When a manufacturer develops a new car, they have to consider all of the conditions it may be subjected to in all of the regions in which they intend to sell this model. This means instead of just optimizing the ECU’s program or ‘map’ to deliver the best performance or the most fuel efficiency, they have to make compromises to the map to take into account these potential differing operating conditions. These could include sub-standard fuels, extremes in temperature and altitude, differing emission laws, and even the possibility that the vehicle may not be serviced regularly and by the manufacturer’s recommended instructions.
ECU remapping is taking a reading from the ECU’s processing chip of the vehicle’s standard compromised map and adjusting various parameters within the map such as fuel pressure, boost pressure (on turbocharged applications), ignition advance, and throttle pedal control, amongst others to release the actual performance from the engine. It is a completely safe process as it is just giving the engine the performance it should have had in the first place before all the compromises were applied to the original programming. Every engine will have its unique map, and by adjusting this, we can fine-tune the characteristics of the engine, unleashing more power and reducing fuel consumption.
ECU tuning or programming will improve the engine’s power and torque figures, and it will also sharpen the throttle response and widen the power-band. This will make the power delivery a lot more linear, making the vehicle feel livelier to drive and the engine more flexible. Frequently, the vehicle’s power output is restricted by the manufacturer for no other reason than to ensure that it fits into a class to suit fleet buyers. As a driving enthusiast, you do not need or want such restrictions placed upon your vehicle’s ECU, so with a conversion, you can benefit from the hidden power and torque locked away within your engine management system.
The other main benefit of remapping will be a reduction in fuel consumption. With the extra torque – especially at the bottom of the rev range – you will see a fuel-saving as it will require less throttle input to maintain motorway speeds; you can drive in a higher gear at a slower pace; and the additional power is beneficial when fully laden, towing, or on gradients.