Seeing is Believing
We traveled to Ida Automotive in Morganville, New Jersey, where owner and EFI-tuning wizard Bob Ida showed us his software and a few different installations he had in-house. The adaptability of the EMC Tuner was truly amazing, and we watched him tune Claude Mables' 85,000 mile completely stock 5.9 Durango with ease. The EMC Tuner is housed in a nondescript enclosure; its only identification is an IDA Automotive decal.

The impetus for the EMC Tuner was to provide the professional and the enthusiast full control of fuel delivery and spark timing on the advanced Chrysler EFI systems. Ida's goal is to carry this one step further and allow tuneability of all EFI-equipped Chrysler vehicles to everyone, while delivering an excellent quality, high-value product.

Once the OE ECU is located, the installation of the EMC Tuner requires splicing a maximum of seven wires from the factory harness, along with a connection at the battery positive and negative made at the factory ECM harness. Only two of the wires are actually cut and connected into the EMC Tuner; the others are just tapped into the circuit. The TPS, RPM, and MAF/MAP signals need to be located. The connections are soldered into the OE harness. An additional port on the EMC Tuner is then connected to a calibration cable that interfaces with a PC. The installation is so straightforward it actually seemed too easy. The trick here is to carefully plan where the EMC Tuner will reside, and to take care in attaching and weather-packing the splices.

Ida's shop is equipped with the latest in four-wheel-drive Dyno-Jet technology and features an integrated linear air/fuel meter. He uses this equipment to catalog and provide calibrations for many Chrysler engine combinations. This would allow the installation and power gain of the EMC Tuner as a simple splice-and-play system for the enthusiast.

As mentioned previously, a unique function of the EMC Tuner is its ability to work back and forth between the factory and tuner-installed program. This is important since, in many instances, the factory calibration will work well during idle, cold start, or other light-load scenarios. When viewing the Ida Automotive software, at any point where there is a zero the factory calibration is being used.

Both the fuel and timing maps are scaled with the horizontal axis representing load and the vertical rpm. As with any matrix, the software has the ability to interpolate between the cell sites.

The fuel map has the ability to add or subtract fuel as a function of plus/minus 25 counts of the pulse width programmed into the OE calibration. In contrast, the timing map works as a cumulative function, with the value represented in the Ida Automotive software being the amount of timing either added or subtracted from the OE value. The software has the ability to add or subtract up to 22 degrees of spark advance. The functions for oxygen and knock sensor feedback are left unaltered and work strictly within the confines of the OE calibration. Other features of the EMC Tuner are its ability to alter engine rpm and road speed governors, along with a pair of internal drivers to operate additional injectors or ignition coils with a maximum load of eight amps per driver.

The Durango started instantly with the EMC Tuner installed and all tables set to zero. The first run on the chassis dyno is used to gather information on air/fuel ratio and ignition timing.

Within a few dyno pulls, the Durango was on course and ultimately required only a minor tweaking to the fuel curve to unleash 20 RWHP and 46 rear wheel lb-ft of torque, but it was inconsistent where it needed to be leaned and richened to return drivability and record maximum power.