1968 Shelby GT500

Aftermarket EFI Computers

By Trent Kendall
October 2004

This article is intended to answer everyone’s questions about all of the available aftermarket ECU’s, chips and tuning devices for Mustangs. It seems like about once per day someone asks “Which ECU should I buy for my Mustang?” or “Which is better, X or Z?” These questions are unacceptable because the answer depends on what you want for your car. Do a little research and figure out what is best for you. If you look hard enough you will find someone using each of the options below to control a really fast, high HP car, you just need to pick the best system for your goals and budget. For more information on these systems please check the EFI Tuning Questions Forum.
I will try to be as subjective as possible. For reference, I use the AEM system on my turbocharged 91 Mustang. In order to remain unbiased I have asked for input from all of the resources I could think of. So, here they are in alphabetical order.
If you have any corrections or contributions please do not hesitate to email me.
Please note all retail prices are approximate at the time this was written.


DFI/Accel Gen 7
Information Source / Company Response:
I emailed Craig Smith at DFI and he provided all of this information in a timely manner.
Approximate Cost:
$1700 with 1 bar MAP, $1715 for 2 bar, $1766 with 3 bar Add $100 for EDIS compatibility
Optional Wideband 02: $970
A kit includes an ECM, complete wiring harness, communication cable, Calmap software, and necessary sensors (w/a narrow band O2 sensor).
Hardware:
All the ECMs are basically the same and are software configurable for the type of ignition system they support. The one exception (unfortunately for this crowd) is the EDIS ignition. That requires its own firmware, but an EDIS capable ECM can basically run anything else too.
Sensors necessary for installation are: coolant temp, air temp, manifold surface temp, and MAP (all included). A TPS is needed as well. We don’t include a TPS with a kit but have some available if the car doesn’t have one already.
Won’t plug into the factory harness, but some companies might be making adapters that let you do this.
The DFI will work with TFI distributors, Ford EDIS modules, aftermarket distributors and crank triggers, and we also make distributors with integral hall-effect cam AND crank sensors for SBF, BBF, and Windsor engines. They have a bunch of different sub-harnesses available to connect to your ignition stuff so all you have to do is snap it into place.
Software/Connection:
Windows-based graphical display with serial interface.
Hardware Designed for:
Damn near anything. Has been used successfully on anything from a bone-stock Mustang to 2800+ HP race cars.
Special Features:
* Staggered batch (same as bank to bank with FAST) or sequential injector operation, selectable in software
* Unit is user-configurable for sequential, staggered batch (sometimes called bank to bank) or TBI mode.
* All ECMs provide control for fuel pump, 2 fans, IAC, 3 stages of nitrous, AC clutch, TCC, knock sensor
* Nitrous control outputs can be activated based on engine speed, manifold pressure, and throttle position and can be used to activate a variety of devices
* Dual fuel and spark mapping capability
* Fuel cutoff AND 2-step ignition rev limiting
* Boost builder feature greatly speeds spool-up time on turbo applications
* Individual cylinder fuel control
* Optional wide-band O2 control, closed loop capability
* Data logging capabilities
* 16×16 tables for VE, spark timing, target A/F ratio with editable 3D wire mesh graphical display
* Runs high or low impedance injectors
* VE table estimator for auto-generation of VE tables based on user-specified engine parameters
Datalogging:
Standard. Requires the laptop for data collection. Capable of monitoring any parameter controlled or calculated by the ECM. Auto-trigger capability.
Additional Items Needed:
None. You get everything you need for the engine management system to function. Compatible with standard GM sensors available at any parts store or through DFI if you need replacements. Wide band O2 is optional at $970.
Support:
Help available for any screen within Calmap by pressing F1 from that screen. All wiring diagrams accessible from within Calmap as well. Sold and supported through factory-trained dealer network. Engine Management Installation Centers (EMICs) available nationwide. Full-time technical support staff 5 days a week from DFI R&D headquarters. Post questions and receive answers on the Accel/DFI website or browse the online knowledge base for answers.

 


Advanced Engine Management (AEM) Engine Management System (EMS)
Information Source / Company Response:
Half of this information came from myself and then it was checked by Scott Armish an AEM engineer. He also contributed the other half of the information. Response time was good.
Latest News:
The following products are in development now and will be available before the end of the year: 0-5V wideband gauge for use with existing AEM standalone UEGO controllers, a line of rugged, competitively priced peak and hold injector drivers, a CDI coilpack combination (basically a CDI with built-in coils), and a Universal EMS kit that includes a complete high quality wiring harness.
Approximate Cost:
EMS: $1600
MAP Sensor: $125
Wideband O2 gauge: $450 (comes with controller, o2 sensor, gauge, bung, everything)
Single Channel Wideband Kit: $350(non gauge o2 controller and sensor)
Dual Channel Wideband Kit: $420
Hardware:
A new ECU which plugs and mounts directly in place of the stock one. No additional wiring or vehicle modifications are required. The system works with all stock sensors and actuators.
Software/Connection:
Windows based, state of the art graphical software via serial cable to a laptop. The EMS software is universal so if you friend has a Supra with an AEM it will look exactly like the Mustang AEM setup. Startup calibrations provided at no additional cost. If the vehicle is stock, these calibrations will get you up and running very quickly. AEM Pro “Wizards” allow you to quickly modify your calibration by taking advantage of AEM’s library of popular tuning configurations. Example – response curves for over 70 popular OEM and aftermarket fuel injectors. You can make real time changes to any parameter.
Hardware Designed for:
Has been used successfully in anything from a 225hp stock Mustang to a 1600hp race car.
There are currently two EMS’s. One is designed specifically to plug and play into 87-93 Mustangs, the other is for 94-95’s. They are working on 96+ All of your stock sensors will work, all sensors are configured using drop down lists.
All out, 1500hp race cars may opt for the AEM 1010 ECU which has more available input and outputs, this one does not just plug into your stock harness obviously.
Special Features:
All special features come standard out of the box. You don’t pay extra for anything. This includes, sequential fuel injection, auto tranny control, intelligent boost controller- you can configure boost based on throttle percentage or vehicle speed, you can also wire in a high/low boost switch. Soft or Hard cut rev limiter, 2 step rev limiter, “antilag” rev limiter- allows you to build a lot of boost a lot faster than a standard 2 step. Fan control, fuel pump control, knock sensor feedback control, nitrous control- nitrous can be configured based on throttle, speed, boost level, etc, etc. Alcohol sprayer control. Essentially you can wire in any type of device and control it based on any of the parameters in the EMS, from vehicle speed to boost level.
• 16/32 Hybrid high-speed processor • Onboard 512kb Datalogger • 10 Cyl Sequential Fuel Injection • 5 Dedicated Coil Outputs • 16 General Purpose Outputs • • 7 Definable Switch Inputs • 4 EGT Inputs w/Fuel Control • 2 Step Launch Control with Antilag function • Switched ignition cut/retard • Soft Cut Rev Limiters •
• Full Idle Control for PWM or stepper motors • Wet or Dry Nitrous Control • Definable Knock Control • Electronic Boost Control • Traction control • Twin channel DC motor control • Twin channel variable valve timing control function • Rotary engine oil metering pump control • Rotary engine trailing ignition control • Air Conditioning setup and control • EVAP Purge valve control • Programmable shift light • Programmable PWM outputs
Datalogging:
Yes, comes standard out of the box. You can datalog any sensor in the system at up to 250x per second. Includes software to analyze your datalogs. You can datalog directly to a PC or datalog onto the onboard memory on the EMS and then download it later. You can also control when the datalogging automatically comes on or off based on any of the parameters you can think of.
Additional Items Needed:
If you are using low impedance injectors you will need a low impedance driver box or a resistor pack. I built my resistor pack for less than $15 and I have been running it for almost a year without any problems. AEM is working on a low imp driver box for plug and play.
Most cars making over 500rwhp will switch to Speed Density so you will need the $125 AEM MAP sensor which threads into your upper intake. This way you can ditch the expensive and sometimes inaccurate aftermarket mass airflow sensor.
If you want to use the boost control you have to purchase a GM boost solenoid from any GM dealer, this is all detailed in my AEM writeup. The sensor is $60 or so and wiring it in takes two wires.
Support:
Support Hotline, call AEM engineer direct, very comprehensive help file for every feature, AEM also has an online forum with an area for each of the EMS boxes that they make and each of the rooms is moderated by the engineer who created the box for that application. The forum is also full of experienced AEM users who are willing to help.
AEM also offers a FREE 2 day training seminar for tuning shops at AEM’s dyno facility in California.

 


Baumannator TCS
Approximate Cost:
$425 for 4R70W or E4OD compatibility
Overview:
The Baumannator TCS can be used to retrofit electronic transmissions to earlier vehicles or can be fitted to applications that originally used electronic transmissions. This system will provide complete transmission tunability via a PC or laptop computer. The versatility and features provided by this system expand the capabilities of automatic transmissions to a new level, rendering older, non-electronic transmissions obsolete. Utilizing performance oriented transmission control strategies, the Baumannator TCS provides much better performance and durability than OEM electronics, while allowing excellent drivability.
Software/Connection:
Windows-based graphical display with serial interface.
Hardware Designed for:
Supports Ford AOD-E, 4R70W and E4OD Transmissions, with support for additional units available in the future.
Special Features:
*Provides unmatched capabilities at a surprisingly low cost.
*Based upon a RISC microcontroller, with tuning support via any PC capable of running Microsoft Windows®.
*Allows tunability of ALL transmission shift points, line pressure curve and torque converter clutch operation.
*Transmission durability and drivability rivaling that of OEM electronics or older non-electronic transmissions.
*ManuTronic feature allows fully manual gear selection when desired, via OEM Ford speed control buttons or a stand-alone push-button control.
*Two distinct calibrations may be stored within the unit, allowing instant calibration selection on-the-fly.
*Compact and rugged black anodized extruded aluminum enclosure measures 6.125″ x 4.2″ x 1.52″ and mounts within the passenger compartment.
*Optional AC adapter allows tuning with a desktop PC.
*Excellent for street/strip performance, street rod, heavy duty, retrofit and many other applications.
*Can be used with OEM engine controls (see TCS FAQ for more info), after-market EFI or carbureted applications.
Datalogging:
N/A
Additional Items Needed:
Throttle Position Sensor.
Support:
Phone: 864-335-9365
Internet forum: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/AODominators/

 


Big Stuff 3
Information Source / Company Response:
Dennis Moore- Fonse Performance John Meaney – Big Stuff 3 Inc.
The Big Stuff 3 is one of the newest and most advanced ECU’s on the market. The Gen 3 ECU/PCM has more options and features vs cost than any other box available. The built in PCM (Powertrain Control Module) is included for use with street rods and late-model street machines that wish to control the GM 4L60/80E and in 2005 the Ford AOD-E.
Approximate Cost:
$1795-$2595
(Base system consists of ECU, main wiring harness, injector wiring harness, BigStuff3 windows based software, communication cable, and wideband O2 sensor)
Hardware:
Systems can be ordered as base or optionally with Internal Logger, Dual WBO2, External Logger, Transmission Control or Coil on Plug. Ignition setup is configurable via s/w.
Software/Connection:
Big Stuff 3 software features a Windows based user interface for a complete memory map of system calibrations via a serial port in REAL TIME with Auto learn self tuning function.
Hardware Designed for:
Anything from daily drivers to all out 3000+ horsepower race cars.
Special Features:
Internal or external datalogging of any ECU parameters as well as External logging option (DAE) allows for additional recording of fuel & oil pressure, pan vacuum, input & drive shaft speed, TCC slip % MPH and turbo back pressure. 128k of on board RAM for internal data logging – 52 user selectable channels. Twenty two (22) 16-bit channels & thirty (30) 8-bit channels, 10-bit resolution, with a 50Hz acquisition rate.
3 stages of boost control.
Configurable Load & RPM axes.
1-5 BAR map sensor.
Capable of driving up to 16 low impedance injectors in a staged configuration.
Staged fuel pump capabilities.
Fan and fuel pump control standard.
Individual cylinder control of both fuel and spark available.
Built-in Wideband O2 (single or dual option) with closed loop corrections at all engine operating areas standard.
Idle Air Control standard.
Knock retard with programmable parameters standard.
Datalogging:
Yes, Internal and external options available.
Additional Items Needed:
None other than GM compatible sensors that are readily available.
Support:
Sales/Technical support is available Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm EST at 609-820-5660.

 


F.A.S.T. Fuel Air Spark Technology
Information Source / Company Response:
Jay Rorhback, FAST sales
Overview:
The FAST™ Bank-to-Bank system is the enthusiast’s choice for an easy and affordable EFI installation. Perfect for those who want to upgrade their fuel delivery from carburetion to throttle body or EFI. It’s also ideal for improving an existing TBI setup or converting it to EFI. This system is the right choice for street rods and late-model street machines, both domestic and import, looking for improved reliability and driveability. While the FAST™ Bank-to-Bank system is an economical value, it also offers high-tech performance. Unlike a batch system, which fires all of the injectors at once, our Bank-To-Bank system fires half of the injectors every 180 degrees of crankshaft rotation. This system can be easily and effectively upgraded to a full Sequential system at any time by using the available upgrade components.
Latest News:
Debuting a new system at SEMA show along with a new line of handheld programmers and chips.
Approximate Cost:
5.0L w/TFI system with Wideband O2 sensor goes for $2215.20
4.6L w/EDIS system with Wideband O2 goes for $2319.20
(System consists of ECU, main wiring harness, injector wiring harness, C-ComWP windows based software, communication cable, and wideband O2 sensor)
Hardware:
• True speed/density algorithm provides higher resolution for “big” injectors and better idle control
• ECU is shock-resistant and incorporates a waterproof case and connectors
• ECU circuitry is hardened to prevent high-energy ignition interference
• Easy to install with step-by-step instructions
• ECU
• Main wiring harness with all connectors labeled
• Injector wiring harness
• 5-ft. communication cable (ECU to laptop)
• C-Com WP™ on CD
Software/Connection:
C-Com WP™ software features a Windows based user interface for a complete memory map of system calibrations via a serial port in REAL TIME.
Hardware Designed for:
Anything from daily drivers to all out 3000+ horsepower race cars.
Special Features:
Datalogging of any ECU parameters
Comes standard with 1 stage nitrous control
Up to 4 stages nitrous control available
Can be run in Bank-to-Bank mode or fully sequential available
Fan and fuel pump control standard
Individual cylinder control of both fuel and spark available
Built-in Wideband O2 with closed loop corrections at all engine operating areas standard
Idle Air Control standard
Knock retard with programmable parameters standard
Datalogging:
Our advanced remote ECU Data Logger™ eliminates the need to have a laptop computer in the vehicle to capture and record sensor data. Performance enthusiasts can use the data logger to capture a vast range of performance-related data for subsequent download to a computer. The user can then evaluate and modify a wide range of parameters to fine tune engine performance without having to lift the hood. The ECU Data Logger™ includes C-Com WP™ software designed for use with FAST™ Bank-to-Bank and Sequential Fuel Injection (SEFI) engine management systems. The C-Com WP™ software allows for simultaneous display and editing of fuel maps, timing curves, enrichment tables and data logs.
Additional Items Needed:
None other than GM compatible sensors that are readily available from FAST or local parts stores.
Support:
Sales/Technical support is available Monday through Friday 9am to 6pm EST at 901-260-FAST(3278).

 


Electromotive TEC³
Information Source / Company Response:
I got no response from them, I tried calling and emailing several times. Everything is taken from the Electromotive web site.
Overview:
The new TEC³ represents the current in state-of-the-art fuel injection and direct ignition control integrated into one revolutionary package. The TEC³ is a PC-programmable engine control system featuring a powerful Windows-based tuning environment. Converting from carburetion to fuel injection has never been easier than with the TEC³. Whether you choose to run throttle body injection, multi-port, or individual throttle bodies,the TEC³ will provide you with the ability to tune your engine to its peak capabilities.
Street enthusiasts will enjoy the benefits of a ‘distributorless’ ignition system that not only is infinitely adjustable, accurate, and powerful, but also gives you improved firewall clearance and freedom from all those ignition amplification boxes that you used to run in the past. If you are running an aggressive profile camshaft, idle control has always proven to be problematic for lesser engine management systems, but not for the TEC³. Within the WinTEC software resides our exclusive ‘TPS/MAP Idle Blend’ table. With a few clicks of the keyboard, you will enjoy an idle quality that other engine management systems only dream of having.
For competition and ultra high output engines, the sophistication and power of the TEC³ system simply out-performs other production and aftermarket systems. With full control of the engine over all possible operating conditions, outputs that will control nitrous, boost, VTEC, and other devices, new rev-limiters with ‘Triple Smooth’ technology, and On-Board Data Acquisition, the TEC³ gives you Total Engine Control…and makes the competition green with envy!.
Latest News:
They have a new eXtreme Direct Ignition System. This computer will fire coil packs with out a distributor.
Approximate Cost:
$1850 for 33000 TEC3 ECU. which includes 8 injector driver, 4 coil drivers. Use on most engines up to 8-cyl. Includes software, com cable, and manual.
$350 for 33101 TEC3 Universal Harness. which includes two 23-pin connectors, MAP, CLT, MAT, IAC, DFU, and Crank sensor terminations.
Hardware:
The new TEC³ ECU incorporates the winning features of our previous TEC-2 system while adding an abundance of new features and a powerful new processing platform. Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) control and patented digital Direct Ignition control is standard hardware for every TEC3. The anodized, laser-etched ECU with waterproof OEM style connectors and harness may be mounted under the hood or in the passenger compartment and will activate separate multi-coil DFU’s (Direct Fire Units) mounted adjacent to (or on) the engine.
Special Features:
PC programmable and configurable for 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, cyl. engines and Rotories with a 12 cyl.and 6 cyl dual plug option.
Operate in Open or Closed loop.
Run True Sequential, Phased Sequential or Simultaneous Injection with individual cylinder trim.
Configurable for TBI, MPI, TPI and individual throttle bodies.
Additional Injector Output Drivers built-in.. Run Low or High impedance injectors.
Full 150 mJ of Spark Energy directly to the plugs without misfire.
New Dual Rev Limiters with ‘Triple Smooth Technology’.. 1st step retards timing to a negative -12º degrees.. 2nd step cuts coil current in half.. 3rd step coil current and fuel are cut-off.. all three steps occurring within milliseconds!
Waste Gate (Boost Control), Nitrous Control with up to 4 stage retard available.
Four Programmable GPO’s (General Purpose Outputs) to control or activate VTEC, Shift Lights, Water Pumps and Fans, A/C Compressor, Torque Converter and more.
New Programmable Adjustable Electronic Tachometer Output.
Uses primarily GM type sensors.
Diagnostic monitoring with codes issued through Check Engine Light.
Easy to install bolt-on Trigger Wheel and Mag Sensor Kits available for many applications.
Made in the USA!
Datalogging:
Adjustable Sample Rates up to 100 samples per second Simultaneously record data from up to 25 inputs including: Air/fuel Ratios, Injector Duty Cycle and Pulse Width, RPM and Throttle Position, Gear Position, MPH, Boost (manifold pressure) and much more!
Additional configurable Digital and Analog Input Channels View Multiple Data Graphs side by side or Graphs may be overlayed for comparison Graphic Screen Displays may be Printed.
Data may also be exported to a Spreadsheet program for further analysis Data Logging can be started and stopped manually using a switch, or the system can be configured to automatically start and stop via values pre-set by the user.

 


Haltech
Information Source / Company Response:
Scott Hilzinger, Haltech Support
Overview:
Haltech E11v2 - The Haltech E11 ECU is an ECU capable of controlling fully sequential fuel injection and ignition control on 4,5,6,8,10 and 12 cylinder applications. With 14 channels capable of controlling injection and ignition duties, the E11 can support most modern engines with multi-coil ignition systems, as well as conventional distributor ignition systems. The E11v2 could run a 5.0L motor in sequential injection / distributor mode, with enough outputs to datalog up to 7 sensors.
Haltech E6X - For Fuel injected V8 Distributed cars, the E6X can run them in Semi-sequential injection, distributor mode. Giving full control over fuel and ignition events. For more info on the E6X please check the bottom of this table.
Approximate Cost:
$1700 AUD E6X flying lead kit
$2100 ADU E11v2
Hardware:
The kit includes- Haltech E11 ECU • Flying lead wiring loom • Fuse Block • Air Temp Sensor • Coolant Sensor • Throttle Position Sensor • Serial Cable • Instruction Manual • Software • 2x Power Relays
Software/Connection:
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