demands of the specific engines. Settings will also allow changes to the maximum revs available for the engines - while staying within manufactures' limits (allowing for the fact that off the shelf redlines are generally conservative).

It may well be that the Chip will also allow you to use higher octane unleaded fuel (Ultra etc) - and certainly if you request a custom chip, the use of a higher octane fuel can be included in your specific requirements.

What we call the standard replacement chip will, in general, have been mapped to correct the 'common' problems associated with a particular car/engine. However, if your car has what you believe to be a specific problem, information can be downloaded from the standard engine management system, analysed and compensated for by a 'custom' chip programmed to overcome that specific problem. This is commonly refered to as 'tuning-out a problem'.

Other benefits include lifting the rev limit, removing top speed limitations, altering the change points in the transmission, improving fuel economy and altering ignition timing.

The use of remapping chips is not restricted just to new, fuel-injected naturally aspired cars either, the technology also applies to older vehicles whose engine management systems can be updated to run efficiently on unleaded fuel, and to turbo and supercharged motors, utilising special packages which include intercoolers, turbo-timers, boost adjusters and limiters.

Good, Better, Best

The ultimate solution is an integrated package with the re-programmed chip as the core component. An ideal package includes a replacement (high quality) air filter, and a new exhaust system to complement the Chip.

RESTYLED ram air-pods are the perfect partner for high-flow air filters.

This 'package' is based on the idea of getting the air flow in and out of the engine in a balanced, smooth delivery, in concert with re-mapping fuel delivery and spark timing. This type of package can itself be formulated at several levels - for example by fitting either a replacement muffler system (from the Cat back) or re-engineering from the engine block with a full extractor system. In each case, reputable chip companies will produce a Custom Chip tailored to the particular application.

And remember - all of this is achieved with the relative ease of quick-fit, bolt-on components (the engine does not

'Good chips are effective, bullet-proof and undetectable. In many cases, they can be self installed. Some are even switchable'.

need to be 'cracked'). Nothing can match this approach for cost-effectiveness or performance value-for-money.

For those who want to get more serious, the next step is changing the Cam. Since a lot of enthusiasts motorists already preform engine strip downs for blueprinting/balancing and top-end makeovers, a Cam upgrade is a logical step and will REQUIRE reprogramming of the ECU (i.e. a new chip).

Another direction is a completely upgraded ECU (stage 6)- instead of changing the chip you change the computer. At present, the application is mostly used by racers - from club to Top end. But the idea is appealing more-and-more to out-and-out enthusiasts. Companies such as Motec, which is famous for building the ECUs for group A and super touring cars, can now provide a high-tech ECU to suit almost every vehicle and every requirement. Advantages of this system include 'dial-your-own-tuning', and the ability to vary high-tech equipment such as traction control and ABS. This system offers

PLUG-IN TECHNOLOGY, like this unit which accesses the Mercedes Benz ECU via the diagnostic port, has opened up a vast new potential for cars thought to be 'unchippable'.

the option of plugging directly into a laptop computer to vary the car's computer settings on the spot, via a special software program supplied with the replacement ECU.

All these processes are, as you would expect, more time consuming, more effective and more expensive.

Such extensions of the electronic tuning art are generally limited to the top five percent of the market. Most people want the bolt-in, drive-away benefits of an 'instant' changeover.

The Retail Details

The ready availability of the Chip is now one of its most appealing features. There are plenty of manufactures out there and the majority are professional and reputable… names such as Powerchip, of Melbourne, Fueltronics, and ChipTorque. All are compact, dedicated operations which have developed high profiles as a result of their input at the leading edge of this aftermarket technology. Australian Road & Track has worked with all of them and will continue to do so as the technology breaks new boundaries.

The Chip is the 'silent partner' of 'New Era' performance- it's invisible, undetectable and therefore will not attract the unwanted attention of registration and insurance authorities - those seemingly vested with the responsibility of ensuring that any small pleasure that remains in driving is removed! In most cases, even your dealer will never know you've upgraded the engine management system - and those that do may well be using after-market chips them-

Australian Road & Track

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