Like to keep tabs on your car's engine but don't want a heap of gauges
cluttering up your dashboard? Well, if you own any MY99 or later Subaru you're
in luck – the EcuTeK in-car dash display kit (which is distributed in Australia
by MRT Performance) offers a variety of real-time engine data in a compact
The in-car dash kit retails for AUD$1290 (including GST).
What You Get
The in-car dash kit arrives in a box containing an OBDII connector cable, a
well written instruction manual, and the dash unit. Note that a genuine
Subaru mounting pod is also available for some models. This pod mounts the
display unit in the centre of the dashboard above the air vents. Otherwise, the
unit can be mounted in any of the DIN-sized dashboard openings.
Installation is very simple.
Start by connecting the supplied cable into the back of the in-car Delta Dash
unit. Next, find the location of the car's OBDII check connector – this is
usually near the base of the steering column (in a right-hand-drive vehicle).
Route the cable behind the dash to the OBDII connector and plug it in. No
further wiring is required.
As soon as you switch on the ignition, Delta Dash reads data from the ECU and
determines which model/year vehicle it's working with. Straight away, live data
will be streaming into the Delta Dash.
Nothing else needs to be done – firing the system up is that easy.
In-Car Live Data
The in-car Delta Dash is operated by just four buttons and is easy to
A pair of up/down buttons is used to scroll through seven live data pages. Each data page presents four different live data parameters. The data on each page can be configured but, by default, these are...
Data page one gives manifold pressure (BP), coolant temperature in degrees
Celsius (CT), Lambda (LA) and battery voltage (BV).
Data page two gives manifold pressure (BP), ignition timing in degrees (IG),
injector duration in milliseconds (ID) and knock correction in degrees (KC).
Data page three gives manifold pressure (BP), airflow in grams per second
(AF), engine speed (ES) and intake air temperature in degrees Celsius (IN).
Data page four gives injector duty percentage (DU), throttle percentage (TH),
road speed (RS) and engine speed (ES). Note that road speed can be configured in
mph or km/h.
Data page five gives boost pressure (BP), coolant temperature (CT), outside
temperature in degrees Celsius (OT) and oil pressure in Bar (OP). Note that a
compatible oil temperature sensor must be installed to measure oil temperature.
Data page six gives turbo wastegate duty (WD), advance multiplier number
(AM), air-fuel correction (FC) and engine load (LD).
Data page seven gives the rear oxygen sensor output in volts (RX). There are
also three spare inputs on this screen – with the fitment of the appropriate
Defi sender unit you can display gearbox fluid temperature, engine oil
temperature, secondary air intake temperature or other.
Note that the live data display updates four channels approximately two times
per second. This is fine for sampling most parameters, but it isn't ideal for high-resolution sampling.
The in-car Delta Dash unit also allows you to display boost, rpm, road speed
and coolant temp parameters on separate screens. In addition to showing a live
numerical value, these screens show the peak value along with a small bar graph
Oh, and the in-car display unit also incorporates a digital clock – handy
when you have to remove the OEM clock that's integrated into the top of the
Fault Code Reading/Resetting
The in-car Delta Dash unit is an easy way to read fault codes from the ECU.
Each fault code can be displayed along with a detailed description of the
problem. Up to 268 codes can be displayed along with historical codes (which may
be no longer active).
If/when a fault code is displayed, you can reset the ECU via the in-car Delta
Dash. This erases the fault code memory without needing to disconnect the
Delta Dash Outputs
In addition to providing a real-time data display and fault code
reading/resetting, the in-car Delta Dash has an alarm output that can be tripped
above a certain coolant temperature, boost pressure and road speed (for
example). These alarm settings are adjusted using the up/down buttons.
Furthermore, the in-car Delta Dash features an adjustable rpm output that can
be used to trigger a shift light. A water injection or water spray system can
also be triggered at a specific boost pressure. Note that a relay must be used
to switch high-current loads.
The in-car Delta Dash can be used to make various tuning changes to the ECU.
Note that this is possible only when the ECU has been enhanced with new software
to allow the User Tune function. ECU enhancement can be done by an approved EcuTeK
User Tune lets you lower boost pressure and the rev limit from the base
values, adjust the timing of the inlet camshaft (in cars with VCT), change idle
speed, retard ignition timing and alter the fuel mixture. This lets you
compensate for changing fuel octane, variable ambient temperature or to limit
performance for a second driver.
The in-car Delta Dash shows data using a vacuum fluorescent dot matrix
display. Data is illuminated green to match the rest of Subaru's dashboard
With its adjustable brightness, the in-car display is very easy to read in
almost all circumstances, but it can be flared by direct sunlight. Choose the
mounting location carefully and you should be able to minimise this.
Cosmetically, the in-car Delta Dash is tidy and reasonably professional
looking - but it is spoilt by the four exposed Phillips-head screws on the
faceplate. Some simple push-on caps would help give a better finish.
The EcuTeK in-car Delta Dash is provides enough live data to satisfy anyone.
Its ability to easily read/erase fault codes and to make small ECU tuning
changes (when the ECU has been enhanced) can be considered as bonuses.
At AUD$1290 (including GST) it's not cheap but it is certainly a lot cheaper
and more manageable than fitting a myriad of individual gauges.
The PC-Based Delta Dash System
A PC-based version of Delta Dash is also available. Designed to plug into
your laptop, this system is intended for temporary use only. On the other hand,
it offers more in-depth live data, data logging, an on-road dyno function and
the ability to display a virtual dash.
The PC-based live data screen simultaneously displays numerical data covering
up to 130 live parameters - in other words it covers everything you could
possibly want to log. Live data is displayed alongside the minimum and maximum
Note that the sampling rate for the live data display can be varied between
one minute and around 200 milliseconds.
In addition, up to four analogue parameters can be graphed on-screen. These
graphs are auto-scaled to provide easy viewing, and you can
zoom in on certain sections.
A virtual dash can also be configured to give an analogue gauge style display
of selected parameters. This makes it very easy to watch two or three parameters
at a time. For added street cred, the virtual dash can be configured to drive a
touch VGA screen. This can be mounted wherever there is space in the vehicle. By
touching the VGA screen you can change its "skin" – you can set it to look like
a Prodrive WRC or MoTeC dash display.
However, one of the biggest advantages of the PC-based Delta Dash is its
powerful data logging capability.
At the click of a mouse or by pushing the rear demist button a host of ECU
data can be logged. The log file is generated in your specified directory. A
typical 5-minute log covering eight parameters creates a file size of 150KB.
Once your chosen data has been logged, you can view it as numerical data or as a
Like the in-car kit, the PC-based Delta Dash also lets you read fault codes,
reset the ECU and (when the ECU has been suitably enhanced) make basic User Tune
changes. Note that these tuning changes are not permanently stored into the ECU.
The ECU is restored to its original settings whenever it is unplugged or reset.
Finally, the PC-version of Delta Dash also includes an on-road dyno
The on-road dyno requires detailed information on the vehicle (such as
gearing and aerodynamics). Once this has been entered into a data page, you
click on 'Start Test' and run the car through to the rev limiter in any gear
other than first. This is a screen dump of a dyno graph we achieved in a
modified WRX. No, it isn't completely accurate when compared to existing chassis
dyno figures but it is very useful for before and after type testing.
And what's the cost of the PC-based Delta Dash?
Well, an 'enthusiast' version (which allows you to use the system on up to
three different cars) sells for AUD$690 including GST, while a 'pro' version
(which will work on an unlimited number of Subies) sells for AUD$1539 including
GST. Each system comes with software, a dongle (which is essential to activate
the system) and cable to plug into your laptop.