How to TUNE your vehicle?

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How to TUNE your vehicle?

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How to remap an Engine Control Unit (ECU)?

written by OldSkullTuning


Remapping an Engine Control Unit (ECU), also known as chip tuning or tuning, is a process that involves modifying the software of the ECU to optimize performance, fuel efficiency, or other parameters of an engine.

Here is a general guide on how ECU remapping is typically done.

Research and Gather Information:
Understand the capabilities and limitations of your vehicle’s ECU.
Identify the goals of remapping, such as improving performance, fuel efficiency, or addressing specific issues.
Choose a Professional Tuning Service:
Seek a reputable and experienced tuning service like https://oldskulltuning.com/. DIY attempts without proper knowledge can lead to serious engine damage.
Check reviews, ask for recommendations, and ensure the tuner is familiar with your vehicle make and model.
Check Warranty and Legal Implications:
Understand the warranty implications of ECU remapping. Modifying the ECU may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Ensure that any modifications comply with local laws and emission standards.
Backup ECU Data:
Before starting the remapping process, it’s crucial to create a backup of the original ECU data. This backup allows you to revert to the factory settings if needed.
Connect to the ECU:
The tuning professional will connect to the ECU using specialized tools and software.
They may use a dedicated OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics) port or other methods depending on the vehicle.
Read and Modify ECU Data:
The tuner will read the existing data from the ECU to understand the current configuration.
Based on your goals, they will modify parameters such as fuel delivery, ignition timing, and boost pressure.
Flash the Modified File:
The modified ECU data is then flashed back onto the ECU.
This process essentially installs the new tuning map onto the ECU.
Dyno Testing (Optional):
Some tuners perform dyno testing to optimize the tuning further and ensure the desired performance improvements are achieved.
Drive and Monitor:
After remapping, drive the vehicle and monitor its performance. If any issues arise, inform the tuner for adjustments.
Maintenance and Updates:
Keep in mind that vehicle maintenance is crucial after remapping. Regularly check for issues and consider periodic updates to the tuning if needed.


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Backup ECU Data


The specific tool or equipment used for remapping an Engine Control Unit (ECU) can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the preferences of the tuning professional. However, there are some common tools and methods used in the ECU remapping process:

OBD-II Interface:
Many modern vehicles can be tuned through the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD-II) port. Tuning tools connect to this port to read and write data to the ECU.
EPROM Programmers:
Some older vehicles or ECUs may use EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) chips. In such cases, an EPROM programmer may be used to read and write data directly to the chip. An example of EPROM programmer is Galep.
Bench Tuning Tools:
In some cases, the ECU may need to be removed from the vehicle and connected to a bench tuning tool. This method is less common and is usually reserved for certain types of ECUs.

OldSkullTuning company doesn’t sell these tool but it can help you to identify which tools you need to work on your ecu:
“Which Tool” service: https://oldskulltuning.com/which-tool-to-read-an-ecu/

You could also need:

Diagnostic and Logging Tools: tuners often use diagnostic tools to read data from the engine and log performance parameters. This information helps them make informed decisions during the tuning process.
Dyno Testing Equipment: dyno testing equipment is used to measure the power output of the vehicle’s engine. This is particularly useful for fine-tuning the ECU to optimize performance.

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Modify ECU Data

Modifying parameters in an Engine Control Unit (ECU) involves adjusting specific settings that control various aspects of the engine’s performance. It’s important to note that making changes to these parameters requires a deep understanding of automotive engineering, engine management systems, and tuning principles. Here are some general steps that professionals follow when modifying parameters in an ECU:

Access ECU Data:
Use specialized tools and software to access the data stored in the ECU. This can be done through the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD-II) port or by connecting directly to the ECU.
Identify Relevant Parameters:
Identify the parameters that need to be modified based on the tuning goals. Common parameters include fuel delivery, ignition timing, turbo boost pressure, throttle response, and more.
Understand Default Values:
Have a clear understanding of the default or stock values of the parameters. This knowledge is crucial for making informed modifications without compromising the engine’s safety and reliability.
Adjust Fuel Delivery:
Modify the fuel injection parameters to adjust the air-fuel mixture. This can affect the engine’s power output, fuel efficiency, and emissions.
Modify Ignition Timing:
Adjust the timing of the spark plug ignition to optimize combustion. This can impact power delivery, efficiency, and engine response.
Adjust Turbo Boost Pressure (if applicable):
If the vehicle is turbocharged, modify the parameters related to turbo boost pressure to influence performance and power delivery.
Optimize Throttle Response:
Modify throttle response parameters to improve or alter the sensitivity of the accelerator pedal.
Fine-Tune Idle Speed and RPM Limits:
Adjust parameters related to idle speed and RPM limits for specific driving conditions.
Consider Transmission Parameters (if applicable):
For vehicles with automatic transmissions, tuning may involve adjusting shift points and other transmission-related parameters.
Verify and Test:
After making modifications, it’s crucial to verify the changes and test the vehicle under controlled conditions. This may involve dyno testing to ensure that the modifications result in the desired performance improvements.
Iterative Tuning:
Tuning is often an iterative process. Tuners may need to make multiple adjustments, test the vehicle, and refine the parameters further to achieve optimal results.
Monitor and Ensure Safety:
Throughout the tuning process, professionals monitor the engine parameters to ensure that the modifications do not compromise the safety, reliability, or longevity of the engine.

Which software to modify ECU parameters?

The software used to modify parameters in an Engine Control Unit (ECU) is typically specialized and designed for professional tuning purposes. Here are 2 OldSkullTuning used software tools in the field of ECU tuning:

TunerPro: TunerPro is a free tuning software (bin files editor) designed to enable you modify the calibration data, known as original file, used by vehicle engines and transmissions. TunerPro software allow you to interpret and modify the files of the control unit easily and with accuracy. We create and sell XDF definitions: https://oldskulltuning.com/tunerpro-fre ... -software/

WinOLS: WinOLS is a popular and powerful tool used for modifying the maps in the ECU. It allows tuners to view and adjust various parameters such as fuel injection, ignition timing, boost pressure, and more. We create and sell OLSX mappack working on WinOLS 5: https://oldskulltuning.com/winols-mappa ... ning-team/

TunerPro is a completely free tuning software that allows users to modify and tune the parameters of Engine Control Units (ECUs).

We create and sell the bin definitions files, called XDF or templates or calibration files or bin definitions contain engine or gearbox maps that deciphers what each byte in the bin file stands for in the real world. It tells the editing software TunerPro how to interpret each byte in the bin file (original or tuned file). XDF format is the native definition format used by TunerPro tuning software: https://oldskulltuning.com/xdf-definiti ... -tunerpro/

You can download the software on TunerPro official website: http://www.tunerpro.net/downloadApp.htm

Supported vehicles: https://oldskulltuning.com/supported-vehicles/


Key features of TunerPro include:

Parameter Editing:
TunerPro allows users to view and edit various parameters stored in the ECU’s memory. This includes tables related to fuel injection, ignition timing, boost pressure, and more.
Real-Time Data Logging (TunerPro RT with ADX):
The software enables real-time data logging, allowing users to monitor and record engine performance parameters while the vehicle is running. This data can be valuable for analyzing and fine-tuning the tuning maps.
Custom Definition Files (XDF):
TunerPro uses XDF files to define the structure and meaning of the data within an ECU file. Users can create or obtain XDF files that correspond to their specific ECUs, making it easier to interpret and modify parameters.
Table Axis Scaling:
TunerPro allows users to modify the scaling of table axes, making it easier to visualize and understand the tuning maps.
Integration with Emulators and Logging Hardware:
TunerPro can integrate with hardware devices, such as emulation boards and logging tools, to provide additional functionality and flexibility during the tuning process.
User Community and Support:
TunerPro has an active user community, and there are forums and resources available for users to exchange information, seek advice, and share tuning experiences.

It’s important to note that TunerPro is often used by enthusiasts and hobbyists, and its effectiveness can depend on the specific ECU and vehicle application. Additionally, like any tuning software, using TunerPro requires a good understanding of engine dynamics, tuning principles, and the potential risks associated with ECU modifications.

WinOLS software

WinOLS is a paid professional software tool used for tuning and modifying the parameters in Engine Control Units (ECUs). It is widely used in the automotive tuning industry and is known for its advanced features and capabilities.

We create and sell WinOLS OLSX mappacks: https://oldskulltuning.com/winols-mappa ... ning-team/

Supported vehicles: https://oldskulltuning.com/supported-vehicles/

Here are some key aspects of WinOLS:


Map Editing:
WinOLS allows tuners to view, edit, and modify the various maps and tables within an ECU’s binary file. This includes maps for fuel injection, ignition timing, boost pressure, and other critical engine parameters.
Map Pack Database:
WinOLS works with map packs that cover a wide range of ECUs and vehicle models. This can save time by providing pre-defined maps for common applications.
Checksum Correction:
After making changes to the ECU file, WinOLS can recalculate and correct the checksum to ensure the modified file is valid and can be successfully flashed to the ECU.
Table Axis Scaling:
Tuners can easily adjust the scaling of table axes for better visualization and understanding of the maps.
Support for Various ECU File Formats:
WinOLS supports different file formats commonly used in the automotive tuning community, such as BIN, HEX, etc.
Import and Export Functions:
WinOLS allows users to import and export map files, making it easier to collaborate and share tuning files.
3D and 2D View Modes:
Users can view and edit maps in both 3D and 2D modes, providing flexibility in how data is visualized and modified.
Integration with Other Tools:
WinOLS can be integrated with other hardware tools, such as diagnostic interfaces and flashing tools, to provide a complete tuning solution.
User Community and Support:
WinOLS has an active user community, and there are forums and resources available for users to exchange information, seek advice, and share tuning experiences.

It’s important to note that WinOLS is a professional-grade tool, and using it requires a good understanding of engine tuning principles, as well as the specific characteristics of the targeted ECU and vehicle.

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What is a Stage1 tuned file?

“Stage 1” in the context of automotive tuning typically refers to a specific level or phase of modification applied to a vehicle’s engine or performance components. The stages are often used to categorize the extent of modifications, with each stage representing a different level of performance enhancement. These stages are commonly associated with aftermarket modifications, especially in the realm of engine tuning. Here’s a general understanding of what “Stage 1” modifications might entail:

Stage 1: Basic Modifications

ECU Remapping/Chip Tuning:
The Engine Control Unit (ECU) is reprogrammed to optimize engine performance. This may involve adjusting fuel delivery, ignition timing, and other parameters.
Air Intake Upgrades (optional):
Improved air intake systems, such as aftermarket air filters or cold air intakes, are installed to enhance airflow to the engine.
Exhaust System Upgrades (optional):
Aftermarket exhaust systems, including less restrictive mufflers or full exhaust systems, may be added to improve exhaust flow and increase horsepower.
Upgraded Intercooler (for turbocharged vehicles – optional):
In turbocharged applications, an upgraded intercooler may be installed to cool the compressed air before it enters the engine, improving performance.
Lighter Wheels and Performance Tires (optional):
Upgrading to lighter alloy wheels and high-performance tires can enhance handling and reduce unsprung weight.
Suspension Upgrades (optional):
Some enthusiasts may include basic suspension upgrades to improve handling characteristics, such as upgraded shocks, struts, or sway bars.

Key Considerations:

Stage 1 modifications are often considered safe and may not require extensive modifications to other vehicle components.
The goal is to improve horsepower, torque, and overall performance without significantly compromising reliability.

OldSkullTuning company offers tuned files for all type of vehicles: https://oldskulltuning.com/tuningfiles-service/


It’s important to note that the concept of “stages” may vary between different tuning communities and may not be standardized across the automotive industry. Additionally, the specific modifications associated with each stage can vary based on the type of vehicle, its make and model, and the preferences of the tuner or tuning company.
How many HP and Nm with a Stage1?

The specific horsepower (hp) and torque gains achieved after a Stage 1 tuning can vary widely depending on several factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the baseline performance, and the modifications performed during the Stage 1 process. Stage 1 modifications typically focus on optimizing the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to improve performance without major hardware changes.

In a Stage 1 tune, you can generally expect moderate gains in both horsepower and torque. These gains can vary, but they are often in the range of 5% to 15% for both metrics. The actual numbers depend on the specific characteristics of the engine, the quality of the tune, and the effectiveness of the modifications.

Here are some general examples:

Naturally Aspirated Engines:
For naturally aspirated engines (non-turbocharged), Stage 1 tuning may result in a horsepower increase of around 5% to 10%. Torque gains are typically in a similar range.
Turbocharged Engines:
Turbocharged engines often see more significant gains with Stage 1 tuning. Depending on the specific turbo setup and the baseline performance, you might expect horsepower and torque increases of 10% to 15% or more.

It’s important to note that these are general estimates, and actual results can vary. Additionally, the quality of the tune and the expertise of the tuner play a crucial role in achieving optimal performance gains while maintaining reliability.

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What is a Stage2 tuned file?


“Stage 2” in automotive tuning typically represents a more advanced level of modifications compared to Stage 1. Stage 2 modifications often involve a broader range of upgrades, focusing on increasing overall performance, horsepower, and sometimes more extensive modifications to various components. Keep in mind that the specific modifications associated with each stage can vary between different tuning communities and may not be standardized across the automotive industry. Here are common Stage 2 modifications:

Stage 2: Enhanced Performance Upgrades


ECU Remapping/Chip Tuning (Continued):
Further optimization of the ECU to accommodate additional modifications and maximize performance gains.
Upgraded Turbocharger or Supercharger (for forced induction vehicles):
Installation of a larger or more efficient turbocharger or supercharger to increase the amount of air forced into the engine.
High-Flow Catalytic Converter or Cat-Back Exhaust System:
Upgrading the catalytic converter and exhaust system for better flow and reduced backpressure, enhancing performance.
Performance Camshafts:
Installation of aftermarket camshafts to optimize valve timing and improve overall engine performance.
Upgraded Fuel Injectors:
Larger and more efficient fuel injectors may be installed to ensure an adequate fuel supply for increased power.
Performance Intake Manifold:
Upgrading to a high-performance intake manifold can improve air distribution and enhance engine efficiency.
Forged Internals (optional):
In some cases, enthusiasts may opt for internal engine modifications, such as forged pistons and connecting rods, to handle higher levels of power and stress.
Upgraded Clutch or Transmission Components (manual transmission):
For vehicles with manual transmissions, upgrading the clutch and related components may be necessary to handle increased torque.

Key Considerations:

Stage 2 modifications are more involved and may require additional attention to fueling, cooling, and drivetrain components.
Depending on the modifications made, professional tuning and dyno testing may be necessary to optimize performance and ensure reliability.

How many HP and Nm with a Stage2?

The horsepower (hp) and torque gains after a Stage 2 tuning can vary widely based on several factors, including the specific modifications made, the make and model of the vehicle, and the quality of the tuning. Stage 2 modifications generally involve more extensive changes compared to Stage 1, often including upgrades such as a larger turbocharger, enhanced exhaust system, and other performance-oriented components.

As with any tuning, it’s challenging to provide precise figures because the actual gains depend on the unique characteristics of the engine and the modifications performed. However, here are some general estimates:

Naturally Aspirated Engines:
For naturally aspirated engines (non-turbocharged), Stage 2 modifications might result in horsepower and torque gains of around 10% to 20%. The exact increase can vary based on the specific upgrades and the engine’s responsiveness to modifications.
Turbocharged Engines:
Turbocharged engines often see more significant gains with Stage 2 tuning. Depending on the specifics of the modifications, including a larger turbocharger, upgraded exhaust, and potentially other enhancements, horsepower and torque increases can range from 15% to 30% or more.

It’s crucial to note that the numbers mentioned above are general estimates, and actual results can vary. The quality of the tune, the expertise of the tuner, and the compatibility of the modifications with the overall vehicle setup all contribute to the final performance gains.

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What is a Stage3 tuned file?

“Stage 3” in automotive tuning typically represents a further advanced level of modifications compared to both Stage 1 and Stage 2. Stage 3 modifications often involve significant upgrades to various components of the vehicle, with the goal of achieving a substantial increase in overall performance. As with the previous stages, the specific modifications associated with Stage 3 can vary between different tuning communities and may not be standardized across the automotive industry. Here are common Stage 3 modifications:

Stage 3: High-Performance Upgrades

Advanced ECU Remapping/Chip Tuning:
Fine-tuning and optimization of the ECU to accommodate extensive modifications and maximize performance gains.
Upgraded or Built Engine:
Engine modifications may include upgrading internal components such as the crankshaft, pistons, rods, and bearings, or even a complete engine build.
Large Turbocharger or Twin-Turbo Setup (for forced induction vehicles):
Installation of a larger or multiple turbochargers to significantly increase airflow and boost pressure.
High-Flow Exhaust System:
A complete high-flow exhaust system, including headers, downpipes, and cat-back components, for maximum exhaust gas flow.
Upgraded Fuel System:
Larger fuel injectors, high-flow fuel pumps, and a performance fuel rail to support the increased demand for fuel.
Upgraded Cooling System:
Installation of a high-performance radiator, intercooler, and possibly additional cooling components to manage increased heat generated by the higher power levels.
Performance Camshafts (Continued):
More aggressive camshafts for increased valve lift and duration, optimizing the engine’s powerband.
Forged Internals (Continued):
Comprehensive internal engine upgrades, including forged internals, may be necessary to handle the increased power and stress.
Upgraded Transmission (automatic or manual):
Upgrading the transmission with strengthened gears, performance torque converters, or a reinforced clutch for improved durability.
Limited Slip Differential (LSD) or Upgraded Differential Components:
Enhancing the differential to improve traction and handling, especially for rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

Key Considerations:

Stage 3 modifications are highly involved and may require extensive modifications to the engine and drivetrain.
Professional tuning, including dyno testing, is crucial to optimize performance and ensure the reliability of the modifications.

It’s important to note that Stage 3 modifications are often tailored to specific goals, and the specific upgrades may vary based on the desired outcome (e.g., track performance, drag racing, etc.).
How many HP and Nm with a Stage3?

The horsepower (hp) and torque gains after a Stage 3 tuning can vary significantly based on the specific modifications made, the characteristics of the engine, and the quality of the tuning. Stage 3 modifications are typically the most extensive and can include major upgrades to the engine components, forced induction systems, and other critical performance areas.

Given the complexity and variability involved in Stage 3 tuning, providing precise figures is challenging. The actual gains depend on factors such as the specific modifications performed, the baseline performance of the vehicle, and the expertise of the tuning professional. Here are some general estimates:

Naturally Aspirated Engines:
For naturally aspirated engines (non-turbocharged), Stage 3 modifications might result in substantial horsepower and torque gains, potentially ranging from 20% to 40% or more. This could involve significant internal engine modifications, high-performance camshafts, and other enhancements.
Turbocharged Engines:
Turbocharged engines undergoing Stage 3 tuning can experience substantial increases in horsepower and torque. Depending on the specifics of the modifications, including a larger turbocharger, upgraded internals, and other enhancements, gains could range from 30% to 50% or more.

It’s crucial to note that these figures are general estimates, and actual results can vary. The tuning process at Stage 3 often involves a high level of customization based on the specific goals of the vehicle owner, the intended use (e.g., track performance, drag racing, street performance), and the engine’s ability to handle increased stress.

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