If you are interested in motor chip tuning and want to know everything about the process and how it works, then let this article guide you! We’ll show you the advantages, disadvantages and costs and tell you if it’s worth it to do it yourself.
How does chip tuning work?
The idea of chip tuning sounds a bit too good to be true: More PS without any physical changes? Is that really possible? In any case! That’s how it’s done:
Chiptuning optimizes the ignition timing
The idea behind the ignition timing is simple. Think of a piston on its compression stroke. The cylinder is filled with an air-fuel mixture and the spark plug is waiting for the engine control signal to ignite. When this spark is ignited is of decisive importance. If the ignition timing is too early, there is a force opposite to what the engine is trying to achieve.
The piston tries to compress a mixture and the combustion provides pressure to push it down. If the ignition timing is too late, you are wasting energy. Finally, you want to make sure that the peak pressure occurs when the piston is very close to top dead center. This converts much of the pressure generated into useful work.
The experiences show that it becomes a little tricky when doing it yourself. Although efficiency is of course a priority for manufacturers, this is also the case for reliability. By advancing the timing (early ignition of the spark), the probability of producing knocking increases. Knocking can easily ruin an engine. Some cars are factory fitted with the ability to significantly improve timing. Manufacturers recommend high octane fuels as they are less likely to produce knocking.
However, manufacturers will continue to try to keep the ignition timing within a safe range. By adjusting the timing, especially when using fuel with a higher octane rating, you can unlock many untapped potentials.
Petrol car made entirely of octane has a stoichiometric air-fuel ratio of 14.7:1, which means you need 14.7 grams of air for every gram of fuel you burn. However, the maximum power is generated at a ratio of about 12.5:1, while the maximum thermal efficiency is achieved at a ratio of about 16:1. Now it’s obvious why tuning means more power.
Manufacturers want performance, but they must also ensure that the engine is efficient and complies with statutory emission regulations. This compromise sacrifices performance for better efficiency and lower fuel consumption.
It is important to understand that there are certainly other factors that need to be taken into account in the vote. For example, in turbocharged engines, ratios well below 12.5:1 are often used to reduce combustion chamber temperatures. This makes the system much more reliable. Fuel consumption can be significantly reduced in these situations, with the emphasis on performance and reliability.
Which performance increases are possible?
Admit it, more power makes you smile. Chiptuning is one of the easiest ways to add power to an intake engine. When a car is equipped with a factory turbo, it is often tuned to maintain boost levels reliably and efficiently.
By increasing the gain, you increase the amount of air pressed into the cylinder. By adding air you can now bring more fuel into the cylinder. If more fuel is burned, you can show your teeth from ear to ear.
What disadvantages do you have with Chiptuning?
Simple and effective, so what are the disadvantages? By adding power you increase the pressure and heat in the cylinders. By increasing pressure and heat, you increase the load. This additional stress reduces the life of the engine. There is really no way around it.
When doing chip tuning yourself, you have to make sure that the internal components can handle the additional load. That’s why forged pistons, rods and cranks are popular in the aftermarket.
Although it can be very tempting to start the Boost on a production engine, you’ll be saying goodbye to your warranty and significantly increasing the likelihood of engine problems. It is best to improve the engine from the inside out.
Sometimes manufacturers try to limit driving pleasure electronically. Speed corrections are made within safe limits and often the top speed is controlled digitally. There are very simple plug-and-play solutions on the market to increase the ignition or fuel cut-off (top speed) or the maximum speed of the engine.
Before you think, okay, let me just do it, there are some additional factors you need to consider. As for lifting the red line, your engine may not be able to get enough air at higher speeds, or it may not be able to rotate reliably faster. There are certainly reasons why this red line is present. It is therefore advisable to optimize the motor for faster speeds, especially the valve train, which may not be able to keep up with the requirements of the airflow.
In addition, top speeds may also be available ex works for good reason. The production tires and other rotating components may not be designed for higher speeds. At high speeds, even the smallest irregularities can have a detrimental effect.
What products are there and what are the costs?
There are many companies that offer different products to make chip tuning yourself for a variety of cars. Although these chips can often be very useful to achieve performance benefits, it is important to remember that the longevity of your engine (and warranty) will be reduced.
It is always a better idea, albeit more expensive, to have the car professionally refined by a reputable company. You are on the safe side and enjoy the advantages instead of suffering from the disadvantages. Although manufacturers like to claim that each engine is exactly the same as another, reality shows that this is not the case. Therefore, tuning to your specific engine by a specialist company has its advantages. The costs depend on the vehicle type and the desired performance increase.
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