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Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - japdriver

I have a Nissan Almera Tino 136 bhp 2.2 dci engined car, and was wondering about the tuning chips you see advertised for diesel cars, promising increased bhp, torque AND economy.

Supposedly my car would become 170bhp, 25% increased torque and better mpg. For £300 it would pay for itself over time if the economy claim is true, and not a fantasy land fib like some adverts are....

Have any of you on here used similar chips, what were your findings and was it worth it?

Did any damage/side effects occur to your car or is it really a plug in and that's it type device?

Mark

Top Reply

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - oldtoffee

Some chips or remaps just allow for more fuelling and adjust the fuel/air mixture thresholds to increase the power. They'll often over fuel the car and the result is lots of smoke - common problem with bolt on power modules or smoke boxes as they are sometimes called. They'll claim better mpg because you can access more power/torque and don't need to rev the car so much and can hold a higher gear longer. They often don't update the car's logging data so the computer info on mpg doesn't see the extra fuel being burned so the only real test is to measure at the pumps brim to brim.

The more developed remaps adjust and recalibrate a much wider range of ECU values and can have a more positive effect on the economy as well as more power and smoother power delivery.

Four of my last five cars, 3 of them diesels have been remapped and all have been successful in that the cars power has increased and I had no problems with anything failing. Only one of them turned out to genuinely improve economy whereas the others it dropped but that was probably down to using the extra power. Worth checking out other people's views of the chip you're considering on owner forums and see what their experiences of mpg and reliability are.

All Replies

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - oldtoffee

Some chips or remaps just allow for more fuelling and adjust the fuel/air mixture thresholds to increase the power. They'll often over fuel the car and the result is lots of smoke - common problem with bolt on power modules or smoke boxes as they are sometimes called. They'll claim better mpg because you can access more power/torque and don't need to rev the car so much and can hold a higher gear longer. They often don't update the car's logging data so the computer info on mpg doesn't see the extra fuel being burned so the only real test is to measure at the pumps brim to brim.

The more developed remaps adjust and recalibrate a much wider range of ECU values and can have a more positive effect on the economy as well as more power and smoother power delivery.

Four of my last five cars, 3 of them diesels have been remapped and all have been successful in that the cars power has increased and I had no problems with anything failing. Only one of them turned out to genuinely improve economy whereas the others it dropped but that was probably down to using the extra power. Worth checking out other people's views of the chip you're considering on owner forums and see what their experiences of mpg and reliability are.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Andy P

Would someone please explain to me how you can get more power without using more fuel? If it's this simple to do, why aren't the manufacturers themselves doing it? Surely given the price of fuel now, manufacturers would be falling over themselves to quote better fuel economy figures.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig

I have had my wife's car re-mapped and can confirm it has improved the mpg as well as the torque and brake horse power. It's made a noticeable difference.

2 litre Ford diesel engine in Jag X Type, 130 bhp standard and roughly 330Nm torque.

Now 165-170 bhp and 390 ish Nm. Fuel economy improved by about 3 -3.5 mpg. It also allows it to rev a bit more.

The way it was explained to me was that the manufacturers juggle the govt fuel figures, which are lab based and unrealistic for road use. Also they have to take in to consideration different markets e.g. very cold, very hot, poor fuel supplies etc...then there's the potential for warranty claims, so they'll de-tune to be safe...and..a re-map (not a chip) is pertiment to that particular vehicle only, whereas a manufacturer, through economy of scale, builds a load in one hit.

Best £325 i've ever spent on a car.

Have a look at 'CNL re-mapping' via google, would have no hesitation in recommending them.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - japdriver

Thanks very much for the info westpig your summary is exactly how I thought these things are supposed to work. I'll check out that website you mention.

Cheers.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Dutchie

I would be very carefull regarding any modification to a engine which isn't from the manufacturer and which will give you no guarantee to the long live of a car which is chipped or tuned.Modern cars have very complex software.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Dutchie
I would be ver
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Lygonos

Generally a remap is better than any plug-in device for the reason Westpig stated - it is suited to the individual car whereas a plug-in has generic data.

Before you do anything, have a good think about whether the Tino is:

1. running a well looked after/serviced engine that is showing no excessive oil use/rattling/etc.

2. capable of being driven with an extra 40bhp at the top end and still manage to handle/brake adequately.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - oldtoffee

>>>> 2. capable of being driven with an extra 40bhp at the top end and still manage to handle/brake adequately.

Really good point - I had a Fabia vRS remapped from 130 to 170 bhp with similar levels of torque increase and to be honest if it was used to the max it was a bit too much for the chassis and brakes - evidenced by the number of owners who upgrade the suspension and brakes after a remap. Swapped it for an Octavia MK 2 TFSi remapped from 200 to 250 bhp and it handled it easily with no issues.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Dutchie
If you want a fast car buy one ,if you have to upgrade brakes and chassis to acommedate the remapping I would leave it alone.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - ForumNeedsModerating

I would be very wary of stressing what must be (at least) a 5 year old people carrier with any more power/torque - it wasn't designed for it, the components are getting more fragile & you'll need to upgrade/revise your insurance policy. I doubt also, that claims for decreased fuel consumption, in practice, give any real overall saving.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Sofa Spud

QUOTE:...""Would someone please explain to me how you can get more power without using more fuel?""

With a diesel engine, I imagine only by getting more complete combustion/expansion in the cylinder during the power stroke and ensuring that the combustion doesn't continue beyond bottom dead centre and into the start of the exhaust stroke. But it shouldn't do that anyway, I'd have thought !!

In a petrol engine that would be less likely to happen as combustion is more or less instantaneous.

QUOTE:...""If you want a fast car buy one ,if you have to upgrade brakes and chassis to acommedate the remapping I would leave it alone.""

It's like these boy racers who spend £20,000 upgrading a Vauxhall Corsa. I wonder if these owners have a moment of realisation, like waking up from a bad dream!


Edited by Sofa Spud on 20/01/2011 at 10:34

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - mazdaboy

Had our Discovery 3 remapped and it transformed the car. Feels like a Range Rover Sport now, and the economy is much better. A run down to SW France on the autoroute showed 8-10 mpg better fuel economy, so I'm chuffed and wish I'd taken the plunge when we bought it.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

The claims of tuning companies are dubious. It's hardware that 'makes' the horsepower, not electronics. It is impossible to make more horsepower without increasing the mechanical and thermal stresses on the engine, clutch and gearbox. Tuning companies rely on carmakers leaving a wide saftey margin on ALL of the major components. This is a dangerous assumption. Manufacturers compete with other manufacturers and they have every incentive to push their components as hard as they can. Over engineered parts are heavier, generally have more friction (worse fuel economy) and cost more than parts that are just strong enough.

Because a diesel runs lean, it's utterly trivial to get more power from it, simply by stuffing more fuel in. Upping the turbo boost pressure will keeps smoke at bay. But getting an engine to survive at higher outputs is hard, very hard. But with a diesel you have no way of knowing when you've pushed the engine too hard. A petrol will start detonating when the boost gets too high. This is easily detectable, and the ECU can pull spark or fuelling before damage is done. A diesel will just keep going until something major breaks.

The other side effect is emissions, particularly NOx. Better economy through advanced injection timing always comes at the expense of a huge increase in NOx. Diesels have become much cleaner than they used to be. Chips send the emissions back 20 years or more. Currently the MOT test for diesels is a joke. Quick check for visible smoke at maximum governed speed (no load). I believe that a more stringent test is coming in this year, and I woud be surprisd if the chipped engines will pass.

OEMs spend a fortune developing engines, with the best engineers and test facilities in the world. They are not going to leave easy pain-free gains on the table.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - davmal
But some engines come in multiple outputs, VW and Mazda spring to mind straight away. Agreed there is a limit to what can be achieved, but as I've said before, the ultimate engine protection device is the right foot. It is unlikely that the engine will be driven in such a way that it is developing max HP and torque all of the time.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - madf

Waht's the difference between a Mark1 BMW Mini and a Mark 1 Mini Cooper?

The ECU. Tuning chip costs £350 vs £1500...

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

What's the difference between a VW 1.9Pd 90, Pd110, Pd130, PD150? After all, they're all VW 1.9 turbo diesels, right?

Well, intercooler, pistons, injectors, camshaft, turbo all vary amongst that range of engines that superficially appear identical. Of course the 90 hp engine was conservatively fuelled, but whilst it shares perhaps 95% of it's components with the 150, those parts that are changed, are changed for good reason.

Intended application is important. Yes, a short burst of acceleration won't heat soak parts like a prolonged hill climb, but will the driver be dilligent enough? OEMs are already offering overboost features that take advantage of this fact, they really are pushing parts harder than you think. Look at car engines that are used in light commercial vehicles. What do the manufacturers do? Derate them. Why? Because the high output offerings offer poor durability when driven hard.

The average driver is simply too ignorant to change the oil, let alone live with an engine operating outside factory specs. The argument goes that after rechipping, you can drive around at lower revs and save fuel. Since EVERYONE likes low end torque there is no reason not to maximise this from the factory. But there is plenty of reason to limit torque at the bottom end, if bearings and lubrication are marginal at low engine speed.

Why do chipping companies never mention physical quantities such loads on bearings, Exhaust temperatures, peak cylinder pressures, piston crown temperatures, valve temperatures, valvetrain stability NOx/particulate trade-off etc etc. Funnily enough, these are the topics with which real diesel engineers are focussed upon. Instead they mumble some c**p about the fuel quality in Turkey (irrelevant), hot summers in Spain (modern diesels are mapped on intake air temperature), and commonality for different emissions regulations round the world (must be why VW and MB had to completely re-engineer their diesel engines sold in the US).

Up the output, and use it and the engine/drivetrain WILL have a shorter life. 20,000 mile test is hardly conclusive on an engine designed to last 250,00 miles. But please take responsibility, accept that you are your own warranty and tell prospective purchasers that the car is outside factory settings.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

I bought a belgian 1.9 DCI scenic new out of the showroom. This was a 115 hp model.

Till 5000 km it was bog standard with only Shell V diesel to help against poor low rev pickup. At 5000 km it was rechipped plus a K&N air filter was fitted by Renault sport in Brussels.

This transformed the scenic into a very quick car. It is now a joy to drive. Gone are the response problems. Shell V diesel is still standard as we here have very strict annual smoke tests. This is the third year without any problems.

The DCI is rated at 173 bhp and 400 nm @ 2000 rpm. Average feul consumption over 50,000 km is 5.8 litre per 100 KM.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster

Diesels engines operate in an excess of air - the intake tract is not throttled.

Fancy air filters and/or induction kits do not (and cannot) make a difference.

Buying one sort of diesel over another won't affect performance or smoke test results.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - madf

Buying one sort of diesel over another won't affect performance or smoke test results.

Really? What happens if using one fuel with lower additives results in a carbonned up engine and the other fuel leaves a carbon free engine?

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
What are these additives that Shell Vpower use (that apparently help low RPM pick up), that other brands don't. Why don't they advertise these additives instead of boasting about cetane rating?
As I've said elsewhere, Cetane is a double edged sword. For a given molecular weight of fuel, higher cetane tends to result in higher in cylinder soot production (hardly helpful for 'carbonned up' engines). High cetane wil tend to reduce diesel clatter (although a lot of the noise is injectors rather than knock), which will make the engine sound smoother, but it won't yield more power or efficiency
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster

It doesn't. It's all marketing. Additives are snake oil.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

Cynic! And don't forget cold air induction-it's well known that OEMs purposely heat the intake air to reduce the performance (and NOx emissions).

You can usually gain 30% power with a performance exhaust kit too. The huge pressure drop across the rear silencer chokes the performance and economy right down. What will those darstardly engineers think of next to spoil our fun? They should have gone to K and N.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

My DCI on Shell V diesel and rechipped. I live and drive in Holland. The number one government enemy is not drugs,drink or smoking it is the Diesel driven car !!!!!. Most diesels with 30,000 Km do not get through the very strict smoke controls.One of the reasons why VW/Audi have stepped over to common rail.

If England steps over to the same smoke control standard as here then you will learn very quickly over clean and dirty fuels.

As to Fancy induction system the less restriction of clean,cool air will always be better than a standard paper one. You only have to have it cleaned per 50,000Km not replaced per 20,000 km for the price as if it was gold plated.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

I forgot to add I still have an extended Renault warranty of 4 years, I have had no drive line problems of any kind,no diesel knock only super smooth tubine power. Starting at -15+ is always smokeless and within seconds.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster

Air going into a diesel engine is not restricted in any way. There is no throttling of the intake tract. More air is circulating in the intake and around the valves than could ever possibly be burnt in each 'breath' the engine takes.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

Do you really believe an airfilter does not restrict ?

Try breathing through one.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster

You miss the point. Yes the filter restricts, but even downstream of the filter there is more air available as each valve opens than a diesel engine could ever possibly suck in.

The same is not true for petrol engines, where the amount of air reaching the valves is restricted (throttled) by the throttle butterfly(ies).

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

Down line are the turbo vanes and how faster and better the air flow the less resistance and better response(turbo Lag) also do not forget the airflow sensor on a common rail diesel

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

Yes, that's why the pressure drop in OEM exhaust systems downstream of the particulate filter is tiny-really. All of the easy gains have been thoroughly exploited. If you want to successfully modify your engine, it will require costly hardware upgrades/and or nasty side effects. There are no free lunches.

You're claiming a 50% increase in power with stock injectors and a stock turbo. For this to be true, Renault must have grossly oversized key parts. Turbos and injectors have very limited flow ranges. No engineer would oversize them-ever. You also claim 5.8l/100km. Well, at 48 mpg you're clearly not making use of that '173hp'-so are in no way able to substantiate its long term durability.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

We are talking about a belgium market renault converted by renault sport Belgium also constant use of Shell V diesel. The ride style is continental there is always somebody trying to climb into your boot so it is quick enough to teach them others.The fuel consumption can be confirmed by the dealer and the onbourd computer. My previous renault had 170,000 Km on the clock no oil, no leaks no problems.

I always had Golf TDs from 1984 on untill they got so expensive then Peuguot td`s to Renaults All had more than 180,000 on the clocks the VW`s in there lives under 5 ltre per 100km the France group all around the 5.6 to 5.8 litre per 100. I have never added oil to any of these cars, they cost me only service with tyres on the average 40,000 KM.

All I can say that this last car is the the most civilised and smoothest of them all

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

As to Fancy induction system the less restriction of clean,cool air will always be better than a standard paper one

The first clause is right-that's why every modern engine ttakes in cold air from the front of the engine bay.

The pressure drop across a clean paper filter is very small, certainly not enough to effect performance by more than 1 or 2%. This is why no OEM wastes time researching alternatives.

Some pressure drop is necessary in order for filtering to be effective. Paper filters are much more effective than oilled mesh at filtering. If you don't think that matters, think again. Detroit 2 stroke diesels were famous for their oil control problems-oil ended up in the scavenge space instead of on the liners. Certain bright sparks thought it a good idea to reroute this oil back to the sump. Engines with this modification died very quickly. Why? The oil in the air box was contaminated with particles from the intake air. Your common rail diesel operates at much higher pressures and tolerences than a detroit...

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

OEM paper filter is for the after service to make money and not what is better for you or the engine.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster

No, it's because no other sort of filter offers any tangible gain. For the millionth time, diesel engines operate in an excess of air and the 'flow' through the intake tract is immaterial.

Paper filters aren't exactly expensive to replace.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

Explain why a paper filter costs 67 euro`s to replace per 20,000 KM. If that is not a ripoff what is well?.

Also when we got the first Golf diesels in the 70`s they got such a thrashing that the paper was filthy after the first 2 to 3,000 kms thus you got a screwdriver and made holes in the paper folds to get it to 15,000 Km replacement.

So as so the 1500 VW diesel was lucky if it lasted 100,000 kms due to the to soft piston rings. VW vision was it was cheaper to replace the rings as a rebore.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster

30% gain with a performance exhaust? Yeah, right. Been reading the marketing material from tuning brands like K&N or Janspeed?

Tell me, what would be the manufacturer's incentive to fit such an inefficient system if that were the case? Fuel economy is a major selling point these days, and you can bet your bottom dollar that manufacturers will be doing everything they can to maximise it.

I don't think they purposely heat the intake tract. Feeding cold air direct to the valves in a modern car requires intricate design in a tight space, as well as expensive materials. For the very small gain in performance that a cold air feed gives, it just isn't worth it.

Old cars had lots of underbonnet space, so choosing the 'best' route (few sharp bends, constant bore, away from hot areas) for the intake tract was easy. Modern cars have no space at all, so the intake tract just goes wherever there is room. It is more a case that they don't bother to try and cool it, rather than than purposely heating it.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

gfewster-I was being Sarcastic-I thought the tone was obvious!

Back in the days of carburettor engines, the intake manifold was heated and the air filter drew air from the exhaust manifold. It was necessary to prevent carb icing and fuel puddling in the manifold at low load. Hot rodders realised that WOT performance was hampered and a market of cold air kits (optmistically called ramair-like total pressure is going to be different from static pressure at road speed) emerged. Enthusiasts conveniently ignored the awful low load and transient response side effect. With multi point/direct injection, these concerns are moot. All modern engines are cold air induction, but the 'performance' market doesn't like to lose it's easy money spinners.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Andy P
Some common sense:

www.pumaracing.co.uk/gentune.htm
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Lygonos

Not too relevant for turbo-engine tuning.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

An afterthought over the airfilter. I am in our group of old idiots a flying instructor,between we three we own five planes.All fitted with standard wiremesh K & N filters.At the local airfield all 70+ planes all fitted as standard K & N wiremesh filters. If you what to be accused of murder or suicide try to suggest paper filters.

True you can say that is not a car engine and has to perform in an other way but it is well that your life hangs on the line and paper is still paper.

At this airfield a self builder\owner has converted a Nissan micra TD diesel engine as his power source(chipped and K&N filter) He has more than 200 hours up, flys very cheaply through europe and laughs us out with his (to us) cheap shell V diesel fuel.

Again you can say that is not a car but that are the facts and cynics cannot in anyway dispute that.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
Opahale-if you're going to tell lies, at least say things that are unfalsifiable, so you look less of an idiot.

Gosh how clever! Lycoming and Continental build those heavy, polluting, inefficient, low compression air cooled engines running on 100LL. If only someone would think of installing modern common rail diesel engine instead. Private air travel would be revolutionalised!

It's never that simple. The shortcomings of aircraft engines are endured because of their simplicity and failsafe operation.
There are very few diesel engines certified for light aircraft. Experimental aircraft (to which you must be referring) can of course use an engine of the designer's choosing. Diesel still isn't popular. The complexity is one thing. Torque fluctuations are another. The torque fluctuations are dependent on the number of cylinders, and the compression ratio. Proprellers do not like torque fluctuations...

That's why delta Hawk went down the 2 stroke alley...

Now, stop boasting and grow up.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

Boasting ? we are only doing what the yanks are doing and why are Renault busy with a flat 2 cylinder 4 piston DCI diesel motor and why are we using 6 blade composite props.

The current motor here is the flat 4 from Rotax if you think that is simple look it up in google.

Of course we need to grow up and we we are idiots because we just do it and prove it

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
Where does the 'we' come into it-were you involved in its development?
Can't wait to see superchips "up to 30%" stage 1, phase 2 chip for the carby.

I wish Renault luck with the opposed piston scavenged motor-they'll need it. Plenty of engineering consultancies have lost a fortune on researching 2 strokes in general, and the opposed piston system in particular. The need for two rotating assemblies is a massive disadvantage, and the recipricating mass is still 4 pistons, 4 con rods. For 2 power strokes/rev. No better than a 4 cylinder 4 stroke. Absence of a valve train is a plus, but more than offset by the need for an external scavenge pump. Ricardo are also trying hard with a 2 stroke, variable compression design-I'm somewhat doubtful. Detroit Diesel threw everything at trying to sort out their 2 stroke diesels, and have spent the last 25 years desparately trying to get out of the 2 stroke business. It's a funny old world. le plus ca change...
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

we is a long story and not that interesting. Aero diesel engines are another topic than chip tuning a car. However look up WWW.Zoche.de, very nice yet to a concrete delivery date and price.Also Freedom motors,w***el ag,centurion 2.0,SMA LE SR-305 E, and WAM.

All these sites will give you an insight into the future of Aero Diesel engines plus there are many gifted self builders busy only for their own use.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

You've been censored opahale! HJ thinks your contributions are offensive.

Aero diesel engines are not new-they have been used since the 1930s. Seldom will you find a genuinely 'new idea' in engine technology. Sometimes improvements in materials or electronic control will make an old concept viable-but the concept is almost never new. Wikipedia still cites claims of Bob Crower's amazing 6 stroke engine-the idea of which was patented in 1915. Poor old Crower may be able to grind a camshaft but his understanding of thermodynamics is woeful.

whilst the aviation industry continues to believe that mechanical simplicity is the key to safety in small planes (notice that virtually all certified aero engines still use carburettors) the diesel engine hasn't a chance.

Self builders don't have any of the inconvenience of convincing a sceptical FAA that their engines should be certified airworthy. Shoehorning an automotive Turbo diesel into an engine bay hardly merits theterm 'gifted'.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

SMA is Renault and the LE SR.305 E has a full european certification. Your reaction is the reason why you never hear what we are doing. If you think for one minute the FAA is dificult try the RLD.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

Back to OEM paper filter explain why that costs 67 euro`s per 20,000 km`s. K&N costs me nothing however I still have to pay for the pollen filter, 46 euro`s per 20,000 KM. Is that clever after marketing of a ripoff ?

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster
It doesn't cost 67 eur per 20,000km. If you pay that for it, you're an idiot. Buy it elsewhere and fit it yourself.

FOR THE LAST TIME, DIESEL ENGINES OPERATE IN AN EXCESS OF AIR - THE INTAKE IS NOT THROTTLED, NO AIR FILTER (other than a clean one) CAN POSSIBLY IMPROVE PERFORMANCE.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster

Sorry - didn't see the sarcasm! Doofus I am....

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - ForumNeedsModerating

>>Do they work as promised?

If you believe in free (fuel) lunches & that the only important component of a high(er) performance vehicle is the raw output from burning the fuel - then yes.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Mchenry
Of course they work brilliantly, their purpose being to correct the elementary mistakes made by the teams of idiot incompetent engineers at Peugeot/VW/Toyota/etc, who have no idea how to design, optimise and manufacture a diesel engine.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

How right you are

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - gfewster
How sarcastic he (or she) is.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig
Of course they work brilliantly, their purpose being to correct the elementary mistakes made by the teams of idiot incompetent engineers at Peugeot/VW/Toyota/etc, who have no idea how to design, optimise and manufacture a diesel engine.

Well how come my wife's car, which was re-mapped nearly 2 years ago, has noticeably more performance, can rev a bit more freely (diesel) AND has had an mpg improvement (approx 3-3.5 mpg)?

I'd accept that a clutch or DMF might go more quickly than it would before, but the reality is i'm not likely to do racing starts and don't ride the clutch, so that should help to minimise it.

Everything in life is a balance. We've done 20,000 miles on a re-map, with the car now showing 60,000 on the clock.

Best thing I ever did to it...and if i've just cursed the thing and the clutch goes next week, i'd still think it was worth it, i've got the performance of the 2.2 model for £325

Edited by Westpig on 31/01/2011 at 19:11

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - madf

I have had a perfomance chip for a year. Fuel consumption?

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - madf

I'have had a performance box for a year.

Fuel consumption? Unchanged.

More power? Yes

smoothness? No change.

Just more diesel rattlle when cold for mile 1 then unnoticeable...

I note the clever remarks are from people without chips. (except on shoulders:-)

Edited by madf on 31/01/2011 at 19:21

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Dutchie
chip chip :)
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Collos25
More power same fuel the magic formula I shall put it along side my bottles of snake oil.No chips on shoulders just an common sense brain.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Dutchie

I buy some snake oil from you Andy sell it here for a profit there will be buyers.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - corax

I'have had a performance box for a year.

How much extra power and torque is there Madf ? Does this make the car nicer to drive long distance? What company supplied the box?

EDIT : I hope you can find this post !

Edited by corax on 20/03/2011 at 13:13

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - tyro

"EDIT : I hope you can find this post !"

And I'm still hoping that unthrottled will find my post of Thursday 10 Feb 2011 at 21:08.

:-)

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

Again, 20,000 miles is hardly conclusive bearing in mind that the engine has a design life of over quarter of a million miles...

If you religiously moniter fuel economy, you're probably not the using anywhere near the maximum torque of the car save for a few short bursts of acceleration.

Having said that, you seem to be well aware of the potential risks and have weighed them up and accept them. That's great-that's what hotrodding is all about. But there are less honourable people who would happily chip a car and if they start having problems, either remove the remap and try and claim a warranty repair, or sell it on to some unsuspecting buyer without mentioning the modification. That isn't cricket.

Finally, if you're getting better mileage it'll be at the expense of a huge increase in NOx emissions. Luckily for chippers, oil burners aren't subject to NOx tests for the annual MOT. Thanks for sending emissions improvements back 20 years. That'll warm my heart as I have to stand outside the pub to smoke so that other people don't have to breathe my pollutants.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Andy P
I think the title of this sums it up nicely:

www.torquecars.com/tuning/tuning-mpg.php
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
Incredible-an honest magazine article!

I've tried the warm air intake trick-couldn't measure much difference. Partly blocking the radiator is the best easy mod i've done. Do it every winter.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Mchenry

Just a few comments:

By buying them in thousands, with no individual packing or handling and no seller mark-up, the manufacturers could get these chips for half the price. Curiously they choose not to, even though a £200 option to give x% more power and torque would be a surefire sales booster.

Look at the sites of the chip sellers: they don't guarantee that their chip in your car WILL give x% more power and y% more torque. They prefer to say that their chip CAN or MAY give UP TO more power and torque. I find that strange, but perhaps I'm just cynical.

How many of the chip enthusiats here have had their vehicles independently tested before and after installing a chip? None apparently (or else they are keeping the results to themselves for some reason). They are genuinely persuaded that their car goes better after installing a chip because that's why they bought the chip. Nobody likes to look a fool or admit they are wrong, even to themselves. I could reccomend several psychology textbooks which deal with the phenomenon of rational people persuading themselves that something happens/exists even when there is no proof, or proof of the contrary.

I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember a chip seller claiming that his products could make the seats more comfortable....

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig

How many of the chip enthusiats here have had their vehicles independently tested before and after installing a chip? None apparently (or else they are keeping the results to themselves for some reason). They are genuinely persuaded that their car goes better after installing a chip because that's why they bought the chip. Nobody likes to look a fool or admit they are wrong, even to themselves. I could reccomend several psychology textbooks which deal with the phenomenon of rational people persuading themselves that something happens/exists even when there is no proof, or proof of the contrary.

Look. After our car was re-mapped, my wife drove it to work the next day and immediately rang me. Her comment of "What a difference, it goes like wotsit off a shovel" is quite out of character for her...and she is not really a car person. If she can notice it in a 4 mile commute, then there's a noticeable difference.

When i'm now sat on a Scottish Highland 'A' road, with the car fully laden, behind a lorry waiting for a safe overtake, I can now do it in 4th gear and have a smooth, linear surge of power, rather than as before have to bung it in 3rd and then run out of revs half way down the lorry.

When i'm in lane 3 of the m/way and someone quite slow moves out of the way, I no longer use 4th, I leave it in 5th, same principle.

I'd guess my chosen m/way cruising speed is now revving a little bit lower...so combined with the no need to change down, that'll be where i'm getting my fuel savings.

The car has been transformed. The garage that does the work on my car took if for an MOT, when I dropped into the equation i'd re-mapped it, the owner said "Oh, I thought it was a 2.2 " (instead of ther 2.0 it is)..

If you don't believe me then you'll just have to presume i'm a liar and b*******ter.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
No, you're not a liar-but the driving experience isn't the whole story. Everyone knows that the torque curve of a direct injection diesel is horrid-great at mid range and poor below ~1700 RPM and above 3000 RPM. The engine designers KNOW this, so why do they do it?

Emissions? Not really. Euro V emissions testing is conducted during the official drive cycle-which for a typical 150hp 2.0 diesel in a medium size family car is a very gentle drive. This leaves the designers with most of the torque curve to play with as they please.

So why is the torque curve horrid-especially that all important 1000-1700RPM range?

1.) insufficient lubrication is one reason. Big torque=big bearing loads. Coupled with low oil pressure, thin oils, and narrow bearing shells. Not a nice combination.

2.)High piston temperatures. The combustion bowl is in the piston crown and the piston isn't directly cooled. Diesel pistons run hot-up to ~350C, compared to ~200C for a gas engine. At 350C, aluminium alloys are really at their limits. Increase the fuelling without an increase in air flow and you push those temperatures higher. At those engine speeds, bumping up the boost is a real struggle-so you have to go richer.

Turbo charged direct injection diesels have been popular in industrial use since the 1950s. Truck drivers quickly discovered that overfuelling could cause piston overheating and seizure.
Marine users had the opposite problem. They idled their engines for days which caused the engines to run cool which could lead to bore glazing.

Direct injection diesels are quite sensitive to misuse. It is this sensitivity that kept them out of passenger car use for so long.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Lygonos

Engines are designed to be run at max revs continuously and thrashed to b*****y. Margins are included to account for sub-optimal servicing, especially extended oil services.

Increasing the torque/power/heat output for brief periods may cause a slight increase in engine wear rates but since road use doesn't permit non-stop thrashing it has little bearing on engine longevity.

As for improved MPG this may be partially explained by being able to avoid downchanges in a more highly tuned engine when accelerating.

Lambasting remaps/chips as being bad for engine health is fairly moot when the pages of this and other forums are littered with unadulterated engine death stories.

On a test-track running for 24hours there may well be a significant difference in engine life after 'turning the wick up' but in normal use with a well serviced engine premature engine death may be difficult to detect.

I'd be more concerned that the basic vehicle's braking/suspension/tyres might be pushed past their safety margins when pressed hard.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
Good points.

Apart from the downshifting theorem.

A 70mph cruise on level ground requires about 35hp. At 2500RPM, that equates to 73lbf.ft of torque. A typical 2.0 Turbo diesel will develop well over 200lbf.ft Why the need to downshift?

If someone can't be bothered to shift-why buy a manual-and a diesel at that?
Lugging a laden car up a hill at 1500PRM to save a gear shift is bonkers. Shifting a 5/6 speed synchro box is easy. Truckers used to row their way through 15+ gears with no synchro hubs for assistance.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Lygonos

An engine running at 2000rpm has a lower level of internal friction than the same engine at 3000rpm.

If the two engines produce the same power by virtue of increasing torque in the slower running engine, it is likely to use less fuel than the faster running engine in producing the same work.

And a car travelling at a steady 70mph is not developing over 200lbft of torque - it may well be if it is accelerating of course - it will be doing ~35hp of work as you mention, and again the slower running engine will likely lose less energy in losses and thus be more efficient (hence 5th gear usually being more efficient than 4th at the same vehicle speed).

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
"And a car travelling at a steady 70mph is not developing over 200lbft of torque - it may well be if it is accelerating of course - it will be doing ~35hp of work as you mention, and again the slower running engine will likely lose less energy in losses and thus be more efficient (hence 5th gear usually being more efficient than 4th at the same vehicle speed)."

I concur. But for cruising at any semi legal speed, the stock map is perfectly adequate. The idea of holding onto low gears in case you might need to suddenly accelerate is plain silly.

But lugging a heavy vehicle up a hill at very low revs to try and cut engine friction isn't a good idea. Spark ignition tuners are terrified of detonation because of the heat loss problem. Yet diesel tuners ignore it because 'that's what diesels do'. That's why heavy duty engines always keep the AFRs above ~20-it's not smoke that's the problem-it's heat. Don't think HD diesels aren't 'tuned'-the turbos sit at 20+PSI, and chamber pressures hit 200BAR.

Heat soak is exactly why Peugeot and other manufacturers use 'overboost features' that allow higher boost/fuelling for very short durations. Getting more power out of a diesel is trivial-getting it to live with the power isn't-and requires user sympathy which frequently isn't present.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Lygonos

True.

However manufacturers design engines to be used under the worst case scenarios eg. fully loaded, going uphill, while towing maximum permitted loads (plus a little extra).

If Car X is, however, not fully loaded and chugging up the Alps at 1700rpm, there is no reason increasing fuelling/boost by a modest amount will automatically predispose the car to dying, or even significantly wearing.

The suggestion that manufacturers are putting out cars that at soooooo close to the edge of performance/boost isn't perhaps quite as true as sugested earlier.

The main problem is what I believe you mention way up the thread - with turbo diesels (moreso than petrol) you just dont know how much extra rope there is to play with.

I would guesstimate there is at least 10-20% extra torque to be chugged out of most engines before one's palms would get sweaty.

Would I risk my own car on such a guesstimate ? Only after plenty other punters have before me - like trying out new drugs on patients!

Edited by Lygonos on 02/02/2011 at 22:20

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Lygonos

As an example, Mitsubishi produce their own brand of tuning kits for their turbodiesels - all of which up the outputs by 20% or so without losing engine warranty.

Of course, they may have tested them fully and found failures only started after 60,000 miles, so maybe it's not so safe after all !

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

Ha ha! That's very true. There's a lot of guesswork involved-and plenty of people on this forum seem to be having problems with engines in (supposedly) stock trim. The problem with engines is it they aren't GCSE Physics rigid bodies problem-there's no safe threshold (ie tensile -20% safety factor).

Good of you to pull some heat out of this thread-I was going to comment about stainless cat back exhausts-but it's benign. Why worry?

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - madf

"High piston temperatures. The combustion bowl is in the piston crown and the piston isn't directly cooled"

Funny that. My Yaris diesel appears to have jet lubrication directed to the underneath of the piston crown..

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
So did those old cummins 855 engines. 300HP from 14 litres. And they still had a habit of seizure. Piston undercooling is better than nothing, but it isn't the same as having the combustion in the head.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - madf

So are you plain forgetful? Or just trying to scare us?

Because you now contradict yourself on engine cooling.....

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
How so?
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

Yesterday I had the 60,000 Km service and to my horror every service now per 2011 includes for Diesels complusory smoke NOx test . My DCI sailed through without any problem.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
No it doesn't. The new 2011 regulations reduces smoke limit down to 1.5m-1 for cars registerd after 2008. Easy to achieve since the smoke test is done at maximium governed speed UNLOADED. Care to show me some evidence that Belgium? has different standard for annual emissions tests than the UK-bearing in mind that EuroV is the standard level accross Europe...?

And I was going to congratulate you for finding a certified diesel powered aircraft engine.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig

There are downsides to having a car re-mapped and having a significant improvement in power/torque (over and above the possibility of clutch/DMF failures or similar..which probably won't affect me, as the car will have been renewed by then, hopefully).

Driving it in the snow, proved more problematic. With a noticeable increase in grunt at 1800 revs, you'd get a nice surge of power, but just at a time you were trying to do everything gently.

The other thing is, a chap I use to do paintwork, had the car to re-spray the rear bumper as yet again some clown had crunched it. When he gave it back, he complained it had a fault and was 'flat' below 1500 revs. It wasn't, is just feels like it, because the 'old' performance is so different to the 'new' performance, but you don't get the 'new' until about 1800 revs.

I couldn't possibly go back to the 'old'.

The comment above about brakes/suspension etc being up to improved performance is valid..i'm rather hoping that because my manufacturer does a 2.2 model anyway and my performance is now similar, that the components will not be that much different (2.0 diesel Jag versus 2.2 ).

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Andy P
What did the remap do to your insurance?
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

I have moved to holland and they hate diesels. That extra test costs me 40 euro`s more per service OUCH. Renault told me they are now testing double up particle filters and they claim a cleaner exhaust than the air they discharge into,that is what they are saying. There was in the time a lot of the discussion over who would pay any engine damage due to the max speed unloaded test. It got so bad in Belgium that you had to give full thottle yourself.

The Belgium smoke test is carried out in government controlled MOT test stations. There test parimiters are available on the internet. The Dutch are the strictest in Europe. Germany has the TUV control also to find on internet.

There are aprox 2300 planes flying with diesel engines and the robin flight trainer is offered standard with diesel. An order for 35 has been placed by a flying school in America.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
I still can't find anything pertaining to a NOx test for the Dutch APK. Soot and NOx are not the same thing. The car owner is responsible for making sure the engine is in good condition before submtting for testing. Silly test anyway, since no one drives around at red line in neutral! They should run it on a rolling road, say 2000 RPM, 300Nm wheel torque, typical of driving conditions.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Dutchie

The clean fuel is LPG gas and a lot of dutch drivers started to use this .The Dutch goverment got wise to this and started to hike up the taxes making it more expensive than it should be.Goverments tend to act hyprocritical if their is money to be made from the taxpayer.LPG is a byproduct and should cost very little.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

The Dutch still use LPG nearly every filling station in Holland has a lpg pump however the rest of europe you have to hunt the pumps down.LPG had its problems round the change from carb to injection and the gas tank, takes up a lot of room in the boot of replaces the reserve wheel. OK untill you get a puncture. Plus have more than 60+ kgs in the back of the car. The car in holland is seen number one taxation object and the government exploit this to the fullest. You do not think for one second they will play fair with the motorist.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
I feel your pain but it's the same in Blighty. Cars are taxed to the hilt while every other pollution emitter gets away virtually scot free (domestic gas, coal, diesel when used for purposes other than motoring (wtf??), aviation kerosene etc.

I always think of the 'eco friendly' Guardianistas gallivanting round the globe on tax free avaiation fuel, while poor old motorist gets clobbered for driving to work. It's not fair!!
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

I don't get the LPG thing either. No one would bother with it if it wasn't taxed so favourably. Why is it taxed so favourably? I suppose in the old days, it was 'cleaner' burning than petrol-but a good fuel injection system (ie any multi point) is clean burning anyway. Carbon emissions are similar to petrol.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

No chemical energy source is a 'by product'. Propane can also be used as a feedstock in the petrochemical industry. I don't see the justification for loopholes. If using crude oil is bad and emitting carbon is bad, then it's bad accross the board. I hired a boat once and the fuel bill was split 60/40. It was assumed that 60% was used for locomotion (taxed), and that 40% was used for the generator (untaxed). Same engine, same diesel, same emissions-ridiculous.

With a proper sequential FI system, I doubt that LPG emits less particulates than petroleum. CO, CO2, and, NOx, and UHC emissions should be virtually identical. If governments want to discourage inefficient vehicles, then offering an incentive to switch to a lighter fraction of crude oil is bonkers. That's the trouble with perverse incentives. The money used for converting to LPG saves tax, but not energy. Why don't they provide an incentive to save energy? Mad world!

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - opahale

Try TNO Delft

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Guanocascade
Go do it. Had my £75 tuning box on since May '07 and never looked back. MPG is slightly better, torque and bhp both increased and the engine is still lively with over 100k on the clock.
Don't worry about the serial posters who trot out the usual pub-experience knowledge!!
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Andy P

If only it was that straight forward - my insurance company said they'd no longer insure me if I had mine remapped.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Lygonos

My old Forester was given the Prodrive treatment - basically an uprated stainless exhaust and ECU giving +30bhp/+40lbft.

Increased premium by 15% or so with Privilege.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Andy P
So of those people who've had this done, what was the overriding reason?

More power? Better driveability? Better economy?
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig

More useable power.. which has equalled better driveability. A little bit better economy was a bonus I didn't expect... or need.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Pat L

I agree with westpig. I had my Passat 2.0tdi 140 remapped two weeks ago and the results so far are impressive. Better performance and possibly a slight improvement in economy (certainly no decrease). The car is just so much more sprightly. It feels like it's been to weight***chers and lost a few hundred kg! Cost me £295 and excellent value imo.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Pat L

wow! That's a sensitive swear filter!

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Guanocascade

All of the reasons stated.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Andy P

Doesn't this make you wonder why car manufacturers themselves don't do this then? Surely if they can liberate more power and better economy it's worth doing?

There must be a downside somewhere.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig

Doesn't this make you wonder why car manufacturers themselves don't do this then? Surely if they can liberate more power and better economy it's worth doing?

There must be a downside somewhere.

Yes. Longevity of the parts. Some folk don't properly service their cars, ride the clutch, misfuel them, thrap them when cold, etc, etc.

Manufacturers don't want warranty claims or a poor reputation for car failures that they can't prove were someone else's fault.

If you look after your car properly, don't abuse it and have it re-mapped, then in my book you get the best of both world's...

..but need to factor in to the equation that a clutch, for example, could fail earlier than expected. As I don't do racing starts or ride the clutch, that's something i'm willing to risk. I haven't researched it, but I wonder if my manufacturer fits the same package to our car (2.0 diesel) as the 2.2 diesel model, in which case i'd have little to worry about.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
'As I don't do racing starts or ride the clutch, that's something i'm willing to risk.'

Clutch wear due to excessive engine input torque isn't like slipping the clutch, whereby the revs rise independently of road speed. The problem is due to torque fluctuations. The quoted engine torque (say 236lbf.ft) is an average value. But every time a piston passes TDC on the power stroke the instantaneous torque value will rise to well over 1000lb.f.ft. So over two revolutions of the crankshaft, the cutch may slip say 20 CAD, once every 180 CAD. Sadly this is completely imperceptible to the driver.

The peak value of torque fluctuations decreases with increasing number of cylinders. This is why a V6 can share a clutch and gearbox with a 4 cylinder engine of lower torque output. 300lbf.ft from a v6 is very different to 300lbf.ft from a 4 pot.

I know you think that I'm a scaremongering doom merchant and I accept that remapped engine/gearboxes do not grenade. But I still maintain that the reason that these heavily hopped up engines survive, is that even 'sprited' drivers use far less torque and horse power than they think they do. For occasional short bursts in acceleration, the modification is probably safe.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Focus_Driver
How well do these 2 cars remap?

2006 mk5 golf 2.0 gti, 200 bhp

2003 e46 BMW 330d 200 bhp

I'm not asking about outright bhp and torque numbers, but how well do these 2 engines respond to remapping? I've heard the 330ds remap well but is that more to do with the turbo, and it being a diesel, so torque too. What about the golf which has a turbo but a lot less torque?

My next car could be one of these. I did have a mk 1.8 tdci focus 115 bhp and neither a tuning box or remap made any difference apart from more smoke.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Andy P
Superchips do three stages for the Golf - stage 2 adds 62bhp/63 lb-ft, stage 3 adds 94bhp/97 lb-ft and stage 4 adds 108bhp/110 lb-ft.

The BMW remap adds 46bhp/69 lb-ft.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - oldtoffee

>>>>How well do these 2 cars remap? 2006 mk5 golf 2.0 gti, 200 bhp

I had the same engine in an Octavia vRS. Revo remapped to 250 bhp - big improvement, plenty fast enough, very smooth and loads more torque on what is already quite a torquey engine for a petrol. Had a negative experience of a very popular chipping company and the Revo was miles better. Some remaps are just bog standard ecu flashed and you're away, others take time and care and usually test at least once and fine tune. Check out the VW/Audi/Skoda forums and see who gets the plaudits and who doesn't. Same advice for the BMW but I have no experience. 330d remapped? Oh go on then!

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Focus_Driver

Interesting about the golf remap - 108 bhp is a big improvement but is that realistically acheiveable?

I've heard good stuff about revo remaps on VW engines.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

Well, 'stage IV' involves significant hardware upgrades, which must be costed against upgrading to a factory 300hp from the outset...

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - ForumNeedsModerating

Why on earth someone would want to remap/tune etc a 200bhp car is beyond me. Either of the 2 cars mentioned are plenty fast enough & I imagine even using all the stock 200bhp would be beyond most drivers for all practical intents & purposes. As they are they're well balanced sporty cars, start mucking around with them and they'll plummet in resale value, cost more in insurance & probably less drive-able all round.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

The desire to 'beat the system' is irresistable to some. Of course you first have to know the system, in order to beat it. But if you know the system inside out, you don't need to ask generic questions on public forums!! Going fast on land, sea, road, or rail always has been, and probably always will be, expensive.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - ForumNeedsModerating

Indeed. Without wanting to be rude to would-be boy-racers & free-lunch believers, tuning-up a car involves alot more than wrenching the guts out of the engine & expecting the rest of the unmodified drive train & chassis to magically produce a higher corresponding performance.

I cringe when I hear people boasting of an extra 20-30-40% bhp and/or torque - do they really think cars are so over-engineered, in these days of CAD & stringent production costings, that manufacturers build in that much 'free' performance capacity into the components?

One rarely sees a 150bhp car being driven to its performance envelope ( ..and thank goodness in a way!), so I do wonder what manoeuvres these sporty chaps think they'll perform with a straining engine/drivetrain/suspension/steering/chassis under them.

The find the fuel consumption 'gains' hard to believe - unless the whole ECU & sensor set is re-calibrated to the re-map or tuning box, it's difficult to understand how the ECU/fuelling sub-system even 'knows' how much fuel it's using.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig

Indeed. Without wanting to be rude to would-be boy-racers & free-lunch believers, tuning-up a car involves alot more than wrenching the guts out of the engine & expecting the rest of the unmodified drive train & chassis to magically produce a higher corresponding performance.

I cringe when I hear people boasting of an extra 20-30-40% bhp and/or torque - do they really think cars are so over-engineered, in these days of CAD & stringent production costings, that manufacturers build in that much 'free' performance capacity into the components?

Conversely though. If, like my manufacturer, they introduce a 2.2 diesel model 18 months after the 2 litre one, presumably to counter the criticisms of lack of mid range oomph by press on drivers i.e. on overtakes etc...then I cannot imagine that manufacturer has completely re-engineered that car to suit the relatively small extra displacement and power (in the big scheme of things) that 200 cc's makes.. i'd guess they are very similar cars indeed, if not exactly the same in most things.

...so, a re-map of the 2 litre one makes sense, as you get the performance of the 2.2 one for very little outlay....(in my case £325).

If I wished to upgrade the car from the 2 litre model to the 2.2 one, i'd be looking at many thousands and the newer one would depreciate more..so I can even factor in the cost of a clutch or DMF if I was to have that fail through stress of a part not designed for it.

For those of you who think this is snake oil and a myth, then you need to open your minds a bit and research the subject properly or actually drive one that has been re-mapped. Refusal to accept something through ignorance is not an overly pleasant human trait.

It's not all about rippin the 'arris out of a car.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - madf

Tthose who decry tuning chips, MAY be unaware that the only difference between a Mark 1 BMW Mini and the Mini Cooper was: .....a retune of the ECU.

(So much for all this not enough tolerances in the basic engine stuff....!:-)

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

True. But there are others that think the ubiquitous VW 1.9PD unit was identical from the 90hp up to the 150hp version. As I've said before, VW engineers made significant hardware changes as they upped the power. Different cams, turbos, intercoolers, injectors, pistons etc. You can't 'optimise' a wastegated GT15 to flow like a VNT17 can you?

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
For those of you who think this is snake oil and a myth, then you need to open your minds

No, I believe tangible gains can be made on TDs by ECU mods only. I simply question the wisdom of doing so, since 'optimisation' is really just tightening the wastegate and injecting more fuel. I would like to see them significant gains on an n/a petrol though. That is snake oil!

2.2 diesel model 18 months after the 2 litre one, presumably to counter the criticisms of lack of mid range oomph by press.

So helpful of the motoring press to help those pathetic engineers. There are of course marketing considerations for gradually 'releasing' the HP in phases. Adding cubic inches isn't difficult in itself-big parts don't cost more than smaller ones. But there may be 'hidden changes' within the engine itself. The fact that they share a block, crank, and head doesn't make them the same engine-even if 95% of parts are identical.

There's a chap on 'technical' with a broken piston ring. Because the short block isn't rebuildable, the failure of one tiny part has turned the entire engine into a (lightweight) boat anchor. I can't see car porn magazines (autoexpress and the ilk) waxing lyrical over a modified piston ring design...

Therein lies the problem-damage is not linear. Increasing power above a certain level doesn't have a linear effect-not remotely.

I have modified engines in the past. I did my own hardware alterations-not paying someone else to plug the ECU into a laptop. I started off thinking that the factory design was inadequate and the engineers incompetent. After a lot of tinkering and testing, I saw the stock mill in new liught: the fact that it did not do what I wanted it to do, doesn't make it a bad design.

If chips4chavs.com or whatever are so good why do they resort to silly claims about 'fuel quality' or 'hot climates in Greece' when these can so easily be demonstarted to be hogwash? Why can't they quantify their fuel savings on an EU test cycle instead of saying 'save UP TO 10%!!!!!!*'? Why can't they offer a proper warranty on their work-and the effects of their work? Because it's c**p work, that's why.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig

2.2 diesel model 18 months after the 2 litre one, presumably to counter the criticisms of lack of mid range oomph by press.

So helpful of the motoring press to help those pathetic engineers.

I meant 'press on ' drivers i.e. drivers that explore and use the performance of their vehicles

After a lot of tinkering and testing, I saw the stock mill in new liught: the fact that it did not do what I wanted it to do, doesn't make it a bad design.

Didn't say the design was originally bad, just that a re-map improved it significantly and better fits my needs..and.. I wondered why my manufacturer introduced a 2.2 model so soon after a 2.0 one. I've presumed they've done it for the same reasons I found, which was lack of urgency when overtaking...(and motoring journalists have highlighted this as well).

If chips4chavs.com or whatever are so good

Why chips4chavs?....Does putting the subject matter in to a derogatory zone win the arguement for you?..or are their genuine companies out there that provide re-maps for customers and wish them to be satisfied..just like any other company would?

Why can't they offer a proper warranty on their work-and the effects of their work? Because it's c**p work, that's why.

Well I can't imagine any company can warranty anything for a customer who only pays £325 for something.. on a car that cost £27k new i.e. the manufacturer has had the £27k and put it in the bank, so they can offset some warranty claims. Then there's the fact the work done does stress some parts more, it must do...on second hand cars with unknown histories...and some people will be hooligans who thrap hell out of their cars...and misfuel them...and don't service them....and get them stolen...etc. You have to be realistic.

I'm not at all technically minded, far from it...and have nothing whatsoever to do with any garage or tuning company.....i'm just reporting back the facts as I have them.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

I feel my car has a useless 5th gear. It has only a 15% speed reduction from 4th, and the engine feels buzzy at motorway speeds. Moreover, there is plenty of torque in reserve during cruising. Since a tall 5th gear costs no more than a short one, why did the manufacturer gear it so low? It would have been cost free way of bumping up the fuel economy, and making the car more refined during cruising. These facts were not lost on the design team. The only logical reason was that the engineers wished to inhibit high load/low RPM driving-probably because it would overload the main bearings, and cause lubrication breakdown and rapid bottom end failure. This fact would not be appreciated by the unwashed public , who would happily take the benefit of extra economy and then snivel to Renault when they started to hear rumbling from the engine after 40,000 miles.

The point is you don't know when you're stressing the engine. Lugging the engine down can be more harmful than redlining it-but because the engine isn't making noise, the driver perceives it as being 'relaxed'.

Getting big dyno numbers out of an engine is really, really easy. Deciding how to make X horsepower is a back of a fag packet calculation for a professional. Deciding whether the internals are up to the job is the tough bit.

I wondered why my manufacturer introduced a 2.2 model so soon after a 2.0 one.

I don't know the commercial secrets of Renault. But it's interesting that they bumped up the displacement rather than just upping the boost pressure on the turbo isn't it...?

Perhaps they had concerns about the durability of the design, and wanted to see how it performed in service in a lower powered application. You're not the first person who wished their 4 banger had the instantaneous grunt of a v8.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Westpig

so soon after a 2.0 one.

I don't know the commercial secrets of Renault. But it's interesting that they bumped up the displacement rather than just upping the boost pressure on the turbo isn't it...?

It's Jag, so Ford....and good point about the extra displacement.

You're not the first person who wished their 4 banger had the instantaneous grunt of a v8.

It's not a question of that, that would be an extreme. It's a difference between a noticeable 'lack' of urge and actually having the confidence to do the 'A' road overtake. If I wanted out and out grunt i'd choose a car with a big grunty engine. I actually wanted an acceptable to me economy/peformance compromise, which i've now got.

My most recent points have been that there is a difference when you re-map...because some folk said there isn't any... and i'm imagining it? I'm not saying and never have domne that there won't be a down side i.e. more stress on parts, it's the risk of whether there will be or won't be... and which parts. The interesting thing will be the long term prognosis. 23 months down the line everything is aok. If it costs me a clutch, so what, it'll have been worth it....if I blow the engine it'll be slit the wrists time...but my fault entirely.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

No, you're not imagining it-there is extra power/torque is there.

I think the 'placebo effect' is aimed at chipped naturally aspirated petrols where the engines use 100% of the oxygen available. You can't do much to increase power without increasing airflow-and a chip can't do that. It can stuff more fuel in and use the evaporative effect to try to create a denser charge, but you're looking at a ~5% gain in exchange for about ~15% greater fuel flow-a terrible return.

To be honest, a 2.0l TD is understressed in normal passenger car driving. You can probably get away with brief overtaking excursions without any penalty at all. The danger is if the same technique was applied to the same engine in a large van pulling a trailor or something. If the engine is frequently working against its rated limit, turning up the wick is probably a very bad idea. Yes, I used weasel words like 'probably, might etc). Design failure is about probabilities alas! There never is a well defined limit to which we can approach.

I don't think your engine will fail-nor do I want it to because 'I told you so'. Happy driving westpig!

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Dutchie

This is a to and fro discussion.Being reading up about whats good and bad about chipping and the various opinions are very diverse.

In your case westpig the bit more performance and economy wont do your engine any harm.Obviously if you trash the engine with a performance chip the engine will be more shortlived.

Thats t why i said if you want a more powefull car buy one.

With you being a engineer fulltrottle your understanding maybe greater than most of us but anything is debatable.

Maybe the manufactures would do the chipping with a guarantee if requested by a customer I would feel more comfortable.

Just my opinion.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - jc2

Many modern diesels "overfuel" for a short period on heavy acceleration to enable you to overtake easily.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

One thing that I have noticed is a tendency of manufacturers to try to push their high output engines onto auto only availability. Take BMW's 335D. Now the BMW PR press dept spin this as saying that the engine makes so much torque that it would make mincemeat of a manual transmission. Hmm...

The 335D makes 425lbf.ft of torque.

Yet Chevrolet are quite happy to mate their supercharged 6.2V8 with 620lbf.ft to a six speed manual. They buy in the TKO 600 transmission from an external supplier-who would quite happily supply BMW.

Performance orientated drivers usually prefer to row their own gears and I bet BMW have lost sales because of this. Now, obviously I can't prove it, but I suspect that the auto only is to protect the engine rather than the gearbox. I reckon that there are areas of the torque curve where BMW would rather that engine did not linger-and with suitable programming of the 'box, can be neatly avoided. The 'manual override' is of course subject to ECU approval!

Skoda's VRS is also DSG only.

This wouldn't be the first time a manufacturer has pulled this trick. In 1970 Cadillac rated their 500 CID V8 at 400 hp@ 4400 RPM. Hotrodders loved this engine for its big displacement and lightweight block. It was a popular swap. However they quickly discovered that the weak valvetrain disintegrated if you tried to exceed 4000RPM-less than the factory RPM for rated HP! Of course, the engine was fitted to luxo barges and the slushbox was set to upshift at 3500RPM-even under kickdown, so it never saw it's rated 4400 RPM! Of course, the average cadillac driver was more interested in refinement than performance, so as long as performance was 'adequate', no one asked any searching questions!

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - tyro

Unthrottled,

I've read your comments with some interest.

There are three things that I would appreciate your opinion on.

1) You accept that remapping a car's ECU can improve the performance of a car. Some tuning companies offer remaps specifically for improvement in fuel economy as well as remaps specifically for performance. How does this work - it indeed it does work? And what components of a vehicle would most be put at risk by such a remap?

2) If a turbo-diesel car had its ECU remapped, with the effect of greater torque between 1000 and 1700 rpms, and the driver of the vehicle was to use this change largely so as to drive the car more slowly in top gear (say at 40 mph) - what components of the vehicle would most be put at risk by such driving behaviour?

3) At the bottom of this thread - tinyurl.com/5wvnlpv - the comment is made that Saab are "one of the few manufacturers that provided a tuning kit as an approved accessory." Does this mean that some engines are a lot more sensitive to remaps than others? i.e. I would assume that Saab are confident that the components in the vehicle concerned are fairly robust - whereas in other cases manufacturers would have no such confidence. Or does it mean that Saab do more than just remap the ECU when they retune the car?

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

1.) This is the most controversial point in terms of tuning matching the claims-I think we all agree that a turbo diesel can be tuned to be more powerful. We disagree as to the degree of the risk. To improve the fuel economy you really need to make the engine more efficient. It is hard to see how you can do this without mechanical alterations. They can retune the ECU to cut out EGR and advance the injection timing but the gains are pretty small. Put simply, the thermodynamic efficiency of an engine is the difference between the 'negative' work done on the compression stroke and the 'positive' work done by the expansion stroke. Everything else is just friction and can't be 'tuned out'.

2.)Ah, this is where the tuning companies claim the gains in economy can be made. But let's examine it in more detail. To drive at a constant 40 mph on a level road in a mid sized hatch back requires about 10-15hp. At 1500 rpm that equates to 35-50lbf.ft of torque (well within the limits of a factory torque curve of a typical 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine). In fact, in a 4 cylinder diesel, you'll probably find that the engine feels 'rough' with a lot of vibration if you try and pull hard at low RPM. That roughness is due to the high compression ratio causing big torque fluctuations between the compression and expansion stroke-which can't be tuned out! If you were able to data log how much torque you actually use compared with what is available-you'll find that 90% of the time there's plenty in reserve. But the rechip gives people the confidence to use the higher gears-which they should have been using anyway.

Theoretically, If you were to 'lug' an engine down low with really high torque, I'd be worried about the oil film between the big end bearings and the main bearings being forced out and allowing metal to metal contact between the crank pins and the journals. This is why manufacturers have dropped the static compression ratio as they've upped the torque levels. But they've reached a plateau of ~16:1 for ~500cc cylinder engines. Below this, cold starting is unreliable. Big race diesels employ compression ratios as low as 10:1 to combat this.

Depending on the size of the turbo compressor relative to the size of the engine, you might push the compressor into surge-which can seriously shorten the life of the turbo. If you look at 'technical' board there are a lot of people with 'turbo not working' problems. ECUs are very quick to put the engine into limp home mode if the turbo overspeeds into the 'surge' regime, so they are obviously concerned about this.

3.) Yes, of course some engines will be more sensitive to the rechip than others. It has been rightly pointed out that, for marketing reasons, there are some engines that are mechanically identical with different ratings. If this is appears to be the case, make sure that all the major components are identical, not simply that they are from the same family and share the same displacement.

With the Saab example, the author doesn't say whether his 150hp engine was petrol or diesel. Saab produced a 150hp 1.9TD, and a 150hp 2.0 turbo petrol. 150hp from a 2.0 turbo petrol is very low (why bother with the turbo?!) leading one to question whether the 'tune up' was just a sales gimmick to pursuade wavering buyers (40 'free' hp sweetens a deal even if you start off with at very low level and you end up exactly where the competitors are).

The first editions of engines are often conservatively rated-allowing a new engine to come to market and effectively allow early buyers to long term product test it. But you probably don't want to take the most powerful version of a design as a starting point for 'hotrodding' since it was amost certainly maxed out. (example: my engine is a bored out version of a smaller engine leading to thin cylinder walls. In bone stock form it is very prone to head gasket failure-ie it is marginal in stock form. This would not be a good candidate for hotrodding).

Hope this helps.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Mike H

With the Saab example, the author doesn't say whether his 150hp engine was petrol or diesel. Saab produced a 150hp 1.9TD, and a 150hp 2.0 turbo petrol. 150hp from a 2.0 turbo petrol is very low (why bother with the turbo?!) leading one to question whether the 'tune up' was just a sales gimmick to pursuade wavering buyers (40 'free' hp sweetens a deal even if you start off with at very low level and you end up exactly where the competitors are).

I posted a while back about my Saab, with my 150bhp petrol being upgraded to 192bhp. Definitely petrol! There is also an approved chip upgrade for the 150bhp diesel to take it to 175bhp. There was also a 120bhp version of the diesel, the difference being that the 120 is 8-valve and the 150 16-valve. No idea of the torque figures for the upgrades. The 2.0 was designed as a low-pressure turbo to improve torque and therefore flexibility. The tuning kit (ECU upgrade) effectively makes it a high-pressure turbo. Yes, the inital power output was low, and I wouldn't want to second-guess the reasons for the strategy. But, IIRC the Golf GTI was available with something like a 115bhp normally aspirated engine back around 2000, which is also pretty low but presumably not easily upgradeable without hardware changes. And regarding your comment that you probably wouldn't want to take the most powerful version as the starting point for upgrading, the Aero, 2.3 (petrol) litres with 250bhp, could be safely upgraded to 280bhp with ECU, intercooler & exhaust swop without any danger to the engine. The engines are pretty much bulletproof if looked after - which I guess applies to most cars. My mildly-upgraded automatic Aero is still in good form at 154,000.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled
Mike H. Glad to hear the car is runnning well.

The 1.9JD was a Fiat sourced unit, the 2.2 was an GM engine-completely different base designs.

Thanks for the info on the JTD upgrade.So, Saab offered a 17% increase in power to 175hp which puts it in the 'industry standard'. VAG also offer a 170hp 4pot diesel in the 2 litre class.

But as far as I'm aware, no OEM offers more than ~170hp from a single turbo 2.0l Diesel. Now the chipping companies are offering gains of up to 30% and promising to take the 170 hp VAG unit north of 200HP. If no OEM is confident enough to offer 100hp/litre and stand behind their work, that worries me.

Saab, BMW, and Mercedes are all using sequential turbos in their ultra high specfic output diesel engines. Those turbo systems are expensive-so they don't take that decision lightly. You can't 'tune' a single turbo to flow like a twin sequential.

The 2.3 Aero upgrade-again a relatively small 12% increase in power WITH a larger intercooler and exhaust-hardware changes! Big difference from 20-30% with a chip alone...

I'm not in any way 'down on Saab' and hp/litre isn't a good indicator of performance. I'm just pointing out that there does seem to be a plateau in how far you can go and still back the engine with a guarentee. I suppose I interpret the thread as: how far can you go on ECU reflash alone.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - corax

Unthrottled

What about the VW 1.9 PD 105bhp engine? Say you owned one of these and wanted to add another 20bhp to improve it's performance. The 2.0 PD 140bhp engine suffers from oil pump drive issues, something that has been mentioned many times on this forum. In this case, wouldn't it be better to choose the more reliable engine and tweak it, rather than choose the more powerful 2.0 PD engine and suffer possible engine failure?

Edited by corax on 10/02/2011 at 19:08

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Mike H
Mike H. Glad to hear the car is runnning well. The 1.9JD was a Fiat sourced unit, the 2.2 was an GM engine-completely different base designs.

I suppose I interpret the thread as: how far can you go on ECU reflash alone.

My comments re 8- & 16-valve refer only to the 1.9JTD unit, I wasn't referring to the 2.2 TiD unit at all - that is notoriously difficult to upgrade.

150 to 192bhp sounds pretty good for an ECU reflash.

As you say, there's a limit to how far you can go on just an ECU reflash, which is precisely why Saab (or rather Hirsch, as I'm sure you'll pick me up on this at some point ;-)), engineered the 280bhp kit with a constant, all day, autobahn cruise at naughty speeds in mind. A modest increase of 30bhp, but sustainable all day. And 280bhp ain't bad from 2.3 litres.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - unthrottled

If you cant get your kicks from 280 hp-the problem doesn't lie withth engine!

re: the 8v/16v 1.9. oops! You're spot on.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - tyro

Thanks for that very full answer, unthrottled.

There are one or two things I would appreciate clarification on.

"To drive at a constant 40 mph on a level road in a mid sized hatch back requires about 10-15hp. At 1500 rpm that equates to 35-50lbf.ft of torque (well within the limits of a factory torque curve of a typical 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine). In fact, in a 4 cylinder diesel, you'll probably find that the engine feels 'rough' with a lot of vibration if you try and pull hard at low RPM. That roughness is due to the high compression ratio causing big torque fluctuations between the compression and expansion stroke-which can't be tuned out! If you were able to data log how much torque you actually use compared with what is available-you'll find that 90% of the time there's plenty in reserve."

I was under the impression that the problem with driving at too low revs - i.e. the thing that caused labouring of engines - was that there was not enough torque. I take it that I was wrong?

"But the rechip gives people the confidence to use the higher gears-which they should have been using anyway."

Are you saying that someone who chose to drive their turbo diesel car in 4th gear at (say) 40 mph because it felt 'rough' in 5th gear at that speed was incorrect, and that they should have been driving in 5th - despite the 'rough' feel?

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - citroentech
I have recently purchased the itallian box for my leon184 tdi. After much playing about with it i can get the full 100% on sport and only 60% in race. I wont be using the other two settings as race is max torque. I did try it at 100% but eml and coil light came on and limp mode too. Erased faults with simple obd reader and turned down box slightly. Magic. I am now side by side with the leon cupra 280. Not bad really for £60. Recomend to anyone.
Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - FP

A thread resurrected from 2011 - and in case today's readers don't want to plough through all the preceding discussion, there's views that a re-map is more sophisticated than a plug-in box, that squeezing more performance out of an engine results in poorer fuel consumption, worse emissions and increased stress on the engine and drive train.

And you need to inform your insurance company.

I'm making no comment except that it might not be the one-way street the poster suggests.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - dieseldogg

Eh what!

If I related the anecodte about the Spitfire pilots who complained about the very poor range afforded by the Merlin engine.

RR could not understand as such-and-such new variable pitch propeller was designed to be super efficient for crusing at "x" knots at "y" engine rpms.

On investigation it was discovered that the piolets were feathering the prop to run the engine at higher than necc rpm's because it "sounded sweeter"

boom boom!

Edited by dieseldogg on 04/02/2015 at 10:27

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Ethan Edwards

Thanks Citroentech - I never realised that TDI's apparently have have a 'coil' fitted - do you mean an ignition coil? Really?

I always thought that 'tdi' meant it was a diesel having compression ignition. Is it only the VW group that have this fitted? Don't recall seeing these or any of the accompanying plugs leads dizzy etc on any of the TDI's that I've owned. Guess you learn something every day.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - skidpan

When Citroentech refers to the "coil light" I suspect he means the glow plug light.

Diesels don't have plugs, plug leads, coils, dizzys or any other ignition component.

Diesel tuning chips - do they work as promised? - Ethan Edwards

Yep I was aware of that. Thanks.

 

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