Q.How does an ECU control the engine and why is it so important?
Modern cars are much more reliable, more efficient, develop more power, last longer and require less servicing than their older counterparts. Much of this is down to improvements in manufacturing but the biggest change has come from the fact that modern vehicles are now computer controlled.
This computer is called the Engine Control Unit or ECU. The ECU controls all aspects of engine function, including the amount of fuel injected, the time of injection, the pressure that it’s injected at, the amount of boost the turbo will produce and the spark timing and advance. The ECU will continually monitor what the engine is doing to ensure that it’s running as it should be. Remarkably the ECU will also monitor the ambient environmental conditions to compensate for changes in air density.
Q.What is ECU Remapping?
ECU Remapping is altering the parameters and settings in the engine ECU which, in turn, can make the car run more efficiently.
Q.What is Remapping used for?
Remapping can be tailored for more power, better fuel economy or a blend of both. The best remapping strategies will produce a car that still retains a factory feel but will produce more power or better economy.
Remapping can also be used for programming various components into or out of a vehicle’s system. Vehicles can be programmed to run with a DPF to meet emissions requirements or – for motorsports purposes – vehicles can be programmed to run without catalytic convertors, EGRs and DPFs.
Q.If Remapping is so effective then why aren’t the manufacturers doing it?
The short answer is that manufacturers ARE doing it! With modern manufacturing techniques and strategies it is much more efficient to manufacture the same engine unit and alter the output by amending the program that is uploaded to the ECU at the end of the production line.
Because of this the same model can be manufactured, with various power outputs, in a more cost-effective manner. This makes it very easy to up the output of a lower power model. For example the VAG 1.6TDI is available in 4 power outputs but the engine is the same throughout the range, with the only difference being in the remap uploaded to the ECU at the end of the production line.
Q.What does this mean for the independent garage?
ECU Remapping, as an industry, has grown to become very lucrative. In fact some claim it’s a vital part of the full spectrum of services offered by the modern independent garage. With a BHP UK dealership, adding ECU Remapping becomes as simple as using any other piece of diagnostic equipment.
Q.What lies in the future for ECU Remapping?
As electronic technology makes it’s ever advancing march, Bosch, Siemens, Delphi & Denso (the major manufacturers of ECUs for the automotive industry) continually update their ECUs with the latest microprocessors.
BHP UK is very active in developing new techniques for programming the latest microprocessors in the newest ECUs, as well as developing all of its own tuning techniques on an in-house dyno-facility. The company has also added a diesel fuel pump/injector testing and repair facility to its offering.
Q.Where can I find out more?
BHP’s experts will be on hand at the MECHANEX Manchester show. Visit them on stand L2 to find out more about this growing market.