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Are Chip Upgrades Worth It?



  • idletaskidletask Posts: 171
    Just look at what N group rally cars can do... 220hp at 6k rpm on a normally aspirated, 1.6l inline 4 engine! And the rules put a restraint on the size of intake manifolds...

    Mr Aguilar did not have such restrictions. I believe this is possible, especially since Honda engines are rev happy. Pity there are not more technical details but I bet the 300hp are put out in the 7k range.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    rally cars run 13:1 - 15:1 compression - certainly not a ratio than can be run on any pump gas (or even the 100 octane stuff you can get at the track). Limiting CR to 11:1 or 12:1, with the most radical cam and intake yields around 200-225. ECU hacking IS NOT worth 75-100 hp, no matter what Mr. Aguilar says. Besides, to run low 10s like he says takes nearly 375 hp in a 2200 lb car, not 300 hp.

    That article was written by someone who nows jack about cars and believed everything the guy told him.
  • use an HP-41c calculator to land NASA's Space Shuttle (click here and here for the history).

    The other question is "for how long?". There's no such thing as a free lunch, and the Viper and 911 Turbo come with warranties as well as proven track records of reliability: both should easily go a decade and 100K miles without rebuilds. You can pay now or pay later.


  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    you've got a guy electronically advancing and redlining every curve - fuel, air, spark, all for the sake of every last pony. That works fine for 12 seconds, but what about a 30 mile ride to the next town??

    I'll give you a hint - his Honda came in on a trailer.

    Bear in mind, also: 6,000 hp Top Fuel motors don't run oil coolers or radiators because they only run for 20 seconds from start, burnout and the race!
  • I've had a chip in my Cougar for over 2 years and never had a problem with it. It is a chip by Diablo. It greatly enhanced the feel of the automatic and I picked up both hp and torque on the dyno.

    I'm not running a stock Cougar and my chip was burned to match the enhancements, so that could be a big part of why I saw improvements and the individual with the Focus didn't. The chip was the last enhancement. The car was dynoed before the chip install and after, so I know for a fact the chip did indeed help. That was 2 years and 36,000 miles ago. No problems at all since the install.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
    Anyone have anything new to chip in?

    Steve, Host
  • geo9geo9 Posts: 739
    I recently purchased one of these units and re-programmed my 04 Chevy 2500 4x4 truck. 6.0 auto. $329 bucks !

    I programmed it for the 93 octane tune, (this is a dual mode 93 or 87 octane handheld unit) 5500 WOT shift points (top of the power band),...
    (Stock shifts at WOT were 5200) ....5900 rpm rev. limiter,.......Firm shift mode,............Top speed 110.
    All other settings left at factory specs.

    SOP feel is killer !...........Nice burnout and 1-2 tire squeek at WOT !
    Total pig stock...NO burnout or 1-2 squeek !

    Data According to supplied spec. sheets:
    Stock... 228 rwhp @ 5500 rpm......... tuned...263 rwhp @ 5500 rpm
    Torque.......stock 226 @1250 rpm.......tuned 260 ft. lbs. @ 1250 rpm

    Purchased mostly for a little more "pep" and a few more mpg...............

    As soon as the novelty of whipping on it is over.........Will report how it
    works out using the 87 octane tune and mpgs....................
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,681
    Well I'm glad it seems to produce results. Many chips don't but the programmable type at least can mess with the timing (which, along with fuel enrichment), which is where you are getting the power.

    I kinda doubt those figures of HP jumps because to get any substantial power you just can't keep adding fuel, you have to add air at some point. But most stock systems are made to run quite lean, for emission and fuel efficiency, and a good chip, along with a timing bump, can take advantage of that (to a point).

    I suspect your MPG will decrease (really, it HAS to) but I trust not too much.
  • fredmcmurrayfredmcmurray Posts: 215
    Actually, that doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Aftermarket tuning chips don't typically add fuel, they usually remove fuel to lean out the fuel mixture at WOT. The OEM settings are generally quite rich at WOT to avoid any detonation issues. The aftermarket chips will remove some of this conservatism by leaning out the fuel mixture and/or being slightly more aggressive with timing. So you don't need more air, you are just optimizing the power of the combustion process and playing a little closer to the line on detonation.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,681
    Well that's sound reasonable but they must enrich at some point in the power band or how would one justify the claims of HP in the mid-range? If a chip just gave me power at WOT I'd find that rather useless for anything except nutso driving--which I LIKE but which I can't be doing 95% of the time. I'd like a chip to give me the "sweet spot" when I'm pulling 3,000--4,500 rpm.

    Also if a chip is leaning out at WOT and you are adding boost to the turbo, that sounds ver-y risky. Fuel is also a coolant as I'm sure you know.
  • fredmcmurrayfredmcmurray Posts: 215
    I said WOT, not just at redline. A good chip will give you power throughout the rev range, not just at redline. But chips can only influence the open loop part of the engine control, which is typically anything over 90% throttle position. Below that, the ECU is in closed loop mode, constantly adjusting the fuel delivery to keep the mixture near stoiciometric (14.7) as indicated by the O2 sensor. The chip can't mess with that and you wouldn't want them to. If you are at partial throttle and want more power, you just push a little harder with your right leg. It's when you have it mashed to the floor and still want more that the chip will provide it.

    And, yes, if you are increasing boost, the chip programmer needs to take that in to account. If you have a chip programmed for stock boost and then you crank it up, you may have the opportunity to rebuild your engine sooner than you had planned. A number of MR2 guys found that out the hard way. Heck, the programmer even needs to know what octane gas you are running. If you are in California and running 91 octane gas on a chip that was set up for the 93 octane gas available in other states, you may well be on the wrong side of the detonation limits.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,681
    Oh, the expensive side of detonation limits.....I've been there.

    Okay thanks for the clarification....yes, I was equating WOT with redline...duh....

    I've heard 14.7 is not really ideal....more like 13.1 or so....
  • fredmcmurrayfredmcmurray Posts: 215
    At partial throttle, closed loop operation, you have to run at 14.7. That is the ideal for low emissions. Any lower and you'll have excessive hydrocarbon emissions, any higher and you'll have too much NOx. The O2 sensors on every production car I am aware of are Lambda sensors and can only detect a narrow band around 14.7.
    But at high throttle positions, when you go into open loop mode, the ECU will determine fuel requirements based on predetermined tables or maps. The mixture ratio will vary depending on several factors like load (or throttle position), air flowrate, engine speed, etc. Typically, the mixture ratio will be higher at low and high RPMs and lowest in the midrange RPMs where detonation is most likely. 13:1 is probably a reasonable value for a normally aspirated car. 12:1 or maybe 12.5:1 is the highest you'd probably want to go on turbo-or super-charged car.
    Every factory ECU equipped car I have seen runs below 10:1 in the midrange RPMs, which is why a little leaning out produces some fairly significant horsepower gains.
  • keanukeanu Posts: 2
    I just recently purchase a chip for my 01 Tundra but I can find the IAT, MAF, or the CTS sensors to install it. Can anyone help me?
  • fredmcmurrayfredmcmurray Posts: 215
    keanu - you really need a set of shop manuals to make sure you have the right connections . I'm not sure if you have the 6 cyl or 8 cyl but if you have the V8 and the Tindra layout is the same as my Sequoia, the Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensoris right next to the big black box to the left of the engine that the air filter goes into. There is an electrical connector right on top with five wires coming out it. I'd guess that the signal for the Inlet Air Temperature (IAT) sensor is also in the connector. I'm guessing that CTS stands for Coolant Temperature Sensor but I'm not sure where that is. You really need the manuals and electrical schematics to be sure.
    That said (and of virtually no use), I'd be very, very leery of using that "chip" on my car. It really isn't a chip so much as a device that is external to the ECU. I honestly don't think it is possible to properly design a chip and sell it for $27.50. Real chips go into the ECU and alter the programming of the ECU. They require a lot of reverse engineering of the ECU programming and a lot of time on a dyno with a wide band O2 sensor. This is time consuming and expensive. That is why real chips typically cost around $500.
    The ads for that "chip" don't tell you anything about what they do. I would suspect that based on the fact that they are connecting to the MAF, IAT and CTS, that they are merely altering the airflow input to the ECU causing a slight leaning of the mixture ratio and advancing of the ignition timing. This could be a recipe for disaster. It's not a matter of thinking, "Well, it is only $27.50. If it doesn't work it is no big deal." If you start detonating, it could get to be a big deal very quickly.
    Frankly, I'm surprised that ebay let's them advertise on their service. The ads state that it doesn't affect your warranty because it can be easily removed before you bring it to the dealer. To me that is recommending fraud and I wouldn't think ebay would want to expose themselves to that.
  • Has anyone installed tuning chips in a 2003 A4 3.0 Quattro Tiptronic? If so, what chip manufacturer did you use, what was the cost and how much HP and torque did you gain?
  • ricviricvi Posts: 1
    Your return on investment is low. E.g. Jet Performance Stage 1 investment is $249; advertisement states a result of 20 horsepower boost; not true. Maybe 5 to 10; is that worth it...; it is when a hundredth of a second means winning; in ten quarter mile runs with and without the chip i found no difference; i went for nitrous which added 75 horsepower for $600...; now that is a return on investment...; I believe if you can program your own chip for BMWs and Porsches or Vettes you might see a difference...; there's so much you can do to out perform chips...
  • stix818stix818 Posts: 4
    New to the forums so I was wondering if anyone had any thought on using a hypertech III on the 05 duramaxs??
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