Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner
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Author:  dfarr67 [ Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

This is my first question on here- so don't slap me around too much;)

Also a non-glamorous application in a 1990 4runner 22RE turbocharged, stick, so far I am leaning towards Holley HP. Location Canada, so strong regional support is a consideration.

The story with this truck is it has been in limbo at the tuners for over 3 years- and yes I am embarrassed but since it is a surplus truck I haven't really needed it but need it finished up soon. I'm not going into detail as to the what/why, but first started out with MS PnP witch the tuner disliked for fine tuning driveability and idle (idle set by bypass here) and he had another customer with a project that bought the factory harness and the MS- he is a dealer for Vems and suggested I move towards this unit. I know Vems isn't well loved on this site but seems to have success elsewhere on the net. Keep in mind that I'm the customer here not the tech- although I do know enough to get into trouble;) The truck is turbocharged with a/a intercooler, water/meth injected, wbo2, GM Siemens injectors, GM cnp coils, manual trans, 4x4, have kept the dizzy for cam/crank (no high voltage) but in an effort to get things going from being stalled also supplied a modified balancer with 36-1 trigger wheel with Ford VR sensor. The problem for awhile now is the ignition breaks up over 1600 rpm, I know the tuner has had many personal issues over the years, I'm not sure if he is not being honest with me here as I have asked him to name another shop to finish this project but he insists he can finish it- or he is stumped. But this thread is not about my problems- it's more about a possible bad choice in ecu's- I know he did replace a component in the ecu relating to ignition as faulty but still the issue has persisted, perhaps the answer lies in another ecu choice- getting tired of changing these out;) So I know everyone has their own success and failure stories and opinions are like a-holes, everyones has one- but with all the names out there and even generational differences making marked improvements- what do I need to do here? This isn't racing, possibly not even 'high performance' but want a nice reliable daily driver. Would appreciate a few turbo/engine safeguards- egt, temp, etc. batch fire is OK as is waste spark.

Author:  Fred [ Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

MS1, all variants, is crap.
VEMS, all variants, is crap.
MS2, as crappy as it is, is usable.
MS3, as crappy as it is, is expensive.

If you want a non-FreeEMS DIY/Budget solution, the best choice remains MS2/V3.0 + mods to make it work right.

Others may disagree wildly :-D

PS, tune it yourself, unless it's 30psi+. Even then... it's not that hard.


Author:  dfarr67 [ Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

No for boost we're talking 5-8lbs, strictly for mid range torque on a gutless engine.

Can you elaborate on the vems shortcomings?

Also read the interesting thread on ecu's you wouldn't use-
may be one to add, mostly for GM apps, I have it in my 89 K1500 pickup TBI to TPI conversion and it works well for what it is- a gutted factory ecu, would have been nice to add 14point7's WB daughter board to it though.

I have played with the K1500, but personally prefer to have it off to a pro for polishing.

Just for my taste currently- and that may change, I'm not considering MS. Looking at a used Link Storm- but again unless I'm buying form a known vender, pehaps I'm getting someone else's problems.

Appreciate the candid responses.

Author:  baldur [ Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

I have about 50 MS based installs under my belt and about 10 on VEMS. I'm going to say that it's possible to do a good job with almost any ECU within reason. If your tuner can't get the job done and can't come up with an explanation for why your spark isn't steady try finding another one who is familiar with your ECU.
To me a home made crank trigger is a potential red flag, there are lots of things to go wrong there but it's a good solution if executed properly.
If I understand your post correctly you're using coil per plug. Old VEMS firmwares used to have problems with dwell overlap when using multiple coils.

Author:  dfarr67 [ Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

When did Vems fix this problem with the LS coils?
The tuner used to be or still is Vems rep for western Canada- he's moved on in life from his old shop but still has the truck. Been reading that the Toyota 4/1 pick up in the dizzy are not the best to grab signal from.
The crank trigger was done by the Dubshop in Oregon- I think he did a good job as these engines provide no room at the timing cover than say a sbc. The other option was magnets in the outer ring of the ballancer which I don't like and I also needed to be able to change v-belts without screwing with vr sensor bracketry. I'm pretty sure the 36-1 is not installed yet.
So I'm not sure where to go from here- I live in another province- but enough is enough. Problem is I'm to nice a guy.

Author:  Fred [ Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

At the end of the day it comes down to money, time, and results.

Spending more doesn't guarantee less time investment, nor better results.
Spending a lot of time doesn't guarantee lower costs, nor better results, but both are highly likely.
If you want to guarantee good results, you need to understand your setup from tip to toe. At which point just do it yourself and know it's right.

Worth noting that baldur couldn't see your first reply when he wrote his comment.

As a software developer, I just can't consider using code on my car (or phone or PC) that I don't have source for. It's not that I'll always use the source, but having it transparent is a fair indicator that someone might have spotted the worst of the issues. And if push comes to shove, then you can get your hands dirty and fix stuff. I've heard bad stories about motec, link, and many others. Closed source = hidden issues. High price tags are no promise of quality. VEMS has had so many dodgy stories indicative of poor development practices and poor understanding and so forth, that without access to the code I'd never consider it for anything, period. Link is the goto ECU in NZ for almost everything. I'm not a huge fan, though. And you're talking at least double (if not much more) the cost of a typical ms2 based setup... hard to justify IMO.


Author:  dfarr67 [ Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

Well what can I do, the situation that I was in- the tuner worked on my 89 K1500 with the DynamicEFI in it, changed engines and did an OK job. I like the older Toyota's for size, quality and simplicity so decided to do a few upgrades that led to other upgrades- you know how it is.....and as a dealer he suggested going to the Vems, I trusted this primarily on a factory type assembled ecu on reliability reasons alone, I also would favor the tuners ecu of choice on familiarity alone. Regardless I understand the time factor as right now he perhaps doesn't want to invest the needed amount to get this thing going properly and do want to be stuck with an abortion for future work- also I'm not there personally to keep the ball rolling, my plans were to pick the vehicle up and deliver it to a reputable shop in Calgary, AB. So the question remains for me whether to try to salvage the Vems or have him buy it back as the truck never left the shop, and what to move on to. I've been looking around with my limited knowledge and you can appreciate the fact that I already have a bit of coin invested in a failure- allot of the research I have done is either dated a few years or so new the ecu's don't have a real track record- for engine management I don't need sequential- run off trigger wheel, MAP based, electric fans, no AC, manual trans, boost control (KKK turbo), no idle stepper motor, knock of course, EGT tied into water injection, WB x1. Been looking at Holley HP, Adaptronic seem to be inexpensive quality units. I wouldn't consider myself a Holley fanboy, in fact I avoid most of their products- but the ecu is made in Canada which is far better than the capital C source. I'm also aware of diminishing returns- cheap out on the ecu add up the shop hours.

Nowhere does the Holley say it can run with 36-1 wheel. ... ts/554-113

Author:  dfarr67 [ Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

OK, I will admit that I have a general interest in EFI and do all mechanical work myself- when I can. I prefer to leave EFI to someone who is intimate with it, I find that I have to revisit tuning once a year and need to relearn- so I would rather leave this to someone who deals with it on a everyday basis. I'm also familiar with soldering but for the sake of reliability would rather have the MS bought assembled,which brings up dodgy venders. For all about reliability and how to reduce the chances of potential problems, and believe me- I'm a magnet for Murphy.

Author:  adamw [ Wed Apr 29, 2015 5:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

I have a similar feeling to Baldur - in that from what you have posted here it seems very much like a tuner problem. The VEMS certainly has some quirks but generally isn't too difficult to get it to work. 5 minutes with a scope attached to the trigger and a coil would tell him straight away if the problem is on the input or output side of the ecu - from there it should be simple to eliminate or work around the problem. i.e it will probably only need a trigger change or the coil wiring changed to wasted spark and it will be a runner.
If you really want to change the ecu to a non-diy type then there are many options for a simple engine like that. If that link was cheap then that will do fine and has good support from head office even if you don't buy from a local dealer. Another suggestion: Recently I have installed a couple of the Polish "EMU" ecu's and will say they are now my preferred option for low cost installs and are pretty hard to beat value wise:
Seq up to 6cyl, built in wideband, built in ign amps, traction control, "protection strategies", 2 x knock, 2 x egt, CL boost control, stepper control, many spare inputs and outputs, good software and PC logging, all for about usd900 (with connectors).

Author:  dfarr67 [ Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Standalone selection for Toyota 4runner

Problems with the tuner or perhaps a defective Vems, I suppose in a month we'll see- my intention right now is to pull the truck into another facility.

But if the choice is to replace the Vems, I have been looking at:

Holley HP for this application, for my '89 K1500 perhaps the Dominator for a future 4L60E transmission update, LS cnp.


Will look into the EMU

Interesting enough the Holley is relatively local.

PS I'm a new member- my responses are being delayed so I'm probably repeating info.

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