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Re: To Chip or not to chip? (archive)

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Posted by Roops on December 06, 2001 at 05:28:37:

In Reply to: Re: To Chip or not to chip? posted by Gordon Monsen on December 05, 2001 at 20:37:49:

I think you have got it about right. If you go down the chip route you have to bear in mind the condition of the engine in the car that the chip was created on. On a ten year old car there are probably going to be at least some components that are pretty tired. You are not going to get the same results if the chip is put into a car with a knackered AFM. Therefore, the ultimate way to go is to get your car on the rollers and have a chip made for your car. As soon as you add mods the chip will no longer be optimised and will require re-doing.


I went away from chips a long time ago, though the route I took isn't for everyone. Back in about 1990, I bought a set of Shrick cams for my old M3. They came with a chip. I had also put on Stahl headers and an exhaust as well as a custom intake. I can't remember what else. Anyway, the car ran like shit with the chip. It ran much better with the stock chip.

The problem with chips is that they are programmed for a specific combination of things. Some chips are meant to go into a totally stocvk car and will increase the torque somewhere in the power band. Other chips are supposedly targeted for mods they are sold with, like my example. And, a chip that works well with a certain set of mods won't work well if you add more mods or change the things you have.

With my E36 I went down to Autothority and sat on the dyno with their laptop plugged into my ECU and we set the fuel and timing curves for the mods I had on the car. Worked great. Never changed the mods.

By the time I started playing with my RX7 I knew enough to buy an aftermarket ecu. The first one was from EFI Systems and the current one is from Haltech. (Others swear by Electromotive or Motec, doesn't matter much...) Anyway, with any of these you can optimize fuel and timing (and much more) for whatever mods you have at any given time. You get much better refinement, can change throttle tip-in enrichment and decay, control your fans and fuel pump, and on and on. You never buy a new "chip". You just plug in the laptop and change the fuel and timing curves, using a lambda sensor and meter. The cost? $1000-1500. -Gordon

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