FuelTech’s FT engine management system: from racing cars to streetcars

When your average enthusiast thinks of an aftermarket standalone engine management system, the first thing that usually comes to mind are complicated wiring diagrams and a plethora of unterminated wires, not even knowing where to start, and a engine calibration which is still waiting to be completed after this. Well the good news is that over time improvements have come and the Brazilian engine management manufacturer FuelTech and their line of FT ECUs are at the forefront of this industry.

You may remember our previous FuelTech coverage when taking a closer look at the timing functions of the company’s FT500 and FT600 ECUs for drag racers. Now that we’re familiar with the race-specific features of these units, this time around, Luis de Leon, Technical Director of FuelTech, gives us an overview of the features that your average street project can take advantage of. Ditch your restrictive factory ECU and use it as a clipboard.

FuelTech’s FT500 ECU [center], broadband O2 meter [right], and electronic controllers [left].

The FuelTech Advantage in Moderate Drive Street Cars

When most reducers think of an aftermarket ECU, they see a box that electronically controls the basic engine life support (fuel, air, ignition) and is configured with a laptop using software for the engine. ‘complicated calibration. FuelTech takes a different approach.

The FuelTech range of ECUs, which includes the FT500 LITE, FT500 and our newer FT600, is really more of a complete vehicle controller than just an engine management system. – Luis de Leon, FuelTech

“The FuelTech line of ECUs, which includes the FT500 LITE, FT500 and our newer FT600, is really more of a complete vehicle controller than just an engine management system,” says de Leon. “Not only is our system capable of tackling all the complexities of modern engine management, to a level that most other aftermarket and factory ECUs cannot achieve, but users can also control them. forced induction and nitrogen systems directly from the unit. This completely eliminates the need for additional external controllers cluttering up the limited space in the cabin or engine compartment of your vehicle.

“In addition to engine management and power adder, our FT series also acts as an integrated data logger capable of recording every aspect of what is happening inside the engine and even under the chassis” , explains de Leon. “And whether you’ve opted for our FT500 or FT600 unit, the system has a built-in customizable dashboard, allowing users to replicate any gauge in the style they want. This really simplifies the whole performance side of modern electronic motors. “

FT500 used as a complete instrument panel replacement.

De Leon was really excited to detail some of the FT500 and FT600 tools that will make your life easier while driving your modified tram.

“The rev limiter can be configured to reference engine temperature, which is an important aspect for street cars. This can be used to protect the engine from damage during cold starts by allowing the ECU to maintain the desired rpm limit until the engine reaches the desired operating temperature, ”explains de Leon. “The FT500 and FT600 also have the ability to control the auxiliary fuel tanks. For example, if you are using E85 or E100 in your project car, you can still use standard pump gasoline in your auxiliary tank to improve cold starts during the winter.

FT500 configuration in conjunction with FuelTech 8A / 2A Peak and Hold Fuel Injector Driver.

“Another popular feature among the FT series trams is the push-button engine start. With this you can ditch the factory ignition and key and instead use a digital button on the dash to start the engine, ”says de Leon. “If you like to take your project to your local strip on the weekends, you can also take advantage of the electronic throttle body control. This presents the user with several different predefined behaviors and limits; and for more everyday oriented drivers, you can even configure one as a “valet”, with a significantly reduced throttle body opening range and a low rev limiter to protect your investment.

… Our team specifically designed the PowerFT system in a way that anyone with a minimal understanding of motor theory can use to their full potential. – Luis de Leon, FuelTech

Keep it friendly

FuelTech’s approach from the start was to create a feature-rich system capable of everything from ignition timing and fuel delivery to time-based multipliers, gear-based boost control, and fuel delivery. data recording, while maintaining a user-friendly interface.

“Remember when I mentioned that the FT500 and FT600 both have integrated dashboards? Guess what? These aren’t just dashes, and not just an ECU, they’re really a complete, all-in-one interface, ”exclaims de Leon. “You can configure, adjust and alternate up to five different calibrations stored in the internal memory of the device; on the fly, without a laptop!

“Although our entry-level FT500 LITE system can only be set up via a laptop, using the FTManager software, the FT500 and FT600 units can also be operated using a laptop, but it is never necessary. »Explains de Léon. “All the functionality present in FTManager when using a laptop is also right at your fingertips, right on the FT500 and FT600 dashboard. We have always strived to make our products easy to use and with a very attractive user interface. Some companies will just cram as much functionality as possible into a system without any structure, but our team specifically designed the PowerFT system in a way that anyone with a minimal understanding of motor theory can use to its full potential.

The battle between WHP and MPG

Front and center mounted FT500 used as a complete dashboard on a streetcar traveling on the highway.

Optimizing horsepower, fuel economy and handling is a common struggle for many enthusiasts using their daily driver for a dual task, three elements that often overlap. You want to get the most reliable power out of the car for a weekend run, but you also need to drive it home that evening, then start it up on Monday morning and get to work in the morning. An important factor in improving the energy efficiency of trams is the possibility of using closed circuit refueling.

Installation of the FT500 in a professional dragcar. Another advantage of the FT500 and FT600 series of ECUs is its versatility and unlimited mounting locations.

“Our closed-loop control isn’t just a description in the manual or a marketing ploy, this system really works. We have received feedback from many customers praising the system for improving their overall handling on the road, or saving their engines when the fuel pressure drops, or because something is missing in the air, ” de Leon declares.

“FuelTech’s closed loop system is extremely efficient and responsive. It can be configured to reference your vehicle’s TPS [throttle position sensor], the boost pressure of the turbocharger or compressor, a nitrous kit or even just depending on the time elapsed for the strip. No matter what type of fuel you use, you set the requested fuel target and the unit will get there.

“These units can manage up to 14 individual O2 sensors for a V12 engine, while a V8 can use up to 10 sensors and a four cylinder can use up to five sensors. With this, it is easy to see that the user can use these oxygen sensors individually per cylinder and then use one per side of the engine or an additional one for the whole engine if he uses a single outlet exhaust ” , explains de Leon. “But remember, this is only the maximum allowed. You really only need one sensor to activate closed loop fuel control.

FT500 used in a Lamborghini as additional gauges to display auxiliary data in the central dashboard.

“And even when you add multiple sensors, you can still choose to rely on a single sensor to operate in closed loop and just save the others for reference, or select the ones you want the unit to reference for loop control.” closed. In the near future, we will update our software to allow fuel adjustments based on each individual sensor and cylinder. “

A sensor for each cylinder and extras for more downstream, with the ability to delegate how much and what specific broadband the ECU will reference to dictate closed loop refueling corrections is quite a feat and is a great tool for any monster. of street power.

Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP) vs. Fuel RPM Calibration Chart, as seen from the FT Manager desktop software.

Creature comfort and neat tips

De Leon could go on for days to list all the ways a street-driven project car can take advantage of the FT500 and FT600 ECUs, including a built-in coolant fan controller; boost controller based on vehicle speed or specific gear; air conditioning control; gear-based fuel distribution and ignition timing; up to five distinct melodies stored in internal memory; and even password-based anti-theft protection, requiring a unique password to be able to leave with your precious possession.

As you may have noticed from some of the photos, FuelTech also offers a wide variety of other products beyond these engine management systems, such as electronic controllers (fuel and spark injector), speedometers digital, sensors, harnesses and plug-and-play adapters. To find the right combination of parts for your specific build, be sure to check out the product page for more information!

FT500 and FuelTech broadband meter.

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Kevin A. Perras

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