Ferrari 360 Engine ECU Tuning

Over the last five years or so I have been working on a number of projects relating to ECU modification and repair.  Throughout I have been collaborating with two key people: Software programming whizz (and all round Ferrari nutter) 360Trev and Master Ferrari technician Ed Blasi.  When Ed came to work with me at AV Engineering two years ago things really started to take off.  Over the last six months we have been releasing our first wave of ECU upgrades focussed on the Ferrari 360 engine ECUs.

Our first efforts were aimed at eliminating the sometimes annoying “features” of the 360 engine ECU such as:

  • Disabling the immobiliser function, either for convenience or necessity following a malfunction.
  • Widening catalytic converter efficiency monitoring for those people running sports cats (or no cats at all).
  • Altering the EVAP system monitoring so that a loose fuel cap doesn’t generate a CEL.
  • Changing the exhaust valve opening parameters for a little more noise.

In addition we also developed a few patches to fix what we had identified as weak areas:

  • Our Instant Torque Patch removes the delay between throttle pedal and throttle plate.  Ferrari had an algorithm that decided what throttle angle to move the throttle plate to based on the position of the pedal and a few other factors.  This patch removes the interpretation – if the pedal is 50% down, the plate will be 50% open, and so on.
  • Our Cold Start Calibration Patch has been borne out of a near 20 year search that Ed and I have undertaken.  Some 360 engine ECUs report misfires when the car has been left to sit overnight.  The engine isn’t actually misfiring but the ECU thinks that it is and reports accordingly.  This patch eliminates this problem.  However it should be noted that it will not cure a genuine misfire, just the phantom misfires logged during the first few seconds of a cold start.

Furthermore we have developed a piece of software that allows us to removed the pairing between a RH ECU and the immobiliser.  This allows us to utilise a used RH ECU that would otherwise be rendered scrap by the original pairing.  It also permits the installation of a different (new or used) immobiliser without the need for brand new engine ECUs.

However, the really exciting developments have taken place with the fuelling and ignition tables.  Trevor has developed a piece of software that allows us to interrogate and modify the ECU code as if we were the original Bosch engineers.  One of the first things we worked out was how to switch the ECU operating mode between F1 and Manual transmission.  This means that an F1 ECU can be altered to work on a manual car and vice versa.  It also enables the conversion from F1 to manual without the need for a costly new ECU pair.

We spent a large amount of time comparing the different firmware version across all 360 models and some of the results were surprising….

  • All road going versions are tuned for emissions over power.
  • Manual cars are tuned for less power than F1 cars.
  • Federal spec cars are more tuned for emissions than Euro spec (at the expense of power).
  • MY99 versions have a host of features inactive, notably knock control.
  • As the years progressed the number of features and calibrations increased for the better.
  • However, the very last versions 2004/5 are heavily tuned for emissions (at the expense of power).
  • Challenge cars are tuned for outright power with no regard for efficiency or emissions.

After many months of testing we are now able to offer two significant upgrades, both of which that can be incorporated with any of the other features described above.  The first is a complete firmware upgrade that we are confident that can be applied to any 360.  It uses the most optimal version of the Challenge Stradale firmware which incorporates many calibrations and adjustments not present on earlier versions.  We take the CS fuelling and ignition tables as a starting point and have then re-calibrated them to work with the standard sized MAF sensors.  This will give a noticeable improvement in power and all round driveability.  For F1 equipped cars, combined with a CS TCU the effect is incredible.  A sports exhaust is recommended in order to get the best out of the car.

However, for those wanting more, we have developed a package that goes further.  We start by adjusting the engine timing as well as giving the car a service and new timing belts.  Once we’re happy that the engine is running perfectly then we apply our custom engine maps.  If we feel comfortable doing so, we can also raise the rev limit to 9,000 rpm.  A sports exhaust of some flavour is essential for this upgrade.  This week we finished this comprehensive engine upgrade for Sam Fane who runs the Seen Through Glass YouTube Channel.  I’ll let his reaction described the type of transformation it had on the car….

Other posts in this category: Engine and Drivetrain

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