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Plug in tuning boxes

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Amchlolor, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jan 14, 2005]
    Anyone tried these easily installed,and therefore easily unplugged /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif,tuning boxes ?
    My cars are company cars and the management would certainly not support me in any 'permanent' tuning I wanted to do.
    I like the idea of being able to plug in a box,then unplug it for servicing or repairs.
    I also like the idea of being able to get rid of it on e-bay if it's rubbish or I change the car.
    This is an example www.tuningbox.com
    They claim a 30bhp increase for the new A3 2.0tdi,which sounds very useful !
    Are they too good to be true ??? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif
    #1
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  3. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Jan 14, 2005]
    Hi Bowfer

    I have been thinking about the very same thing. Although I have heard that tuning boxes are poor relations to proper re-maps, they do appear to be undetectable by the garage and that is my main concern. Gains of 25-30 bhp are probably all my front wheels could really handle anyway.
    Any ideas on prices?
    #2
  4. Eeef
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    Eeef Lord of War

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    [Jan 14, 2005]
    Previous threads on here have discussed these things and how they work. Essentially the massivly over fuel the engine with two results. More power and a [censored] load of smoke.
    #3
  5. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 15, 2005]
    The dragon tuning boxes also come with a 30 day full refund return policy if your not 100% satisfied.

    J.
    #4
  6. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Jan 16, 2005]
    OK I am no expert but this is what I have "learned" from various sites on the net.
    All ECU / tuning boxes work on TDi engines by increasing fuelling. This is most effective on diesels as they run with excess air through most of the rev range (air fuel mix is not as crucial as pertrol counterparts).
    ECUs replace existing OEM ones and give new fuel maps. This means fuelling can be altered for different circumstances - all the usual suspects eg throttle position, load, speed, gear etc.
    Tuning boxes are positioned between the fuel pump and the ECU so use the existing fuel maps, change the data (fuelling) and send that info on to the pump.
    Analog tuning boxes use a simple calculation and apply it to all fuel maps - this means that they tend to be more efficient in certain conditions (revs, throttle position etc) than others. This limits power gains at certain revs and also can lead to smokiness at other revs (eg where fuel air mix was already near limit)
    Digital tuning boxes apply real time calculations to ECU messages, enabling them to do pretty much what a new ECU would do. Hence similar power gains and no extra smokiness.
    The upside of a digital tuning box is easy removal and non detection by garage. The downside is cost - good ones for the new VAG 140bhp engine is £400 (no labour costs), vs £100 for analog ones.
    I have not found anyone offering analog boxes for the new engine.
    ECU changes cost around £600-800 inc labour.

    If anyone can add to / correct this, please do. Unless I hear bad things from anyone, I think I'll be going for a digital tuning box.

    Cheers,
    J
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  7. Broadmarsh
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    Broadmarsh Member

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    jasew said:
    I don't agree that all tuning boxes purely increase the fueling. I have a dragon box on my TDI, which is a digital version. This doesn't produce any noticeable increase in smoke.

    I agree the cheap analog units are crude and not worth the money, but the newer units have to be taking with a little more credit.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    The add-on box whatever its name or its flavour (analog or digital) intercepts the signal from the ECU to the fuel pump. THIS IS TO PUT MORE FUEL IN! It is as simple as that!!!!!!
    #6
  8. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 17, 2005]

    The dragon tuning boxes are available from www.tuningbox.com

    The superchips uprade comes with a 12 month warrenty

    J.
    #7
  9. Eeef
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    Eeef Lord of War

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    Superchips have a warranty which will cover everything that Audi's won't.
    #8
  10. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    That's the website I linked to in my original post.
    I didn't know they were called 'Dragon'.
    Thanks for the info on the superchips.
    I can't really say why,but a chip leaves me a bit cold.
    It seems so 'permanent' when a plug in box can be unplugged and resold etc.
    #9
  11. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    #10
  12. Eeef
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    Eeef Lord of War

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    I guess it's the old story of "You only find out how good your warranty is when you go to use it"

    extract from superchips.co.uk below

    What does the Superchip Warranty offer?
    In the extremely unlikely event of The Warrantor being responsible for causing damage to your vehicle, Superchips will, under the terms and conditions of their warranty, repair your vehicle. The warranty is not intended to replace the existing warranty provided by the manufacturer, but will supplement the cover to include the parts deemed to be excluded by the manufacturer.

    How is it done?
    The Superchip Warranty has been arranged in collaboration with Firebond PLC. Firebond are insurance brokers, specialising in non-standard insurance and have set up the administration and service mechanisms for the warranty. Firebond will use their nationwide connections to assess the damage and repair your vehicle quickly, professionally and independently.
    To find out more about the Superchip Warranty, talk to Superchips now.

    Summary of cover

    Mechanical or Electrical Breakdown:
    being the sudden and unforeseen failure of a component of the Motor Vehicle directly attributable to the operating of the Superchip the subject of this Warranty, which has caused the Motor Vehicle to stop working and therefore requiring repair or replacement before normal operation can be resumed.

    Period: The Lesser Of:
    a) 12 months from the date of fitting of the Superchip to the Motor Vehicle by a Superchips Approved Installer or b) 30,000 miles as measured on the Motor Vehicle odometer from the date of installation of the Superchip by a Superchips Approved Installer; or c) the period remaining on the original warranty provide by the manufacturer of the Motor Vehicle at the time of purchase from new whichever is the shorter.

    Conditions and Limits:
    You should be aware that failure by you, the Customer to observe the manufacturers recommended maintenance procedures will invalidate any claim made. No sum in respect of economic or consequential loss is payable Use excludes competitions, track days, pacemaking, rallying and claims are subject to a limit of £10,000.00 in the aggregate in respect of any one vehicle. Normal deterioration or claims as a result of wear and tear are not covered. The Warrantors cannot be held responsible for modifications to the vehicle which lead to defects.
    #11
  13. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    Cheers for the Superchips roadtest.
    Impressive reading.
    I must admit though,the 156bhp they got out of a standard one would do me fine !
    Let's hope I get a 'good' one.

    What sort of loading did your insurance company charge for the chip,assuming you've told them of course !
    #12
  14. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    With the modern ECU's they download the new code onto the existing ECU hardware.

    On te mkIV golfs this could all be done through the diag port - they just plug a cable in and 10-15minutes later bobs your uncle it was done.

    With the A3 and the mkV golf they aren't quite there yet hence the fact the oneClick option isn't around just yet although Revo have said it won't be too long before they can remap the car through the diag port.

    At the moment the ECU needs to be removed from the car and the code uploaded - The ECU isn't opened though.

    On the earlier mkIV golfs the likes of Amd and Oettinger etc used to solder in a new chip with the code on it.

    J.
    #13
  15. Broadmarsh
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    Broadmarsh Member

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    marriedblonde

    said:
    At the moment the ECU needs to be removed from the car and the code uploaded - The ECU isn't opened though.

    Sorry mate but you are incorrect. I watched the complete procedure on mine (internal picture if you wish to see it) they remove the ecu (security bolts that are replaced on refitting) from the car then remove the top cover and then they have a harness that is attached to the apppropriate connections and the code is loaded. THEY ALL DO IT THAT WAY at the present time.

    By the way the one click method is a long way off if ever to be available, because the ECU (EFD16) is so made that the car is made more or less unstealable through the ECU route because the security coding is supposed to be one of the best on the market. For engine management systems anyway! Every tuner is working on it...somebody will eventually get there....after all Microsoft software is hackable so why not this ECU software. I wouldnt hold my breath though.
    #14
  16. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 17, 2005]

    Hmmmm, me thinks I am going to have to go and search abouot that as I'm sure I've read that about several tuners - Amd, Oettinger perhaps it's not the a3 diesal...

    As Arnie would say "I'll be back..." to this thread to either confirm or say I'm a lieing G1T

    J.
    #15
  17. Broadmarsh
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    Broadmarsh Member

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    [Jan 17, 2005]
    But we are talking about diesels here are we not? The 140 Bhp 2.0 Litre TDI to be precise. For the other VAG diesels as well as petrol engines, you can use the one click method, as the code has been cracked to use the OBD port. The problem with this is that it is open to be able to be stolen by being hacked...so I am told! Not my information may I add.
    #16
  18. Broadmarsh
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    Broadmarsh Member

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    [Jan 18, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    bowfer said:
    Cheers for the Superchips roadtest.
    Impressive reading.
    I must admit though,the 156bhp they got out of a standard one would do me fine !
    Let's hope I get a 'good' one.

    What sort of loading did your insurance company charge for the chip,assuming you've told them of course !

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Superchips told me that all the 2.0 litre 140 BHP Tdi engines that they have remapped produce around 150 Bhp Plus in standard form. Mine was 153 Bhp.

    No loading with Liverpool and Insurance Co Ltd based in Bournemouth.
    #17
  19. Eeef
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    Eeef Lord of War

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    [Jan 18, 2005]
    not doubting you mate, but they're doing themselves out of business if that's the case. Check their website

    We cannot insure:
    Motor cycles, vans, pick ups, minibuses.

    Cars which have not been manufactured for the UK market e.g. Japanese imports.

    Cars which have performance enhancing modifications.

    Cars which are used abroad for more than 180 consecutive days.

    Cars which are in excess of £100,000 in value.

    Cars that are registered and normally kept outside of mainland United Kingdom,
    the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

    Drivers outside the age range of 17 and 79.

    You, if you live in Northern Ireland.

    Non mainland UK residents.

    #18
  20. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 18, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Eeef said:
    yeah, Paul in Hunts Pond Road, but Revo aren't providing the goods at the moment otherwise it's a no brainer. I'd much rather do a serial port hack than go the Superchips root but i'm limited at the moment.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yep thats him, a mate of yours?

    Apperently Revo are pretty close to releasing something but saying that I waited for the R32 code to be released last year - it went beta in March and then I was told it would be at the end of the month each month til I gave up trying...

    J.
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  21. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 18, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Broadmarsh said:
    But we are talking about diesels here are we not? The 140 Bhp 2.0 Litre TDI to be precise. For the other VAG diesels as well as petrol engines, you can use the one click method, as the code has been cracked to use the OBD port. The problem with this is that it is open to be able to be stolen by being hacked...so I am told! Not my information may I add.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yes we are, I just commented that I might be getting myself confused and the articles I was thinking about where actually for a different engine in the VAG range. I was pretty cetain that I had read the 2.0Tdi could be chipped by removing the ECU and uploading the code without having to open up the ECU. But you have first hand experience hence the fact I am doubting myself - I'll look through the last few months VW driver as thats where I think I have read it! But it might have been oettinger and not superchips the article was referring to.
    #20
  22. Eeef
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    Eeef Lord of War

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    [Jan 18, 2005]
    nah, i almost got him to do my golf (company car) but decided against it in the end. Been watching Revo for 12 months re the 140 tdi engine and it's still '3 months' away....
    #21
  23. Broadmarsh
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    Broadmarsh Member

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    [Jan 18, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    marriedblonde said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    Eeef said:
    yeah, Paul in Hunts Pond Road, but Revo aren't providing the goods at the moment otherwise it's a no brainer. I'd much rather do a serial port hack than go the Superchips root but i'm limited at the moment.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yep thats him, a mate of yours?

    Apperently Revo are pretty close to releasing something but saying that I waited for the R32 code to be released last year - it went beta in March and then I was told it would be at the end of the month each month til I gave up trying...

    J.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    ...they told me it was imminent when I enquired in October 2003 when I had the car delivered! Given that I sell after 3 years and their rate progress, I will be on the next new one and nothing will have happened. Promises, promises. I rang the head office and not the agents....and still got the "it is due in the next couple of months " answer. Same as I was 15 months ago. I think it is all down to them keeping the other tuners on their toes.
    #22
  24. Broadmarsh
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    Broadmarsh Member

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    [Jan 18, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    marriedblonde said:
    [ QUOTE ]
    Broadmarsh said:
    But we are talking about diesels here are we not? The 140 Bhp 2.0 Litre TDI to be precise. For the other VAG diesels as well as petrol engines, you can use the one click method, as the code has been cracked to use the OBD port. The problem with this is that it is open to be able to be stolen by being hacked...so I am told! Not my information may I add.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yes we are, I just commented that I might be getting myself confused and the articles I was thinking about where actually for a different engine in the VAG range. I was pretty cetain that I had read the 2.0Tdi could be chipped by removing the ECU and uploading the code without having to open up the ECU. But you have first hand experience hence the fact I am doubting myself - I'll look through the last few months VW driver as thats where I think I have read it! But it might have been oettinger and not superchips the article was referring to.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Hi

    Let's just think about this! The problem with OBD diagnostic port programming is not the car wiring, it is the ECU which has the latest security code that bars you from uploading the code. This is to stop people plugging in boxes and stealing the car, by changing parameters. Not that I have any knowledge of this, but the potential is there on the previous models. Now given the car is not the problem, the ECU security software is, then you HAVE to take the lid off it to load the code by attaching a loom directly to the pins on the circuit board. I cannot see any other tuner gaining the knowledge to circumnavigate this process...not even Oettinger! However I will stand corrected if you find different. Having said that, the knowledge has to be out there somewhere (Bosch must have it), as when I had a lumpy idle when the engine was hot, the stealer obtained a CD that flashed the ECU to solve the problem.

    regards
    #23
  25. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Jan 19, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    bowfer said:
    Anyone tried these easily installed,and therefore easily unplugged /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif,tuning boxes ?
    My cars are company cars and the management would certainly not support me in any 'permanent' tuning I wanted to do.
    I like the idea of being able to plug in a box,then unplug it for servicing or repairs.
    I also like the idea of being able to get rid of it on e-bay if it's rubbish or I change the car.
    This is an example www.tuningbox.com
    They claim a 30bhp increase for the new A3 2.0tdi,which sounds very useful !
    Are they too good to be true ??? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Well I saw a £30 analogue Dragon tuning box on ebay and bought it out of curiosity. Arrived today and fitted in about 2 minutes. The difference is very surprising - no change below 2k, then strong torque all the way to 4.5k. Bizarrely enough, it seems to have got quicker after a few miles. I have a "test route" near me with a roadside sign about 400 yds after the exit from a roundabout. My BMW 320D (150bhp) would hit 70mph at the sign. My A3 2.0 TDi would hit 70 there too (ie 65mph if the speedo was less inaccurate). This afternoon my A3 2.0 TDi hit 82 mph, despite some traction problems on the exit (rain).
    The car is such a laugh now that I have just been for a drive for no other reason than to play with the extra power. This is a first for me with the A3.
    To all those with proper remaps etc, there is no need to flame me. This £30 experiment has convinced me that having it done properly is worthwhile, but for the record the car is massively improved (I am not a human dyno so please don't ask for seat of the pants figures) with quicker spin up, smoother response and good hard drive for more of the rev range. Finally - no smoke whatsoever.
    Obviously I will let you all know if the engine explodes tomorrow!
    Cheers
    J
    #24
  26. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jan 20, 2005]
    Cheers for the report on the Dragon box jungle.
    I'm a wee bit concerned that their website doesn't appear to offer any 'backing' to their claims,other than anacdotal stuff.
    I can't see any dyno charts or anything.
    I'd quite like to know what I'm getting as my 'arse dyno' isn't all that hot either !
    www.tuningbox.com offer dyno charts,but then their boxes are quite a bit more expensive.
    #25
  27. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Jan 25, 2005]
    Quick update - still no smoke and just got 540 miles from a tank - and still pulls like a train. Previous top speed from roll on in 6th was an indicated 120 (that is without redlining in 5th first). Now the car rolls onto indicated 135 no probs.
    My advice to anyone considering some "tuning" is to stop thinking about it and just do it - whether you are thinking about full monty remaps, digital tuning boxes or just a crappy analogue one like mine, the difference makes for a much improved driving experience.
    Get on with it.
    #26
  28. dorgan
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    [Jan 25, 2005]
    Is the engine in the A3 2.0 TDi the exact same engine as that in the A3 Sportback 2.0 TDi? I checked tuningbox.com but they only list A3 2.0 TDi and I can't be sure if both engines are exactly the same. Any info?
    #27
  29. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Jan 25, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Is the engine in the A3 2.0 TDi the exact same engine as that in the A3 Sportback 2.0 TDi? I checked tuningbox.com but they only list A3 2.0 TDi and I can't be sure if both engines are exactly the same. Any info?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Same engine mate.
    #28
  30. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jan 26, 2005]
    Jungle,
    I can sense the smile on your face as you type !
    Superb.
    Can I ask a favour ?
    It's around 10 weeks before I get my 2.0tdi.
    Can you post regular-ish updates of how you're doing with your tuning box ??
    Sorry to treat you like a 'guinea-pig' mate,but someone has to go first !
    Cheers
    #29
  31. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Jan 26, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Jungle,
    I can sense the smile on your face as you type !
    Superb.
    Can I ask a favour ?
    It's around 10 weeks before I get my 2.0tdi.
    Can you post regular-ish updates of how you're doing with your tuning box ??
    Sorry to treat you like a 'guinea-pig' mate,but someone has to go first !
    Cheers

    [/ QUOTE ]

    My pleasure! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/beerchug.gif
    #30
  32. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jan 27, 2005]

    Don't dragon do a digital tuning box as well for the car?

    J.
    #31
  33. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jan 27, 2005]
    Yes,they do.
    The figures they e-mailed me were,from memory;

    Power goes up from 140bhp to around 163-166 bhp
    Torque goes up from 320nm to 360nm

    That's on the setting they send it out on.
    They say there are 7 settings on the box that give you different curves depending on whether you favour power/torque/economy etc.

    The boxes are £300 but they are doing 10% in January.
    #32
  34. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jan 27, 2005]
    Actually,thinking about it...
    How can Dragon say their box has 7 switchable settings,which allow you to alter the way the engine makes it power,when all it basically does is alter the amount of fuel going into the engine ??
    Of course altering the fuelling will increase power and torque but surely to be able to alter the power curve in 7 different ways you would need to be able to alter far more than just the fuelling ??
    #33
  35. Broadmarsh
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    Broadmarsh Member

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    [Jan 28, 2005]
    You would have to alter the turbo pressure as well to change the power curve! It has to be 7 increments in fuel adjustments...Cannot be anything else!
    #34
  36. steve184
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    [Feb 5, 2005]
    I haven't yet done so,but have decided to buy a unit from tuningbox.com (westward engineering in ireland). I have read an article in a golf magazine where it was tested on a 150 PD golf ( i know not identical to 140bhp 2.0 but as was mentioned earlier the 2.0 tdis mostly mke 150bhp in standard trim anyway.) Anyway it was tested and it gave out 197bhp and 313 lbft torque with absolutely zero smoke. I have emailed these people and they have given me all the info i require to make a decision. I think its a good half way house on price as its a digital box (so not a crude cheap one) but is a reasonably 500 euros (approx £ 343 inc deliver) They also allow 6 days to test it and you get a full refund (minus 30 euros) if you are unhappy - i find this very reasonable. They have german TUV approval which means its been thoroughly tested in germany to be a quality product that does exactly what it says on the tin. The only other box to have this is van aaken but they charge £550 with no 'test period/refund'. I suspect this box will give the 2.0 tdi anywhere between 170-190bhp depending on original standard power output.

    This is my chosen route given that audi need not ever know about it, hence warranty unaffected - although i will be notifying my insurance
    #35
  37. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Feb 12, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    I haven't yet done so,but have decided to buy a unit from tuningbox.com (westward engineering in ireland). I have read an article in a golf magazine where it was tested on a 150 PD golf ( i know not identical to 140bhp 2.0 but as was mentioned earlier the 2.0 tdis mostly mke 150bhp in standard trim anyway.) Anyway it was tested and it gave out 197bhp and 313 lbft torque with absolutely zero smoke. I have emailed these people and they have given me all the info i require to make a decision. I think its a good half way house on price as its a digital box (so not a crude cheap one) but is a reasonably 500 euros (approx £ 343 inc deliver) They also allow 6 days to test it and you get a full refund (minus 30 euros) if you are unhappy - i find this very reasonable.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Did you get it then? Let us know what its like!
    #36
  38. shaheed
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    shaheed Member

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    [Feb 12, 2005]
    What about HH-Technix T-Box PD?? Have you heard about? I'm not a fan of tuning boxes, but......check the price on ebay.....
    Ah and another one amh-Booster....
    Both are germany made and TUV aprooved.
    By the way, does anyone knows how the turbo pressure is controlled? It doesn't have wastegate, so how the pressure is controlled?!? Can the gasoil quantity being delivered be responsible for more or less turbo pressure?! I don't think so.... And tuning boxes do not directly change turbo pressures!....
    Feel free to discuss it...
    #37
  39. IanColville
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    IanColville New Member

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    [Feb 13, 2005]
    I have the 100 bhp tdi. I am planing to souperchip it to 130bhp. I know all the pluses. What are the pit falls if any. Hope someone can give me some info.


    I have driven diesels for years now and have found diesel fuel cleaner very effective at keeping smoke at bay.
    #38
  40. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Feb 15, 2005]
    Steve 184 - whats your tuning box like.
    #39

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