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vehicle fine-tune

Engine Parts

Sometimes The Modification Of Engine Parts Can Improve Your Engine's Performance

Years ago, the engine parts that came under the spotlight for modification or replacement when enthusiasts planned to improve their vehicles' performance, were usually mechanical parts.  Carburettor-equipped cars could be made to deliver rather a lot of extra power with the replacement of the original, economy-minded items in favour of large-throat carburettors.  However, the extra power often came with a commensurate increase in fuel consumption and it became a fine art to jet and tune carburettors to deliver hearty full-throttle performance while maintaining reasonable steady-speed fuel consumption.

Top Car Engine Performance AND Economy

For most enthusiasts using their cars as daily drivers, car engine performance at the expense of part-throttle economy is not an acceptable compromise and achieving this happy medium had become the Holy Grail.  In view of high fuel prices, it is very important to retain a semblance of economy when the extra performance is not being used, but getting the balance right with the modification of the mechanical parts often meets with limited success.  In the end, one usually has to accept that one's mechanical modifications would inevitably have to focus on performance to the detriment of economy if one is aiming for any worthwhile improvement in power output and car engine performance.

The Electronic Era

Of course, things have changed in the electronic era, adding a new dimension of extra possibilities and besides all the mechanical engine parts that can be replaced or modified, modification of the electronic control systems play an important role in modern cars.  Nowadays, the engine management system can control any combination or all of the following systems:

  • ignition timing
  • variable intake manifold
  • variable camshaft control mechanism
  • variable valve lift mechanism
  • fuel injection and mixture strength
  • turbo boost pressure

With all these engine parts and mechanisms under electronic control, it becomes very easy to extract significantly improved performance from an engine by merely modifying the commands sent to these systems by the electronic control unit.  Extra performance can be achieved before you have even started to modify any of the mechanical parts, but the question has to be asked why the extra performance is not realised at the factory when the car is manufactured.

Economy Bias

The answer is that most manufacturers tune their cars for optimal economy and once the power targets set for an engine have been reached, the engineers are satisfied, even if there is additional power to be had with further tuning.  Additionally, every engine differ from its siblings in minute details and may benefit from custom tuning, but this is simply too expensive for mass production, which is why all cars with the same engine leave the factory with “standardised” ECU settings.

Different Mappings

A piggyback chip can not only modify the ECU settings to extract more performance from an engine, but several mappings can be programmed to give you the best of both worlds.  The power mapping may only be active when your right foot is flat on the accelerator and the economy mapping may take over under part-throttle running to achieve the same, or even better, economy.  You can still modify the mechanical engine parts if you choose.

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