FD DBWEM installation tips

RRO

New Member
Messages
6
Here are some things I'd like to note about installing the Formula Dynamics Drive By Wire Enhancement Module (FD DBWEM) on my 2014 Quattroporte SQ4 that may help others in the installation process.

All went very well on the installation.
  • I removed the plastic piece near the firewall under the hood in order to gain the best access to the factory ECU harness so that the FD harness could be secured and hidden underneath the sway bar that also doubles as a channel for the wiring harness. Besides that, I needed to remove it to gain access to one of the coolant vents to flush my coolant. This requires removing the windshield wipers which wasn't difficult but took some wiggling on the wipers after the nut was removed to get them off. I've got to remove one of them to realign it as it's now making a clicking noise that it didn't do before.
  • The FD instructions indicate to splice and cut into the ECU harness 10 to 14" from the plug. I didn't want to unwrap that far on the harness and it would have been very difficult to get the harness out of the channel it was located in even with all zip tied and anchored locations undone. I spliced and cut approx 6" from the ECU plugs. I suspect the only reason this was suggested is to keep the hack into the harness as hidden as possible from any service tech who has a cow about splicing into the harness if the car is still under warranty. If mine where, I'd have done that maybe even a little further away and more hidden. Mine isn't so it didn't matter to me if it's discovered.
  • For the splicing, I elected to cut instead of splicing for the simple reason that I wanted to use heat shrink to cover the soldered connections. That requires either one larger piece of heat shrink for three wires or two separate pieces of heat shrink along with making a splice type cut into the FD wire. This method involves the ECU wire soldered to the end of the FD wire and the other side of the factory wiring (sensor side) soldered on a small cut area of the FD wire (like the illustrated splice) about half an inch down the FD wire. The factory end of the harness is soldered here. The two heat shrink pieces obviously threaded prior to soldering. I failed to do that once, lol. It is my opinion that any splice will potentially expose the wiring to the elements. Therefore heat shrink is in order to cover splices and cuts. If a person is so inclined, coat the wire with dielectric grease first before the tube is heat shrinked. The grease will ooze out but some will still be there. I thought of this after the fact.
  • I removed the toggle switch and left the connection "open" as per FD instructions that "off" is the most aggressive setting. Continuity on the switch is with it in the "on" position. In other words, with the switch depressed to the dot as explained in the FD instructions. If I had this to do over again, I'd request that "on" be factory setting if that is programmable simply for the reason that I could measure any difference if I wanted to.
  • Elected to mount the FD sensor behind the faux pedal or foot rest as that area had plenty of room. The only flat surface was the body of the car and by the time I realized that the stickiness of velcro backing was gone so I used some double sided tape to secure it to the body.
  • FD wire 5. WTF where does 5 go? I finally realized "reserved" means it's not used in my application.
  • In order to easily run the FD wires through the firewall, I pulled the rubber plug completely out from the hood side, cut a small hole in the plug and threaded the FD harness with the plug out. This was much easier than trying to fish the FD harness through the plug while it's in place. The access to this plug in the footwell is what I would define as "limited."
  • Pin out confirmation with continuity test. I didn't see this in the FD instructions but I counted the holes by looking at the side of the ECU plug that is the opposite side of the wires. Once I found the correct hole, I put a small paper clip in the hole and verified I had the correct wire by checking continuity on the factory wire with a small cut on the wire (before I actually cut the factory wire). While all of my wires were correctly colored, my understanding is that Maserati may not consistently use the same color wires. Therefore, tring to count the pin holes from the wire side of the ECU connector can be deceiving because there are some holes that have a small grey tip that count as a hole but the installer may not realize that. Counting from the hole side of the connector is much more accurate even if I had to do it 5 times because the paper clip would occasionally fall out while I was trying to check continuity.
  • The orientation of the ECU connectors in the FD illustration on page 10 should be explained a bit further. ECU A connector is easy to orientate due to the pinouts 1-6. ECU B connector not so much. I took a guess that it should be oriented based on how ECM connector "A" is oriented according to how they would plug into the ECU. I confirmed with the aforementioned paper clip continuity test.
Once I fired it up, no codes were thrown. I didn't notice a huge difference other than quicker shifts and throttle response by blipping the throttle does seem somewhat improved. If I really wanted to calculate any difference, I am assuming I would plug in the dummy plug which seems to have a loop on it. I didn't see it in the instructions, but I'm assuming if you unplug the FD sensor, that dummy plug needs to be in place because it does loop a connection.

The 3M tape is a very nice touch and allows rewrapping the factory harness to achieve an outstanding visual "factory" look. I've always used electrical tape and the 3M tape is a major discovery for me going forward with any wiring modifications I do on any vehicle. Lastly, using heat shrink seems like common sense to properly insulate any splices or cuts as the 3M tape is permeable and black electrical tape is super "red neck." haha I'm likely a redneck but I try to do things as a pro.
 

Ebenezer

Member
Messages
3,058
Would be interetsed in your before after comparison, and also the difference between the two switch positions. It's so long since I had mine installed I know no different. I suppose I too could find the dummy plug and bypass the DBW box...
Eb
 

Zep

Moderator
Messages
6,439
Would be interetsed in your before after comparison, and also the difference between the two switch positions. It's so long since I had mine installed I know no different. I suppose I too could find the dummy plug and bypass the DBW box...
Eb
This is very different to your Steph, it’s on a QPVI.
 

RRO

New Member
Messages
6
Would be interetsed in your before after comparison, and also the difference between the two switch positions. It's so long since I had mine installed I know no different. I suppose I too could find the dummy plug and bypass the DBW box...
Eb
It seems to shift much quicker than before on up and downshifts. That's mostly what I observed when I drove. When my wife drove yesterday, I noticed the sensation of her coming off and on the throttle much more than before. Therefore, the throttle is also much more responsive to inputs. This reduces the "smoothness" of how it previously reacted but I'm ok with it being a little more "twitchy" on the throttle as that is how high performance cars are. I am very happy with the mod.
 

Sam McGoo

Member
Messages
1,042
Here are some things I'd like to note about installing the Formula Dynamics Drive By Wire Enhancement Module (FD DBWEM) on my 2014 Quattroporte SQ4 that may help others in the installation process.

All went very well on the installation.
  • I removed the plastic piece near the firewall under the hood in order to gain the best access to the factory ECU harness so that the FD harness could be secured and hidden underneath the sway bar that also doubles as a channel for the wiring harness. Besides that, I needed to remove it to gain access to one of the coolant vents to flush my coolant. This requires removing the windshield wipers which wasn't difficult but took some wiggling on the wipers after the nut was removed to get them off. I've got to remove one of them to realign it as it's now making a clicking noise that it didn't do before.
  • The FD instructions indicate to splice and cut into the ECU harness 10 to 14" from the plug. I didn't want to unwrap that far on the harness and it would have been very difficult to get the harness out of the channel it was located in even with all zip tied and anchored locations undone. I spliced and cut approx 6" from the ECU plugs. I suspect the only reason this was suggested is to keep the hack into the harness as hidden as possible from any service tech who has a cow about splicing into the harness if the car is still under warranty. If mine where, I'd have done that maybe even a little further away and more hidden. Mine isn't so it didn't matter to me if it's discovered.
  • For the splicing, I elected to cut instead of splicing for the simple reason that I wanted to use heat shrink to cover the soldered connections. That requires either one larger piece of heat shrink for three wires or two separate pieces of heat shrink along with making a splice type cut into the FD wire. This method involves the ECU wire soldered to the end of the FD wire and the other side of the factory wiring (sensor side) soldered on a small cut area of the FD wire (like the illustrated splice) about half an inch down the FD wire. The factory end of the harness is soldered here. The two heat shrink pieces obviously threaded prior to soldering. I failed to do that once, lol. It is my opinion that any splice will potentially expose the wiring to the elements. Therefore heat shrink is in order to cover splices and cuts. If a person is so inclined, coat the wire with dielectric grease first before the tube is heat shrinked. The grease will ooze out but some will still be there. I thought of this after the fact.
  • I removed the toggle switch and left the connection "open" as per FD instructions that "off" is the most aggressive setting. Continuity on the switch is with it in the "on" position. In other words, with the switch depressed to the dot as explained in the FD instructions. If I had this to do over again, I'd request that "on" be factory setting if that is programmable simply for the reason that I could measure any difference if I wanted to.
  • Elected to mount the FD sensor behind the faux pedal or foot rest as that area had plenty of room. The only flat surface was the body of the car and by the time I realized that the stickiness of velcro backing was gone so I used some double sided tape to secure it to the body.
  • FD wire 5. WTF where does 5 go? I finally realized "reserved" means it's not used in my application.
  • In order to easily run the FD wires through the firewall, I pulled the rubber plug completely out from the hood side, cut a small hole in the plug and threaded the FD harness with the plug out. This was much easier than trying to fish the FD harness through the plug while it's in place. The access to this plug in the footwell is what I would define as "limited."
  • Pin out confirmation with continuity test. I didn't see this in the FD instructions but I counted the holes by looking at the side of the ECU plug that is the opposite side of the wires. Once I found the correct hole, I put a small paper clip in the hole and verified I had the correct wire by checking continuity on the factory wire with a small cut on the wire (before I actually cut the factory wire). While all of my wires were correctly colored, my understanding is that Maserati may not consistently use the same color wires. Therefore, tring to count the pin holes from the wire side of the ECU connector can be deceiving because there are some holes that have a small grey tip that count as a hole but the installer may not realize that. Counting from the hole side of the connector is much more accurate even if I had to do it 5 times because the paper clip would occasionally fall out while I was trying to check continuity.
  • The orientation of the ECU connectors in the FD illustration on page 10 should be explained a bit further. ECU A connector is easy to orientate due to the pinouts 1-6. ECU B connector not so much. I took a guess that it should be oriented based on how ECM connector "A" is oriented according to how they would plug into the ECU. I confirmed with the aforementioned paper clip continuity test.
Once I fired it up, no codes were thrown. I didn't notice a huge difference other than quicker shifts and throttle response by blipping the throttle does seem somewhat improved. If I really wanted to calculate any difference, I am assuming I would plug in the dummy plug which seems to have a loop on it. I didn't see it in the instructions, but I'm assuming if you unplug the FD sensor, that dummy plug needs to be in place because it does loop a connection.

The 3M tape is a very nice touch and allows rewrapping the factory harness to achieve an outstanding visual "factory" look. I've always used electrical tape and the 3M tape is a major discovery for me going forward with any wiring modifications I do on any vehicle. Lastly, using heat shrink seems like common sense to properly insulate any splices or cuts as the 3M tape is permeable and black electrical tape is super "red neck." haha I'm likely a redneck but I try to do things as a pro.
Good detailed info for the forum to help others. Thanks for posting
 

RRO

New Member
Messages
6
Thanks Sam. Just trying to be of service. I sent my review to FD that reminded me about something I was incorrect on regarding measuring the difference between connected or bypassing the DBWEM:

"As to the install, it’s true you can bypass or switch programs but part of how the system works is by averaging data in over time so just know that when you switch a mode or run a bypass that it will take time to adapt. Even going back to stock has an adaption time to overcome. It’s not too important but just good information to know. We’d just suggest to get some miles under her and you’ll see more on what’s it’s all about, it will sync up well to the ECU tune and just help provide an overall improved experience that helps you get the most from the car."