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SwamiSalami 02-01-2012 10:22 PM

"Chips" and Engine Tuning

I wasn't sure where to find anything on chips or tuning.

just had a couple of quick ones:

is ecu tuning the same thing as a chip?

can an ecu be tuned AND a chip be used both?


t vago 02-02-2012 12:12 AM

In practice, it means the same thing - modifying the ECU outputs to the engine. ECU flashing typically means changing the internal ECU data, while chips tend to instead modify what the ECU "sees." BTW, "chip" in this instance can be highly misleading - eBay scammers are well known for selling resistors in pretty packages, and calling them "chips."

It'd be better to change the ECU programming than rely on an external device.

Ladogaboy 02-02-2012 01:51 AM

^ This. My recommendation is to peruse online forums specific to your car and see what other people with your vehicle are doing to manage/alter the ECU.

drmiller100 02-02-2012 07:43 AM

some good advice above.

one thing i did not see mentioned is you should NEVER try to mix and match tunes. bad things can happen.

i noticed you had a diesel in your sig. diesel tunes vs gas tunes are a bit different.

on diesel, they usually advance the timing and increase injection pressures to get better mileage and better power. If you do too much, BAD THINGS happen. again, do not mix and match - buy from a known reputable source.

niky 02-02-2012 06:16 PM

Mixing and matching is a bad idea... take it from me. My car runs two aftermarket piggybacks (one for performance, another for propane... when the propane system is on, both are active) and retuning is a complete *****... especially since the propane piggyback is such a low-fi unit.

A good piggyback ECU or "chip" can do almost everything you need. There are lots of good ones coming out of Europe. Simple ones like the V-Tech Redbox can give you more power for very little money, but I've seen the interface and tuning maps and they're relatively simple... meaning that you don't have many tuning parameters and this might not be the best choice for economy tuning.

Chips like the "Unichip Q" (this is mine, it's a universal) and the "DPChip" have more comprehensive options and are proven to both increase power and economy. The problem is that the quality of the base tunes provided will vary, so it's best to pick one that has a local distributor who can do tuning. From what I can gather on my other US boards, tech support for either is not widespread in the US.

Your best bet may be an ECU reflash. There are some excellent sources for this, and I've heard many swear by COBB Accessport (which is not a chip, but a reflashing unit). The only thing is, I don't know if COBB does diesel.

Be warned. Some vendors and companies will offer incredibly high-powered tunes that will cause your car to belch out incredible amounts of black smoke under load. Caveat Emptor!

SwamiSalami 02-03-2012 08:42 PM

that doesn't sound good. i've always understood black smoke to mean "unused fuel".

Arragonis 02-04-2012 10:13 AM

EBay chips are resistors in a nice package as T-Vago tapped.

There are piggy back chips - I've seen a lot of them work perfectly and some not, it can depend on the version of the ECU software and hardware.

A reflash is the most reliable way of making a difference but some makers are "locking" their ECUs now to stop this happening - VW I think does this on some newer engines, as do PSA (Peugeot / Citroen).

If you get a mobile company to come and do it to your car they generally reprogram it via the OBD port and will install a "generic" remap, something for more power based on a common and reliable set of values.

The best remap is one done via reflashing and on a rolling road with power and emissions testing at the same time. This is especially true if you are matching this with other mods - say filters or exhausts.

Any company reflashing your ECU should make a backup of what is there before in case you want to switch back.

One final thing, some insurance companies here have been known to check ECUs for remaps if the car is involved in say an accident involving speed - although this is usually where the car is valuable and the driver has a reputation for speeding - e.g. points.

Phantom 02-10-2012 03:20 PM

Mixing and matching tunes is fine as long as you know what the values mean and they are for the correct engine. If you want a custom tune get a tuner and learn how to do it. I believe that you can find the resources you need over at clubTDI or it might be FredTDI I think they are the same site. Someone there might be able to tune it for you.

I never recommend a box tune as they are just guessing with out seeing the car unless you can send them scans of the car. Also all PCM/ECUs are locked but that never stops anyone.

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