ECU turbo tuning

All aspects of the turbo are controlled in modern cars by a computer (the ECU or engine control unit). This manages the wastegate, ignition timing, the boost controller and even the fuel delivery .

The rate at which the exhaust gases spin the turbo has a bearing on the amount of power produced and the setting for the maximum boost pressure effectively shuts off the air being sucked in. The two factors are controlled via a BOV Blow off valve or recirculating valve and the wastegate actuator.

Sport tuned engines use an anti lag system to push burning fuel through the turbo on tickover or lift off to keep it spinning. These sound great and work well but dramatically reduce the life of the turbo due to the heat generated.

At high engine speeds the engines turbo will spool up even quicker and produce massively more power than a standard block can cope with so things have to be carefully regulated. See the Wastegate and turbo mods article for more detail on this as we are going to focus on the computer which controls these items in many modern engines.

A remap of the ECU will allow the engine paramters to change beyond average for reliability that manufacturers set up and tighten up the performance factors to release more power. The trade off is potentially premature component failure of the Mass air flow sensor and a lower tolerance of bad servicing or neglect.

When choosing a remap you need to select carefully. The questions you need to be asking is do I want maxiumum power and no reliability or how much of a compromise am I willing to make. If the service interval is 9,000 miles a remap could well reduce this to 6,000.

Read more of our articles to get a deeper understanding of the turbo, how it works and what you can do to get more power from your car.

For a more comprehensive look at car tuning see our sister site More cars have turbo's fitted as standard and we will look at the best ways of tuning them. There are phenomenal power gains available to turbo charged cars with engines of all sizes.

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