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General SAFC Advice

Posted by Eric Eby, Sep 14, 2020 at 2:02 PM

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  1. Eric Eby

    Eric Eby Probationary Member

    Joined Sep 2, 2020
    Mankato, Minnesota
    Hey Guys,
    Looking to just get some feedback for anyone more familiar with this than I am. I have a 1997 GST I am simply looking to beef up a little. Big T28 turbo, 190 or 255 Fuel Pump and it seems I should probably do 550 or 660 injectors. Really not looking to go more than the T28 is cable of. Just north of 300hp would probably be my goal. My question is, would the Apexi Neo work just fine for me? I understand most feedback is going to be go with ECMLINK, but I cant get my hands on an ECU to save my life. Talked to ECMTuning and they are out of stock on the pieces to upgrade the 1997 ECUs. Occasionally I come across one posted, but its either a scam and the person via facebook stops responding to me or someone beat me to the punch and the item is sold. Getting tired of hunting down an ECU and leaning toward a Neo just to have a solution. Thanks in advance for any and all feedback!
  2. randman2011

    randman2011 Proven Member

    Joined Feb 26, 2012
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    ECMLink did say probably two weeks ago that their supply chains were starting up again, but they didn't specify what parts were becoming available soon other than the v3 cable. You can start with a fuel pump and AFPR now, since you don't need a tune for those. Charge pipe, BOV, and exhaust also won't require you to have a tuning solution sorted. You can start upgrading the basics now and give ECMTuning more time to get stuff together.

    Certainly for the price that ECMLink is offered, AFCs stopped being a useful option a decade ago, but I agree that parts scarcity changes the equation. You also have the option to pick up a 98+ flashable ECU and go that route, but the learning curve is steep with those. I would recommend doing everything you can that doesn't require tuning first and hold out for ECMLink becoming available soon.

    How long have you had the car? If it's new to you, it's always a good idea to get some preventative maintenance under your belt before you go turning up the power, since the average DSM owner treats these cars like garbage and you can count on things like original, 23 year old timing belts and coolant hoses that are ready to pop. Be sure that the car is ready for a little more power. Also at this age the plastic end tanks on the factory radiator like to blow; even if you don't need better cooling, replacing the radiator is a very good idea.

    You didn't hear this from me, but given how pitifully small the T28 is, if ECMLink still isn't available by the time you finish everything else, you can run a T28 at wastegate pressure on the stock tune. I did it for ~6 months in college while I also waited for ECMLink to become available again. And the rated maximum of 340hp for the T28 is VERY optimistic. I didn't find it to be a meaningful improvement over the factory T25 and dumped mine after only 18 months for an EVO III 16g, which I've been using for the past 8 years. I can see the application in autocross where full boost at 3100 instead of 2400 RPM is the difference between a podium finish and dead last and where the big increase in power isn't that beneficial, but on a street car the T28 was a complete waste of money for me and the significant performance jump to the MHI turbo is well worth the extra $200 for the 16g install kit.

    The way that an AFC controls larger injectors by scaling your airflow reading causes all kinds of problems that get worse the farther away from 100% the adjustments get. For example, it can't change the factory spark map, which thinks that your car isn't running as much boost because the airflow readings are low and gives you lots of advance at WOT. They're a relic of a time before we had the ability to do things properly, and that is truly where they belong. BUT. For how small of an upgrade a T28 is and since 550cc injectors aren't too much bigger than the stock 450cc, you can get away with an AFC without too much risk. If you get through the necessary maintenance and you upgrade everything that can be done without a tune and ECMLink is still unobtainable, AFC can be a last resort for you. Or, for a similar price, you can hunt down an EVO 8 ECU and 560cc injectors and run those without the need for lots of tuning. Or you can get the 98+ black box ECU, only adjust the tune for whatever injectors you have, and still be better off than fiddling with an AFC. I didn't realize until just now that the AFC NEO MSRPs for $550!

    (This is completely unrelated but I had a bizarre dream last night that I road tripped the 12 hours through Mankato to Gustavus Adolphus in my old Jimny. I just noticed that you're in Mankato and it's weirding me out a little. The only things that would make it weirder are if you were on your way to St. Olaf or if someone nuked Sioux Falls)
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020 at 2:53 PM

    Street Build 1K  1

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  3. Eric Eby

    Eric Eby Probationary Member

    Joined Sep 2, 2020
    Mankato, Minnesota
    Thank you very much! This is very helpful! Yes, actually been working on all the maintenance since I purchased it. I purchased a 255 Walbro, afpr installed, replaced fuel filter, replaced transmission fluids and filter, obviously oil and filter, reran turbo feed lines as someone tried to fix them and did a terrible job, 1g BOV, new belts, new alternator, actually have a new radiator on the way and still looking over a few more things. Then i will be starting on the Big T28, so if i could get by on the stock tune until link is available that would be perfect. This is not a daily driver, will only be a weekend driver once everything is done and wont be driven at all once winter in MN arrives so I wanted to have everything needed to start the project when it gets cold since I have a heated garage.

    I haven't ruled the 16g out yet, the Big T28 seems to get really good reviews and I talked to Extreme about it. Seems to fit my needs. Justin Whitesell is willing to sell me one and that may seal the deal. The car is in excellent shape and I want to basically keep it original in appearance since you dont see many in such great shape but with basic engine upgrades to really give it the additional bump it needs.

    Good to know that ECM's supply chains are starting back up. They didn't mention that to me. I will hold out for link and get all the parts ready.

    Really appreciate the advice!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020 at 3:15 PM
    randman2011 likes this.
  4. 2Gjunkie

    2Gjunkie Proven Member

    Joined Aug 5, 2020
    Baltimore, Maryland
    I guess it depends on what your ultimate car goals are. If all you want is a T28 with a quick and dirty fuel mod, SAFC/Neo will work. If you want something with more customization I would wait to get what you really want.

    General consensus is that you won’t hit fuel cut on a T28 with stock boost using the BCS. But by all means get wideband and boost gauges so you can have an idea of what your stock tune is trying to do once you put on a bigger turbo.

    Street Build 99  1

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GST
    manual · 2G DSM
    Eric Eby likes this.
  5. DSMPT

    DSMPT Proven Member

    Joined Jun 12, 2014
    Japan / Mexico, Arizona
    There are pros and cons but if you are not planning to modify more than what you stated above, yes a SAFC would be fine if you install and use it properly. And it would be easier and cheaper for you. I am still using a 25 years old SAFC on my daily 2G with a 16G, working just fine. That is not even with a blue screen.
    Generally an used AFC Neo would cost around $180-250, an used blue screen SAFC 1 or 2 is between $100-$150, older models without a blue screen would probably be $50-$100. No need to buy a new, you can find a lot of used units.
    The SAFC is universal and works with most of 80s, 90s 2000s JDM cars, so you can easily sell it when you switch to ECMLink or standalone.

    Drag Race Build 2K  3

    1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 1G DSM

    Street Build 2K  4

    1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · automatic · 2G DSM
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