Chip Your Diesels

Michael 11/08/2015 0 Comment(s) Articles,
Make sure that any chip you add doesn’t fry your engine!
Words by Andrew Leimroth
Photography by Caravan & Motorhome

Chip tuning’ is a commonly used word for tuning electronic diesels, but is it really changing the chip? The phrase is quite generic and generally doesn’t include changing the vehicle’s computer chip. The reality is that the most common form of ‘chip tuning’ an electronic diesel is actually adding what’s called a ‘piggy back’ system. The use of that word means the module/chip plugs in to factory plugs on the engine and alters factory signals already there. ‘Piggy back’ chip tuning also allows for a nondestructive installation, so if you need to you can simply unplug your module and it’s all back to standard.

A good module/chip system will run a chip inside it just like your vehicle’s factory computer. An important consideration when buying a module/chip is that it operates with digital accuracy and in particular it makes changes based on load. Sadly there are so many products flooding into the Australian market that the choice becomes clouded. I generally split the choice down to a few chip systems, which can alter signals with true digital precision but more importantly, have the ability to vary the power gains depending on load. This means you only get the power when you need it.

As for the rest of them, I call them 20% chips. That means that when they work they add a flat 20% change throughout the rev/load range. Because a lot of these chips don’t constantly monitor signals and vary accordingly, they can add power, but certainly can also add to oil contamination and increased fuel use because they are always running ‘on’.

As far as changing a chip in your vehicle’s computer goes, well that’s a very serious act indeed as this would require removal of the original chip and soldering in a new one. I call these destructive changes as they cannot be easily reversed when checks or repairs need to be performed under warranty.

Just remember, insist on a chip system offering good warranties (in particular an engine and driveline warranty), operates digitally, is ‘plug and play’ and backed by a reputable company. You only get one chance with engines, so don’t fry your engine on a poor chip!

Safe driving,


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