September 20, 2021

PROJECT LOG: #PoisonIvy [6-14-18] Needle In a Hay Stack

Well, it is now Thursday and parts have begun to arrive over the last couple of days. Yesterday, I got home from work and my daughters appointment and parts were both on my porch and in the mail box. I got my wheel bearing seals, new ball joint castle nuts, and a few other non-suspension related items from Rock Auto. Those were sitting on the porch. What I was really waiting for was in the mail box.



I had worked all night the night before. A total of 14 hours, and then left work to go straight to my daughters doctors appointment which is about an hour and 30 minutes away. After her appointment, I ran out to my other property and snagged both front spindles off of my 90 parts car. I planned on stripping the hub assemblies down and clean them when I got home so they would be ready for new wheel bearings to be pressed in.


When I got home, I seen I had a box sitting on the porch so I grabbed the box and took it inside to open it up. It ended up being my wheel seals and a few other things. I didn’t have to work that night so I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to go back outside and begin tearing down the hub assemblies although I had been up since 3PM the day before so I wanted to lay down at some point as well. I also thought about taking a nap first before doing it.

A few minutes after I opened the box, I decided to try my luck with the mail box. Maybe, just maybe, what I really wanted was in the mail box. So I walked out and checked. I cracked open the mail box and bam, more packages. There were a couple more packages from Rock Auto and one padded envelope from Justin Whitesell with my Holset wastegate actuator inside. This was going to be a good day. And surely I wasn’t about to take a nap without first throwing this WGA on.

I pulled the actuator out of the envelope to inspect it. It was beautiful, just as expected from Justin Whitesell. It didn’t look like a part that was man-made and modified. It literally looked brand new, because well, it was. I decided to put the hub assemblies on hold while I swapped on the new wastegate actuator. I promised Justin that I would ship him my old WGA and with as quickly he shipped his, I wanted to ship mine back quickly as well.



I popped the hood, removed the intake pipe, and removed the factory MHI WGA from my 16G. Then, i installed the new one. The install was perfect, even the pre-load was set about perfect so I didn’t need to adjust the arm much out of the box. Now, of course I want to go for a drive and test it out. What better way to test it out than taking my old on to the post office? Two birds, one stone.


I grabbed the lap top and warmed up the car. I made sure to dial my Halman in-cabon MBC all the way down and pulled out onto the street. Once I got a couple miles down the road, I opened her up. And, it didn’t go well at all. Something was wrong. But I knew it wasn’t anything to do with the WGA and wasn’t mechanical, it was electrical.

When I went WOT, the car would fall on its face similar to when you hit fuel cut, but just without the loud misfire BANG. I went to the post office, shipped out my old WGA, then returned home to further diagnose the issue. In my last entry, I mentioned that I had pulled my wiring harness apart to shorten a couple sections of it. Well once I was finished, I started the car and idled it and made sure the 2 step worked, but I hadn’t driven the car until this point.

Luckily I was logging when i was driving so when i got home, I started looking over my logs. Right away, I noticed an issue. For some reason, when I went WOT, my timing would retard all the way down to -10 degrees. My wideband would also go extremely rich when the issue happened. I was convinced that my ECU was locked in launch maps for whatever reason. My speed was reading on my log so I knew it wasn’t an issue with the speedometer wiring. If my speedometer wiring was messed up and I wasn’t getting a reading on the logs, the ECU would think the car wasn’t moving and was sitting still. So it would do what it’s supposed to do and run my launch control. But, this wasn’t the case. I even disabled launch control manually and there was still an issue.

I eventually pulled all my pretty braided loom back off the wiring harness and disconnected the harness from all of its connections. I could not find anything that was visually messed up. Everything looked great. One of the first things I looked at was my clutch switch wire from the ECU. When running an Evo ECU in a 1G, you are required to run the clutch switch pin at the ECU directly to chassis ground in order to utilize the launch control function. The wire looked fine though so I began looking elsewhere.

I kept looking over my logs to find something that looked off. Hours after the first drive, I started thinking about my knock sensor wiring. In my logs, I was getting a lot of knock when trying to go WOT. Which is to be expected when my timing goes -10 retarded and a ton of fuel is being applied, giving me my very rich condition. Up until this point, I looked at my knock readings as a symptom of my problem and not the cause.

I inspected the knock sensor wiring in the harness and could not find anything wrong. I started doing some research on regarding knock. As I was scrolling through a thread, a guy had mentioned that when the knock sensor itself or the knock sensor wiring isn’t grounded properly, you will constantly get 8-9 counts of knock. So, I switched back to look at my log and found that most of my knock counts were 8-9.


I then decided to look in other areas of my log. Up until now, I was only looking at WOT. To my surprise, I found that I was getting knock nearly everywhere. Even while cruising. This was practically a guarentee that my issue was related to my knock sensor and more specifically, my knock sensor wiring.


I went back outside to dig a little deeper into the knock sensor wiring. When I looked at it before, i couldn’t see any issues with the wiring. I like to use metal crimper connections when combining two wires together. When crimped properly, they are a permanent connection and sometimes I even use a dab of solder along with it depending on what I’m doing. When I was shortening my harness, it was already very time consuming because I was working with a bunch of wires at once. Adding another step to solder each wire would have made the process way longer.


The knock sensor wire is shielded and then also has a separate coating around it. Like a wire without the actual copper wire in it, just the rubber part of the wire. I tugged on each wire connection that had a crimper. The first one was a nice and tight connection. The second one however was not. With a decent amount of yanking on the wire, it pulled out of the crimper. So, bingo. I found the problem. Or so I had hoped.

I removed the crimper and simply twisted each wire end together. I wanted to test it out before doing the work to make a permanent connection. Then, I plugged in the laptop and began driving while my buddy Michael watched the knock on Evoscan like a hawk. Or maybe an Eagle would be more suitable. I pulled out onto the road and started driving. Nothing yet. So I got on the highway and did a pull. No knock and the car actually pulled like it was supposed to.

Over the weekend when I was doing the wiring, Michael was hanging out with me and I told him- “One wire. If one wire gets fucked up during this process, it can make for a real shitty day.” Well, that’s exactly what happened. But now it’s fixed and now I can actually see what my Holset actuator does. Even though the wiring harness was all unraveled on the passenger side floor like guts hanging out of a human body, I was determined to finally test this actuator out. I turned the boost controller up and did another pull. It was still only around 17psi so I turned it up some more. I kept repeating this process until the boost controller was turned all the way back up, just as it had been on my old WGA.

I can hit about 29psi and then it falls all the way down to 20psi or maybe 22psi depending on what gear I’m in. Usually 4th gear will hold a couple more pounds of boost than the lower gears. After all of this fucking around with the wiring, I ended up with roughly the same boost with the new actuator as the last one. It does seem to hold the boost a little longer and drops slower than it did on the last actuator. So it was still beneficial.


I relayed all the information and videos to Justin of what this actuator is doing. He wants me to try a 30psi Borg wastegate actuator next. He has yet to try one of his Borg actuators on a DSM, mostly just his diesel truck customers. Who better to be the ginne pig than myself? If it still doesn’t do what I want it to do, then the issue lies within the turbo itself.

By the end of the night, I had absolutely no motivation to re-loom the harness so it is still all laying there as a bare wiring harness. This Sunday, I was planning on doing my front suspension. Obviously I cant just leave the harness like this so I’m not sure if that will play a factor in getting the front suspension done or not. Sunday is my next, and only day off until next weekend. Maybe I will get lucky and have an extra night off before Sunday so I can bang out the harness before doing the suspension.

Regardless, it shouldn’t take too horribly long to re-loom the harness. Which reminds me, I think I am going to add a new harness to my list from my previous log entry. The engine bay side of the harness is beautiful. But on the other side of the firewall, it’s an absolute mess. Now I know exactly how everything inside the car needs to be so tucking my next harness should make for a really nice piece. I might wait to do it till after I get a cage and have my new sheet metal dash put in. I will be deleting the factory gauge cluster and using all aftermarket gauges, so that will eliminate a ton of wiring that I don’t need.

This will set me up well for making my very own chassis harness. Soon, I am going to be building a fuse panel like what you would see in a drift car. The first fuse panel will be specifically just for my aftermarket gauges and current toggle switches. At some point when I am ready, I will be deleting every bit of my interior wiring harness and running everything to individual switches and relays on a second fuse panel. Headlights, turn signals, tail lights, etc. will be ran to the fuse panel.

My first fuse panel will be built with a base made out of ABS plastic. Mounted to it will be all the relays and distribution blocks required to properly run all of my current gauges and switches. I would also like to make a separate panel to mount my ECU, LC2 wideband controller, power transistor unit, MPI relay, and injector resistor box to. I have removed so much from the engine bay and stuffed it all inside the car that everything is all cluttered including all the wiring that runs to everything. Organization is much needed.

It is now Friday night and I am unloading my sand can. I was just informed that this will be my only load for the night as the frac is finished. It’s just after 8PM right now, so I should be home by midnight. Which means I should be able to bang out a good amount of re-looming my harness tonight.


An update on my suspension parts, I have gotten almost everything in the mail. I am still missing my caliper and one tie rod. Unless they fucked up and only sent me one. But I am pretty sure everything else has come in so Sunday should go fairly smooth. I was also able to tidy up my wiring harness tonight after work. After re-looming the harness and getting all the wiring back into place tonight, I came to the conclusion that this winter, everything is coming out of the interior and I am going to start from scratch with the wiring.