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WHAT IS ECU REMAPPING?
Some Light Reading
WHAT IS AN ECU?
The engine's electronic control unit (ECU) is your car's main brain
, and is connected to many others within the vehicle's electrical system. Each ECU reports back information to the main brain - certain parameters - required for the engine to make informed decisions, ensuring the correct and safe operation of the vehicle
For example, petrol engines require, among other things, a perfect ratio of air to fuel to operate efficiently. The huge amount of data that is processed by the engine's ECU determines the decision on how much air and fuel is released and adjusts the ignition ('spark') timing accordingly, allowing for optimum performance.
HOW CAN I BENEFIT FROM REMAPPING?
A 'map' refers to the file (or 'calibration file') that is stored within the engine's ECU
. This provides the engine with reference data while it's running. Large car manufacturers produce vehicles that are distributed to various continents, with different drivers, environments, rules and conditions. As a result, the cars are 'mapped' to a happy medium
; a standardised design that takes into account all of these different factors. Inevitably, power is sacrificed in the process.
By reading the map in your car, and carrying out a professional assessment, I'm able to customise it and create a bespoke version, which compliments your exact driving style. This process not only improves performance, but extracts the full potential from each component of your engine, ensuring they work more efficiently together.
As a result, you'll achieve the same level of power without having to fully compress the throttle. Increased torque
at lower engine revs could see up to 15% better fuel economy
, sharper throttle response, better towing capabilities and a clear improvement on your over-taking manoeuvres
, where you no longer have to change down a gear.
Vehicle manufacturers commonly use the same engine in various models, detuned and capable of more power. In most cases even using the same ECU, just with modified software. In this situation, the car's power on a lower specification vehicle can improve to above the standard figures of its more costly higher performance model.
Forced induction engines such as those fitted with turbo chargers or superchargers tend to see the most noticeable improvement in power, due to the increase of boost pressure. However, other vehicles can benefit a great deal from ironing out flat spots within the rev range, increasing torque and providing an all-round more responsive, lively and fuel-efficient drive.
THE PROCESS OF REMAPPING
What To Expect
Before WE start working on your vehicle, you’ll receive a consultation, where we’ll discuss your individual requirements. We pride ourselves in offering a bespoke service and will ensure you are getting the correct tuning option for your specific needs.
Your vehicle with then have a basic pre-tuning health check. This will include a road test and a basic fault scan of your engine's ECU, to ensure there are no underlying faults with your vehicle before any software has been installed. At this point we will have a good insight into the engine's condition and whether it is a good candidate for custom software. From here we will, if necessary, check the ECU type for compatibility of 'On Board Diagnosis' (OBD) communication or bench communication and will provide you with an upfront and transparent estimate for the service.
Once this estimate has been agreed, we will safely remove your engine’s original file for customisation. We will either do this by OBD communication or by removing the ECU for bench reading. In some cases, the ECU may be locked or have an anti-tuning software, but we can usually overcome this by using specialist equipment. In the unlikely event that we am unable to overcome this, we will advise you immediately and you will not be charged for any work carried out
. Once the file is successfully removed, it will be sent for customisation to Blerg Ltd (Btuning), where each file is individually calibrated by their experienced file writer. At this point we will include your specific requests, for example, whether you require better fuel economy, performance or any other software extra available.
Your modified file will be sent back to us. We will then safely write it back to your engine's ECU. The time for the writing process will vary with different ECU types but this usually takes between 30mins to 2 hours. The whole process can take between 2-6 hours, in some cases longer, where anti tune, larger control module files, data logging and/or testing is required. So we would always recommend a vehicle is with us for the day for optimum results.
Having installed your modified software, we will carry out a post-map road test and a final diagnosis check of the engine's ECU to ensure you are happy with the service.
ODB & BENCH Explained
Most vehicles have an 'On Board Diagnosis' (OBD) port which will allow me to access the engine's ECU and read its unique mapping file. This is the cheapest and most direct approach to reading your vehicle's configuration and installing the modified software.
However, with modern vehicles, typically from 2008 onwards, accessing this information can be difficult due to a 'locked' ECU, a tri-core processor or other restrictions. This means I have to remove, unlock and “bench” communicate with the ECU. This is a longer process with additional labour involved but I will always advise you before proceeding with the service, to ensure you’re happy with the price. You can be assured that I will always attempt to carry out the process using the OBD port first to provide you with the most cost and time effective option where possible.
All software is developed from unique hand-picked rolling road and tuning operators from around the world to ensure safe and reliable adaptions are made. These are then further adapted to be custom-suited and adapted to your vehicle, its modifications and your requirements. Power figures are provided from initial power runs on a like-for-like engine.
Every vehicle receives a pre-tune road test to check parameter readings and a health check to ensure optimum but safe improvements.
WHAT ABOUT ROLLING ROAD REMAPS?
There is a common misconception that having a custom 'rolling road' remap is the only option but most standard car ECU's cannot be live
-mapped. Top Gear Tuning have developed their files on the rolling road in the UK so I'm able to provide customers with the same high-quality result, at a reduced price. With a 'rolling road' map, you're charged an additional cost, which is for the power run time before and after on a rolling road. Not only is this a more expensive option, but the figures may vary depending on the current conditions and your location. Please take this into account when choosing your tuning option.