Introduction – Why your diesel needs more power
Probably the greatest gift the industry has given the diesel engine with the installation of the turbocharger: Initially intended only for gasoline engines, it was soon discovered that the torque monsters could suddenly be transformed from “lame cucumbers” into quite lively everyday PS monsters.
Of course, you often ask yourself, “Is there more?” The answer is very short: “Yes!” What you should pay attention to and which points you should absolutely consider before the installation so that your tuning is a full success?
Advantages or: What you can expect
As a general rule, the older the vehicle, the more scope there is for tuning. Often “earlier” the vehicles were built in doubt rather “stable” than optimized, which is why there is much-hidden potential (less consumption, more power, quiet engine running etc.), which can be lifted by a chip tuning. In such cases there are practically only advantages if the vehicle is tuned.
Disadvantages or: Why tuning is not equal to tuning
The car manufacturers do not sleep: While the engines of older vehicles have many “power reserves”, new vehicles hardly need to hide from tuned vehicles when it comes to factory optimization. If the possible reserves of the engine have already been made usable ex-works, there is logically less left for tuning.
In individual cases, an increase in performance is then only possible by restricting the range of use: every car manufacturer will design its diesel engines so that they function perfectly at -30 to +40°C. This, of course, means compromises and, conversely, for the tuner, an increase in performance is possible by reducing the range of use to -5 to +30°C, for example.
This can make sense (e.g. for a convertible with a seasonal registration which is to be optimized exclusively for warm temperatures, or if there is an engine ex works in two performance variants and you want to have the “stronger” version as software), but must be weighed in individual cases.
Costs, prices and Co. – how much you should calculate with a serious tuning
Often (especially on the internet and in classified ads) our experience is that we sell bait offers starting at about 150-200EUR. One would get a “gigantic performance increase without hooks”.
Even if this were true, the registration papers for the Admission Board (let alone the vehicle tax, see section below) are completely missing. With the then necessary single acceptance and if necessary fine payment, the alleged bargain quickly becomes the 800EUR hammer. Then it is better to spend 350-500EUR for a serious chip tuning with registration paper and have it installed by an expert.
The limits of what is reasonably feasible or: which improvements in performance are possible?
Realistic are 10-30% performance enhancements. More, and you risk a significantly shortened engine life or increased maintenance costs. Equally important: Often other parameters can be optimized instead of performance, e.g. consumption. So even a “small” tuning with only 5% performance increase can suddenly make a lot of sense, if the average consumption in everyday life is reduced by 15%.
Infinite possibilities or: Which provider you should choose
In addition to the market leaders bhp-chiptuning, racechip and the niche providers specialized in individual brands, there are usually numerous local workshops offering chip tuning. Get more information on providers and products in our chiptuning review.
The latter have the advantage that they often have a good connection to the local licensing authorities and know what to look out for. Usually they order the necessary parts (or the software) from bhp-chiptuning and Co. (as a middleman) and install them if you wish. Just as important: A contact person on site, in case something goes wrong – this saves you long ways and you can get to know and trust each other in a personal conversation.
Do it yourself or go to the workshop – when the DIY approach pays off
It is worthwhile to install it yourself if you – besides the technical know-how – have bought a chip tuning with the corresponding registration papers, so that legally everything is perfectly clarified.
If you are not so familiar with the engine technology of your vehicle or would like to install a tuning without registration papers, this should rather be done by a specialist workshop. They can then take care of an individual inspection (in cooperation with the inspection associations).
“You can do that in private,” you often hear. In principle this is true, but you should never underestimate the human factor; the inspection body in a workshop is often more “open” and unbiased = the registration process runs more smoothly.
The types of chip tuning, or: What products are there?
In addition to installing new software on the engine control unit, you can install a tuning box. This is interposed before the control unit and pretends to this “wrong” values, so that the vehicle would like to “correct” these accordingly. Of course, those values that lead to a performance-enhancing result will be pretended.
Tuningbox – Curse or blessing?
For technical reasons, only the amount of fuel to be burned is changed. This works well because modern diesel vehicles are very lean. Enrichment with fuel is therefore an easy way to increase performance.
However, an adjustment of boost pressure or other engine parameters is not possible with this technology. In addition, fuel consumption increases significantly.
All in all, the Tuningbox is a blessing for those who can hardly or not at all do chip tuning for technical reasons. If you can, you prefer the “classic” chip.
Attention, motor vehicle tax: What you should absolutely pay attention to
Vehicles that have been registered since 2009 (older vehicles have protection) are taxed according to their CO2 emissions, which de facto means a tax on fuel consumption.
Chiptuning naturally changes consumption, which is why the tax change must be entered in the papers. Normally this is a small administrative act – but the nasty surprise comes, if one falls back on tuning products WITHOUT appropriate registration papers. Therefore: Buy and install brand suppliers with approval – or, unfortunately expensive, have an individual inspection carried out by your technical inspection association. Otherwise fines threaten.
You can find more details about chip tuning in general in this article.
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