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Old 07-10-2010, 05:56 PM
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Default Tuning a 2ND Gen?

How would I go about finding out if I can get a tune for a 2ND Gen? Should I just call/surf around the net find one? Is it even possible to tune a 2ND Gen??
Also if I would benefit to switch back to OBD1 and tune that?
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Old 07-10-2010, 07:54 PM
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What exactly are you trying to "tune" and accomplish? 1st gen/2gn engines are the same, so a lot of people can help out, just need an understanding of what it is you wanna do.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:46 PM
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I am basically want to make a little more HP from a stock engine with almost full bolt-ons..
My boy and I were talking today and he was saying I could push 200hp to the wheels with a tune.
Sorry to sound such an idiot but essentially I am when it comes to this. I just asked such a broad question because I never found info on "Tuning" a 2ND Gen...
Thanks for all the help.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:56 PM
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Well, just adding bolt-ons is considered "tuning" (making the car something better or different than stock). So if you have all the bolt-ons, (intake, headers, exhaust), the next part would be opening up the engine and/or messing with the computer.


Camshafts are relatively easy to install for an engine internal part, you don't necessarily have to take the engine out. Some performance cams will open the engine's power up more, but I highly recommend doing that in conjunction with a tuning of the ECU, otherwise you won't make a lot of power out of the cams. You can just tune the ECU as is and make decent power, but it's kind of a waste if you'll just have to tune it again for camshafts later.


I sincerely doubt you'll make 200whp with just intake/header/exhaust/cams/ECU. Hate to say it, but that's because of the nature of the KA24DE engine. It's just not great at making all-motor power out of the box. Lots of guys with Altimas only make about 175whp at best with those mods.

Of course, if you were to get a full stand-alone engine management system instead of just an ECU reflash tune, you'd make considerably more power, but a full EMS costs in the $1500+ realm for just the system, not to mention install and dyno time, and you might make only 10-20 more WHP over a standard ECU reflash. Probably not worth it for just bolt-on, N/A power.



As for the OBD1 stuff, you don't have to go to OBD1, but the only guys that come to my mind making an ECU reflash are Jim Wolf Technology and their ECU reflash is only available for 93-99 Altimas. So at the least you'd need to convert yours to a 98 or 99 setup, and I'm not sure what that entails.
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Old 07-10-2010, 11:41 PM
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^^^ So you say the best route to take is the cams and tune..

I guess the first part is find out how to convert to a 99 ECU. I wouldn't think it to hard since the 98-01 are the same right? I will start looking for any info I can find.
Thanks again for taking the time to explain it..
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:09 AM
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No problems! Happy to help.

It might be just as simple as using a 99 ECU, or it might be more complicated, such as using a 98/88 ECU plus a wiring harness, or swapping a few sensors, or whatever. Not really sure. Might call or email JWT and ask them if they know what's involved, and I'll look around into it and see what info I can throw your way.

I don't know if I'd say it's the "best" route to use ECU and cams, but it might be the cheapest bang for the buck once you've done the other bolt-ons (maybe $600 for the ECU and $500 for cams?). After that, if you want more power, really either go turbo or buy another car, both are expensive.
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Old 07-11-2010, 12:33 AM
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I was looking on another site and someone was suppose to post up info on it and never has/had..
I will email JWT like you said it seems everyone likes this tune alot..
As far as the more part after cams and tune probably will be turbo or I am looking into trying to acquire a 240sx somewhere..
But yeah if you can dig up some info let me know I appreciate all the help and I will try and find some and post back what JWT says I am going to email them right now..
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Old 07-14-2010, 05:12 PM
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So I got an email back from JWT...

The last year we upgrade the Altima ECU cores is 1996. Those with 97-98 have been able to use a 96 ECU that is upgraded by JWT in place to get the upgrade. 1999 changed to a "NATS" Nissan anti-theft system type ECU and the wiring to the ECU connector is different and 2000-2001 is also again changed to a different type connector. If your Altima is a manual transmission and you needed to get an ECU upgrade to run a turbo or major modifications, it might be possible to convert to a 1995-98 engine harness and have us upgrade a 1996 Altima ECU core to run what you need. If you have an automatic transmission then you need to stick with the 2001 ECU as it communicates with the 2001 transmission controller to keep the transmission shifting properly. The earlier ECUs are likely not going to be compatible with the later transmission controllers.

Best Regards,
Ben Pila
Technical and Sales Support
Jim Wolf Technology, Inc
212 Millar Ave
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 442-0680 Mon-Fri 8am-5pm Pacific Time Zone
(619) 579-8160 24 hour fax
JIM WOLF TECHNOLOGY, INC. / NISSAN PERFORMANCE / NISSAN RACING /INFINITI PERFORMANCE
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:52 PM
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Whats the difference between the AEM EMS Engine Management Stand Alone and the ECU Tune??
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:19 AM
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Money and options.

An ECU tune is when you take the stock computer and change it's parameters permanently. Usually, you change a few things here and there to compensate for new, large performance gains (like a turbo). Usually you change a few things here and there like air/fuel ratio, timing, etc.


A stand-alone Engine Management System (EMS), like AEM's, will allow you to change basically EVERYTHING about the engine, from air/fuel ratio and timing, to variable valve timing if you have that (we don't), to knock sensor functions, etc. Lots more things can be changed, but they

1) cost more ($1500+)
2) usually aren't plug-and-play (it might need a custom install, wiring, etc.)
3) needs dyno time with a professional tuner changing the settings on the EMS to react to your particular engine setup (and this usually costs anywhere from $100/hour and up)

For us Altima owners, I wouldn't go that far until I had a lot more money invested in my car than just a few bolt-ons. But hey, that's me.
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Old 07-24-2010, 05:35 PM
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Well on the AEM website it does say it is plug n play.. And the cost is about 1200.00..
When you say you wouldn't invest in the AEM until you had more then just bolt ons I assume you mean upgraded cams etc.. I will be full bolt ons shortly have to install the UR Pulley and CAI yet.. I been on the other forum and seen someone I think has a ECU that would work for me I am going to keep an eye on the developments of that and I am also going to go to a local tune shop and see if he can work something..
Thanks for breaking that down for me..
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Old 07-24-2010, 08:35 PM
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Ah, AEM's gone down in price since I last checked. And I guess you're right, I had forgotten they have an Altima variant.

I wouldn't even get the full EMS for just cams. Basically, due to the price of an EMS + Dyno/tuning time, it's not worth it because if the only mods you have are intake/header/exhaust/cams, you might see maybe 15WHP improvement from stock, versus a 10whp improvement from an ECU reflash. See what I mean? The price/gain ratio isn't there.

Now if you had a built engine, huge turbo and upgraded fuel system, the AEM EMS might make 20-30whp MORE than an ECU reflash, and that's a worthwhile cost. But for just bolt-ons and cams, I wouldn't do it. But, hey, to each their own.
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:22 AM
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Ah I see, I will stick with trying to get a ECU reflash or what. I just happen to stumble upon it and thought I ask what the differences were. Thanks for all your help.
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