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What is ECU tuning and how it is Done?

Tuning (also referred to as engine tuning or Dyno Tuning) is the process used to alter the stock computer, and ultimately, how a car runs. This is typically done after adjustments to the car’s stock configuration have been made. For example, if a turbo kit was installed on a car that was not equipped with one from the factory, tuning would be necessary to make it run properly and safely again.

When do you have to retune your car?

Tuning should be done when making modifications that will change the amount of air or fuel passing through an engine. These adjustments can have a lasting negative effect if not quickly tuned properly. If you have recently installed or changed any of the following you should consider tuning immediately:

  • Larger camshafts
  • Larger fuel injectors
  • Supercharger
  • Turbocharger
  • Nitrous
  • Higher compression pistons
  • Ported cylinder head
  • Intake Tube
  • Header
  • Exhaust

The three most Common ECU systems and method for tuning are...

ECU flashing

Most newer cars are able to be “flashed” through the factory OBD-II scan port. Flash tuning an ECU allows for direct control over all functions similar to a modified stock ECU, but without the need to remove/modify the ECU. Flash tuning is often times the best choice for tuning on newer cars due to being able to retain emissions functionality and cost, best option for a not really heavy modified car. 

Piggy back ECU

A piggy-back system uses the factory ecu, but monitors certain engine parameters from the factory ecu and sends a modified injector or ignition output to achieve a desired air/fuel or ignition value. Piggyback systems can often times have poor running conditions due to “tricking” the factory ecu into doing something it was not intended to do , this method is a LOW cost tuning your factory ECU. 

StandAlone ECU

A standalone ECU is a direct replacement of the factory ECU. It manages all functionality that the OEM ECU did previously, but often times adds more control or features that the OEM ECU would not otherwise be able to provide. Standalone systems often provide the absolute best control over tuning for an engine, but have the highest cost associated with them , by far the best choise if you are looking Optimun Performance.