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Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQ's are printed courtesy of Alive Tuning:

We often get asked about what we do, how we do it, and why. So to enlighten you, we've put together some information, which hopefully will help you to make an informed decision on which is the best tuning route for you.

Beyond Performance Remapping

  • I have seen DIY fit plug in tuning ('Chip') boxes elsewhere... Do you sell these?

    Absolutely not! The safest way to tune an engine's ecu, is to modify the software within the management system. By doing this, you can be sure that for every engine running condition, there is a safe setting that is governed by the map data stored within the engines ecu.
    External plug in tuning devices fool the engine management into thinking it's injecting a pre-determined amount of fuel, when really the tuning box is increasing the injector opening time, just to put more fuel in, regardless of what is happening with the rest of the engine.

    The most common plug in tuning devices simply plug into your engine's fuel rail pressure sensor, and add a greater resistance to the supply voltage. This fools the ecu into thinking there is low fuel pressure, so the ecu then increases fuel pressure to the rail to compensate.

    This overpressurising of the fuel rail will allow more fuel to enter the engine when the injector opens, hence making more power. A crude method of tuning to say the least, but one that is so common!

    The picture below shows the insides of a plug in, adjustable type tuning module for a VAG 1.9 TDi PD engine. It consists of just 2 resistors... That's it!

    Fuel Rail Mod

    Another method is used on engines that have Electronic Unit Injectors. These engines rely on high voltage pulses to operate electronic actuators on each injector. The digital plug in box used on these will have a wire for each injector, so when the injector opens, the device sees the voltage, and extends it for a predetermined amount of time, often adjustable by means of a 'jumper'. Once again, this is fooling the engine management system. These boxes can only extend injector pulse width, and cannot influence the internal settings of the engine managment, such as torque limiters, and 'start of injection' timing. As a consequence, the engine will still have it's usual low end flat spots, and the engine will sound more harsh than in standard tune. Since the engine ecu is constantly fighting this external force, Injector faults are often logged with these tuning devices, precisely because of this conflict.

  • So what do we do that's different, and if it's so good, why didn't the manufacturers do it in the first place?

    All manufacturers test their vehicles to their absolute limits during the development stages, prior to a car going on sale to the public. These tests are carried out to ensure the car will still maintain a high level of reliability, even when service intervals are neglected, and the poorest quality, high sulphur fuels are used. Even then, they are expected to run in both extreme hot, and cold climates as well.

    In short, you should be able to take almost any vehicle, anywhere in the world, and it should run well.

    Obviously, a lot of vehicles, once purchased by their owners, will stay in the country they were first registered. This is one of the factors we take into account for tuning, as the countries climate will have a bearing on the level of tuning. Then there is the quality of fuel available.

  • Do you have specialist tools to allow individual remapping?

    We use some of the best tuning tools, software, and equipment available today, as used by the worlds leading tuning companies. This allows us total flexibility in every map we produce, so we can offer truly custom made mapping. These tools, along with our extensive understanding of remap tuning, ensures we can deliver the ultimate in performace, always meeting, if not exceeding our customers' expectations.

    We do not have any 'Slave' programming devices, being tied to a remote internet dealer! On the contrary, we have many dealers around the world, both independant specialists, and franchised dealerships, offering our tuning products to their custome

    If your chosen tuner will not offer you a custom made map, then you'll not be realising the true potential of your engine. To achieve this, your car should be set up during an extended road test, or on a dynomometer, to ensure that there is a smooth spread of power and torque throughout, with little or no smoke visible, and is within safe exhaust gas temperature limits.

    Insist that you want to see the tuning work being done and see what response you get!

    Prices for Remap tuning start from as little as £349 + vat.