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Old 12-12-2008, 01:37 PM   #1
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Default Link vs. AEM

Currently my car is equipped with the Link standalone EMS, which has given me no problems at all, and I know it's not as widely used on here. But pretty easy to use, my only gripe is that there is no real tuning support for it. I haven't found any dyno shops locally that know how to properly use it. (Maybe I haven't looked thoroughly, but then again, support should be easy to find). This is all going to come into play soon after the car is back up and running because I want everything to be done properly, and not just by the initial tuning that FM's handbook walks you through.

My question, since everyone seems to be putting the AEM EMS on sale right now, is would there be an advantage to buying an AEM over the Link, or am I just as well off keeping what I have and sending my datalogs to FM and having them tweak them?

(Oh, and I'm not interested in MS quite yet, I think I see it in the light of having too many issues for a system that I'd want to be extremely reliable for daily driving usage. These are the two choices for now.)
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Old 12-12-2008, 01:50 PM   #2
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I wouldn't go changing something that has given you no problems at all. There are advantages to the AEM (and to most modern ecus) over the Link, but if you're not looking for them, then you probably don't need them. There's a still a huge installed base of Link cars out there. You probably don't hear from them because they've been in use for... forever. The reason I still have my Link (besides getting it for cheap) is the same reason- it hasn't given me any trouble.

If I were you, I'd focus on getting the hardware together and sorted. Once that's done, revisit the ecu. FWIW, the Link will make enough power to trash your driveline (given you're new setup), so maybe the driveline is after the turbo?

For tuning- any good tuner can tune any ecu IMO. The principle is the same, it's knowing how to use the software. The same guy helped me tune my car that did Doppleganger's up at Balanced in Suwanee. He tuned the Link wire-in that was in my NB race car too. And he currently tunes a variety of cars for Koni and Speed Challenge. That said, I think anybody who has a programmable ecu needs to know how it works. It took five pulls to tweak the boost tune I'd built on the street, so I went away feeling I had good understanding of what was going on.
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:14 PM   #3
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You've hit a good point right on the head, which is another one of my considerations, I don't know that the advantages are there, but I would like to delve into the tuning field a lot more than I have in the past and find out what the system can and cannot do. Because of that, I want a system that is ready to meet my goals. I think the Link may handle everything quite well, I just want to be sure before I make any firm decisions.

The drivetrain is getting attention now too. 6-speed transmission just got here, and my 3.636 gears are going in, and the car already had a Cusco LSD, so hopefully that will all handle the power well enough.

Good to know that there is someone around that knows something about the Link though. It had a good tune to start with, I do need to put the updated chip in it though and redo it all.
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:39 PM   #4
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I'm willing to help you out with the Link, just let me know when. I've got a family and business to plan around. The reality is that the Link is old. It does most things, but new EMs will do those things better and then some. No different than the hardware IMO. It's why you see different power levels on cars with the same engine, same boost level and same turbo. The stuff in between is making the difference.

Last edited by m2cupcar; 12-13-2008 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 12-12-2008, 03:01 PM   #5
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Thanks! I appreciate it! I'll let you know and we'll go from there, it's still a ways out. But if the Link is good enough, I won't bother with upgrading. I'm not into anything that requires serious competition, I do this to cars because I like to, so I can save that money and invest it elsewhere.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:29 PM   #6
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FM is reporting a maximum of 50whp and an average of 35whp gained when swapping Hydra in for Link. A tuned AEM should be no different on your non VVT car.

Please read this thread
MX-5 Miata Forum - Link vs Hydra in a Miata powered Caterham

Personally, I would pull the Link. I don't know how else you can make 35-50 whp for what ends up being only several hundred dollars once the Link is sold. A MS of some sort might be a good idea, and you have one of the world's most experienced MS tuners practically in your backyard too (Jerry at DIY of course)
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:57 PM   #7
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I'm with Rob on this one. The Link is working fine for now. You're bound to have other issues when your build is put together that need addressing, and you don't want a new ECU in the mix throwing you off. Once you get everything running right with the new setup, readdress the ECU issue.

I'm feeling dizzy. More beer.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:33 PM   #8
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Damn it Ben, you're the one that said it would be a good idea to keep the Link. lol
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:38 PM   #9
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Dude, do you want to drive your car or keep changing your plans? Don't be an UrbanSoot on this one. Get it running and have fun before changing plans.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:48 PM   #10
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Oh no, I completely agree with that. Just Ben advises to keep it, now he's posting a link as to why not to and saying pull it now. Cracks me up.
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Old 12-13-2008, 08:45 AM   #11
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The only reason I've said to keep it is a 'devil you know' type thing. IE, you already bought the cow so you might as well have some milk.

However all the evidence suggests that you'd be best off with something else.
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Old 12-13-2008, 12:40 PM   #12
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I don't think this scenario is any different than say upgrading from a log manifold to something (anything) else. The log works, does the job but at the cost of efficiency in the name of saving money. But I'd avoid replacing the ecu at the same time you're rebuilding the rest of the setup.
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