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Discussion Starter #1
"Piggy Back" Controllers in PGT

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Major clarification in 10.2.C.12
"Errors and omissions"

It is the decision of Rally-America that "piggy back" type ECM controllers may be used to alter the function of the stock ECM in otherwise legal PGT vehicles.

The vehicle's stock, original equipment wiring harness and ECM must be retained, but the harness may be modified only to enable the connection of the "piggy back" controller.

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10.2.C.12 Induction
The carburetor(s) or fuel injection normally mounted on the
recognized model may not be changed or removed. The elements
that control the quantity of fuel fed into the engine may be
changed. The standard factory ECU shall be retained, but may be
reprogrammed. The vehicle shall be capable of running if a
standard ECU was reinstalled. No alteration of the wire loom is
allowed, except for the purposes of connecting a "Piggy Back"
engine controller. The components that control the quantity of air in the
engine shall not be changed or altered in any manner except for
the addition of a restrictor if required. The original air filter (OEM
specification) and air filter housing may not be modified, however
the components upstream of the housing may be moved, modified
or removed. Boost on supercharged or turbocharged vehicles is
unrestricted and a manual boost control and associated hardware
is authorized. The "piggy back" controller may be used to alter the function
of the ECU, to similar effect as reprogramming the O.E. ECU.

--------------------------

Reason for Change: "Piggy Back" controllers and some wiring modifications were allowed in 2004. The previous 2005 R-A 10.2C.12 would have harshly affected those who had prepped their cars to 2004 rules, especially pre-OBDII vehicles.

Official notice to follow.
__________________
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

Mike,

although the changes are better than the 'post 2001' interpretation of the recently proposed PGT wording, the fact that you have banned replacement ECU (which would apply using the same ruling you have outlined, i.e. must operate with the stock ECU, no harness modifications allowed, etc. etc.) whilst leaving open the ability to add ANY SENSOR AT WILL with the substantiation that it is part of a piggy back ECU (since additional sensors will only work with the 'new' ECU, you can do so retaining stock functionality) - you have effectively outlawed anyone who was running with a replacement original ECU (i.e. a PossumLink, for example, which are interchangeable with stock ECU) while opening up a whole new can of worms/opportunities. You've also introduced a new inconsistency in cross-border competition.

A more hardcore interpretation would have been to permit ONLY piggy back ECUs which control boost and/or fuel with no permitted additional sensors, AND go with the FIA/CARS type of wording which permits replacement ECUs as long as no modifications to the original wiring harness are made. You should strictly permit NO MODIFICATIONS whatsoever to the wiring harness (and if you accept piggy backs, then add "aside from interconnecting such units to the standard loom", but under all circumstances allow NO ADDITIONAL sensors which are interconnected to the engine wiring harness and/or piggy back ECU. Furthermore, to take what is inside of a 'replacement' ECU and move it outside of the box (turning it into a piggy back ECU) is relatively trivial...

In other words, you've specificaly outlawed some while making provisions for others (perhaps more vocal competitors?).

I'm not even in PGT so I am not sure why I am even talking about this... but someday if I am, I wouldn't want, for example, a bunch of people in Canadian P4 cars having their results blamed on their 'piggy back ecus' fitting inside of the standard ECU box.

-Pat
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

This would also appear to apply to P cars as well.

I do agree with Pat's comments. There seems to be no reason to disallow a straight replacement ECU, as long as the proviso that the car runs with a stock ECU is there.

Adrian
 

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Discussion Starter #4
RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

I haven't "outlawed" anything that wasn't "outlawed" by the 2004 rules.

Where in the 2004 rules did it state that PGT ECU could be replaced with a non-OE unit?

In PGT, if it's not specifically allowed, then it's not allowed.

This can not and will not be interpreted that alternate sensors can be added to the engine or intake tract for the purposes of compatability with a "piggy back" ECU.

Ther pupose of the clarification was not to "outlaw" PGT cars that were SCCA PGT legal in 2004.
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

>I haven't "outlawed" anything that wasn't "outlawed" by the
>2004 rules.

No, but you appear to have allowed things that weren't allowed in the 2004 SCCA rules. I think that Pat's point is that, if you are going to revisit the Production ECU rules, especially allowing freedom to re-program ECUs (which was not explicitly allowed in the 2004 rules), then perhaps allowing the other possible way of achieving the same effect (replacement ECU - no change to the harness) should also be allowed.

>Where in the 2004 rules did it state that PGT ECU could be
>replaced with a non-OE unit?

Where did it say you could re-program the existing unit?

>In PGT, if it's not specifically allowed, then it's not
>allowed.
>
>This can not and will not be interpreted that alternate
>sensors can be added to the engine or intake tract for the
>purposes of compatability with a "piggy back" ECU.

Then take the wording out of the GpN rules that says this explicitly. (or alternatively define a piggy-back ECU)

Adrian
 

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Discussion Starter #6
RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

Section 12 as originally written:
12. Induction
The carburetor(s) or fuel injection normally mounted on the
recognized model may not be changed or removed. The elements
that control the quantity of fuel fed into the engine may be
changed. The standard factory ECU shall be retained, but may be
reprogrammed. The vehicle shall be capable of running if a
standard ECU was reinstalled. No alteration of the wire loom is
allowed. The components that control the quantity of air in the
engine shall not be changed or altered in any manner except for
the addition of a restrictor if required. The original air filter (OEM
specification) and air filter housing may not be modified, however
the components upstream of the housing may be moved, modified
or removed. Boost on supercharged or turbocharged vehicles is
unrestricted and a manual boost control and associated hardware
is authorized.

Section 12, revised
10.2.C.12 Induction
The carburetor(s) or fuel injection normally mounted on the
recognized model may not be changed or removed. The elements
that control the quantity of fuel fed into the engine may be
changed. The standard factory ECU shall be retained, but may be
reprogrammed. The vehicle shall be capable of running if a
standard ECU was reinstalled. No alteration of the wire loom is
allowed, except for the purposes of connecting a "Piggy Back"
engine controller. The components that control the quantity of air in the
engine shall not be changed or altered in any manner except for
the addition of a restrictor if required. The original air filter (OEM
specification) and air filter housing may not be modified, however
the components upstream of the housing may be moved, modified
or removed. Boost on supercharged or turbocharged vehicles is
unrestricted and a manual boost control and associated hardware
is authorized. The "piggy back" controller may be used to alter the function
of the ECU, to similar effect as reprogramming the O.E. ECU.

The original 2005 version allowed neither piggy backs, nor an alternate ECU.

Pat said: " Furthermore, to take what is inside of a 'replacement' ECU and move it outside of the box (turning it into a piggy back ECU) is relatively trivial..."

Trivial, but cost effective for pre-OBDII cars.
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

Mike;

Could I not, then, take a replacement ECU, wire a separate ECU connector to the harness, piggy-back that ECU on the stock one, and slip an insulator in between the stock ECU and its harness? If so, how is this different from just replacing the stock ECU?

Since you allow harness modification to install the piggy-back ECU, which I assume would allow you to install a switch for some of the lines between the stock harness and the piggy-back harness, couldn't you just switch all the lines?

Adrian
 

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Discussion Starter #8
RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

>Mike;
>
>Could I not, then, take a replacement ECU, wire a separate ECU
>connector to the harness, piggy-back that ECU on the stock
>one, and slip an insulator in between the stock ECU and its
>harness? If so, how is this different from just replacing the
>stock ECU?

>Since you allow harness modification to install the piggy-back
>ECU, which I assume would allow you to install a switch for
>some of the lines between the stock harness and the piggy-back
>harness, couldn't you just switch all the lines?
>
>Adrian

My intent was to revise section 12 and make it more inclusive and cost effective.

As Adrian has figured out, the rule is now very inclusive.
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

For sake of clarity I am going to summarize. PGT ECU options are as follows:

1- Run stock

2- Reflash the stock

3- Run a piggy back ECU with a modified harness. (To Adrian's point install both and switch back and forth)

In all cases the vehicle must be able to run on a stock ECU.

What can't be done is run a replacement ECU.

If this is the case - what is the intent of the rule and what is being accomplished by not allowing replacement ECU's? I remember last years rule change with SCCA and the "intent" was to not allow the ECU to adjust timing. But in the case of WRX's the stock ECU is constantly adjusting the timing so what exactly were they trying to do?

On a discussion thread in the RA forum a while ago - Doug Havir correctly pointed out that there is no way to check an ECU if its been reflashed. So the stipulation that "The vehicle shall be capable of running if a standard ECU was reinstalled" is moot unless the tech inspectors had an ECU from the manufacturer of every car runnning in PGT.

I understand what you are attempting to do - clarify the 2005 rules to be in line with the 2004 rules. The real issue is that the 2004 rules are poorly worded. The best approach is to start over and understand what are we trying to do in regards to managing engine performance through the ECU. If we agree that there is no feasible (during tech or the event) way to check if a stock ECU has been reflashed then we can't say that P/PGT can only run stock units. I think Pat's approach is the most consistent and truely verifiable -
"permit ONLY piggy back ECUs which control boost and/or fuel with no permitted additional sensors, AND go with the FIA/CARS type of wording which permits replacement ECUs as long as no modifications to the original wiring harness are made. You should strictly permit NO MODIFICATIONS whatsoever to the wiring harness (and if you accept piggy backs, then add "aside from interconnecting such units to the standard loom", but under all circumstances allow NO ADDITIONAL sensors which are interconnected to the engine wiring harness and/or piggy back ECU."

That is what I am looking for in the management of the class - rules that are simple to enforce and that will level set the class as much as possible. This also provides the added benefit for competitors who run both RA and CARS events.

As Pat has pointed out with the rules as they stand there is a big gap from RA rules to CARS rules and this is an issue.

Thanks for your time and effort.
-Tim
Wazoo Racing
 

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Discussion Starter #10
RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

>For sake of clarity I am going to summarize. PGT ECU options
>are as follows:
>
>1- Run stock
>
>2- Reflash the stock
>
>3- Run a piggy back ECU with a modified harness. (To Adrian's
>point install both and switch back and forth)
>
>In all cases the vehicle must be able to run on a stock ECU.
>
>What can't be done is run a replacement ECU.
>
>If this is the case - what is the intent of the rule and what
>is being accomplished by not allowing replacement ECU's? I
>remember last years rule change with SCCA and the "intent" was
>to not allow the ECU to adjust timing. But in the case of
>WRX's the stock ECU is constantly adjusting the timing so what
>exactly were they trying to do?

I didn't write the original form of the 2005 rule, so I can't answer that, what I did was to clarify the rule. Communication I have from others in R-A that they never intended to make a 2004 legal PGT car illegal in 2005.



> "permit ONLY piggy back ECUs which control boost and/or
>fuel with no permitted additional sensors, AND go with the
>FIA/CARS type of wording which permits replacement ECUs as
>long as no modifications to the original wiring harness are
>made. You should strictly permit NO MODIFICATIONS whatsoever
>to the wiring harness (and if you accept piggy backs, then add
>"aside from interconnecting such units to the standard loom",
>but under all circumstances allow NO ADDITIONAL sensors which
>are interconnected to the engine wiring harness and/or piggy

What's the difference between sourcing all the connectors to make an inline connection from the ECU to the piggy back and just hacking into the stock harness? Cost.

The NO MODIFICATIONS to the harness rule comes from GN, but due to their homologation and frequency of use there are direct plug in ECUs for homologated cars, that are not available for other makes of PGT legal cars. Not every PGT car is a WRX.

The order in which the "can of worms" was opened:

1. Piggy Back ECUs and altered wiring harnesses were allowed in PGT in 2004.
2. We can't police what's inside an ECU.
3. Altering the programming on many Pre-OBDII ECUs is not feasable.
4. Allowing piggy back controllers enables many Pre-OBDII cars to alter their programming to adapt to the 32mm restrictor.
5. We can't police what's inside a piggy back ECU.
6. Adrians post addressed the possibility of using alternate direct fit ECUs.
7. The rule is the same for every car.

In no case can additional sensors be added to the engine or intake tract.
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

In other words.....you can still run your HK$ FCON

And you CAN'T run a P&P Autronic system or other 'standalone' ECU that fits in the stock ECU container.
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

>In other words.....you can still run your HK$ FCON
>
>And you CAN'T run a P&P Autronic system or other 'standalone'
>ECU that fits in the stock ECU container.

Unless you add a second connector on the harness, put the 'standalone' ECU in another stock ECU container, and attach it on the second connector while temporarily disabling all connections to the first (stock) connector. Temporarily means that you can re-enable all the connections to run the stock ECU if required.

The problem I see with this is it forces you to hack your harness to do something that shouldn't require hacking the harness in the first place, purely because of the wording of the rule. I.e. by the wording of the rule, you can run a standalone replacement ECU only as long as it fits the definition of a piggy-back ECU and it doesn't replace the stock ECU on the harness (but you can disable some or all connections to the stock ECU), but you can't just replace the stock ECU and swap it back if required.

Adrian
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

We have left the slippery slope, its an avalanche

First an uneducated thought:

don't cut into the harness, build a plug that fits between the original ecu and the harness.

the plug would be set up to either run the standad ecu, or the alternate ecu depending on which way a switch (or multiple switches) were flipped

I believe this would meet the letter of the law -- standard ecu intact and operable, stand alone ecu wired as a piggyback (the piggyback tells the standard ecu to stay home I'm going alone)


The slippery slope:
now that we can modify the electronics, what does it matter how? Makes sense to ban additional sensors, but even that is not clear: an oil pressure gauge, water temp gauge and exhaust gas mix gauge are all additional sensors. I am pretty sure the wording clearly allows me to mount additional gauges, those gauges have sensors. While the rules say I cannot mount additional sensors for the ecu, I think a bit of fancy wiring would allow those sensors to be used for more than the gauges -- too easy to cheat. Hell once the gauges are mounted they are no longer additional sensors they are part of the car and its hard to argue they are not legal sensors, the are because they are for the gauges. Its hard to argue the gauges can't be wired to multiple "measuring devices;" A data recorder is a measuring device. So I wire my gauges to my data recorder and the data recorder happens to have other functions.

I am not cheating because my data recorder tells me to do this or do that. But I am lazy so I just let the data recorder talk to whatever box is plugged into the engine, I'll just cut out the middle man.


PGT is no longer an affordable way to compete with AWD. It has become and electronic engineers class, the best engineer wins. And this was caused by the addition of restrictors which for a stock class are completely un-needed.

Damn electronics.
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

>>
>Damn electronics.
>
>
Make every one run carburators and point type ignitions with nothing but vacuum and mechanical advance and retard. No electric chokes either. Gotta pull that knob on the dash if you want to start it up in the cold.}(
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

mike, my point was not to piss you off but assist in the clarification !

adrian 'explained' what i was inferring was trivial, hence the point about allowing the ecus. and the sensor wording. im on your side dont take it the wrong way.

the cdn/fia rules just took your point one step further

the definition of run i think will also get tested someday, the way to remove the ambiguity is to say no wiring modification at all (which is different than 'run')
 

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Discussion Starter #16
RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

>mike, my point was not to piss you off but assist in the
>clarification !
>
>adrian 'explained' what i was inferring was trivial, hence the
>point about allowing the ecus. and the sensor wording. im on
>your side dont take it the wrong way.
>

Don't worry about pissing me off, I've got the real world (my business) pissing me off 11 hours a day...besides it's not like you insulted Larry Bird, or called me a communist or something.

Do you think my clarification / revision made section 12 better or worse? It was my intention to leave the door open a bit and have the class be more inclusive. The obvious side effects were anticipated, but we're allowing what was allowed in 2004 instead of taking a step in a more restrictive direction. I'd be in favor of the un-altered harness rule, but it favors the WRX and penalizes the older PGT cars too much. For the sake of entry levels, we need the older PGT cars to remain viable for a while longer. Even these measures don't make a sows ear into a silk purse, the WRX is still a superior PGT car by any measure.

I disagree with Mike Bodnar, PGT is still a cost-effective AWD class.
An '01 WRX, off the shelf suspension, common ecu / reprogramming, etc.. you can have a competitive PGT car (with the right driver), and all the development work has already been done. I'm sure it's not much more expensive than prepping a DSM was in the early 90s.
 

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RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

>>In other words.....you can still run your HK$ FCON
>>
>>And you CAN'T run a P&P Autronic system or other
>'standalone'
>>ECU that fits in the stock ECU container.
>
>Unless you add a second connector on the harness, put the
>'standalone' ECU in another stock ECU container, and attach it
>on the second connector while temporarily disabling all
>connections to the first (stock) connector. Temporarily means
>that you can re-enable all the connections to run the stock
>ECU if required.


Arg, sounds like hokey pokey.
>
>The problem I see with this is it forces you to hack your
>harness to do something that shouldn't require hacking the
>harness in the first place, purely because of the wording of
>the rule. I.e. by the wording of the rule, you can run a
>standalone replacement ECU only as long as it fits the
>definition of a piggy-back ECU and it doesn't replace the
>stock ECU on the harness (but you can disable some or all
>connections to the stock ECU), but you can't just replace the
>stock ECU and swap it back if required.

We should allow the Group N style PNP programable ECUs, like link and autronic.


pete
 

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Discussion Starter #18
RE: Rally America PGT "piggy back" controllers

>
>We should allow the Group N style PNP programable ECUs, like
>link and autronic.
>
>
>pete
>

I was only authorized to add "piggy back" controllers to section 12, not erase and re-write the section.
 
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