Every new vehicle now in production is fitted with an ECU (Electronic Control Unit) or otherwise known as the vehicles brain/computer. Vehicles nowadays also have a number of sensors located on and in various components which feed live information to the ECU, the ECU then takes this information and can make real time adjustments to get the best performance and efficiency. A few examples of the parameters processed by the ECU are engine speed, air intake, timing, fuel ratio and many more.
It works in the same way that your home PC does; software is loaded onto it to control the hardware. The ECU has software known as a ‘Map’. By changing this original map to an edited/tuned map, we are able to alter the performance and efficiency of the engine. This is known as Remapping.
So, why don’t the manufacturers tune their own maps? Well, sometimes they do, an example of this would be the Mk4 Golf TDI, and it comes with either 110BHP, 130BHP or 150BHP. So the same engine has three different power options. This is all possible thanks to the the map which is loaded onto the ECU. Even vehicles which have been tuned in the factory still have room for improvement and a lot of the time are so far from the engines potential they are essentially detuned by the manufacturer.
Most vehicles currently manufactured are sold globally therefore they are required to be able to cope with a variety of environments, such as less developed countries who have lower quality fuels, limited or no vehicle servicing, increased/decreased ambient temperatures or varying altitudes. So when a manufacturer is creating a map they have to sometimes compromise performance and efficiency to accommodate its potential extreme environment.
As we all know we are fairly fortunate to live in a country where we are not subject to the above mentioned conditions and environments, therefore we can tune our vehicles without compromising the reliability or exhaust emissions. So with our fine tuning we can ensure our vehicles are running at their maximum potential for the UK climates.
There are a couple of basics which may help you understand how a map will improve your vehicle:
- First of all a basic original map has two points: Idle and part throttle cruising, these two points are what manufacturers have to limit to stay within emissions legislations.
- Everything in between these points are controlled by a 3D map and will include things like fuel pressure, fuel ratio, boost pressure and ignition timing, all which can be adjusted to provide the most effective vehicle responses – Increase power, efficiency (MPG), torque etc.
Hopefully the above has given you an insight into the technical side of remapping. Below we now will explain how the map is loaded onto your vehicle and a little history behind it.
OBD (On Board Diagnostics)
We have some of the most advance tuning equipment currently available on the market which gives us the ability to remap and fine tune the majority of vehicles with an OBD port. Due to legislations on emissions all petrol cars sold in Europe from 01/01/2001 and diesels since 2003 are required to have an OBD (on board diagnostics) system built in to monitor emissions being produced by the engine.
Technology was as always ahead of legislations which means a lot of vehicles from the early 90’s to 2001 already have OBD systems therefore having the ability to be tuned.
Remapping Through OBD
Uploading a new map through the OBD is clearly the most efficient and least intrusive method, it allows you to get the vehicle producing excellent results without lifting the bonnet. Once we connect our equipment to the OBD we will have access to the vehicles map located on the ECU.
We will find that sometimes it is not possible to connect through the OBD port, either due to the port being faulty or simply not having one. If this is the case we would have to access the EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) chip located in the ECU which has the vehicle map on it by a method called BDM (Back Door Module).
This process involves connecting directly to the circuit board of the ECU, then using our specifically designed equipment we connect and remap.
This process does however require us to remove the ECU from the vehicle, but all work is then carried out in a static free work area.
We will run a diagnostic check on your vehicle before remapping commences to ensure there are no engine issues. We feel that your vehicles reliability and driveability is equally as important as performance.
Increased MPG Tuning (ECO TUNE)
This particular tune has become more and more popular due to the ever increasing fuel prices. This tune will allow you to drive at lower revs due to the increase in torque therefore giving you great improvement in MPG without effecting reliability.