Every day Turbo HQ is bombarded by enthusiasts asking us when the performance parts are going to be available for the K-series Honda engines. Rest assured, the manufacturers are working as fast as possible to please all you power-hungry enthusiasts. Would you rather have a bad product fast, or wait for a good product later?
However, unlike here in the States where the RSX Type-S and Civic Si have made fairly recent appearances, the engineers in Japan had already been exposed to the K-series engine for more than two years, giving them a head start in development.
One Rising Sun product that made its way to U.S. shores is Power Enterprises' P-VTC (Power VTEC Controller). Designed specifically for the K-series i-VTEC engines, the P-VTC gives tuners/enthusiasts control of i-VTEC activation and fuel enrichment.
At first glance, the P-VTC looks like nothing more than a 60mm tachometer, but a closer inspection reveals its true nature. It is a tachometer with rpm reading up to 9000 rpm. On the gauge, there are three button/knobs, which allow the tuner to access the i-VTEC engagement. The i-VTEC engagement can be adjusted to turn on at any rpm, though product manufacturers recommend activating the i-VTEC above 3300 rpm to prevent any mechanical failures that can occur with the i-VTEC operating at too low an rpm.
On the Toda RSX, we found the factory 5900 rpm i-VTEC operation was perfect and didn't like to be activated any lower or higher in the rpm band. If we had tested the vehicle with a set of performance camshafts, we would probably have benefited from being able to control the i-VTEC activation point.
The fuel enrichment of the P-VTC can be adjusted at nine different preset points from 1000 to 9000 rpm at 1000-rpm increments. Fuel mapping can be tweaked from 5-percent leaner to 10-percent richer at the preset points. Accessing the fuel enrichment feature of the unit was difficult at first, but after we got used to using the button/knobs, we were able to manipulate the settings like a pro.
We didn't care for the fuel setting adjustment. Once you've made your fuel enrichments at the nine different points, if you decide to change any one of the settings, you have to redo all nine settings again each time. You are not allowed to just change one of the fuel settings. A notepad and a pencil reminded us of the settings prior to our changes.
The Power Enterprises P-VTC unit is delivered with all the necessary hardware for complete installation and does require tapping into the factory ECU harness. Installation time was about 30 minutes after we located the proper wires to splice into.
Since the unit can alter i-VTEC engagement and fuel maps, we highly recommend if you're unsure about any aspect of the unit's tuning parameters, have a professional install and tune the unit. Like any fuel computers, improper installation and tuning can result in seriously bad news.
Our testing revealed the P-VTC unit was able to move the i-VTEC engagement, and with an air/fuel monitor hooked up, we were able to fine-tune our fuel mapping for maximum horsepower. On the Toda RSX, we were able to gain 1 to 2 hp at certain points of the rpm band on the stock cam.
We will retest the product when we install a set of Toda Racing bumpsticks in the RSX to show you what this puppy can do.