By Boosted Autosports
By Boosted Autosports
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.
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
By changing the software on the ECU (Engine Control Unit) we can modify parameters such as the following (among many others):
- Boost Level
- Fuel Pressure
- Air to Fuel Ratio
- 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.
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:
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
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:
- Usually undetectable by the dealer and thus retain manufacturers factory warranty
- Easy to install, generally without a mechanic
- Simple and reliable power upgrade
- Relatively low cost to purchase
- 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:
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:
- Have I done significant modifications to my vehicle?
- Am I looking for the most power or just a little more grunt?
- Do I tow often?
- Am I on a budget or do I want the best of the best?
- Am I handy enough to install a Plug & Go System?
If you still aren’t sure, CLICK HERE to contact us for help
By Steven Tramoli
With BOOSTane about to land here in Australia, we wanted to fill you in with some information that can help you understand what Octane is and what makes BOOSTane so good.
1) WHAT IS OCTANE?
Octane is actually a form of isomer with many variations of branching carbon chains with regards to amounts and locations error. That doesn't seem right.
The term octane, as we know it, was made popular by fuel companies in the 60s. Since then it has become synonymous with describing the performance of what fuel can offer you.
What we are familiar with is in regards to a fuel ability to retard knock, or stop pre-ignition, inside of an engine. This due to the heat caused by the compression of gases within the cylinder. Basically, the octane rating of gasoline indicates how much the fuel in the air/fuel mixture can be compressed before it spontaneously combusts. Ideally we want that spontaneous combustion point to be right at TDC (Top Dead Center) or ATDC (point right After Top Dead Center) of the cylinder cycle, which is also where our spark plug would be igniting. This would be maximum efficiency.
So in theory we are trying to optimize your octane level to exactly what your engine is requiring. Now depending on your vehicle at its current compression you may or may not need high-octane fuels. Often enough vehicles are mapped or tuned in order to safely operate with whatever fuel can be found at a local gas station or marina. However, if you are interested in getting more horsepower, protecting your engine from some of the gaps created with ethanol and other alcohol additives, a reliable octane additive is what the doctor ordered!
2) HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF BOOSTANE?
This question is a good opportunity for us to debunk a common misconception for using octane boosters such as BOOSTane. First of all, this only applies for octane additives that actually have the ability to raise a fuel octane level. There are a LOT out there that make claims, but very few that actually deliver, and more importantly deliver consistently. A That is why we send out every one of our batches to be third party tested so that you know exactly what you are getting, and every time it is the same.
However, what we want to clear up, is that you do not simply pour BOOSTane into your tank and expect your car to transform into a Top Fuel Dragster with huge horsepower gains. In order to see the gains in horsepower that we advertise, you need to have the capability to properly tune your engines lambda, boost, timing, and many other variables, together or separately, so that your engine will be able to take full advantage of the increased octane coursing through its veins. And we suggest that if you do not have the capability yourself, to visit one of our partners found on our website or a good tuner in your area with a dyno.
3) DO I NEED A DYNO SHOP?
Our recommendation is always, YES! If you want to safely and properly tune your vehicles Horsepower Factory to properly use BOOSTane and get the performance gains that it deserves a tuning shop with a chassis or engine dynamometer is what you need to properly dial that in. Contact Us to find your nearest DYNO Shop.
4) WILL BOOSTANE HELP MY ENGINE IF ITS NOT FORCED INDUCTION?
Yes. BOOSTane was originally designed to fill in gaps experienced in fuels with offset with alcohol additives such as ethanol. The subsequent increase in octane created by the formulated additives in BOOSTane protected our racing engines from the negative side effects of these alcohols.
Therefore, yes you will experience a small gain in horsepower, especially if you already have a very high compression engine and a flash ECU to be pushing your engine, but you will not see the gains that someone with a turbo or supercharger would experience, since they have the capability of varying the compression greatly.
But don't be discouraged if you are naturally aspirated. The protection that BOOSTane gives every engine allows you to ask more of it than ever before imagined.
If you want to ask specific about your vehicle call us directly and we will personally dig into it for you, just as long as we aren't racing against you!!
6) LONG TERM AFFECTS ON YOUR ENGINE?
There are no long term negative side effects of BOOSTane. Utilized as a level of protection against knock, BOOSTane can extend the life of your engine. The orange residue that is found on plugs and exhaust does not change effectiveness of the plugs or O2 sensors. But normal maintenance should be adhered to.
7) IF I JUST ADD BOOSTANE TO MY CAR WILL I GET MORE HP/KW?
All depends on your vehicle. The short answer is no. In order to take full advantage of the potential energy contained within BOOSTane, timing, boost, etc., need to be advanced and increased to raise the compression.
However, there are a few new car models such as BMW that have slightly adaptive tuning capabilities. That is, once BOOSTane is added, and the vehicle is driven around, the ECU will look to add timing when it senses that it is not close to knock. We have seen as much as +27hp and +15torq with a stock 3-series with a single turbo.
8) HOW IS BOOSTANE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER OCTANE BOOSTERS?
Consistency, reliability, and performance. The BOOSTane team is comprised entirely of racers, engine builders, and engineers. We understood what was unreliable about the other boosters on the market, and made sure that BOOSTane answered those problems.
• Flexibility to raise pump fuel all the way to 116 octane.
• SEMA award winning.
• Made in USA.
• Flexibility to hit specific octane numbers.
• Wont run out of strength while on a shelf.
• Dedicated BOOSTane smartphone APP to help you calculate how much BOOSTane to add to your tank to get your desired result.
BOOSTane and its active anti-knocking agents were developed to remain suspended indefinitely in solution with our proprietary chelating carrier. No longer do you have to worry about the shelf life of your booster, and sedimentation settling to the bottom of the can or worse, your fuel tank, rendering it ineffective or clogging fuel filters and pumps.
Our proprietary carrier also allows us to have a higher concentration of our anti-knocking agents. This is where our superior performance is found as well.
Click this video for a side by side test of BOOSTane a leading competitor and why our product is superior.
9) WHY IS BOOSTANE THE MOST EXPENSIVE PRODUCT ON THE MARKET?
10) WHAT OCTANE CAN BOOSTANE GET ME?
You can also download the BOOSTane Calculator App on the Apple Store and let it do all of the calculations for you*.
Please NOTE: The BOOSTane Mixing Chart and Calculator App uses the imperial measurement system. So ensure to convert to the Metric System, if that is your unit of measurement.