Last post on Jul 20, 2009 at 9:18 AM
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Performance Mods, Engine
Jan 18, 2008 (1:38 am)
Do not EVER believe a manufacturers claim about HP improvement with a chip. On an n/a, street car, a mail order tune on a chip will have extremely marginal improvement. Anyone who says that they can feel the difference with the bott-o-meter, is only only noticing the fact that their wallet is thinner.
I have seen many a car on a dyno with a mail-order tune where the car actually made less power, yet the owner swore it was faster.
On a 300 hp car, expect to see about 5-8 rwhp improvement at most, UNLESS, the original tune was pig-rich to begin with. Chips should pretty much never be used unless you are getting a custom dyno-tune. And on a stock car, even a custom tune makes only a small difference. If you see larger gains, then something was wrong with the car to begin with.
Things change a bit on a turbo car, because the tune can adjust the waste gate setting and you might be able to make more boost. With an s/c, you can also make improvements presuming the original tune left some power on the table.
Chips basically make power by advancing timing a bit, and leaning the a/f. This is why you generally need to run higher octane.
If you have an automatic, you will benefit by having a tune/chip because you can adjust the way the car shifts. This makes the car shift faster and firmer.
On a deisel, a chip can make measurable power even with a mail-order tune, but that is the exception.
There are some cases with certain cars, where adding a chip in conjunction with a CIA can add pretty good power so long as the tune on the chip is a dyno proven match for the CIA.
Chips void all warranties! If you use a chip and get caught, you are hosed. This si why using a flash tuner is much better. This way the tune can be installed and removed w/o using a physical chip and no one will ever know the tune was there.
I have used chips, hand-held programmers and multi-position chips. I currently use an SCT 4 Position Switch Chip with 4 custom tunes on an after-market supercharged application. The car is dyno-tuned.
A dyno tune WITH a chip will typically cost around $500 on a stock or near-stock application.
If you are really interested, find a local tuner in the area who uses either SCT or Diablo and get it on the dyno if you really care. Otherwise, don't waste your money on a mail-order tune. Make sure the tuner has experience with your car.
#76 of 84 Re: Chips? [waterdr]
Jan 18, 2008 (7:26 am)
Great post, and very informative. I agree, with the exception that a lot of the newer ECUs can detect even if it's been re-flashed.
Motorsports and Modifications Host
Jan 18, 2008 (10:50 am)
Good information. I have had a little experience which pretty well supports everything you are saying.
One change I made, for $300, did only 1 thing, it removed the knock/ping detector input. This let the ignition advance up to 50 deg.
Unless I ran two cans of octane booster on top of Premium gas, the engine would ping like mad. Note that most "Octane Boosters" are just kerosene and some detergent to clean your fuel system. I won't name the one I used, but it was made for "Off Road Use Only" and wasn't for use on cat equipped cars. The real downside was that, at that time a gallon of gas cost about $2.25.9 and the cost of a can of booster was $5.00. So 15 Gal of gas cost about $44. I got 10MPG in that truck with the computer on performance mode.
Point is, be careful what you put on/in your car, the long term cost might shock you.
#78 of 84 Re: Chips? [paisan]
Jan 18, 2008 (8:49 pm)
That could be true....I don't know enough about all cars so I can't say for sure. Generally, though, you can flash an ECU and then pull it it right off w/o anyone knowing it was ever there. Before doing so, I would consult with a qualified tuner who knows the platform.
#79 of 84 Re: Chips? [phaetondriver]
Jan 18, 2008 (9:14 pm)
That is what you call, getting carried away. Generally speaking it is a pretty bad idea to remove a knock detector....they are there for a reason.
Octane boosters are all the same. Actually, there are two types. One that works and one that does not. The cheap crap is nothing more then cleaners and essentially alcohol. You get a small amount of octane increase....usually something like 0.1 to 0.2 octane points.
The good stuff has MMT. There is no other way to do it. I have a sneaky suspicion that I know what you used - lol - and it has a lot of MMT in it, though, they won't tell you and it is not listed on the MSDS.
MMT works VERY well. BUT, it will wreck your O2 sensors and it coats the spark plugs. It is unlcear if the reddish dirt that forms on the plugs hampers performance, but it makes reading the plugs impossible which sucks if you are racing.
I always keep a bottle of it in my trunk and use it if I have no other choice. My car was tuned for 93 Octane. It runs fine on 92, but if I am stuck with 91, a half bottle goes in the tank. I am going to get a 91 Octane tune this spring to suppliment the 93 to avoid these situations. I also have an 89 octane tune. I would never use 89, but most of time, I drive with this tune. It keeps the cyclinders running a bit cooler and is less harsh on the car. I really don't notice the 30 hp loss certainly for normal driving.
What REALLY aggrevates me, is when people make rediculous comments about the amount of HP some cheap, bolt-on mod will make. I hate to stereotype, but it seems like the younger the driver, and the fewer the cyclinders, the more hp a CIA seems to make - lol
I do not believe any claims w/o a dyno unless someone is using the same configuration that has been dyno proven and is posted. As car guys, we work hard for our money and when people post silly claims, less suspecting people believe it and then spend their hard, earned money expecting something that will never happen.
BTW, there is a lot of evidence that adding octane booster to 87 octane fuel works a tiny bit, but does nothing, in fact, lowers hp output when added to slightly higher grades of fuel. I have seen a few tests that concluded this.
#80 of 84 Re: deisel chips [inguano]
Jan 20, 2008 (7:30 pm)
It was the Superchip MAX Micro tuner 1705 for '99 to '03 Ford Powerstroke
#81 of 84 ford f-350 2000 7.3 diesel
Feb 06, 2008 (9:00 pm)
hi i just bought a diablo sport predator tuner for my 7.3 diesel is their anything i should be worried about or know before i install it. any info thanks
#82 of 84 Re: ford f-350 2000 7.3 diesel [ethanwkolsen]
Feb 07, 2008 (10:26 pm)
As long as it is the correect tune for the truck, you should be fine. Is it under warranty still?
#83 of 84 What chip is best for Chevy 1500 HD
Jun 19, 2009 (6:42 am)
Hey i have a 2001 chevy HD and i wan to make it faster and have more power with pulling so i was woundering which performance chip would be the best.
#84 of 84 Re: What chip is best for Chevy 1500 HD [getzy2323]
Jul 20, 2009 (9:18 am)
A chip will probably have minor impact on your '01 Chevy 1500 HD. --Unless it has a turbo diesel, I'll certainly admit to not knowing much about your truck. If you are towing very frequently, I'd look at changing the rear end gears. That will make a much bigger difference than a chip. Or you can get a different truck that is just plain better at towing-- trucks are real cheap now, although that means your current truck is low value, too.
Chips have modest gains, at best, and as previous posters have said there are alternatives now as many cars support various types of reprogamming of the stock computer (ECU).
Turbocharged cars generally respond the best to chips and/or ECU reprogramming but this generally voids the warranty and can be risky. It can also be easy, reliable horsepower.