ECU Remapping vs. Unichip | What's right for me?
Anything you can do, I can do better.
You need only type "ECU Remap or Tuning Box?" into any popular search engine to be bombarded by an endless stream of tuners all shouting over each other.
When it comes to ECU Remapping vs The Unichip Module, we know what we're talking about. So, we've identified 5 problems associated with rudimentary remapping (plus a bonus point), and how the Unichip saves you from performance enhancing pitfalls.
1) Is a Remap a Custom Tune?
Yes, and no. An ECU Remap is a custom tune, but it's a generalised tune. It's a tune for your vehicle's make and model, but not specific to your vehicle.
On the whole, most ECU remap specialist claims of a custom tune for your vehicle are extremely misleading, and in some cases, not true at all.
In order to carry out a COMPLETE custom tune (or calibration), labour expenses will typically accumulate to thousands of pounds.
What the tuner - or "map loaders" as we like to refer to them as - REALLY mean, is that a known tune will be applied to your ECU software. They may alter the target AFR’s (air fuel ratios) at full throttle, or may even increase the target boost.
(Above) We're speculating that if every "map loader" looked like this, we'd be out of business...
What they won’t be able to do is tune every varying driving condition in real time – that is – ignition timing, boost pressure, throttle opening, boost solenoid duty, torque limitations, to name just a few parameters.
Fortunately for you… this is all possible with Unichip installed into your vehicle.
If a Remap can be described as a game of Draughts, then the Unichip can be described as a game of Chess. The board is your vehicle - but one game is a lot more complicated than the other.
So... How is the Unichip any Different to an ECU Remap?
If you want a truly customised tune for your vehicle without spending a fortune on a highly customisable standalone ECU module, the Unichip is your only viable choice .
The Unichip module allows a skilled tuner access to 55,000 tuning tables in real time, allowing for a much more intimate and refined engine tune.
"Apart from controlling general timing and mixtures, the Unichip can control idling control, drive extra injectors, various forms of boost control, create / eliminate road-speed governors, calibrate speedometers, fully control nitrous and water injections, raise the rev limiter on most engines etc."
Installing the Unichip Module in-house by a qualified Unichip Distributor will never be a "one size fits all" tune. It's a truly unique and intimate tune, which is able to alter a whole host of tuning parameters, creating a calibration specific to not only your personal requirements, but the physical state of your vehicle's engine.
Custom tunes and the age old question of ECU Remap vs. The Unichip? Our module provides a truly custom tune.
It's a win for the Unichip.
2) Do ECU Remaps or Unichip Modules Affect Warranty?
Despite any tuner telling you otherwise, ANY form of ECU mapping will affect your warranty.
And these days, many car owners don’t really own their car at all. Figures from the Finance and Leasing Association showed that in April 2019, British consumers finance more than 948,000 vehicles, with a combined value of almost £19.4 billion. And that’s just the UK alone!
(Above) No wonder there's a combined cost of £19.4 Billion. We're addicted to german vehicle leasing...
ECU remapping runs a substantial risk of seriously impacting your financial investment.
Perhaps this is why our Plug & Play kits have become so popular in recent years. Our Unichip harnesses enable our customers to simply unplug the whole unit when it’s time to swap-in your leased vehicle – with no trace of any modification.
So yes - the Unichip Module is likely to have some bearing on your vehicle's warranty. However, the semi-permanent nature of the Unichip means that the module is easily removeable.
3) Can an ECU Remap be Altered or Reused?
No. Once a tuning file has been uploaded to your vehicle's existing ECU, it cannot be modified. You can only replace the file. This is managed by either getting your vehicle mapped again, or taking your vehicle back to the manufacturer to have the original tuning file re-uploaded (at a substantial cost, of course).
Example: Building your own project car...?
You've just purchased a MK6 Golf GTI. You've got a great engine base for applying serious hardware modifications for a vehicle that's a little more track inspired.
You've heard that remapping is a cost-effective way to extract extra power from your vehicle's engine.
You reach out to Dave, the mobile ECU tuner you've seen self promoting on Facebook. He's claimed to have given you an extra +40HP. Which is great!
But. What happens a few months down the line when you want to add a sporty exhaust system, or a bigger turbo?
The custom map that Dave has loaded is now obsolete - his tune merely gets the best out of your Golf's stock engine. Adding more powerful hardware modifications nullifies Dave's tune - you'll need to get your vehicle mapped again to accommodate.
(Above: This 360HP Golf GTI is 'Unichipped' - and is well beyond the reach of the likes of Dave...)
We see many race / track inspired vehicles (including this specific Golf example) in and out of our workshop every month.
They've all got the Unichip Module in common.
They all know that the Unichip is able to be reprogrammed / retuned. So when they come back to us with even more bolt on modifications, all it takes is a quick tweak of the Unichip Module for those mods to be working in perfect cohesion - tailored exactly to your own personal preferences.
Following this, the Unichip Module can be re-programmed and installed into another combustion engine vehicle. You can't re-use a remap.
ECU Remap vs. Unichip? The Unichip wins again.
4) Will an ECU Remap Affect Engine Diagnostics?
It's common for remapped vehicles to run into difficulties when trying to diagnose running faults. It's even more common for these maps to cause engine fault lights to appear on your dashboard.
You've tuned your vehicle because you love driving. The last thing you want is a repeat fault code ruining your driving experience. And believe us, it will.
At our operating garage at Redline Tuning, we'll often get tasked with the responsibility of restoring or remapping an ECU because of the above reasons.
And you spent how much on a reflash...?
The Unichip can quickly be removed to help your mechanic / technician repair your vehicle with ease. And in some instances, your standard ECU file remains untouched and accessible via your Unichip Map Switch. Furthermore, our system is unaffected by main agents carrying out ECU software updates. So, no need to worry!
5) What are the Limitations of an ECU Remap?
Many ECU Reflash Specialists map for performance, fuel economy or in some cases, both. So in many cases, your reflash will not only improve your top speed and performance, it’ll make your vehicle more efficient. The limitations of reflashing your vehicle's ECU is only having access to one mapping file.
This causes a compromise between performance and fuel economy. While it can be concluded that rudimentary remaps can enhance both, you'll never get the best of both worlds - just somewhere in between.
(Above) Reflashes - Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Not quite the Community Chest Unichip Offer...
How is the Unichip any Different?
Instead of branding our module as a chip tuning product or tuning box, the Unichip Module is better described as a multi-processor, fully functioning ECU Tuning Tool.
And that's not just fancy marketing, either.
Unichip Modules are extremely sophisticated, and as such, are able to offer your a more feature rich solution to improving your vehicle with multiple map capability.
5 maps are better than 1. Always.
This means we're able to create specialist tunes for virtually any application. Often, we'll create a "performance" tune, alongside an "economy" tune. These maps live up to their names and the difference is distinguishable - and we've still got 3 more map slots for you to fill.
Often, we'll provide maps dependent on the vehicle. An off-road inspired vehicle is likely to have a completely different map set to a vehicle destined for the track at the weekends.
These can include, but are not limited to, "high torque" maps, "anti - theft immobilizer" maps and "race" maps to name a few.
These are all accessed via a Unichip Map Switch, which are either mounted internally inside your vehicle, via a Key Fob Remote or via Bluetooth - directly connected to your iOS / Android Device.
Bonus: How Unichip Simplifies "Advanced Tuning".
A Unichip is for life, not just for Land Cruisers.
As we previously discussed, a Remap is a "one size fits all" tuning choice. The Unichip is far more advanced.
Rather than physically altering your vehicle's engine parameters, the Unichip intercepts sensor data from both OEM / Factory sensors and any additional modifications, making changes to enhance performance as necessary.
Data from the Unichip is received by the factory ECU map table, meaning that the changes the Unichip has made will apply across all factory maps.
In simple terms, all parameters can be manipulated by the Unichip without any changes to the factory map itself.
Unichip Tuning Pots - 2 Knobs, 1 Button.
With the help of Unichip's assignable Tuning Pots, a skilled tuner is able to manipulate virtually any engine parameters in real time. The benefits of being able to tune in real time are great; not only do we have intimate control over tuning increments, it also results in a huge time advantage. There is no need to stop / start the engine to test these parameters.
(Above) - Page 15 of The Unichip Dealer Brochure - Find out more.
This, in turn, saves you money through a significant reduction in labour costs in comparison to live tuning a standalone ECU module.
Often, the simplest solution is often the best.
Why stop here?
- Find out more about Unichip Europe's Tuning Portfolio by browsing our Performance Case Studies.
- Visit our e-commerce page to browse our range of pre - programmed Unichip Plug and Play Kits.
- Find out more about our bespoke programming regime by checking out our Dealer Fit page.