CUSTOM ECU SOFTWARE REMMAPING
Modern engines are equipped with an engine management system (EMS)/Engine Control Unit (ECU) that can be adjusted to different settings, producing different performance levels. Manufacturers often produce a few engines that are used in a wider range of models and platforms. This allows the manufacturers to sell automobiles in various markets with different regulations without having to spend money developing and designing different engines to fit these regulations.
Remapping is the simplest form of stage one engine tuning; it is performed mostly on turbocharged vehicles containing a modern Engine Control Unit (ECU). Almost all modern vehicles have an ECU, primarily supplied by Bosch or Delphi Technologies. The ECU has firmware that controls the various parameters under which the engine runs. These parameters include achieving the appropriate balance between fuel consumption, power, torque, fuel emissions, reliability and service intervals. Many factory firmware fail to utilise the full potential of the engine, and as such leave the end-user with an under-tuned engine.
Many manufacturers build one engine and use several firmware versions, known as maps, to achieve different power levels to differentiate vehicles that essentially have an identical engine. This gives users an opportunity to unlock more potential from the engine with a few changes to the factory software by reading and editing the factory firmware from the ECU using specialist tools plugged into the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port. The tools can be connected to the OBD port on any car to read the factory file that is saved on the ECU. Software to read specific types of factory files is available.
Parameters of factory files such as fuel injection, boost pressure, rail pressure, fuel pump pressure and ignition timing, are adjusted to safe limits that are set by an expert so the unlocked performance does not compromise the car’s safe levels of reliability, fuel consumption and emissions. The map may be customized for city use, for on-track performance, or for an overall map giving power throughout the band in a linear manner. Once adjusted, the edited file is written back to the ECU with the same tools used for the initial reading, after which the engine is tested for performance, smoke levels, and any problems. Fine-tuning is done according to the feedback, producing a better-performing and more efficient engine.