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Tuning advice

I myself don't know much about tuning. I understand the basis of most of it but not the entirety
of how it is done. I found this article from one of our sponsors very helpful
Hondata Notes
These notes were taken by Darren Kattan and William Davidson of Hybrid Racing Enjoy

Myth Busters

Performance wise, backpressure is never a good thing.

Cold Air Intakes work well, opt for plastic instead of metal. Metal intakes conduct heat. AEM
V2 intakes are good because of the Resonance Point and also the heat shield.

Headers decrease backpressure and are great to tune on RSX motors because you can set valve
overlap for cylinder scavaging.

A good exhaust system also helps decrease the backpressure.

Mugen Chips disable most error codes so problems won’t get detected. They run extremely rich
and can cause damage to engine.
The processor inside of OBD 2 ECUs is read only, non reprogrammable

VTEC should be a very smooth transition. VTEC feels faster when it “kicks” because a person is
better at feeling an instant change in horsepower than an overall increase in horsepower.

Peak horsepower isn’t nearly as important to going fast as average horsepower.

Peak Horsepower is the highest point on the graph

Average horsepower is the area under the entire graph

Stock Honda fuel pumps can support up to 400 hp at stock rail pressure
They can only support 200 hp at 75 psi. rail pressure
FMUs and Aftermarket Fuel pressure regulators can raise fuel pressure to 75+ psi. This is why
aftermarket fuel pumps have to be used in conjunction with an FMU.
FMUs also overwork injectors and fuel pump, causing them to heat the fuel, and decreasing their

High Octane fuel doesn’t vaporize immediately; it will melt pistons on the exhauststroke.
Always use the lowest octane possible for your application to ensure complete combustion.

Need new young blood in salt flats for racing in Bonneville.

Resonance point (bottle blowing) on AEM 3500rpm V2 is 5900 rpm. The longer the pipe, the
lower the resonance point. At 4000, will also help 8000.

Knock Sensor Retards Timing. It is very sensitive in the RSX.

Forged Pistons can cause knock sensor to retard timing.

Air Fuel Ratio Determined on Dyno will generally run 1 half point richer on the street.

On an RSX, the wideband sensor doesn’t give out a linear voltage output, it is current driven
(digital). Don’t hook it up to an Air Fuel Ratio gauge. Hook the gauge to the Narrowband sensor

When tuning, set the Rev limit 500 rpm above peak horsepower

03 Civic SI 0-60 time can decrease by an entire second by raising the Redline 500 rpm above the
peak horsepower. Change Redline to 7600.
This increases the Average horsepower because you are adding a huge chunk of area to the
Don’t set past 8300. Valves will start bouncing.

03+ RSX Type S Valves bounce at 9300; Redline can safely be set to 8600. Internals are the
same as the Type R. 8600 is the Type R redline.

Injectors and Fuel Pumps

Use Saturated injectors whenever possible

Huge Peak and Hold injectors don’t respond fast enough on Hondas and can cause rough idle.

Use bigger injectors on superchargers especially because they take more fuel than turbos to make
the same amount of power.

Part Throttle Tuning

Part Throttle tuning is very important and hard to do. Most street cars spend 99.9% of their lives
at part throttle.

Part Throttle Tuning results in overall better gas mileage.

A turbocharged GS-R can retain 33 mpg fuel economy when part throttle is properly tuned.
Dyno Tuning Procedure with Hondata

Set distributor to stock setting (16 degrees on B series)

Disable closed loop.

Set fuel pressure to stock.

Tune low VTEC first (Refer to VTEC tuning)

Make sure water temp is between 180-195 degrees according to the ECU
There are two coolant temperature sensors on B series, one for ECU and one for gauge.

Let Transmission warm up.

Watch Intake Air Temperature, keep it consistent.

Hondata intake manifold gasket keeps manifold temperatures consistent
Heat transfers very quickly from the aluminum intake manifold to the air going into the engine.
Run car at 3000 RPM for 10 seconds to cool intake manifold before dyno run.

When tuning, use computer to disable knock sensor. Knock sensor can and will
retard ignition timing causing false readings.

For Naturally Aspirated cars, ideal Air/Fuel ratio at Wide Open Throttle is 13.0 – 13.5

For Forced Induction cars, ideal Air/Fuel ratio at Wide Open Throttle is 11.5-12.5

10% change in fuel will change A/F Ratio about 1 point.

Listen for knock; don’t rely on stock B series knock sensor.

Fuel Curve will be shaped very similarly to the torque curve.

The most fuel will be needed at peak torque
Remove fuel after peak torque
On K-Series engines, 5+ horsepower can be realized by removing fuel from the top end.
However, if the car is made of long distant high speed driving, more fuel will increase reliability.
(That is why Honda put the fuel there in the first place)

When tuning for emissions, add 5 degrees timing between 1200-3500 rpm, use launch control to
heat cat.
When using ROM Editor, always check for newest versions of ROM files. (File, Convert Rom)

Numbers on fuel map represent how much fuel is delivered per revolution (Representative of
Injector Duration).

Restrictive intakes cause torque (fuel) to drop out at higher RPMs.

Watch map sensor value at high RPM to see if it goes into vacuum.
By installing a better flowing intake, more air can be crammed in the cylinder and therefore more
fuel will be needed at higher RPMs. This will increase high end performance.

Forced Induction vehicles generally have flat fuel (torque) curves.

Fuel curves in 2D mode should be flat not bumpy. They should never intersect. Usually a 4-2-4
ratio. 4 lines on bottom, 2 in middle, 4 on top. Boost curved will be very flat and smooth.
VTEC Tuning

Tune low VTEC maps first, then tune high VTEC maps
Set VTEC very high (7000) then set VTEC low (3000)

Nitrous Tuning

Dry kits are easier to tune with Hondata than wet kits.

Begin tuning by adding a lot of fuel and measure air/fuel ratio. Cut back fuel until ideal air/fuel
ratio is achieved.

On cars where rev limit is fuel based wet nitrous systems can provide enough fuel to keep
the engine spinning beyond the redline, but not enough to do this safely. The engine can lean out
and severely damage your car. To prevent this, set the nitrous to shut off before hitting the
Data Logging

Rom Editor has 10 channel data logging across top of screen.

Hondalogger has 40 channels of data logging

Map sensor drop off because of Ventury effect or restrictive intake. Plug map sensorclose to the
#4 intake. Bigger throttle body, non restrictive intake.

Intake manifold acts as a big heat sink. Disperses heat into the intake air. Hondata gasket reduces
intake air temperature, gives more part throttle power because air in the manifold is colder and

Clean IAT sensor. Sometimes can get covered in oil.

Ram air effect measured by map sensor.

Hondalogger can read long and short term fuel trim. Also can log multiple recordings in one file.

Fuel trim is dependant on O2 sensor. Make sure you have a good O2 sensor after you are
finished tuning. Fuel trim gets screwed up with bad O2 sensor

Don’t run injectors past 80% duty cycle.

IAT sensor adjusts fuel.


Can plug in numbers for LSU sensor.

Auto tune
Good tuners don’t use auto tune. Requires a set amount of time at each RPM.

K-series Tuning

Look up cam angle, then look at ignition at that cam angle, then look at fuel at that cam angle.

To do high cam, set all cam angles to 50, then tune fuel and ignition. Ignition doesn’t change
much; fuel can change up to 10% between all maps.

When engine is cold, cam is set to fully retarded position. Takes 10 seconds from start
for engine warm up procedures to take effect and for cam to unlock.

.5 degree per click for ignition timing for K series, .25 degree per click for OBD 1

RSX wideband is very accurate.

Don’t let anyone believe that setting VTC (cam timing) at one fixed point will help anything.
(VTC killer cam gear)

Set Closed loop to 110 kPa for boost

Honda doesn’t trust Americans to put good fuel in their cars, so they tune for crap fuel.

Increase overlap accordingly; see VTC and Turbo, NA and SC.

Honda planned for 3-2 shifts by tuning the exhaust springs.

Retard for emissions, advance for power.

With header and intake, advance cam timing 5-10 degrees.

Overlap allows for header to pull air throw intake and into cylinder.

Cam and Camcmd is a sensor that tells the ECU where the cam is.

Put cam at maximum advance when VTEC engages.

Take baffle out of exhaust before dyno tune.

Bracketing, raise cam timing (+5), and then lower it (-5), see at what points you gain and lose

VTEC and Turbos

Retard VTEC and raise VTEC for high backpressure


Just before VTEC switch, start moving the cam to where it needs to be after VTEC (needs to be
all the way advanced for VTEC so start advancing) so that it doesn’t have to move 30 degrees at
the VTEC engagement point.

Really hard on a turbo motor.

Wild Cams

Raise Idle Speed, Retard VTC.

VTC and Superchargers

VTC likes to be at 50 degrees for superchargers all the time. High and low cam. Loves overlap.
Advance means more overlap. More boost doesn’t mean more power, because the pressure in the
manifold is building when the cams aren’t set right. This is why other vehicle manufacturers use