Remapping, reflashing, ECU Tuning, custom tuning, they all mean one and the same thing, editing the contents of the ECU to extract more power from the engine.
Poke around Facebook enough and you will come across warnings like
“How do you know you’re getting a custom tune?”
“Do you know what parameters are being changed?”
“Are they just buying a tune of the internet?”
Granted the loudest trumpeter of this is DP CHIP because they are trying to scare people into buying their obsolete product at a ridiculously high price, and can’t compete with the power gains that ECU remapping will give you.
But the points they make are pretty valid. How do you know if you’re getting a custom tune? As opposed to just buying it off the internet? At this point, I want to clarify some terms.
Custom tune – a file that is adjusted specifically for your your car, your modifications.
Live tune – A person with a laptop is doing the adjustments on the spot while the car is on the Dyno.
All live tunes are custom tunes but not all custom tunes are done live. A custom is most often emailed to the end user by a person who has the editing software. The end user must have a reader writer software as well as the obd cable to connect the car to the laptop.
Take note, a custom tune without data like air fuel ratio on a Dyno is next to useless. You simply cannot rely on a car’s internal datalog stream to tune properly. This is what the local Orange Virus guy does, he simplt reads a cars ECU, sends it to the USA, waits for a guy to modify the file and sends it back, he then loads it back to the car. No Dyno, no nothing. While this can be called a custom tune, it is nowhere the correct way to do. You the customer have no idea how much power you’re making, neither can the guy doing the uploading tell you.
If you’re “tuner” doesn’t have this kind of screen on their laptop
Walk away. He is not doing any tuning whatsoever. Other signs that you’re not getting tuned:
1. Insists on meetup to load the file – instant BS
2. Says there is no need to Dyno – also instant BS, How will you know you actually made power and not just throttle adjustment
3. Tells you to wait for tuned file, and let’s meet back after a few days
4. Does it at his home – same way a real doctor doesn’t treat you at home, neither should a tuner.
5. Uses cloned/pirated software
Alientech’s KESS is the most cloned/pirated read writer in the market. The screen above is the old version software which hasn’t been updated. If your “tuner” has this kind of screen, 99% he’s using cloned hardware and software and there is a chance that the read/write process might hang in the middle, thus turning your ecu into a paper weight.
5. Beer na Lang any bayad – why are you giving away a valuable service for free? Unless you don’t have any investment to start with. Related to item no. 4
ALL TUNERS worth their trade all insist on having the car on the Dyno while tuning, unless there really is no choice, like in the province where there is no Dyno, in which case you rely on their best judgement and experience because they have tuned a lot of cars and can accurately equate the numbers entered in the laptop to power numbers.
Let’s take this Lancer as an example of the correct way of doing things.
Before any modifications have been done, it is best and always recommended to get s baseline Dyno to see what your stock power and torque is. If you don’t know where you’re starting, how will you know what you’ve gained?
Here’s the stock numbers,
Red dotted line – Stock 116whp and 109 ft-lbs of torque
Green line – Initial tune with SpeedLab K&N intake, 133whp and 140 ft-lbs
And this is how live tuning is done, real time adjustments while the car is in the Dyno and made immediately after each Dyno run.
I know for a fact there are some “tuners” offering reflash services for as low as 8k, and obviously this is with no dyno, using fake hardware and software AND no live tuning being done. So yes you get what you pay for, you pay cheap, you get cheap.
And here’s our final Dyno chart with headers installed
Purple line – SpeedLab power package, intake, headers, tuning.
Thin red line – Stock power. As you can see there is easily 35hp gain at 3500rpm. And there is no way to find that out or even get the correct tune if it’s not done on the Dyno.
I actually take time to explain and walk you through the whole reflash process, and I give this same talk 6-7 times a week to different people in the shop, and they leave with a better Understanding of what the process is and what it entails