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2.1l Microsquirt Conversion
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10degnorth
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2019 8:52 pm    Post subject: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

I am starting this thread, as recommended by djkeev, as a record of my experience installing a microsquirt fuel injection system on my 2.1l waterboxer engine. I would like to make it known that I am neither an expert on the microsquirt system nor vanagons. I took up this project because I thought it looked interesting and like it would solve the issues I was having, as well as provide a number of valuable learning opportunities for me. I hope that this thread is able to serve as a resource for other people who are also interested in a microsquirt controlled engine.

My goals for this project are as follows:
-To update my van to a modern fuel injection system that takes advantage of readily available parts.
-Get my van to idle.
-Improve my gas mileage.
-Learn some new skills.

My System will use the following:
-GM 3 Bar Map Sensor
-Intake Air Temp Sensor
-Stock temp II sensor
-Coil Negative tach input
-Stock idle valve
-Innovate LC-2 O2 wideband O2 sensor
-Microsquirt ECU (w/ universal harness)
-(possibly ignition components to come)

I bought all of my new parts, minus the O2 sensor (there was a sale on amazon), from Mario at The Dub Shop. Mario is super knowledgeable about teh whole Mega/Microsquirt system and was able to answer all the questions I had.

Yesturday I started by sorting through the new wiring harness and separating the wires that I will be using and the ones that I won't. I decided not to entirely remove the wires I am not using in case I decide I want to expand the system later, they will most likely inevitably be looped up and left under the bench seat. I also labelled all the wires I intend to use, they were already labelled on the wiring, but I added larger labels so they would be easier to sort through.

The current problem I am trying to figure out is how to provide timing and spark to my engine since the stock distributor is controlled via the stock ECU. My current solution is to use the vacuum advance distributor out of a bay window bus as suggested by hdenter on The Samba.

For those who are well versed in the mega/microsquirt system, would it be possible to utilize the hall effect sensor in the distributor that is in the 1986-1991 vanagons to time a spark advance table on the microsquirt which would in turn trigger a coil pack? Just an idea I had to avoid the job of installing a crank trigger.

Thanks in advance for any help and input, and thanks for joining me on this ride. If you've got any questions I'll do my best to answer them.
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panel
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2019 9:37 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

Is the Hall effect a 3 wire ? Not sure if these are the right links but should get ya close. Or send Mario an email.

http://www.msextra.com/doc/pdf/html/Microsquirt_Hardware-3.4.pdf/Microsquirt_Hardware-3.4-54.html

https://www.diyautotune.com/support/tech/hardware/diyautotune-hall-effect-sensors/

http://www.msextra.com/doc/pdf/html/Microsquirt_Hardware-3.4.pdf/Microsquirt_Hardware-3.4.html
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10degnorth
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2019 10:06 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

panel wrote:
Is the Hall effect a 3 wire ? Not sure if these are the right links but should get ya close. Or send Mario an email.

http://www.msextra.com/doc/pdf/html/Microsquirt_Hardware-3.4.pdf/Microsquirt_Hardware-3.4-54.html

https://www.diyautotune.com/support/tech/hardware/diyautotune-hall-effect-sensors/

http://www.msextra.com/doc/pdf/html/Microsquirt_Hardware-3.4.pdf/Microsquirt_Hardware-3.4.html


I have sent Mario an email, I believe it is a three wire sensor.
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a2wolfsburggli
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 6:56 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

I thought this crank trigger was for getting ignition timing for a micro / mega squirt setup?

Why not just use this?

http://thedubshop.com/crank-trigger-package-wasser-oxy-boxer/
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 7:43 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

A hall sensor crank pickup requires a 5 volt reference and is actually a 4 wire if you count the ground shield. A regular magnetic pickup is actually a 3 wire if you count the ground shield.
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10degnorth
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 7:53 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

a2wolfsburggli wrote:
I thought this crank trigger was for getting ignition timing for a micro / mega squirt setup?

Why not just use this?

http://thedubshop.com/crank-trigger-package-wasser-oxy-boxer/


Iíve seen that sensor on Marioís site. The reason Iíd like to use the hall ensor in the distributor is to save time, to instal a new crank trigger I would have to pull the pulley off, ship it to Mario to be machined and have the trigger wheel mounted then have it shipped back and installed. From what Iíve seen removing the pulley is a bit of a pain, not to mention the $120 for the new sensor and trigger wheel plus $95 in labor to have it installed on my pulley. It just seemed like if the hall sensor in the distributor could be used to send a similar signal it would be easier and more cost effective to just wite it in rather than installing a crank trigger. Any thoughts on that? I am also trying to work around the fact that Mario is going to be out of town for two weeks this month and I would like to have the van off the road for as short a time as possible.

Thanks for the input.
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nmerrill
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 8:02 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

I had my engine running on VEMS with only a Distributor Hall sensor as engine position sensor. You must have a hall with as many windows as you have cylinders.
It has limitations on how much control you have over injection timing, but, for an average low HP engine, it works.

depending on the type of engine, there can be a fair amount of "slop" or jitter in the timing signal due to the multiple mechanical links between the crank position, and the hall position in the distributor, which means your timing accuracy can be sloppy.

This is from my VEMS experience, not microSq...
I ended up putting on a crank sensor when I had the chance.
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:15 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

nmerrill wrote:
I had my engine running on VEMS with only a Distributor Hall sensor as engine position sensor. You must have a hall with as many windows as you have cylinders.
It has limitations on how much control you have over injection timing, but, for an average low HP engine, it works.

depending on the type of engine, there can be a fair amount of "slop" or jitter in the timing signal due to the multiple mechanical links between the crank position, and the hall position in the distributor, which means your timing accuracy can be sloppy.

This is from my VEMS experience, not microSq...
I ended up putting on a crank sensor when I had the chance.


I don't think I need a ton of control, just a near stock advance curve. From the diagrams I can find, the vanagon distributor hall sensor has 4 windows corresponding to 4 cylinders. I might be able to scrape together the funds for the crank trigger, but I'm not sure quite yet.

Thanks for your response.
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:25 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

Here is a link to the product from CB Performance that I also mentioned. It will allow you to program your own spark table without a crank trigger. If it won't work with the 2.1's hall sensor, just use a locked out 009.

Hans
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:38 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

Is this the product you're referring to? It looks like a promising solution, but I need to do a little more research on it.

https://www.cbperformance.com/CB-s-Black-Box-Programmable-Timing-Control-Module-p/2013.htm
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

Yup, that's it. Sorry, my link didn't show up in my earlier post for some reason...
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:02 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

CBís Black Box looks very appealing, my only aversion to it is having to tune the fuel and spark tables in separate programs, but I am sure I could get over that in exchange for the ease of use the Black Box seems to offer. From what Iíve found, other people have run the Black Box with a locked out 009 and gotten 45ļ of advance. CBís software seems simple enough, and so does the wiring. This might just be the solution I go with.
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:17 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

10degnorth wrote:
CBís Black Box looks very appealing, my only aversion to it is having to tune the fuel and spark tables in separate programs, but I am sure I could get over that in exchange for the ease of use the Black Box seems to offer. From what Iíve found, other people have run the Black Box with a locked out 009 and gotten 45ļ of advance. CBís software seems simple enough, and so does the wiring. This might just be the solution I go with.


So, why is this solution more appealing than the timing ring and a block off plate for the dist. mount? The costs should be just about a wash when all said and done. And...like you said, now you're tuning in 2 separate systems that don't interact or know about each other. Plus it seems there may potentially be a timing "slop / jitter," running off the dizzy vs ring.

(Not trying to question or change your path, just want to understand the options and why you like this better.)
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:30 am    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

a2wolfsburggli wrote:
10degnorth wrote:
CBís Black Box looks very appealing, my only aversion to it is having to tune the fuel and spark tables in separate programs, but I am sure I could get over that in exchange for the ease of use the Black Box seems to offer. From what Iíve found, other people have run the Black Box with a locked out 009 and gotten 45ļ of advance. CBís software seems simple enough, and so does the wiring. This might just be the solution I go with.


So, why is this solution more appealing than the timing ring and a block off plate for the dist. mount? The costs should be just about a wash when all said and done. And...like you said, now you're tuning in 2 separate systems that don't interact or know about each other. Plus it seems there may potentially be a timing "slop / jitter," running off the dizzy vs ring.

(Not trying to question or change your path, just want to understand the options and why you like this better.)


To be honest, I am not entirely sure which way to go, currently I am just exploring all the options. The more I think about how much easier it will be to do everything in one program the more inclined I am to go the trigger wheel route. Iíve started reading reviews of the Black Box and it seems it may. To actually work quite as well as the marketing material leads one to believe. There is still a cost different, however Iím thinking that the extra price will probably be worth it. Iím going to give Mario a call this afternoon and see if I could get a machined pulley shipped out before he leaves for 2 weeks. If thatís the case Iíll just go all the way with the trigger wheel and coil pack.
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 12:20 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

That makes sense. If the distribution approach costs 200, but may not be as good as the one you want later for 300, then you will have a total of 3 in it if you do the trigger wheel now and 5 if you go with first the dizzy and then later the trigger wheel.
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 1:02 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

DuncanS wrote:
That makes sense. If the distribution approach costs 200, but may not be as good as the one you want later for 300, then you will have a total of 3 in it if you do the trigger wheel now and 5 if you go with first the dizzy and then later the trigger wheel.


Exactly, I figure if I am going to have to do spark control regardless then I might as well do it the right way.

Just terrified of having to remove the pulley as detailed in this thread: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5735307

It looks like quite the ordeal.
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 1:23 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

10degnorth wrote:

Exactly, I figure if I am going to have to do spark control regardless then I might as well do it the right way.

Just terrified of having to remove the pulley as detailed in this thread: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5735307

It looks like quite the ordeal.


That's the spirit!

I pulled the crank pulley off my old Passat TDI to do a Balance Shaft delete. Harbor freight has several cheap pullers. One of them should work.

And while the motor is out, it's a good opportunity to clean and run new wiring.

Edit: This is the puller I got: https://www.harborfreight.com/automotive-motorcycle/pullers/8-in-three-jaw-gear-puller-63952.html
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

a2wolfsburggli wrote:
10degnorth wrote:

Exactly, I figure if I am going to have to do spark control regardless then I might as well do it the right way.

Just terrified of having to remove the pulley as detailed in this thread: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5735307

It looks like quite the ordeal.


That's the spirit!

I pulled the crank pulley off my old Passat TDI to do a Balance Shaft delete. Harbor freight has several cheap pullers. One of them should work.

And while the motor is out, it's a good opportunity to clean and run new wiring.

Edit: This is the puller I got: https://www.harborfreight.com/automotive-motorcycle/pullers/three-jaw-puller-set-3-pc-63953.html


Yeah... but thatís the thing, I wasnít really planning on pulling the engine out, but I might have to just for the pulley removal.
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 1:41 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

10degnorth wrote:

For those who are well versed in the mega/microsquirt system, would it be possible to utilize the hall effect sensor in the distributor that is in the 1986-1991 vanagons to time a spark advance table on the microsquirt which would in turn trigger a coil pack? Just an idea I had to avoid the job of installing a crank trigger.



if its a 4 window hall, then the answer is yes. i assume its very similar to the mk2 digi setups, which are a super common base for MS conversions.


i would recommend doing fuel and spark via MS if you can, rather than having two separate tuneable systems.
if you had a working spark control that could be left undisturbed then dipping your toes in with a fuel only setup is a great approach, but if youre going through the hassle of the full setup id just go whole hog with the MS and get it over with. i think youll be pleasantly surprised by how it drives after some basic tuning.

nmerrill wrote:

It has limitations on how much control you have over injection timing, but, for an average low HP engine, it works.

depending on the type of engine, there can be a fair amount of "slop" or jitter in the timing signal due to the multiple mechanical links between the crank position, and the hall position in the distributor, which means your timing accuracy can be sloppy.


ive installed and tuned dozens and dozens of setups on a variety of cars including a bunch of 8v and 16v vws that are at least somewhat similar to the setup in your van
i can safely say you wont run into any limits with your timing adjustment running the distributor!
also, ive yet to see a car that was running well enough, move to MS, and run into timing issues due to distributor play and timing inaccuracy. its easy to check when the time comes with a timing light.
and while its a valid concern, its not one ive personally see manifested.
im sure there are super super worn multi hundred thousand mile distributors out there, but i havent run across them. certainly something to keep in mind.


one other thing to note - how many wires is that idle valve?
i know ive run across both 2 and 3 wire pwm valves on old vws, and i forget now sitting here whether one was cis-e and the other was digi2. youll have a much easier time with a basic 2 wire valve.

and a quick note on wiring - make sure you run the wideband ground to the same sources as the MS. you dont want any ground offsets between the MS and the wideband controller. its something thats easily overlooked and seeing different numbers between the wideband's internal reading, and what youre seeing in MS can lead to a lot of confusion and frustration later on down the road. easy to avoid up front though!
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 8:40 pm    Post subject: Re: 2.1l Microsquirt Conversion Reply with quote

Thanks for your reply valvecovergasket, I've decided to bite the bullet and go all the way with a whole crank trigger and coil pack setup. I bough the last machined pulley that Mario had and it's on its way now. My current plan is to run a spark advance similar to that of an SVDA distributor while I get my fuel tuning down then get some dyno time and work on the spark table. Thanks for your input. I really liked the idea of using the distributor as the timing mechanism but decided it was probably for the best to just do the full conversion, I was already half way there. I really hope that someone tries using the distributor on a vanagon cause I'd really like to see how well it works.

Once again, thanks for all the input and support. hoping to get some more wiring work done this weekend and maybe start mocking up the mounting locations for some things. I'm taking this project slow and steady as I don't have a lot of time with school, but as soon as summer hits I'll be getting a lot more time in the engine bay.
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