MODERN TUNING EXPLAINED
Tuning is done by means of ECU (Electronic Control Unit) remapping. Let’s have a look at what ECU remapping is.
All modern vehicle’s come with an ECU, this control module contains all the running parameters of a vehicle such as:
ECU remapping give us the ability to alter each of these parameters, to have any given vehicle run to its true potential. Manufacturers cannot map each individual vehicle to its full potential as this is not feasible for any huge production line. Thus they run a one map fits all although we know the following will have an impact on the tuning of a vehicle which is not accounted for to its fullest.
Tolerances (No two engines are the same)
Aftermarket hardware – (Exhaust, Induction, Turbo upgrade etc.)
There seems to be a lot of confusion on how packages are structured by tuning companies. We will explain how Unique Motorsport structure our packages and what the requirements (hardware) are for each “Stage” and the reason behind these hardware changes.
Our package structure is divided into three categories i.e. Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3. This is relevant to all makes and models of vehicles.
Stage 1 is optimised ECU remapping for vehicles with no after-market components, meaning as it comes from the factory i.e. stock exhaust system etc. With an optimised ECU remap, the performance advantage is substantial but limited due to the stock (OEM) hardware, such as catalytic converters and restrictive stock air intake systems.
The average performance gains are approximately 15% to 20% above the stock figures when tested on a Dyno.
Stage 2 is optimised ECU remapping for a vehicle with hardware changes, the minimum recommended hardware changes are as follow:
Normal Aspirated Vehicle’s
Performance Induction Kit/Filter
Performance Induction Kit/Filter
Intercooler Upgrade (Some applications)
This allow us to further enhance the performance by means of ECU remapping as the hardware upgrades are not restricting air flow (into the engine or from the engine).
One should bear in mind these are only recommended changes although further modifications such as an intercooler upgrade, water/methanol injection, and upgraded actuators can give us the capability to further enhance the performance of a vehicle without compromising on reliability.
The average performance gains are approximately 25% to 30% above the stock figures when tested on a Dyno.
Stage 3 is for power hungry clients, with vehicles on which extensive hardware changes were made such as bigger turbocharger(s), upgraded fuel systems, forged internals etc.
Tuning such a vehicle via ECU remapping is a lot more specialised and takes hours and numerous dyno-runs to perfect.
The average performance gains are hardware dependent but could be anything from the 30% to 200+% above stock figures when tested on a Dyno.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
There are plenty of advantages in doing an optimised software file to remap the ECU. If you’re looking for better performance, better fuel consumption and removal of limiters, etc then remapping is for you. All can be done in a safe manner to avoid any negative long-term effect on durability on a vehicle. ECU remapping is a must for vehicles with added hardware modifications to take full advantage of these modifications.
We can disable catalytic converters, DPF Filters and EGR valves which will save a client huge amount of money as oppose to replacing these items at the Dealer.
There are no real disadvantages if the ECU remapping is done by professional and reputable companies who use genuine/original tools with the latest protocols and licenced software.
However, as a fact of life, there are plenty of “cowboys” doing the rounds, promising neck- breaking performance for a fraction of the cost, compared to the well establish professional and reputable companies. In life you get what you paid for, if a price is too good or very cheap, remember that is what you get.
One should bear in mind that a “copy and paste” file which these guys use to quickly “remap” a vehicle at your home, their home, next to the road or at their little shop is still just a generic map, though not from the manufacturer and thus you have no idea which parameters were adjusted and the effect thereof on your engine and this defeats the purpose of a custom tuned map that was written and optimised individually for your vehicle in accordance with the characteristics of your individual vehicle, also taking into consideration any specific modifications you may have made on your vehicle, etc. Installing a Generic map on your ECU can be a dangerous thing to do. As none of the parameters are logged and checked to make sure the vehicle is running within safe parameters, these “tuners” / installers have no idea whether the software map is fit and proper for your individual engine nor whether it optimise anything. Many of these so-called “tuners” uses Chinese copy tools with no possibility to update the protocols on the machines and don’t have licenced software to adjust your specific software file, these files are downloaded from the internet or bought even from eBay. We had plenty of vehicles come by our workshop with “remaps” that actually made less power than stock due to bad “remaps” or even worse, they ended up with a total rebuild of the engine or turbo as a result of these maps.
How do you know the vehicle is performing better and are within safe parameters if the vehicle has not seen a dyno and none of the parameters logged and checked during the remapping of the ECU?
Vehicles are one of your biggest investments, and we at Unique Motorsport do not see why clients should take a chance by damaging their priced possessions by making use of any “fly by night” or cowboy tuners.