Diesel Power: Using Custom ECU Software To Get Massive Torque Gains In Your Turbo-Diesel Truck

Automotive Blog

One great thing about turbo-diesel trucks is they offer far more low-end torque than their gasoline counterparts. But why be satisfied with your truck's stock performance? Unlike naturally aspirated engines, which respond relatively poorly to minor modifications, tuning a turbo-diesel engine can yield huge gains in torque. All you have to do is install custom software on your truck's engine control unit (ECU) and you'll see a massive increase in towing performance and acceleration.

What's Wrong with the Stock ECU Software?

From the factory, your engine is tuned to accelerate as smoothly as possible. It's also tuned to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize emissions. That's all well and good for casual drivers, but the conservative factory software leaves a lot of power on the table. If you're an enthusiast who craves torque, huge improvements can be made to the stock ECU tune.

Custom ECU software increases your turbocharger's boost output. Higher boost means more air is being crammed into your engine, and that translates to massive gains in torque. To compensate for the increased airflow, custom software also includes revised fuel mapping. Depending on what kind of engine you have, other performance parameters can also be tuned. For example, on trucks that feature electronic variable valve timing, the timing can be optimized to match the increased output from your turbocharger to produce maximum horsepower and reliability.

Tuning via the ECU Diagnostic Port

For many modern trucks, turning the ECU is a plug-and-play process. Your ECU has an access port that allows mechanics to plug in a computer for diagnostic purposes. A performance shop with specialized software can use that same access port to remap your stock ECU without modifying anything mechanically. They simply plug in a computer, upload their custom ECU software, and you drive out of the shop with a much more powerful engine to play with.

Custom ECU Chips

Unfortunately, some ECUs can't be reprogrammed so easily. However, modifications can be made to the ECU to yield the same results as diagnostic port tuning. The process involves taking a computer chip and soldering it onto the stock ECU. The chip is preprogrammed with performance software, so when your ECU is reinstalled it will run your engine on the custom tune and give you the same torque gains you would get from a programmable ECU.

Other Engine Modifications

If you plan on adding any additional custom truck parts to your engine, you should install them before having your ECU tuned. Intake, exhaust, and turbo system modifications will increase the amount of air flowing into and out of your engine. Custom ECU software can be optimized to take advantage of the increased airflow and extract even more torque from your engine. So before you have your ECU tuned, figure out your long-term horsepower goals and modify accordingly. 

For more information, contact companies like Pacesetter Truck Caps & Accessories Inc.


2 June 2015

RV Upgrades You Need to Know About

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