“Got my Element Hydra unit and got it installed in less than an hour. Spent some time chatting with Phil getting things set up and now I’m cruising on the road better than stock ever was. I’m have a fmic, vf39, sti pinks, and full exhaust… running perfect. I can’t even describe how much better it is than OEM.” Luke.
“The tuning went very well it started easily, the car pulls like crazy to redline better then it ever did before. It is an ecu I would definitely recommend.” Dave
“Seamless!! That’s the first thing that comes to my mind…. The car has no hesitation at any rpm, speed, or boost. It pretty much drives like a stock car. Throttle response is unreal, very quick and precise unlike stock which is a lot slower. It’s comparable to a drive by wire throttle response. I know one of big things people have been worried about is starting the car and how long, 3 seconds. There was one time where I had the a/c, headlights, wipers, WB 02, laptop all on when I started it and it took 3 seconds. Not a problem with me. There is so many features and adjustments that its mind boggling. Phil has put his blood sweat and tears into the Element Hydra and getting a safe well running base map which I am running at this time.” Jeff
“The data logging is actually VERY cool. No way does it have too much info, its perfect. Something that hasn’t been published that I really like is the knock voltage. There is a knock map on the Element Hydra – ie at “x” RPM, there is a maximum allowable knock voltage, anything over that is knock and it retards timing. .. this thing kicks butt. Its SO much better than the stock ECU ever was just driving around town – so much smoother, no hesitation, no bucking at low throttle inputs, no backfiring… the car runs SMOOTH which is awesome considering the power output I’m at I have yet to hear of anybody that has gone through Phil and is disappointed with their unit. That says something….
Hydra kicks butt, I’ve had one in my car since around the 1st of Aug – within a week of receiving it I ran my first hillclimb. STEEP learning curve, but in a week I felt comfortable enough with my map that I was able to run a race…. that says something.
It’s much nicer than a xxxx, for the simple reason that you have closed loop fuel control to redline with a wideband…. along with a LOT more features, plus awesome customer service in Element tuning. I’ve owned a xxxx, and found the customer service pretty bad from xxxx USA.” Adam
“First off I just want to thank Phil of Element Tuning for making a great product and having great customer service. I was having problems with my hydra because i have an 05 STI and the immobilizer system was causing the car not to start. But Phil personally found the problem, made the new harness, and came out to my house to fix my hydra and make sure everything ran fine. The car pulls very hard with no hesitation and the difference is just amazing. Spoolup is instantaneous and the sound from the Perrin big maf is loud and can definitely hear that turbo spooling. I am very happy with my setup and my car has never run better. I’ve owned a xxxx before on my old WRX, but I am more pleased with the hydra and would recommend it to anyone.” Chris
“I am useing the Hydra. It is new to me. I drove my car (2002 wrx) for some time sunday. I am liking the Hydra so far. It runs my new engine set up smoother than it ran with the piggy back before. My new set up is a built 2.5 with built heads and cams. I am in break in so, I do not run any boost and not over 4000rpms. I don’t intend to tune my own car at this time. I will spend a lot of time learning what it does. The Hydra seem to be the best choice to run this engine.” Boxerboy
“Well I got my car back this past weekend from Phil. After waiting over 2 months without my car it was well worth the wait. It drives great and I haven’t had any problems on start up in cold weather. Throttle response is perfect. I’m amazed on how fast this thing is with a stock turbo. The rev limiter is nice it kinda fludders instead of basicaly stoping the car. It’s also nice to rev to 7600rpm. I couldn’t tell you how the software is because I didn’t tune it. If anyone has any questions fill free to ask.” Tommy
“Phil sent me one of the first batches of the Hydra since I have minimal modifications so a custom map wasn’t really needed. All I have is a Vishnu TBE (standard series) and a silencer delete (not really a performance mod).
Cake. I used the Rhino Ramps to get the front of the car up to get access to the O2 sensor. Fitment was pretty good, but the holes on the Hydra’s mounting bracket were very slightly off so it took a little elbow grease to get it positioned. It helps to have a friend (with small hands) to feed the vacuum/pressure hose and the WBO2 sensor wires through the bulkhead. Most of the install time was spent waiting for the exhaust to cool down and the WBO2 sensor to cool down after calibration. It was nice to see the WB02 sensor already prepped with anti-seize…
My statements below come with running the optional WBO2 sensor. In the Select>Settings>Closed Loop window, I have ENABLE CLOSED LOOP and ENABLE AUTO TUNE (With DRQ). Lower RPM Limit is 2000 and Upper RPM Limit is 8000. I’ve only put about 60 – 70 miles of highway and urban driving (part throttle and WOT at all RPMS) since I installed it last night, so the computer is still applying changes to the fuel map.
Start-Up: The car takes about 1.5-2s more of cranking time to kick on. This was both with the engine already warmed up and this morning at about 49°F ambient temperature (cold for So. Cal!).
Idle: The PID settings in the base map are set up pretty well. Idle didn’t hunt around. Rock solid with the A/C turned on and off, and with the vent turned on and off. Coming up to a stop, if you press the clutch in with RPMs above 2500, the fall rate is a little slow. Engine speed will stay steady for a split second when the clutch is depressed, but then falls like OEM.
Throttle Response: Sharp! From what I can remember on my Evo test drive, throttle response is just as sharp. Any throttle change leads to immediate results, even coming from a no or low boost load condition. With the OEM ECU, there was some hesitation and engine lugging going WOT in 6th gear (~3000 RPM) from part throttle. Now the engine responds nicely. The sharp throttle response and extra low end torque make part throttle to mid throttle stabs much stronger than stock.
Part Throttle: No issues running on the freeway at part throttle. The Hydra controls AFR to 14.7 with my settings. If my eyes are telling me correctly, it also seems to modulate between lean and rich of stoichiometric just like OEM cars do to keep the catalytic converter happy. The cat needs to run lean to store oxygen; the engine then runs rich where its conversion efficiency is high…
Mid to WOT: In 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear, max boost is about 10psi based on my stock boost gauge and quick glances to the laptop. I believe the RPM rise rate is too fast for boost to max out to 16-17 psi like it does in 4th, 5th, and 6th gear. The driveability is still very similar to stock. Flat torque curve gives rise to a nice linear power increase. You’ll never be caught in a dip or peak which might lead the car getting out of control.” JDiesel
“I just got my car back from Phil yesterday. I have a DR65, PE 850’s, DR 725 FMIC, APS 3.5 exhaust. I was having some issues with the idle and driveability with “xxxxxx”. Since Phil installed the Hydra and tuned it, the car idles perfect and drives as smooth as stock. It’s been real cold the last week, so he was able to get the cold start working perfectly. Three seconds and it fires right up. With the previous tune it was making 425 whp on 93 octane, 22 lbs at around 4500. Now it’s getting 21.8 lbs @ 4200, and I’m going to try and dyno it next week. He hooked up the launch mode and it’s pretty cool. So I’m finally having fun driving my car again. Thanks Phil and your car is pretty f-in fast!!!” Pdare
“I’ve had mine for a few months on my WRX and I am really enjoying it. Tuning has not been too much of a hassle. The base maps are good starting points and if you get the autotune option you can have the Hydra do some of the work for you.
I’m coming from a ”xxxx” to the Hydra and I’ve got about the same amount of time invested in tweaking my Hydra map as I devoted to tweaking my “xxxx” maps.” Veck
“Overall, I am extremely happy with the ECU, the tune, and the final product. I’ve waited for over a year with all the hardware on my car, but no EM, and my car sitting in the garage. This end result makes is all seem like a worthwhile wait. I had to lean on Phil a couple of times to get my ECU in, but he did everything within his power (including God knows how much in overnight shipping) to get my an ECU ASAP. Phil is a true pleasure to deal with, plus he has incredible after-sale service. I’ve talked to Phil on a daily basis since the tune, and he has initiated most of the calls. Hopefully Phil, and Hydra can keep up with the demand as I’m sure it is going to be high.
Got a chance to test Phil’s new map that he smoothed out for me tonight. Car has much better drivability now (better than stock in most cases). I also turned on the “off-throttle” fuel cut which helps tremendously in stop and go traffic” Bill
“The car is running better than stock now–very smooth, more responsive, no annoying throttle lag.” Trent
“my vote is for the Hydra. I have used/tuned the xxxx and hydra and find the hydra gives me better consistency plus complete control. If you are running an sti you’ll also gain control of the AVCS. You’ll find the Hydra or any good standalone will have many more features than any piggy back like the xxxx. Some will say that the xxxx is better for daily drivability but I have yet to experience that. Once it’s tuned the only thing you’ll notice as being different than stock is the start-up which takes 2-3 seconds. I could go on all day about why I like the Hydra but I don’t have the time. Do your research and I think you’ll end up buying a Hydra.
All runs were on pump gas 19.5 peak boost. Nothing was taken out to race, its the same way I drive it everyday. I ran 12.558, 3 12.6xx, 3 12.7xx, 12.830, 13.2 ,13.3 and of course the 12.388. As my launches got better my times dropped. I trapped 108-109 all day. My first run was the 13.3 and that was the 4th time I’ve ever drag raced and the first time with the new setup. I tried to take a few picture of the slips but they came out bad. I’ll try again, and post them. I didn’t expect to run that fast with 93 octane and a TMIC.” CK02WRX