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Can you remap your own car?

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by chris432626, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. chris432626
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    chris432626 S3 Upminster

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    Seeing as the cost is so high for a remap, apart from the obvious risks involved, is the software available to map your own ECU?
    (Preferably with a decent restore point so you can "reset") Or is every S3 a different software config / version?

    I'm guessing that a proper company performing a remap does a few checks of your car, do they really perform extra tuning etc that warrants a cost of around £400?
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  3. A3ster
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    A3ster Member

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    I guess the best way to look at is if someone else does it (a comapny) then if anything goes wrong its down to them to sort and doesnt come out of your pocket. And the software and flashing tools dont come cheap unless of course you are using hooky/stolen software.
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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    Hi Chris

    There are lots of reasons to take your car to a company to have it remapped. Yes they should check the car and not just plug it into a diagnostics machine but also make sure (this is becoming more ture with the 1.8T older cars) that everything under to bonnet looks OK. See if there are any oil leaks and that you have got oil in the engine :)

    Having said all this there are options out there for doing this yourself and some even include diagnostics for those who don't have VagCom of a spare VAS5052...

    AmD have just launched a handheld box and many other comapnies also offer similar products..

    AMD Power2.jpg

    The question I would be asking myself would be

    Do I want to do this myself... and what do I do if it goes wrong while i'm doing it?
    Do I want to take my car somewhere where they can check the car and do the work for me where if it goes wrong they can sort it out?

    I would suggest that if you want to do it yourself that you find a well known company that will support you if things go wrong (they can't be held to account for stupidity :) or you take it to one that has a good reputation.

    Avoid cheap deals on ebay !!!!!!
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  5. Welly
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    Welly VX220 SC Driver :)

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    I'd serious take the above advice, absolutely spot on.
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  6. badger5
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    badger5 www.badger5.co.uk Site Sponsor

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    you can buy a flash tool clone for as little as £15 off ebay
    BUT
    You have no software to flash on to the car
    Where would you get this?
    How would you know its "safe"

    what value do you put on your engine?

    Remaps are not £400, you can get Custom Code as an example for just over £300) and its proven.

    Not worth the risk imho
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  7. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    I looked into this a lot before I got mine mapped as I am a PC engineer and realised that the principles of mapping are fairly straight forward. Firstly I found it extremely difficult to even get hold of any of the flashing software and when I did find some it was protected in such a way that you needed the hardware from that company to unlock the software (similar to the Ross-Tech software protection). Under further investigation the hardware started at around £3000 so I gave up.

    I got mine mapped by Mark from "Chip N Spin" (he has a board on these forums) and I asked him loads of questions when I went to see him. Basically you will need the hardware that these companies use to flash an ECU, it's not as easy as plugging a laptop into the diag port and uploading a file (even though that is the idea). Mark also used a device that ensured that the power being sent to the ECU remained stable to avoid any data loss when mapping the file to the ECU. Mark said his kit cost him around £5000 and then he still had to buy into "Chipped UK" to get hold of the map files and also get support should any of the maps fail/cause problems.

    Unless you're thinking about going into buisness mapping cars you might as well forget trying to map your own and take it to a company.
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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    Yes and no..... It is as simple as just plugging in the laptop and loading the file when it goes right. The communication between the car and the PC can be a little problematic sometime and that's when experience comes in. as for getting hold of the software and hardware it's not that hard you just need the money.

    http://chiptunawarehouse.com

    If everything goes right it's all very simple but you would be amazed how often thing go a little of course. :) While this is normal for anyone tuning cars it can be a little distressing for someone on there own.....

    I would also suggest that you also look for companys who specalise in doing the type for car you want to modify. You should get a better product from a company who just do one thing and that one thing well (make sure that if they don't write their own software, that that goes for the company who supply the software to the company as well)
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  9. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    Yeah thats fine but when I was looking into it I was hoping to do it for next to nothing. Download the software from a torent site then track down a map file. I was also hoping that I would be able to use my Ross-Tech cable but it wasn't to be. I'm guessing the op wanted to do his car for cheap too and that's why he's asking the question. Luckily I had a mate at work who was willing to be a guinea pig so I wouldn't have cabaged my own ECU ;-)
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  10. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!! VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    in summary pay the £300 as set up alone will cost you more than this, then you have the task of mapping the thing with no experience presumebly.....

    I know someone who does generic maps for most cars, problem being as he does most cars he has no emphasis on one particular, hence why going to a renowned firm that does VAG day in day out is money better spent - i trust my this chap but simple fact is that he isnt an expert on my particular vehicle, custom code who i went for, are
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  11. scoTTy
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    scoTTy Active Member

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
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  12. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!! VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    will this actually give you the full benefits that a map from a VAG specialist would give i wonder?
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  13. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    You've probably got to subscribe to something to get the map files once you've bought the kit.
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  14. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!! VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    cant see why you wouldnt just pay the £300 to be fair to a proper VAG specialist, you know its been done and tested on numerous occasions by people who know what they are doing....devices like this are always going to have safety parameters to work within....how can they not?
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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    That's what i'm talking about the box you are looking at from sharkperformance is the same box as used by lot's of tuning companies with a differant sticker on the front. The box is italian and works very well but what software you get on it god only knows. Thats not a comment about that unit (sharkperformance) but more about all these tuning companies that just appear from no where selling boxes. The VAG market is the biggest and it would appear that there are a lot jumping on the band waggon.

    I'm sure in most cases the product you get will be OK but due to the way that the tuning industry seen wanting to kill it's self over getting more and more products in to market for less and less money they will sell to just about anyone.

    I would look for the guys who have a reputaion to protect and the infrastucture to cope with the problems.
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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    It is only a device for loading the maps.. The map or the quality of the map that is loaded first into the box has nothing to do with the hardware. In anycase one of these boxes won't work out any cheaper as you are having to buy hardware + software which would mean that either they are giving away the hardware or the software to get to a cheaper price.

    Running a company costs money and to invest in hardware and the products to look after your car cost money. If you want the Quality and service then you have to pay the price.

    A copy of Winols (map editing software) with checksums will cost you around £15k if you are doing lots, the hard ware will cost you about another £15K if you want all the toys to support the cars in times of crisis :) then you need the years of doing files to understand what you are doing.

    £300-400 is a fair price for a file on something like a 2.0 TFSI maybe a little less for the 1.8T but they are in some ways more work these days due to the age and lack of care most seem to have seen....

    I guess when it comes down to it you pay your money and take you chances :) best of luck with what ever you decide
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  17. ianysm
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    ianysm Active Member

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    Lets face it, £350 isn't expensive for a complete remap (this is what i paid which included a new filter and Forge DV) plus piece of mind that if there is a problem you can take it back.

    The money you are paying comes from the time that has been spent perfecting the software and ironing out any niggles.

    I don't think its expensive at all considering the results. I paid £700 for my M3 remap and it didn't give anywhere near the extra grunt the S3 map does!
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  18. 9099
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    9099 TDi? Liberties!

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    I have done exactly what you are looking to do (Remapped 06 Civic 2.2 using generic map file) and can safely say that the safest way is to take the car to a reputable tuner that does it properly. There are tuners out there using generic maps... Stay clear of those. But what I will say if you know the risks and want to do it yourself IS THIS:

    You need an ODB cable that supports your ECU (KWP2000/2000 plus)... Off the top of my head is a Bosche EDC15. A generic TUNED map (The software to edit maps costs $2000 usd), and finally balls of steel. And remember: Tuning is not as easy as sticking a map file on your car, there are so many more factors that could lead to serious damage to your engine.

    I have weighed up the risks and plan to do the same later on this month once I have had a good look at the basic running gear of my own car. I am also fully aware that I am looking at hefty repair bills if all goes wrong. And I do not offer any services, just common sense advise.
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  19. badger5
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    badger5 www.badger5.co.uk Site Sponsor

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    1.8t is bosch Me7.x ecu

    the original car drives a "generic map" so thats not the thing.. Stage 1 and 2 files are often "generic" also.... unless you have an off the wall setup or have gone big turbo, generic is perfectly adequate

    "custom" code's are too often reveered as theing the "best", when in reality its a generic code chosen from a selection... It is not economic to author a code every time, no matter what you get "sold" in terms of its "custom" Sir... unless its as I said a Big turbo or Hybrided car, its not as custom as you may be led to believe


    to the OP, stick to the tuners who know the address locations and functions of the maps, and can also tune engines... Its not just code, adjust a couple of parameters and reload..
    Bosch dont give out their Damos files readily, although there are people who have got hold of them from various means
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  20. 9099
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    9099 TDi? Liberties!

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    I do apologize. EDC15(P) is for my car. 1.9tdi 130 pd. Hand>face. :think:
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    Unless you have the software to import the Damos info it's going to be a pain in the back side anyway and most are in German :)
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  22. 9099
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    9099 TDi? Liberties!

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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    On my civic it was as simple as:

    Back up ECU to file
    Write new map file to ecu (Sourced Privately, not self modified)
    unplug cable
    Start car... EXTRA 20-30bhp.

    Obviously there are smaller steps in between that I neglected.

    Is the Damos info absolutely necessary? Or is there some other reason why I will need this?
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    [Jan 11, 2010]
    Damos just gives you the location of the table in the Bin file are not of any use unless you are altering the file yourself. and the we will get in to the conversation about checksums etc..... best ont to go there :) I would sujest that unless you want a project and you have some fee time and don't mind killing your car (it will alway be possible to recover) a few times just take it some where and get it done..
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  24. badger5
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    badger5 www.badger5.co.uk Site Sponsor

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    [Jan 12, 2010]
    You will need to know the map locations, and functions............. Where did you think you would find this information out?
    this is'nt a Civic

    there's some forums about if you search and trust a file you might find..
    risky imho
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  25. 9099
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    9099 TDi? Liberties!

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    [Jan 12, 2010]
    I am not trying to tread on the professionals toes here. The question was: Can you remap your own car? In short the answer is yes. The long answer is there are major risks involved. And best left to the professionals. Personally, I have a lot of time and patience and I don't buy the arguement that doing it through a tuner will benefit me any more than if I did the research and took the time to do it myself.

    Back to the Civic, EDC16 is it not? Why was that so different to the EDC15 in my A3? Views kindly appreciated.
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  26. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!! VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 12, 2010]
    i cant see why you wouldnt trust the professionals..... they will have tested the maps to such a level on many different cars, something you simply can't replicate safely....most i would imagine will have killed a few cars testing

    I know what your saying as I regard myself as inquisitive, but some things are best left to people that know...as said above, i know someone who is very well versed in mapping many different cars, simple fact is though that this chap cannot get the same figures out of a VAG car that a VAG specialist is able to acheive...and he does mapping for a living!
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  27. ianysm
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    ianysm Active Member

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    [Jan 12, 2010]
    I agree with Animal. Plus, no offence intended here, but remapping your S3 is slightly more risky than remapping an older 1.9 diesel A3!
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  28. 9099
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    9099 TDi? Liberties!

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    [Jan 12, 2010]
    That is fair enough. I suppose if it was as easy to do as the newer cars it would have been on here already.

    About the "older 1.9 diesel" comment: I am offended... My car is crying tears of oil. lmao.
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  29. ianysm
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    ianysm Active Member

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    [Jan 12, 2010]
    Sorry 9099, no offence intended there. Just that its easier to justify tinkering with an older less expensive car. I am always fiddling with my Landrover, but never touch the S3!
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  30. 9099
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    9099 TDi? Liberties!

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    [Jan 12, 2010]
    I was joking :icon_thumright:
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  31. chris432626
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    chris432626 S3 Upminster

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    [Jan 13, 2010]
    Spoke to an Audi engineer last night, and it seems that every ECU mapping is more unique than people think. Benefits of going to a specialist are that they should have a look at your existing mapping and then remap according to their results. So much for trying to do this cheaply! Thanks for everyone's input though.
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  32. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!! VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 13, 2010]
    yup, joys of having a modern car :)
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  33. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    [Jan 13, 2010]
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  34. chewy.
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    [Mar 18, 2010]
    yea, and......

    kp2000, good luck with that.. does'nt get you the tuned files for the ecu tho

    ill advised diy unless you dont mind disabling your cars ecu or flashing a file which damages engine

    is it ever worth the ££ risk?

    nope
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  36. chewy.
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