The Freedom came with a base map and programming that allowed for a simple plug in and start up. All I had to do was install it in place of the stock ecu, no modification to harnesses or anything. My hands were on the ems for probably a grand total of 3-4 minutes during the install. Car fired up, first try. Impressive. It is even preprogrammed to control the idle air controller. That is an impressive level of programming.
Driveability is quite good. I have a light flywheel and a 1.6 clutch so around stoplights and stop signs I have to be a little more careful. IRTBs, I theorize, have a similar effect as a lightened flywheel, with reduced inertia of the air mass. This reduced inertia and the reduced inertia of the clutch / flywheel make for a car that needs more attention at stoplights and stop signs. But, that is a technique problem, not a setup problem, and the payoff is a motor that revs up quickly and responds to your foot with very fine control. The more I drive the car, the more my technique is adapting and less I think about compensating for the flywheel and IRTBs and just drive.
On startup, the car is a little rough and has the rhythm of a race car. Ever do a track day where someone brought one of their race cars? They start the car up and it is rough and uneven, but beautiful. I love that sound. That is the only way I can explain it. It sputters, and doesn't have that perfect OEM startup smoothness. I suspect that once we get the Idle Air Controller modified and installed, that issue will go away. In the mean time I keep my foot on the gas and keep the engine at about 2-2.5k until it warms up. I think one of the big things going on here is warming up the 02 sensor so that it gives more accurate readings to the ems. The car starts to idle noticable better after about 30 second to a minute, but not perfect until the coolant has warmed up.
Once the car is warm it idles pretty well. I have it set at 800-900 rpm and it is fine. I was expecting a rough idle once warm, not the case. The real test will be this winter up here in New England. I had asked Ocean at Chikara about cold weather and IRTBs with the Freedom and he said they have had no issues, and I believe they are up in BC Canada where it can get pretty cold.
At partial throttle, the setup is pretty darn good out of the box. Very OEM like, but not perfect (nothing is). At times I think my wife could drive the car and not notice a difference, at least until stomping on the throttle. There are the indicators of a rich mixture, with soot gathering on the rear bumper and a minor popping (not loud) when decelerating with partial throttle at high engine speeds.
At WOT, it is impressive. There is no drop off in acceleration all the way up to 7500 rpm (thats about as far as I have gone so far). It just keeps pulling. It has to be heard. The vids don't do the sound justice.
At lower RPM (2.5-4k) the car has noticeably more torque. The extra torque is most conspicuous going up hills at lower engine speeds. I thought there would be a bit of a hole at this range, but was proved wrong. This is great around town.
Throttle response is good. I'm still adjusting to how quick they respond (very unOEM like). I'm a blipper and at first I had difficulty getting the blip when down shifting, it seemed like the car just bogged and the rpm didn't come up. After driving the car for a few days, I've adjusted myself to the new setup and blipping is mostly good, I'm still adjusting. I'm so used to the OEM setup and slow response time to a blip that I am holding the pedal down for too long and using too much throttle travel. I'm sure I'll get better at it over time.