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ECU Remapping

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When a manufacturer develops a new car, they have to take into consideration all the conditions it may be exposed to. This means instead of just optimising the ECU’s program or ‘map’ to deliver the best performance or the most fuel efficiency they must make compromises.

These compromises allow the map to take into account potential differing operating conditions and the needs of the average customer. Some of the thing’s manufacturers need to consider are sub-standard fuels, extreme temperatures and altitude, different emission laws and even the possibility that vehicle may not be serviced on a regular basis.

What is ECU Remapping?

When we remap your ECU we read from the ECU’s processing chip of the vehicles standard compromised map and adjust 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. As a result, we can optimise the ECU Map for your specific requirements and get the best possible performance from your vehicle.

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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.

• Power

Dependant on other modification you can expect to gain between 10 and 30%.

• Torque

Unlock serious torque gains across the rev range. Great low-down drivability.

• Diagnostic Capabilities

Ability to resolve ongoing DPF and EGR issues.

What are the benefits of ECU remapping?

This one is pretty easy. ECU tuning dramatically improves engine torque and power. Day to day, this means better throttle response, less perceptible turbo lag, a wider or more accessible torque curve and generally a more exciting car to live with. Removing unnecessary engine restrictions can drastically improve the performance of your car, often without needing to add additional modifications like upgraded exhausts, intercoolers or injectors.

Should you desire, the other benefits of ECU Remapping can be improved fuel economy. Often a broader torque band can impact the ability of the engine to respond with less throttle inputs which can improve real world fuel consumption figures.

How do you do it?

ECU Remapping, as the name implies re-writes or adjusts the ‘maps’ available in your vehicles ECU. A map is industry terminology for a table of hexadecimal values, stored by and accessed in the car’s computer. As previously discussed, these tables are deeply interrelated and store all the information regarding fuel, boost, injection timing and more.

When performing an ECU remap, we typically access the cars ECU via On Board Diagnostics port which is commonly referred to as the OBD port. Since around 2002, a new standard, OBDII has made directly accessing the information stored on the car’s computer accessible with the right equipment and protocols.  

Often in conjunction with former engineers from the car’s original manufacturer, a tuning company spends countless hours identifying which hexadecimal tables control which engine variables. Once identified, the files are modified and developed using a rolling road which allows engineers to test the effectiveness of the modified parameters.

By the time you have an ECU Remap installed in your car, it has been thoroughly tested and developed to deliver the engine’s optimum performance.

The benefits of an ECU Remap to the end user are pretty clear. For nearly any vehicle you can improve power, increase available torque, achieve improved throttle response and linear power delivery. In the real world this means more power accessible more of the time. This is makes an amazing difference, whether you’re on the road or at a track day, or even, off the beaten trail altogether.

From the current crop of Turbo Diesel 4WD’s to high performance supercars and everything in between ECU Remapping can deliver noticeable improvements and is easily the best value for money modification you can make. 

Can I return my vehicle to standard?

Should you want to return to vehicle to its original state of tune for whatever reason, we always keep a secured version of your vehicle’s original file settings as a backup. Should you need to, we can replace the tuned file with this for you at no cost to you.

What is the cost?

ECU Remaps retail at $1349 but with our City Automotive 10% discount, until the end of July 2019, total cost is $1215 on turbo petrol engines & turbo diesel common rail models, including a prior scan test to check for any issues that your vehicle may have before the remap. Visit our location, call us now or book online.


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Common issues with unprofessional ECU remapping

Despite the fact that ECU remapping is one of the fastest and safest ways to tune your vehicle and release all the hidden performance from your engine, there are still numerous things that could go wrong if the process is performed by an untrained person. Since all modern car heavily rely on engine management and various other electronic systems, changing the settings and remapping the car asks for a high degree of accuracy and knowledge. The problems with unprofessional remapping can be numerous and we have listed the most common:

1. Constant Check Engine Light Caused By ECU Remapping Issue

Since the settings of the ECU are changed, the car’s diagnostic system can read it as the engine failure and constantly keep the check engine light on. In some cases, it can even put the car into safe mode, limiting its performance and revs for no obvious reason.

2. Failure to deliver significant performance upgrade

The main goal of ECU remapping is to achieve better performance, more power, and torque. However, if an untrained person tries to tune the engine and fiddle with the settings, sometimes the result can be disappointing, and the owner of the car will not feel any performance upgrade. There is an alarming number of business who use a customer’s car to experiment on. This is one reason it is often safer to stick with known tuning companies who have successfully tuned many vehicles.

3. Black smoke and DPF problems with diesel engines

Since modern diesel engines are among the best starting points for successful ECU remapping, lots of people are tempted by the prospect of more power and torque and even better fuel economy. However, if an amateur performs the engine remapping on a modern and highly sophisticated diesel engine, sometimes the result is thick black smoke and problems with DPF filter which can be costly to sort out. Often, an inexperienced tuner may not understand the full array of parameters that need to be adjusted which can lead to this frustrating issue.

4. Using unproven and faulty software

The professional ECU remapping outfits use the latest and best software for the job which guarantees to enter all of the car`s settings and be perfectly suited for a specific model and make. On the other hand, back street mechanics use suspicious software without any technical backup which can damage the car`s computer system. Continued investment in the latest tools and training sets the professionals apart and is often a factor in the difference in cost between a major company and an unknown tuner.

5. Remapping leaves a footprint on the ECU

This is true and once you have remapped your car it will be visible to the skilled technician that the engine`s factory settings have been altered to achieve better performance. However, if the job is done properly, the footprint will not cause problems and all official tuning shops offer to return the car to full factory spec if the owner is not satisfied with the results.

6. Pushing the engine to the extremes

One of the most common mistakes of all amateur tuners is to push the engine to its limit. It is easy to set the engine to deliver much more than the factory power ratings, but it will put enormous stress on engine`s internals, fuel economy will suffer, engine`s components will fail, and the engine will ultimately give up. You don’t want that, and professional remapping will give you significantly more grunt while keeping the fuel economy and preserving the engine.  

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Petrol tuning vs Diesel tuning - the basics

As you already know, engine remapping is basically installing a new engine software and setting it to achieve maximum output. In the process, an engine`s settings for air, fuel, ignition timing and so on are changed into new ones which are designed to make stock engine deliver more power and performance. As you already know, turbocharged engines, both petrol and diesel are the perfect engines for this way of tuning, and despite the fundamentals being similar there are several subtitle differences between these two.

1. Remapping petrol engines

The main trick with tuning petrol engines is the fact that in order to make the most out of it you must set the ECU software to allow more air to the engine, more boost from the turbo and reset the ignition. More air and boost along with more fuel will provide stronger combustion and setting the ignition in advance will result in significantly more power and torque.

The most important aspects of petrol engine remapping are the amount of air and ignition points since they make all the difference. If you don’t set the ignition timing right, you could end up with no gain whatsoever or having an extremely nervous engine with lumpy idle which is hard to control on the street.

As with all engine remaps, environmental standards and level of CO2 in exhaust fumes is a concern but in most cases, remapping of petrol engines produces the same level of pollution as a stock engine.

2. Remapping diesel engines

Diesel engines have one interesting feature and that is lack of spark plugs which means that igniting the fuel and air mixture is done by pressure not by a spark. This characteristic, as well as the specifics of diesel fuel, makes diesel engine remapping a bit different than remapping petrol ones.

The main thing you want to do in order to get your diesel engine up to maximum output possible is to add more fuel and boost. Engine remapping will change the settings, allowing more fuel to enter the engine earlier and turbo to deliver more boost earlier in the rev range which will result in more power. However, the power gain, although significant, is not that important. The real gain is the torque, and, in most cases, engine remapping will give you up to 30% more torque at the wheels. Since modern diesels already have high torque ratings form the factory, 30% more will thoroughly transform the engine and turn it into a real performance car.

However, the important thing when remapping a diesel engine is the quality of exhaust fumes and often, when remapping is done by an unqualified mechanic, the result is thick black smoke. This indicates that the settings are not quite matched, and that car produces higher emissions than standard. Black smoke, especially under the acceleration will damage the DPF filter and even cause problems with annual inspection.

Professional car remapping outfits always pay much attention to this aspect and when the car is properly tuned, there is no black smoke coming out of the tailpipes regardless of the engine revs.

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