The 20th century – tuning legacy
The Golden Age. We invented the internal combustion engine that meant to satisfy the basic transportation needs for all human being – or for those who could afford it anyway. We enjoyed that we could easily learn anything about it. It was repariable even on the side of the road and this level of mechanical engineering didn’t only made things easy and simple but also enabled many to develop a new hobby: tuning and fixing cars in their garages. All we did was replacing nozzles, ignition timing and valves, nothing was controlled by a electrical box or a computer. In other words we have survived driving, fixing and tuning a complex set of hardware for almost a hundred years. Then at the end of this century manufacturers started to introduce map sensors, airflow meters, gas pedal potentiometers, lambda probes and a lot more. These improvements worked well until manufacturers realized that most people don’t have the skill to repair these parts so they have to buy replacements ($$$ another source of revenue $$$) but even more only manufacturers knew how the central computer controls these recently introduced electric parts. In 1980 nobody would have thought but these little changes triggered a whole industry to be born.
The 21st century – chiptuning
Entering into the 21st century was quite challenging for us who have chosen to do professional chiptuning services. Cars nowadays are controlled by a central computer chip aka Electrical Control Unit (ECU) that is barely repairable or tunable in home garages. Computer Software Programmers (digital engineering) would be capable to access and remap the settings in the ECU however most of the software engineers don’t know what to tune on a map in order to get a better performing vehicle. And this is the reason why chip tuners don’t only have to be advanced computer software developers, but also excellent car mechanics. In short: chip tuners are the mechanics of the 21st century – the screw driver has been replaced by EEPROM burners, diagnostic tools, OBD cables and wide ranges of computer programs.
So how this ECU works exactly? The engine controller (ECU) receives signals every moment from the sensors and counts how much gas the engine needs to receive based on the air that is available on that particular RPM. The central processor unit (CPU) has been designed to process all the incoming signals in a very short time. Although, the CPU isn’t enough by itself to do all the job. The ECU also has a memory unit near the CPU that is designed to store few information such as how much gas the engine needs on what RPM, maximum RPM, acceleration mixture, max torque, etc, in other words the memory stores and supplies all the necessary parameters for the ECU for a successful engine start. It all happens in a sec when we turn the ignition key on.
What we chip tuners do is reading out all those parameters from the computer, analyzing and remapping it by modifying injection timing, turbo pressure, torque limit, ETM control, airflow target and more, basically anything that has been pre-coded by manufacturers to release a simple, very basic factory car. But why new cars never have their full power enabled when they leave the factory? Well, even a very expensive AMG has so much more hidden power in it in its first release year, so more power and less fuel consumption can be announced later in the following years. We buy exactly the same engine of a model in its 10 years release time that was designed in the very first year from the first year’s budget allocated for R&D. There are no new features or more power in the models that we buy later. Those cars only have a different ECU mapping. That’s all.
The benefits of ECU chiptuning (vehicle dependent) include:
- Up to 20% more power increase on petrol engines
- Up to 40% more power increase on diesel engines
- A more powerful and smoother engine
- More torque; making it idyllic for large heavy load vehicles
- Depending on your driving style up to 10% cut-back on fuel consumption