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Thread: S52 Engine Management in a track car

  1. #1
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    Question S52 Engine Management in a track car

    My S50 went kaboom, so am shopping S52s. (Nope, I've decided against an S54. )
    It's a fully stripped track car, so the ECU needs to manage the engine only. Even the instrument cluster is optional.

    Would you:

    - Convert S52 to OBD1
    - Convert car to OBD2
    - Megasquirt or other

  2. #2
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    It is very easy to modify an E36 OBD2 engine harness to connect to the body of an OBD1 E36. You can also add an OBD2 connector inside the car(2 ground wires, 1 Bat+ wire, and 1 BUS wire) for using an OBD2 scan tool.
    Using RomRaider you can disable EWS, and all of the DTC for the OBD2 systems that are not fitted in the ODB1 bodies.
    Depending on how much a complete S52 engine, harness and DME are going for, using an OBD1 Megasquirt would be easier is you find another S50.
    [IMG][/IMG]

  3. #3
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    If you are open to going stand alone just do it.
    Why burden yourself with the factory DME and wiring.
    I suggest move on to stand alone. Its a different world.
    jimmy p.


    88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - street
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  4. #4
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    Well I guess I should consider!

    Short list of options? My 10 min of googling says MegaSquirt not a good choice for S52/OBD2. Something about one of the sensors.
    I think you fast guys like Link systems?

  5. #5
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    Megasquirt is garbage. Go with a Link PnP and live long and happy life ... plus full data logging, tuning, etc. Hard to go wrong (other than some $$$ of course). We have the G4+ PnP in our e36. It ran the s52 before, and now runs the s54. Both worked perfectly.
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  6. #6
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    Thanks guys.

    What concerns me is posts like this on the Link support from, responses from Link forum moderators within the last 2 years:
    re S52 coils: "Yes, for the stock coils you will need to add external ignitors."
    re an idle problem: "Our ECU is not designed for the S52. Have you changed the wiring to match the M50 pinout? "

  7. #7
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    Don't see the upside worth the additional cost for standalone. Have you seen the prices for those systems as I haven't looked into them before myself. I am more in the KISS and proven reliable setup than going full send unless doing it for serious gains but I am not a tinkerer, more a set it and forget it type.

  8. #8
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    I probably wouldn't consider it but because car is obd1 and engine replacement will likely be obd2, then I've got to do something. Also, some good engines are sold w/o harness and ECU. So all those possible combinations say, standalone, maybe.

  9. #9
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    I track my S52 with stock MS41 and no problems. Stand alone can cost a lot more and can be problematic to tune it just right

  10. #10
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    I would stick with your OBD1 setup and just concert the s52.

  11. #11
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    OBD1 or OBD2 in this case, I think is splitting hairs. Convert S52 to OBD1, or, install OBD2 harness in car (which I think would be fairly trivial cause all I'm using the ECU for is engine management).

    I understand a standalone a may not give me a noticeable performance increase, at least not without a lot of work. But, I am a tinkerer.
    That said, my winter project list is already plenty long. I had planned to refresh the rear suspension/bushings/bearings. I'll prob put that off a year.
    Researching Link ECU installs for S52 doesn't provide rich results.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeronaut View Post
    Thanks guys.

    What concerns me is posts like this on the Link support from, responses from Link forum moderators within the last 2 years:
    re S52 coils: "Yes, for the stock coils you will need to add external ignitors."
    re an idle problem: "Our ECU is not designed for the S52. Have you changed the wiring to match the M50 pinout? "
    Correct, you need ignitors (the BMW DME has ignitors build in). We uses 2 Volvo ignitors, like $40 each at any part store. That's for the non PnP I believe ... the PnP might have them built in (I forget now).
    For the idle, you can retain the ICV, or ditch that and control using fueling and TB openning. No MAF tune, TPS/RPM/load based. Super easy to build a map, and tune to perfection. And yes, the S52 will run just fine with M50 pinout and all M50 (OBD1) sensors.

    None of the standalone manufacturers will be experts in any specific cars ... they can help you with setup and tune, but wiring and getting the signal in you're on your own, and of course the help of others who have done it. I'll gladly send you what I have for the Link if you choose to got that route.
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  13. #13
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    Thanks ScotcH, great insight. And I hate that rats nest of hoses that's called an ICV.

    I'll make my final decision after I buy an engine, but yea, might take you up on your offer!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeronaut View Post
    OBD1 or OBD2 in this case, I think is splitting hairs. Convert S52 to OBD1, or, install OBD2 harness in car (which I think would be fairly trivial cause all I'm using the ECU for is engine management).

    I understand a standalone a may not give me a noticeable performance increase, at least not without a lot of work. But, I am a tinkerer.
    That said, my winter project list is already plenty long. I had planned to refresh the rear suspension/bushings/bearings. I'll prob put that off a year.
    Researching Link ECU installs for S52 doesn't provide rich results.
    If you have a complete S50 (yes, even your blowed up one) and you buy an S52, you have everything you'll need to convert the S52 to OBD1. Then it's plug and play. Do yourself a favor and get a Moates Ostrich 2.0. Its an EPROM emulator that you can leave in the DME with a USB cable coming into the glovebox/passenger compartment and you can flash your OBD1 DME with new tunes just like OBD2, except a WHOLE LOT faster (like 8-10 seconds).

    Zack at 22RPD.com can do the tuning for you and send you e-tunes. Get yourself a wideband (if you don't already have one) and you can datalog some pulls for him to work with. I mounted my wideband display next to the instrument cluster with a RallyRoad steering column mount and just took video of the pulls with my phone to send him. That helped a ton to get the air/fuel in the right ballpark. If you get on the dyno, you can also get him to do remote tuning for timing and final touches. I started with RK Tunes, struggled with communications with him, arranged a remote dyno tune. Waited over an hour past the time we arranged for him to "connect" after getting my car set up on the dyno (all the time paying for dyno time). When he was done he said "that's all you're going to get out of this setup".

    Zack stepped in and got me an additional 8whp and 10ft/lbs and subsequently sent me another couple revisions to refine the tune. He's got the OBD1 413 DME definition files nailed! If I remember correctly, you had issues with Zack. I don't recall if you got those resolved.

  15. #15
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    I'll check out the Moates Ostrich 2.0, thanks.

    I had mixed results with Zack on a previous tune. Very slow to respond to questions and concerns. So I took it to a local guy (Frank Smith at TTFS), and Frank got 10+ HP over Zacks tune. (With the caveat that I'm just not sure how to trust before and after dyno pulls when the guy running the dyno is compelled to show a HP increase. )

  16. #16
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    Reconsidering a standalone.
    I assume, the Link plug n play for the E36 is limited to the M50 based (OBD1) engines because of form factor? Or do they have a limit due to some of the sensor types? VR vs Hall seems a limiting factor among some ECUs.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeronaut View Post
    Reconsidering a standalone.
    I assume, the Link plug n play for the E36 is limited to the M50 based (OBD1) engines because of form factor? Or do they have a limit due to some of the sensor types? VR vs Hall seems a limiting factor among some ECUs.
    The standalone is just the plug format, so technically OBDII harness will work. the ECU itself is same as the non PnP, so you can do whatever you want with it. We run the e36 PnP with an S54. Hacked up M50 harness with added stuff for dual vanos, etc.
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  18. #18
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    Roger that, thanks! I remember you run the PnP with an S54, but for some reason thought you had to change some sensors. Maybe that was also just a form convenience.

    Anyone know what the Link wire-in equivalent of the E36 PnP is? StormX, FuryX, etc?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeronaut View Post
    Roger that, thanks! I remember you run the PnP with an S54, but for some reason thought you had to change some sensors. Maybe that was also just a form convenience.

    Anyone know what the Link wire-in equivalent of the E36 PnP is? StormX, FuryX, etc?
    It's the G4+ Xtreme
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  20. #20
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    Thanks!

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