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2004 Forester XT
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109 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I finally bit the bullet on the AP (should arrive today) for my 04 XT Auto. I'm running a Speedtech catted TBE and an SPT short ram intake.

I was hoping for an opensource tune, but since I keep getting put off, I thought I'd better be safe than sorry (track day next week).

I read all about using the stock intake and how OTS maps leave alot on the table, etc, etc. But I found the Cobb forum for XT's to be largely worthless.

So what I'm wondering is:

Do any users have some advise for me? Or tips and tricks?
Are the Cobb e-tunes worth anything?
I might like to do some custom maps myself in the future. But I think I've got alot of learning to do before this happens.

This car is mostly a daily driver, couple track days a year, maybe some SCCA in the future, but it's still gotta get to work on Monday. So I figured I didn't need an amazing dyno protune for the commute, and switching maps sounds nice.

I see other guys using the AP till' they get to a point where they get a super-duper dyno'd opensource tune, then sell the AP on the forum. That might be the direction I'm heading.

Bottom line, this is like my 3rd major hobby, so I'll never be an expert, and I'm not super deep in the local Suby community, hence getting back burnered by the local opensource guys.

Any advise welcome. Thanx
 

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Premium Member
2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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10,254 Posts
Just put the stock intake in and flash a stage-2 map.

If you were worried about how much would be left on the table, then you should probably not have gotten an AP and looked into other avenues. I'm opening up to opensource tuning, but still don't believe in it for big power. I don't feel like the factory ECU has enough capacity to handle knock as correctly as it should be handled.

If you want to learn tuning, I learned loads from the Megasquirt forums. That's a GREAT place to find info on methods of approach for tuning and things like that.
 

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8,844 Posts
Accessport and opensource basically accomplish the same thing. You can get a protune with either, however the accessport has the ability to swap maps quickly, and has some built in failsafes. A good protuner will tune it on a dyno and the street and will be able to do both the AP and opensource route, so no real reason to get rid of the AP. A real protune will be much better than some local guy messing around with opensource software, I'd go somewhere that has customer support etc for a tune rather than some guy with a laptop.
 

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2,132 Posts
For bolt-on mods, I trust the stock ECU as long as it's tuned by someone who knows what they are doing. If you have the money to spare, I think the AP is a good investment, especially if you start tinkering with Access Tuner Race.
 

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Premium Member
2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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10,254 Posts
accessport has the ability to swap maps quickly, and has some built in failsafes.
Quickly is not a word to describe how an AP switches maps. It switches maps, and you don't need a laptop to do it. You cant simply push a button and go from one mild pump gas map to an aggressive pump gas map like that. The only thing that'll do that is the Utec.

I dont know what failsafes the AP has built in. I'd say none other than what the stock ECU already has.

The AP isn't bad if you aren't going much beyond stage 2. I'd say you could get one, use the OTS maps as they are. When you are finally happy with your setup, get a few custom maps made by a professional tuner, on a dyno, who does more than just auto-tunes the car, and call it done.

Like Zumble says, the stock ECU is fine... up to a point. There is a finite limit where I simply don't trust it's ability to satisfactorily control large amounts of knock. This isn't a problem with stock turbos and relatively low boost. But when you get into the "big boy" range, it just wont do. Not in my mind. It only takes one det event to blow an engine.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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109 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanx to everybody for the quick replys.

I'll do some poking around on Megasquirt, and Access Tuner Race is was I was gonna eventually start trying stuff with.

The only other engine mods I was thinking about were the catless up-pipe, sti turbo/intercooler, and maybe a header (but those are some time away, unless I stumble on the deal of the century). If I discover I "need" more than that I'll look into a more dedicated racer, rather than a multi-purpose vehicle.

Thanx again, and keep it comin'. I'll try to soak up as much as possible.
 

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2,132 Posts
There are "tuners" out there that auto tune the cars!!!?? GAH!!!

I just want to be clear that the AP (reflashes) can be used on high-power setups, they just have to be tuned properly. If you're chasing big power, and riding the edge to get there, something with more failsafes would be a good idea, but that's not to say the AP can't handle say a 500hp setup.

Quickly is not a word to describe how an AP switches maps. It switches maps, and you don't need a laptop to do it. You cant simply push a button and go from one mild pump gas map to an aggressive pump gas map like that. The only thing that'll do that is the Utec.

I dont know what failsafes the AP has built in. I'd say none other than what the stock ECU already has.

The AP isn't bad if you aren't going much beyond stage 2. I'd say you could get one, use the OTS maps as they are. When you are finally happy with your setup, get a few custom maps made by a professional tuner, on a dyno, who does more than just auto-tunes the car, and call it done.

Like Zumble says, the stock ECU is fine... up to a point. There is a finite limit where I simply don't trust it's ability to satisfactorily control large amounts of knock. This isn't a problem with stock turbos and relatively low boost. But when you get into the "big boy" range, it just wont do. Not in my mind. It only takes one det event to blow an engine.
 

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Premium Member
2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
Joined
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10,254 Posts
There are "tuners" out there that auto tune the cars!!!?? GAH!!! It's not to say the AP can't be used on highpower setups because they have been, they just have to be tuned properly. If you're chasing big power and riding the edge to get there, something with more failsafes would be a good idea but that's not to say the AP can't handle say a 500hp setup.
I know of one tuner who had a great rep for "pro-tuning" the AP. All he would tune were AP's, and he'd charge $350 a tune.

It eventually came out of the wash that his "stage 1" and "stage 2" tunes were simply re-named OTS stage-1 and OTS stage-2 tunes. For other setups, he would either pilfer other peoples posted maps, load them and call it good. Or he would use the auto-tuning features and let the AP handle itself.

Big stink. I don't believe he tunes anymore.

I've seen a LOT of blown motors in my day. The majority of them that blew making big power, were using AP's or Opensource. It COULD be the tuner, but it's an awful unlikely coincidence if it was.

I think there is a finite limit. I'd say anything under "stage 2+" and an AP is fine. It's easy to use, easy to tune, and the stock ECU can wrangle VF turbos pretty well. But if you get into the world outside stock equipment turbos, thing begin to fall apart. I remain unconvinced that the stock ECU has the capacity to efficiently and appropriately handle large amounts of detonation. I just don't think it can do it well.

Honestly, I wish Subaru would do a MAJOR re-design to their ECM. I mean, the low-throttle, low-speed bucking issue has existed since the late 80's. No other car in the world does it, and Subaru seems to struggle with it. I drove my MIL's 6MT X3 the other day. At idle, in 1st gear, it was smooth as butter.
 
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