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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For those who have been keeping score, so far this week I've installed two of the four pieces from the big box that recently arrived at my house from Jeff @ Formula Dynamics onto my 2007 Quattroporte Sport GT DuoSelect. First was the Larini X-pipe. Next was the hi-flow air filter. Yesterday, I installed the remaining two pieces: the ECM Performance Chip and the Drive By Wire Enhancement Module.

Let me start by saying that if you can install a car stereo, and/or have even the most limited of soldering ability, you can totally install this upgrade yourself. Just follow the included instructions, triple-check your wires, and take your time.

The package is VERY complete. The main harness is a collection of a dozen or so wires connected to a plug. Each of the wires is partially stripped and clearly labeled with a white tag that shows an ID number for the wire, the color of the wire that it's supposed to connect to in the car, the type of connection it's supposed to make (tap or splice), and in the case of a splice, which "side" of the colored wire in the car it's supposed to connect to - either the side going to the main ECU harness, or the side running to the sensor on the car that feeds information back into the ECU. As I was working through it (and reading the instructions to my buddy who helped me with the soldering), I referred to the splices as "computer side" and "car side."

Also in the package is a second, and smaller, wiring harness called the "breakout" harness, because it plugs into the connector on the main harness (the one you solder to the ECU wires) and "breaks out" into a Y with two additional plugs: one for the ECM and one for the DBWEM. Both parts of the Y also have spade connectors plugged into inline rocker switches, so you can easily select between the two program options in each module (more on what I did with the switches in a moment). The package also contains a couple "bypass plugs," which can connect to both of the free ends of the breakout harness if either or both of the modules are unplugged, thereby "closing" all the electrical connections and allowing the car to run as if the module(s) weren't there at all. My package came with an extra set of those bypass plugs - just in case one gets misplaced. :)

Finally, the package contained a set of VERY (let me repeat.... VERY) well-written instructions. My buddy and I were both blown away with the level of accuracy and detail in the instructions. We started on page one, and got down to work.

Accessing and removing the ECU was the first step. The trick is that once you unbolt the ECU, you need to slide it horizontally to free it from its mounting point before you can remove it from the car.

There are actually two stock wiring harnesses that plug into the car's ECU - the instructions mark them clearly as A and B. Be aware that the images in the instructions are NOT to scale - the A harness is the larger one, and the B harness is the smaller one. Most of the wiring is done on the A harness.

When locating which wires to strip, tap, and/or splice, TAKE YOUR TIME. There are some wires that look a lot like other wires (and some that have the same colors), so we proceeded slowly, verifying which ECU harness the FD harness wire needed to connect to (A or B), the wire color (Pink, Black, Green with White, etc.) AND the pin number on the stock harness the colored wire was connected to. The chart with the pin numbers was very helpful in this regard, but be aware that the chart has the color abbreviations in Italian, so you can use the color translation guide in the instructions to help if you don't speak-ah zee Italiano. We didn't make any mistakes in connecting the wires, because we double checked each step. Again, take your time, read the instructions, and go for it. Having two people on this step (me reading the instructions and him doing the cutting and soldering) was the best way to do it. When all splices and taps were done, we insulated with shrink tubing on the splices, and electrical tape on the taps.

NOTE: On the Quattroporte (I would assume it's the same on other models), we had three wires remaining on the FD main harness, which didn't connect to anything, and whose labels simply read "refer to instructions." However, the instructions didn't mention extra wires! Worried that we'd done something wrong, I called Jeff, who confirmed that everything was fine. These wires may be used in the future (and I got the impression that maybe they could be used on a non-street version of the install), but for now, insulate the ends (we used electrical tape) and tuck them away neatly.

Once we finished soldering in the main FD harness, we ran the plug end under the carpet toward the glove box, connected the breakout harness (with the bypass plugs installed), replaced the ECU, and fired up the car. It started and idled normally, with no check engine lights. We replaced the ECU cover and floor mat, and took a quick test drive. Still operating normally, with no check engine lights. YES! The hard part was done - now we party.

We took a quick lunch break, and in the parking lot of the restaurant, we plugged in the ECM and DBWEM so we could test them on the drive home. The included switches have two positions, but they are not "on/off" switches for the modules. They are "Program 1/Program 2" switches. I pressed both switches to the "on" or "closed" position (white dot depressed), selecting the most aggressive option for each module. Let's see what this baby will do!

I fired up the car. It started, but the check engine light stayed on for a few seconds longer than the rest of the dummy lights. My heart raced... but then the light went out. SUCCESS!

The first thing I noticed was the clutch engagement in reverse as I backed out of the parking spot. Clutch slippage was DRASTICALLY reduced. As in drastically. As in a lot. As in "why didn't Maserati program their drive-by-wire system like this in the first place?" Same thing when I tested D in auto mode (my wife drives in this mode... not me!). Clutch slippage was gone. It departs in D just like it does in 1. That is SOOOO nice.

When I got on the freeway on-ramp, I "gave it the beans." Even realizing that I need about 100 miles of sporty driving to retrain the car's computer to get the most out of the upgraded components, I could still feel their effects. Shifting feels more assertive and confident. At about 4K RPM, acceleration REALLY starts to pick up, and the car feels like it just wants to GO. I did Sport Mode redline shifts from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4, and noticed a considerable performance improvement. Overall, if I had to pick one adjective to describe the effect of these modules on the car, I'd say "responsive" - it's far more responsive to both my throttle input, and when I start from a dead stop in either D, 1, or R.

We headed back to my garage to finish the install. We velcroed and zip-tied both modules up underneath the glovebox. There was plenty of room, and the included wiring harnesses reach up there perfectly. Because I'd previously installed a USB cable in the car (accessible by lifting the center armrest console) I already had a small wire grommet in place, and decided that I'd like the switches there. For most users, having the included switches up underneath the glovebox will be fine - you can't switch the programs car while the car is driving, anyway. But I wanted to take it a step further. :)

So we ran some additional wire and installed the included rocker switches in that center console. We also ran a 12V and ground wire from the cigarette lighter to that same location, so that I can use two illuminated switches (I'm thinking something like this: http://www.diytrade.com/china/4/products/2648151/Illuminated_push_button_switch.html). I plan on using two different LED colors, so I can easily tell which button controls which module.

Now I'm starting the break-in period. Jeff's instructions state that you can accelerate this process by killing battery power to the car overnight. I decided not to do this, because having done that once before during a stereo install, my car "freaked out" and complained of not being programmed and required a drive to the dealer to make the error messages go away. However, if you DO plan to kill power to your car, make sure you know your stereo unlock code. You'll need it not just for the stereo to operate when you reconnect power, but I've noticed that on my QP, many of the car's computer components just don't work quite right until the unlock code is entered (once, my car kept shifting out of R and into N as I tried to back out of the garage... until I unlocked the stereo with the code... crazy). If you don't know your code, call your dealer. They can look it up for you.

Again, I haven't fully broken-in the new modules (i.e. trained the car's computer that I really mean business), but even with the limited test driving I've done since yesterday, I can tell that these upgrades are worth the price of admission. The car feels more sporty and assertive, but it's still very manageable (but... compared to my Ferrari F40, every other car feels manageable).

Many thanks to Jeff for making these excellent products available, for his top-notch support throughout the process of installing them all, and for his dedicated support to this forum and, more broadly, to Maserati owners worldwide.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go train my car's computer. :)
 

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Great write up. Debating what to do to my 6 speed. What do you recommend Jeff?
 

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Thanks for the excellent writeup Steve, much appreciated.

IslandMaser - it all depends on what you're looking for... give me a call when you have some time and we'll throw a few ideas around.

Best Regards,
-- Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Photos please! If I could see photos I might attempt this myself too (DBW anyway)
There really isn't anything TO photograph! You open the access panel under the passenger floor mat, and everything is RIGHT there! Go for it - you won't be disappointed.
 

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Hi Dave, thanks for the indepth report about your install. I've just taken delivery (well a few weeks back now) of a DBW to install into my QP. Myself and my father (retired aircraft engineer) have had a recon and will do the install shortly. Just a few questions, we opened the access hatch and pulled the carpet back, it seems the cables run up along the inside of the wheel arch(under that bit of trim), is this where you spliced into the cables or did you go in closer to the Bosch ECU?

Did you find the DBW got rid of that 0.3-0.5 sec delay between hitting the gas and actually moving off when in 1st from a standstill?

thanks

Simon
 

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Photos please! If I could see photos I might attempt this myself too (DBW anyway)
Here are some I took of mine prior to doing the install (used them to verify things/locations with Jeff). Just a note my car if RHD, seems the electronics are a mirror image to LHD cars.





 

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SJN,

You've got a Right Hand Drive car so it's a bit different from the US installs however, you'll want to make the connections about 12" from the connector to the factory ECU. The carpet needs to be pulled back a bit further than shown in your pictures to expose the harness. Leave enough room so that the harness will locate the product in a safe place.

Of course, feel free to email with any questions.

Best Regards,
-- Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yeah, we spliced/tapped close to the ECU (about 10-12" away) and then ran the FD harness under the carpet and out just under and behind the glove box.

And yes, clutch engagement delay is gone.

I disconned the battery this week, and difference is WAY noticable, even more than when I first installed these two excellent upgrades.

Jeff is a class act, his products deliver 100% what he promises, and his post-purchase support is unmatched. It's clear that he is in this business for the love of the cars, not just the money.
 
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