Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I purchase the WORKS ECU Flash compared to others on the market?
There are a number of reasons that sets WORKS apart from other available flashes. While most are using similar hardware to physically perform the flash, it takes more than a laptop and an interface to bring you a proven, safe, reliable yet powerful flash. WORKS was the very first company to flash the U.S. EVO ECU in the spring of 2003. Later in 2003, a few others appeared on the market. Now it seems that every neighborhood shop is offering some sort of flash. The most important aspect that makes WORKS different and better is our technical expertise and the amount of time spent testing and re-testing during the R&D phase by qualified Engineers. Our Engineers take a meticulous approach to all that we do (including scaling the OEM safety maps) and ensure only the best is reaching our customers and our own EVOs that we drive every day. Software development goes through rigorous testing on scores of vehicles to assure that the WORKS Brain Flash provides you with enhanced performance while keeping your EVO running safely, reliably and with improved fuel economy. (See http://www.worksevo.com/article2.php for more in-depth details.) We have developed our own tools in-house to decipher the OEM ECU and have a better understanding and control than anyone in the industry hands-down. Other companies may tout more “this” or better “that,” and can only rely on peak numbers versus real world drivability but talk is one thing and experience is another. So speak with your neighborhood “tuner” about their Engineers, research and development methods and testing facilities and then talk to us to see how we compare. The differences are very clear.
Can the factory ECU make high horsepower?
Absolutely! The ECU has virtually no limit as to how much power it can make. The limitations are in the physical components (engine, turbo, fuel, etc…) that are making the power and the software that’s trying to coordinate the array of components involved. WORKS employs degreed Engineers with decades of experience in the automotive tuning and OEM industry in all aspects of the company. Because of the insight and wisdom of our Engineers, we are consistently bringing new and innovative ideas to the forefront with the WORKS Brain Flash and the factory ECU. WORKS was the first to flash the US EVO, the first to offer boost control via the ECU, the first to incorporate the ‘05+ dual stage rev-limiter into ‘03/’04 models, etc… Another example of this is the WORKS Time Attack EVO. The car was built in less than 10 days using a wide-array of components that were assembled in a last-minute effort. Despite having less than one day to tune the car after it was running, it took first place in multiple categories in its Time Attack debut and the second Time Attack—all the while using the factory ECU with WORKS Brain Flash software. In fact, the ECU was one of the few OEM components that remained on the vehicle. While we don’t expect many to go to the extreme measures as the Time Attack EVO, you can be assured WORKS will be able to take care of your needs at all levels.
Can the WORKS P2 be detected by the dealer?
The WORKS Brain Flash was developed to be an inconspicuous component integrated into your vehicle noticeable only by the improved performance once you depress the accelerator. The ECU is your factory original and we include a boost hose assembly that is visually identical to stock. From an appearance perspective, it is invisible. In order to confirm the software changes, the dealer would have to have a good reason to detect any software changes because the time, the energy and the equipment to detect a flash is very daunting and cumbersome. In fact, most dealerships lack the technical know-how even though it is possible but very improbable. In addition, there’s little reason to even deal with the ECU since WORKS engineers program the software meticulously to run seamlessly with the original factory parameters. Those that have had dealer re-flashes (such as the P0300 misfire) with the WORKS Brain Flash go through without question and WORKS has always integrated the new Mitsubishi software versions with all the Brain Flash versions. In theory, the flash could be detected, but in reality, there’s no reason it would be.
*Side note, be forewarned that some ECU flashes will prevent the dealer from recognizing the stock ECU is even present. The WORKS Brain Flashes are compliant with Mitsubishi diagnostic equipment while all early versions and some of the newer versions (2008+) WILL allow the dealer to perform re-flash updates as necessary.
What does the WORKS re-engineered boost hose do (Brain Flash P2) and why do I need it?
The WORKS boost hose allows the Brain Flash software to maintain and properly control the desired boost level. Due to physical limitations of the original hose assembly, it is not possible to maintain the factory-set boost level throughout the entire RPM range (even when maxing out the software parameters). In order to maintain the OEM boost level (~20 PSI), our Engineers have designed a hose that looks identical to and uses the same design concept as the original, but functions differently. (For this reason, do not use the WORKS boost hose assembly on a vehicle without the proper Brain Flash software loaded onto the ECU.) WORKS recognized the limitations of the OEM hose in 2003. While other tuners took the easy route and recommended external controllers or in-line bleeder valves, WORKS took the proper steps to design a calibrated boost hose assembly (not just a restrictor pill) and bring a fully functional and integrated boost controlling flash to market. Using a generic pill in your existing hose can lead to unsafe overboost conditions. When we assemble and calibrate the same pills with the same hoses, we still yield a 10%-20% rejection rate based on pressure output at the wastegate actuator. Even years later, the WORKS Brain Flash P2/R is the only flash available that both recognizes and addresses the inability of the OEM boost hose. While it is possible to peak higher than stock, the boost will always taper drastically as RPMs climb using the factory component. If you want steady, rock-solid boost all the way to 7000, 7500, 8000 RPMs (or higher), the WORKS Brain Flash P2 is the only way to go.
What are the pros and cons of the WORKS ECU Brain Flash versus "piggyback" or standalone controllers?
There are several variations of what the WORKS Brain Flash offers over a standard “piggyback” and standalone devices.
The Brain Flash ECU is a complete “plug & play” affair since it uses your original ECU. There are no additional items to purchase nor any custom tuning needed.
WORKS provides In-House technical support and our Software Engineers are here on a daily basis. We also provide free updates/upgrades to your software to original Brain Flash owners when you purchase additional items from us.
Just like the factory setup, the WORKS Brain Flash maintains full drivability, adaptability and safety. While we do leave some room in the software for the occasional “just in case” occurrence, the WORKS Brain Flash ECU is fully capable of controlling everything form a daily driven vehicle to a dedicated race car. There are hundreds of maps to adapt to every situation which keeps your vehicle running properly under all conditions. While standard changes to the software included fuel, timing and boost maps, our Software Engineers are also capable of changing rev limiters, flow cut limits and correction tables.
Because of the procedures involved, these software changes are only done In-House and do not provide user-programmable features at this point. There is also some downtime (usually less than 48 hours) and shipping costs for non-local customers.
Overall, it’s one of the best “bang for the buck” modifications you can perform while still maintaining OEM drivability and safety.
Some will argue that “piggyback” devices are better while being less expensive. It’s hard to argue against the user adjustability that they offer, but the other aspects we can comment on. The cost of the unit itself may be less or more, but that doesn’t include the additional gauges, sensors and/or datalogging devices needed to monitor the vehicles operations. It also doesn’t include the hours required to have someone tune the vehicle (or the hours required for the user to learn how to tune and then do so). Technically savvy organizations with Engineers can handle the job, but in general there is little to no technical support nor is there an “official” tuner to rely on. This becomes more of an issue the further you modify the vehicle as drivability, adaptability and safety begin to diminish. It is an inherent side effect of a piggyback as it only alters or tries to simulate the signal the ECU sees and never changes the actual programming, just attempts to manipulate it. The manipulation can only go so far as most piggybacks alter just one (at most a handful) of signals at certain RPM points and not necessarily the array of load maps the ECU relies on. With today’s ECU’s, signal modifications confuse the ECU’s learning mode often resulting in poor drivability. Also, direct changes in one signal may also trigger indirect changes elsewhere which can lead to undesired consequences. If you have the technical ability to properly adjust the factory ECU, there is no reason to falsify its input signals with a piggyback.
The most extreme option is using a standalone unit which replaces the ECU altogether. While this does offer the ultimate in flexibility, there is a premium that comes with it. Not only the elevated initial price, but also the array of sensors and gauges needed to help monitor the engine’s health. You’ll usually need to tote a laptop computer if you don’t already own one. Standalone units have a steep learning curve and can take days for even a certified tuner to get things in check. Locating someone who’s certified to that specific standalone may be a challenge depending on your location. Finding one who’s also familiar with the nuances of your particular vehicle maybe even more so. Even at that point, it’s still probably tuned for two primary situations: idle and wide open throttle applications. Initial start-up and part throttle drivability are another whole challenge. Changes in bolt-on hardware will more than likely alter the tune and may set you back hours of time and hundreds of dollars. The same may be necessary with changes in the weather. Safety parameters are also user-defined. While these devices usually have a little more customer support than the piggyback variety, they are commonly user-driven as there is no single “tuner” to fall back on.
In the end, the WORKS Brain Flash will outperform piggyback devices and all but the most extensively tweaked standalone units. Mitsubishi spends hundreds of thousands of man-hours to develop the software found in each ECU. WORKS isn’t out to eliminate what was originally done, just enhance it for your specific application. We’ve spent years doing just that and will continue to do so for years to come.
What are the differences between camshafts?
There are several factors that go into creating a camshaft. The three most common specifications of interest are lift, duration and ramp profiles. In general, the number of the cam relates to the duration (in degrees) of the cam profile. Often, this number and the lift does not reference the valve clearance/lash or rocker arm ratio if present. For this reason, one company can make a “250” cam that is more aggressive than a “260” cam from another company.
So, in the end, it’s also about who’s got the bigger number and not necessarily performance.
Other important factors that go into camshaft design and manufacturing are the raw materials, heat treatment, coatings and precise grinding methods to ensure long term reliability and consistency from shaft to shaft. WORKS’ strict manufacturing and Quality Control procedures deliver the best cams available for U.S. EVOs.
Why did WORKS design 269 Power Cams?
The WORKS 269 Power Cams are unique in several aspects and underwent extensive R&D in order to bring a broad range of power to the table. Our goals included a near-stock idle while providing a good boost in overall power. WORKS Engineers were also after the goal of spreading the increased power over the entire powerband and not so interested in “peak” numbers. Other cams may show larger peak numbers, but also greater “valleys” and this translates into a drop off in power outside of peak area. We would much rather sacrifice a “peak” number in order to maintain useable power across the entire RPM spectrum.
* Please keep in mind the “269” is a model designation. The 269 intake cam actually has different duration than the 269 exhaust cam and should be used as a matched set. This is also true of popular 264 intake and 264 exhaust cams as well as 272 intake and 272 exhaust cams. The notion of mixing and matching is a not recommended.
Do WORKS 269 Power Cams require adjustable cam gears?
We do not require (nor recommend) timing gears with the 269 Power Cams as they are not needed. Because our cams were specifically engineered in-house for the US-spec EVO, we have already factored cam gear timing into their design with the OEM gears. Therefore, the original cam gears are all that is required. There’s no need to purchase adjustable gears and spend precious time fiddling with their settings in order to try and get power and a decent idle. Our Engineers have already taken this into consideration along with proper tuning with the P-series Flashes for our Power Cam series..
Does WORKS recommend upgraded valve springs, retainers and head studs?
Yes. We mainly recommend them for added reliability, safety and security. They are typically installed when adding the 269 Power Cams or any cam with higher lift—the original components are already exposed with the camshafts removed. The springs and retainers allow the valvetrain to rev higher (in part due to their lighter weight and higher spring pressure), they also increase clearance at the valve stem seal (which is important when going with a higher lift cam). The factory head studs are often swapped for those that are less likely to stretch. This allows the head gasket to remain firmly held in place between the head and the engine block, even under increased boost pressure.
Do I need an upgraded fuel pump?
It depends on your current level of modifications. The WORKS TR-340 Performance Package still utilizes the factory fuel system (including pump and injectors) with some reserve still left in it “just in case.” Going beyond that (such as upgrading the turbo), we do recommend upgrading the pump— if power output is reaching 400HP or more.
What’s the difference between high pressure and standard pressure fuel pumps?
Fuel pumps that share the same flow rating (i.e. liters per hour) sometimes come with an “HP” designation. The HP (High Pressure) refers to the pumps ability to maintain the fuel flow when extreme demands are put upon it (such as 25+ PSI). While an HP pump may be able to flow more in the upper range, it usually flows more in the low range as well. The downside to this is running the risk of overpowering the fuel pressure regulator under no/low boost scenarios. This can sometimes lead to erratic fuel delivery unless an aftermarket regulator (that has the ability to lower the base setting) is also used. While you do want to ensure you don’t run out of fuel because of the pump, you can go “too big” as well. Each application presents its own set of demands. From drop-in replacements to external fuel cells, WORKS can help you sort out which setup would be best suited for your needs.
Do I need larger fuel injectors?
As with the fuel pump, it depends on your current level of modifications. The WORKS TR-340 Performance Package still utilizes the factory fuel system (including pump and injectors) with some reserve still left in it “just in case.” Going above 400 horsepower (which typically involves a turbo upgrade), you will probably be reaching the limits as to what the original injectors are capable of maintaining. With any fuel injector, you don’t want to exceed 85% duty cycle to maintain maximum fuel flow. The stock EVO injectors are rated at 560cc. There are other factors, such as water and alcohol injection, which do play a role in calculating what size injectors for a specific application. The WORKS Technical Staff can help you in your decision.
How Brain Tuning WORKS
We have been asked on a number of occasions why it is that WORKS
does not offer a quick dyno based custom tune with our popular Brain
Flash products. The public perception seems to be that as good as the
Brain Flash already is, it would be even better if we were to custom
tune it to each individual customer's car. In order to appreciate why
the WORKS Brain Flash doesn't require, or in fact, benefit from, any
additional tuning, it is helpful to understand the following...
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Mitsubishi announced, on January 2, 2003 at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, that the Lancer Evo was arriving on U.S. shores after a conspicuous absence from this market spanning over 10 years. Automobile enthusiasts with even the most debilitating of New Year's hangovers rejoiced. The forbidden fruit from the Far East was finally, and without any doubt, confirmed to be on its way...