so, i got myself a Cobb AccessPort and flashed the Stage 1 map last night. with 1 drive to dinner and back and 1 drive to work, this is my review thus far.
first, for those that don't know what an AccessPort (AP) is or does, it's a device that allows me to fully reflash the map on the ECU. there are off the shelf maps that Cobb has made that you can then install. Stage 1 is for the stock hardware and increases max boost target by about 2psi, smooths out the power band, brings peak torque down to a slightly lower rpm, and leans out the A/F ratios. then you can go up to Stage 2 when you get an exhaust, and you can also get ProTuned by a tuner using Cobb's software. there are also some other maps such as Valet Mode which sets a soft rev-limiter at about 3100 rpm and sets target boost to 0, in an attempt to prevent Ferris Bueler's Day Off moments.
these are real time maps which can be switched in a few seconds b/c they don't actually flash your ECU. i tried this one out in my garage and the rev limiter is very soft and it was funny having my car not be able to go over about 3k.
now, on to the good stuff.
first, the flashing process. pretty straight forward and easy. i had to connect a couple of test connectors under the dash then turn on the ignition to flash the map. when i turned it to ON all the fans under the hood kept clicking on and off and all the dash lights were flashing at me, and i must admit i freaked for a second and disconnected the AP and turned the car back off and on just to make sure it was only b/c of the test connectors and not the AP itself. then i selected my base map (Stage 1 93 Octane) and told it to flash which took about 30 minutes.
driving it i feel a little more pull and i can see i'm getting extra boost on my boost gauge. also feels like boost comes on earlier. the power increase is most noticeable in 5th (and i've heard 6th), but i haven't been out on the highway yet so not much chance to do much in either of those gears. so, while i'm not really "wowed" with the increase in power, it is enough to feel (until i get used to it again anyway
) and should make highway driving more fun.
where Stage 1 really shines is in its reshaping of the power band. i have quite a bit more grunt down low and the car doesn't grumble and struggle as much as it used to down below 2k. power delivery is much
smoother and this should make the car a lot nicer for my daily driving. even my fiancee noticed the power delivery was smoother b/c she said it didn't make her nauseous when i stomped on the gas.
also the car idles a bit smoother now which is nice.
also something i noticed, a lot of you always complain about the revs not falling fast enough and curse your heavy flywheels and dashpots and DBW rev hangs and such. i've always had the opposite issue in my car in that while there was a slight rev hang when shifting, the revs would still usually fall too far too fast and i would have to support them a bit with the gas to get smooth shifts. well it seems Stage 1 has increased that rev hang to give me a little more time to get the shift done, and i like it, though i'm going to have to get the feeling for the different timing. now that i'm thinking about it i need to try it out with the A/C on and see if i can actually get some smooth shifts now.
also, i should get slightly better fuel mileage with Stage 1 because of leaning out the mixture (these cars run very rich from the factory), and probably having more power lower down will help with that too.
so all in all i am very happy.
as i drive more and the ECU "learns" it should get a little stronger from what i read, so i'm looking forward to that. the power increase will probably be too gradual for me to really notice on my butt dyno though. what i'm really looking forward two is next winter. cold air = wooohooo!
next up are window tint, real leather/red stitching shift boot, and oem style dead pedal.