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Old December 25th, 2017, 12:39 PM   #1
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Is tuning really necessary?

Ok, I recently bought a clean low miles (60K) '07 3.0 6mt EXL sedan and am planning the upgrades. So far I have purchased a used 3.7 intake w/ 70mm TB and have ordered the RV6 PCD's but neither are installed. I am planning a custom exhaust system that will include either one or two large high flow 200 cell cats plus a custom cowl fed air intake system. I fully understand the mechanical side of these modifications but am weak on the control issues.
When I'm done will a pro tune be necessary or will it adequately self tune? I know the stock ECM has limitations but what are they? When I start using higher octane mid-grade or premium fuel will the advance curve eventually compensate?
Note that the car will never go to a track or race anyone but rather be a fast cruiser that can still deliver good MPG in comfort. Mostly the new power will be used in the limited passing opportunities on our local crooked 2 lane country roads. I guess I'm just looking for a really stout 3rd gear pull.
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Last edited by Gold Country; December 25th, 2017 at 12:41 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old December 26th, 2017, 06:24 PM   #2
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Well, since there is no response I will answer my own questions. Actually the car will self tune for all of these changes so no tune or dyno work is required. How do I know that? Because my brother John is the new product development guy @ AEM Electronics & I have confirmed that our stock control system will accurately self tune for any normal NA applications. John among other things designed the AEM package that integrates J-series V6 engine installation in the older little Civics so he knows our package.
The downside of no dyno testing is I would never know for certain that any of the individual mods is actually effective. The simplest solution will be controlled testing and because I'm mostly looking for improving 3rd gear acceleration that's what I will test. Even though when I'm actually passing someone I would start at about 4,000 RPM in whatever gear required my tests will start at much lower RPM to ensure that overall drivability is also enhanced.
Before beginning the mods the first test will be to set a baseline and compare regular v/s mid-grade gas. The final test after all the mods will be mid-grade vs premium. Each test will be the average of two timed 3rd gear pulls from 1,600-6,500 RPM up from the base of a long grade. I will start with the baseline test tomorrow on my way to work provided I can find a simple way to accurately time it.
Proposed Tests on '07 EXL sedan 6MT with 61,000 miles:
1. Baseline- All stock w/ 87 octane Arco or Costco regular
2. All stock w/ 89 octane Arco mid-grade
3. 3.7 Intake w/70mm TB, mod hose, stock air box w/o filter or inlet cover
4. All of above + RV6 PCD's
5. All of above + full custom exhaust
6. All of above + custom CAI
7. All of above + premium fuel
Finally maybe a 1/4 mile pass or two but no promises.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 01:31 PM   #3
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To save you some time, a stock 3.0 6 speed will dyno anywhere from 225-230 whp or so.
Quarter mile on the above ranges from 14.1-14.3 depending on weight.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 02:20 PM   #4
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Yes, those ECU's are smart enough to "readjust" for bolt-ons.

We "tune" those mods to yield the maximum power and torque, as well to lean out the A/F ratio. Sweet spot A/F ratio on the J-series is 13.5 on the top end.
I will be curious to see what your A/F ratio is along the way since the engines are set to run rich from the factory.


After your final dyno without "tuning", tune the car with a piggyback and then see how much HP/TQ you had laying on the table.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 03:35 PM   #5
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Premium fuel definitely helps. When the 7th gen V6 Accords first came out, the lead designer said (article was in USA Today) they initially were going to rate the car at 250 hp and require premium fuel but since it made 240 on regular, same as the Altima did on premium, they went with the 240 on regular rating to give Honda a competitive advantage.

We have 93 octane here, when I switched the small improvement was most noticeable in midrange power.

Not sure how much the stock ECU can handle in terms of adjustment without a tune but an Uprev tune on my G35 got me 16 hp and 22 lb torque.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 04:50 PM   #6
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Yesterday I spent 5 hours re-reading Sonnick's 66 page build thread. From everything I read he did just fine with without tuning. I want to end up close to his result but without the lower gears & or LSD because I will not be racing mine. I also hope to get my exhaust right the first time because this is really my wife's DD & our family cruiser.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 04:54 PM   #7
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Scottwax, You had a few posts in Sonnocks build thread so I have a question. Is he still around? Cannot find any of his recent posts so maybe he sold the car?

Accordlyfe, I was guessing my sedan @ 14.25-14.40 @ 96 as is today on 87 octane.

Wheelman, Excellent suggestion! I will plug in new HFT code reader and record each pull.

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Old December 27th, 2017, 06:13 PM   #8
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You might be able to find him on acurazine, he still posts there.

Tuning isn't absolutely necessary but if you want to maximize the potential of your mods that's the way to go. Made a very noticeable difference in my G35, added torque everywhere.
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Old December 27th, 2017, 06:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Scottwax, You had a few posts in Sonnocks build thread so I have a question. Is he still around? Cannot find any of his recent posts so maybe he sold the car?

Accordlyfe, I was guessing my sedan @ 14.25-14.40 @ 96 as is today on 87 octane.

Wheelman, Excellent suggestion! I will plug in new HFT code reader and record each pull.
Yes, that is a fair guess being a stock sedan on 87 octane.
As for tuning, Like touched upon above, I think you will be "fine" leaving the tuning stock as the ecu adjusts to the bolt ons. Tuning through Hondata is more desirable, but this involves installing a new ECU.
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Old December 29th, 2017, 09:26 PM   #10
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I have decided that this will be my build thread. My car will be a little unusual because I will be using a catalytic converter. No stinky car for us. I think the cat will not be much of a penalty because it is huge and has minimal flow restriction. I have ordered the RV6 PCD's w/ 304SS companion flanges, catalytic converter, & mufflers. I will build everything else using 2 1/4", 2 1/2" & 3" 304SS 16ga tubing. Why stainless? Because I already have at least 60-70% of everything needed,it will last forever, & I can.
I tried a preliminary timed 3rd gear pull up the grade as previously stated but will need to refine the concept. The actual test was fine but the data collection part sucked. I zip tied a flip phone to the left HVAC vent with the camera pointed at the tach. Started the video and accelerated to 1,500 RPM in 3rd gear & started my run to 6,500 rpm. Because of the low starting RPM & the grade the test took quite a while which actually will be great because the longer the pull the less any timing inaccuracies will affect the results. There are two problems: First, from my position I started at 1,500 & ended at 6,500 but because of the different viewing angle the video shows about 1,650 start & 7,000 finish. Second, when reviewing the video it is impossible to accurately predict when to start timing. I will may just assemble a tiny LED bulb placed next to the tach with an on-delay timer just like the green light at the drags. Another related issue is monitoring the A/F ratio during the run. The only possibly way for me to do that with anything I have would be to use my Harbor Freight OBDII/EOBD+ABS tool to record both primary 02 sensor's voltage during the run. It records data about once per second which I can later convert into an A/F ratio from each bank.
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Old December 30th, 2017, 03:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I have decided that this will be my build thread. My car will be a little unusual because I will be using a catalytic converter. No stinky car for us. I think the cat will not be much of a penalty because it is huge and has minimal flow restriction. I have ordered the RV6 PCD's w/ 304SS companion flanges, catalytic converter, & mufflers. I will build everything else using 2 1/4", 2 1/2" & 3" 304SS 16ga tubing. Why stainless? Because I already have at least 60-70% of everything needed,it will last forever, & I can.
I tried a preliminary timed 3rd gear pull up the grade as previously stated but will need to refine the concept. The actual test was fine but the data collection part sucked. I zip tied a flip phone to the left HVAC vent with the camera pointed at the tach. Started the video and accelerated to 1,500 RPM in 3rd gear & started my run to 6,500 rpm. Because of the low starting RPM & the grade the test took quite a while which actually will be great because the longer the pull the less any timing inaccuracies will affect the results. There are two problems: First, from my position I started at 1,500 & ended at 6,500 but because of the different viewing angle the video shows about 1,650 start & 7,000 finish. Second, when reviewing the video it is impossible to accurately predict when to start timing. I will may just assemble a tiny LED bulb placed next to the tach with an on-delay timer just like the green light at the drags. Another related issue is monitoring the A/F ratio during the run. The only possibly way for me to do that with anything I have would be to use my Harbor Freight OBDII/EOBD+ABS tool to record both primary 02 sensor's voltage during the run. It records data about once per second which I can later convert into an A/F ratio from each bank.
I'm considering swapping out my current y-pipe on my G35 with one with a high flow cat. The Art Pipes eliminate the restrictive factory cats and I don't have a CEL so no problems passing inspection here. But not a huge fan of the stinky exhaust and can't imagine a high flow cat is that much more restrictive than one with a resonator.
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Old December 30th, 2017, 06:16 PM   #12
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The cat I bought really is huge with 3.5" inlet/outlet, 5" diameter body, and has 200 cells per inch instead of the 400 factory cats have. The open flow path thru the catalyst is over 11 sq. in. which is almost as big as 4" tubing so it flows well & has very low backpressure. I will be exhaust wrapping everything from the PCD's to the back of the cat.
Why buy a new j-pipe when you could just install a cat? I don't know you system but installing a cat shouldn't be too hard. For high flow cats check out what "Mandrel Bending Solutions" has to offer. Remember the cat has to be hot to operate properly so don't mount one too far back in the system.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 02:58 PM   #13
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I just solved my timing dilemma. Found & ordered from eBay a simple & inexpensive timer that can easily be modified to add an external connection for a remote trigger switch. I will mount a small micro switch beside the upper part of the gas pedal rod for a momentary contact closure both going to & from full throttle. So going past about 1/2 throttle will start the timer & letting off will stop it. Simple, direct, repeatable, & cheap so I like it. No need for any video.
Later today I will finally get the car up on a friends rack to take a lot of measurements so I can lock down the design & start pre-fab on some of the exhaust system parts. I'm really anxious to start cutting, fitting & welding some stainless. I will have the PCD's mid week but I doubt the cat will show up until the 8th. In reality it will probably take me all of January to complete and install the exhaust system. I will do the PCD's and exhaust system in one shot. In the interim I will get the timer working & get the base & mid-grade base pulls timed.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 12:50 PM   #14
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The cat I bought really is huge with 3.5" inlet/outlet, 5" diameter body, and has 200 cells per inch instead of the 400 factory cats have. The open flow path thru the catalyst is over 11 sq. in. which is almost as big as 4" tubing so it flows well & has very low backpressure. I will be exhaust wrapping everything from the PCD's to the back of the cat.
Why buy a new j-pipe when you could just install a cat? I don't know you system but installing a cat shouldn't be too hard. For high flow cats check out what "Mandrel Bending Solutions" has to offer. Remember the cat has to be hot to operate properly so don't mount one too far back in the system.
The factory J-pipe is pretty restrictive. The 3rd cat isn't particularly restrictive.

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Old January 3rd, 2018, 10:37 PM   #15
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Tuning made a big difference in mid range torque on my build....but it is not a cheap endevour
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Old January 5th, 2018, 03:49 PM   #16
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Tuning made a big difference in mid range torque on my build....but it is not a cheap endevour
Jotech charged me $750, $350 for the Uprev license (which is transferable to any Nissan or Infiniti I would own) and $400 for the dyno time. Minus a 10% discount for the local Nissan/Infiniti membership, total was $675.

At least now that I have the license I only pay for dyno time.
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Old January 26th, 2018, 07:27 PM   #17
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Actually, from what I’ve seen 12.8 is actually the “Happy Spot” for these J Engines. I’ve tuned and seen at least 4 of them through the entire process and they all made the most power with least detonation at 12.8


Quote:
Originally Posted by WHEEELMAN View Post
Yes, those ECU's are smart enough to "readjust" for bolt-ons.

We "tune" those mods to yield the maximum power and torque, as well to lean out the A/F ratio. Sweet spot A/F ratio on the J-series is 13.5 on the top end.
I will be curious to see what your A/F ratio is along the way since the engines are set to run rich from the factory.


After your final dyno without "tuning", tune the car with a piggyback and then see how much HP/TQ you had laying on the table.
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Old January 26th, 2018, 07:28 PM   #18
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And is Tuning required...No?!

Keep in mind though I went from 250whp to 270+WHP from just a retune....so you decide
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