All modern cars and vans on the road today have an ECU(ENGINE CONTROL UNIT). This Engine Control Unit can almost be described as the vehicles ‘brain’ and contains a small processor that takes information from various sensors throughout the engine. It analyses information such as the engine temperature, accelerator pedal angle, oxygen content in the burnt exhaust gases as well as many more parameters. Using the information from these sensors it can then add the right quantity of fuel, at just the right time to provide a good mix of fuel economy, performance and emission control when pulling away, overtaking, pottering down the road or zooming down the motorway.
When a manufacturer develops a new car they have to take into consideration all of the conditions it may be subjected to in all of the regions in which they intend to sell this model. This means instead of just optimising the ECU’s program or ‘map’ to deliver the best performance or the most fuel efficiency they have to make compromises to the map to take into account these potential differing operating conditions. These could include sub-standard fuels, extremes in temperature and altitude, differing emission laws and even the possibility that vehicle may not be serviced on a regular basis and in accordance with the manufacturers recommended instructions.
ECU remapping is taking a read from the ECU’s processing chip of the vehicles standard compromised map and adjusting various parameters within the map such as fuel pressure, boost pressure (on turbocharged applications) ignition advance and throttle pedal control amongst others to release the true performance from the engine. It is a completely safe process as it is just giving the engine the performance it should have had in the first place before all the compromises were applied to the original programming. Every engine will have its own unique map and by adjusting this we can fine tune the characteristics of the engine; unleashing more power and in many cases reduce fuel consumption too.
ECU remapping will not only improve the engines power and torque figures it will also sharpen the throttle response and widen the power-band. This will make the power delivery a lot more linear, which in turn will make the vehicle feel a lot livelier to drive and the engine more flexible. Frequently, the vehicles power output is restricted by the manufacturer for no other reason than to ensure that the vehicle fits into a class to suit fleet buyers. As a driving enthusiast, you do not need or want such restrictions placed upon your vehicles ECU and its performance therefore you can benefit from the hidden power and torque locked away within your engine management system.
The other main benefit of remapping will be a reduction in fuel consumption. With the extra torque especially at the bottom of the rev range you will see a fuel saving as it will require less throttle input to maintain motorway speeds, you can drive in a higher gear at a slower speed as well as helping significantly when fully laden, towing or on gradients and even in start stop traffic.
Many see the modern crop of Turbocharged diesels as the future of road car tuning. Even in North America, a nation famed for its love of the petrol engine is starting to come around to the benefits of turbo diesel passenger cars in particular. These engines offer fantastic potential for reliable low cost tuning without removing any of the appeal of buying and running a turbo diesel powered vehicle, such as economy, reliability and longevity.
After your ECU upgrade to your turbocharged diesel engine, you will enjoy:
Turbocharged petrol engines have always been regarded as the sports flagship engine for good reason. They boast far higher power & torque figures than a non-turbocharged power-plant with similar displacement and are usually fitted to the manufacturer's flagship models. They are also ideal candidates for remapping as the ECU also controls the wastegate (turbo boost pressure control).
After your ECU upgrade to your turbocharged petrol engine, you will enjoy:
The normally aspirated petrol engine, whilst not being the easiest of engines to tune, can still benefit from a 10-15% power increase with added torque by careful reprogramming of various engine parameters within the map. Parameters such as the fuel and ignition curves can be fine tuned to give better power & torque output. On some engines the camshaft timing can also be tuned within the map, giving additional improvements.
In many cases, 'after market' tuning items such as freer flowing exhausts, high flow air filters and re-profiled camshafts can only be fully utilised by the engine once the necessary adjustments have been made within the ECU. Careful recalibration of the correct maps can unlock the potential of your new engine parts. Further power gains may also be available when a higher octane fuel is used, allowing for more ignition timing.
When we remap a vehicle, especially when fuel saving is the priority we focus on improving the low end torque in particular and widening the power-band as far as we can.
This increase in low end torque will mean less throttle pedal input is required to maintain cruising speeds, when fully laden or when on a gradient. It will also mean that the vehicle will be more comfortable in higher gears at slower speeds as well requiring fewer gear changes overall.
If you combine these factors with adjusting your driving style to make the most of the extra low end torque you will see an improvement in fuel consumption. This is most effective on turbo-diesel engines where the savings could be as much as 20%!
We do not change any hardware in your vehicle, we just modify the operating parameters in the ECU’s program or ‘map’. In many cases the map stored on the ECU’s processor can be accessed via the on-board diagnostics port (OBD) in the vehicle, normally found under the dashboard. In some newer models the ECU will have to be removed from the vehicle and the casing opened, our technicians will then use specialist tools to read the original map straight from the processing chip.
The technician will then upload the original map to our map writing team who will adjust the parameters to maximise the performance, fuel economy or a clever blend of both. Depending on the vehicle and ECU type the remapping process can take under an hour and if at any time you wish to return your vehicles ECU to its original default settings, this can be done easily and free of charge as we always keep a copy of the original software as a backup.
YES: There is nothing illegal about remapping an ECU on an engine. Although you should inform your insurance company of any alterations made to the vehicle.