location, removal and refit
David Boniface (Oxford Blue 1589) in
Japan contacted the V8 Register for information on fitting an Optimax chip and
how to remove the ECU. We put him onto John Barnes (Woodcote Green 0636) in Wellington
New Zealand who produced this useful note based on his experiences of fitting
an Optimax chip supplied by RPI in the UK. (Jul 02)
contacted the V8 Register with a note saying "it seems that the RPI Optimax
chip is well liked and I am considering fitting one. However a quick look indicates
that to get at the ECU just to get the chip numbers, requires either moving or
removing the AC evaporator unit and I guess removing/replacing the refrigerant.
Any advice would be welcome". We put him in touch with John Barnes in
Wellington New Zealand who responded with the following note.
have an RV8 which was imported in May 1997 from Japan and like all RV8s originally
exported to Japan it has air-conditioning fitted which I have retained. I have
fitted an RPI Optimax chip which I think has improved torque and bhp but I know
it has definitely improved petrol consumption. On a lengthy trip at Christmas
at an average speed of 110kph up and down hills and on the flat, it averaged 32mpg.
I intend to put the
car on a dyno in due course so I can see what the torque and bhp improvements
are. Before I re-chipped the RV8 I put the car on the dyno and with some adjustments
improved the bhp at the rear wheels from 120 to 141. This is about right for 190bhp
at the flywheel. I removed the catalytic converters as they are not required in
New Zealand and inserted a non-cat diode. The O2 sensors are off.
in Japan have the vacuum advance on the left hand side of the plenum chamber which
means the timing becomes fully advanced on start up. This helps with lowering
emissions but does not help performance. As with all cars imported from Japan,
the vacuum advance pipe is moved to the right hand side. Thus at idle it has little
advance - mine has 8 degrees at idle which rises to 28 degrees at 4,000rpm. Please
refer to RV8 Workshop Note 60 "Advance and retard pipe" in Volume 2
of the series.
and replacing the ECU needs no surgery and is simple. It takes 10 minutes. Please
refer to my note below on ECU location, removal and refit. You must be very careful
when handling the ECU. You will need a torx screwdriver to open it. See also RV8
Workshop Note 124 "More legroom for the air-conditioned". The photo
below shows the right hand drain hose and the single bolt which holds the ECU
in place. Before embarking on getting a chip you should contact Chris Crane, the
head of RPI Engineering in the UK at rpichris@rpiV8.com,
and seek his help and advice. They also have a very comprehensive website at www.rpiv8.com
which is well worth visiting.
my checklist on ECU location, removal and refitting:
1. Non air-conditioned RV8s - it is located on the passenger
side under the fascia.
RV8 air-conditioning cover in place. Above the right hand drain hose, there
is a single bolt which holds the ECU in place. (Photo: John Barnes)
Air-conditioned RV8s - it is located in the passenger footwell behind the evaporator
near the bulkhead.
Removal & refitting on non air-conditioned
3. Removal. Release the clip and disconnect the multiplug from the
ECU, then remove the two bolts securing the ECU to the fascia support and slide
out. Finally remove the ECU.
4. Refitting. Reverse the sequence.
Removal & refitting on air-conditioned RV8s
5. Removal. Remove
the two bolts securing the evaporator closing panel to the fascia and remove the
panel. Release the left hand evaporator drain hose from the unit. At the rear
of the evaporator unit, locate and remove one bolt securing the corner clamp (on
the right hand side of the ECU) and slide the ECU to the right and down. The left
hand side of the ECU has two locating lugs that slip into a frame to hold it in
place when bolted up. Then release the clip and disconnect the multiplug from
6. Refitting. Reconnect the multiplug to the ECU, slide the ECU locating
lugs into place to secure the left hand side of the unit, and then bolt up the
right hand corner clamp. Reconnect the evaporator drain hose and replace the evaporator
cover panel and bolt up.
If I can be of any more help, please contact
me at warn((atat))xtra.co.nz by email.
Footnote: In a matter of days, David Boniface responded "many
thanks for your comprehensive email (Editor: which is reproduced as the workshop
note above) which I read with Volumes 1 to 4 of the RV8 Workshop Notes series.
I have a CD coming from the V8 Registrar with the latest working draft of Volume
5. I am aware of the vacuum pipe fix and bought a new pipe the last time I was
back in the UK. However my car is due for its "Shaken" test next week
- a thorough test every two years covering safety and emissions and so on) so
I am not changing anything until that is passed. I had assumed that the ECU on
cars with air-conditioning was in the same location as non-AC cars hence my question.
However thanks to your help, I had my ECU out, opened up, chip numbers recorded
and back within 15 minutes today and have ordered the Optimax chip from RPI in
the UK. I also took the opportunity of checking the drain pipes were clear. Later
this year I am going to order a new camshaft from RPI too".
reserved by the V8 Register