What does “tuning” mean and what does it involve?

“Tuning” or “remapping” is the process putting your car on a rolling road called a dynamometer (or “dyno” for short) and then reprogramming its computer which is known as the Engine Control Unit (ECU) or Engine Control Module (ECM) to gain more power and suit any modifications that may have been made to an engine. A dyno offers engine builders and tuners a safe, controlled working environment to test and tune your car’s engine properly.

MSR is equipped with a Mainline DynoLog dyno which is fitted with the latest state of the art technology. It has multiple sensors that allow many parameters of an engine such as intake air temperature, injector duty cycle, oil temperature, oil pressure, boost pressure, air-fuel ratio and engine speed to be monitored accurately in realtime.

Depending on the model of your car, tuning an ECU is the process of adjusting and fine-tuning parameters such as ignition timing, variable cam maps, and injector duty maps and even throttle duty maps to target an optimal air-fuel ratio. Air-fuel ratio is determined by how much air and fuel goes into an engine’s combustion chamber at any given engine speed and load.

Tuning is a process that takes a time to be performed correctly as it involves tuning the entire rev range from idle all the way to redline not just at full throttle, but also at every throttle position which is usually in increments of 5% or 10%. So what this means is that you have to tune 1000-7000rpm at 10% throttle, then 1000-7000rpm at 15% throttle, then 20% throttle, then 25% throttle and so on. This is referred to as “tuning at different engine loads” with particular dyno settings to help during the process. You can begin to see why tuning a car takes quite some time. MSR also fine tunes many aspects of a vehicle’s ECU to cover all first world conditions that an engine may encounter. Conditions include cold start, idle, light-throttle conditions (such as carparks), cruise conditions (normal driving), full throttle acceleration, with and without air-conditioning activated.

How do I know if my car needs to be tuned?

If you have made any sort of modifications to your engine such as changing the intake system, upgrading the exhaust system and/or upgrading the turbocharger for example, it is highly recommended that you retune your car’s ECU to suit the new modifications to the engine. Some engine modifications require the ECU to be tuned in order for them to work at all. You may be putting your engine at risk of failure by driving with your car untuned to suit the modifications. If you have not made any sort of modifications at all to the engine, then you do not need to tune your vehicle.

If I have added modifications to the engine, what are the benefits of tuning it?

The key benefit is more power and response. Regardless of how many modifications you have made to your engine, whether it is just one or ten modifications, tuning your car’s ECU will increase an engine’s power output. How much more power the engine makes all depends on what modifications have been made to the engine. Your engine will also be much more responsive to the new modifications, offering a much more exciting and refined driving experience. Tuning your car’s ECU also offers more fuel economy but because you will be spending so much time enjoying the newfound power, this pretty much goes right out the window unless you can restrain yourself.

Can you tune the standard ECU?

Yes, MSR can tune standard ECUs in all 2001 onward WRX/STI and all 2001 onward Liberty B4/GT with 2.0L turbo, 2.5L turbo, H6 3.0R and H6 3.6R engines. MSR can also tune Autronic, MoTeC and ECUTEK. MSR does not tune vehicles equipped with Unichip or Haltech.

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