ForcedFed Turbo Question

I just bought an 06 exige with a FF 275 kit, please let me know how many miles you got off yours with your elise, if you were running the piggyback ecu system (unichip) and how the turbo was overall. Thank you.Glenn

4 thoughts on “ForcedFed Turbo Question

  1. Hi Glenn,

    Right off the bat I want to say I really enjoyed visiting your website (http://www.difflow.com). I saw it for the first time a few days ago and I can say it is a very simple and intuitive site :-)

    Re: FF275 kit
    If you can give me some background on the car and it’s history I may be of more help. In the meantime, I can share you my experiences from the past few years. I’ll cut to the chase and say these concluding remarks if you don’t want to read my long winded reply: In short though, get away from the Unichip piggy back ECU ASAP!

    My car had about 6,000 miles on it with the Forced Fed 275 Kit, which included the Unichip piggyback computer. My Elise has been primarily used on the track. Unrelated, but the tiny Garret GT28 Turbo (Exhaust housing is T25, internal wastegate, .64 A/R, GT28 compressor housing) was replaced right around 5,000 miles (seals).

    I can only suspect this setup never ran great from the get go…and I don’t suppose any of the ff275 kits with the unichip could either, with what’s generally understood now of the Lotus Elise/Exige self-learning ECUs. Mine had the “revised” unichip installed, no difference.

    Keep in mind the FF275 kit was the best of the best back in the day (circa ~2005). It is an old kit now, although the hardware was well engineered. The hardware was built tough and it is shows in the sense they are still around today. Some will argue the kits caused tracked Elises to overheat, catch on fire, etc. Again, I suspect if they had properly setup cars, those things would not have happened to those unfortunately individuals. The kit came into the market before anyone really understood the Lotus S2 ECU (brain, computer, ems, whatever you prefer to call it). The uni-chip is a complete fail as the lotus ECU is continuously learning and adjusting itself to previous input and outputs. I guess the only way to successfully drive with it is to have your battery disconnected, allowing the ECU to reset and unlearn your car behavior. I noticed I was able to hold an idle much better after this trick and it makes a lot of sense.

    Luckily, there are a few different companies out there today that have the ability to reflash the factory ECU. This is your best bet and should be done ASAP per your installed mods. Removal of the unichip is a simple – unplug and trash, replug original connectors to original ECU. Issues that I’ve personally had:

    The Elise ran lean. This was verified by my wideband every time I push it hard wide open throttle (WOT) and on boost. I had my aem boost controller set for 8-9, and 10-11psi. Frankly, I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two settings. Thanks to the Uni-Chip, I’m sure my timing was completely off. My a/f ratios were jumping erratically across the gauge. With or without the cat in place, the car felt sluggish in the higher RPMs. For a car so light, and expecting at least 275hp at the crank, it felt slow and I was actually embarrassed to be passed up by Audi A3, BMW, Mustangs, etc. With the Elise’s looks, the power was definitely not there! It has been suggested numerous times by very respected people in the Lotus Community to upgrade to a larger, high flow fuel pump with this kit. This should also help with the inadequate fuel. This was one of Charlie’s (CharlieX) requirements for flashing anyone’s ECU a few years back. While you’re at it, you might want to couple that with a 1-1 fuel pressure regulator.

    Oil starve – I’d imagine you have the upgraded oil pan from Forced Fed. If your not sure check for it…if not, add that to your list of necessities.

    Car couldn’t idle. It was reminiscent of a bad TPS, but in reality, the larger FF275 injectors matched with the confused unichip/stock ECU didn’t really compensate properly and it would often sputter and die. I became so good at controlling the idle with the gas and brake pedal I didn’t think too much of it and didn’t bother me personally…but I always had the thought in the back of my head: if the car couldn’t idle, do I really want to take it to 9,000 rpm under 11 lbs. of boost on the stock engine internals? I lived dangerously, frankly, because I didn’t care if my engine blew, I had my mind set on a built engine and bigger turbo (that’s of course, before the v6 2GE-FE Supercharged option was around).

    CEL – Check Engine Light – absolutely, this, from my understanding is because one of the two O2 Sensors are unplugged. Some people have opted to remove the bulb from the instrument cluster (pain in the ass and illegal). I didn’t bother, I also had my airbag lights on until I swapped the instrument panel for the RacePak IQ3

    Exhaust leak – if you plan on keeping the kit, I suggest keeping a file of all the various exhaust manifold springs and exhaust donut gasket part numbers and having a good rapport with your vendor. The exhaust donut is a standard Celica part, but the springs that keep the manifolds together are custom and can be a bitch to locate. If you can’t find it from the proper channels now the ForcedFed is no longer around, I would look at motorcycle performance shops. The exhaust is mated together the same way and the springs are probably a version you’ll find there.

    Excessive heat – turbos generate a lot of it and the Elise has a tiny engine compartment. Make sure any vacuum lines, Brake, oil, etc, are all in good shape and out of the way. If you remove the exhaust manifold for any reason, I would wrap it with some sort of thermal wrap.

    Exhaust – as you know, the exhaust runs right through the diffuser, and as we both know, that’s a big no-no. I would redesign your exhaust to exit on top of the diffuser and patch the hole. I still need to patch my exhaust hole when I get my Elise back in a couple of weeks.

    Depending what your goals are, I guess you can go a few different routes with upgrades. Regardless of what your plans are, get in touch with someone that can flash your ECU first and foremost. A turbocharged Elise is definately a world of a difference from the stock naturally aspirated flavor. I would bever go back to the underpowered NA version, ever. The great thing about a turbo is the customization. You want to run 7 psi max and not rip the tires loose, ok…dial it down…want to run on full power and boost 10 lbs, 12 lbs, or 15 lbs? Sure, turn up the dial and increased power is at your fingertips. These are things you can’t do with a NA or a supercharged car.

    I hope this has been somewhat helpful. If you have any other particular questions, please let me know.

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