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Speeduino Anyone?

Discussion in 'Subaru Sambar' started by Wonko, Jul 5, 2021.

  1. Wonko

    Wonko Member

    So I have been watching an interesting build on Youtube of a guy who put a Harbor Freight mixer motor in a first gen Prius. He has been going through and improving and tuning it. He migrated to the Speeduino ( an Arduino based ECU system).

    I am just wondering if anyone has messed with converting to electronic ignition using one? It looks like a really interesting way to go long term. It has the ability to get rid of a number of replacement parts that are finicky and at risk of being discontinued.

    Anyone go down this rabbit hole? Looking at this as a possible long term project.
  2. fmartin_gila

    fmartin_gila Active Member

    Since you are just collecting info for consideration, you might also take a look at Ecotrons and Megasquirt. There are some units put out by other aftermarket manufacturers but it seems most if not all of them are geared for big iron and hot rod use.

    Wonko likes this.
  3. Wonko

    Wonko Member

    I did see those. I tend towards Open Source when I can, but the Megasquirt is one I intended to look at. I have no experience tuning an engine, but I don't think it is too far out of my wheel house with enough time and research. I would think one of these little clover 4 engines would be a particularly good learning platform. I'll definitely take a look at those other options though.
  4. rkrenicki

    rkrenicki Active Member

    If I remember correctly, you have a Carbed Sambar, Wonko.. Converting to electronic ignition is going to be a pretty big project since your engine has no computer, no sensors, no anything to start with. It is 100% mechanical timing with vacuum advance, and the carb takes care of the fuel delivery. The only sensors in the engine are for the instrument cluster.

    What exactly is your end goal here? Replacing distributor with coil packs? Some sort of "tune" to improve performance? Just to see if it can be done?
  5. Nimlo

    Nimlo Member Supporting Member

    I wondered what the goal was also. I’m definitely not an automotive expert but tuning old-school carbed cars is a different bag of oats compared the modern “tuning”.
    I remember kits for converting points to an electronic ignition but I wouldn’t know where to start for the Sambar. It would be a handy thing for the truck though.
    rkrenicki likes this.
  6. Wonko

    Wonko Member

    the goal would be mainly the learning process. at the end of it hopefully i can pull some extra juice from the little clover 4. does it make 100% sense? no. but then neither does importing one of these trucks to begin with. i am looking at this as a long term research project, with actual implementation perhaps next summer. lots to figure out.
  7. rkrenicki

    rkrenicki Active Member

    Honestly, trying to shoehorn computer control onto the fully mechanical carbed EN07C engine is going to require a lot of work with little to no gains. You might be able to fabricate some sort of system to replace the points with electronic ignition.. Best case, you would end up with the ability to control the spark advance, but without any way to control the fuel delivery... there is not a whole lot you can do with that. You would also need to figure out a way to determine the Cam and/or crank position, which the EN07C engine has no real provisions for.

    The Supercharged EN07Y engine would be far better candidate for this sort of project. It already has computer controlled advance, fuel injectors, and all of the basic sensors needed for something like a Speeduino to work with... and it has the added bonus of forced induction too.
  8. Nimlo

    Nimlo Member Supporting Member

    I played around with air-cooled VW’s and MGB’s in the olden days. If you could figure out electronic ignition that would be quite the accomplishment.

    As I’m an analog guy I’d look into nitrous if I was looking for more power. I’d need to have a spare engine first though. :).

    I got my Sambar to be a Utility/Home Depot/Dump Run/Firewood vehicle. Stop filling my head with crazy ideas!
    Wonko likes this.
  9. Wonko

    Wonko Member

    For just a little more insight, this is the root of my obsession.

    The whole series is very interesting.
  10. rkrenicki

    rkrenicki Active Member

    So, I skipped through that video, and it shows exactly what I am talking about. He shoehorned some sensors, a coil pack, and even an injector to convert the engine to EFI. All of it was 100% custom work, completely uncharted territory.

    Can you do it to an EN07C? Sure! Given enough time, fabrication, and money.. anything is possible.

    In my opinion, the EN07C is just a poor candidate for what you are proposing. It has zero provisions for anything required for EFI or computer control. Every aspect of the project would require a custom modification or fabrication, much like that lawnmower engine in the video. If you were going to sink that much time, effort, and money into the Sambar, I would think you would be better off just swapping the engine entirely with something else like a Subaru EJ series, Honda B series, or even a Mazda Rotary.

    If you really want to stick with a "Clover 4" engine, then just about any version OTHER than the EN07C would be a far better candidate, since they all have sensors and injectors already. The EN07Y (Supercharged from 1990-2012), EN07F (non-SC Vans from 1995-1998, and all non-SC Sambars from 2001-2012), and EN07S (non-SC Sambars from 1998-2001) would all bolt straight in and be ready to be wired to your Speeduino. You would just have to write your own fuel maps and timing tables from scratch.. which you would need to do either way.
  11. Wonko

    Wonko Member

    I think you are kind of missing the point. Everything you have said is true. But:
    • MY Sambar isn’t supercharged
    • The fact they can be supercharged implies there is sufficient headroom to look at forced air in various forms for the clover 4
    • Manufacturing the adapters and parts for the EFI system is well within my skill set
    • Even modest gains in power on these tiny engines translate into a significant difference in capability
    • It would be fun
    I like taking on big challenges. Sometimes I even fail. More often than not though, I succeed, learn a lot, and have fun along the way. I also get to do it with my boys, which is even better.

    As I research and process things, if the issues either get too expensive or too technically advanced, I reassess.

    Some people use these as tools. I understand and respect that. Some of us use them as a toy, a distraction, or a hobby. That means the equation comes up differently for different users.

    I do appreciate your input.
  12. banzairx7

    banzairx7 Active Member

    I was super close to converting my Sambar to megasquirt. For ignition only I was going to use a volkswagen 4 coil pack in wasted spark mode. You'll need to fabricate a 36-1 toothed wheel for the crank pulley and mount a pick up sensor. I looked into using the factory supercharged dizzy. it doesn't have enough teeth to get good enough resolution. It's also a weird tooth count that would need some modification. There's also the inherent problem that a distributor driven off the end of cam which is turn driven off a timing belt is going to have a lot more drift than taking a reading directly off the crank.

    The supercharged motor doesn't buy you much starting with it verse the carbed motor. The only thing you get a jump start on is the intake manifold and injector rail. Those are probably interchangeable onto the carbed motor. The supercharged and NA motors are identical expect for the pistons. Sensors etc are easily sourced from other vehicles and are easier to get working with the speeduino/megasquirt than the subie stuff. I put non-supercharged pistons in my supercharged motor and was making 63 wheel horsepower at 12psi intercooled on a turbo. The higher compression really improves the low rpm power and spool time. I don't know what the limits of this motor are but it is perfectly happy at 75-80hp crank hp.
    Wonko likes this.
  13. Wonko

    Wonko Member

    Good to hear someone else is looking at this through the same lens I am. One question I have for you from your research: As I look at the intake manifold and even the intake gaskets, there is a difference where the injectors are. I became concerned that there might be a difference in the geometry on the head too, and I began to think that maybe going with a carbed header and doing some welding might be a better option than getting a used supercharged manifold. It might play with the airflow, but that should be manageable. I like your horsepower numbers. Basically you are saying doubling the power is right in there with stock internals and a turbo. That would be... interesting.

    Also, any provision to monitor knock in your ECU?

    I am certain you will be hearing more from me on this. For now, I think we are going to focus on paint and getting it spruced up and get it ready for winter.
  14. fmartin_gila

    fmartin_gila Active Member

    Just a thought as to the conversion you speak of. Back in the 90s I worked in a chevvy dealership. As I remember, when installing a crate 350 engine, the basic engine was the same for all applications in a certain range(Passenger, light truck, heavy truck) and the only difference as to specific vehicle was what you installed. Carb intake/efi inake, oxy sensor exh/nonsensor exh, fuel pump/block off plate, point dist/electronic dist, knock sensor/not and so on. I wouldn't think it would be overly difficult to locate most pieces in order to keep the fabrication to a minimum. I have seen a intake manifold with boss's welded in for injector installation, and then using a feedback carb only as a TPS, don't remember anything else about that one.

    May be that I am looking at it too simply, but it should be able to be done with some perseverance. The development of the internet has made searching for parts and info so much easier than it used to be.

    Wonko likes this.
  15. Wonko

    Wonko Member

    Thanks for the info. The best part is as I was going through our parts bins I have some Audi 2.0 coils. I’ll have to see if those coils will fit. The rest of the parts should be pretty reasonably easy to source.
  16. banzairx7

    banzairx7 Active Member

    Super late reply but I was still using the stock ECU on my truck. I've done about a 1/2 dozen megasquirt installs though. Just finished a microsquit into a Mazda B2200. Friend swapped out the stock 80hp motor for a Mazda 2.0 DOHC 145hp motor.
  17. Tyler Madia

    Tyler Madia Member

    Did you guys ever do anything with this? I'd definitely be up for another efi project, especially after taking the carb apart on the Sambar. Yikes!

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