What you REALLY wanted to know about SOI and 7.3L Tuning in general. - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:47 AM
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Post What you REALLY wanted to know about SOI and 7.3L Tuning in general.

Forward:
In light of the recent discussion(s) about different tuners and how they each handle various aspects of tuning (specifically, SOI timing control), combined with the fact that very few people have any real understanding of how the PCM calculates SOI, I am going to offer this information in an effort to clear up any of the mystery surrounding how the 7.3L PCM generates the SOI values. This thread is meant to be informative and educational, and as such is not the place to point fingers or start any type of battle between tunes/tuners from different companies. I WILL have moderators delete any posts that are neither a question, constructive, or informative.

Introduction:
In case anyone has any questions about my qualifications... We have almost 15 years of experience tuning the Ford EEC-V PCMs used in the 7.3L and created most (if not all) of the 7.3L calibrations that were available in the US until 2001, at which point TS Performance, Bully Dog, and a few other small companies became involved with the 7.3L chips and tuning. In 2000 we were the first to offer custom tuning for the 7.3L for modified injectors (actually, we tuned for modified injectors as far back as early 1999), compound turbos, and other mods. We have written and/or contributed to most of the 7.3L tuning tools and software that is (or has been) used by most of the popular tuners including Gearhead, Swamps, DP-T, BTS, Tyrant, TDP (Tony), and Bean's, as well as being used by Brian Jelich and Mike Ontiveros. We have the only 7.3L simulation software that will accurately provide output maps of SOI, ICP, and PWM as the PCM would calculate them. We also have the only diagnostic equipment that can correctly log actual SOI values from the OBDII port, which we have used to substantiate the graphs generated during PCM simulation. We have used real-time emulators to trace and follow the PCM functions to determine how each function/map inter-relates with other functions/maps. We have dynoed and CP-tested a variety of engine/injector configurations and not only have a solid understanding of how the PCM functions to generate SOI, but also how SOC (Start of Combustion) is related to SOI, ICP, EOT, Boost, Injector configuration (Split, Single, Hybrid, etc.), and Injector nozzle size.

Overview:
The purpose of this thread will be to provide clear, concise examples of how the PCM generates the final SOI values which are sent to the IDM and ultimately the injectors. We also plan to provide a clearer picture on how the relationship between tuning and specific modifications can affect SOC. We will be providing substantive graphical data (maps) to support our findings and will welcome any questions, either in general, or about any specific data we provide. All graphical data provided will be from either completely stock calibrations, or from calibrations in our own library. We will not be providing graphs of the actual tuning maps themselves, as this may only cause confusion if they are not properly assessed in relation to other maps. We, instead, will provide the calculated output graphs generated through our simulation software and we'll be happy to consider other data requests. We will not be posting any actual tuning graphs from a competitor's product without first receiving authorization to do so, so DO NOT ASK unless you have authorization. However, if anyone has a file they'd like analyzed we will consider posting the calculated values generated by the simulation software.

That's about it. I'll start posting the graphs and other information shortly.

Stay tuned...
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:49 AM
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Part 1: The Software

Part 1: The Software:

Okay, so where to begin? One would normally say, "At the beginning..." but I'd think that would involve a great deal of boring tuning history. Well, maybe that really is the best place because without some of that history, some of this might not make any sense. LOL

To start off, I will say is that tuning has come a LONG way from where we started back in 1997 when I was working at Superchips, and we literally had almost no idea what it was we were changing. The tools we had back then offered no graphical interpretation of the data we were changing. We didn't even know what the actual engineering values were of the data we were changing or whether it was a fuel map, a timing map, shifting map, or a limiter. It was all "HEX" data in its purest form and we were making changes with the attitude of, "Hey, let's change this and see what it does!" We were hackers in the purest sense of the word. (Butchers might have been a more appropriate word!) Below is a screen shot of the first tuning software we used:



As you can see, it's not only just a bunch of numbers, it's Hexadecimal numbers. And to make it worse, 16 bit maps like this were viewed in 8 bit formats and the bytes were reversed (what we call "Little-Endian"). But as I said, this is what we had at the time. Although, somehow we made it work. For reference, this is the Oil Viscosity Compensation table that controls injection pulsewidth based on EOT and ICP.

From these early beginnings, using archaic and almost neanderthal tools, we were able to locate and identify enough calibration data to make 60-70 HP on the OBS trucks and over 100 HP on the S/D trucks. We were also able to locate enough shifting data to significantly improve the shifting characteristics, although it's not like ANYTHING that we have today. Early tuning was almost brute force. Sort of like using a sledgehammer to open walnuts. It was effective, but maybe a little too much. Anyway, this was how it was done for over 4 years. That is, until something better came along.

2001 saw the introduction of new tuning tools. The first was a software tool called GUI EECTuner. This was actually the predecessor to the SCT Advantage software which was written by David Posea, and offered the first definition format which stored the address and scales of maps, parameters, and functions, and allowed for an accurate, 3D representation of maps. For the first time we were able to actually produce some sort visualization for the numerical data. I had actually used this software to some extent, and while the 3D graphs weren't all that fantastic, it was better than nothing.

Shortly after the introduction of GUI EECTuner (mid 2002 or so, I'm guessing), I had come across a website that offered a different tuning software package. The website offered an application that was completely focused on high quality, 3D representations of the Hexadecimal data. The definitions were completely customizable and all the graphical data was scalable. This software was PCMX, and is what nearly all of the Ford tuning industry has been using since 2003. Now, this software was originally targeted for Gasoline tuning, and a number of definitions already existed for Mustangs, early F-Series trucks, and other Gasoline vehicles. However, there wasn't anything yet available for the 7.3L diesel. It wasn't until 2003 that we stared taking the data we had accumulated and began building and refining defintions for the Power Strokes. We spent several months developing these definitions and just about the time that we had started licensing PCMX and selling the defintions, I was offered a job to go work with Edge Products out in Utah. At this point, basically all development on the PCMX definitions stopped. Edge had orginally intended to support all our exisiting customers and dealers, but unfortunately they let all that fall by the wayside.

Somewhere around the same time that I went to work for Edge, SCT (Superchips Custom Tuning) had been formed as a branch of Superchips that dealt specifically with custom tuning. The idea was that SCT would provide their sizable software and calibration base and Superchips would provide the hardware. Unfortunately, the joint venture quickly soured and SCT broke off and continued as their own entity. The reason this is important is that at this time, SCT started releasing the first large-scale tuning application that offered 3D mapping, spreadsheet style data, linked mapped transfer functions, and integrated support for chips and programmers. Being built on the GUI EECTuner platform (or at least modeled after it), this software still lacked the high quality 3D mapping that PCMX offfered, but since SCT offered already built, custom tunes it wasn't really necessary for anyone to actually do their own tuning and the graphical data wasn't all that important. At least nobody seemed to think it was at the time.

Now, you're probably wondering, "What's so important about 3D mapping and why do we need now all this?" On the surface, it doesn't seem like it's all that big a deal, but the reality is far from that. One example of the importance of 3D mapping is very apparent in the following images:

(click to enlarge)


The map and data on the left are an implementation of an SOI table we pulled out of an early chip from an unnamed tuner (and NO, it's NOT DP-Tuner... in case anyone feels like being a smart-alec) while the right calibration is an implementation of one of our own 80DD tunes. Looking at the spreadsheet style data, it may or may not be readily apparent that the mapping on the left is not smooth or linear. However, looking at the graphical map shows how jagged and uneven the left map really appears. By comparison, the map on the right shows to be much smoother. On top of that, the left map also shows to be really aggressive in the upper RPM range, although the spreadsheet does show the timing is aggressive as well. In any event, it's MUCH better than original way we used to tune which provided no real idea whatsoever of what the values were, graphical or otherwise.

Since the release of PCMX and SCT software back in the early 2000's, there have been a couple other applications that have been released that offer tuning in a 3D graphical format. Applications such as Paul Booth's EEC Editor (available from Moates.net), EFI-Live (which currently does not support Ford, but has a very usable interface), and a few others that escape me at the moment. The tools are getting better and better.

One thing I haven't addressed yet, but will in a coming segment, is how we use the calibration simulator to generate the output mapping which shows us the SOI Timing and Fuel PW curves we use to refine our tuning. This can be pretty in-depth stuff since it not only deals with the generated output, but also the order in which the data is processed to generate the output values. We feel that this needed its own segment due to the complexity of the processes.

Anyway, I hope that this information is helpful and gives you some idea as to why tuning today is considerably different than tuning that was produced back in the early 2000's. As the tools have evolved, so has the tuning. Of course, having the proper tools doesn't guarantee that any given person would know how to use them. There is still the issue putting the software in the hands of people that really understand how to use it: individuals that have a solid understanding of how an internal combustion engine (either gas or diesel) works and how each of the maps interrelate with each other to produce the anticipated output values for fuel, timing, shifting, and other functions, and how those outputs will affect the functionality of the engine. Thousands of mechanics use Snap-On tools, but only a few are talented enough to work on an Le Mans, NASCAR or NHRA race team while others I wouldn't let change the air in my tires.

__________

Coming up next... Part 2: The tuning hardware. Dynos, testing equipment, emulators, and how they all work together.

Stay Tuned!

Last edited by Power Hungry; 01-30-2012 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:06 PM
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Subscribed. I’ve tuned Harley Davidson’s and we stuck a “sniffer” in the exhaust to get air/fuel ratios while on a stationary Dynamometer. We used Screamin Eagle tuner key’s to change ratios based on throttle percentage, load, timing etc. We achieved a map like the ones in your picture but every bike was different. It could be the exact setup (pipes, air cleaner, cams) and the air/fuel would be similar but not the same. I’m curious to see if there are any similarities between tuning a gas vs. diesel.

Thanks for sharing the information! Inquiring minds want to know!
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxfever090 View Post
Subscribed. I’ve tuned Harley Davidson’s and we stuck a “sniffer” in the exhaust to get air/fuel ratios while on a stationary Dynamometer. We used Screamin Eagle tuner key’s to change ratios based on throttle percentage, load, timing etc. We achieved a map like the ones in your picture but every bike was different. It could be the exact setup (pipes, air cleaner, cams) and the air/fuel would be similar but not the same. I’m curious to see if there are any similarities between tuning a gas vs. diesel.

Thanks for sharing the information! Inquiring minds want to know!
In some instances, gas tuning is not all that dissimilar from diesel tuning. The biggest difference, above all else, is that gasoline, petrol, and alcohol engines adhere to a strict AFR requirement whereas diesel engines have no such requirement. Otherwise, they are both combustion/expansion type engines. Of course, spark ignition engines have a distinct, controllable start of combustion (SOC) while compression ignition engines do not. This is where we run into a great deal of trouble when tuning a diesel engine. Just because you inject fuel at a certain crank angle, there's no guarantee that the fuel will start burning at a certain crank angle. But then, that's what this discussion is about anyway.

It's funny you should mention about identical setups not running the same with the same tuning. We see the same thing with both diesel and gasoline engines when we tune. We can get pretty close in most cases, but sometimes there just needs to be a little tweaking. It's really quite interesting.

Anyway, I hope to not disappoint anyone. I've always enjoyed sharing my knowledge and hope that people get as much from receiving it as I do from giving it.
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Power Hungry View Post
Anyway, I hope to not disappoint anyone. I've always enjoyed sharing my knowledge and hope that people get as much from receiving it as I do from giving it.
Keep it coming. My inner computer geek is going giggidy giggidy gooooo!
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxfever090 View Post
Subscribed. I’ve tuned Harley Davidson’s and we stuck a “sniffer” in the exhaust to get air/fuel ratios while on a stationary Dynamometer. We used Screamin Eagle tuner key’s to change ratios based on throttle percentage, load, timing etc. We achieved a map like the ones in your picture but every bike was different. It could be the exact setup (pipes, air cleaner, cams) and the air/fuel would be similar but not the same. I’m curious to see if there are any similarities between tuning a gas vs. diesel.

Thanks for sharing the information! Inquiring minds want to know!
you will never have the same results. changes in weather. fuel type/octane will always make things change. In my turbo camaro I run a data logger that records my entire 1/4 mile run and I can make changes after each pass to the exact same tune if I see a swing in AF anywhere, or adjust the two step as to what RPM I'm leaving at to cater to track conditions. I also have different tune ups for pump gas (10#) as opposed to 118 (on 20+#) there is no exact one size fits all in tuning I have found, it's just a getting it as good as you can game, and adjust accordingly!
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:32 AM
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:56 AM
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Well I'm patiently waiting for part II but I'm starting to come up with questions.

Now you're probably going to tell me to forget everything I know about tuning a gas engine and start over. But...... with the gas tuner you recieve feedback from the readings in the exhaust pipe. Then make changes to the VE tables based on AFR.

What gives you the feedback to know where and when to make the changes when tuning a diesel?

I have a buddy that has EFI Live for his Duramax but he has done little with it. Just downloaded a map. It would be fun to play with the tune if I had a clue on how it worked.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:12 PM
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Hey all... I'm really sorry about the delay in posting. Corey and I have both been under the weather recently and we're just getting back in the saddle, so to speak. Not to mention that we're backed up quite a bit in the office as well.

Anyway, here is part 2 of our "PSD Tuning" series. I'll have part 3 up in another couple hours or so and then we'll open up for questions. I appreciate everyone's patience and hope that this is helpful and informative.

Thanks!

Last edited by Power Hungry; 02-19-2012 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:14 PM
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Send a message via Yahoo to Dave
Excellent info as always Bill
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