a tune for my 2003 Ranger (created by Doug, aka 8SecSplash, Doug908) in 04 and it really unleashed a lot of power! I've bought a few tunes for my 07 Ranger but none of them come close to the night & day difference that his tune made! He called it "Bad Boy" and said I MUST use a minimum of 93 octane because he had 13°of timing in it. I can't get the tune off my tuner because it's an old Superchips Custom Tuning 9100 and I'm told it's too outdated and no one has the software. I can't use the tune anyway because the PCM in the 03 is not the same as the PCM in my 07! I've bought BE, EEC Analyzer, a MongoosePro cable and a book, The Ultimate Ford EFI Tuning Guide for BE, to learn how to create my own custom tune. I've asked a few tuners to help me and just point me in the right direction to get started but they are all busy and I get it! So here I am. I used BE to compared the purchased tunes to the stock tune but I'm just having a hard time understanding what I need to change first. There are only 38 calibration differences and a lot of them are speed limiters and such which I know don't need to be changed. I'm looking to build a tune for 93 octane that will pull the most power out of the motor and get it to the ground. I've been looking at the Borderline Spark table but don't want to make changes in the wrong spots because I don't know how. I can post screenshots, send data, even send the tunes if it helps. Please let me know what I need to do to get started with. Thanks!
2007 Ranger XLT: 4.0L, CAI, Headers
2003 Ranger XLT: Rebuilt 302, Trick Flow 90mm TB and intake, aluminum GT40 heads, 270 cam, Flat Top pistons, Hardened rods and stock crank. Rebuilt, upgraded tranny with Advanced Adapters tail to keep 4WD.
Tuning: SCT X3, BE/EA, MongoosePro

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cgrey8
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by cgrey8 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:06 am

I am not an expert on anything EEC-V and have ZERO experience with the newer stuff. And when it comes to the interaction of the various spark tables, there are rules that you need to learn as to which tables are effective when. I think there's even a payload item you can datalog that tells you the "source" (table) of the spark being commanded. Again I'm not the expert at all. I'm not even a good novice in this area. But I believe I remember people talking about maxing out the Borderline table just to get it out of the mix so they could focus on the other table(s). As for what the other tables are and the rules about when they are active, I'll have to let someone else answer that as I simply don't know.

But I do also recall that Ford has been notorious about running their truck tunes at Stoich while at WOT and I believe they do this for emissions reasons (possibly to save the CATs), although it might have to do with durability too. In performance cars, the engine isn't usually held at WOT for more than 10-15 seconds. However a truck carrying a heavy load could easily be pulling up a mountain for minutes at WOT which is more than plenty of time to overheat the CATs if the engine is running a rich mix. But this is also where a lot of performance in truck tunes comes from is allowing the engine to go Open Loop and commanding a richer mix at WOT. Increasing spark advance is certainly a source of improvement, but enriching the mix from 1.00 lambda (stoich) to .85 (~12.5 AFR) or possibly even .80 (~11.7 AFR) has a significant benefit as well. I'm betting your "bad boy" tune in the 2003 was doing just that.

It's also worth mentioning you probably don't want to start with spark. It's generally not a good idea to go pushing the spark limits without also enriching the mix. Richer mix tends to cool the combustion chamber a bit more which allows for more spark advance before detonation. And when detonation does occur, a richer mix can dampen it so it is less destructive.

And being this is a newer OHC engine, is there any chance the computer has control of the cam timing like it does in 4.6Ls? I don't know anything about that era engine and it's capabilities. But just being a Ranger, I suspect Ford didn't do anything more than they had to. The Ranger never did get Ford's love and respect. It was always the red-headed step child compared to the F150 despite it being a decent seller. In it's last year, 2012, Ford sold more Rangers than they did Mustangs. My last hope for Ford to do anything worth while with the Ranger died when the 2003 SVT Lightning Bolt Ranger never became a reality product.
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89 Ranger Supercab, 331 w/GT40p heads, ported Explorer lower, Crane Powermax 2020 cam, 1.6RRs, FMS Explorer (GT40p) headers, Slot Style MAF, aftermarket T5 'Z-Spec', 8.8" rear w/3.27s, Powertrax Locker, Innovate LC-1, GUFB, Moates QuarterHorse tuned using BE&EA

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motorhead1991
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by motorhead1991 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:40 pm

On my EEC-IV 2.3, I've found that changing the tune for e10 and adding 3° made a noticeable difference in responsiveness. So far, I haven't noticed any I'll effects of doing so either, and now the O2 can do its job more effectively.
1990 Ford Ranger FLH2 conversion. Ford forged/dished pistons, Total Seal file-fit rings, Clevite rod and main bearings, Clevite cam bearings, IHI turbo, Siemens Deka 60lb/hr injectors, Ford slot MAF in custom 3" housing. Moates Quarterhorse with Binary Editor, using the PAAD6 database.

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BrooseDaMoose
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by BrooseDaMoose » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:21 pm

So to add timing, do you go up or down with the values? I'm used to twisting the distributor to adjust timing! For instance, if I want the spark to occur slightly sooner than the stock value, would I increase the values or decrease the values?
2007 Ranger XLT: 4.0L, CAI, Headers
2003 Ranger XLT: Rebuilt 302, Trick Flow 90mm TB and intake, aluminum GT40 heads, 270 cam, Flat Top pistons, Hardened rods and stock crank. Rebuilt, upgraded tranny with Advanced Adapters tail to keep 4WD.
Tuning: SCT X3, BE/EA, MongoosePro

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cgrey8
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by cgrey8 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:00 pm

Higher numbers are greater advance. So if you have a value in your tune of, say 10, that's 13 BTDC. So increasing to 13 sparks the plug 3 degrees EARLIER. It's exactly the same as if you twist the distributor from 10 BTDC to where a timing light shows 13 BTDC.
...Always Somethin'

89 Ranger Supercab, 331 w/GT40p heads, ported Explorer lower, Crane Powermax 2020 cam, 1.6RRs, FMS Explorer (GT40p) headers, Slot Style MAF, aftermarket T5 'Z-Spec', 8.8" rear w/3.27s, Powertrax Locker, Innovate LC-1, GUFB, Moates QuarterHorse tuned using BE&EA

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BrooseDaMoose
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by BrooseDaMoose » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:36 am

It's just confusing because in my SCT tuners "Additional Adjustments" I can change the Spark to either a Positive (+) or Negative (-) number. I thought that choosing a negative number sparks the plug sooner. If TDC is 0,then -10 would be 10 degrees Before TDC. Right?
2007 Ranger XLT: 4.0L, CAI, Headers
2003 Ranger XLT: Rebuilt 302, Trick Flow 90mm TB and intake, aluminum GT40 heads, 270 cam, Flat Top pistons, Hardened rods and stock crank. Rebuilt, upgraded tranny with Advanced Adapters tail to keep 4WD.
Tuning: SCT X3, BE/EA, MongoosePro

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cgrey8
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by cgrey8 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:57 pm

I should specify that when I say a positive number describes degrees of advance, that's using my tuning tool, BE. Your tool may present that value differently and they have the ability to do just that.
...Always Somethin'

89 Ranger Supercab, 331 w/GT40p heads, ported Explorer lower, Crane Powermax 2020 cam, 1.6RRs, FMS Explorer (GT40p) headers, Slot Style MAF, aftermarket T5 'Z-Spec', 8.8" rear w/3.27s, Powertrax Locker, Innovate LC-1, GUFB, Moates QuarterHorse tuned using BE&EA

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BrooseDaMoose
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by BrooseDaMoose » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:54 pm

That's why it's confusing! I'm not sure if selecting say +4 will advance the timing 4 more degrees or does that add 4 to the current value! (i.e. If current value is -8°BTDC, will chosing the +4 advance it 4 more degrees or does it just add 4° to the -8° to make it -4°BTDC. I sent them an email just to clarify it because I though +4 would advance the timing by 4 degrees. I've never played with the spark setting because I figured the person who wrote the custom tune set it where it's at for some reason! What I could also do though is go in and make a large change like 10°, upload the tune and read it using BE, then compare it to the original. I would see which way the values went; either up or down.
2007 Ranger XLT: 4.0L, CAI, Headers
2003 Ranger XLT: Rebuilt 302, Trick Flow 90mm TB and intake, aluminum GT40 heads, 270 cam, Flat Top pistons, Hardened rods and stock crank. Rebuilt, upgraded tranny with Advanced Adapters tail to keep 4WD.
Tuning: SCT X3, BE/EA, MongoosePro

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cgrey8
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by cgrey8 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:05 am

The other thing that will give you a clue is what the numbers currently are. If you currently have values in the teens and 20s, you can be fairly confident that at no point in a tune is the tune interested in doing something 15-20 degrees AFTER TDC.
...Always Somethin'

89 Ranger Supercab, 331 w/GT40p heads, ported Explorer lower, Crane Powermax 2020 cam, 1.6RRs, FMS Explorer (GT40p) headers, Slot Style MAF, aftermarket T5 'Z-Spec', 8.8" rear w/3.27s, Powertrax Locker, Innovate LC-1, GUFB, Moates QuarterHorse tuned using BE&EA

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BrooseDaMoose
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by BrooseDaMoose » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:21 am

Yea, nothing that high! The highest numbers are 10 and 12. The lowest being 2.
2007 Ranger XLT: 4.0L, CAI, Headers
2003 Ranger XLT: Rebuilt 302, Trick Flow 90mm TB and intake, aluminum GT40 heads, 270 cam, Flat Top pistons, Hardened rods and stock crank. Rebuilt, upgraded tranny with Advanced Adapters tail to keep 4WD.
Tuning: SCT X3, BE/EA, MongoosePro

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cgrey8
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by cgrey8 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:54 am

It's hard to say this with certitude, but small values are generally not absolute advance values. It's only in really odd cases where you are literally trying to command a spark advance of, say 3 degrees BTDC. And in these cases, the value will usually be in a table of larger values. And thus it's presence will make more sense in context. So in practice, small values particularly those in functions or tables where all values in the function/table small are likely offsets or adders to an absolute value.

So you'll have some base spark value that's been calculated, let's say 18 degrees BTDC.
Then later in the code, an adder will be calculated. A common example is a spark advance adder based on ECT and Load which will either add or subtract spark advance during cold running conditions.

Typically cold engines can tolerate more spark advance when they are cold as compared to the same RPM/Load conditions when warm. Often times, they flat-out require more advance to produce the same torque as when they are warm. So some tuners will add 2-3 degrees of spark advance during cold ECT periods of warm up and gradually reduce the adder as ECTs rise.

However stock tunes often will do the exact opposite for EPA emissions requirements. In those cases, this same table has negative values to retard the calculated spark advance during cold startup in an effort to REDUCE engine performance. As a result, more air-fuel is required to produce the same torque, which to the driver is experienced as a noticeable lack of responsiveness and general bogginess. The increased air/fuel without mechanical benefit produces more heat. Cold engines produce more emissions and cold CATs digest less/no harmful emissions. The result is the engine just acts boggy and with no responsiveness as compared to warm conditions during the 2-5 minutes of cold driving, particularly in the winter.

As a DIY tuner, you can go reverse that and get some pep back in cold-running conditions as well as improve your fuel economy. If you have a 20 minute commute and your engine is wasting gas for 3-5 minutes of it, that can be a noticeable improvement. So I'd make that tune change for the fuel economy savings alone...assuming your tune is retarding cold-start spark advance.
...Always Somethin'

89 Ranger Supercab, 331 w/GT40p heads, ported Explorer lower, Crane Powermax 2020 cam, 1.6RRs, FMS Explorer (GT40p) headers, Slot Style MAF, aftermarket T5 'Z-Spec', 8.8" rear w/3.27s, Powertrax Locker, Innovate LC-1, GUFB, Moates QuarterHorse tuned using BE&EA

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A6intruder
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Re: Where To Begin?

Post by A6intruder » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:53 pm

Broose,

I thought your original post stated that you were using BE for the 2007 Ranger? BE normally shows total spark advance in the main spark tables. That value can be modified by other factors/functions but the main table will give you an idea of the spark advance range. My suggestion is to pull down the stock tune to get a feel for spark advance in the main tables. Even your Bad-Boy tune will not be wildly different from the stock table. I think Cgrey8 is probably right to look closely at the fuel first.

Old school engines like our old pushrod 5.0 will use 15 to 35 degrees advance (Before Top Dead Center) in different parts of the operational range. Even an new-school engine like your 4.0 which probably has more efficient combustion chambers will be somewhere in that same range.

I wouldn't expect you to gain a huge amount of power on just spark advance. The late model tunes are pretty respectable in my experience.

Your old ranger might have had the dizzy out of position before that tuner did his magic (no idea if the old Ranger had a dizzy). For example, if the dizzy was supposed to be set at 10 deg BTDC and it was really at 5 deg BTDC the stock tune could have been very sluggish. If he corrected the dizzy back to 10 degree BTDC and then added his Bad-Boy tune you could really have seen a big difference.

I think if you are seeing negative spark values you must be looking at modifiers, not the main table.

Hope that helps,

Dan Nicoson
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1994 Mustang GT, CHP 331 forged crank bottom end, single Holset HX35W turbo, AFR 165 heads, TF Intake, "Baby" Crower cam with Beehive springs, TwEECer using BE and DataQ data logger

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