WHAT IS CHIP TUNING?
Chip tuning is a replacement of the standard software (software) of the engine control unit with modified software. The software is recorded in the memory of the electronic control unit (ECU). In accordance with it, the ECU, based on sensor readings, controls the engine using actuators. Actuators are nozzles, ignition coils, an exhaust gas recirculation valve, intake manifold geometry controls, various solenoid valves, etc. Software is more often called firmware, in fact, like the chip tuning process itself..
Engine control unit mounted under the hood Great Wall Hover
WHERE ARE THE FIRMWARE??
Modified firmware for control units are created on the basis of standard firmware (the so-called “stock” firmware, or simply “stock”). Stock firmware is read from the control unit. The first software modification may take many days, as it requires its deep analysis and verification. If modified firmware is already available, then a second modification is not required: this firmware can be used on other cars of the corresponding make, model and configuration.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO “CHIP THE CAR”, i.e. WHY CHIP TUNING IS NEEDED?
Here are some examples..
The standard software of the control unit may contain errors that lead to a false determination of the malfunction of various subsystems or incorrect operation of the engine in various modes. Usually, the car manufacturer, accumulating information about the malfunctions of the cars it manufactures from the dealership service stations, analyzes it, and if the cause of the malfunction is incorrect control unit software, it issues a service bulletin about the revocable campaign for dealers and dealers replace the software for free.
If the error in the software is not determined by the car manufacturer, then many car owners, faced with this malfunction, turn to private auto-electricians-diagnosticians, and those who, having determined the incorrect operation of the control unit, read and send the standard firmware for testing and upgrading to an experienced calibrator. The calibrator, analyzing the software, creates its modification with a fixed error. Such cases of software errors are known: erroneous fixation by the control unit of a malfunction of the catalyst, oxygen sensors, false misfires in the cylinders.
The catalyst is an element of the exhaust system that reduces the toxicity of the latter due to chemical transformations. We will not delve into the mechanism of its work. Many articles have been written about this. For example, this one:
We will concentrate on its service life, which for a completely serviceable car varies greatly and can range from 90 thousand km. run and more. The unsatisfactory technical condition of the car, the quality of the fuel used, and the aggressive driving style negatively affect the life of the catalyst..
The most common cause of premature catalyst failure is misfire in the engine cylinders, in which too much unburned fuel burns out in the catalyst. This causes overheating and destruction of the ceramic honeycomb of the catalyst. As a result, its throughput is reduced and it is difficult for exhaust gases to go outside. The destruction of the catalyst is characterized by a serious decrease in engine power available to the driver: most of it is spent on the so-called pumping losses – pushing gases through the catalyst; moreover, the combustion chamber is inefficiently cleaned of exhaust gases. The car loses its dynamics (it starts to “dull”), as motorists say, “they seem to hold it by the ass,” in the end one day it just won’t start.
A similar malfunction and its resolution is described here:
Misfire is characterized by increased vibration (which is difficult to notice when the number of cylinders is more than 4), a decrease in its power and fixing by the control unit of fault codes P0300, P0301, -2, -3, -4, -5, -6 (if the misfire control function embedded in the control unit). There are many reasons for misfire. Here are the main ones: a malfunction of the high voltage circuit (candles, coils, high voltage wires), low fuel pressure (for example, with a faulty fuel pump or low fuel level), malfunction of nozzles, mechanical engine malfunctions (low compression, timing shift).
Another malfunction of the catalyst is a decrease in its efficiency. The main causes of this problem are the low quality of fuel and fuels and lubricants, as well as the catalyst resource. The appearance in the memory of the control unit of error P0422- The low efficiency of the catalytic converter, will most likely be caused precisely by the reason in question, but other options are possible.
Any malfunction of the catalyst is solved either by replacing it with a new one, or by removing it. It is impossible to restore its performance.
Replacing with a new catalyst is a civilized solution, but not cheap, since its active element contains precious metals. The cost of one original catalyst starts from several tens of thousands of Russian rubles, and on some cars the number of catalysts can reach four.
There are cheaper options – not the original universal catalysts:
In any case, do not discount this option: ecology is our common cause and this is especially true for large cities.
Removing the catalyst on vehicles with Euro-3 toxicity standards and above will cause the control unit to fix the corresponding fault code, since the control unit monitors the operation of the catalyst by means of an oxygen sensor installed after the catalyst in the direction of exhaust gases (the so-called “rear” oxygen sensor , “Front” is installed before the catalyst). Therefore, simply removing the catalyst is not enough; you still need to make the engine control unit stop monitoring the catalyst performance. To do this, the engine control unit is reflashed with modified software, after which the readings of the rear oxygen sensor are not taken into account, and ECMs are not recorded at all (the so-called firmware for Euro-2). It is also worth noting that the removal of a working catalyst on the increase in power available to the driver will not have a significant effect.
REMOVING THE SOOT FILTER
Modern diesel cars are equipped with a particulate filter (Diesel Particulare Filter, DPF) to meet toxicity standards. In a few words, its function is to capture soot from exhaust gases and its subsequent combustion (the so-called regeneration of the particulate filter).
Soot of exhaust gases of internal combustion engines, acting as activated carbon, collects harmful substances and is a carcinogen, so inhaling it is extremely undesirable. The particulate filter is designed to reduce the amount of soot in the car’s exhaust..
Details of the particulate filter design:
Errors in the operation of the car, poor quality of fuel and lubricants, frequent trips over short distances and urban travel mode lead to fatal particulate filter malfunctions. Its regeneration becomes impossible. Faced with this problem, the car owner, as in the case of the catalyst, has two ways to solve it: replacing with a new one or removing the seedling. The cost of a new particulate filter is great and often its removal is the only way to return the car to working condition. And in this case, you will also need a flashing of the engine control unit, software disabling the particulate filter.
Particulate filter removal is described in more detail here.:
DISABLING EGR VALVE
In order for modern engines to meet ever stricter environmental standards, various engine subsystems are used. One of them is the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. In a few words, the essence of this system is to mix part of the exhaust gases (FG) to a fresh fuel-air mixture in order to reduce the combustion temperature in the combustion chamber, which leads to a decrease in the concentration of toxic nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gases (the fact is that at too high temperatures in the combustion chamber, molecular nitrogen contained in the air is oxidized).
However, the EGR system has a significant drawback: exhaust gases choke the car’s engine, the combustion products clog the intake manifold, the EGR valve itself, the engine’s intake valves, also get into the engine oil and it loses its properties much faster.
This problem is solved by blocking the EGR valve (recirculation channel) with a plug made of sheet steel and, of course, programmatically disabling the recirculation function (installing a specific firmware). The control of the EGR system elements (valve (s), special throttle on diesels) and the EGR system operation control (which is carried out by controlling the fresh air flow or using specific temperature and pressure sensors) are disabled.
Location of the EGR valve actuator on the Great Wall Hover H5 with diesel engine
ADJUSTING THE Idle Speed
Many automakers underestimate base idle speeds to improve engine efficiency. This can lead to increased engine vibration at idle, sometimes to difficulties when starting off on the manual transmission. On some vehicles this situation can be corrected with the help of diagnostic equipment (scanner). In this case, part of the program is fixed in the software, but this will not be chip tuning. For other cars, it is possible to change the base idle speed using chip tuning.
ADJUSTING THE COOLING FAN TEMPERATURE TEMPERATURE
On modern cars, electric fans of the engine cooling system are started via a relay, which is activated by the engine control unit. The control unit monitors the engine temperature according to the readings of the coolant temperature sensor. Temperature thresholds for turning the cooling fan on and off are recorded in the engine control unit software.
Some automakers, for reasons of improving the environmental friendliness of engines, increase the engine’s operating temperature by shifting the cooling fan on / off thresholds to higher temperatures. However, often this is done without proper modifications to the engine design, which leads to excessive thermal loads. With the help of chip tuning, it is possible to shift the temperature range of the fan to lower temperatures (of course, within reason).
INCREASED POWER OR REDUCED COSTS
These aspects are considered together, as they are interdependent..
Chip tuning of the car allows you to change the encoding of the software and optimize the control processes of the engine systems, respectively, the power of the car is increased due to the fact that it reveals its full potential.
As a result of increasing the dynamics of the car, the car enthusiast intuitively begins to put less pressure on the accelerator pedal. As the response of the car to the gas pedal becomes more adequate, the motorist presses the pedal more and more stupidly, trying to achieve dynamic acceleration. As a result, fuel consumption is reduced..
However, do not wait for a huge increase in power after uploading a new firmware to the control unit.
INCREASING MOTOR COMFORT (ACCELERATION, PERFORMANCE) / SAFETY
A chip car doesn’t really look like a stock car. He adds to the dynamics of acceleration, becomes more responsive, more informative. As a result of this, the comfort of control is increased, many of the owner’s expectations from his car are justified. You can even say that the car is becoming safer, because in difficult situations, when you need to perform a maneuver, implying a sharp acceleration – the car will give such an opportunity. However, do not forget that car chipovka is not a cure for everything. You should always clearly weigh the capabilities of your car and, based on them, adjust your behavior on the road.
HOW CHIP-TUNING HAPPENS?
Typically, chip tuning begins with a primary engine diagnostic: checking for the absence of trouble codes in the memory of the engine control unit, the adequacy of all engine systems, etc. Often, customers of the chip tuner, unaware of engine malfunctions or control systems, ask chip tuning to improve the behavior of the car, motivating this desire with the simple expression “does not drive.” Often, a decrease in engine power due to malfunctions occurs gradually, and that is why primary diagnostics are so necessary and important.
Chip tuning requires the performer to have deep knowledge both in the field of functioning of engine systems and very specific knowledge. For example: you need to clearly understand what equipment and method you can flash one or another engine control unit, whether the firmware of the current car model is fully consistent, as well as the control and configuration unit. The contractor should also be ready to disassemble the control unit and of course do it all without damage, etc..
Different control units are “sewn” in different ways. Some blocks are “sewn” without removal and disassembly, through the diagnostic connector of the car (the diagnostic line is used).
Car diagnostic connector
Other units cannot be “flashed” in this way and you will need to remove the control unit from the car. Options are possible here: either the control unit is flashed without disassembly, which is called “on the table” (necessary wires are connected to some contacts of the unit’s connector).
DELPHI engine control units for Great Wall and BYD
Or the control unit is disassembled and the firmware is changed by connecting the equipment to the contacts on the printed circuit board of the control unit
or by evaporating the necessary microcircuit from the control unit and “flashing” its programmer:
The process of disassembling the control unit depends on its type, as well as on the tasks facing the chip tuner. At least the cover will be removed from the control unit. The lid is usually placed on a sealant that becomes soft when heated. The lid is heated using an industrial hair dryer, after which the lid is easily removed. But there are “difficult” cases in which you either need to remove the printed circuit board from the block body, or remove the second block cover. In “especially severe” cases, the control unit cannot be disassembled at all, then the part of the cover that is located above the contacts of the control unit circuit board, necessary for making the connection, is removed. After completing the software replacement procedure, the resulting hole closes hermetically.
It should be noted that the control unit can even be flashed separately from the car. There is no need to drive a car into service if it is too far away. It is enough to bring or send the control unit to the chip tuner and it will reflash it with what is called “on the table”. Then the control unit is installed back on the car.
A car enthusiast who is thinking about flashing his car is worried about the question: how can changing the firmware affect the engine’s life? The answer to this question can only be found out which particular firmware will be uploaded. The quality of the firmware depends on the qualifications of the specialist who calibrated it and in this aspect, it is necessary to flash your car with the proven chip tuners. They use proven and well-calibrated firmware, edited by experienced professionals, one of the basic principles of which is “do no harm”. And in this case there should be no doubt that the flashing of the control unit will not adversely affect the engine resource. And in some cases – even the opposite. We are talking about, for example, those cases when the USR is disabled by chip tuning or the temperature of the engine cooling fan is adjusted.
A few words about the behavior of a stitched car.
Whatever car is chip-on, one can clearly identify the main aspects of the flashing results:
1. The car becomes more responsive and responds much more actively to the gas pedal.
2. Chipovka removes failure during acceleration from 2 to 3 thousand revolutions, which is familiar to absolutely every owner of these cars.
3. On a diesel car, chipovka removes the turboyama. (On the stock version of the software, the turbine picks up only after 2 thousand revolutions), firmware versions are available with the EGR valve turned off.
Thank you for the help of the employees of the service station “RedHot Service” (Professional repair and chip tuning of the Great Wall).
OOO STO PROFI, Moscow, ul. Stakhanovskaya, house 24a
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