The work that ECUTEK has put into improving their already market leading software is nothing sort of astonishing! We are fortunate to have a close working relationship with Ecutek from their start back in 2002 and since then the two companies have worked incredibly closely with Litchfield often suppling their development cars and help with beta testing of new software and ideas. Chief amongst this relationship has been the Nissan GT-R with the Litchfield supplied Ecutek GT-R being the 2nd car into the country.
We were the first to use the fledgling Ecutek GT-R software which initially just removed the Speed limiters – how far have they come! We later supplied them with the then new 2011 GT-R for development of the new style ECU and had a world first when we used the Ecutek software to install the later gearbox software in the earlier GT-R models.
Their RaceRom Custom maps feature was a huge leap forward when it was introduced in Version 4 firmware not only in GT-R tuning but OEM ECU tuning in general. For the first time the tuner could choose to write their own unique code and step out of the confines of the original ECU setup. These features have been refined with subsequent versions and have helped us provide not only more power but additional safety thanks to their integration of extra trips to monitor then engine and guard against sensor or component failure.
This latest release represents another massive step thanks to the introduction of Live Tuning. Along with US tuners AMS Performance and Visconti Tuning we were ask to help with the Beta development of this exciting new update some time ago and it will transform how we tune these cars.
Now we are able to adjust almost every map within the ECU live. Previously the tuning was done through recording the engine performance, reviewing the data, turning the car off and programming before repeating the process. There is obviously a large timing saving to be had with live tuning which means we will be more efficient at refining each calibration but more importantly we will also be able to make subtle changes to the setup that simply can’t be felt or easily presented by just reviewing data. Clutch engagement, torque control and partial throttle mapping with be significantly improved now we can instantly replicated conditions and make live changes.
We have also been working hard on improving the injector and fuel control within the ECU to futher improve driveability and fuel consumption of our calibrations. We have used our Maha dyno which has a 5 gas Analyser that not only measures the normal fuel mixture like most dyno but uniquely in the UK it can also individually measure the emission of Hydro Carbons (unburnt fuel), NOx and CO. With Live tuning we are able to refine our setup with the dyno and instantly adjust the ECU to reduce the emissions and optimise the engine efficiency.
Our relationship with Ecutek has helped us innovate and provide our customers with the very best tuning solutions for the GT-R. Without Ecutek, and it’s incredibly talented staff, working so hard to always improve the GT-R tuning scene would be very different.
General Version 8 Tuning Information
For some time we have been working with beta software from Ecutek which has led to the full release of our Version 8 Nissan GT-R maps. We utilised of our own GT-Rs running this new firmware which included a 2010, 2012 and 2018 models with power ranging from Stage 1 to our Billet 4.6 litre engine, so whatever the specification of your GT-R we’re working hard to improve our upgrades.
Ecutek have created some incredibly powerful updates to their Firmware in this latest version with many of the behind the scenes setup parameters being improved along with the incredibly powerful Live tuning option which has allowed us to build more effective calibrations for the upgrades we offer.
Key features for Litchfield Version 8 maps:
Below are some of the key elements we feel enhance the our new Version 8 software
We are now able to adjust almost every map within the ECU live which allows for a more efficient us of time as we refine each calibration and more importantly we will also be able to make subtle changes to the setup that simply can’t be observed by reviewing the traditional data logs. Clutch engagement, torque control and partial throttle mapping can be significantly improved using both our dyno and road tuning to instantly change the calibration.
Increased number of custom maps.
Ecutek have done a phenomenal job of squeezing more custom maps into their latest firmware. For those that don’t know Custom maps is a unique Ecutek feature that allows an experienced tuner to write their own custom code by taking a variety of inputs and perform calculations to provide a unique output. Even cleverer is that many of these outputs can then be adjusted live using the Ecutek app which is also configurable by the tuner. The more custom maps available means more unique calculations and special feature that can be created. Our Version 8 software makes significant use of these from simply increasing the resolution of key standard maps to creating our own unique traction control setup or adjustable pop & bangs.
Improved performance on normal Unleaded Fuel
With Ecutek’s improved map resolution and extra control (especially in SD mode) we have been able to spend more time revising our different octane map and particular our Unleaded fuel maps. We spent considerable time on these in our 2018 GT-R Track Edition on the dyno and on the roads and tracks around Europe. We had previously developed our Unleaded calibration on vehicles used on circuit as track experience cars so we have a really good understand how the lower octane effects the engines performance. The new software allows us to tune the engine more effectively for this fuel which has in turn allowed us to safely release extra performance. On our Stage 4 power level this will allow the engine to produce around 600bhp making it a viable to operate on full time in areas that can’t easily get Super Unleaded at the pumps.
Safety trip integration
The new safety features within the Ecutek software can save your pride and joy! When we first had access to custom maps we were able to develop our own safety features within our software but now Ecutek has not only hard coded these into their latest firmware but they have taken it much further with additional inputs and integrated torque reduction strategies for a host of key parameters. The ECU will also now log the fault so if you experience a potential problem then you can easy check the cause of the safety trip within the Ecutek App or send us a data log for us to review. If the ECU reads a measurement outside our pre-set parameters it will trigger the Engine Warning light to flash and will put the car into a limp mode for a short period or until the engine is restarted.
The key safety measures that we have implemented in our Version 8 software:
Revised Fuel and Boost Control
It has always been our aim to improve the fuel and boost control of the engine. We have revised our injector scaling as a result of our Live tuning testing and this has allowed a for more accurate injector size and setup within the ECU calibrations.
With better control over the engines fuelling we’re able to safely increase our power output. Improvements to the atmospheric pressure control now allow for tighter control over both boost and fuelling when faced with changes in altitude and enhancing the driving experience.
Wastegate Duty maps have been created for different altitudes enable us to set the base tables differently and allow the ECU to blend between the two as the atmospheric conditions change.
New Turbo dynamic control settings allows us to control the boost more precisely including improvements to the way the ECU adjusts boost during gear changes and launch events.
Pops and Bangs with added burble
We first introduced the popular Pop’s and Bang’s feature on our Version 4 software and we have continued to revise and refine these maps. Designed for cars with no Catalytic convertors it produces loud crackles, burbles and flames on the overrun. Designed for Off Road and Track use only this feature can be turned off when driving on the road as it is only available in one of the driver selectable modes and when the suspension is switched into Race mode.
Speed Density Tuning (Recommended for 640bhp / Stage 4+ power levels)
Our recommendation for the higher performance 640bhp Stage 4+ power levels is to switch to our new Version 8 Speed Density (SD) tuning. In standard form the ECU is only able to see the temperature from the MAF sensor at the intake filter which doesn’t reflect how the engine and the cooling systems are performing. Typically on tuned GT-Rs this temperature sensor has moved from the original thick plastic casing to a thinner aluminium intake which will see larger fluctuations in temperature that can affect the accuracy of the calibration.
Speed Density tuning moves the main ECU input from airflow at the MAF sensors and replaces it with pressure in the intake manifold. Not only does this give improved resolution but adds additional safety as we use the charge air temperature sensor to measure the heat that is actually entering the engine and correct it when it becomes too high. When populated correctly this detailed 3D map gives us additional control thanks to precise engine load calculations that help both power and drivability.
In addition to the main input to the ECU now using SD Density we can also use the charge air temperature to calculate/compensate for real time changes on actual air temp which results in a tighter boost control strategy, improved ignition timing and fuel corrections when under high or low temperature conditions.
Our SD kit includes a new genuine Nissan boost sensor with an in-built temperature sensor for OE reliability and uses a plug and play link lead to connect to the MAF sensor temperature input to the ECU. Both MAF sensors are retained and can still be used to log intake air flow for fault diagnostics and data acquisition. They are also available if the car needs to be reverted back to a standard in the future.
Fuel Pressure sensor (Highly Recommended)
Installation of a fuel pressure sensor allows us to further enhance the fuel strategies to provide tighter control of fuelling at low pulse widths with compensation for battery voltage and fuel pressure. The standard system assumes linear scaling for the small OE injectors but by using these improved 3D maps we can provide a more realistic injector profile for larger injectors with closed loop feedback.
The fuel pressure loop also allows us to provide additional compensation to the fuelling if external factors affect the fuel supply. For example on a track event in Portugal our 2018 demonstrator GT-R required no trim corrections with a fresh tank of fuel and cool conditions. As ambient temperature conditions rose to 35degrees+ and the car was low on fuel the compensation pre-emptively adjusted the fuel demand to maintain the correct mixture meaning the standard ECU calculations had to make very little adjustment from after the combustion events. This helped maintain a consistent performance throughout the day.
Another major advantage to installing the sensor is it gives an additional active safety trip to help keep your engine protected if there was a loss of fuel pressure. The standard Version 8 trips work by monitoring the combustion of the engine and if it has run lean for a period of time it will help trigger the safety trip. Using the sensor means we can trigger the safety trip prior to the engine running lean, ideal for catching faulty fuel pumps or fuel cavitation from high temperature and pressure in the tank.
The fuel pressure sensor and SD conversion are standard items on all our new Track Edition and future GT-R specials we sell new at Litchfield because of the improvements they bring to both performance and reliability.
Version 8 Litchfield Traction Control
Our Version 5 traction control system was widely praised, Version 6 & 7 lifted it to completely different level and Version 8 makes similar improvements.
Whether it is living with these cars daily or the days we spent at Paul Ricard circuit or the multiple trips to the Nurburgring or Silverstone circuits, the Litchfield Traction Control has been thoroughly tested and refined.
EcuTek’s own traction control setup has great straight line traction modelling, especially during the launch stage but being able to keep the best bits of this set and combine it with what we have developed over the years has provided, in our view, the most advanced Traction Control solution for the GT-R with over 6 additional calculations over the example Ecutek Traction Control released to their dealer network.
Unique to the Litchfield Traction Control system are multiple layers of custom maps that vary the level of assistance throughout each stage of a bend. The improvements are pretty astonishing. You can get on the throttle earlier with just the right amount of power delivered to the wheels so that the tyres balance on the edge of grip. Even in the lower gears the power never feels blunted or restricted, instead the car feels like it has amazing grip through the bend and excellent traction under acceleration.
Using the Phone App the driver can adjust the sensitivity of the system and then when it is does kick in the driver can adjust the amount of intervention the traction control delivers. The Litchfield Traction Control allows a flexible safety net that allows the driver to get the most out of their car in any condition.
We learnt pretty early on in our traction control development that you can’t always just reduce the boost to find traction. Some of the larger power GT-R will spin all four wheels even on their lowest boost settings. To compensate for this we provide not only adjustable boost in the early gears but also limited the Torque level using throttle opening, ignition and fuel to reduce the engine power levels. We have also made this adjustable within the Smart Phone App so the driver can tailor this to their car, tyres and environmental conditions.
Our Version 8 Launch control is greatly improved with more precise control over the launch rpm, torque application and boost off the line. Both the Launch RPM and Boost Of The Line are adjustable within the Ecutek Smart Phone App or on the Steering wheel to suit the conditions.
Rolling launch is another feature included in the Version 8 software, this allows the driver to fix a vehicle speed whilst the engine build boost. The car is then released with a pre-defined amount of boost exactly when the driver needs it rather than flooring the throttle and waiting for the car to accelerate and come onto boost. It is designed for off road (airfield) Roll Racing where two cars can be travelling next to each other before accelerating hard.
The feature is effective on the standard turbo cars but really designed for the big power GTR’s which would be slower to come onto boost due to their turbo size.
The Graph below shows the difference in time between a larger turbo GTR with and without the feature enabled.
As you can see there is a significant improvement in acceleration time (1.8sec) with the Rolling Launch switch on.
Each engine setup needs this feature tweaked to suit the turbos that are installed and the level of boost they are comfortable to run.
Litchfield Version 8 and Ecutek ECU Connect Bluetooth Interface
To utilise all of the new interactive features you will need to upgrade the firmware in the ECU. This allows user of the new Ecutek Bluetooth EVI and take advantage of all the extra features.
The default settings for our Version 8 ECU Connect App is laid out as follows:
– Torque Limit 1st Gear
– Torque Limit 2st Gear
– Traction Control Sensitivity
– Traction Control Intervention
– Pops & Bangs Intensity
The ECU Connect layout is configurable so we can tailor it suit each customer should they require a bespoke setup.
Drivers can use the App to perform more convenient Data logging with just a tap of the screen and easily email the results straight from the phone. Data logging has been extended to log both the engine ECU and gearbox TCM at the same time. Perfect for fine tuning and faster fault finding.
ECU Connect also allows for Nissan GT-R Special Tools functions. These let you perform the routine service adjustments such as; Idle Air Learn, Clutch Learning, Clutch touch point adjustment, Launch counter check, ECU Resets – directly from within the app
As well as being able to control custom features on the GT-R the ECU Connect also has a number of other great features that are transferable to most other makes and models.
ECU Connect Standard Features
These features are available for most vehicles via generic OBD2 support, but some do not apply to all models:
If you don’t already have the ECU Connect Bluetooth interface these available from stock for £180 Inc. VAT (£150+vat)
You can download the ECU Connect App free of charge from the Apple Store and Google Play store. The App will allow you to run the software in demo mode to test some of the available features.
Version 8 Transmission Calibration
A Version 8 TCM calibration must be installed to take full advantage of all the extra features.
To take full advantage of the latest firmware improvements the Transmission Control Module (TCM) calibration must also be updated. Once installed it allows greater logging speeds, additional information to be sent to the Engine Control Unit (ECU) for improved safety features and with faster data transfer other strategies such as traction control can be further enhanced.
On top of the firmware improvements available through the TCM calibration we are also able to implement a number of standard features including:
Nissan firmware improvements found within the software such as those developed for the Nismo and later model cars can also be applied to early models to bring them up to date.
We also offer TCM custom tuning options where we can also provide greater personalisation of shift points, automatic up-shift setup and increased torque reduction during gear changes for improved shift feel. These are ideal for extreme power or competition cars.
If you have any questions about our tuning please feel free to contact us.