Tuning Box or Remap?Rob Leafe
Tuning box or Remap?
Remap obviously, but then I’m biased, however, there is a bit of science behind my reasoning.
Don’t get me wrong just like remaps, there are good and bad out there. A lot will depend on the technology and build quality of the unit your fitting. I’m not comparing stand-alone management systems fitted to race cars or the lower end stuff that may not even work. More your average run of the mill tuning box for your everyday car against a quality remap on a similar vehicle.
Ok, so let’s look at why you may consider fitting a “tuning box” instead of a “remap”, and I’ll try to convince you otherwise 🙂
You can’t remap my car… From time to time we come across a vehicle that can’t be mapped. This could be down to a number of reasons, maybe an older vehicle or just a vehicle type that our tuning tools can’t communicate with, for example, maybe an American vehicle that is not often found in our country. In this instance, a tuning box may be the only option but we would recommend looking for a box that has a reputable brand and maybe specialise in the vehicle type you’re looking to improve.
I can take a tuning box on and off… This is very true you can unplug a tuning box should you need to, but unfortunately with this slight benefit also comes the disadvantage of an electronic unit with a number of connections that fit key components such as the fuel rail or the injectors. These connections are open to the elements and heat generated from the engine. A remap is software, a tweaked program that replaces the software already running your vehicle. It’s kind of like writing a CD, once the information is written the only way it will change is if somebody alters it. Just like a tuning box should you want to remove one of our remaps we back up and keep all original software, so the remap can be reversed if required.
I can adjust the tuning box myself… Quite a number of tuning boxes come with a way of adjusting the setting (normally dip switches) from low to high power. This whole concept baffles me. The developers that write the programs we apply when remapping your car, go through a number of rolling road tests and stringent checks to ensure the adjustments made are within the tolerances your engine can handle. The only adjustment needed to be made by the driver are with his right foot. I like the idea of an artist drawing some masterpiece then someone finishing it off with a marker pen.
If I have a problem with my car I can take the tuning box off… A tuning box is normally fitted between the connections of the engine control module and the fuel pressure sensor and the boost pressure sensor. They work by interrupting the signal between the ECU and the sensors that tell the management system what’s happening with the fueling. By feeding back a lower sensor reading than what’s actually happening the ECU will look to increase boost/fuel pressure which in turn will give improved performance. This is all good until the information from those sensors is requires to protect the engine, for example in cold weather the ECU will reduce performance until the engine gets warm or if the engine developers a fault and the ECU backs off to protect it. The box is still in the circuit giving a false low reading and pushing the performance past parameters. With an ECU remap all the correct information is still being fed back to the ECU and so all the safety parameters are still there.
I can get better performance from a tuning box… Tuning boxes definitely have their place and people do boast good figures when having them fitted. In reality, so much more vehicle-specific development goes into a remap. Restrictive parameter can be altered within the ECU to allow the vehicle to produce better performance. Without having these limits adjusted a tuning box would never be able to produce the same performance.