News: ecu tuning

Featured Customer: Thicc86

By Boosted Autosports

Featured Customer: Thicc86
We had the pleasure of chatting to the owner of one of our latest TredWear customers, Gold Coast resident Andrew Walsh - owner of the Thicc86 Widebody Turbocharged E85 Toyota 86. A strong fan of TredWear Tyre Lettering and long term user over the years, find out what he had to say.

Read more


Tuned: 2017 Mercedes-AMG GTs

By Boosted Autosports

Tuned: 2017 Mercedes-AMG GTs

The impressive Mercedes-AMG GTs features the acclaimed 4L V8 Bi-Turbo Powerplant yielding 375kW & 650Nm at the flywheel. But when that isn't enough, Boosted Autosports sorted sort things out for improved bottom end, response and overall power & torque. 

Read more


What Is Software Tuning? How to make more power!

By Boosted Autosports

What Is Software Tuning? How to make more power!
  — There is more than just one way to tune — 

What exactly is software tuning?

Software tuning is one of the more abstract concepts in the automotive world. Unlike hardware, you cannot touch, see or hear a tune modification. You can only feel the changes in performance caused by a software tune.

Engine tuning is an adjustment, modification of the internal combustion engine, or modification to its control unit, otherwise known as its ECU (Engine Control Unit). It is adjusted to yield optimal performance, to increase an engine’s power output, economy, or durability.

Thanks Wikipedia!

Our focus in this article is on the software aspects of tuning not the hardware. There are some quotes from Wikipedia which may help you further understand. Note that Wikipedia article refers to software tuning as “Chip Tuning” and for the purposes of this particular article we will treat the term as interchangeable with “Software Tuning”:

Chip tuning refers to changing or modifying an erasable programmable read only memory chip in an automobile’s or other vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU) to achieve superior performance, whether it be more power, cleaner emissions, or better Fuel efficiency. Engine manufacturers generally use a conservative electronic control unit map to allow for individual engine variations as well as infrequent servicing and poor-quality fuel. Vehicles with a remapped electronic control unit may be more sensitive to fuel quality and service schedules.

There are also a few paragraphs about how performance is obtained:

Performance gains are realized by adjusting the ignition timing advance. Different timing may result in better performance. However, to cope with advanced timing, one must run high-octane gasoline to avoid pre-ignition detonation or pinging. Manufacturers design for a specific timing and this may limit performance accordingly.

In addition, changing fuel maps to coincide with the stoichiometric ratio for gasoline combustion may also realize performance increase. Most manufacturers tune for optimum emissions (running rich to protect the catalytic converter) and fuel economy purposes which can limit performance.

Cars with a turbo fitted can have the requested and allowable boost levels raised, these applications usually have the most effect if the turbo fitted is a low pressure turbo which leaves the most room for improvement.

While we personally would rephrase some of the lines above, it should give you some insight.

Cars with modifications will generally benefit from Software Tuning:

Another reason to change the electronic control unit map is if there are engine, intake, or exhaust modifications to the car. These “bolt-on” modifications alter the way that the engine flows, often causing the air to fuel ratio to change. Without re-mapping the fuel tables, some of the performance gains from the modifications may not be realized.

Modern motor vehicles are much more intelligent than older models and some of our Software Tuning maps allow us to compensate for changes from “bolt-on” modifications, however, let’s leave that for another article!

Moving on, its time to describe the different software tuning options and help you decide which method suits you best.

Software Tuning Methods

Flash Tuning

By changing the software on the ECU (Engine Control Unit) we can modify parameters such as the following (among many others):

  1. Boost Level
  2. Fuel Pressure
  3. Air to Fuel Ratio
  4. Ignition Advance

By doing so we can improve performance, economy and the general drive-ability of a vehicle.

The standard procedure is that a software file is developed for a predefined range of modifications, uploaded to a server and made available for workshops, mechanics and general consumers to be able to upload upgraded software to their vehicle. This can be a very simple and effective way of improving the performance of your vehicle.

There are also some remote methods of loading Flash Tuning software. This can assist in situations where driving into a tuning centre may not be possible.

 

Tuning Map
Custom Tuning

Specialised Custom Tuning is the most effective means of Software Tuning.

This form of tuning allows for the same sort of changes to be made as Flash Tuning. The added benefit of Custom Tuning is that each file is downloaded directly from the vehicle, modified and uploaded in place of the old software. This means that every single piece of software is customised for that particular vehicle with the modifications at the time. This extra flexibility ensures that the most possible performance can be extracted from the vehicle.

Our full process can be seen below:
CPI Tuning Process

If your budget, location and available time allows, Custom Tuning is by far the best option for tuning your vehicle. The dyno is an integral part of the process and we have a full article outlining the reasons why a dyno is a great idea.

Plug & Play Systems

Plug & Play Tune

If you are looking for a simple solution with the least amount of fuss and the lowest entry cost, Plug & Play Systems are the way to go.

These systems are able to plug into a few sensors on the motor and modify the signals. This allows for a simple Software Tune to work simultaneously with the factory software. There are some key benefits:

  1. Usually undetectable by the dealer and thus retain manufacturers factory warranty
  2. Easy to install, generally without a mechanic
  3. Simple and reliable power upgrade
  4. Relatively low cost to purchase
  5. Can be removed relatively easily

While they have their advantages, there is one drawback, they will not be able to perform as effectively as a Flash or Custom Tune.

That said, if the absolute best power gains are not your top priority and the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, then Plug & Play Systems are the way to go.

An install guide for a BMW 428i is below:

Plug & Play 1
Plug & Play 2
Plug & Play 3
For the average motoring enthusiast, a few sensors on the top of the motor wont be too difficult to find, making the installation process quite straightforward.

Need Some Help?

If you are not sure which option is best for you, why don’t you ask? We have a number of professional technicians who have the experience to help you find the best solution for your particular situation. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have I done significant modifications to my vehicle?
  2. Am I looking for the most power or just a little more grunt?
  3. Do I tow often?
  4. Am I on a budget or do I want the best of the best?
  5. Am I handy enough to install a Plug & Go System?

If you still aren’t sure, CLICK HERE to contact us for help

Read more


Top 5 Reasons Why You Need A Dyno & Data Log On Your Car

By Boosted Autosports

Top 5 Reasons Why You Need A Dyno & Data Log On Your Car
Since the introduction of flash tuning, there have been some fundamental changes to the way that workshops tune vehicles. Less and less workshops are performing “Dyno Tuning” and more and more are applying “Flash Tunes” from providers of off the shelf tuning software. While there may not be anything wrong with providing off the shelf flash tunes, there is a missing element to the process. While owners in the JDM scene may be very familiar with tuning using a dyno, most owners in the Euro scene aren’t even aware that a dyno is a key part of tuning process.

We are firm believers of the importance of testing and data logging when tuning. Our own company offers many tuning solutions and our most premium solution, “Custom Tuning”, includes dyno testing and data logging at the core of the process:

 CPI Tuning Process

Whether you choose an off the shelf tune, a piggy back option or a full Custom Tune, we suggest you book yourself in at your local dyno and this is why:

1. Knocking, Pinging or Detonation

Have a read of this Wikipedia article for more info. An extract is below:

Knocking (also knock, detonation, spark knock, pinging or pinking) in spark-ignition internal combustion engines occurs when combustion of the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder does not start off correctly in response to ignition by the spark plug, but one or more pockets of air/fuel mixture explode outside the envelope of the normal combustion front.

The fuel-air charge is meant to be ignited by the spark plug only, and at a precise point in the piston’s stroke. Knock occurs when the peak of the combustion process no longer occurs at the optimum moment for the four-stroke cycle. The shock wave creates the characteristic metallic “pinging” sound, and cylinder pressure increases dramatically. Effects of engine knocking range from inconsequential to completely destructive.

The worst thing about “knock” is that for the untrained ear, its almost impossible to detect. Your engine could be ready to blow and you wouldn’t even know it. If you have ever heard the phrase “blew the head off the motor” then you know someone who has experienced serious “knocking” or “detonation”.

A good dyno operator will be able to detect this. By observing the dyno chart, using “knock ears” or by using specialist scan tools, these issues can be detected. Here is an example of a car using an off the shelf flash tune:

Dyno Logging

The data above shows the knock sensor on the car responding to a detected knock. The larger the number, the more severe the knock, hence the deep red. The owner of the vehicle had no idea that this was going on inside his motor. While the car had plenty of power on the road, it was clear that the software that was loaded was not perfected for his particular setup. On a perfectly running motor with a safe tune, you would expect the data to show 0 and be green all the way through and without the erratic spikes.

2. Fuel Pump Failures

Fuel is the most important ingredient in an engine. Without it, you go nowhere. But did you know that is also protects your motor? In a high performance petrol motor, fuel is used to protect the motor from detonating. If the motor starves for fuel while running high boost, there is a risk of serious engine damage. For some cars, a fuel pump on the way out is almost undetectable without specialist tools. Here is an example of a car with a failing fuel pump:

Fuel Pump

The number on the left is what the fuel pressure SHOULD be and the number on the right is the ACTUAL fuel pressure. Its around 20% short of delivering full fuel pressure. At this point the client was unable to detect or feel the drop in pressure in any way. Only with specialist logging tools was this able to be detected. The fuel pump on this vehicle failed 2 weeks after the test was performed. Luckily there was no engine damage from the failure. Next time we are sure the client will follow our recommendations and change parts when we advise to do so!

3. Air To Fuel Ratio Issues

The Air to Fuel Ratio is quite simply the mixture of air and fuel in the combustion chamber of a motor. There is plenty of information in this Wikipedia article.

While Modern motors have some pretty large tolerances there are some key points to watch out for here.

  1. A lean mixture (a higher lambda number)
  2. An erratic mixture (quickly changing air to fuel ratio)

A lean mixture can lead to detonation which can quickly destroy a motor and an erratic mixture can indicate a more severe problem occurring within the motor. The table below shows the Air to Fuel Ratio from the car in the above section about fuel pump failures:

Air to Fuel Ratios

The number on the right is what the lambda number (air to fuel ratio) should be and the number on the left is the actual value. As you can see it is quite inconsistent. This inconsistency and “leaning out” of the mixture (where is reads 0.87) was what initially tipped us off that there was a problem with this car.

4. Boost Pressure Issues

We don’t think we need to explain this one, however we will just in case. See this Wikipedia article for more info. As you will all be aware, boost is the magical grey dust that sits inside your turbocharger and comes out in a big grey puff of smoke when things go wrong. On a serious note, boost issues can be some of the more difficult issues to diagnose. Sometimes you may not even know you have an issue, especially if you haven’t sat in another identical vehicle to compare.

Here is an example of a car which had an issue with power loss. It felt “sluggish” and “laggy”:

Boost

The number on the left is the “wastegate duty cycle”, which is a fancy way of saying “% of max boost”. The higher the number, the more boost the motor is requesting. The number on the right is the actual pressure inside the manifold. At 1600mbar it equates to around 9PSI. This particular car should be doing at least 12PSI under these conditions yet the car is asking for more and its not getting it!

The cause? A faulty diverter valve. The boost was actually leaking after the turbocharger very slightly and the fault wasn’t audible. Without a little bit of problem solving skill and some comprehensive data logs this client would have still been trying to figure out why his car was so sluggish.

5. Seeing Your Power Gain

While this may be more about showing off to your friends and just pure vanity, there is just something special about seeing your car on the dyno and seeing all of the extra power that it pushes out. Nothing is more exhilarating than seeing the power line rise up above the stock power line. It gives you a taste of what you are about to take for a spin when its unloaded from the dyno.

Tuning isn’t cheap, we know this, you know this, everyone knows this. So when you are getting a tune done, its always a good idea to spend that little bit more to get your car tested and confirm your power gain. Remember, you will usually only do this once, so its a good idea to get it done right the first time.

So there you have it, our pick of the Top 5 Reasons Why You Need A Dyno & Data Log On Your Car.

 

Contact Us & Book yourself in to get a tune

Read more


VW Golf MK6 GTI – 000RUN’s Redemption – A lesson in CPi’s Safe Tuning Methods

By Boosted Autosports

VW Golf MK6 GTI – 000RUN’s Redemption – A lesson in CPi’s Safe Tuning Methods
This post is an opportunity for us to show off some of the reasons why CPI are the best choice for tuning your vehicle. One of the biggest decisions you will face when choosing a workshop and tuning company will be finding someone you trust. With modern ECU tuning being such an abstract and difficult to understand process, we seek to demystify the art and help educate our clients. With a real life scenario of the car taken before and after a tune.

Read more


The CPI Tuning Process

By Steven Tramoli

The CPI Tuning Process

This is the process each customer goes through when we tune their vehicle. We work alongside the customer's needs and vehicle goals, keeping education and communication at the forefront.

CPI Tuning Process
To find out what we can do for your vehicle, email us by clicking here

View the entire CPI Tuning range here

Read more


Volvo C30 2.5 Turbo – ECU Calibration Updates

By Steven Tramoli

Volvo C30 2.5 Turbo – ECU Calibration Updates

Volvo

The C30 R Design has to be one our favorite looking Volvos. Never before has a Volvo hot hatch been so accessible. Used examples can actually be found for less than $20 000.

Here is the data straight from Redbook.

Comfortable seats, excellent handling and a very stylish exterior make this vehicle quite an attractive proposition.

There is one thing though; its power.

Things look great on paper. Once again from Redbook:

When you actually perform some dyno testing you will find that the power at the wheels is actually a paltry 105kW at the wheels! This is the same sort of power that is produced by a Ford XR5 Turbo which is not surprising since they share the same drivetrain!

So what can be done about this?

A lot actually.

Volvo’s engineers are quite handy and have found ways to make it impossible to modify the computers calibrations via the OBD port. Luckily for us we aren’t too shabby in the IT department either!

We have been able to bypass their encryption and hack the motherboard in the ECU:

We took an example of one of these vehicles, tested it with its stock calibrations and then tested it with our calibrations and this is what we discovered:

Here is the dyno chart for reference:

 

The vehicle now has much improved response, smooth power delivery and we have smoothed out the Air to Fuel Ratio.

The biggest changes start to occur after 4000 RPMs. The largest power gain over stock is 40kw  which occurs at around 5800 RPMs. This makes the vehicle a completely different animal to drive. The long gear ratios on these vehicles make 2nd gear an amazing power gear pulling to over 100km/h. With our updated calibrations 2nd gear really comes to life.

A key metric that is measured in the video above is “knock” or “detonation”.

The video clearly shows that the knock recording is glued to “0”. Under full load during a 17.2 second test through the entire range of 4th gear our calibrations are demonstrated to cause no “knock” or “detonation”. This key metric indicates that the calibration is safe and the power extracted has been done so effectively with risk to our client minimised. Or in layman’s terms, its a “safe tune“.

If you have any questions or would like to get your Volvo or Ford worked on by us, please email us at: sales@boostedautosports.com.au

Read more


Do you need a Retune?

By Steven Tramoli

Do you need a Retune?

FUNDAMENTALS OF MODERN ECU MAPPING.

You are our most valuable asset and helping you understand what we do is an investment that we believe both tuner and client will benefit from. The job that we do is often abstract and obscure and we don’t think it should be that way.

If you would like some background information on Internal Combustion Engines we suggest you follow the link. There is also some information on Forced Induction available.

ONE OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS WE GET IS “WILL I NEED A RETUNE IF I CHANGE ABC OR XYZ?”.

Sometimes the answer is more obvious than you may think!

In order to answer the question you need to understand 2 things.

A) What does a tune file do?
B) What effect does the particular mod set have on the engine?

And if your are in doubt book in some logging. We have specialist diagnostic tools that allow us to see exactly how the car is behaving. Read the rest of the article to find out more.

SO WHY DON’T WE ANSWER THE FIRST QUESTION? WHAT DOES A TUNE FILE DO?

Let’s rehash the important bits relevant to this article.

You may have heard from a lot of people that in order to make more power you require more Air, Fuel & Spark.

Let’s break this down:

AIR TO FUEL RATIO

The ratio of air and fuel effects, fuel economy, efficiency of combustion and the temperature of combustion. There is an optimal Air to Fuel Ratio for every motor. We find this optimal figure and tune the vehicle accordingly. On most maps this value is typically a requested value. If there are any changes or inconsistencies with the amount of air or the fuel delivery, the vehicle will do its best compensate and ensure that the target value is met. These changes or inconstancies can either occur due to hardware upgrades or from faults in the hardware itself which may require maintenance.

BOOST LEVELS

In order to create combustion, a motor will use a mixture of air and fuel. By increasing the compression pressure of the turbocharger we can introduce more oxygen into the motor which will in turn create greater combustion forces. We will typically tune a vehicle so that we can reduce unnecessary boost and utilise it to create smooth power delivery without surging and through smart tuning we can continue to generate power all the way to the rev limiter without feeling as if the vehicle has “run out of puff”. Reducing the restriction in a system can sometimes increase the level of boost. In most circumstances the air to fuel ratio will remain in its target value and will not require further adjustment. There needs to be significant changes to the system to throw this values so far out that a retune will be required.

TIMING

During the combustion cycle the pistons move up and down inside the combustion chamber. By igniting the air and fuel mixture early its possible to achieve increased power. Usually when a car is optimised for 98 octane its the timing which has been “advanced” to take advantage of the higher quality fuel. Through port tuning we can optimise cars even further so that they can take advantage of higher octane fuels all the way up to 110 octane. Vehicles equipped with a “knock sensor” will automatically turn down or “retard” the ignition timing in order to ensure the safe operation of the vehicle when a fault occurs. This can occur from low quality fuel, fouled or failing plugs and failing coil packs.

SO TELL ME ABOUT SOME SIMPLE MODS AND WHAT THEY DO.

INTAKES

Restriction in the intake system can reduce the volume of air reaching the combustion chamber. By adding an intake most vehicles can see a mild improvement in power and improved response along with a better sound. The greater the boost level the more restrictive the intake becomes therefore without a software tune intakes will typically have a very small effect on performance. Tunes running safer, mild levels of boost more effectively take advantage OEM equipment and higher boost files have a greater need for intake upgrades.

EXHAUSTS

Restriction can be found on the exhaust side of an engine as well. This is particularly apparent on turbocharged vehicles as the exhaust gases are used to create boost on the intake side. The downpipe straight off the turbocharger is the most relevant upgrade for performance. The reduction in restriction allows for a mild increase in boost levels independent of other changes.

UPGRADE FUEL PUMPS

High Pressure Fuel Pumps improve the vehicles ability to maintain fuel pressure under heavy load. In order to take advantage of the benefits of a high pressure fuel pump inreased boost levels are required so that the motor will compensate with more fuel to maintain the air to fuel ratio. These upgrades are suggested as precautionary upgrade for tuned and modified vehicles but become more important on vehicles which run high levels of boost.

TURBOCHARGERS

The stock turbocharger on a vehicle can be upgraded to a larger version to allow for higher boost pressures. The higher boost level means much more air can enter the combustion chamber and can be mixed with greater volumes of fuel to create more power. Changing a turbocharger makes significant changes to the behaviour of the motor and will typically require a change to software file on the vehicle.

WATER METHANOL INJECTION

Water Meth, as its commonly known, its one of the best bang for your buck upgrades you can do to a turbocharged vehicle. By introducing a high octane fuel and water to the combustion chamber it allows for higher boost levels and more aggressively advanced ignition timing. While most vehicles will pick up a fair amount of power and torque from a Water Meth it also opens up opportunities for tuners to modify the file to take further advantage of this mod.

A NOTE ON HARDWARE MAINTENANCE.

There are certain components which will prevent a vehicle from performing to the level that a tune file requests. The components effect the performance of the motor as a whole and cannot be rectified through software. Two examples are below:

DIVERTER VALVES

A faulty diverter valve will prevent the vehicle from achieving its requested boost levels. By limiting the amount of air the vehicle will compensate by reducing the fuel input. This leads to a very “flat” feeling power curve and much slower performance. An error will often been recorded which a scan tool can read but it can often only be detected by comparing the boost level of the vehicle to the originally requested value from the file upgrade. An experienced performance mechanic will often be able to find and rectify this. We are distributors for Turbosmart who manufacture performance upgrades for these parts and upgrades can often be suggested as a preventative measure. Replacement of the part will result in an immediate return of the power loss from the fault.

CAMSHAFT SENSORS

The ECU relies on inputs from large number of sources. The Camshaft Sensor is one of these sources. A faulty Camshaft Sensor can result in dramatic power losses on a vehicle. It can be hard to detect purely from logging alone. Luckily an experienced mechanic will be able to perform a scan on the vehicle and be able to source and install a replacement part. Many vehicles across many manufacturers suffer from Camshaft Sensor faults, some easy to fix and other can be quite time consuming to diagnose and repair. As with Diverter Valves, replacement of the part will result in an immediate return of the power loss from the fault.

DO I NEED A RETUNE?

Now that you have an understanding of the basics of tuning and the effects of some modifications you have some insight into how we come to a conclusion as to whether or not your vehicle requires retuning.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What effect does my modification have on the vehicle?
  2. Does it have an effect on actual changes made in a tune file?

If you are unsure, consult your tuner. We run through the same basic questions to decide whether or not a retune is required. A logging service can also be offered as well if you to see live information on the vehicles behaviour which typically wont be felt on the road. Running a vehicle on a dyno can give you definitive information, however, the operator needs to take the time to check the data stream and know what to look for. Make sure that your operator is not just taking the car for 3 runs and taking it off. This will not give sufficient data in most situations.

Do I need a retune? For simple modifications, typically not. For major modifications you should contact your tuner and ask the question.

We hope that this article helps you cut through a lot of the noise and offers you a clearer understanding of tuning your vehicle both via software and with hardware. This knowledge should also assist you in making decisions on your hardware modification pathway. If you have details questions and would like to have a direct consultation feel free to contact us directly and we will assist.

Read more

Recent Articles

Categories