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Innovate Motorsports MTX-L PLUS Digital AFR Gauge Install

Fitting a 1,000HP turbo Lexus SC 300 with Innovate Motorsports' MTX-L PLUS digital air/fuel ratio gauge

Evan J. Smith
Jun 29, 2017

For any engine to reach its maximum potential, the fuel must burn efficiently. Running rich or lean is not good for performance, and in extreme cases it can be catastrophic. A rich engine is likely to be sluggish — excessive richness can even burn your exhaust valves. A lean engine is worse; it will be prone to piston-holin', engine-killing detonation.

In reality, it's important to have a proper tune along with ability to accurately monitor the running condition any time you take a vehicle past stock. So as soon as you modify your engine, consider installing an air/fuel ratio gauge.

  |   One of the many features is the removable faceplate and bezel. The kit comes with black and white faceplates and silver and black bezels.

Sadly, we've seen enthusiasts spend countless dollars and waste countless hours experimenting with haphazard keystrokes as they try to ascertain lean versus rich conditions. Reading plugs, using EGT, or even going off your time slip just isn't the most modern or effective way to tune. The good news is for around $200.00 you can wire up Innovate Motorsports' new MTX-L PLUS wideband oxygen sensor and gauge kit, instantly putting the necessary information at your fingertips.

  |   While the digital gauge takes center stage, the Bosch LSU 4.9 wideband O2 sensor is underneath doing the dirty work. Oxygen sensor function measures the proportion of oxygen in exhaust gases, which is critical to tuning an engine. Bosch's wideband Lambda sensor also uses an integrated heater and the main benefit of the LSU 4.9 is the robust design combined with the high Bosch production quality standard.

It's actually amazing how that simple gauge can give you peace of mind. But there's really nothing that compares to knowing your tune is spot on when you mash the gas; or that something is amiss so you have a measure of protection to warn you before the rods come out of the block. That's important to any enthusiast, whether you've simply added a cold-air kit to your stocker, or if you're rolling with 1,200 ponies and 40 psi of boost.

  |   The sensor fits into a standard bung, which is included and must be welded into the exhaust system.

Innovate's MTX-L PLUS wideband kit makes it easy for any vehicle owner to affordably gather this important information. Whether you're swapping jets or using the most advanced aftermarket EFI, the MTX-L PLUS will give you the 411 on your air/fuel ratio. And it will do it fast. The system incorporates the patented DirectDigital technology that's combined with Innovate's all-new Advanced Sensor Control to provide enhanced feedback from the sensor and to optimize heater control. And in addition to giving you a modern changeable look, the gauge kit also has a host of useable features.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Exhaust Sensor Bung
  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Exhaust Bung
  |   The Lexus was fitted with a modified exhaust and already had a bung welded in place. We simply removed the plug and installed the Bosch sensor.

The MTX-L PLUS gauge measures 52mm or 1 1/16-inch so it fits in standard gauge pods. It has an easy-to-read digital display with a sweeping "digital needle" around the diameter of the face, and the display can show either air/fuel ratio or Lambda. Information comes from the Bosch LSU 4.9 wideband O2 sensor that is reliable and accurate. Additionally, the sensor can operate with a multitude of fuel types, and it's user calibrated so it will remain deadly accuracy over time.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Sensor Install
  |   The lambda sensor should be installed at a point permitting the measurement of a representative exhaust-gas mixture, which does not exceed the maximum permissible temperature. Install at a point where the gas is as hot as possible and also remember it's important to protect the sensor from condensation, so installation should be as high up in the pipe as is reasonable.

The "PLUS" version of the gauge is enhanced with faster Sensor Frequency for faster O2 sensor feedback, and faster Analog Output Speed, which helps ensure that your ECU sees changes in air/fuel ratio as they happen. Innovate has also improved the Heater Control function for superior sensor performance in forced induction and other high performance applications.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Sensor Cable Routing
  |   After installing the sensor, Steven Harris of Coastal Chassis Dyno fed the cable through to the interior.

We dropped by Coastal Chassis Dyno in Tampa, Fla., where owner Sam Lippencott was installing a MTX-L PLUS gauge kit on a highly modified 1997 Lexus SC300. This SC is packing a built 2JZ 3.0-liter power plant boosted by a 80mm turbocharger, aftermarket intercooler, Virtual Works intake manifold, Full Race header, and for good measure, a 200-shot of Pro Flow nitrous. The beast was kicking out 1,070 RWHP at 40 psi and has run 10.40s at over 150 mph on drag radials.

  |   Is your ride banging out big boost? This mild-mannered '97 Lexus SC300 quietly spits out 1,000-plus RWHP, so it's important monitor the running condition of the engine.

At this insane power level, Lippencott wanted deadly reliable air/fuel ratio feedback, so he installed a MTX-L PLUS. Lippencott uses both a dyno and street driving for proper tuning and he's had great success with MTX-L gauges in the past to record air/fuel on the dyno and under real-world driving and racing conditions.

  |   We went with the stealthy black face and bezel for our installation in the Lexus.

"Innovate products are easy to install and are super reliable," Lippencott told us. "I've relied on Innovate wideband gauges for years, and I like that the MTX-L PLUS has excellent capabilities and offers options like the changeable faceplates and bezels. The customers really like that."

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install MTS Serial In Out
  |   The MTX-L PLUS comes with a MTS serial in/out (for use with MTS enabled devices to add additional logging channels), and data logs using powerful LogWorks software on your PC.

Innovate has smartly designed the kit with what it calls MTS or Modular Tuning System so it can work in conjunction with a variety of devices. Using the serial "In" and "Out" wiring, you can connect directly data-logging units or to a laptop. Examples include the Innovate SSI-4, which records RPM, TPS, driveshaft rpm and MAP and/or the PL-1 Pocket Logger. Or you can connect an MTX-Boost/Shift gauge and/or PL-1.

  |   Harris connects the Bosch sensor cable wiring on the back of the gauge.

Like with any install, we recommend opening the supplied user manual to familiarize yourself with the gauge, its functions, and the installation procedure. In addition to wiring the unit properly, the guide covers best procedures for oxygen sensor placement and sensor calibration. These are two items that are critical to proper operation and reading.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Positive And Ground Wiring
  |   Next he wires the positive and ground. The red wire connects to any isolated 12V source that turns on with "key on" power. The black wire can be connected to any solid ground source.

Our Lexus already had a bung fitted to the exhaust system for the oxygen sensor, so our installation was simplified. We raised the car on a hoist, installed the Bosch sensor, and ran the cable to the gauge. We then wired and installed the gauge, and finally we ran through the calibration procedure. Total install time was about an hour.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Gauge Mounting
  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Gauge Mounting
  |   With connections complete, Harris feeds the wires through the glove box where the gauges are mounted and slips the gauge into the pod.

The MTX-L PLUS provides a modern look that is customizable, but more importantly, lets you keep an eye on air/fuel ratio under all driving conditions. The MTX-L PLUS also includes wiring for the aforementioned digital input/output, and two fully programmable analog outputs. This allows you to easily interface when dyno testing or using aftermarket data logging. It also makes it easy to connect to aftermarket EFI systems and/or gauges. And the sensor is versatile so it can be calibrated to operate using a variety of fuels including gasoline, diesel, methanol, E85, or even propane.

Lastly, be sure to take advantage of the features, including Innovate Motorsports' Logworks 3 software package. This is an invaluable tool that can streamline the tuning process for beginners and pros.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Calibration

Once installed, it's important to calibrate the sensor. This capability allows the sensor to remain accurate, even as the gauge ages and subsequently "wears." The exact procedure for installation, calibration and general information is included in a detailed booklet that's included with the kit. We powered up the MTX-L PLUS and ran through the calibration procedure, and in minutes we had a perfect reading and the assurance that you get from knowing your engine is running to specifications.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Bezel Disassembly

Here's a look at how easy it is to change the bezel and faceplate. Start by removing the three screws at the rear of the bezel.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Bezel Removal

Then carefully remove the bezel and place it in a safe place.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install White Faceplate

Place the desired faceplate into the bezel.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Faceplate Assembly
  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Faceplate Assembly
  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Faceplate Assembly

Next install the backing plate, slip the bezel onto the gauge, and re-install the screws.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install White Gauge Faceplate

In a matter of minutes you can create an entirely new look for your gauge.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Custom Gauge Pod
  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Lexus Sc300 Interior
  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install Glove Box Gauge Pod

Gauges in this Lexus are hidden in the glove box.

  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install 2Jz
  |   Innovate Motorsports Mtx L Plus Digital Afr Gauge Install 2Jz

The fully modded J2Z sports a sizeable 80mm turbo and a 200hp shot of nitrous for good measure.

Sources

Innovate Motorsports
Irvine, CA
714-372-5910
Coastal Chassis Dyno
Tampa, FL 33619
813-849-2423
By Evan J. Smith
2 Articles

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