We often get asked about what we do, how we do it, and why, so to enlighten you, we've put together some information, which hopefully will help you to make an informed decision on which is the best tuning route for you...
So what do we do that's different, and if it's so good, why didn't the manufacturers do it in the first place?
All manufacturers test their vehicles to their absolute limits during the development stages, prior to a car going on sale to the public. These tests are carried out to ensure the car will still maintain a high level of reliability, even when service intervals are neglected, and the poorest quality, high sulphur fuels are used. Even then, they are expected to run in both extreme hot, and cold climates as well.
In short, you should be able to take almost any vehicle, anywhere in the world, and it should run well.
Obviously, a lot of vehicles, once purchased by their owners, will stay in the country they were first registered. This is one of the factors we take into account for tuning, as the countries climate will have a bearing on the level of tuning. Then there is the quality of fuel available.
I have seen DIY fit plug in tuning ('Chip') boxes elsewhere... Do you sell these?
Absolutely not! The safest way to tune an engine's ecu, is to modify the software within the management system. By doing this, you can be sure that for every engine running condition, there is a safe setting that is governed by the map data stored within the engines ecu.
External plug in tuning devices fool the engine management into thinking it's injecting a pre-determined amount of fuel, when really the tuning box is increasing the injector opening time, just to put more fuel in, regardless of what is happening with the rest of the engine.
The most common plug in tuning devices simply plug into your engine's fuel rail pressure sensor, and add a greater resistance to the supply voltage. This fools the ecu into thinking there is low fuel pressure, so the ecu then increases fuel pressure to the rail to compensate.
This overpressurising of the fuel rail will allow more fuel to enter the engine when the injector opens, hence making more power. A crude method of tuning to say the least, but one that is so common!
The picture to the left shows the insides of a plug in, adjustable type tuning module for a VAG 1.9 TDi PD engine. It consists of just 2 resistors... That's it!
Another method is used on engines that have Electronic Unit Injectors. These engines rely on high voltage pulses to operate electronic actuators on each injector. The digital plug in box used on these will have a wire for each injector, so when the injector opens, the device sees the voltage, and extends it for a predetermined amount of time, often adjustable by means of a 'jumper'. Once again, this is fooling the engine management system. These boxes can only extend injector pulse width, and cannot influence the internal settings of the engine managment, such as torque limiters, and 'start of injection' timing. As a consequence, the engine will still have it's usual low end flat spots, and the engine will sound more harsh than in standard tune. Since the engine ecu is constantly fighting this external force, Injector faults are often logged with these tuning devices, precisely because of this conflict.
So what advantages does a remap give, over the plug in type tuning modules?
Our ecu remaps give a much safer, more reliable tune than what any kind of 'plug and play' tuning box could ever deliver. This is because the external tuning devices can only alter certain settings, as detailed above. The remapped eprom is inside of the engines ecu, so works seamlessly with all other map data, and software to ensure the best possible performance, and drivability.
We extract the original software from the engine management ecu, often via the car's diagnostic port, and then modify specific map data to optimise certain characteristics of the engine. The most important aspect of this for us, is the removal of flat spots, to give a really smooth drive. This is something often overlooked by other tuners, who just 'turn up the power'! Once this has been achieved, then we can add more power and torque to really liven up the engine, but without sacrificing fuel economy under normal driving conditions.
There are many people offering ecu remaps, but be aware that often these people have little experiance of the engine you have, and so could not possibly achieve the kind of results that a specialist tuner could. Don't be taken in by cheap remaps offered on auction sites, as you will almost certainly have problems with smoke, drivability, and fuel economy. Often we see the aftermath of this, when we have to rectify faults caused by this, and it is the customer that ends up paying again for another remap.
The bottom line is, there is simply no better way to produce more power, safely, than to have an ecu remap by a reputable company, that specialises in your car!
When driving In Europe, it is recommend to use Euro Diesel. Other countries may have high sulphur diesel, which will seriously inhibit tuning potential. Here in the UK, the quality of fuel we have is excellent, and our climate is pretty good too (for tuning anyway!), as we have air temperatures that span from about as low as -15 to around +33 degrees Celsius, throughout the seasons.
Ambient temperatures are important on turbo charged engines, as we don't want the inlet temps to get too high. This is why turbo diesels have intercoolers (radiators specifically for air) fitted. As the turbo compresses the intake air, it gets hot, so as it passes through the intercooler, an air to air heat exchange takes place, and the compressed air within the intercooler is cooled by several degrees. The effect of this is you can squeeze more air in the cylinders, and so add more fuel. This results in a bigger bang, and so gives greater power output.
What we do is optimise your engine management system, for use in the countries you specify the vehicle will be used in. The end result will be an engine that will deliver a much wider spread of usable power and torque, in the places you need it most. While most tuning companies aim to provide maximum power, Our aim is to improve the overall drivability of the car, making it feel like it should have done from the factory. This of course will also give a dramatic power increase, but it's delivery will be smooth and progressive. As one customer quoted "It's a bit like changing your car, without actually changing your car!"
Do you have specialist tools to allow individual remapping?
We use some of the best tuning tools, software, and equipment available today, as used by the worlds leading tuning companies. This allows us total flexability in every map we produce, so we can offer truly custom made mapping. These tools, along with our extensive understanding of remap tuning, ensures we can deliver the ultimate in performace, always meeting, if not exceeding our customers expectations.
We do not have any 'Slave' programming devices, being tied to a remote internet dealer! On the contrary, we have many dealers around the world, both independant specialists, and franchised dealerships, offering our tuning products to their customers.
If your chosen tuner will not offer you a custom made map, then you'll not be realising the true potential of your engine. To achieve this, your car should be set up during an extended road test, or on a dynomometer, to ensure that there is a smooth spread of power and torque throughout, with little or no smoke visible, and is within safe exhaust gas temperature limits.
Insist that you want to see the tuning work being done, and see what response you get!
Prices for Remap tuning start from as little as £250 + vat.