We are finally going to a stand-alone ECU in our Project Evo IX with Link Engine Managment! Since the beginning, our car has been tuned with ECU flash, an open sourced tuning solution for the OEM ECU. However, we had run into the limitations of the stock ECU. One, ECU flash being open sourced does not have all of the ECU’s controls adjustable. We were having issues with idle control and going into closed loop correctly with larger injectors. We also wanted to get rid of the odd and problematic, especially in a car with a big cam, Mitsubishi-centric Karman Mass Airflow Meter. We also wanted to be able to run flex fuel and this was not possible with the stock ECU in its current development. ECU flash is not like a Cobb Access port where the Cobb team continually updates and improves the interface. It is basically free, community-based shareware.
We wanted more control of our car’s engine but we also wanted to keep the reliable OEM connectors and wire harness and the clean and reliable OEM mounting of everything. Fortunately for us, Link Engine Managment makes a developed plug and play ECU for our Evo IX that installs right into the OEM ECU housing! We selected Links Evolink IX PLug and Play ECU for our next major upgrade.
The Evolink is basically Link’s G4 Extreme ECU but with the circuit board modified to fit in the OEM ECU case and the factory connectors to plug directly into the OEM wire harness for an easy and clean as a whistle install. Using the Link ECU is now going to give us full control of our engine with its many features. This is going to be very important because we want to run flex fuel and to integrate our AEM water injection into the mix. We are particularly interested in these of the many features the ECU offers.
- Up to six fuel and ignition maps: This will be useful because we want to have several operating modes. E85, Pump Gas, variable blends of the two and water injection for enhancing performance with pump gasoline and for track use thermal control on E85 and high boost.
- Precision closed loop cam control: So we can take advantage of the Evo IX’s intake variable cam timing to improve low end and mid-range torque and to use to limit cylinder pressure to reduce knock on 91 octane fuel mode.
- OEM Idle hardware supported: Poor idle control with our Cosworth M2 cams has always been an issue with ECU flash. We will get our car to have a more stable idle with our new Link!
- 3 switchable boost control tables: This is going to be very handy with our flex-fuel plus water injection scheme.
- Antilag, launch control and no lift to shift are all available: Launch control and no lift to shift were great additions to our STI and we want to do it on the Evo to aid it’s sometimes-balky shifting. We want to do a mild version of anti-lag on our car as well.
- On board 4 bar MAP sensor: We are going to speed density to get rid of the weird Karman Mass Airflow Sensor. Having a built-in MAP sensor is a great addition to our system and saves us the trouble of mounting and configuring an external one.
- Knock control with windowing: Knock control is very useful but sometimes the ECU can mistake other mechanical noises like multi-disc clutch rattle, exhaust system ringing and even injector noise for knocking and take action on them upon detection mistakenly. By windowing, the user can define the knock sensors operating area where the ECU will look for knock and correct it, this way a lot of false knock correction actions can be avoided. The OEM Evo ECU is infamous for being sensitive to false knock and the Link’s windowing feature should help avoid this.
- External CAN port for daisy chaining various multiplexed devices: This will help us integrate the ethanol content and wideband air fuel ratio sensor into our system
The Link Evolink ECU has tons more neat features that you can read about here but these listed above are the ones we are the most interested in for our project.
To use all of the features that we wanted to use for our new link system we got some additional parts with our Evolink. To be able to use some additional sensors for flex fuel and controls for our water injection we got the XS Expansion loom so we could wire these into our ECU. Of course, we got an ethanol content sensor for flex-fuel use. A fluid pressure sensor for closed-loop control of our water injection system and an intake air temperature sensor.
The Evolink ECU has an OEM connector so the stock wiring harness plugs right in. This avoids having to come up with a new wiring harness or butchering up the reliable OEM harness with potentially unreliable splices. The Evolink ECU itself is a ruggedized circuit board that fits inside the OEM ECU case. The board features surface mount components and coatings to protect them. Every Link ECU is subjected to a 9-hour burn in QC test. Typically an ECU or any electronic component that is going to fail will do so in the first few hours of operation and a burn-in test will catch these units before they can get into the customer’s hands. Burn-in tests are usually reserved for high end and critical electronic components like aerospace use parts.