Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Blog - To Termi or Not To Termi?

It is the question asked of so many Ducatisti. The two brands are synonymous with one another and in some cases with more modern Ducati the decision to fit a Termignoni pipe is a no-brainer.
Termigoni was founded in 1969 by Mr. Luigi Termignoni. TERMIGNONI design and create motorbike exhaust systems for race and road use. Their exhausts are a sexy fusion of steel, carbon and titanium and are not solely Ducati specific. Ducati offers Termi pipes as a DP part because they ship with an DP ECU. It’s interesting to note that Termignoni don’t list “Ducati” in their products range because Ducati is the only distributor for Ducati specific Termignoni pipes. Backing up a step let’s talk about ECU’s. The “Electronic Control Unit” primarily makes up a major part of the motorcycles engine management. Setting mapping, where and when to add fuel, monitoring the weather, locating the nearest cafĂ©, what to display on the dash et cetera. ECU’s come in many shapes and sizes:
08 Hypermotard

Suzuki GSXR1000 

Harley Davidson 
Yamaha R6    
                       
The ECU interfaces with many parts of the bikes electrics; some parts are more important to the system or “loop” than others. In terms of my 2008 Ducati Hypermotard the standard ECU is a “Closed loop” meaning there are certain elements that need to be detected on startup or during operation or else the dash unit will display a fault code. On the other hand aftermarket ECUs like those that Ducatio bundle up with the Termi are an “Open Loop” ECU meaning those same components, for example the exhaust flapper valve or o2 sensor, will not need to be detected for the bike to run error free. The Ducati Performance ECU’s bundled with the various Termi kits are also mapped for increased fuel (4% for the 2-1-2 & 8% for the 2-1 Racing) & display different dash startup messages (so you know what ECU you have). It’s important to also consider that the maps loaded on these ECUs may or may not have been done on the same model motorcycle with the same quality fuel in the same climate and elevation to where you intend to operate your sickle. This is where an added bonus of the open loop system is that it allows for the addition of an aftermarket fuel controller (Like a power commander) to fine tune your mapping to suit.

 The most important thing when fitting a non-standard exhaust is ensure your bike has correct Air-Fuel Ratio. The AFR strangely enough means the amount (Ratio) of Fuel mixed with Air, ideally just enough air to burn the available fuel. Remember the triangle of fire? It’s the same thing inside your engine. You have too much or too little of either Air, Heat (Spark) or Fuel, and you don’t get fire. When an engine has too much air and not enough fuel its running 'Lean' alternatively when there is too much fuel and not enough air it's running 'Rich'. This leaves us in a little predicament when selecting a sweet zorst for the discerning hyper owner. Do you go all out termi & ECU or do you buy a pipe that retains your Flapper valve and o2 sensor? Or do you buy another brand of pipe and DP ECU (Zards also ship with DP ECUs)? Or do you re-flash your ECU? It’s just a chip after all and with the right software you can switch a closed loop ECU to open, or even reprogram it to be a copy of the DP ECU. There are also other options when considering if you want to keep your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) ECU, products that trick the sensors on your exhaust to make the system think your flapper valve is connected and working fine or maybe manipulate your 02 sensors readings to trick the ECU into adding more fuel like FATDUC . As far as I can tell these are the options I came up with in my research.
  1. Termi Pipe + DP ECU
  2. Termi Pipe + DP ECU + PCIII/V
  3. Aftermarket Pipe (Retain Flapper Valve & o2 sensor) + OEM ECU
  4. Aftermarket Pipe (Remove Flapper Valve & o2 sensor) + OEM ECU + Flapper Valve Chip + FATDUC
  5. Aftermarket Pipe + Remapped ECU + PCIII/V
Which is best? Option 2 and option 5 will allow for extracting the most power out of you engine and both easily mate with the various options for intake mods (open airbox, aftermarket airbox filter, velocity stacks etc etc) but with about $2000 difference. I know what my choice would be.
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