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California T and Portofino: ECU Tunes?

Discussion in 'California/Portofino/Roma' started by Redneck Slim, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    Mar 10, 2011
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    Walt Kimball
    I have BMC air filters and aftermarket exhaust parts,and I am looking at ecu mods from VRTuned (Vivid Racing's brand),Fabspeed,and Novitec. The first two are ecu flashes and Novitec's N-Tronic is a piggyback box. Does anyone have actual experience with any of these on these cars?
     
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  3. Rule12b

    Rule12b Karting

    Jun 4, 2018
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    Richard
    I just installed the piggyback today with a new battery. I’ll let you know my impressions. Installation was pretty simple with the sole exception being the crankcase sensor which is a real PITA to get at. Everything else was a snap. Get some zip ties...
     
  4. thomastrain

    thomastrain Rookie

    Oct 30, 2019
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    Steve CI
    I would also be interested in your experience. Watch your boost pressures as the piggyback unit translates into higher boost to give the HP gains so I would be interested in what you experience.


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  5. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    Mar 10, 2011
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    Walt Kimball
    1) Did you have to remove insulation from two factory wires and solder on two Novitec wires?
    2) The Manettino is how you switch between stock and tuned. I can't get consistent answers as to whether tuned is available only in ESC OFF or in both SPORT and ESC OFF. What do you find?
    3) With the two flash tunes you can have Stop/Start deactivated. I have been told that Novitec can't do this.
    4) The frustrating thing about trying to evaluate these three products is the lack of independent feedback. I don't want to be the guinea pig for USA Portofinos.
     
  6. Rule12b

    Rule12b Karting

    Jun 4, 2018
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    Richard
    There was no soldering or cutting at all. You need no tools. I just wanted the installation to be clean so I took my time running the harness and ziptieing things in place. So far I haven’t really had a chance to drive the car but no issues to be sure. The box should work regardless the mannettino position. I don’t have the stop/start function
     
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  8. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    Walt Kimball
    1) Novitec's installation video for the California T shows the splicing. This is not in your instructions?
    2) Novitec claims that the tune is switchable and that the manettino is used for switching. What do your instructions say about switching?
    3) I am looking forward to reading about your experience with this box. From what I can tell,not a single customer Portofino in the USA has one.
     
  9. Rule12b

    Rule12b Karting

    Jun 4, 2018
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    Richard
    Sorry for the confusion sir. I installed the VRTuned piggy back box.
     
  10. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    Now I am really confused. VRTuned is Vivid Racing's tune. You send in your ecu and get it back quickly with their flash. Vivid Racing also sells Fabspeed's tune (you send in your ecu) and Novitec's piggyback system. I am not aware of a piggyback box made by VRTuned. What did you pay and did you send in your ecu or did you receive an add-on package that says Novitec somewhere?
     
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  12. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    I see what you did. VRTuned doesn't offer that item yet for the Portofino. I look forward for your review of that box.
     
  13. Carnut

    Carnut F1 Rookie
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    Morrie
    I still have my VR piggy back from the Calf T, if anyone is interested let me know. I have both brains the Bluetooth controlled one and the non Bluetooth. Make me an offer before I give it to my girlfriend to put on ebay.
     
  14. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    So how about a review? How well did it work? Did it deliver the claimed power increases? I find the claims for the box to be hard to believe,whereas the claims for the ecu flash are reasonable.
     
  15. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    I talked to Vivid Racing/VRTuned. The box you got is Version 1 which is discontinued and was for sale at$300 instead of $900. The horsepower claim on their website is incorrect and is the same as for the ecu flash. Version 2 is coming. Their box is like Novitec's but not switchable. Eventually they will have a box for the Portofino. That is the option that sounds the best to me.
     
  16. Rule12b

    Rule12b Karting

    Jun 4, 2018
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    Richard
    That is correct, I have the version one. I actually removed it (took 5 minutes) as I'm dealing with other more prescient issues on the car. . .
     
  17. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    Did you have a chance to drive with the box and evaluate it?
     
  18. Carnut

    Carnut F1 Rookie
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    A few Algar people drove it with the box turned on and then off, they and I both thought it made a difference. Was it what was claimed, I cannot say, but I have a lot more experience than most and I have used many piggyback units over the years, the ability to change the amount of power (you can do that using an app with the Bluetooth version of the unit) makes it very easy to see the difference it makes. I believe I did put a few comments about the unit of here when I first installed it. I also tuned my 458 though I used Openflash for that car. Like I said I have the unit with both boxes, just sitting in a box in my office. If you are interested make an offer.
     
  19. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    So it came down to four options: ECU flashes from Vivid Racing/VR Tuned and Fabspeed,and piggyback boxes from VR/VRT and Novitec. Finding objective and knowledgeable people was very hard,whether retail sellers or experienced customers. I finally went for VR/VRT's flash based on email exchanges with VR Tuned's Blake Hansen, who seemed much more knowledgeable than anyone else I dealt with.
    1) Boxes: You can install one yourself,but it can't implement custom changes like deleting stop/start. The Novitec box can be switched between tuned and stock.
    2) Flashes: You have to mail off your ECU,and a Ferrari dealer's flash update erases it (re-flashes from VR/VRT are free). But custom changes can be ordered like deleting top/start,a flash is better at adjusting to engine mods like my intake and exhaust changes and better at reducing turbo lag and improving shifting.

    UNCHAINING THE BEAST Results after 120 miles: It runs like the proverbial violated simian. Throttle response and shifting are sharper,no check-engine light,no stop/start,and it reacts to major throttle openings like an angry Doberman jabbed with a sharp stick. I always knew that there was a real Ferrari lurking inside that chick car,and another 70 or so horsepower and torque definitely helps to bring it out into the open.
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  20. SB27

    SB27 Karting

    Dec 2, 2015
    118
    Slim,

    Glad to hear you "went for it" and are enjoying the upgraded performance. I've got about 1,000 miles on my Novitec piggy back and zero issues. Everyone has their own approach. I liked not having to pull the ECU. I am also enjoying the car having stock HP in comfort mode and another level entirely in Sport/ESC Off mode.

    Does your car have the HS package? If so, it's way more fun to drive in twisties knowing your car has firmer grip and now has the torque to really pull hard post apex.
     
  21. Redneck Slim

    Redneck Slim Formula 3
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    The Portofino is lighter and stiffer than the T,and the only suspension is basically the HS from the T. If an HS is offered,I'll add its stiffer springs and bars. The car handles so well that I don't want to lower it 1.4" with Novitec springs. An HS option would probably lower the car little or not at all.
     

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