Over the past 8 years I've had a considerable amount of experience with pretty much all of the controllers out there - MOTEC, FAST, Accel DFI, Haltech, etc, none of which have impressed me enough to steer me away from the simple Electromotive TEC II controllers that I normally use.....until now. I was first introduced to the AEM EMS by a friend, Scott Matas, who was configuring one for his Formula SAE car. After one trip with him to the dyno to help out, I was sold. The AEM system was capable of everything I was looking for in a controller for the same or maybe even lower price as what I was using!

Follow along as we perform a basic install of the the AEM Ford Controller on my turbocharged T-bird, then continue to add features on our way to realizing the full potential of this controller.



The first step was to remove the TEC II system and associated wiring. The AEM is designed to be "Plug and Play" for a vehicle using the ford EEC-IV, but since all of the EEC-IV V-8 wiring was removed from my car, the installation was going to be a little more involved. If you still have the factory ECU in the car, installation is as easy as plugging the AEM in and starting the car up - of course you'll still need to tune (or have tuned) the system for your application. Shown in the photo on the right is the location that the ford distributor will be installed. My intent is to return the system on my car back to all EEC-IV components then step through the addition of DIS (distributorless ignition) and boost control.



On the left is a photo of what I consider the "main" EEV-IV harness. This particular harness I removed from a 1992 mustang GT in a junkyard a couple years ago and is the portion of the harness that will need to be installed in the vehicle. On the right "Big Al" (the man with the Twin Turbo Capri) assists by removing the "engine" harness from a 5.0L Crown Vic intake manifold that Jim Sheren had on the shelf. The engine harness connects to the main harness by means of two 10 pin connectors located at the rear of the engine when installed.



The 60 pin ECU connector end of the harness passes through a hole on the passengers side of the car and there is a grommet that seals the hole. My Thunderbird Turbo Coupe originally had a grommet with two wiring harnesses passing through it due to the ABS and suspension system, but fortunately Ford still made the hole in the firewall the same as the mustang.



Once the harness was in place we worked on determining the connections that we would have to make. From the connection diagram supplied with the AEM, we figured out that there were only 8 connections that would have to made to get this car running with a 3 bar MAP sensor. If we were going to use a MAF meter there would have only been 5. Shown here are the case ground and fuel pump connections. We would simply locate the correct pin in the 60 pin connector from the AEM diagram, and then use a multimeter checking continuity through the harness until we found the connection that needed to be hooked up.



I used a simple fusable link on the main harness power supply as shown in the left photo. This wire is normally found in the main harness near the left front inner fender along with the main harness ground. We pulled the power wire through the harness and into the interior of the car for connection there. The main harness ground was cleaned and connected to the inner fender well. In the red box shown on the right is where the ignition switch connection is made from the main EEC-IV harness to the vehicle's harness.



Finally it was time to pull the AEM controller from it's packaging. In the box with the controller you will find a 9 pin serial port communications cable, software CD containing all information pertaining to the system as well as control software, large Velcro mounting strips, connector and pins for the additional inputs/outputs and some AEM decals. As shown in the photo on the right, the controller simply plugs into the factory ford harness. The small additional connector on the AEM controller is where we connect the 3 bar GM map sensor to (PIN 65) since I will not be using a MAF meter on this car.



With the main harness in place we installed the engine harness along with the factory ford temp sensors as shown above.



Once connected to the harness I flipped the unit over and applied the two Velcro strips to the back of the unit and then installed it in the factory ford location. I initially wondered if the Velcro would be adequate to keep the box in place, but now I don't think it is even a concern, that stuff really sticks! Well that's about it for the install, I was able to hit the initial base map numbers close enough to get it to start up and then it took a couple minutes to tweak it for a good idle. Next we'll get back to the dyno to map out the upper load points.


More information about the AEM EMS can be found on the AEM website