An engine is a simple thing, right? Add fuel, set it on fire, magic happens, a crankshaft is rotated that turns your wheels – and off you go! It sounds simple enough if you oversimplify it like that, but even just getting the fuel into the engine is a science in itself, and the way it is done will have a big influence on how much power the engine produces and how much fuel it uses. All the while, the manufacturer has to stay within the pollution limits imposed by emissions legislation.
In the distant past, the preferred method of administering the fuel was the good old carburettor. It was a purely mechanical device that sat on top of the engine’s intake manifold. Fuel is ingested into the engine in gas form, so the carburettor atomised the liquid fuel through a system of tubes and jets, adding a fine fuel spray to the passing intake air to feed the engine a fuel/air mixture of the appropriate richness to be burnt in the cylinders. This was often haphazard, since the fuel vapour was dispensed from a central place and could not be carefully metered per cylinder. In theory, each cylinder would get the same amount of fuel, but in practice, this was not always the case.
These problems are eliminated by electronic fuel injection, which usually employs a fuel pump that feeds high-pressure fuel to injectors, for which there is one for each cylinder. Fuel metering is precise and can be controlled individually for every cylinder. In cases where the fuel is injected directly into the cylinder via a direct-injection system, even better control and more efficiency are possible. Fuel-injection systems are under precise electronic control and this, in conjunction with a catalytic converter, is the only way in which modern emissions legislation can be met.
So, since a computer is overseeing this entire process, it stands to reason that the ECU knows best and that nothing can be done to further optimise the system’s settings, right? Wrong. In fact, standardised ECU programming errs on the side of caution and might not be optimally efficient, in order to make sure that the one-size-fits-all programming works for all the engines rolling off the production line. Installing a Unichip will allow you to tighten up the control maps, so that they work perfectly for your specific engine. You may get very useful performance and economy gains this way. And if you are not happy within three months, we will remove your Unichip and refund you. You have nothing to lose!