Challenge with Power Commander Install on Tiger 800

Discussion in 'British Beasts: Triumph Tigers' started by Wandering Dane, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Wandering Dane

    Wandering Dane We are the luckiest guys

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    I’ve been searching a couple of forums without finding any posts on installation of a Power Commander V on a Triumph Tiger 800.

    Regardless, I’m in the process of installing a PC V and a PC AutoTune on my 2012 Tiger Roadie with ABS and now while nearly complete, I’ve run into a baffling problem that I hope the collective may be able to help me solve.

    The AutoTune needs a switched power supply; I connected its leads to the leads for the heated grips plug; cut the plug off and connected the wires with a simple connector.

    Now the problem: the fuel gauge does not indicate and the ‘check engine’ light is lit.

    Connecting an automotive diagnostic instrument only yielded one possible answer: a problem with the O2 sensor heater. The original oxygen sensor is not used with the AutoTune, instead the AutoTune comes with a wide-band oxygen sensor to connect to the AutoTune and a plug for the OEM lead in the wiring harness, see photo below:

    [​IMG]

    What I discovered was that the shunts in this plug were not installed correctly, therefore the make-shift shunts made of safety wire. So just to check, I plugged in the OEM oxygen sensor but the problem remains.

    Digging further into the wiring diagram and checking for power, it appears that the problem may be the pink/black wire (identified as KB in the wiring diagram) that connects not only the fuel level sensor to the ECU but also the fall detection switch, the air intake temperature sensor, the throttle potentiometer, the MAP sensor and gear position sensor. However, the engine runs just fine and the gear position indicator works correctly, with or without the OEM O2 sensor plugged in.

    Perhaps this KB wire carries CanBus signals as it does not appear to be a power lead?

    All the fuses have been checked repeatedly and all work.

    I am utterly baffled. Any suggestions?
    #1
  2. Rubberlegs

    Rubberlegs Been here awhile

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    you could take off all of the after market "crap"-- sorry, and see if the bike runs normally.
    #2
  3. Wandering Dane

    Wandering Dane We are the luckiest guys

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    The bike runs fine, great even, just some issues that appear to be CanBUS related. Working on an update...
    #3
  4. ram1000

    ram1000 Long timer

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    Is the PC v made specifically for the 800? I presume it is so can't you contact the maker?

    BTW if it works tell us I may want one on my XC...
    #4
  5. Wandering Dane

    Wandering Dane We are the luckiest guys

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    RAM1000 and itsatdm,

    Thanks for your replies.

    The particular Power Commander V is made for the Tiger 800. The Autotune, on the other hand, is a more generic version, but didn't present much difficulty to install, mainly just to cut an 18 mm thread in the O2 bung for the wide-band O2 sensor.

    itsatdm is correct, there are several companies that manufacture plug-ins that trick the ECU to enrichen the fuel mixture, Motorcycle Consumer News (US) had a recent story about two of these products. And certainly, a plug-in is a much more economical method to richen the fuel mixture than with a Power Commander and an Autotune, although those products do offer a great degree of adjustability.

    I had a quite lengthy e-mail correspondence with a European company that has developed plug-ins for Yamahas, BMWs, Triumph Tiger 1050 and is getting ready to release several new products, including for Ducatis. The challenge for this company sounds quite trivial but appears to be serious, namely that the actual hardware, the plugs, are difficult to source. The software, apparently, is relatively simple.

    A service rep at DynoJet, the manufacturer of Power Commander, responded very promptly to my e-mail inquiry and was quite helpful. In trying to determine conductivity of the O2 plug insert, as described in my original post, I had failed to consider that the shunts were actually resistors, which changes everything. Upon re-checking, I measured resistance exactly to the values that the service rep stated.

    I'm out of town on business and won't be able to work on the bike until the weekend, will get back with any news then.
    #5
  6. shaner1100gs

    shaner1100gs Been here awhile

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    #6
  7. IndyChizzle

    IndyChizzle Hoping my skill exceeds my horsepower

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    +1
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  8. Solohobo

    Solohobo Been here awhile

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    I agree, why not just use the OEM Triumph Tune for Arrow Slip ons? You do know that a PC will void the warranty?
    #8
  9. mousitsas

    mousitsas Long timer

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    The power commander on its own no, but the autotune yes, and it is worth every penny.
    #9
  10. Wandering Dane

    Wandering Dane We are the luckiest guys

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    The 'Arrow map' adds a great deal of richness over a wide range of RPMs and throttle openings, too much in my opinion. The forums - this and others - have numerous posts of significant decreases in mileage with the Arrow map without corresponding benefits in performance.
    #10
  11. Wandering Dane

    Wandering Dane We are the luckiest guys

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    Update re the original post: tech support at DynoJet, manufacturer of the Power Commander, was swift and accurate to my inquiry for assistance. Turns out what I thought were shunts (the yellow wires in the OP) in the O2 plug are resistors. When checking resistance, I hadn't considered their high resistance and had set the range on my multi tester at too low range.

    So I assembled the bike, filled the fuel tank and went for a ride. The fuel gauge responded within a short distance of the gas station. All is good now, actually much better than good. The bike is running great and it was worth the time and expense to install the Power Commander and the Autotune.

    The engine has noticeably more torque at low RPMs and no longer pops in the exhaust on decel. One minor irritant with this bike has always been the difficulty in a smooth take-off from a dead stop, a normal take-off in traffic for example. It's been just a little tricky to achieve the right combination of throttle and clutch engagement. All that is gone now, hard to believe but starting in 2nd gear now is easier than starting in first gear used to be! Low end torque in each gear is improved, no drama rolling along in 6th at 2,000 RPM (about 30 MPH) and smoothly and strongly accelerating. :1drink Yes, I'm a happy camper.

    However, the stronger bottom end torque and wider power band now makes the close ratio gearbox seem even more inappropriate for this machine and overall, the bike feels under-geared. If things continue as indicated for the first 60 miles of riding, I will drop several teeth off the rear sprocket to reduce highway RPMs and maybe increase milage a bit.
    #11
  12. Grover6

    Grover6 Been here awhile

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    WD,

    Can you comment on fuel mileage, pre and post PC? One reason I haven't gone with the Arrow tune, is the drop in fuel economy, on what is in my opinion an already spirited bike. I like my 45+ mpg and would consider a PC if the mpg remained similar +/- 1-2 mpg, not the 4-5 I have heard reported due to the arrow tune.

    Thanks.
    #12
  13. Wandering Dane

    Wandering Dane We are the luckiest guys

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    I'll be glad to comment on fuel mileage but in order to give an accurate report, I'll need to accumulate more than the 110 miles that I've covered so far. However, based on the on-board indicator, I am cautiously optimistic that mileage has not decreased. More later...
    #13
  14. Grover6

    Grover6 Been here awhile

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    Thanks,

    Looking forward to your report:1drink
    #14
  15. Wandering Dane

    Wandering Dane We are the luckiest guys

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    This is a story of unintended consequences; how one small change can set into motion a series of modifications, ultimately achieving a result that exceeded initial expectations.

    The motorcycle is a 2012 Triumph Tiger 800 Roadie. The initial, small change was the installation of an aftermarket muffler. The OEM muffler, to me, looks over-sized and unbalanced compared to the rest of the bike. And while I oppose loud motorcycles, I do like to hear at least a bit of an exhaust note. So I replaced the original can with a Leo Vince aluminum slip-on, keeping the dB killer installed.

    The appearance of the Leo Vince can is pleasing to my eyes and I like the exhaust tone. The weight loss of 6.5 lbs is nice in theory but I cannot tell any difference in feel or handling. What I did not like was loud popping in the exhaust on deceleration from virtually any engine speed.

    The decel popping indicates a lean condition that might cause damage to the exhaust valves due to combustion occurring in the exhaust ports. And the popping annoyed me a great deal.

    So I decided to richen the fuel mixture and considered several options:

    • The simple route of installing the Triumph “Arrow map” into the stock ECU. Based on a number of online comments of increased fuel consumption, I decided against this option and later checking the PC V software, which has the Arrow map included, I can well understand as many data points are as much as 35% richer than the stock settings.

    • Booster plug: literally a plug-and-play insert into the wiring to ‘trick’ the ECU to richen the fuel mixture. Positive reviews of different brands in places like Motorcycle Consumer News made this an attractive option for reasons of simplicity and cost. Unfortunately, none of the suppliers have a plug available for the Tiger 800 but if you have a BMW, a Tiger 1050, a Yamaha and, soon, any number of Ducatis, a plug-in looks like the way to go. Jens Lyck of Booster Plug (www.boosterplug.com) is very responsive to e-mail inquiries.

    • Previously, I have had a positive experience with installation of a Dynojet Power Commander on a Suzuki DL650 WeeStrom with increased displacement (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=278911&page=3) so I purchased a PC V and Autotune, which is designed to continually adjust the PC V for optimum fuel mixture.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Nearing 15,000 miles, the bike was overdue for its 12 K mile major service. The PC V and Autotune install would be part of this service work. Incidentally, 5 of the 6 exhaust valves were all on the tight side of the clearance spec, so the cams had to come out. Not particularly difficult but fiddly as the packaging of components is tight.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As an aside, I have developed a little Xcel spreadsheet (visible in the photo above) to calculate required shim thicknesses when making changes for the purpose of eliminating manual calculations. Send a PM and I’ll be glad to share the spreadsheet via e-mail.

    The PC V and the Autotune boxes fit under the seat; I mounted them behind the frame cross bar behind the battery.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hooking up the PC V is relatively easy but somewhat fiddly with a number of connectors to be inserted between the existing connectors on the injectors and sensors (crank position, throttle position), more on this later. The throttle bodies have to be removed for access to some of these connectors.

    Power-wise, the Autotune should be connected to a switched circuit; I spliced into the wiring for the heated grips plug under the fuel tank on the assumption that this circuit is not part of CanBus. The Dynojet instructions are clear and well-documented.

    The Autotune receives its signal from a wide-band oxygen sensor that replaces the existing O2 sensor, which is located on the exhaust pipe, just after the junction of the three header pipes. The original O2 sensor has 12 mm thread, the wide-band unit is 18 mm. So the headers had to come off and the bung was re-cut with 18 mm threads by Gary Okoren in Golden, CO, an exceptional craftsman.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The sensor can be tightened on the bench, getting the header and brackets for the skid plate installed is a bit tricky with the sensor installed but is doable.

    Otherwise, installation of the wide-band O2 sensor was straightforward. All the parts are supplied in the box, including a plug with resistors that is inserted into the bike's wiring harness connector for the original O2 sensor. Also provided is a bung to be welded on to the exhaust pipe if your bike was not originally equipped with an oxygen sensor.

    Once all the important parts were installed but before hanging the plastic back on the bike and securing the fuel tank, it was time to check that the engine would run. No problem, it started right up and sounded good. Plugging the laptop into the PC V indicated that all was good there, too.

    But there were a couple of snags: the fuel gage indicated empty in spite of at least 1.5 gallons in the tank and the ‘check engine’ light was lit. Head-scratching and checking with smarter people than me, motodutch and Bob Wells, the latter with a diagnostic tool; after a couple of false starts I became convinced that there was no major problem and finished the assembly of the bike.

    Except for more snag: the fuel tank fasteners wouldn’t to line up because of minor interference between the fuel tank and the air box. Turned out that one of the new PC V connectors was jammed between the top of the engine case and the throttle bodies, preventing the throttle bodies to fully seat in their bores and thus raising the air box a fraction of an inch, just enough to prevent the fuel tank to fit properly. The parts on this bike are just about shrink-wrapped in place.

    Once corrected, the ‘check engine’ light was still lit. One small hose on the underside of the air box had gotten left off, this hose leading to the MAP (manifold air pressure) sensor, one of the more important sensors in the fuel system. NOW, the engine ran really well.

    With a fresh fill-up, the fuel gauge returned to service but it took about 500 miles for the ‘check engine’ light to go out. The light can be re-set with a diagnostic tool or Tune-ECU, or the light goes out after 40 engine starts, assuming no other problems.

    So how does the bike work now? Very well indeed, better than expected. The decel exhaust popping is nearly gone, now is just a very slight and pleasant burble. Surprisingly, performance is significantly enhanced.

    The engine has noticeably more torque at low RPMs. One minor irritant with this bike has always been the difficulty in a smooth take-off from a dead stop, a normal roll-off in traffic for example. It's been just a little tricky to achieve the right combination of throttle and clutch engagement. All that is gone now, hard to believe but starting off in 2nd gear now is easier than starting in first gear used to be!

    Another observation: it is no drama rolling along in 6th gear at 2,000 RPM (about 30 MPH) and smoothly and strongly accelerating. In traffic, there is no need to rev higher than 3,000 to 3,500 RPM before upshifting.

    Performance throughout the rev range is clean, crisp and strong. Every upshift is a joy with an instant surge of torque and power that is usually only experienced with race engines or at least engines equipped with strong accelerator pumps in the carburetors, and which has been missing in US spec street bikes for years.

    This is how the bike should have been delivered from the factory, instead of with overly lean low-speed fueling to satisfy an artificial set of EPA-mandated conditions. As fuel economy is the same or better as before, emissions on a per-mile basis in real-world conditions cannot be particularly increased.

    However, the stronger bottom end torque and wider power band now makes the close ratio gearbox seem even more inappropriate for this machine and overall, the bike feels quite under-geared. When it becomes time to replace the chain and sprockets, I will change the ratio to effectively spread the gear ratios, reduce highway RPMs and maybe increase mileage a bit. I have an Xcel gearing spreadsheet that I’d be happy to share, too.

    Speaking of fuel mileage: now about 800 miles since the modifications, the last two tanks were burned on a mix of suburban surface streets, urban freeways and rural two-lane roads. My riding style is not overly aggressive, I tend to flow with traffic and move just a little faster than traffic on the freeways, which in these parts runs at 70 to 85 MPH:

    Fill-up, some 600 miles after the install: 183.4 miles, 3.5 US gallons = 52.4 MPG. The trip computer showed 55.2 MPG

    Next fill-up: 158.1 miles, 3.1 gallons = 51.0 MPG; trip computer indicated 53.0 MPG.

    Earlier fill-ups showed similar data. All the fill-ups indicate slightly improved economy after the PC V and Autotune install by perhaps 5%. However, as part of the 15 K mile major service, I also installed a fresh set of iridium spark plugs and a new OEM air filter, which may improve mileage.

    Observations:

    • The fuel gauge now reads consistently low as if the sensor has moved lower in the tank. Used to be that the top bar on the gauge would stay on for 20 to 22 miles after a fill-up, now it goes out in 6 miles. The low-fuel light now comes on at about 140 miles, used to be about 175. Not a biggie, just annoying.

    • Secondly, the exhaust tone seems to be deeper, but not louder, than before. To my ears, it’s a pleasant sound, at steady speed not unlike the melodious tune my old 650 Bonneville sang at steady cruise. In the past, I have observed a similar deepening of exhaust note when the low-speed fueling was enriched, for example on an early 90s BMW M5 after installation of a Dinan chip.

    • The inside of the exhaust tip is sooty. In the old days (before unleaded fuel, catalytic converters and electronic controls), a sooty pipe would indicate overly rich fuel mixture but nowadays, I don’t think so. Before the PC V install, the Tiger pipe was sparkling clean, yet fuel mileage now is a bit better. I’ve observed the same on cars: my Audi turbo with sooty exhaust tips has a lifetime economy of nearly 27 MPG while the wife’s 47,000 mile Lexus has an exhaust pipe that looks as if nothing has ever passed through it, yet her mileage is less than 20 MPG.

    • How complicated is this install? Not particularly as it consists mainly of taking things apart and connecting other parts, and the Dynojet instructions are quite detailed. Some parts are difficult to reach and a variety of tools are required. I work slowly and methodically, take lots of pictures for later reference and still, I had to go back and do some of the work over. The bike was out of service for a total of three months, however this time was more related to my frequent business travels, family obligations and waiting for parts than due to the amount of work required. I have other bikes so I could still ride. All that being said, this install does require a significant amount of disassembly so experience with motorcycle repair and maintenance is a definite asset.

    [​IMG]

    • The Power Commander V offers a number of features that I have not yet tapped into – I’m that pleased with the stock set-up. One of these features is that fuel mixture can be adjusted differently for each gear, so, for example, you can set the mixture lean in 6th gear to improve touring mileage, while retaining a richer mixture in lower gears for good response and performance.

    In conclusion, I am very pleased with the result of these modifications, well worth the effort and expense. I do expect the bike to be even more pleasant to ride after the final drive ratio has been changed.
    #15
  16. klinquist

    klinquist übergeek

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    Very detailed write-up, thank you for taking the time. I have to wonder, however, how close a good shop could get to your results with a proper tune done by a good dyno shop with TuneECU? I believe it allows for the same granularity as a PC and obviously a much less complex install.
    #16
  17. quadzillabill

    quadzillabill Been here awhile

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    Awesome write up. Would love to see done numbers.

    Sent from my VS980 4G using Tapatalk
    #17
  18. Wandering Dane

    Wandering Dane We are the luckiest guys

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    Thank you for your kind words and good questions.

    You raise several issues: TuneECU, good dyno shop, complexity and cost. I'll attempt to answer:

    I am not familiar with the TuneECU, my impression is that it is a tool that allows you to change the fuel mixture settings in the OEM ECU. Assuming competence by the person who makes the change, this option may achieve the nearly same results.

    "Good dyno shop": in my area, within 60 mile radius, I only know one shop that would meet this criteria and it only works on Ducatis, as far as I know.

    Complexity: as I already had plastic and fuel tank off the bike and the top section opened up, the complexity of installing the PC V and the Autotune was not a major addition to the work.

    The issue here, I think, is one of philosophy. I'm a do-it-yourself kind of guy, I have limited confidence in motorcycle shop service personnel and I enjoy working on my bikes and to, hopefully, improve upon them. One additional consideration is that my riding areas range from sea level to 14,000 ft elevation and the Autotune ought to adjust for this full range of elevation, better than the narrow-band OEM oxygen sensor.

    Cost: I found the PC V and Autotune for $525, the only other costs were the machining of the new threads in the O2 bung and new exhaust port gaskets, trivial expenses. Dyno-time and ECU adjustment labor costs may be less but you place your confidence in somebody else.

    Hopefully, I have answered your questions.
    #18
  19. klinquist

    klinquist übergeek

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    You have, thank you. In my area there are lots of good shops and I am sure I could get similar results for cheaper with just TuneECU. Regardless, it's great to have options... The autotune is certainly a benefit that I wouldn't have, I ride from 0-10k ft here in CA :).
    #19
  20. btao

    btao RIP Lilolita

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    I'm curious what it would be like to use in the dirt.... I know I'd love it on the road, but probably too much to handle OR.

    Nice write up.
    #20