Tuner Resources

"Technology for Tuners" Newsletter #1

This is Innovate Motorsports' "Technology for Tuners" Newsletter, Issue #1. These updates are intended to keep you informed of LM-1 tuning tips, firmware updates, application notes, new product releases, company news, and other useful information. In this issue:

1) RPM-Converter Input Cable update
2) Visit us at SEMA 2003- Booth #12469
3) LM-1 shipments set new record in September
4) High-temperature applications update
5) Tuning Tip: Issues with Air Pumps

RPM-Converter Input Cable update

The first two of our three planned auxiliary input cables are now released from engineering. Aux. cable #1 is a simple break-out cable that extends the mini-DIN 7 cable to a set of screw connectors. But the big news is the Aux. cable #2- the RPM converter cable. This cable can take a signal from an inductive clamp OR the tach output from your ECU/ignition system, and convert it to an analog signal that is “log-able” by the LM-1. The cable can be calibrated to the characteristics of your engine (# of pulses per crank rotation) through a simple setup routine. And you still have 4 screw terminals left for connecting other inputs. We are field testing, taking back orders, and plan on shipping in the next few weeks.

Visit us at SEMA 2003- Booth #12469

If you’re planning on attending SEMA 2003, drop by booth #12469 and say hello to the Innovate team. Klaus, Cort, Patrick, James, and Robb will be there answering questions, handing out information, signing up new dealers, and drinking too much beer. We’ll be raffling off one LM-1 per day, so send your friends over, too.

LM-1 shipments set new record in September

LM-1 sales and shipments hit a new record in September. We can safely say that this is a popular product. We’re doing our best to provide solid support, and bring out quality accessories over the coming months. To all of you who purchased an LM-1 in September- thanks!

High-temperature applications update

The Bosch LSU4.2 wide-band O2 sensor (shipped as part of the LM-1 kit) is rated to operate at an exhaust gas temperature of < 1300 degrees (F), and a sensor housing temperature of < 900 degrees (measured at the bung) for maximum accuracy and control. When either of these operating temperature ranges is exceeded, the sensor can no longer be accurately controlled. Further, operating at or over these temperatures for any length of time can significantly reduce the lifetime of the sensor. The LM-1 is designed to display an error message under these conditions (currently 08- Sensor Timing Error) rather than provide inaccurate readings. For some turbo vehicles, rotary engines, and other setups, this error message can be encountered with annoying frequency. Some tips to avoiding the sensor timing error:

1) Move your sensor bung as far downstream as possible. Right before the cat, or 2-3 feet from the end of the tailpipe are good locations. 6” from the turbo is generally not an optimal location.
2) Some users have had great luck with a self-fabricated simple heat-sink fin. This works because it assists in cooling the sensor body. Take a 4-5” square piece of copper (optimal) or aluminum, and punch/drill a hole just big enough to fit over the threads of the O2 sensor. Bend it so that there are two “wings on either side of the sensor. Mount the heat fin between the sensor and the sensor washer.

Tuning Tip: Issues with Air Pumps

Many vehicles (Mazda RX7s, for example) have a pump that pumps air directly into the header behind the ports or valves during warm up and then switches to pumping air into the cat after the cat is hot enough. We have seen numerous cases where the switching valve was completely or partially stuck and air entered into the headers even after it should have been switched off. This will of course make the AFR read lean because of the way WBO2 sensors work. Try to disconnect the air pump and then read AFR.

If your air-pump setup is as described, there’s a good chance that your exhaust is in reality very rich, but reading lean during the first 10-15 minutes of operation because air is being mixed into the exhaust before the sensor. When the valve switches, the real rich mixture will be suddenly coming through and the sensor errors out. The 1.1 firmware is supposed to show a 'too rich' error instead of sensor timing. Internally it is the same error condition, but the firmware checks if the last measurement before the error was very rich (< 9.5 AFR), and if so, it shows “Too Rich” instead of a timing error. If the mixture very suddenly gets too rich, like when the air-valve switches, it does not have time to make a rich measurement before it errors out. Typically with an air-pump system while pumping air before the sensor we see readings of 16-22 AFR because of the air, not 14.

In this case, many users suspect they are getting a timing error from sensor overheating. However, it may not be overheating at all, but running outside the measurement range of the sensor. To tune an air-pump-equipped system you HAVE to disconnect the air-pump. Even when it functions correctly, oscillations in the exhaust system can move mixed-in air to the sensor area and cause erroneous readings.

One other related issue: We’ve seen cases where an aftermarket ECU was used with a NB02 for closed loop control in conjunction with an air-pump system. The aftermarket ECU was not set up to be air-pump aware (few are) and therefore richened the mixture enough to make its NBO2 show stoich with the air mixed in, while the engine itself was of course running extremely rich.

Until next time... Keep On Tuning!

-Innovate Motorsports

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