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  1. The Sonic cousin: Buick Encore / Chevrolet Trax In a quest like this, the first thing to do is figure out which parts can be borrowed from other vehicles that have the feature you want. It turns out the Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet Trax, and Buick Encore all share something in common: the chassis. Known as the GM “Gamma II” chassis, it started in the US in 2010 as the Chevrolet Spark. In 2011 the Chevrolet Aveo was introduced. In 2012, the Aveo was renamed as Sonic, and in 2013 the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax were introduced with optional AWD. The Sonic, Encore and Trax use the 1.4L turbo MPFI engine (RPO: LUJ/LUV). Borrowing the AWD System For our project, we obtained a 2015 Chevrolet Sonic RS and an AWD Chevrolet Trax. The Chevrolet Trax has a transverse mounted 1.4L turbo engine, mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission. A transfer case attached to the transmission sends power to a rear differential via a propeller shaft. An ECU (Rear Differential Clutch Control Module) controls the amout of torque transferred from the propeller shaft to the rear differential. Not as easy as it Sounds Given these vehicles are all “Gamma II” chassis vehicles, we just need to unbolt the AWD system from the Trax and install it in the Sonic, right? Not quite. To name just a few challenges: We had to cut the spare tire well out of the Sonic to make room for the rear differential. We had to swap the rear suspension from the Trax in its entirety because the Sonic suspension doesn't have a provision for the propeller shaft. The propeller shaft will need to be shortened. Maybe a Rally Spec car instead of a Hot Hatch One other issue we've run into so far, is that the Trax suspension sits higher than the Sonic suspension. The overall ride height will be about 1.5” higher than the original suspension. Maybe we should make this into a Rally spec car instead of a Hot Hatch!
  2. Old School Fuel Injectors Ironically, the relatively modern LUJ/LUV uses the relatively old-school “EV1” style fuel injector connector. As such, aftermarket fuel injector choices are somewhat limited unless costly harness adapters are used. Bosch “Green Giants” 42# Fuel Injectors These fuel injectors have been popular in the aftermarket for some time. This a very good, general purpose fuel injector for the 1.4T engine, because they're not so large that they cause injector misfire or over fueling problems at idle. They are available with an “EV1” style connector, so harness adapters are not necessary. They are large enough to support full E85 on the stock turbo, and mild turbo upgrades (e.g. compressor wheel upgraded units). However, there are three problems with them: Fakes / non authentic replicas: When we first started testing these injectors back in the 2011-2012 time frame, the first set we received worked fantastic. Then, our supplier sent us a new set which were “much cheaper”. Despite looking the same, these did not work well, at all. The engine had misfire problems at idle. Upon investigation, we determined that this second “cheaper” set of fuel injectors was in fact a replica and was built using very poor manufacturing tolerances. Price: Why are there replicas / knock offs? The answer is simple: the authentic units are expensive! As of this writing, authentic “green giants” cost anywhere from $200-$250, retail, for a set of 4. Availability: For reasons not yet determined, the availability of the “green giants” has diminished as of late. Most retailers have them back ordered. Bosch 52# Fuel Injectors As of more recently, the Bosch 52# fuel injector has become an option for the 1.4T. They share most of the same benefits that the “green giant” does, however, there are two problems with these fuel injectors: Not “EV1” connector: This one's simple. They won't directly plug in to the engine harness of the 1.4T. As such, to use these, you need to add bulky, costly harness adapters. Price: Looking around at various retailers, a set of these injectors, with the required harness adapters will run you anywhere from $250 - $300 for a set of four. Siemens-Deka 60# (SD-60) Fuel Injectors You can throw a stone and hit five gear heads that know what these injectors are. They were one of the first widely-available “EV1” style aftermarket fuel injector upgrades for the LS1 engine dating back to the end of the last century. These fuel injectors are high performance with enough fuel flow to solve the fueling problems of almost any streetable high performance build. They are readily available, being very easy to source. They are also one of the lowest cost high performance aftermarket fuel injector available, with a set of four pricing in at $150-$200. Because they are available in the “EV1” style connector, they can be used on the 1.4T without harness adapters. If they could be used on the 1.4T, they'd be the perfect choice. However, they are also notoriously finicky in some regards, and based on our early research, were ruled out as feasible. That's changed now, though. First, a discussion about the problems with them. Curse of the SD-60s One of the issues that's plagued tuners since the SD-60s became available is their short pulse width operation. The larger (higher flowing) a fuel injector is, the more fuel it moves for a given amount of “open” time (pulse width). Also, the larger a fuel injector is, the more difficult it is to control at extremely short pulse widths, because the internal parts are larger, and therefore, heavier. If a fuel injector is operated at too short a pulse width, the injector can “misfire”. The ECU tries to open and close the injector so fast, it cannot do so reliably. When it fails to open and close, no fuel is injected, and the cylinder misfires. These two issues confluence to make idle operation with SD-60s extremely problematic and challenging. On larger engines, like the LS1, for instance, which displaces .7125L / cylinder, the SD-60s are relatively close to providing the correct amount of fuel for idle operation. However, on smaller engines, like the 2.0L SC MPFI (LSJ) – which displaces .5L / cylinder – the SD-60s cannot run at a short enough pulse width for proper fueling. So a tuner is left with making a choice between two not-so-good scenarios. Either they can live with the injector misfiring at idle, or they live with pinning down the minimum injector pulse width to avoid misfiring, but which causes the idle mixture to be too rich. The 1.4T is EVEN SMALLER, clocking in at .35L / cylinder. In other words its fuel demand per cylinder is roughly HALF of the LS1 engine. This means the problems seen on the 2.0L are even worse. We figured this out back in 2011-2012 and quickly eliminated the SD-60s as a viable choice for the 1.4T at the time. However, we recently revisited it, and now we think it's the best choice. Here's why... The LUJ/LUV Chassis Control Module Did you know that your Gen 1 Cruze / Gamma II has a variable speed fuel pump? It's true. And it's controlled by a discrete ECU called the Chassis Control Module (CCM). The CCM receives messages from the Engine Control Module (ECM) that dictate what the fuel pressure supplied to the injector rail should be. Why? The answer is that because these vehicles are both MPFI and turbocharged, the fuel pressure supplied to the injector rail needs to be varied based on how much boost there is in the intake manifold. The factory calibration varies the pressure between 300kPa (43.5 psi) and 400kPa (58psi) depending on the operating conditions. In our earlier research, we experimented with SD-60s and a lowered commanded fuel pressure in the ECM calibration. However, at the time, the CCM would not honor requests from the ECM to run the pump at a pressure level that was low enough to work with the SD-60s. Less is More More recently, however, we decided to look into whether we could change the CCM's calibration to honor requests from the ECM to run the fuel pressure at a level that was low enough to support the SD-60s. Here's the deal: Yes, the SD-60s flow way too much fuel (at idle) for the 1.4T – but that's at 43.5psi. If you lower the fuel pressure, the flow rate goes down. And as a result, the pulse width can be increased. With a specific CCM calibration, matched with an ECM calibration, we found we were able to run the SD-60s on the 1.4T with NO problems. No injector misfire. No rich idle. In fact, our engineers thought the 1.4T idled SMOOTHER with the SD-60s than even the stock injectors, or the “green giants”! SD-60s are Looking Like the Best Option The ECM/CCM is simply a reflash (software update) for the vehicle. If you're switching injectors, you're going to be flashing the ECM anyway. We always thought if the SD-60s could be made to work, they'd be the best fuel injector for the 1.4T. They're the cheapest and easily available. With TRIFECTA's ECM/CCM calibration, now the SD-60s are a real option for 1.4T tuners!
  3. This will delay the launch of our turbo just a bit longer, we need to calibrate with the larger compressor, but we're expecting better gains over the 55mm turbo! Stay tuned!
  4. Control your Boost Turbocharged engines rely one of a few different methods of controlling the boost level. Most modern-day gasoline engines rely on a “wastegate”, while diesel engines generally rely on Variable Geometry Turbochargers (VGT). In both cases, boost pressure and airflow is the result of engine exhaust gasses passing through the turbine of the turbocharger, of which the compressor shares a common shaft. Hence, turbine acceleration causes compressor acceleration which causes boost pressure and airflow to rise. With a wastegated turbocharger, the turbine and compressor speed are controlled by allowing a variable amount of engine exhaust gasses to bypass the turbine. With a VGT, the angle and shape of the turbine vanes can be changed on the fly, which affects the speed of both the turbine and compressor. VGTs are considered to be more efficient as the turbocharger's mechanical characteristics can effectively be changed, on the fly. (As an aside, the reason VGTs aren't prevalent on gasoline engines is because the exhaust temperatures tend to be much higher, although materials technology has caught up and VGTs are slowly making their way into high end gasoline engined vehicles like the Koenigsegg One:1) Wastegated Turbochargers The remainder of this article will focus on wastegated turbochargers (specifically internally wastegated turbochargers), since that is the type that is used in on the 1.4L turbocharged engine. In the age before Electronic Control Unit (ECU) controlled engines, the original wastegated turbochargers used a purely mechanical approach to controlling the boost. A calibrated “wastegate actuator” (WGA) would use spring pressure to hold the wastegate “default-closed”. Exhaust pressure levels “pre-turbine” (in other words, the exhaust pressure between the exhaust port and the “front side” of the turbine) rise in accordance with boost levels, and once there is sufficient pressure on the wastegate to overcome the spring weight in the WGA (sometimes called the cracking pressure), the wastegate will start to open and allow exhaust to bypass the turbine. This regulates boost pressure and airflow. LUJ/LUV Turbocharger turbine and internal wastegate (wastegate closed) LUJ/LUV Turbocharger turbine and internal wastegate (wastegate open) In the age of purely mechanical wastegates, it was relatively easy to increase boost levels beyond OE design specifications – all one had to do is install a heavier spring in the WGA, and the cracking pressure would increase, which would cause the turbine to spin faster, which in turn would cause the compressor to spin faster and compress more air. Of course, fueling and ignition advance curves would have to be modified, not to mention charge cooling systems as increasing the boost would also increase the amount of heat generated from compressing the incoming air. ECU Control – A Twist on Mechanical Wastegates When ECUs started managing engine operation, engineers had to come up with a method that would allow the boost to be regulated electronically, and, additionally through a closed-loop feedback system that would allow the ECU to compensate for changes in environment (air temperature, altitude, fuel quality) as well as changes to the engine operation as it wore mechanically. The earliest turbocharged engines from General Motors utilized a similar WGA as was from the mechanical days, with a twist: the addition of a pressure reference port which could effectively lower the WGA cracking pressure by applying pressurized air. LUJ/LUV Wastegate Actuator (WGA) In this system, there is also a boost control solenoid (BCS) which is essentially like an electronic diverter valve. By providing a Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) signal from the ECU, the ECU can control how much of the boost pressure coming from the compressor is allowed to be directed to the WGA. On General Motors vehicles, the usable PWM duty cycle range is 5% to 95%, where 5% causes the maximum amount of boost pressure to be directed to WGA, and 95% causes minimal amount of the boost pressure to be directed to the WGA. In other words, when the BCS command is 5%, the lowest amount of boost will be produced, and when it is 95%, the highest amount of boost will be produced. The following pictures show the BCS on the LUJ/LUV engine: LUJ/LUV Boost Control Solenoid (BCS) The ECU determines the “desired boost” level based on myriad decision inputs, including calibrated power limits, calibrated powertrain component limits (e.g. maximum turbocharger compressor speed), driver power demand, altitude, incoming air temperature, amount of historical knock, just to name a few. Once the ECU makes a decision on the boost level, it references a calibrated table to decide how much duty cycle should be output to the BCS, and drives (commands) the BCS to that duty cycle. The ECU then monitors incoming air mass via the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor, the intake Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor, the Throttle Inlet Absolute Pressure (TIAP, or “boost”) sensor, and several Intake Air Temperature (IAT) sensors to determine if the turbocharger is operating as desired. If the actual boost level is lower than the desired boost level, this is considered an “underboost” condition and the ECU will make some dynamic increases to the BCS signal to try to correct the condition. If the actual boost level is higher than the desired boost level, this is considered an “overboost” condition and the ECU will dynamically reduce the BCS signal to try to correct the condition. In an overboost condition, it may take further, more drastic measures depending on the severity of the condition such as shutting down boost entirely, closing the throttle blade, or opening the bypass valve. This is done to protect the engine and its components (more on these conditions later). The ECU employs a Proportional-Integral-Derivative controller (PID controller) strategy to both immediately correct boost control errors, and also correct predicted future boost control errors. This is the “closed loop” portion of the system. The parameters of this system are part of the ECU calibration and can be modified as needed. This article won't go into depth regarding how a PID controller works, but there's a great reference on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PID_controller) that describes both the method and the mathematics behind it. Advancements in ECU Turbocharger Controls Since the original boost control system design on General Motor vehicles, two variants have come along. The first is used on the twin turbo V6 engines (RPO: LF3, LF4 and LGW). The system works very similarly to the “default closed” systems originally used, but in this case, the wastegates are “default open”. Mechanical spring pressure holds the wastegate open until boost is required. The advantage with this system is it allows for more efficient engine operation. If you consider the “default closed” system design, one drawback is the exhaust gasses are ALWAYS flowing through the turbine. Even under light duty, even where no boost is requested by the ECU, the exhaust still flows through the turbine, and the turbine still acts as an exhaust restriction, which reduces efficiency. The only way the wastegate can be opened is for the mechanical spring pressure to be exceeded, which can only happen when there's sufficient boost. The “default open” design aims to resolve this shortcoming. Instead of using positive pressure (boost) to control the WGA, negative pressure (vacuum) is used. When the WGA is subjected to atmospheric pressure, the wastegate is fully open. As the pressure supplied to the WGA drops, it starts to pull against a spring inside the WGA to close the wastegate. The negative pressure is generated by a mechanical pump driven by an engine component, and is controlled using a BCS which directs a controlled amount of vacuum to the WGA. It is essentially the inverse of the “default closed” system design. LF3 turbocharger with “default open” wastegate design This system is not without its drawbacks, however. It's significantly more complicated than the “default closed” system design because it relies on a system of vacuum pumps, lines and solenoids to control the turbocharger. Another interesting issue that has arisen on this system is the turbochargers can be noisy. The wastegate valve itself is a floating valve attached to the wastegate actuator arm. When the wastegates are open, they have a tendency to create an annoying rattling sound, and because the aim of the design was to keep the wastegates open under low power levels and at idle, the sound can be easily heard. General Motors even revised the turbocharger assembly several times in order to correct the problem. This cannot be an issue on “default closed” systems because the wastegate valve would be held against the wastegate orifice under these light load and idle conditions. But, on the very newest turbocharged engines General Motors is producing, such as the new 2.0L turbocharged engine (RPO:LSY), its larger 2.7L cousin (RPO: L3B), and the new 4.2L twin turbo V8 engine (RPO: LTA a.k.a. “Blackwing”), there's an exciting new technology being used! Doing away entirely with all of the pressure-based controls, the ECU now simply drives what is essentially the equivalent of a throttle blade actuator which directly drives the wastegate position. It also uses the “default open” design to improve efficiency. The aftermarket has not yet delved into calibrating any of these engines, so little is known about how effective this new solution is. Limitations with the Gen 1 1.4L Turbo Engine Wastegate System Now, we will discuss the specific issues with the LUJ/LUV engine turbocharger's wastegate system. The main issue we have observed is there can be quite a variance in the cracking pressure of the OE WGA assembly. Based on our years of experience in calibrating these vehicles, we can say that on average, a safe assumption is that the highest boost level that can be had on the OE WGA assembly, at sea level is around 20-22psi of boost. However, we've have also seen OE WGA assemblies that will support more than 25-26psi of boost. Our assumption is that because these vehicles, in stock form were never designed to make these kinds of boost levels, perhaps the manufacturing tolerances in the OE WGA is somewhat lax. When calibrating customer vehicles, however, we have to start with the lowest common demoninator or else our customers could end up with boost control diagnostic failures and subsequent “boost limp mode”. Collection of LUJ/LUV WGAs that all have different cracking pressures Adjusting OE WGA “Preload” a.k.a. “Playing With Fire” One of the classic (or perhaps “infamous”) techniques for changing boost levels (particularly before boost levels were managed by an ECU) was to adjust the length of the rod from the WGA to the wastegate arm. The original intent of using an adjustable rod length was to allow calibration of the wastegate but hot-rodders quickly figured out if they shortened the length of the rod, they could either restrict the amount the wastegate could open, or otherwise cause the cracking pressure to go higher (because of the additional preload on the spring). On the LUJ/LUV engine, indeed an adjustable length threaded rod is used between the WGA and the wastegate, but the factory attempts to prevent tampering by using some sort of locking compound on the threads. This isn't enough to stop a dedicated tinkerer, but we wholly recommend AGAINST modifying the length of this arm for the simple reason that it can cause the turbocharger to overspin which leads to either a failed turbocharger assembly, or a failed engine. LUJ/LUV WGA showing tamper-resistent compound on actuator arm adjustment Additionally, changing the WGA rod length will have no effect on the boost potential without corresponding tuning changes because the ECU will detect there's more boost than expected and simply respond by either commanding less BCS duty cycle, or closing the throttle. Introducing the Forge Billet WGA for the LUJ/LUV Forge is an aftermarket UK company that specializes in engineering and manufacturing aftermarket WGAs (among many other parts). They have developed a billet aluminum WGA for the LUJ/LUV engine (Forge part number FMACC14T). One of the fascinating features of their part is the mechanical cracking pressure can be adjusted through the use of interchangible springs. Through our testing process, we found their part to be incredibly consistent from unit to unit (unlike the OE WGA) and of high quality. Forge Motorsport FMACC14T w/ “Yellow” spring pre-installed When you purchase this WGA from Forge, off the shelf it includes a “green” spring pre-installed in the WGA. We found this spring to be too “light” - in other words, the cracking pressure was actually LOWER than the OE WGA. We tested the next heavier spring, which is the “yellow” spring, and found it to be a suitable choice for the LUJ/LUV in that it allows boost pressures to reach the potential of the engine and OE turbocharger closely. We could have, of course, chosen an even heavier spring (such as the “red” spring). However, there is a trade-off using a heavier spring that needs to be recognized. Not only does the heavier spring weight raise the cracking pressure of the wastegate (e.g. the MAXIMUM potential boost level), but it also, in effect, raises the MINIMUM pressure that can be made from the turbocharger when 100% of the pressure is being sent to the WGA (e.g. 5% duty cycle). The OE WGA has a minimum of around 5psi of boost, but the Forge WGA with the “yellow” spring is closer to 12psi. We chose the “yellow” spring because it's the lightest spring that can allow the maximum boost potential to be reached which in turn raises the mininum boost by the lowest amount possible. If the minimum boost level is raised too far, it can cause a clunky driving experience, because the ECU will have to manage the torque by closing the throttle blade instead of being able to open the wastegate. Forge Motorsport WGA installed on LUJ/LUV turbocharger So, what about the power? We recently performed a series of tests on one of our development vehicles. It is a 2016 Chevrolet Sonic LT, with the LUV engine, and a manual transmission. It has the following modifications: 60 lb/hr fuel injectors RacerX cold air intake SPEC billet aluminum flywheel WaveTrac Limited Slip Differential (LSD) TRIFECTA calibration Out of the LUJ/LUV vehicles we have at our disposal, this one was closest to stock configuration, and the few modifications it does have would not materially affect the power output, except for perhaps the flywheel. As expected, on the stock calibration (adjusted for the 60 lb/hr fuel injectors), this vehicle baselined at fairly high numbers on our dyno: Peak power output was 135 horsepower (HP) at the wheels (WHP), and 151 lb-ft torque (TQ) at the wheels (WTQ). Considering this vehicle is rated at 139HP / 149TQ at the flywheel from the factory, it would seem indeed the aluminum flywheel had a positive impact on power output for this vehicle. TRIFECTA Calibration with the OE WGA As started above, we consider 22psi (at sea level) to be the highest boost level that can be achieved on the OE WGA. This dyno chart shows what 22psi on this vehicle produced versus the OE calibration: Under these test conditions, PEAK gains went up by approximately 26WHP and 47WTQ. However, particularly with horsepower levels after the curve, gains are much higher than 26WHP – e.g. at 6300 RPM, the gains are closer to 45WHP. High RPM power delivery holds much further into the high RPM range than on the OE calibration. TRIFECTA Calibration with the Forge WGA and “Yellow” Spring Finally, we tested the vehicle and calibrated it to its full potential with the Forge WGA. Observe the following dyno chart: Versus the OE WGA, we gained another 17WHP, and a whopping 33WTQ! The torque gains are so impressive because this engine can really utilize boost levels higher than 22psi at the low to mid RPM range. Choosing some key RPM points, the following table summarizes the gains that were possible with just tuning and the Forge WGA: 3500 RPM 5500 RPM 6000 RPM 6300 RPM OE WGA / Calibration 146WTQ 133WHP 123WHP 115WHP OE WGA / TRIFECTA (22psi) 190WTQ(+44) 155WHP(+22) 143WHP(+20) 141WHP(+26) Forge WGA / TRIFECTA 229WTQ(+39/+83 total) 166WHP(+11/+33 total) 157WHP(+13/+33 total) 156WHP(+15/+41 total) More than just Power Believe it or not, the vast majority of calibration work required to make the Forge WGA work correctly has nothing to do with getting the big power gains. Because the turbocharger response from the BCS was dramatically altered with the installation of this part, we needed to start from scratch in dialing in the BCS table and the other PID controller constructs. We've spent about a week of total time on the dyno with various LUJ/LUV vehicles just getting everything mapped correctly. Without proper calibration work, people installing this sort of part are likely to have sporadic, or even common issues with “boost limp mode”. This is where the ECU detects that there's been an ongoing boost control problem for long enough that it shuts down the boost control system entirely. This results in a maximum boost level of about 12psi (or 5psi on the OE actuator) and a very powerless vehicle! - TRIFECTA Performance
  5. Initial testing puts this on par with a tuned LE2, and will cost a heck of a lot less than it would cost to trade up to one. Stay tuned as we move forward on this project!
  6. The 2019 model year for the Chevrolet Sonic is largely a “carryover” since the 2017 exterior and interior update, with one key change: the 1.8L I4 (RPO: LUW/LWE) engine is no longer available. The TRIFECTA performance calibration for the 2019 Chevrolet Sonic and 2019 GMC Canyon is unchanged versus the 2012 through 2018 Chevrolet Sonic product. Below is a list of feature highlights: Gains of up to +51 ft-lbs and +44 WHP Full transmission recalibration (automatic transmission vehicles) “No Lift Shift” feature retains boost through performance shifts (manual transmission vehicles) Two way Driver Selectable Vehicle Modes (DSVM): Sport, and Eco Support for aftermarket modifications and hardware Full restore-to-stock functionality included Product updates provided at no charge (includes support for OE software updates) To order your TRIFECTA performance recalibration for your 2019 Chevrolet Sonic, please visit our store: https://www.trifectaperformance.com/store/category/125-14l-turbo/
  7. Figure 1 – Racer X Manifold for the 1.4L Turbo (RPO:LUJ/LUV) Summary We found, with appropriate recalibration, the Racer X Fabrication intake manifold increases power as measured on the dyno, by up to 12 horsepower as measured at the wheel. Torque output peak was unchanged, but did shift up the RPM band by about 200 RPM (e.g. it took 200 RPM more to reach peak torque). Figure 2 – Dyno sheet showing Stock vs Racer X performance Beyond the power gains, it is our opinion this product will be popular in this market because it also permanently and effectively addresses the PCV issues this engine is known for, provides a custom upgrade part (and look) for these vehicles, and also allows for future expansion, as there are several unused ports in the end of the manifold which could be utilized for additional instrumentation, or water, water/methanol, and/or nitrous injection directly into the manifold. Comparison to Ported Intake Manifold (OE) Prior to the arrival of the Racer X manifold, the only other intake manifold modifications that had been widely used were the porting of the intake runners of the stock intake manifold, the so-called ported intake manifold, and the PCV system modification. Figure 3 – Stock Intake Manifold with “air tumblers” The OE intake manifold has a restriction in the runner near the intake port. It is believed these are actually air tumblers and are meant to induce intake charge swirl for more efficient combustion. However, it is also theorized that these air tumblers reduce and restrict airflow when higher levels of airflow are introduced (e.g. turning up the boost, upgraded turbocharger, etc.). We had performed a preliminary test on a ported manifold versus a stock manifold several years back and saw negligible change in power on the dyno, but a possible loss of efficiency (more timing advance was required to maintain similar power levels to unported manifold). Ironically, while the effect is the ECM reports the power output level has increased due to the additional timing advance (despite a wash on the dyno), the loss of efficiency could be attributed to less efficient mixing of the air and fuel charge due to the lack of tumblers, but a more conclusive test is needed. Figure 4 – OE Ported Intake Manifold The PCV system modification addresses PCV system failures that are prevalent on this engine by utilizing an external, and more robust check valve for introducing PCV vapors back into the intake manifold. This is achieved by installing a brass fitting in the bottom of the PCV chamber in the intake manifold, routing the PCV vapors either to a throttle body spacer, or the brake booster fitting. Figure 5 – OE Manifold PCV Modification While both of these modifications are popular in the community, they are also considered do it yourself (DIY) modifications which require special tools and skill. At the time this test was conducted, we did not have a ported intake manifold available, but we plan to do a comparison to it in the future. TRIFECTA Calibration Support We are pleased to announce immediate and full support for the Racer X manifold for the GM 1.4L turbo engine in our full custom calibration tier (Elite). Additionally, we will offer a free update for any TRIFECTA customer of record on or before 05/31/2018, regardless of which product tier they purchased! Test Vehicle The test vehicle is a 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Limited LT, equipped with the 1.4L Turbo engine (RPO: LUV), and the six speed automatic transmission. The vehicle has approximately 18,500 miles on the odometer, and aside from the manifold is also equipped with a catless down pipe, cat less mid pipe, and K&N cold air intake system. There were no other pertinent modifications to the vehicle. “92 octane” fuel, considered premium unleaded in the Seattle, WA area was used for all tests. Figure 6 – Test Vehicle Test Procedure In order to keep the test results as accurate as possible, we tested both manifolds on the same day, on the same vehicle, on the same chassis dyno, back to back. We tested the Racer X manifold first, since we had installed it previously for calibration procedure. After performing several test “pulls” on the dyno, in manual 4th gear, we let the car cool down, installed the stock manifold, warmed it to operating temperature, and performed several test “pulls”. From the beginning of the test procedure, to the end, the ambient air temperature only changed about 2*F. The dyno used was a Dynojet 424xLC all wheel drive dyno equipped with eddy current load cells (but were not used for the test). The vehicle was operated in manual 4th gear for all test pulls. After the dyno brake was released, the vehicle was put in manual 3rd gear, run up to 20 MPH, shifted to manual 4th gear, then decelerated to 1100 RPM, and then a wide open throttle maneuver was executed. The vehicle was operated until 6200 RPM, and the dyno “pull” was concluded. Figure 7 – Test Vehicle on the dyno, with Racer X manifold Installation The installation of this manifold is fairly straightforward, but isn't 100% “reversible” (more on this later). The manifold has an optional PCV system “add-on”, but we couldn't see how this manifold could be installed without it, unless one chose to simply vent PCV gases to the atmosphere, or perhaps someone wanted to fabricate their own PCV solution. Installation requires transferring (from the stock manifold): 1. The fuel rail and fuel injectors to the new manifold, 2. The EVAP solenoid, and 3. The Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) sensor. The installation instructions also call for retaining the turbo bypass valve (BPV) control solenoid so the Engine Control Module (ECM) won't set the check engine light, but we chose to skip this step and devised a means of installing the manifold without the BPV control solenoid without any negative effect via the ECM calibration. While we say this kit isn't 100% “reversible” (more like 90% “reversible”) it's of little consequence, in our opinion, because it would be unlikely an end customer would want to, or ever go back to their stock intake manifold. It's not fully reversible, because it requires cutting of some of the hard plastic lines that route to the brake booster and the PCV vent to the turbocharger inlet in order to complete installation. Initial Test Drive Our test vehicle was equipped with the production TRIFECTA Advantage calibration. On the first test drive, we noticed two issues with the vehicle, one was a hesitation and “dip” in power, in some cases accompanied by audible spark “knock” in the 5000 RPM range under full acceleration, and what seemed to be a somewhat laggy pedal response. While the manifold manufacturer states the manifold will work without issue on the stock calibration, it was clear to us that some additional calibration work would be needed for vehicles that have a more powerful aftermarket calibration. One net effect of using this intake manifold, which sports a larger intake plenum volume than the factory intake manifold is that actual manifold pressure levels end up lower than stock (while moving a higher amount of airflow due to flow and efficiency improvements). These changes in airflow and pressure dynamics showed us more in depth recalibration would be required. Dyno Calibration Session We spent most of a full day addressing the vehicle performance issues we had noted previously (the most time consuming being the full recalibration of the wastegate duty cycle table). We were able to resolve all of the performance issues and were able to regain the throttle response we experienced with the stock manifold. After completing the dyno calibration session, and resolving some minor calibration issues with street testing, we put approximately 1000 miles on the vehicle as a short term reliability test. No further issues were experienced. Airflow and Pressure Statistics When we performed the final back to back test on the dyno with the Racer X manifold vs the stock manifold, the following airflow and pressure statistics were observed: Airflow (mass air flow sensor) lb/min, 6020 RPM and Manifold Absolute Pressure: Compressor inlet pressure: 98 kPa RacerX: 18.55 lb/min, 211 kPa (113 kPa, 16.385 psi boost) Stock: 18.32 lb/min, 227 kPa (129 kPa, 18.705 psi boost) At 6020 RPM, in both cases, maximum pressure is obtained from the compressor. However, despite the manifold being at almost 2psi less boost pressure RacerX vs stock, the airflow is still higher, which is a more accurate measure of performance. We also sampled the data at 5500 RPM, the airflow differences were more pronounced (with similar manifold pressure): Compressor inlet pressure: 98 kPa RacerX: 18.62 lb/min, 229 kPa (131 kPa, 18.995 psi boost) Stock: 17.52 lb/min, 225 kPa (127 kPa, 18.415 psi boost) Conclusion Our testing has shown this product increases power, addresses several long-term issues with this platform (PCV system issues) all while offering a unique and customized look to the enthusiast's Chevrolet Cruze or Chevrolet Sonic! We believe it will continue to be a popular choice for people seeking the best for their vehicle!
  8. Offering driver-selectable vehicle modes is an exclusive feature of TRIFECTA calibrations, that, prior to TRIFECTA's innovation, only exisited in the most expensive and premium vehicles that GM offers (Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Cadillac CTS, etc). Utilizing a custom operating system, we have brought this premium feature to virtually every vehicle type we offer calibrations for. TRIFECTA's DSVM II, on the Chevrolet Sonic, is activated by the cruise control system arming switch. When the cruise control system is enabled, the vehicle operates in STOCK mode. When the cruise control system is disabled, the vehicle operates in SPORT mode. Vehicle modes can be switched at any time, as many times as the driver wishes. Cruise control system functionality is completely retained and unaffected by DSVM II. In SPORT mode, the vehicle responds much more quickly to accelerator input. Automatic transmission shift patterns are optimized for maximum performance and responsiveness. During "everyday" driving manuevers, the vehicle feels very much like it did from the factory, but rolling into the pedal quickly reveals a vehicle that wants to GO. Attentive, but without being "twitchy", power delivery is linear and transmission shifts are purposeful. The vehicle produces maximum TRIFECTA power! In STOCK mode, the vehicle behaves just like it did from the factory, under all driving conditions! More than PAL (previous Sonic calibration) + STOCK, this is a whole new calibration We announced several months back that our calibration engineering team was working on the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic Turbo. Just like any other large scale software project, GM typically uses a common "code base" within an ECU type, and this "code base" is generally updated every model year. After studying the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic ECU code in our engineering center, we discovered some improvements in calibration constructs that had not existed in previous model years, which we determined could be "back ported" to previous model years to offer an exceptionally improved driving experience not possible prior to the 2016 "code base". This discovery, combined with feedback on the PAL calibration led to a complete "redo" of the TRIFECTA Sonic calibration. SPORT mode is all new, redesigned from the ground up. Availability: TRIFECTA's DSVM II for the 2012+ Chevrolet Sonic (LUV) is available immediately and is incorporated into all new product orders. Exisiting TRIFECTA customers may request and receive the DSVM II calibration update at absolutely no charge by submitting a request at the following link (be sure to include your vehicle's VIN): Contact Us
  9. When a customer buys TRIFECTA, they are tapping into over 6 years of 1.4L Turbo (LUJ/LUV) calibration experience. No other company has calibrated as many Chevrolet Cruze or Chevrolet Sonic vehicles, with experience calibrating stock vehicles all the way to fully upgraded turbochargers. TRIFECTA has always prided itself on offering complete, ongoing, remote-calibration and individualization to customers that purchase the TRIFECTA Elite product. Process and support infrastructure improvements and consolidation have led to both a lower overhead and better ability to provide excellent service to our customers. Additionally, the market spoke to us about price when we set sales records, moving the TRIFECTA Elite product at the recent Black Friday special. Moving forward there will be the following TRIFECTA products: 2011 - Present Chevrolet Cruze (LUJ/LUV) $298 + s/h - TRIFECTA Advantage Calibration for 2011+ Chevrolet Cruze (LUJ/LUV) $398 + s/h - TRIFECTA Elite Calibration for 2011+ Chevrolet Cruze (LUJ/LUV) 2012 - Present Chevrolet Sonic (LUJ/LUV) $298 + s/h - TRIFECTA Advantage Calibration for 2012+ Chevrolet Sonic (LUV) $398 + s/h - TRIFECTA Elite Calibration for 2012+ Chevrolet Sonic (LUV) What's the difference between the two products? Advantage = Meant for 100% stock vehicles. No individualization or support for parts that do not function on factory calibration (if you have such modifications, be sure to check with us prior to placing order). No remote tuning. Elite = Same as Advantage, however, we will individualize the calibration for parts already installed at the time of purchase and provide updates for modifications installed after the fact. Full diagnostic log review when needed. This package is the premium full support package. Both Advantage and Elite include a flash loader device
  10. Tacoma, WA., October 6, 2014 – TRIFECTA presents: The MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic TRIFECTA powertrain recalibration updated pricing, anticipating the MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic with powertrain specific class leading power delivery starting now under $300, now featuring three distinct powertrain specific class leading product lines including: The TRIFECTA Advantage Powertrain Recalibration for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T The TRIFECTA Advantage Plus (TRIFECTA Advantage+) Powertrain Recalibration with Diagnostic Datalogging for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T The TRIFECTA Elite Powertrain Recalibration with Individualization (Custom Profiling) for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T The MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T headlines all-new TRIFECTA Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T lineup with specific power increases of +36 WHP +52 ft-lbs of torque and improved featuresets and product lineup: -- The TRIFECTA powertrain recalibration for the Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T blends class leading all-around performance with improved fuel efficiency. -- Updated October 2014 TRIFECTA Pricing for the MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T now begins at $298 -- The TRIFECTA Advantage Powertrain Recalibration for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T brings updated pricing in anticipation for the MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic starting now under $299 (Pricing as of October 2014) (TRIFECTA Advantage Powertrain Recalibration for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T includes a TRIFECTA flash loader) -- The TRIFECTA Advantage Plus (Advantage+) Powertrain Recalibration with Diagnostic Datalogging for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T includes Diagnostic Datalogging and aftermarket hardware support is $388 (Pricing as of October 2014) (includes a TRIFECTA flash loader) -- The TRIFECTA Elite Powertrain Recalibration with Individualization (Custom Profiling) for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T includes calibration individualization, remote diagnostics, and comprehensive aftermarket hardware software integration support. The TRIFECTA Elite Powertrain Recalibration with Individualization (Custom Profiling) for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T pricing starts at $588 (includes a TRIFECTA flash loader) -- All TRIFECTA Powertrain Recalibrations for the MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T automatic transmission vehicles corresponding with the TRIFECTA MY2012-MY2015 Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T September 2014 Update now includes updated automatic transmission calibrations provides smoother shifting, improved shift times, and improved shifting logic vs previous calibration revisions; updated featuresets include rolling anti-lag and 300 percent faster shifts than stock. -- With the current generation of TRIFECTA's flash loader solutions and the TRIFECTA Transparency featureset, when flashing your vehicle, the TRIFECTA flash loader does not increment the ECM write counter or increment entries in the flash history. The Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T TRIFECTA powertrain recalibration delivers more than 130 horsepower per liter and more than 140 ft-lbs per liter – powering a fuel efficient vehicle whose drivers are more inclined to use it while ensuring critical powertrain reliability. Enhancements made to the Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T Ecotec engine software to withstand the added stresses include: -- Extended testing of more than 100,000 miles with 100 hrs + of wide open throttle testing -- Powertrain calibration has been tested and validated for various environments, such as cold/heat, elevation, and variations in fuel quality -- Octane Adaptive construct enables multi-phased timing tables: Five distinct timing tables replace the OE GM implementation of high/low octane tables -- Multi-dimensional Airflow Coefficient tables, adds air pressure bias and knock history overlay for enhanced accuracy in boost scenarios -- Virtualized torque prediction coefficients recalculation model added -- Airflow based commanded fuel ratio strategies added -- Multi-stage knock sensor decay and recovery rate tables added -- TRIFECTA ECP.MK2 (Hybrid Speed Density) support and constructs added Visit our Store to purchase this product, or leave a comment below!
  11. IAT analysis and documentation: Chevy Sonic 1.4T IAT/Intake Analysis (MY2013), September 12th 2014 Component Group II TBA Component Group II includes a turbo upgrade (not pictured, still undergoing validation and testing) Pricing TBA, Retail availability TBA
  12. Specifications of the TRIFECTA Performance Chevrolet Sonic MY2012-MY2015+ 1.4T ECM software reprogramming: -Gains of +52 ft-lbs and +36 WHP under the curve (and +49 ft-lbs and +31 WHP peak on 91 octane) -Powertrain calibration has been tested and validated for various environments, such as cold/heat, elevation, and variations in fuel quality -Power feels linear and immediately responsive -Retains all GM OE diagnostics and ECM functionality -Retains all OE error code reporting and functionality -Emissions readiness checks are present; emissions compliant -Maintains functionality of ABS and TC systems -Knock detection mechanisms and OE engine knock detection sensitivity is retained -Return to stock functionality included with flash loader Specifications of the TRIFECTA Performance MY2012-MY2015+ Chevrolet Sonic 1.4T 6T40 6-Speed automatic transmission TCM calibration software reprogramming: -Supplementary 6T40 transmission TCM reprogramming compliments the ECM reprogramming and completes the TRIFECTA Powertrain Calibration: designed to work in unison with the ECM reprogramming for optimized performance -Improved shift times in adverse shift patterns -Improved shift logic -Does not shorten transmission life or increase cooling requirements -Retains all OE diagnostics and TCM functionality -Retains all OE error code reporting and functionality -Improved fuel economy with improvements made to torque converter slip profiles Installation Notes: -Estimated installation time of ~20 minutes -Premium fuel is recommended, but not required 1.4T dyno graph (on 91 octane pump gas) (this vehicle is a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS with a 1.4T engine) - stock wheels/tires: Additional information and availability: -This powertrain calibration includes a TRIFECTA powertrain calibration file specific to your vehicle and includes a flash loader device -Powertrain calibrations currently exist for the US, CA, EU, RUS/CIS, MEC, and Asia areas, with more regions to follow Visit our Store to purchase this product, or leave a comment below!
  13. Release Notes: - (TRIFECTA) Improved Power Delivery between 4000 to 5500 RPM. - (TRIFECTA) Low end torque improved by 20 ft-lbs @ 2500 RPM. - (TRIFECTA) Octane adaptive featureset revision increment. - (TRIFECTA) Improved fuel economy under hill climb conditions. - (TRIFECTA) GM Base Calibration updated to September 6th 2014 release. - (GM) Improved closed loop transition state logic. - (GM) Improved MAF polling rate. - (GM) Fixed CE adaptivity issue with updating MyLink failing. - (GM) Fixed ECM ring 60 saturation on CAN BUS resulting in prolonged delay issue in BCM null state triggers.
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