The Indian car market has never seen such an enthusiasm since the beginning. The automotive intelligence is growing towards and so the naivety amongst people, resulting into dangerous shortcuts. I have been asked to write this column in context of chip tuning and ECU remapping in the Indian automotive market; its effects and advantages. Now, the big question, what is an ECU? – ECU refers to the Engine Control Unit and almost be described as the “Vehicle’s Brain” and contains a processor that exchanges information from various sensors and actuators.
Lamborghini Gallardo Balboni (LP 550-2) Limited Edition (250 units) tuned to perfection for my internship project.
What is ECU Remapping
All the vehicles are equipped with an ECU nowadays and when a manufacturer develops the new vehicle, they take into consideration all the conditions, the vehicle may be subjected to in the region/ country they are going to sell. Yet, these stock engines are designed and calibrated with respect to general buyers’ demand. So here comes the interference with chip tuning and ECU remapping, done by some steered automotive intelligent brains (claimed nomenclature). Remapping starts with the ECU reading of the compromised stock map and a study of various parameters that can be varied with respect to the desired output. It is a safe process and very well legal in the subcontinent.
Saving Fuel with an ECU Remapping?:
There is always a trade off between torque and fuel consumption. Aftermarket engine tuners have achieved a promising solution by generating enough low end torque in order to provide a better fuel efficiency, compromising on lower end torque to open the window of power furthermore. Low end torque directly links to your throttle angle aka throttle position. In general, the less you push your gas pedal, the less your engine will drink and less the torque will be. But the big question still lies; sustaining the engine and avoiding it from stalling still remains a very tough task to deal with. Engine tuners have been achieving some promising results to increase the fuel efficiency and increase in some more BHPs.
HOT Chips / Chip Tuning:
There have been numerous cases where chip tuning typically do not do much of anything, and if there is a mismatch (quite often seen) with the given engine, there has been reports of loss in power and efficiency. But will that stop people to spend money on this? NO! The chips or so called “HOT CHIPS”, are nothing but erasable programmable read only memories (EPROMs) which consists of the acquisition of data from the ECU to manage and study the engine functions, later to vary them with respect to the desired outputs.
ECU Remapping/Chip Tuning – Worthy of the money?
Here comes a story:
June, 2009- It has been two years, I was riding a single cylinder 135 CC motorbike by Bajaj and I started to fantasize about more power, whenever I saw a bigger block running faster than me, and most importantly, I had to share the bike with my brother, who used to go to work once I come back from college. My bike was not fast enough. That was the time dominated by the old school carburetors, Indian market had just seen two motorbikes with fuel injectors. So, there was a big question, how do I go faster and faster with the petite engine. Back in the old days when engine tuning was just the game of materials and was done by a single mechanic by rotating precisely the former and changing the jets. I developed a similar set up for the bike and believe me, it used to take to the speeds, I could never imagine with the stock bike. But….hold on to your horses people, I went through a lot of problems down the road in my drive train. The bike’s drive train was not strong enough to withhold the torque generated by the “Twist of the throttle” and amount of fuel flow. Sooner my clutch plates started eating out all the Ferrodo, making it more difficult for the gearbox to transmit the original score of the torque value to the sprocket and to the wheels. So where I was wrong? I did not estimate the torque flow in my powertrain, I realised the principles of energy flow and its conservation. My drivetrain could not sustain the torque and there are losses. The clutch was a slow sloth bastard, which was addicted to the kissing point every time I tried to shift gears. After all, the only point to be noted, “Just engine remapping or chip tuning will never make you go fast and furious!”. Note it down somewhere.
So coming back to the present, to maintain the high and low end torque and power flows, the tuners must have to keep in the mind for the whole powertrain tuning. However, there are some big names in this field, they are educating people about the details of vehicle performance tuning and that leaves a smile on every petrolhead’s face.
At last, ECU remapping if done correctly can lead you all the way to the desired results else it can leave you in an abyss of disappointment and dismay. If you drive a car with low suspensions, negative cambers that maybe eating out your tires on Indian roads, a wing size of a DTM car along with a very mistuned engine, some fancy Japanese stickers with names never have been seen with odd names and a sound system that can wake up whole island if played “Baby Doll or some random Honey Singh’s Rap”, then you are nothing but a serious attention seeker and that is not vehicle performance tuning. It may sound harsh for the perspective and point of view, but that is not the way the performance wants you to go!
Allow me to introduce me after all; I am an automobile innovation engineer worked and still working with different racing teams as a consultant.
#DriveSensibly #TuneTastefully #TorqueNerd