Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Chip Tuning / ECU Remapping

Chip Tuning and Remapping

Remapping and "Chip tuning" as it is commonly known, is the art of modifying the standard ECU software, which is stored in the factory engine management system, otherwise known as the ECU. In order to increase the power-output of the engine, it is important to change the timing and amount of fueling, ignition timing, and turbo boost on turbocharged engines. By adjusting these parameters, the engine will have the upmost efficient combustion required for power and ecomony. An increase in power output of about 25-50% can be achieved, combined with a smoke-free vehicle and improved fuel economy of about 5-10%.

What is involved?

Normally the original software in the ECU is read first and stored as a file. This file is then modified and then programmed back into the ECU, overwriting the original software. Only the parts of the software essential for imrpving the performance of the engine are altered. Most of the time the software is read and programmed to and from the ECU via the OBDII diagnostics port, so there are no physical changes at all. Even if the ECU has to be removed from the car for access, it's normally a non-invasive process of reprogramming the engine computer, known as bench flashing. We do not alter any of the diagnostics systems, or the engine idle running, or any areas which would affect the MOT emissions. This makes our ECU upgrades 100% service compliant, and 100% UK emissions compliant.

How does remapping and chip tuning compare to a tuning box for a diesel engine?

Tuning boxes are add on devices that work by intercepting the signals between the ECU and the sensors and fuel system in the engine. Some tuning boxes intercept the sensor signals fooling the ECU into thinking that the engine is doing something different to what it actually is, thus making the ECU add more fuel. Other tuning boxes work by intercepting the output signals from the ECU and thus modifying the fuel control. Either way, a tuning box will only increase the amount of fuel that is added. Furthermore, the tuning box is always fighting the ECU. The ECU will to some extent try to compensate for the increase in fuel that is caused by the tuning box. This is especially true of the latest Euro IV engines with very tight emission controls. The end result is often inconsistent performance, and sometimes no improvement in performance at all.

A remap on the other hand works in harmony with the engine and emissions control. A "remap" is simply a rewrite of the software in the engine computer. Unlike the tuning box which only alters the amount of fuel, the ECU remap alters the turbo boost pressure, fuel injector duration, fuel timing, fuel pressure, and many other paramters, all of which can be optimised to give substantial increases in power and torque, while still remaining within emission control envelopes. Since no signals are intercepted, the ECU does not have to compensate for any abnormal readings and therefore the performance will be consistent. With the Euro IV engines, the ECU remap is the only way to improve performance because the ECU is too sensitive for a tuning box to successfully alter the behaviour of the fuel system without the ECU compensating for it.


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