Cars I’ve built, tuned or otherwise messed up.

Piggyback Heaven – Installing a SAFC NEO in a SRT-4

Today we are installing the ever popular SAFC NEO into our Project SRT-4. While piggyback computers aren’t as commonplace today as they were 10 years ago, they are still quite useful for the tuner on a budget.

While I install quite a few AFC NEO’s, I don’t recommend this install for the SRT-4 due to the difference in TPS and MAP sensor voltage. The AFC NEO operates in a range from 0-5 volts, where as the SRT-4 does not.

When you add aftermarket injectors such as the 760cc ( or 76# for those domestic fellows ), you can cause all kinds of problems without a device to lean out the mixture. Using a SAFC, we aren’t truly “leaning out” or “turning down” the fuel, but rather fooling the ECU into seeing less air, thus accomplishing the same result.

OBDII vehicles such as our SRT-4 have 2 values you should keep your eyes on, the STFT ( short term fuel trim ) and LTFT ( long term fuel trim ). When the SRT-4’s ecu sees the overly rich condition created by the larger injectors and upgraded fuel system, it will decrease these values in a vain attempt to restore “normalcy”

The problem is, when the SRT-4’s STFT and LTFT reach a value of -14, the ECU throws the ever popular P0170 Check Engine Light, Fuel Trim Malfunction (Bank 1).

By installing our SAFC NEO, we can lower the airflow value before it reaches the ECU allowing us to adjust the injector pulse width and therefore leaning the vehicle out.

Tools you will need for this install :

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • 10mm wrench
  • wire cutters

First you must undo the ECM, held to the chassis by 10mm bolts, then unplug the ECM terminals.

FIrst, locate your C1 connector, the fourth plug down on your ECM, it will have an BLACK housing.

Here is a look at front face of a ECM connector, the back of this connector is what you will need to pull off.

You will have to pull back on the mounting tabs ( all four ) and pull the back half of the housing off to expose the wires.

I really really really hate these connectors......

With the back half removed, we’ll start the wiring fun by starting with our ground wires. The two wires in question are brown and black, locate those on your AFC harness and find pin 18 on your C1 module.

Using your wire strippers, expose 2 spots of the wire approximately 2 inches apart. The brown wire needs to be soldered in before the black wire, and closer to the ECM.

With your grounds properly wired in and installed, we now move to the 2 power wires on the SAFC NEO. Locate pin 11 on ECM Connector C1, this pin is a blue wire with a red stripe.

Wire in your red wire and red with white stripe on the NEO harness to pin 11, in the same method as you did the ground wire. Make sure the red wire with white stripe is closest to the ECM.

Now with the power and ground sorted out, move onto the MAP signal wires on the NEO harness. These wires are white and yellow on the NEO harness, we will also be wiring the TPS wire ( gray NEO wire ) in at the same time.

Now locate pin 23 on orange ECM connector C2, pin 23 is a dark green / red wire. This wire should be cut, and the yellow NEO wire must be wired in leading TO the ECM.

The white wire is then wired into the opposite side, make sure to solder for best connection.

Now with the white wire connected to the vehicle’s MAP sensor, take your gray throttle position sensor wire ( gray ) and wire that inline with the white NEO wire. Make sure to wire the gray TPS signal closer inline to the actual MAP sensor found on the intake manifold.

Why wire the gray wire into the MAP sensor? because of the SRT-4’s 3-7 voltage range, the NEO’s normal operating range of 0-5 will cause issues when tuning fuel trims according to throttle position. Using the MAP sensor, we can tune for engine load, as opposed to guessing and hacking our way through different voltage ranges.

Here is an example of this wiring, please note the brown wire depicted is the actual gray TPS wire, and the light green / red wire is the NEO white wire. Sorry I had to extend the wires using another loom and didnt have colors available that were close to gray or white for that matter.

Now find your green RPM wire on the NEO harness, this should be wired into a tach adapter, msd part number 8913.

Connect to the gray Tach adapter wire for a consistent rpm reading based on the vehicle’s spark.

Now with your NEO fully wired up, make sure to pick up some loom and clean up your rat’s nest!!!

Now to setup your AFC NEO, go into the menu and select sensor type as “Pressure” as your SRT-4 operates on a MAP sensor.

Select the “in” value as 10, set the “out” value as 10 as well.

Go into the car setup, and change the cylinder value to 4 and set the “thr” setting to the arrow pointing up and right.

Now go into the “TH-POINT” Menu and set your throttle values to 20% for low settings and 80% for high throttle.

For example if your MAP sensor sees load under 20 percent, then it will use the low-settings on the AFC for adjustment. Anything higher than 80% will run off the high throttle map and anyhing inbetween the two maps the neo will interpolate between the 2.

Now run the NEO Harness inside the cabin, and you are all set!

Happy Boosting!

Case Studies – Installing Megan Rear Upper and Lower Arms in a S14

Today we are bolting on a set of Megan Rear Upper Control arms, and Megan Racing Lower Control arms in a 1996 240SX ( S14 ), part numbers are :

MR-RTCA-NS14Nissan 240SX Rear Lower Toe Arms

These arms allow you to change the static toe and toe change during suspension compression and load. An easy bolt-in upgrade, alignment is required after this install.

MR-RUCA-NS14 – Nissan 240SX Rear Upper Control Arms

These arms are meant to adjust rear camber to whatever specifications you desire. Replacing the stock rubber bushings with pillow ball ends provides a upgrade in stiffness and response.

Here is the car in question before the install :

Tools you will need for this install :

  • 14mm socket and open ended wrench
  • 17mm socket and open ended wrench
  • 19mm socket and open ended wrench
  • jack and jack stands
  • MR-RTCA-NS14 – Nissan 240SX Rear Lower Toe Arms
  • MR-RUCA-NS14 – Nissan 240SX Rear Upper Control Arms
First jack up the car and secure it safely using your jackstands, for those of you fortunate enough to work on a 2 post lift, just remove your wheels.
First use your 19mm socket and open ended wrench to undo the outmost bolt holding your rear upper control arm in place.

Next take off the rear bolt, and put the bolts safely away. You should now be able to remove your entire rear upper arm

Now, you’re ready to install your rear upper arm but not before lining your old arm up and adjusting the Megan arm to a similar length. You will need an alignment after this install regardless, so you might want to keep the jam nuts loose.

Next undo the outer most bolt in your rear lower toe arm, this bolt is located to the rear and left of your shock housing ( from the driver side )

Now, undo the inner bolt and this arm will come right off

Now install your new rear toe arm by reversing the process and you’re done!

Make sure your jam nuts are tight if you cannot align your vehicle right away, you don’t want them coming loose on you.

After your alignment, you should be ready to rock and roll!

Happy Drifting!


Case Studies : Project SRT-4 gets a heart transplant!

When we last left our Project SRT-4, it had an unfortunate head gasket tear and consequently had overheated. While the stock turbo had done it’s part putting down 355 @ 25 psi, it was definitely not happy at that level of boost.

While tearing the head off for service, we’ve decided to upgrade the turbo and exhaust manifold at the same time.

Helloooooooo...... Nurse!

We are installing a DNP Performance Tubular Manifold with External wastegate option, a Pro Street Stage V turbo with a 62-1 wheel and .70 cold side, and stage V hotside with .84 A/R.

Controlling the level of boost is a 44 mm Tial wastegate, and a BLOX manual boost controller, and of course a piggybacked SAFC on top of the Toys Stage II ecu upgrade with timing controls.

The only problem now is of course, fabricating a downpipe and 02 housing for the turbo so that it mates up to the full 3 inch catback exhaust on our SRT-4.

Parts used in this install

While the motor was out of the car, we fabbed up a test 02 housing and downpipe for this vehicle due to the exhaust facing towards the rear. Unfortunately, this test downpipe was misaligned, and upon bolting it all up we found it was exiting right onto the steering rack. Bad jujus.


Because of the engine layout and the choice in manifolds, the space to make this 3 inch downpipe clear is quite the challenge.

A look at the hotside and manifold setup in relation to the firewall.

A look at the clearance ( what little we have ) between the steering rack and the subframe in relation to the turbo and manifold.

A shot of the front side of the downpipe, and how close it is to the steering rack and the lines going into it.

Taking the downpipe off, we elect to gap out the top turn to push the flex section and flange away from the rack and towards the passenger side fender well.

After an hour of welding and cutting, we have successfully relocated the downpipe outlet to a more desirable location.

Next up, finishing up the job and welding the external dumptube to a tried and true location.


Case Studies – Installing TEIN Stech Springs in a Evolution X

A good friend of mine recently picked up a slightly used Evolution X from a dealer, after trading in his S2000. He’s been around DSM’s for the better part of his professional career, having worked at Road Race Engineering and the now defunct BOZZ.

So to say the least, he knows his way around the 4G63, and while it’s not the same motor we’ve grown to work on, love and hate, it’s still a Mitsubishi.

He’s not completely sure what route he will take in this car, but he knows that the current
rock-climbing-Jeep stance is not what he wants to drive around in.

To remedy the solution, he picks up a set of TEIN Stech Springs for his Evolution X.

What you will need for this install :

  • TEIN part number SKE18-AUB00
  • 17mm socket and open end wrench
  • 14mm socket and open end wrench
  • 12mm socket
  • flat head screwdriver
  • needle nose pliers
  • Spring compressor ( optional )
  • * I am not liable for any damage, direct or indirect due to any modifications made on your car, related or unrelated to this writeup.
First, get the car into the air and secure the car safely using your jack stands. Next pop open your hood and locate the 3 14mm nuts that secure the shocks into your car.
Now crack those 14mm nuts loose, but do not remove them. Next take off your wheels and let’s get the shocks disconnected from your front spindles.
First undo the 12mm that holds your brake lines to the back of your shock assembly and pull away on the brake line.
Now undo the 2 main bolts holding your front shock assembly to the spindle and then use your needle nose to pull the bracket holding the brake lines to the mounting tab on the back of your shock.
After removing the nuts, use your jack to secure your spindle so that it wont fall.
Take care not to use the brake shield as a jack point, with the spindle and brakes secured, undo the nuts and pull the bolts out of your shock.
Now revisit the 14mm bolts in the engine bay and remove them, but make sure to hold your shock assembly so that it doesn’t fall.

Look ma! no shocks!

With the shock now removed, you must now mark the orientation of the top hat and mounting hardware. You will be best served to remember the layout of the top hat and the orientation of the shock itself. If you have a spring compressor, now is the time to tighten it down on the front spring coil as to prevent harm when it uncoils.

If you don’t own a spring compressor, u can place the bottom of the shock against your rim and tire and gun the top nut off. If you are not comfortable doing this and don’t own a spring compressor, maybe this job isn’t for you.

Remove the top hat and set to the side, you should now be able to remove the rest of the bushings and mounts to get to your stock springs.

Now, with the top strut mount removed, locate your bump stop as it will require modification.

Using a marker, mark where you wish to remove the excess material in your bumpstop so that the Evo’s new stance will not create any problems.

Now reassemble your front shocks with your TEIN Stech lowering springs, make sure that you are aligning the marks on your top mount, and make sure the spring is seated flush against the shock body as shown here.

With the front shocks buttoned back up, you can now reinstall the entire assembly into the car. If you are working on a lift, you can now move on to the rears. Open your trunk and locate the push pins that hold the rear panel in place in the trunk.

Carefully push in the pin and pull out the tabs to allow you to remove the back panel.

You may elect to remove the factory trays that cover the spare tire and wheelwells. We elected to do this step, as the car was still pretty new and we didn’t want to damage anything. To remove these panels, simply push in the tabs as you did with the rear trunk panel.

Now, remove the long bolt that secures your rear shocks to the lower control arm and spindle.

Push the rear shock in and away from the lower assembly, and then go back up top and remove the 2 14mm nuts holding the shock in place. As you did with the front shocks, make sure you have secured the shock to prevent it from falling.

You’re almost there! Now undo the top bolt to the rear shocks, for those who skipped ahead or with some sort of attention disorder, use a spring compressor if you are not comfortable unloading the tension in the coil.

Seat the spring into the rear shock housing, making sure to line up the spring as your oe coil sat.

Don’t forget to modify the bumpstop!

Now tighten up the rear shock assembly and re-install into the back of your Evolution.

Now you are ready to rock and roll! Happy boosting!

Why I hate my Acadia Part II….

Well it’s yet another chapter in “Why I Hate My Acadia” and this car is becoming more and more of a problem than a solution. To be honest when crap goes wrong with this car, I’ve stopped being shocked or angry.

The latest thing to go wrong with this car? The headlight went out.

No, not the headlight we changed a month ago, this is now the OTHER side of the car. Great fun right?

Armed with the knowledge of how difficult this job is, I steel myself for another round of cursing and frustration. This time I cut to the chase and simply put the car on a lift to access the wheel well and bottom splashguard bolts and screws.

First remove the tire and rim from the driver side and remove the screws holding the wheel well panel in place.

Take care when removing the push pins holding the wheel well panel in, and the entire panel should dislodge and push to the side.

Thankfully, GMC did not completely eat up all the space available on the driver side as they did to the passenger side.

It seems as though the windshield reservoir being mounted on the driver side of the vehicle has given us enough room to get my hand up to the back of the headlight housing.

With the wheel well panel removed and pushed to the side, you should be able to access the back of the driver side headlight assembly.

The assembly cover comes off with twist of your hand, exposing the H11 bulb inside.

Upon removing my blown H11 bulb, I find an unpleasant surprise.

The H11 harness that holds the 2 pins in place simply disintegrates at my touch, which does wonders for my blood pressure. Further inspection reveals that something was definitely up with the headlights as shown on the bulb that I just removed from the drivers side.

FML.. Seriously

To make matters worse, the Acadia’s high beam is secured to the low beam wiring meaning I cannot retrieve the low beam wires out to extend them.

What else could go wrong you ask??

Hold on……… let me finish.

It also appears that whatever was causing this burn-out also wiped out the pins for the H11 bulb as they no longer clip and / or hold onto anything, let alone a bulb.

Since I cannot reuse the old connector because it broke into a million pieces, and cannot reuse the single pins found in the old connector, I decide to repin the wires and use something that will hold onto the H11 bulb tight.

To repair this issue, I re-use the OBDI body harness we used to re-pin our 1992 Acura Integra Shock Engine harness.

After removing a test pin, I find that the OBDI pins fit onto the bulb quite nicely and snugly. I promptly remove 2 pins and wire them inline to the headlight harness after clipping and removing the old pieces of junk.

I install the 2 new pins by cutting away the older pieces and stripping down the wires, after soldering the new pins in place I use a strip of electrical tape to make sure they will not move or touch each other and put the driver side headlight bulb back into it’s place.

I still hate this car with a passion, but now you have 2 methods in which to service your Acadia’s headlights. Best of luck!

Lizzy the Lizards says..... GM SUCKS

Case Studies – How to Repair a OBDI Engine Harness

We are taking the time to repair a engine harness on a 1992 Acura Integra GS, as the previous owner completely hacked up the connectors and did not leave sufficient wire to solder them together.

What better time than to re-pin the engine harness? Let’s begin.

First isolate the plug in question and undo from the mounting clips, make sure to take a look at the connectors and write down the sequence and color of the wires in question.

For those swapping a B18C1 into their EG or EK and are using body subharnesses will find this work very familiar, the same principles apply when you are adding VTEC to a vehicle that did not come with VTEC.

Now we locate a donor plug and harness, a trip to Dorris wrecking yard yields this nice piece we purchased for 3 dollars.

Next take your damaged OBDI plug and using the pick, press the small lower pin downwards.

Now using a needle nose, grab the wire from the back of the plug while pressing down on this locking pin found on the female side of the plug.

You must press down and pull away at the same time to extract the pin in question.

Here is a shot with one of the female pins undone and free from the matching housing.

Next locate your donor plug and pull out the safety tab located in the middle of the body plug.

With the safety removed, now duplicate the procedure to remove whichever female or male pins you must remove.

Make sure to leave enough slack on the wires when you make your initial cuts so that you leave enough wire to solder your new pins into place.


A look at the donor plug, missing a few teeth as you can see.

While this job was fairly easy and straightforward, the use for repinning OBDI connectors is very useful considering the year ranges in question.

Good luck!

Case Studies – Installing an HKS catback on a S13

Today we are installing an old-school HKS Hi-Power onto a 1992 Nissan 240SX SE.This is an older HKS unit with the old school dual exhaust tips, meant for NA applications.

Tools you will need for this install :

First raise the car up and locate your cat, depending on your vehicle and how old it is / exposure to rain / elements it may be rusted. If so use a can of Blast Away or similar product to get the nuts lubed up.

Next undo the 14mm nuts holding the cat to the exhaust midsection.

Now locate your exhaust hangers forward of the gas tank and to the left of the tank, held on by 2 14mm bolts.

Now you can drop your entire exhaust as one piece, make sure to take care when removing the catalytic converter bolts, as they tend to rust and may strip if not removed carefully.

Here is a comparison shot between the stock unit and the upgraded HKS catback.

Another shot of the midpipe and the comparison between both units

Now hang the rear muffler section onto the back of the S13, re-using the factory rubber hangers.

Next bolt up the midpipe to the cat, securing it by reusing the 14mm nuts you removed. Now line up the midpipe with the rear section, making sure to make a positive seal with the supplied HKS exhaust gasket.

Now tighten her up and you are done!

Enjoy and good luck!

Case Studies – 2006 Infiniti G35 Stereo Removal

This G35 has the 6 disc changer option from the factory, and it refuses to spit out discs or play discs anymore. Instead of operating, now the unit simply makes an odd buzzing sound and turns off when you attempt to access the CDs.

So removing the G35 stereo is our next step, tools you will need for this install.

  • a plastic panel popper
  • phillips screwdriver

First, locate the shifter ( if auto ) and push down on the chrome clip to access the retaining circlip inside the shifter.

Next carefully remove the golden circlip, and pull up on the shifter knob to remove. Next, use your panel popper ( or spatula ) and carefully unclip the accent bezel located above the 2nd glovebox.

Now carefully run the panel popper ( or spatula ) across the length of the trim piece, take caution as to not break or lose any clips or plastic pieces.

Now with that trim removed, go back to your shifter base and using your panel popper carefully pull up on the lower right panel to pry up the entire base.

Pull up on the entire assembly to gain access to the center console area.

Next, carefully unplug the hazard switch and clips from underneath the shifter base area.

Now undo the 4 screws located around the trim of the lower center console, make sure not to lose the 2 screws that are located towards the front of the car.

Phew! You are halfway there! Now turn your attention to the clock and the top trim above it, using your hands press inwards to release the clips while at the same time pulling upwards. Here is a pic of how you depress the dash and release the clips.

With both clips pushed away, you can now carefully pull away on the top panel.

Now using your panel popper, undo the lower bezel from the clock, pulling away from the face of the clock and towards the back of the car. After getting the bezel loose, simply pull up and away.

Now using your Phillips screwdriver, remove the one screw holding the top radio bracket in. This is located directly under your clock, sorry for the blurry picture.

Move back to the back half of your center console and slide the entire assembly forward, now unclip the side panels and push inward.

Now turn your attention back to the lower center console, and carefully pry upwards and away on the side panels of your center console.

Pull up……

Now repeat the process for the left hand side to gain clear side access to your radio. There are 2 screws holding the bracket in place, that are located under the silver bezel we removed earlier, the 2 other screws are located directly under your radio unit.

The entire assembly should now be able to be lifted up and out of the dash, take care not to scratch the dash when removing your stereo as the clock bracket is rather long and can cause damage if you are not careful.

Now with your stereo removed, you can now service / replace / or throw away as desired!

Best of luck!

Case Studies – Project Supra hits the Dyno!

When we last left our 1997 Anniversary Edition Supra, it was just getting used to calling to it’s new owner and had been modded for the first time in its life.

Because the car is so new, my friend is adamant about going slow and keeping it BPU for a while. He even goes so far as to utter the sentence I have heard about a zillion times from customers over the years.

“No, I’m more than happy with this power level, I don’t need to mod the car any further”

When people usually say this to me, I snort in derision and just sit back as the mod bug proceeds to take a huge bite of their wallet.

My friend has been a employee of Apexi for over 7 years, and even he cannot deny the temptress that is the 2JZ.

Within a few days of installing the old school Super AFC, he went out and purchased an upgraded turbo, manifold, Greddy 4 row intercooler, a full set of Greddy gauges, and 660cc RC injectors.

The turbo installed is a T4 62-1 with a 4 inch inlet .70 a/r compressor, with a stage V 1.01 A/R exhaust side.

For a rough idea of how much of an upgrade this small turbo is, take a look at this side by side comparison of a T4 62-1 and a CT26.

He’s elected to go with a SSAutochrome style Ebay log style manifold coupled with a 44mm Tial wastegate dumping back into a 3inch downpipe and full exhaust with a high flow cat.

With just a few mods and a turbo / manifold swap, we head down to our friends at DSR, check them out here :

Using the DatScan datalogger, we tap into the Supra’s ECM to get a firm readout on the engine’s vitals. More importantly we determine the tip-in point for boost as we dial in the fuel trims accordingly.

We are aiming for a 12.5 AFR at the transition and a rock solid 11:1 at WOT until redline. The Supra is running 22 psi of boost through a full catback and 3inch Vibrant High Flow Catalytic Converter.

After just an hour, the car put down a SAE corrected power level of 521 with 433 ft lbs of torque.

The Supra put down a very healthy number with an excellent fuel curve, all for just a handful of mods. Next up for the car is a bigger turbo, more boost and Crower cams!

Congratulations Eric!

Case Studies – Cam Angle Sensor and Drive Belts on a Infiniti G35

My G35 has been driven hard and put away wet by many various members of my family, and just the other day the car threw the dreaded P0340 CAS error. Oh well, I guess I can’t be too upset considering the G35 has over 230,000 miles on it.

What better time to replace my drive belts and freshen things up on my VQ35DE?

Tools you will need to do this job.

Although this job can be performed with the car on the ground, it can become rather cumbersome. Instead we head to the garage and get it up on the 2 post for an easy install.

First disconnect your negative battery as always.

Next with the car raised, undo the 10mm bolts holding the lower G35 splashguard in place, along with the pushpin in the center of the splashguard.

With the guard removed, you now can see the undercarriage and subframe clearly. Locate the 2 tensioners for your drive belt assembly.

Here you see the power steering and alternator tensioner, and on the opposite side of course you see the air conditioning tensioner, shown below:

Now take your 14mm socket and lightly crack the center nut holding both tensioner pulleys tight.

With both pulleys cracked loose, now undo the 14mm tensioner rods that are shown in the first two pictures. Undo the tension slowly until the tension in the belt is loose enough to slip the belts off.

Make sure to remember your belt layout, and that the A/C belt must be put on the car first before slipping the power steering and alternator belt in place.


Unfortunately, before installing the cam angle sensor we find that the dealer sold us the left bank when it’s the right bank we require.

Up Next : Installing the cam angle sensor after a trip to the dealer.