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Are Chip Upgrades Worth It?

chris1638chris1638 Posts: 1
edited August 2015 in INFINITI
I own a '93 infiniti G20 and am considering making
several modifications to try and add hp and beef
up the performance a bit. I found a chip upgrade
at stillen.com for about $300.
Anybody had any experiences with using these chips
in an infiniti or other small cars?

See Also
Performance Upgrades: Are They Worth It?

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Comments

  • rryder1rryder1 Posts: 1
    I've changed the chips in small engines and big engines. Unless, it has a turbo the change seems to be negligible, except that now you'll have to use premium. But they do work great if you've added other modifications like an exhaust, or air filter assembly, etc. For the most part chips w/o a turbo or supercharger add about 10-15 horsepower and about 5 ft-lbs of torque. On another note if your really planning on doing several changes to the engine your better off waiting untill they are done before changing the chip. Some performance shops can tune the chip to take into account the changes you've made, and really make the chip work for you and the other mods you've done.
  • joe48joe48 Posts: 1
    Anyone have any experience or info. comparing these two? Is there much of a difference?
  • dmkdmk Posts: 22
    I'd have to agree w/ rryder1. The VW Passat comes w/ 1.8L Turbo and a 2.8L normally aspirated V6. The chip for the turbo increases hp approx. 50 hp to 200 hp and the V6 increases 15 hp to 205. This is from the same manufactures and the prices are similar ($300-500). I chipped my 1.8 Turbo and the difference is amazing! Literally breaks the tires loose when the turbo kicks in.

    DMK
  • Does anyone have any information on whether chip upgrades will affect the warranty? Also, if i buy a performance chip (ie www.tap1.com), how much does it usually run to get it installed; also, where are the best places to get it installed? i assume that the dealership will not have any suggestions. :)
  • dmkdmk Posts: 22
    The warranty issue is a grey area. Go to the A4.org or vwvortex.com site for more discussion on this. Many chip tuners offer socketed chips(removable) that prevent the issues of warranty coming up. When your car has to be serviced for a problem switch to your stock chip.
    Re. install it varies. It helps if you liver near a tuner. I was lucky. Wetterauer was only a hour from my house so I drove down and was chipped in less than an hour. If you can't do that the next alternative(and most common) is to mail in your ECU. Go to Wetts site for more info on this as well. Their address is www.chip-tuning.com

    DMK
  • stsmanstsman Posts: 8
    just picked up a 96 red pearl STS,W/118,000 EASY HWY.MILES.IMMACULATE CONDITION FOR THE MILEAGE(ALSO AN OFFER i COULDN'T PASS UP).HOPE TO KEEP IT AT LEAST 5 YRS,AS WE ONLY DO 8,000 MI./PER YR.QUESTIONS OUT THERE,PLEASE!1.DOES ANY ONE KNOW HOW THE AUTO LOAD LEVELING WORKS?2.WHEN TC(TRAC CTRL) IS ON,DOES THE CAR TAKE OFF IN 2ND?do you manually have to disengage it.Thanx :-))
  • tateostateos Posts: 36
    The self leveling system uses sensors, an on-board air compressor, and air shocks to keep the rear of the car level regardless of load.

    The Traction Control permits you to start and drive normally when it is on. If you turn it off, it forces the transmission to start in 2nd gear. If you put the TC back on, it will allow 1st gear starts again.

    Richard Moore
    '97 Eldorado Owner
  • lleroilleroi Posts: 112
    chips work on a 87 Yugo.If so what suspension modifications should I have done to handle the increased power.
  • orlieorlie Posts: 12
    ... the chip (or, better yet, computer) upgrade is definitely worth it. My friend has an Audi S4, and once he replaced the computer itself, he's able to toggle between 3 modes: stock, valet, and chip. I couldn't believe the difference that chip made ... it has more power than his '98 Vette! (Of course, the Vette still handles a hell of a lot better, no doubt.)

    I'm skipping the chip for my SUV -- it aint worth it, not even if I change the headers, exhaust, etc. (Translation: too much money for too little performance increase ... 'might as well get a sports car.)
  • Don't go anyplace else but Jim Wolf Technology. They don't use "chips" they reprograme your ECU and custom-taylor the programe to your aftermarket changes.

    Also since you have one of the older SR20DE engine, you might wanna try some JWT S2 camshafts, HotShot header, Unordothox Racing underdrive pulleys, Place Racing cold-air intake and a good exhaust system. With those changes and a JWT ECU programe, you can make 150-160hp at the wheels easy.

    You should check out freshalloy.com, se-r.net and SR20.org

    Tony
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    How many people dyno their cars before and after receiving a chip upgrade to make sure they aren't buying exaggerated products?
  • swinga7swinga7 Posts: 45
    i've seen hundreds of ads for performance chips. which companies make quality chips?
  • Companies like Superchips Diablo Jet, etc. The bigger names in ECU chip mods. I dynoed each one in my old Focus. Not one of them gained more than 2 hp and the Superchips lost torque across the board. Naturally aspirated they are a total waste of money. They are only worth it if you have an automatic or a turbo. Even so you would be better off spending more and getting the AVC-R. The only use I had for them was rev-limiter and speed limiter removal. I have heard very good things about chips for the VW but why get a chip when you can just get the AVC for the same cost?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "Little by little, cars are becoming software-rich. While this probably isn't news to engineers, it's only just now being noticed by the world at large, including programmers."

    Automakers, beware: hot rodders do software, too

    Steve
    Host
    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    then yes, it's worth it.
  • What about a 1997 z3 2.8? How do they fair with the chips? It takes that pesky governer off right? Does it set rev limiters and new redlines or are they completly removed? Im assuming since its a naturally aspirated motor I shouldnt buy the chip unless I have cold air induction, new exhaust, or a turbo correct?
  • jmestas1jmestas1 Posts: 4
    I have a '95 Nissan Maxima GXE, the engine is a bit sluggish, mainly due to the fact that i have 125K on the car. Would it be worth it to do some modifications on the car? i.e. new chip, exaust, intake ect...? Are Mod chips availabe for the 3.5L Pathfinder? Thanks!!!
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Try the basic maintenance routines first (tune-up, etc.) If your engine has a distributor, new wires, cap, & rotor will help also.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "With Mr. Rascon's Civic howling away on the dynamometer, Mr. Wilmizig adjusted air and fuel mixtures on his laptop while Mr. Church read out continually increasing horsepower numbers. Mr. Church figured that the Civic would be good for 220 horsepower and would be able to run the quarter-mile in just over 12 seconds, about as fast as a new $73,000 Dodge Viper or a $115,000 Porsche 911 Turbo would. Mr. Rascon paid only $8,000 for his Honda."


    Gentlemen, Start Hacking Your Engines


    Steve, Host

  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    a 1.8 liter motor with 300 hp and no turbo or nitrous. Programming a chip with a laptop isn't anything new - it's relatively simple, but you aren't going to triple the horsepower on a car no matter what kind of fuel or spark curve you're running.

    Plus, he surely didn't buy a Civic AND make 300 hp on 8 grand.
  • 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.


    -hh

  • 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!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Altering Your Engine With New Chips (NY Times)

    Steve, Host
  • 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.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Keeping 'car chippers' plugged in (Boston Globe)

    Steve, Host
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    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....................
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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??
  • I have an Infiniti FX45 which has the same mill as the Q45 and M45 but makes 20 less horsepower for what reason - no one at Infiniti can say... I have hit a brick wall trying to find out if I can swap a Q45 chip with the one in my FX45 and recapture the "lost" horsepower. Does anyone know why this would not work and who can help me?
  • Does anyone know if there is a programmer module for an Infiniti G35? If so, do you have a link? I haven't been able to find anything.

    Thanks!!
  • I'm planning on adding an AFE cold air intake with a granitelli mass air flow sensor to my 99 sierra. I have a superchip programmer, that a rep told me not to use it with the mass air sensor. So Im leaning towards the diablo to see if I can get a coustom program to make eveything smooth. I will add the intake and sensor for a while then get a dyno test. I need to know a good place to send the dyno info to burn a custom program to fit my truck. SO Im in the same boat as you in a way, I just need some info if possible. TY for reading.
  • CAN SOMEONE HELP ME OUT.... I NEED INFO ON THE CHIP AND WANT TO KNOW IF ITS WORTH IT...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Which chip are you thinking of buying? Name of product or manufacturer? Do you have a website link we can look at?
  • WELL I'LL BE HONEST WITH YOU...I REALLY HAVE NO CLUE... THIS IS MY FIRST CAR AND I DONT KNOW MUCH ABOUT CARS SO I KINDA CAME HERE FOR SOME SCHOOLING OR JUST FOR SOME HELP AND GUIDANCE ....MAYBE YOU CAN HELP ME OUT ON GETTING THE RIGHT CHIP ...I JUST INSTALLED AN INJEN COLD AIR INTAKE WICH MADE A REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE.. AND I WANT TO DO OTHER LITTLE MODS THAT WONT COST ME TOO MUCH.... IM ACTUALLY SELLING THE RIMS IT HAS RIGHT NOW AND LOOKING TO GET SOMETHING BIGGER 19X8.5 19X9.5 BUT I HEARD THAT CAN SLOW U DOWN SO IM THINKING OF 18'S ...ANNY SUGESTIONS?

    HERES A LINK :
    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=1044235&imageID=25- 8588582&Mytoken=C7F101CB-A0A1-4846-B5674390A9575ED22639079390
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I wouldn't go over 18", no way. Harsh ride and heavy tire wear, not worth it IMO.

    As for the chips, you need to get their technical specs and read carefully HOW they achieve what they claim to acheive. For instance, are they trying to advance your ignition timing? Or do they merely extend your automatic transmission shifts (heck you could do that for free in manual mode). Is it a real chip or a re-flash? What proof do they offer for their claims? Who tested it for them? Are they impartial and independent testers?

    You need to do your homework and the BEST thing is to talk to someone who has installed the chip and tested it themselves.
  • THANK YOU. I'LL DO SOME RESEARCH AND ASK AROUND... BUT YEAH IM STICKING WITH THE 18'S AND PROBALBY BRINGING THE CAR DOWN ABOUT AN INCH. OR MAYBE 1.5 NOT SURE YET.. BUT IF THERES ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN HELP ME OUT ON ID BE STOKED.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well don't bring the car down TOO much or you'll hammer the stock shocks to pieces.
  • A shop was charging me $450 to lower it with different shocks...dont remember the name. should i even lower it ? and if so how low?
This discussion has been closed.