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The MX5 Gets a "New" ECU! – Carnage Episode 53

By Kian Heagney, 29 Jun 2020 Carnage

We throw a different ECU into our Barra-swapped MX-5 in the hopes of getting more power

The MX5 Gets a "New" ECU! – Carnage Episode 53

WHEN Scotty originally decided to Barra swap our Mazda MX-5 just in time for Street Machine Summernats 33, it was a car built essentially from recycled parts.

The donk was pillaged from our hacked up Toxic Avenger Territory, the turbo and wastegate borrowed from the MX-5’s original twin hairdryer LS combo and a whole bunch of other gear, including the factory Barra ECU we had laying around.

Watch next: Killing the Barra MX5 - Carnage Episode 46

The car had a decent outing at Summernats, but eventually the recycled parts came back to bite us when we turned the wick up. The best example of that was when the originally aspirated Territory engine completely nuked rod number five, the root cause believed to be a combination of weak rods, a lot of boost and no proper way of controlling that boost.

While the LPG Barra we slotted in to replace the ruined Territory engine is famed for its strength and ability to hold big boost, Zane Heath of Maxx Performance was less than enthused at the idea of running up another Barra with the same boost control (or lack of).

Watch next: Building a Barra for boost, part one – Carnage Plus episode 60

While the factory non-turbo Barra ECU we had couldn’t accommodate proper boost control, a turbo equivalent of the same ECU could. Bill Hooton from Everything Barra hooked us up, so it wasn’t long until we hit the dyno again – this time with proper boost control.

All was going well until another recycled part came back to bite us. The GCG turbo from the twin LS setup is a beaut’ thing, but sitting all on its own on the side of a four litre six meant it ran out of breath before we could break with 400rwkw mark. Oh, and we also had a tyre blowout for good measure.

Watch next: Lightning McBarra gets a new engine – Carnage episode 50

We do have a solution in the works, but that also involves recycling parts from Turbo Taxi. We aren’t giving up though, so make sure you tune into Carnage soon to see the end results.

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