About Vehicle Tuning
Every new vehicle now in production is fitted with an ECU (Electronic Control Unit) or otherwise known as the vehicles brain/computer. Vehicles nowadays also have a number of sensors located on and in various components which feed live information to the ECU, the ECU then takes this information and can make real time adjustments to get the best performance and efficiency. A few examples of the parameters processed by the ECU are engine speed, air intake, timing, fuel ratio and many more.
The way it works is comparable to your home PC, it has a software loaded onto it to control the hardware such as CD/DVD player memory card reader etc. The ECU also has a software known as a ‘Map’, by changing the original map to an edited map or tuned map we are able to alter the efficiency and performance of the engine, this is called Remapping.
The question we often get is – Why don’t the manufacturers tune their own maps? In fact sometimes they do, an example of this would be the Mk4 Golf TDI, and it comes with either 110BHP, 130BHP or 150BHP. So same engine but three different power options, HOW? It’s all about the map which is loaded onto the ECU. Even vehicles which have been tuned in the factory still have room for improvement and a lot of the time are so far from the engines potential they are essentially detuned by the manufacturer. This sounds mad but all will come clear as you read on.
Most vehicles currently manufactured are sold globally therefore they are required to be able to cope with a variety of environments, such as less developed countries who have lower quality fuels, limited or no vehicle servicing, increased/decreased ambient temperatures or varying altitudes. So when a manufacturer is creating a map they have to sometimes compromise performance and efficiency to accommodate its potential extreme environment.
As we all know we are fairly fortunate to live in a country where we are not subject to the above mentioned conditions and environments, therefore we can tune our vehicles without compromising the reliability or exhaust emissions. So with our fine tuning we can ensure our vehicles are running at their maximum potential for the UK climates.
There are a couple of basics which may help you understand how a map will improve your vehicle. First of all a basic original map has two points: Idle and part throttle cruising, these two points are what manufacturers have to limit to stay within emissions legislations. Everything in between these points are controlled by a 3D map and will include things like fuel pressure, fuel ratio, boost pressure and ignition timing, all which can be adjusted to provide the most effective vehicle responses – Increase power, efficiency (MPG), torque etc.
Hopefully the above has given you an insight into the technical side of remapping. Below we now will explain how the map is loaded onto your vehicle and a little history behind it.