When you buy a diesel car, you’re probably thinking of its good points. You know you’re getting a reliable car that is built to last and economical to drive. On the other hand, diesel vehicles have their share of drawbacks. Your car is probably a bit noisy. You have to put up with slow throttle response and boring performance. But wait — here’s some good news for you. Diesel tuning can transform your reliable but stodgy car into something a lot more exciting and pleasurable to drive.
The easiest way to perform diesel tuning on modern fuel injection vehicles is to modify the software in the engine control unit, or ECU. The ECU manages every aspect of engine operation, processing signals from various sensors and telling the fuel injection system what to do. The ECU’s software programmes, or maps, control fuel delivery and timing so that the engine runs efficiently at any RPM and emissions stay within acceptable levels. The early generation of engine control units stored their maps on a removable computer chip. Newer ECUs have built-in maps that can be accessed via the On Board Diagnostic port.
Diesel tuning involves rewriting the ECU maps to release a diesel engine’s true potential. Dozens of settings that affect the performance of your car are modified in the remapping process. The goal of ECU remapping is to achieve the optimum power curve for vehicle performance and fuel economy. At the same time, safety parameters originally programmed into the ECU must be respected to avoid any damage to the engine or drive train.
Diesel engines by their very nature have a lot of room for performance enhancement. With a high compression ratio of more than 20:1, cylinders in diesel engines contain more air than needed for normal fuel combustion. If you remap the settings in the ECU to increase fuel injection pressure and make better use of the available air, you can easily boost engine power and torque.
Correctly done, diesel tuning by remapping the ECU will make the engine run more efficiently, producing more power and torque. Take, for example, a late-model Audi with a 2.0 litre TDi engine and original power output of 140 BHP. Remapping the ECU can potentially boost power to 170 BHP and increase torque by 75 Nm. Of course, power gains will vary, depending on the model and the engine specs. However, a 35% increase in overall performance is feasible for many vehicles.
After tuning your diesel car, you will enjoy a smoother, quieter ride with more immediate throttle response and peppier acceleration. The engine will offer more consistent power delivery with fewer gear changes and less throttle needed for any type of driving. The engine lag and annoying flat spots that are so characteristic of diesel cars will disappear.
The extra power and torque has practical uses, too. Stop-and-go driving in the city will require fewer gear changes and less braking and accelerating, which translates into fuel savings. High mileage drivers will also see better fuel economy from more efficient fuel combustion at higher travel speeds. If you want to tow a holiday caravan or some other heavy load, your newly tuned car will have the extra torque it needs to keep up with traffic and pull more safely.
Whoever you choose to tune your diesel car should possess the latest ECU tuning equipment and the right skills. Don’t even think about trusting your car to one of the cheap service providers. Technology in new vehicles changes so rapidly that companies must continually update their equipment and software to keep pace, and you can bet that costs money. Get your car tuned by a true professional and you will have no regrets afterwards.
If you’re frustrated by the personality flaws in your diesel car, diesel tuning can quickly boost its power and performance, making the car more fun to drive and saving you money on fuel. With so many advantages, it’s no wonder that an ECU remap is a popular vehicle modification for diesel owners.