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ECU tuning: Shortcut to power or road to ruin?Modern cars are built with a wide margin in the engine control unit (ECU) for different driving conditions and fuel types. How much extra horsepower can you squeeze out of an engine before it goes boom?
Welcome to the workshop where we are here to remount the hell out of a car. For that, I'm going to put you to 500 pounds but sadly, must also include the cost of buying the car. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Okay, so I brought my rotten, old car to an old friend of mine, Ben Wardell of Sharp Performance, Mr. Mapping. Hi, Rich, how are you doing? You all right? Good, hadn't seen you for a while. Yeah, yeah, all good? Yeah, yeah. What do you think? Looks great, petrol diesel? It's that one, actually. Right I see. It says GTI Golf mock four golf GTI. Not the best. No it's good. Not really the one to buy I've been told but. Cost me [INAUDIBLE]. I've really looked after it. [LAUGH] Right haven't you okay yeah. Know much about it? It's 13 miles. It certainly has yeah. Let me show you, look. Steady. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] This is a diesel, so it's got 150? Yea, 150 standard this one. 150. The TDI badge, yea. The TDI badge is 130. This should be a 150. Why put the TDI in when its a diesel? It's the same as the petrol. The petrol is at 150. Is that why is smokes like hell? When you put petrol in it? [LAUGH] Yea, it definitely will do that. Yea, yea. Right. Okay, so it looks a bit grotty. To be honest, does it drive alright. like you. << Really? << Yeah, you know I look after my cars. << Right, well, what's the charcoal for in the back? << It soaks up the aroma. << Really? << I can't show in the camera, but it Quite I'm getting forced. This is the anniversary model right? No this is not the anniversary model. You can't say normal because the 150 diesel GTI's are quite rare. Okay. But mainly the anniversary's were 150 but this is a normal amount of anniversary one. What does that red one mean? That's coolant. And that yellow one? That one's fuel and one's speed. it definitely says stop on that display which I'm surprised is still working. It means stop for the red lights though. Of course yeah that's stop at the red lights. It's the german technology. You wouldn't normally do this would you? No. You wouldn't normally touch [UNKNOWN] I think you can turn this into an art. How many horsepowers [UNKNOWN] have? [UNKNOWN] 310, it's the brand new 2018 model yeah 310 ps. There's what 206 horsepowers that, you know more about the [UNKNOWN] What does ps stand for? [UNKNOWN] I [UNKNOWN] Of course it's power Ben. Why are you wearing gloves? Well. Would you want to touch those door handles? I've got to be honest Rich I don't know, I'm too short, I don't think I'm going to do it I'm afraid. I'll tell the viewers about your rover. Don't please. Shhh. [MUSIC] He owns a Rover 416 and he loves it. But nobody's allowed to know. Shh. Yeah you're looking maybe you can't keep this. Yeah. Yeah. Tire's blown up 1993. Yeah. These are not faults, these are quirks but it's in good shape. Yeah, it looks like it. I need that. No, you don't, it fits everywhere. I need that. I need that. Does the air con work? Yeah, there we go. We just need re-gasing mate. That might, that's important, that bit's really important Is it? Don't lose it. Doctor. Doctor? You bought it from a doctor. Not an actual doctor. Sounds really well, watch the RX-7. So you'd do him? It's a 416 anyway. Might need this. Yeah, cheers. Just needs a bit of help to get going, that's all. Does it? [NOISE] So a quarter of a million miles ago, this car left the factory with about 150 BHP. We're going to get it up on the rollers now to see what we've got to start with. What you doing? Just putting a sit cover to sit in your filthy sits. [LAUGH] [MUSIC] Engines are designed to work with very great fuel, different altitudes, not quite engine conditions So the manufacturers building it over generous safety margin. By remapping ECU we can nib away at these safety margins to improve performance, such as getting better fuel economy or in this case even more power. There's quite a science here which is why I brought this quality expert who will write the code, install a remap and prove the results on a calibrated rolling road. [SOUND]. Well to go. We've got 142 VHP standards, so very slightly down on what it should be, but let's be honest, 200 and however many thousand miles, and I think that's too bad, really. We've lost eight horsepower from you. So it's in the jar, which is, I mean, you know, testament to engineer, really, I guess so. What I'm gonna do now is read out information from the engine ECU. It doesn't tell us how many horsepower it is now, doesn't work like that on these ECUs. They're a bit too old for that unfortunately. So what we're gonna do is read out the information, alter the tables that control the boost, the injection timing, and the fueling. So we can alter them to make it do what we want it to do rather than what the manufacturer wants it to do. And then I can give you some more BHPs. Fantastic, right. Can I have as many BHPs as a Mk7 TDI, please? Yeah, and I'll do my very best to get it spot on for you. It might take a couple of gos. But yes, I'm gonna put a stage one map on here. I'm going to see how your car reacts to that and go from there. So that's 150 to 1, what would it be? Should be 185 to 190 but with car this age, we're so unsure at this point in time so, let's see how many tries it takes us to get up to there. We can do it. We can do it. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] What have you got? 172 and 400 meters. We could fine tune it if that's what you want us to do to bring it up to sort of 180 85 mark. It's close enough. I think this is great. We've turned this mark 4tdi into a mark 7 tdi near enough for me. Right. Right mark 7 Golf GTI. The current mark 7 Golf GTI has 230 horsepower. I want that. That's not gonna happen, mate. If it is a paying customer, I'd definitely say no. As you're an insane person and this is your car. And you don't want me to tell the public about your Lumbridge addiction. I'd rather you didn't, to be honest with you. I'm happy to do it but only if you understand that it's probably not gonna last the course. Okay maximum bang per buck. That might have been a bang. [MUSIC] [INAUDIBLE] [NOISE] All right, that was a whimper not a bang. It looked good, smoke, noise, smell, but the numbers, what happened there? We get into the point now where the EC really doesn't know what to do. We're trying to inject more fuel than it knows exists, basically, so we're way beyond What the issue is capable of understanding. So I will have to start working around it now, and try to get it round to my way of thinking rather than the way the manufacturer works it. Splendid, switch all the safety of, let's go for a maximum bank per log, let's map it again. I'll do my very best, sir. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [SOUND] I think it's broken. [FOREIGN] Not sure if the [FOREIGN]. [LAUGH] [FOREIGN] 36 36 horsepower? [LAUGH] [UNKNOWN] to death. Our engineering accomplished I think, actually on average it looks more like it might be 25. There's a little bit of a blip right at the end [INAUDIBLE]. Yeah. [MUSIC] Okay, so mission accomplished. Mission accomplished, yeah. We started out with a slightly [UNKNOWN] 4TD, 150 BHP should have. And we're aiming for a Mark seven goal forward, with 300 never happened. How close did we get? Never happened. Well, we've knocked on the door at what a Mark six petrol TDI would do. So we beat a Mark five, we beat the Mark six TDI, and we're in good territory with well over 200 horse power. It's looking good. As we got on to this stage, wanted it to be perfectly drivable. You asked me for more. It still would have been pretty drivable at 190 mark, but you've asked me to push it. That's what we've done. And as you can see. It's alright. There's a new pope. That's all that means. White smoke means new pope. Yeah. And what died in the end? Was it a head gasket? I'm not totally sure at this stage. We'd have to take it to bits to have a look. But I think ****, yeah, it's all over. Can you fix it? Probably not. [LAUGH] [UNKNOWN] equipped. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] [NOISE] Dying, I'm dying. [COUGH] [INAUDIBLE]