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Old 02-15-2021, 11:12 PM   #1
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new s15 spec r, what do?

hello! new to this forum. i just picked up a s15 spec r with 100k kms imported from japan to ontario canada.

I understand i probably need to tune the car to make up the difference of air/fuel. so the car already has a nismo catback exhaust and an intake. i'm thinking of doing intercooler and a downpipe before bringing it to a tuner!

now to tune the car do i need to update the ecu? i'm trying to do research but can't find much on this topic. it seems like i need to get a standalone just to do a simple dyno tune.
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:49 PM   #2
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It sounds like the car is basically stock, and that you might not have a good grasp on tuning. If the afr is wonky, then you have an issue that needs to be resolved with your car, not with the oem cpu parameters.

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Old 02-15-2021, 11:51 PM   #3
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Also, none of those things ~really~ need to be tuned for. You'd end up spending several hundred dollars for maybe 10hp. Keep reading, and figure out what you want to do with this car, then research and plan accordingly.

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Old 02-16-2021, 12:53 AM   #4
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hey, i just want to tune it for realibilities sake rather than performance, i want to do some track days here and there but next year i'd like to go on a bigger turbo setup. nothing crazy.

i figure if i do a tune the tuner can make sure afr is good all around.
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Old 02-16-2021, 12:55 AM   #5
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Ooor you could just put that $600+ towards a new turbo, instead of throwing it in the trash.

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Old 02-16-2021, 12:57 AM   #6
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Stock s15 is going to have issues on the track regardless of your tune. Depending on your motorsport level, you should be looking at suspension and brakes long before a tune.

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Old 02-16-2021, 01:00 AM   #7
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I misread you saying "track day" and thought you said you were going to track it. However, you will still run into issues with brake fade and body roll way before you run into engine reliability. Also, regardless you still need to have something to tune, as the OEM ecu is not tuneable as-is.

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Old 02-16-2021, 01:05 AM   #8
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would you recommend a link ecu? i already got bc coils on it and i'm planning to do rotors and track pads, along with fluids too. i know my way around setting up cars for the track i'm just new with the s15/sr20 platform.
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Old 02-16-2021, 04:31 AM   #9
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I don't have any personal experience with Link. I know many people that run them and they get good results. I have heard they don't have very good customer service or very regular updates, though and also that their software isn't the best and kind of outdated (that's coming from my local shop which happens to be pretty famous fkr their record breaking Evos). Personally I prefer Haltech, but have been very interested in the EMU black from ECU Masters. The price to value is ridiculously good, and I have yet to hear anything negative about it.

But in all honesty, it really comes down to who you plan on having your car tuned by. Find a shop that you want to do business with and then ask them what platforms they tune, which they prefer, and which they recommend based on your circumstance.

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Old 02-16-2021, 08:46 AM   #10
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A tunable ECU is never a bad idea, especially for checking engine health and fine adjustments for Canadian fuel/elevation. Plus, when power gains become more of a priority, you'll already be set up for it ECU wise. From what I've learned, the Link seems to be the best drop in style of ECU right now. Combines the ease of a Power FC, but has modern fail safe parameters built in that the Apex'i unit doesn't.

As far as the SR, cooling is the biggest thing with these engines. Radiator, new water pump, fresh coolant flush, and a thermostat are big on the list. The clutch fan gives the most consistent temps, but takes up more space..so it's a trade off. If you can afford it, a good oil cooler setup will help.

Valve float/colapsed lifters is more common on the older SR's, but still something to look into even on the S15 model.

General maintenance for a 20 year old car should keep you busy enough at first. What fun is a bunch of shiny parts if the car keep breaking down for little stupid stuff.
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Old 02-16-2021, 12:51 PM   #11
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ahem.
You need to know what you WANT out of a car BEFORE you can know what to put in it.
For all you know you don't need to do shit and on the contrary you can be ready to spend what another car costs in just parts.

hmmmmm
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Old 02-16-2021, 01:41 PM   #12
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thank you guys for the insightful responses, in terms of cooling i didnt know that the sr20 suffered that much but i will probably start with the simple fan upgrade and get my guy to do a water pump while i'm at it too.

i have another question, what spark plugs and engine oil should i be using? its easy to look up the specific items but maybe there are better alternatives now
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Old 02-16-2021, 02:30 PM   #13
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Oil is an argument I'm not going to touch. I'd head over to BITOG ("Bob is the oil guy") forums if you want proper oil advice. You'll probably just get biased opinions here on oil.

As for spark plugs, I personally only run coppers in my turbo cars. They have better heat conducting properties over iridiums so will resist overheating better to avoid pre-det and such. Plus they're cheaper. I don't know what heat range is best for oe sr20, but I run a BRK7 in my KA-t. I had 6's in there but they weren't running right so I upped the heat range, and it was a pretty noticeable difference. Might need to just play with that one based on your environment.

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Old 02-16-2021, 07:59 PM   #14
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s15.3 type R (R for Reverse?) is best you can do imo.
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Old 02-16-2021, 08:24 PM   #15
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yeah, I second that oil advice, just choose your own snake oil. Plugs, I'd start off with stock first just so you have a baseline...I do tend to stick with NGK's though, personally. If you're not going crazy with power, you'll be fine. Once you start going beyond what the stock plugs can do, your tuner will let you know and tell you what to get as far as heat ranges.

SR's are a bit like rotary engines, in that they require a little more attention and upkeep to keep them happy. Luckily we don't have to go so crazy as to pre-mix our gas and such, but even an s15 SR is an older engine, and pushing them will require some monitoring.
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Old 02-20-2021, 09:07 AM   #16
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I’d agree with most of the items in this thread aside from copper plugs, that is old school tech and isn’t really needed in modern motors(not that the SR is super modern). I run Iridiums in my 500whp SR.
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Old 02-20-2021, 11:56 AM   #17
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After owning many of these, the first thing to do to these cars is take the engine out and sand down the engine bay fully and do a proper rust preventative in all the crevices which ALL OF THESE CARS RUST from the inside out.

Remove all the brackets, battery tray, etc get it all treated if its not too late.
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_ss View Post
I?d agree with most of the items in this thread aside from copper plugs, that is old school tech and isn?t really needed in modern motors(not that the SR is super modern). I run Iridiums in my 500whp SR.
Copper may be old school, but it is not even a debate in terms of performance. Copper is way more electrically conductive than iridium and platinum, and it is also much better at dispersing heat. Iridium and platinum are much easier to overheat compared to copper. The trade off is that copper wears down relatively quick, whereas iridium will last longer but with less efficiency, and platinum will last the longest with the worst efficiency.

All late model production cars use iridium plugs from the factory because they have the best balance of performance vs durability, until you get to high performance cars, some of which still ship out with coppers. Professional racecars on the other hand typically also use copper?even F1 still uses copper plugs last I heard.

So iridium works fine, but copper works better. Regardless, the differences are nominal, until you start driving lap after lap in the high rpm range.

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