Chip Tuning, ECU flashing, ECU Tuning, Remapping, the process of recalibrating a vehicle’s ECU for greater performance goes by many names. But how exactly does the process work and is it safe for your vehicle?
Maps, Maps, Maps
What are maps? Maps within a vehicle’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) are a list of instructions that control specific functions of a vehicle at any given time, each function has a dedicated map. Typical maps include, Ignition Timing, Boost Control and Fuel Control. It becomes easier to understand when visualised as a graph, Using Boost Requested as an example, With RPM on the X axis and Boost Requested (as a percentage) as the Y axis, we see that as the RPM increases so does the Boost, an example of the ECU following the instruction written within the map, controlling how much boost pressure should be delivered.
Time For Tuning
So let’s just turn up the boost and be done with it, what is the worst that can happen? Short answer, irreversible engine damage! A professional tuner will make many fine tunes to a vehicle whilst carrying out testing, ensuring that the vehicle does not encounter any issues which could lead to potential damage.
Who’s there? Engine Failure. Remapping a vehicle entails more than just increasing the boost, it requires altering the ignition timing for a fine-tuned optimal power delivery. Altering the ignition timing can deliver great power results, however if done incorrectly, it can cause dreaded engine knock! What is engine knock? Without going into excessive detail, engine knock happens when full combustion in the cylinder occurs prior to the piston reaching Top Dead Centre ( TDC ), resulting in a piston rising whilst working against the force of combustion. This results in two forces working against each other.
Research, Develop & Tested
Safe tuning and performance result are achieved through years of knowledge, research, development and testing. Professional tuners build a knowledge base, allowing them to work efficiently and safely on a vehicle, for constant repeatable results.
Is It Safe?
Remapping to a safe level can be achieved by many professional tuners, however sadly not by all. Many issues arise when a vehicle becomes over tuned. Over tuning places an immense amount of strain on a vehicle’s engine and transmission. This is usually caused by tuners with limited experience of both tuning and testing a vehicle’s tolerances
Who To Choose?
Now that we know tuning to a safe level can be achieved, how do we choose a tuner? Do we have to take our vehicle to a workshop to place our vehicle on a dyno for testing? Can we use a mobile tuner? This is where research, development and testing comes in to the equation. Tuning workshops have developed their knowledge by tuning and testing thousands of vehicles and many have experience of a vast majority of vehicles on the market. Once tuners have perfected tuning a specific make and model of a vehicle, they can offer to perform a stage 1 remap of that vehicle from your location.
What about a stage 2 or 3 remap?
If you would like to go past stage 1 and into stages 2 and 3, where mechanical modification are used, such as a larger turbo, then dyno testing is required.
Choosing The Right Tuner
Quick tip, never go with a tuner offering to get more than the rest, if this is the case, their tuning may be pushing your vehicle past safe limits.
Here is our choice: for mobile remapping, Raven Performance Remapping and for workshop, VIEZU. Both of these tuners offer a vast amount of knowledge and experience, and both have insurance to cover their standard remapping for greater piece of mind.