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Remapping a car ECU

Discussion in 'Engine Compartment' started by Sat-Chit-ananda, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. redbull


    I am writing here after a long time. Just wanted to update that I got remap done from Siddharth of Tune-O-Tronics. I was planning to do this for a long time and when he had that discount running, I jumped on the opportunity. This "fee" covers all subsequent visits and consultations as long as I am the owner of the car.

    Frankly earlier I never liked to drive the car in city. As I felt it to be "heavy" or "laggy" in city conditions. It was jerky from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd gear change. Bumper to bumper traffic was a BIG pain. On initial clutch release it would dart forward but then due to short 1st gear and engine noise have to shift to 2nd and 2nd would be laggy if it was even slightly uphill and when it did pick up still it is short so cannot get that "pinned in the seat" feeling. Real kill joy I tell you. Only from 3rd gear it was "driveable".

    But in highways it's character used to change. The car was a complete "split personality". But still I did not like the noise after 2500 rpm - some "drone" noise.

    Ok on first remap he gave his usual "powerized" tune. As I started to drive, I did not feel much but then when I drove for a few minutes, I immediately realized, the "drone" noise after 2500 rpm was not there. Also rev counter was climbing super fast and when pushed with my driving style, there was no hesitation in the engine, no crankiness, no complain - felt like a honda petrol engine revving up. Consistently could see rev counter skirting 5000 rpm. Actually I went to his residence for the remap. Where he lives there are empty stretches to test. Ok to be very frank I could not feel too much difference in performance at mid/high range. But I think the problem is - in Punto I can't feel speed, or at least the way I drive it. I personally think it will take 150bhp to start challenging the chassis capability. He did check my air filter and it was clogged - he dusted it and put it back but advised me to get it cleaned or get a new one. While returning I got the air filter changed in TASS. Ok while driving around in the city for the next few days I realized, 1500 - 2000 rpm, there is higher torque. I slowly realized, city driveability has improved by a good factor. In fact with the way the car had trained me to drive it, now I would reach 3000 rpm when I thought I was probably doing 2000. I mean the rpm climbed quick. So I consciously tried to keep under 2000 and found that it was entirely possible to drive around now with 95% of the time within 2000 rpm and the only time I revved past 2000 was during 2nd to 3rd change although it was also not necessary. My city mileage increased from around 14 to 15.8. Highway mileage I felt there was some wee bit drop, but I was revving around and doing crazy things.

    I went for a Kanyakumari trip to test it. In highways, I was able to climb to higher cruising speeds. Earlier, my "comfortable" limit was 120. Beyond that I did not like the NVH. But now it seemed that there was no upper limit where I would stop feeling comfortable. I was able to cruise VERY comfortably and relaxed at 130. In fact, in the NICE link road from PES college to NICE ring road - 10 km stretch, I was able to climb up to around 185 without fuss before thoughts of tyre burst began to bother me and I realized the GT3 is rated 190. The car was super stable even at that speed and that stretch is not exactly straight or even plain although traffic is non existent most of the times. About performance, I always felt the car was already doing 120/130 before I could test anything, so I never got to feel that "pinned in the seat" feeling. However while driving from NICE junction at Kanakpura Road to Sri Sri Ravishankar Ashram, one can feel the acceleration, the chassis, the suspension working while overtaking others at the twists and turns. Now that stretch from PES college to Kanakpura Road is a regular stretch for me. I do 130/140/160 etc etc. - like this has become standard fare - as I told I did 185 once. Never did I feel even once that I was out of control. In fact at these speeds one can appreciate the stability of the car and the chassis suspension setup and the confidence it gives. I must say I am also impressed by the GT3 wet grip as I did this once while raining. Also water sprayed below at high speed does not unsettle the chassis - only some mild rocking. But I am not planning to do any of these things now as I think such high speeds are very very dangerous. A late realization is better than none. I would advise others also not to get carried away and reflect for a while before pressing the throttle.

    But I felt a curious half second lag every time I shifted gears. I talked to Siddharth, and he advised me to change my driving style, may be start pressing accelerator before the clutch is fully released. I tried that and it does work, but then I have to do it consciously as I have never driven like this before. Usually I leave the clutch fully and only then I press the accelerator. So I did not like this way of driving. Also I began feeling that I need to press the throttle more to get the expected response.

    I contacted Siddharth if he could do a second remap. This was anyway due as I was supposed to give him some feedback in a month's time but due to my extra busy schedule I kept putting this off. So we talked over the phone and via emails about this lag and the need to push the throttle more. I pointed him to some websites mentioning similar symptoms on remap and whether he needs some adjustment in his maps. He told his maps are infact "caliberated" ??? Ok I am not sure what this means but I assume he meant it is "tested". When we met again this Monday, first he took a test drive and in general was happy with the "health" of the engine. He has a different way of driving - step on the throttle etc, - very very aggressive, so I had to tell him how to drive like me to feel the lag. He did acknowledge the lag. He told me it could most probably be a weak/dirty MAF sensor. So he suggested that he could give a compensation for a weak MAF sensor signal and then I could try it out. He gave some explanation of the compensation which I frankly did not understand. If the MAF was weak but stable, the compensation will work, but if it was progressively dying, then eventually I would have to change it. But it seems the ECU is programmed for some tolerances before it issues engine check for a weakening MAF. I also asked him if I could get some more power. He was hesitant but then seeing my disapproval for his hesitation, he said he will provide some more boost over the entire rev range. He told me that the car would jump if clutch is released, he was concerned if the driveability would be compromised. But I was not convinced with his explanation as I do not drive like him, I drive with very little pedal and expect the car to respond. I knew it would not be a problem for me. Anyway he provided me with that extra boost. I also asked him what to do with the EGR. He said it was my wish. I asked what others had done. He told some keep it open, some close it entirely and some close it partially. So I took this middle path and closed the gate partially (closed to 10%). He advised me that on highways I need to let go off the throttle for a second or two in between just to cool down the exhaust temperature. If I keep the throttle pressed, the exhaust temperature will keep building up slowly, but if I take off the throttle for a second or two it will cool off immediately and then I can resume the throttle. Actually I had read somewhere, closing the EGR will lead to higher temperature stress on the exhaust valve.

    Ok now was the test drive. He drove it and felt it was seriously fast. I also feel the car is "seriously fast" when he drives it and when I sit on the passenger seat :) Advise # 2 was to leave the clutch pedal slowly or the transmission will take a big hit. On rainy days be careful not to let your left foot slip off the clutch. Look around for pedestrians. Be careful in general. He did a half clutch and made me feel the engine torque hitting the gears. He repeatedly told I need to be a bit more careful with this power. OK anyway I took the test drive and since it was dark I drove slowly, Oh my god now there was a REMARKABLE change in driveability. Turbo Lag was gone, throttle responded with minimal push. This is the first time I actually enjoyed driving in the city. Ok so far, for the last two days I am driving, it is entirely inside the city and now there is good boost in 1000 - 1500 rpm range. And it is just a breeze to drive. He told me there will be some hit in mileage, but who cares, there is such a huge improvement in driveability - no lagginess, no hesitation, no heaviness. No pushing the pedal to get the expected response. Ok I haven't yet tested what boost he has provided me in the performance zone, but I had some glimpses of it and all I can say is that it does feel interesting. It is OK, I do not intend to to take on Sebastian Vettel. I am now consciously careful about high speed gimmicks. About the mileage, in any case since I am able to drive comfortably at lower rpms, I do not think the city mileage will drop much and so far it looks like that.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012
    3 people like this.
  2. Italia-Linea

    Italia-Linea Staff Member Janitor

    @ Redbull, great to learn about your experience. But somehow after going through your post i am feeling that your car might be a bit stretched with the extra power from second map. Gearbox and clutch might get a hit. Also keep checking EGT from time to time. Valves might get burnt. Also Catcon might get damaged.

    Maybe you can drive for a while and ask him to again remap to more safer limit if at all you find it too aggressive.
  3. raj29

    raj29 Superiore

    Hi Redbull,

    Nice report there. Good to hear that with the remap you are enjoying your ride more

    Do you have any figures showing the change in acceleration !!
    Is there also any bump in the Bhp?

    FYI, i did 185 on my stock Punto 90HP without any issue didn't have to stress my punto. My Punto 90HP came with Apollo Accelera tyres which have a higher speed rating (210 km/h), so just wanted to understand how the remap helps.
    Yes, i agree that the 1st and 2nd gears are short and it sometime become tricky to drive in bumper to bumper traffic. I most of the times use 2nd gear in traffic conditions, but its not very comfortable, you know what i mean :).

    I dont understand the Remap thing much so my questions might be silly :-D
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  4. naveen2cool

    naveen2cool Superiore

    A very noob question. Why doesn't the factory itself don't give us powerful cars when we can acheive that by remap in the same ECU:confused:?
  5. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    Simple. No one will like the answer to the infamous "Kitna dethi hai?" question. :D

  6. naveen2cool

    naveen2cool Superiore


    :D but people who have remapped claim an increase in FE

    I checked the link Remapping the ECU - remaps benefits and issues

    It says , when ecu is remapped it reduces the service interval by half, we should take care to use high quality fuel and would have to change spares frequently as wear and tear is more in remapped cars.
  7. Italia-Linea

    Italia-Linea Staff Member Janitor

    Reliability, Mileage, Drivability, Norms, Emmissions, taking the service factor into account that many people dont change oil at given intervals etc force the manufacturers to tune more sedately and give more " FACTOR OF SAFETY" for every component.
  8. theblack

    theblack Esperto

    Wrong, I've driven my remapped car for more than 10k now and till date I've not got less than 15kmpl in city (with liberal AC).
    Before the remap i never got better than 13.5kmpl (with liberal use of AC).

    Not all remaps reduce mileage...
    There are many things to factor in here and see exactly what works and what does not..
    Blaming the remap for issues like clutch assy's death, gearbox failures , poor mileage is not 100% true (Yes these mods will affect the parts but at least Siddhart knows where the red line lies and tunes it accordingly.)

    Simply example:::
    I've done above 10K after the remap and my car stands at 36k on the odo, till date I'm running on stock clutch and there has been no impact on the gearbox.
    But in this very forum there are cases where ppl have changed clutch assy much earlier than 35k .

    Whatever might be the reason (bad assy piece, just plain old bad luck to get a defective piece).. We often find folks complaining that remaps are the cause of such failures while they are just "Known" issues and not 100% Proven.
    That's all id like to say.

    PS : The reason why I'm stressing so much on this topic here and everywhere else about remaps is simply because I was a skeptical person myself before I got the remap done. Till date I've had no issues becuase of it and if anything my drive has become even better...
    I just dont want wrong info flying out of this forum that remaps are the do all and end all of things for your cars..(Which ever it might be)
    3 people like this.
  9. Italia-Linea

    Italia-Linea Staff Member Janitor

    A remap when done by a person who knows what he is doing and also knows about the car which he is remapping is a perfect remap. I have spoken to Siddharth , just coulndt meet him during his pune visit due to my tight schedule. He has very good knowledge and will always play safely with your car.

    There are some tuners who will screw your car while experimenting. There is a case on mitsubishi cedia which was screwed up entirely by the indias most reputed tuner and performance modders.
    2 people like this.
  10. redbull


    Siddharth has instructions for each remap "stage"

    On first remap he told:
    1. Keep airfilter clean
    2. Do servicing earlier - at around 10K kms.
    3. Use some Mobil Delvac oil - something like that I have seen in the oil change thread.

    On second remap he told:
    1. Don't keep high rpms for extended periods. Cool off in between.
    2. Release the clutch slowly.

    I asked him what was the level of the remap. He said it is within what he would call safe limits but there is no further scope. Siddharth personally has his swift mapped to a claimed 110bhp peak. A bump of 35bhp with which he travels around the country.

    I did 175 earlier before any remap in that same stretch before I ran out of road. I would say the difference is I am able to reach the same speed quickly and also I felt the car can climb up further if I kept the throttle. I don't have any figures or anything. I was mainly looking to fix the city driveability, so I think I got "performance" (high range boost) as bonus. See I am not interested in high speed or top speed, the only other thing I was looking for is the "feel" of acceleration. I can get this "feel" in a Maruti car like Alto, even the 800 cc one or even in Maruti 800, but somehow I don't feel this in Punto. Ok in the city I can find some "feel" in the 3rd and the 4th gears. But on highways the situation is very weird. If I overtake another vehicle, I can "see" and thus by inference somehow feel the car is fast and accelerating quickly, but if I accelerate in an open road without any other vehicle, I neither see nor feel any acceleration. I can see the speedo climbing, but to me I don't feel any difference whether it is 100 or 180, on in between accelerating just by looking outside. I still feel our engines are nowhere near to the power which can challenge the chassis. Abarth gives Punto with 165 and 180bhp. I think only this is the kind of power that can make me go "ho ho ho ...." on pushing the throttle.

    Siddharth did give some numbers off his head. I just took it casually nothing to note down and quote to others. For proper numbers a dyno needs to be done, but it will cost around 5000, so I don't have any plans. Anyway I do have one of those bluetooth OBD boxes. Maybe one day I can hook it in and see what are the 0-100 timings :)

    The remap has removed or considerable reduced some irritants:
    1. Earlier the car was jumpy. Especially the 1st gear, it would jump, and if I leave the accelerator it would slow down with a similar jump. Now it does not jump/jerk on accelerator release. May be some peculiar problem with my car only - as Siddharth told could be the MAF sensor issue.
    2. The engine noise reduced drastically so I can now rev more without getting irritated and so change to 1 -> 2 and 2 -> 3, I can do at a higher rev.
    3. The lag experienced after 1 -> 2 change is not there. This again may be due to the way I press accelerator lightly. There was a definite lag if I did not rev up in the 1st gear before changing to second especially if there was a slight incline up.
    4. Low rpm response in any gear very good. Less need to shift down.
    5. More response with less pedal.
    6. Especially after the 2nd remap I feel the climbing up power is increased.

    1. Mileage
    2. Reliability - Remember Wakudoku and their reliability. Check their engine tunes :)
    3. Average tune to cover all conditions. A car must run in Ladakh as well as Kanyakumari with good as well as adulterated fuel and with good mileage for a long time.
    4. Cover 95% of driving habits - like I prefer to provide a very light throttle but others prefer to use the full travel of the accelerator pedal.
    4. Government rules

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