Performace chips - BS of helping?

A seller on ebay wrote:

“Fuel/oxygen ratios in modern automobiles are regulated by an Electronic Control Unit(ECU). Factory ECUs are set to maintain a 14.7:1 Fuel/Oxygen ratio, this is known as a stoichometric fuel mix. This mix is a balance between power and fuel economy, which is what most automobile buyers are happy with. "
In general, leaning out the fuel/oxygen ratio will cause a power loss, but fuel economy gain, conversely richening the mix will cause a slight (usually less than 1/2 mpg) reduction in fuel economy, but an increase in power.
The fuel/oxygen ratio must remain between 13:1 and 17:1 to remain efficient, any leaner and the engine will be starved for fuel, any richer and the engine will not be able to combust all of the fuel causing inefficiency. Performance chips and modules increase performance by adjusting these ratios between 13 and 14.7, the more performance oriented fuel curves.”


From what I understand, the leaner your fuel is, and higher the oxygen, the more power you get–although increases the likelyhood of detonation. And running rich will cause over consumption of fuel, and loss of power.

My question is, is my understanding right about what performance chips do, and this guy is BS? (piggy back performance chips that is.)

read up on ecu chipping
http://www.g2ic.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=64720&highlight=ecu

Ok… I’ll take a stab at it.

The ECU has fuel maps based on a set of ideals made by the manufacturer. They keep within the optimal levels, and meet EPA standards. There is a trade off when it comes to driveability, good mileage and a performance.

What these custom programs do is change things like injector timing and duration. It’ll also change how much fuel is delivered and when. And in some cases advance/retard timing (not neccesarily Acura engines).

There will be a trade off in economy, I’d guess more like 2-3 mpg.

Sorry for the rambling.

Just my $0.02

-PR
'92 GS

i guess i can just repost what i did from that link.

chip info from team-integra, http://www.team-integra.net/section...p?ArticleID=181

1A. First, Don’t Chip Too Early

There is no point in getting a new ECU program early in your engine build up and then later upgrading to bigger lift and duration cams, or larger injectors, bigger fuel pump, or an aftermarket IM/bigger bore TB , etc. , since these parts just render your “new” ECU program obsolete and useless (ie. any power gains from the chip are eliminated).

So please do not get your chip reprogrammed just after i/h/c/e , if you later plan on going for bigger & better things in the future. It’s supposed to be one of your last modifications and not one of your first, to prevent the need for multiple chip reprogrammings after each addition of a new modification.

The reason you see so many chips for resale on ebay?:

Other enthusiasts made the mistake of buying a chip too early that was not programmed correctly for the unique way their engine package breathes. It made very little power for them , or likely made their engine run too rich, or both. They are now trying to recover the money lost from an obsolete or incompatible chip.

Then there are the programmers who take advantage of import enthusiasts who do not understand the performance difference between a pre-programmed, mail-order chip versus a chip tuned and programmed on your car at a dyno. They are selling them based on the attractiveness of convenience for unsuspecting people who don’t have a local programmer and dyno, the hyped hp gains from the magazine articles or ads, and a lower cost compared to other significant hp gain modifications, like cams or an intake manifold (IM).

1B. Second, What does an ECU do and what am I doing when I get a new chip ?

The ECU controls:

  • the fuel map (ie. program commands for how much fuel to add at each rpm) and sequential firing of the injectors

  • ignition map (program commands for how much spark timing to advance or retard from the baseline ignition timing you set at the distibutor cap at each rpm)

  • VTEC switchover

  • Redline

  • Speed limiter (JDM and European models)

  • Knock sensor warning

  • Second O2 sensor CEL warning in OBD 2 and OBD 2b cars for testpipes and high flow cats and closed loop operations

  • Activates the opening of the secondary runners’ valves based on the IAB vacuum input, if you have a dual stage IM (eg. 3rd gen. GSR)

The ECU also activates your other CEL error codes and controls A/C & Idle/EVAP inputs/outputs.

When you get a new chip, the programmer has changed the program’s commands of the ignition map and fuel map in response to a change in air flow and rpm (ie. both are indicators of “engine load”). The amount of ignition timing and fuel delivery is changed for a given air flow and rpm compared to the stock program. The programmer can also remove or inactivate the sensor CEL warning codes and move the VTEC point, redline, and speed limiter points to anywhere you like.

1C. Third, “Best Guess” programs are not as good.

http://www.technosquareinc.com/techtom.htm

http://www.techtom.co.jp/ROMpriceN.html

http://www.hondata.com/ecucomparison.html

http://www.200sx.org/ecudata.html

An “off the shelf” or mail order ECU is a programmer’s best guess at trying to make a program that will fit as many different engine combination of mods as possible…that’s why I call these “one-size-fits-all”. These usually get you in the no gain or 5% disappointment gain ballpark. You will not get major gains with these “best guess” chips. Save your money.

So you want to make major power gains (ie. 13-15% or at least 7 whp from midrange up) with an ECU reprogram?

Please get a true custom chip instead, programmed on YOUR unique car with its own combination of mods, on a dyno using a wideband exhaust O2 sensor/Air:Fuel Ratio meter. This is the only way to go, if you are serious about getting the most out of a computer program upgrade for a street/race setup. If you got your chip by mail then, please understand that you did not get the most out of it…even the custom pre-programmed, mail-order kind of chips. The only correct way is to do the reprogramming on the dyno. And this leads us to who do you go to?

If you are lucky like me and have a couple of local programmers with Honda experience near your town, then your local programmer will go with you to the dyno and work his experience in tuning on the laptop and EPROM or EEPROM burner.

If you do not have a local programmer or race shop that does programming, then I strongly recommend getting together with some friends and investing in a Hondata Stage 4 or P200 system. It allows YOU to tune YOUR car on the dyno or at the track using elapsed times between known rpm points.

It comes with a chip burner, chips ($25/each), emulation laptop capability, instructions, and tech support. Investing in a wide band O2 sensor like the MOTEC they sell is also a good idea. This takes the guess and disappointment out of ECU upgrading.

If you want to go at this alone, then an AEM EMS is worth looking into, since it has base programs and laptop emulation. This is a serious investment for serious people.

If neither of these appeal to you and you insist on getting a mail order chip knowing that it won’t be the best program, then stick to the known programmers (PM me if you want recommendations from people I’ve known who do a decent “best guess” chip). Most people who buy a mail order chip usually have a piggyback tuning box, like an Apex fuel controller (SAFC or VAFC) or Field SFC VTEC/fuel controller, and use those to further tune the fuel delivery on the dyno with a wideband O2 sensor.

http://www.hondata.com/techwidebandtuning.html

Chip reprogramming at the dyno requires a wideband universal exhaust gas oxygen sensors (called an UEGO that you can get from dyno shop or race shop) to measure air:fuel ratio at each rpm. Expect at least 3-4 hr dyno time minimum to tune these even if you are experienced at partial and wide open throttle fuel tuning.

Other systems to consider are the Motec M4, Apex Power FC, Accel DFI, SDS EF3, and Electromotive Tec3. Compare processor speed (16 bit, 16 MHz versus 32 bit, 33MHz ), available baseline programs to get you going without starting from scratch, sensor compatibility, emulators availability, and a good track record for tech support/customer service (not just whether they have one or not).

Originally posted by PRoth
[B]Ok… I’ll take a stab at it.

The ECU has fuel maps based on a set of ideals made by the manufacturer. They keep within the optimal levels, and meet EPA standards. There is a trade off when it comes to driveability, good mileage and a performance.

What these custom programs do is change things like injector timing and duration. It’ll also change how much fuel is delivered and when. And in some cases advance/retard timing (not neccesarily Acura engines).

There will be a trade off in economy, I’d guess more like 2-3 mpg.

Sorry for the rambling.

Just my $0.02

-PR
'92 GS [/B]

All you change in the fuel maps is the duration the injectors are open. The ECUs also have ignition maps (with advance). Pretty much all aftermarket chips change them too.

My chipped pr4 running the b20 in my civic has a LOT more aggressive muel maps than stock and I still get 34 mpg if i drive sane.

ben

wow. thanks guys. Hey spike, I’m Santa Cruz, (just down the road on Highway 17 from San Jose). I don’t suppose you’d like to help out a fellow G2ic’er with mods on his car…? Maybe this could be archieved. It’s pretty in depth about chips!

In any case, thanks guys!:read:

Originally posted by spikeymike
[B] 1A. First, Don’t Chip Too Early

There is no point in getting a new ECU program early in your engine build up and then later upgrading to bigger lift and duration cams, or larger injectors, bigger fuel pump, or an aftermarket IM/bigger bore TB , etc. , since these parts just render your “new” ECU program obsolete and useless (ie. any power gains from the chip are eliminated).[/B]

This is so true, especially in GT3! I installed a chip as my first mod to my R32 VSPEC II and it gained 11HP. Later I installed turbos, intercooler, and raised the engine displacement. I reset the game, installed the other mods first and then got the chip upgrade. Guess what? It made 18HP!!!

Originally posted by UCSlugRacerX
[B]wow. thanks guys. Hey spike, I’m Santa Cruz, (just down the road on Highway 17 from San Jose). I don’t suppose you’d like to help out a fellow G2ic’er with mods on his car…? Maybe this could be archieved. It’s pretty in depth about chips!

In any case, thanks guys!:read: [/B]

hey sup, shoot if my vacation time was ending soon, i would have been able to help you out. but i start school soon and won’t have much free time at all.

btw what mods were you looking at?

Hey spikeymike, I’m doing an LSVtec, and along with camber kits, hub bearins, header,
And soon, a left door shell install, and nitrous oxide.

If you can e-mail me, and we’ll talk.

(BTW, what are you studying? I’m working my @ss off at UCSC trying to major in film.)

-Andrew D.:read: