Q: What is ecu remapping?
A: ECU remapping is an engine tuning service which enables some of the restrictions put on a vehicle by the vehicle manufacturer to be lifted. Yes that’s right – what you may not have known is that vehicle manufacturers actually limit the performance of vehicles. This is to take into consideration sub-standard fuels and the possibility that vehicles may not be serviced on a regular basis and in accordance with the manufacturers recommended guidelines. ECU remapping unblocks some of these restrictions so that the vehicle being remapped can perform as was originally designed. More power, greater response and lower fuel consumption are some of the advantages that a remap will offer. What’s more, remapping a vehicle has no negative effect on exhaust emissions or the life of an engine. Each remap which MFK undertake is unique and tailored to suit the specific vehicle which is being remapped. Connecting remotely to the ECU (Engine Control Unit) via the on-board diagnostics port also ensures that no hardware or engine components are altered in anyway.
Q: What is the difference between ecu remapping and a tuning box?
A: The majority of tuning boxes on the market today will only increase the fuel pressure and injection periods. You will not get an even spread of power due to the delay in the tuning box circuitry processing sensor signals. This results in spikes in the power. With remapping, these problems are eliminated as the ECU processes everything along with adjusting the torque limiters and turbo limiters, which a tuning box cannot access.
Q: What is the OBD port?
A: The OBD port (On-Board Diagnostics) is essentially a plug in the vehicle which can be connected to which has a self-diagnostic and reporting capability. The OBD port enables the vehicle owner or vehicle technician to access information relating to the health state of various vehicle sub-systems.
Q: Is ‘chipping’ and ‘remapping’ the same thing?
A: ECU remapping is the modern term replacing that of ‘chip-tuning’, although the term chip-tuning is still widely used. Chip-tuning or ‘chipping’ refers to the actual process of physically modifying the ECU chip which was required before the year 2000 and before all cars were fitted with a standardised OBD port. From the year 2000, car engines were able to be tuned by accessing the ECU remotely. This safer and more effective form of tuning is growing in popularity.
Q: What do you actually modify in my vehicle?
A: We do not alter any hardware in your vehicle as all modern vehicles have an ECU. The ECU is a computer controlled device which can be accessed via the on-board diagnostics port (OBD) in the vehicle. The ECU controls many processes such as ignition timing, how much fuel and air are mixed together, when the turbo initiates in etc. These settings are stored as maps within the ECU. Here at MFK, our technician will access your vehicles ECU via the OBD port. From here, the technician will analyse the maps that are already stored on the ECU. Our technical department will then find the optimal settings for your vehicle and reprogramme the ECU with the new optimised maps. Your vehicle can be re-mapped in 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the ECU. If at any time you wish to return your vehicle ECU to its original factory settings, this can be done as we always keep a copy of the original maps in the ECU.
Q: Does it matter if my vehicle runs on petrol or diesel?
A: ECU remapping will benefit both petrol and diesel engines. However, turbo diesel injection models (TDI) will show the greatest results from a performance and economy point of view.
Q: Why would my vehicle not have the optimal maps installed as standard?
A: The manufacturers are restricted by law to limit the power available in the engine map between 2000 – 3000 RPM. This was introduced to reduce emissions but the consequence of this is that drivers use more throttle to counteract the lack of power and in fact increase emissions. Manufactures also build in tolerances to account for people who may not have their vehicles serviced in accordance with the recommended service period. A way of doing this is to limit the power available through settings in the ECU. Additionally your vehicle will be restricted to take into consideration sub-standard fuels which we do not have in Europe.
Q: How is a vehicle remapped?
A: Optimising your vehicle through remapping an ECU is a very straight forward process. Once you have contacted MFK, one of our accredited technicians will travel to your location in order to carry out the remap. Our on-site technician will be required to retrieve an electronic file from the vehicle ECU which will then be optimised in line with the specific make and model of vehicle. Once that file has been optimised, it will be returned to the vehicle ECU. This process is carried out remotely via the on-board diagnostics plug so that the ECU itself does not have to be physically handled.
Q: How long will a remap take?
A: The entire remapping process is very quick and our technicians can remap your vehicle while you wait. The actual procedure of retrieving a file from the vehicle ECU, optimising the file and replacing it again in the ECU takes on average no longer than an hour. Before our technician leaves, they will check the remap by taking the vehicle for a test drive with the owner.
Q: After a remap, how will the vehicle drive?
A: Whether you choose an Economy remap or a Performance remap, you will notice a marked improvement in your driving experience. Under acceleration the vehicle will be more reactive and provide improved throttle response. The smooth acceleration which a remap provides enables safer overtaking and better all-round performance. As the vehicle is being provided with more power earlier on in the rev ranges, fewer gear changes are required, which will ensure a more enjoyable and relaxing drive.