Anyone else using MegaSquirt on a LA motor?

Discussion in 'Small Block Mopar Engine' started by BigBlockMopar, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. BigBlockMopar

    BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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    Wondering how many more folks here are using a MegaSquirt ECU on their LA smallblocks?

    Last week, I finally was able to install my MegaSquirt MS3x in my '73 Dart and have been finding improvements along the entire rpm-range after just the first testrun around the block.

    TunerStudio.jpg
     
  2. stixx

    stixx Well-Known Member

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    Can you elaborate on this? Hard to see the details... :poke:
     
  3. abodyjoe

    abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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    i hear great things about mega squirt. i glanced at their site and it lost me.. i'd be better off buying a completed kit that learns on its own..
     
  4. BigBlockMopar

    BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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    I agree the MegaSquirt 'site' can be overwhelming for first visitors. The fact they (some dealers) still have all 3 upgraded ECU-versions available, and even more smaller versions and some 'pro' variations, isn't helping keep things clear what you actually would want or need.

    Autolearning kits are just that; You install, They learn..., and leave the user fairly in the dark of what really happens 'under the hood'.
    Perhaps great for the 'I just want to drive (to the sat.night meet and pull out the lawnchair)' folks, but anyone who likes to tinker with their engine tune and get more/most out of it should like to explore new grounds/learn new ways of improving the old.

    For elaboration, here's a small (and kinda boring) compilation video I made over a week ago which shows some of the things happening possible with the ECU.


    I've got a few posts on my homepage going slighlty more indepth, shown below in chronological order;

    Benchtesting distributor and settings on a lathe:
    Megasquirt Mopar distributor benchtesting

    Benchtesting on the car:
    MegaSquirt benchtesting on the Dart

    Installation in the car:
    MegaSquirt MS3x ECU install in the Dart

    The last link explains a bit how I installed the ECU in the car, which actually 'tells' HEI 7-pin module when and how to spark to the coil.
    I'm using a stock 'Lean-Burn' distributor to provide the trigger for the HEI-module and ECU.
     
  5. abodyjoe

    abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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    The self learning kits are for a lot more then just driving to the local cruise that's for sure. The FAST kit I have some experience with tells you what's going on under the hood via little screen that plugs in. Can tell violent temp, a/f ratio and adjust the same. Talks ya where the position of the iac and s few other things I know I'm forgetting.

    Like I said I've heard good things about MS set ups. The site is very confusing for me. They say it's easy to set up but personally I don't know. Never seen one in person. I do know a few guys running fast set ups that love them and have seen huge improvements everywhere with it
     
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    • Map63Vette

      Map63Vette Well-Known Member

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      I'm not running an LA motor anymore, but the system I have came off of one. Currently running a 5.7 Hemi with an MS2. Bought it from a guy that had it installed on a 340, but he was more old school and wanted to go back to a carb. I'm an engineer by trade, so I like tinkering and the concept of doing it yourself. The nice thing about the Megasquirt system is that you can do pretty much whatever you want to with it. It's fairly modular and you can write your own code or develop your own options if you really want to take it that far. I'm still running a pretty simple setup, but even that I've worked up over time.
       
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      • my68barracuda

        my68barracuda Well-Known Member

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        I have a MS3 Pro installed, but not on a LA, mine is on a slant six in a 68 Barracuda,
        Currently have the MS3 controlling fuel only with a mopar electronic distributor running the spark, just recently swapped from a HEI 7 pin to a MSD module, and plan to make the move to MS3 ignition control, using a lean burn distributor as you also mentioned.

        2016 2 Feb 68 Barracuda rails and throttle
         
      • jos51700

        jos51700 Well-Known Member

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        I purchased one from a member here but have never installed it or even powered it up. I'll probably run factory magnum ecu to get started.
         
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        Looks like a fun project.
        I specially opted for keeping the HEI-7 in the loop in case I might fubar something with the MS3 ECU, as I still have some additionial wires to hook up.
        The engine will still run on HEI-module alone, just without any advance curve.
        Being this is my dailydriver I want to keep a backup-system ready at all times.

        I plan on incorporating fuel (propane) on a later point in time.
         
      • T56MaxTorq

        T56MaxTorq Well-Known Member

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        I've been running MS2 on my turbo magnum small block. built the whole system. I control ignition and fuel with it. I love it, there's just so much tuneabilty and options to run anything. You can change ignition and fuel curve on-the-fly, engine running. With MS, you spend little but learn a lot. Other kits you spend a lot and learn very little. I used a super cheap ($8) Bosch bip373 Ignition driver to control the coil. Hides right inside the Ms box.

        Looking at your ignition advance table, you have spark advance really high up there. I'm assuming it's because the distributor is phased too far retarded, so you have to manually advance the timing in the tuner studio graph to make it right. There's an option for "ignition offset" in the studio where you can add advance instead of adding advance in the graph. So if your graph says 18* at 900 rpm, but your timing light says anything but 18, adjust the ignition offset to get 18. Then your MS is in sync with your whole distributor system. But, it's only to adjust little inaccuracies. I set my distributor rotor to match up perfectly in line with the cap so the spark will jump the smallest gap throught the entire advance curve. Basically the rotor points directly at #1 terminal at 25* btdc. That way, at idle the spark gap lags #1 cap terminal and leads the terminal at max advance. Lock the dist down. Start it up and adjust ignition offset to get the exact timing your graph demands.
         
        Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        I had planned to use a Bosch 0 227 100 124 ignition module, because the previous HEI-7 I had didn't respond on the bypass-pins.
        But I 'zapped' and toasted the Bosch-module when setting up the benchtest on the car when a dangling wire brushed across the positive terminal on the battery. Just my luck.
         
      • T56MaxTorq

        T56MaxTorq Well-Known Member

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        I like the controller, guys at diyautotune say they can't blow it up. The main thing that blows up any ignition driver is the dwell setting. So you have to monitor the temp of the controller if you guessed the dwell. in tunerstudio the baseline is 4ms. That's why you have to cement an HEI unit to a heat sink so it doesn't fry itself, they have a fixed dwell (3.5ms for a 7 pin I think) that can't dissipate the heat without some help.
         
        Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        I've had the module working nicely during a benchtest on the lathe for a while.
        But while the setting up the benchtest on the car I toasted it.

        I'm currently running with 2.5ms dwell without issues with the HEI-7 + MSD TFI e-coil.
        Seems to be enough. My engine cuts out with 1.6-1.7ms dwell.
        Nothing gets hots even after some extensive idling.

        Yesterday I've started playing with the dwell table to increase the value (to 3.0) at higher engine loads, thinking a slightly better spark won't hurt since my engine doesn't spend much time at high loads usually.
        I have yet to find out if it really helps with anything though.
         
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        After doing a few more modifications on the IGN table after a few days of driving, I was fairly amazed at how much more low rpm / low load drivability I've found in the 318.
        I always thought the engine should be able to run better in certain rpm ranges, but never really could get it do with the advance curves in the old distributor.
        The car is now much more fun and nimble to drive, where accelerating from a stop to say 30mph feel like the car has shed some 500 lbs of weight.
         
      • T56MaxTorq

        T56MaxTorq Well-Known Member

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        Beautiful thing, isn't it?
         
      • T56MaxTorq

        T56MaxTorq Well-Known Member

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        Looking at your videos, are running a missing tooth crank trigger or the la distributor vr sensor?
         
      • pishta

        pishta I know I'm right....

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        Ill be hitting you guys up soon when I get my MS1 with a 2 chip (2.1?) installed. I got another DIYEFI "Jaguar" board (MS3 comparable) that could be used too but support for that is slim. I like the learning mode option but found its a pay feature, really?
         
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        I'm running a Lean Burn distributor, so no mechanical or vacuum advance in there.
        The distributor is synced with the MS3.
        Being a LeanBurn distributor, correct rotor phasing was already taken care off in the factory.


        Just noticed you posted a part of your reply I missed;

        Propane likes more/quicker advance, but limited from 3k on.
         
        Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
      • T56MaxTorq

        T56MaxTorq Well-Known Member

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        Lean burn distributors are the way to go, and they're usually given away. I used ms2 v3.57 and I couldn't for the life of me get it to act right. I would set hysteresis to the minimum to get it to start. It'll start but then the vr was sensing all kinds of noise, I tune it out with hysteresis, then it doesn't have enough energy to capture rpm during starting. I threw in the towel and went with a 36-1 trigger and a ford Hall effect. Runs great. I think it was the older ms2 software that was the issue. Ms3 has more control of capturing rpm.

        I figured the high spark advance had something to do with propane but wasn't too sure. Good work!
         
      • pishta

        pishta I know I'm right....

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        My slant will be a 36-1 trigger off the balancer ,EDIS-6 ignition, Ford Windstar TB, and ~9psi boost with a GM 3BAR MAP sensor out of a supercharged Olds. I believe thats all supported.
         
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        Because I did quite some preliminary benchtesting with my lathe, trigger wheels, distributor and HEI-modules, when time came to install everything, I had a few options on how to get the rpm-trigger from the engine.
        I could either hook up the MS3 directly to the distributor, a crank trigger or my preferred way, using the bypass function of the HEI 7 or 8-pin modules.

        Everyday I've been driving in the last 10 days, I carried my tuning-laptop with me in the car. A number of times I stopped halfway, did a few mods to the timing table and went off again and feel the difference.
        I think I've come quite a bit with improving the spark advance map since 2 weeks ago. There's no comparison to the 'stone-age' ignition and vacuum curve in the old mechanical distributor setup.
         
      • wish4hemi

        wish4hemi Well-Known Member

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        Agreed. I have a Holley Terminator EFI/distributorless setup on my 408, a Ford EDIS distributorless setup on my 440, and soon will have a Megasquirt EFI/distributorless system on another 440.

        To heck with the old days of tinkering with advance curves and turning distributors. Just a few simple mouse clicks now. For anyone wanting to go distributorless, I have some crank trigger wheels for sale here in the mechanical parts for sale forum (shameless plug).
         
      • dusterbd13

        dusterbd13 Well-Known Member

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        So im bumping an old thread here, but hopefully y'all can help.
        Ms2 3.57
        Lean burn distributor
        Msd streetfire box triggered through points wire from megasquirt
        Diyautotune harness with sheilded distributor wires
        Batch fire
        All grounds to passengers side head, additional 4 gauge ground from drivers to trunk mounted battery

        Ive had this car kicking my ass for the last 2 years. Right now im fighting ignition and noise issues. It WAS hei8 setup, and we decided that was the issue. Hence the msd box. Now, even more noise causing tach spikes and drops.

        Im grateful i found this thread, which confirmed my wiring to the lean burn. Could it be rotor phasing or air gap in the distributor causing issues? Distributor is an a1 cardone reman.
         
      • 67Dart273

        67Dart273 Well-Known Member

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        Some generalities: The lean burn is NOT phased pickup to rotor. You will have to adjust the MS electronics to phase it. Not sure on that procedure

        You must properly shield and route delicate low signal pickup cables. What you want to do is find out what the signal ground is at the cable end, and use a two wire shielded cable, grounding the shield ONLY at the MS end. The ground must "float" insulated at the distrib. or other pickup end

        Route all low signal/ trigger wires close to a "ground plane" such as the firewall or other ground, and keep them away from high tension or high current wires. Don't run them parallel to those wires/ cables, and try to "cross" them at close to a right angle.

        If you have not found him Matt Cramer is very helpful and very involved with MS, and is a member on here as well as the various MS forums.

        I am building an MS2 kit for experimentation (if I live long enough) but don't have working knowledge on setting it up. Obviously there are many variables with MS
         
      • 67Dart273

        67Dart273 Well-Known Member

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        A member on here who would be very helpful if you can run him down is "Kit Carlson"