Dallas DSM: So You Want To Build A Dsm (read Me First) - Dallas DSM

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So You Want To Build A Dsm (read Me First) Sam's speech

#1 User is offline   skywalker18 

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 05:56 PM

I wasn't going to sticky that entire thread about the swap just for this post, so I started a new thread with it.

Brought to you by samiam:

QUOTE(samiam @ Feb 6 2008, 12:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There are a lot of problems that I see with most people trying to get into hotrod cars now, and specifically turbo cars like the DSMs. This is going to be kind of hateful, so I'm sure I'm going to offend some people. If you're offended by this post, I'm probably talking about you.

People like to bash on the DSMs for their reputation of being "unreliable", but most of them are referring to cars owned by idiots.

The DSMs are old, particularly the 1g's. I own a 1990 Talon. It's almost 20 years old. The last GSX was built 10 years ago now, and they put out what? 200BHP stock? There are way too many people that have seen F&F I guess, because people seem to think that you go buy a DSM, bolt on a 42r and run 7 second passes.

Reality check - it does NOT work that way.

Except in rare cases, these cars are BEAT TO DEATH by the time we get them. Basic preventative maintenance isn't something in a lot of people's vocabulary, so they need a lot of things fixed before they're even ready for the owners to start planning mods, let alone installing them. I spent the first year I owned mine rebuilding the brakes from the rotors up. Then the tires, suspension, transmission, etc, etc, etc. Going fast is not only incredibly stupid, but very dangerous if the rest of the car isn't built to match. As my father once told me "All that horsepower isn't good for a damned thing if you can't keep the car in a straight line and stop it. Going fast is fine, but you don't want to be buried in that thing."

On top of that, it's becoming more and more clear to me that people don't understand how (semi) modern EFI works. This is why we have so many DSMs that have these HUGE overbuilt setups that cost the owners god knows how much money, and they run 13's or maybe 12's if they're lucky. In my (not so) humble opinion, it's also why we have so many DSMs sitting around in a perpetual state of broken.

Don't try to tune your own car if you don't understand things like timing advance, injector dead time, pulse width, base rail pressure, air density, etc. Take it to someone who DOES understand those things, watch them tune it, and ask questions. It's your car, and you're paying for them to tune it. They probably won't tell you everything that there is to know about tuning a car, but they will be glad to tell you what they're doing to yours and WHY they're doing it. If they aren't willing to do that, find another shop.

There is a LOT that goes into building a high horsepower car. That applies x1000 for building a car that has the kind of power that people shoot for out of a tiny little 2.0L 4 cylinder. Despite what you may read on t00nerz, there is more to building a DSM than throwing money at parts and haphazardly bolting shit on. Granted, you can go pretty fast with bolt ons, but it has to be done correctly.

"Do it right or do it twice" as one member's sig line reads. This is an oversimplification of course, but it's very true. Don't half ass the car and expect it to perform like a super car. If something is broken, replace it. If something is worn out of spec, replace it. If you don't have the money or time to fix something right, PARK THE CAR until you do. This is why so many of us have a DSM toy car and an unmodded reliable daily driver to get back and forth with.

"Well, but I can't afford the parts to do this right."

Well, honestly then, you need to find another hobby. When I walked into my first speed shop at 11 years old there was a sign on the wall that read "Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?". 'Nuff said.

Set a horsepower or ET/trap goal and build for it. Pauleyman started a very good thread here not long ago about this very thing. If you don't have a plan for what you want the car to do you will have a perpetual bolt on money pit that consumes your time, money and sanity.

But there is a positive side to all of this. Since these cars are old and have been around and modified forever, there is a HUGE amount of information available on them.

People figured out what turbos and fuel setups could go fast before most members here could even legally drive a car, but everyone seems to ignore the steps and mistakes that the old timers made in this game. There has (obviously) been progress in this hobby, and merging the information available from when people were first perfecting the DSM with modern progress is what it's all about. I'm reminded of a recent thread where a member wanted to hit 400whp on his car, and was asking what turbo to buy. This is the type of question that has been answered about eleventy billion trillion times, and the choices are numerous. Sure you can hit 400WHP with a $1500 turbo, but you can hit it with a $550 one too. Call me crazy, but I'll take the other $950 and buy supporting parts.

The DSM's ECU has been completely disassembled and nit picked apart to the point that you can do anything you want to with a laptop and an EEPROM programmer (or better yet, an emulator). If you're not the hands on type, go get DSMLink. I know some of you have heard me call DSMLink "tuning for idiots", and that might be a little harsh. DSMLink is a great tool, and is perfect for someone who doesn't want to burn chips to get their fuel/timing maps right. My problem with it is that (much like everything else) people treat it like a magic bullet. You still have to know WHY you're changing those values and what impact it's going to have on the car's performance, and more importantly, the car's health.

I guess what I'm saying is that the only reason that DSMs are considered unreliable is because most people that have them and blow them up don't really know what they're doing. Now I can already hear "Well, we all have to learn sometime!!!", and that's true, but you can learn by reading instead of spreading your car's internals all over the drag strip.

Alright, I'm done. Mods - give me a vacation if you deem it necessary.

This post has been edited by skywalker18: 07 February 2008 - 06:02 PM

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#2 User is offline   skywalker18 

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 06:01 PM




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#3 User is offline   Launch 

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 06:05 PM







This post has been edited by Launch: 07 February 2008 - 06:15 PM

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#4 User is offline   boostin55 

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 08:15 PM

gotta say it was nicely put. but i also gotta say that the member about the 400whp goal what turbo to buy could of been me. was i offended not in the least. i understand all of that and i have read 1000000000000 threads about what turbos put out and have a good understanding. i wasnt looking for an answer only suggestions and the forum does say questions about dsm mods. well put essay though. you live and u learn its as simple as that.

This post has been edited by boostin55: 07 February 2008 - 08:18 PM

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#5 User is offline   BluFalcon 

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 08:51 PM

Amen Brother Sam!! Sing it from the mountaintop.
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#6 User is offline   turbobitch 

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 12:06 AM

Well said Sam! anim_headbang.gif But you know....a rant like this means you're getting old smile.gif
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#7 User is offline   PullOver! 

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 12:55 AM

I am not sure the 2g eprom has been completely disassembled... but other than that, I agree with everything said.
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#8 User is offline   skywalker18 

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 08:29 AM

QUOTE(boostin55 @ Feb 7 2008, 07:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
gotta say it was nicely put. but i also gotta say that the member about the 400whp goal what turbo to buy could of been me. was i offended not in the least. i understand all of that and i have read 1000000000000 threads about what turbos put out and have a good understanding. i wasnt looking for an answer only suggestions and the forum does say questions about dsm mods. well put essay though. you live and u learn its as simple as that.


It wasn't you.
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#9 User is offline   sam 

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 10:49 AM

I am getting old. Grumpy, too smile.gif

I wasn't intentionally talking about anyone in particular when I wrote that really. Honestly it applies to everyone (myself included).

We've all made stupid mistakes or bought the wrong parts or whatever. I don't pretend to know everything that there is to know about these cars. HOWEVER, if I don't know something about them, I have the technical manual (and refer to it often) and the FSM for when it comes time to replace something. In the very rare cases when that isn't good enough, I always have google.

We live in such an amazing time. With the internet and google, you can find information on ANYTHING. If you can't, you either don't know how to search, or you are the first person to contemplate what you're searching for. There is so much DSM information out there that if you can't find what you're looking for, you just don't know how to ask. An example is the 2g ECU disassembly that I have sitting on my HDD. It does exist in fact. It's not annotated to the extent that the 1g is, but if you can read assembly, it might as well be.

When I post a question here, it's usually because I have been through ALL of the other resources available to me, or I just need access to direct personal experience from people that I trust the opinions of. You'll note though, that that isn't very often. Look at my clutch thread from a while back. I thought about replacing the fork and ball, but I was told that I wouldn't have to (and was sure I could trust the person saying so), so I didn't. So, I got the less than entertaining experience of ripping the pedal assembly out of the dash for nothing and ultimately ended up pulling the tranny and replacing the fork and ball anyway. Lesson learned the hard way, but it's one I won't soon forget.

And that's the point. Aspiring (and "experienced") mechanics don't need to learn the hard way on these cars. The knowledge is out there. Educate yourself a little before posting or I'll start replying by calling you an idiot and pasting google searches.

EDIT: And I'm not trying to be on a soap box here. I've had my share of stupid car mistakes. I just made most of them MANY years ago. Still though - If I ask an idiot question, slap me with a google link smile.gif

This post has been edited by samiam: 08 February 2008 - 10:51 AM

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#10 User is offline   boostin55 

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:31 AM

my apologies, just a coincidence, thats all. thanks for stressing maintenance as somtimes we forget that you cant perform if it is not well maintained.
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#11 User is offline   ligo12 

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:40 AM

Looking forward to the "idiot! (Related google link here)



Edit:it da be funny fer a dunce cap smiley just fer those kinda shennanigans.

This post has been edited by ligo12: 08 February 2008 - 11:53 AM

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#12 User is offline   dsmdylan 

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 12:13 AM

QUOTE(ligo12 @ Feb 8 2008, 10:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Looking forward to the "idiot! (Related google link here)



Edit:it da be funny fer a dunce cap smiley just fer those kinda shennanigans.


i think thats what scotts smiley was made for RTFM.gif
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#13 User is offline   Candi-Paint2G 

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 12:01 AM

amzzzzin words of wisdom man, well said...................
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#14 User is offline   awdturbo4 

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 08:36 AM

The fact that you only have 2 post and your a noodie and you read that is awesome. Live by it and your dsm will bring you lots of fun!!
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#15 User is offline   DSM NEWBIE 

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  Posted 09 April 2010 - 06:37 PM

Hello there, Im a noobie here. Its my first time ever owning a DSM Car. but i think i got ripped off. Well it was my fault for not checking first. I bought a car yesterday from a guy because i thought it was a cheap price. its a 1997 Eclipse GS Sypder for 1,500. When i was taking it back home the transmission went out on me, my luck...then had it towed with friends car and almost had the left rear wheel falling of kuz it only had on lug nut holding it on. Geez! then i had to flatbed it back home...Now im looking for someone who has a 5 speed transmission for the 2.4L engine. i asked around and for that engine its expensive. can someone help me please. i want to put this dsm back on the road...thanx
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#16 User is offline   pauleyman 

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 09:44 PM

Find out what's wrong with it. Transmission "went out" isn't very descriptive. Unless you heard lots of metal crunching a 5spd rarely completely fails. What did it do? Find the root cause of the problem before you go shopping for stuff.
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#17 User is offline   Boosted98gsx 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 06:08 PM

YAY for my signature being mentioned!
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#18 User is offline   sam 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 06:23 PM

View PostBoosted98gsx, on 06 May 2010 - 06:08 PM, said:

YAY for my signature being mentioned!


So you're saying it took you over two years to read this? I'm flattered :P/>
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#19 User is offline   Boosted98gsx 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 06:48 PM

View Postsamiam, on 06 May 2010 - 06:23 PM, said:

So you're saying it took you over two years to read this? I'm flattered :P/>


Pretty much. Never had the need to. :P/>
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#20 User is offline   hoffer 

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 09:37 AM

lot of good info there for a newcomer. Really gives a guy much to consider... like getting a new hobby before you financially ruin yourself!!! JK, thnx for the good advice :)/>
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#21 User is offline   sam 

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 11:04 PM

Thank you for reading it.

It has been a long time since I wrote that. Re-reading it is strange after this long, but it's still as relevant if not more so given the age of the 1g now.

And I'm not nearly as grumpy and hateful as I expected to be by now :P/>
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#22 User is offline   ligo12 

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 11:13 PM

Good times.
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#23 User is offline   skywalker18 

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 08:25 PM

Holy crap, that was a few years back!!!
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#24 User is offline   KBCarlile 

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 11:17 AM

It would be nice if there was someone out there that could help me with the learning curve so that I don't make two or three mistakes as I build my car I might set a goal rebuilding pretty much everything from the ground up or replacing a old used parts completely rebuilding the engine and transmission yell all I can do is learn off of the forums and try not to make the same mistakes other people have but if I can't find some help I'm pretty sure I'm going to make some mistakes of my own so if there's anybody out there that can point me in the right direction in Dallas for maybe an engine builder or somebody that can sit down with me and answer a couple questions and get me help in the right direction that'd be great
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