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      05-10-2010, 11:23 AM   #1
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Engine software - Dangerous? Who to trust?

Which software company can I trust with my $XX,XXX S65 12:1 C/R 8300rpm engine?

Dinan and GIAC have been around for a very long time and they have very experienced and well respected software engineers/tuners on staff. They also have, from what I can tell, a flawless reputation for safety, i.e. no blown engines. Their power claims for the S65 are not dramatic (1X hp) which makes them seem even more believable.

Who are the new guys? Powerchips seems to be all the buzz around here but who are the brains behind the keyboard? I want to know a lot more about who they are and how they tunr before I load their file into my car! They claim to add more power than most tuners - this usually means they push closer to (or beyond??) the safe limit. Can someone chime in with more info on this company and their abilities?

Turner sure knows how to build race cars and they have been messing around with the S65 since it hit our shores so they should have a lot of real world and track experience with this engine. Perhaps their software isn't as popular because the ECU needs to be sent to them for the flash? Who is using Turner software with success?

What is a guy to do
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      05-10-2010, 11:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
What is a guy to do
...a confused guy should leave the ECU alone.

I haven't and probably won't flash mine for this reason. I don't see the point with only 5-15hp on the table on a 400hp car with a $20k engine. If you have HFC or catless x-pipe and need to get rid of the CEL, it makes more sense. But with stock x-pipe, I don't see the point. Even with HFC, you could get one that doesn't trigger a CEL or get a CEL deleter from any of the leading vendors.

I'm not saying anything will go wrong. In fact, the chance is probably infintessimally small that a tune would result in you paying for a new S65. Even though I'm sure believe tunes done by many of the leading flashers are equal to or better than stock in terms of reliability, I still can't get over the possibility that BMW can find out if they send your ECU to Germany and examine it closely (which I'd imagine they would if you experienced catastrophic engine failure, whether related or not).

Just to reiterate, any problems after would probably not be related to the tune but I don't think it's worth the chance of having to try to convince some arbitrator that your aftermarket engine software isn't to blame when BMW has infinitely more money and legal experience to win the case against you on voiding your warranty.

My $0.02...
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      05-10-2010, 12:33 PM   #3
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Why don't you call or email powerchip yourself? I'm sure they'd be more than willing to answer your questions.
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      05-10-2010, 12:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ca$hOnly View Post
Why don't you call or email powerchip yourself? I'm sure they'd be more than willing to answer your questions.
Can do but I was hoping to start a bit of a discussion to compare notes. Obviously each vendor will fill me full or rosey news and big claims but it would be nice to hear some behind the scenes info from end users who might have experienced or witnessed things first hand.

For the record I would love to have software vendors chime in on this thread!

While on the subject of software I have a few lingering questions.

-I have read that with the factory software the throttle plates do not open 100%. Has this ever been verified? It seems odd, given the HP battle going on in market segment (think C63), that BMW would choose to artificially limit power this way.

-Which software companies will fix the CEL issue associated with removing the primary cats (Turner pipes)?
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      05-10-2010, 01:43 PM   #5
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Dinan is the only company i trust with my cars. 3 M cars later with the Dinan software and no issues at all just flawless performance. it is not so much the power gain, the car runs alot better with it. soon as i got mine done in my E92 M3 i noticed how much better it ran and how much smoother off idle it was during take off. i did notice a bit of power bump but nothing crazy as it doesn't add much
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      05-10-2010, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
Can do but I was hoping to start a bit of a discussion to compare notes. Obviously each vendor will fill me full or rosey news and big claims but it would be nice to hear some behind the scenes info from end users who might have experienced or witnessed things first hand.

For the record I would love to have software vendors chime in on this thread!

While on the subject of software I have a few lingering questions.

-I have read that with the factory software the throttle plates do not open 100%. Has this ever been verified? It seems odd, given the HP battle going on in market segment (think C63), that BMW would choose to artificially limit power this way.

-Which software companies will fix the CEL issue associated with removing the primary cats (Turner pipes)?
Every software will fix the CEL issue. My experience with PC has been good so far. Tune gave me 20whp over exhaust+stock ecu, dyno confirmed.
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      05-10-2010, 02:00 PM   #7
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      05-10-2010, 02:34 PM   #8
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difference btw turning the CEL off and the enitre check engine. not all software companies do this. for instance Dinans only turns off the CEL for the midpipe not the rest of the engine. so if something were to go wrong the CEL would still come on, where as other companies turn the CEL off completely. i for one would not want that done in my car. that is another reason i went with the Dinan Software. not saying all companies do this but there are few that can turn the CEL off just for the midpipe and leave it working for the rest of the car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ca$hOnly View Post
Every software will fix the CEL issue. My experience with PC has been good so far. Tune gave me 20whp over exhaust+stock ecu, dyno confirmed.
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      05-10-2010, 03:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ca$hOnly View Post
Every software will fix the CEL issue. My experience with PC has been good so far. Tune gave me 20whp over exhaust+stock ecu, dyno confirmed.
Of subject, but do you have a "Stage 2" Powerchip? What is the difference between that and just the regular powerchip?

I also share the same question as Cadence. It seems that Powerchip is such an inexpensive software upgrade. Everything sounds fine and dandy but why can they do so much for so little while others charge more for less?
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      05-10-2010, 04:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H Bomb View Post
difference btw turning the CEL off and the enitre check engine. not all software companies do this. for instance Dinans only turns off the CEL for the midpipe not the rest of the engine. so if something were to go wrong the CEL would still come on, where as other companies turn the CEL off completely. i for one would not want that done in my car. that is another reason i went with the Dinan Software. not saying all companies do this but there are few that can turn the CEL off just for the midpipe and leave it working for the rest of the car
In order to turn off the CEL light altogether many diagnostic functions would need to be set to zero.
I cannot see ANY company doing this. It's more work for them. Alot more infact.
If a company is turning the CEL light off for a particular reason then they are more than likely doing it the right way.
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      05-10-2010, 04:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNm3 View Post
Of subject, but do you have a "Stage 2" Powerchip? What is the difference between that and just the regular powerchip?

I also share the same question as Cadence. It seems that Powerchip is such an inexpensive software upgrade. Everything sounds fine and dandy but why can they do so much for so little while others charge more for less?
Different companies have different strategies of tuning and also different levels of understanding the ECU.
Some may prefer to enhance power mainly by derestrciting the engine via hardware changes and concentrate on area under the graph.
Some chase high figures.

Different concepts from different minds.
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      05-10-2010, 06:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNm3 View Post
Of subject, but do you have a "Stage 2" Powerchip? What is the difference between that and just the regular powerchip?
i believe the stage 2 powerchip is for cars with NO cats
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      05-10-2010, 06:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H Bomb View Post
difference btw turning the CEL off and the enitre check engine. not all software companies do this. for instance Dinans only turns off the CEL for the midpipe not the rest of the engine. so if something were to go wrong the CEL would still come on, where as other companies turn the CEL off completely. i for one would not want that done in my car. that is another reason i went with the Dinan Software. not saying all companies do this but there are few that can turn the CEL off just for the midpipe and leave it working for the rest of the car
LOL...who is talking about turning the CEL off for everything??? Obviously I mean the increased emissions cat removal CEL that get annoying as hell.
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      05-10-2010, 06:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3Alpine View Post
i believe the stage 2 powerchip is for cars with NO cats
Stage two is for any modification in the primary cats.
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      05-10-2010, 06:50 PM   #15
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as far as engine software, i tend to lean towards the conservative side aka i probably wont flash my car

just dont want to worry about engine malfunctions or the other millions of things that could go wrong and have the dealer blame the flash for it.
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      05-10-2010, 07:00 PM   #16
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Who has dyno'd to check their A/F ratios from idle to redline after the installation of a header-back catless exhaust, i.e. Akrapovic, with stock engine software? I wonder if the cars run lean, rich or perfect?

These tuners who are actually extracting more power, it must be through leaner mixtures and advancing timing.
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      05-10-2010, 07:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
Who has dyno'd to check their A/F ratios from idle to redline after the installation of a header-back catless exhaust, i.e. Akrapovic, with stock engine software? I wonder if the cars run lean, rich or perfect?

These tuners who are actually extracting more power, it must be through leaner mixtures and advancing timing.
http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=353026

The A/F graph is kind of small, but you get the picture. I know that Powerchip advanced the timing with their tune on my car...and the A/F looked good after the tune. Unfortunately I have not been able to get a copy of the Powerchip dyno because the dyno operator we went to was not exactly computer literate.
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      05-10-2010, 08:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
Which software company can I trust with my $XX,XXX S65 12:1 C/R 8300rpm engine?

Dinan and GIAC have been around for a very long time and they have very experienced and well respected software engineers/tuners on staff. They also have, from what I can tell, a flawless reputation for safety, i.e. no blown engines. Their power claims for the S65 are not dramatic (1X hp) which makes them seem even more believable.

Who are the new guys? Powerchips seems to be all the buzz around here but who are the brains behind the keyboard? I want to know a lot more about who they are and how they tunr before I load their file into my car! They claim to add more power than most tuners - this usually means they push closer to (or beyond??) the safe limit. Can someone chime in with more info on this company and their abilities?

Turner sure knows how to build race cars and they have been messing around with the S65 since it hit our shores so they should have a lot of real world and track experience with this engine. Perhaps their software isn't as popular because the ECU needs to be sent to them for the flash? Who is using Turner software with success?

What is a guy to do
We have been around since 1991, a lot longer than most tuning companies out there and there's no substitute for experience. Our lead technician, Bill, has been innovating tunes for every major make and model that has come out in the market place and we dyno test our tunes before release to ensure we make the best power without sacrificing reliability.

I personally dyno tuned Ca$h Only's car and have been a life long fan of the M division of BMW. Ca$h Only has an especially good color combo with tasteful mods and we got a good gain out of it even with 20" wheels on I've owned several M's in my short time on this Earth and plan on many more.

More important than who claims the most power is who you personally like. I've made the mistake of purchasing products from people I didn't particularly trust or like and I paid for it when it came to post sale support. Go with whoever your gut tells you and moreover call and ask questions to all the companies you are thinking of giving your money to.

Good luck with your quest for power and feel free to call the Powerchip office with any questions.

Matt
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      05-10-2010, 09:03 PM   #19
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500+ bhp for my M3 DD.

Well, I will have no choice, my goal is to install the ESS VT1 SC kit ( less parts, less maintenance, less potential for something to break ) or a similar SC solution ( very low boost, 4 psi max, not intercooled ) in about a year.

In general, as long as ECU flashes don't touch the vanos, knocking controls and leave the rev limiter untouched I don't see big risks with ECU flashes. They probably will require 93 octane AKI ( ~ 98 octane RON ) and add 10-20hp engine power output. Sounds ok but is it worth the money ?

I'm looking more for additional 100 hp.

Some guys bolt on AKRA's, flash the ECU, use underdrive pulleys and charge pipes/complete replacement intakes. They end up with additional +50 hp, ~ US$ 7.500 - US$ 9.000 hardware costs plus labor.

Ending up with ~ US$ 9.000 plus labor for a conservative ESS VT1 SC kit ( larger pulley to achieve 4 psi instead of 4.5 ) will give you +90 to +100 hp on 91 octane AKI and most likely you will keep the car street legal.

My US$ 0.02

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      05-10-2010, 10:07 PM   #20
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i would never have the balls to put engine software on my car,

for some reason freaks me out

however good luck
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      05-10-2010, 10:39 PM   #21
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I don't take the chance of software tuning the car. The gains are minimal at best and it's not worth the risk.
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      05-11-2010, 02:32 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e.n335 View Post
500+ bhp for my M3 DD.

Well, I will have no choice, my goal is to install the ESS VT1 SC kit ( less parts, less maintenance, less potential for something to break ) or a similar SC solution ( very low boost, 4 psi max, not intercooled ) in about a year.

In general, as long as ECU flashes don't touch the vanos, knocking controls and leave the rev limiter untouched I don't see big risks with ECU flashes. They probably will require 93 octane AKI ( ~ 98 octane RON ) and add 10-20hp engine power output. Sounds ok but is it worth the money ?

I'm looking more for additional 100 hp.

Some guys bolt on AKRA's, flash the ECU, use underdrive pulleys and charge pipes/complete replacement intakes. They end up with additional +50 hp, ~ US$ 7.500 - US$ 9.000 hardware costs plus labor.

Ending up with ~ US$ 9.000 plus labor for a conservative ESS VT1 SC kit ( larger pulley to achieve 4 psi instead of 4.5 ) will give you +90 to +100 hp on 91 octane AKI and most likely you will keep the car street legal.

My US$ 0.02

Eugen
I reckon latest Powerchip tune + primary cat delete (Turner test pipes) + air filter + crank pulley is giving me +50HP easy.

So what's the US cost for all of that?

$1000 (tune) + $500 (test pipes installed) + $150 (air filter) + $500 (pulley installed) = $2150US

Why spend $5k US on an exhaust system that IMO based upon having both gives no additional gains over the test pipes (and in fact has a torque dip at 2500rpm where the test pipes do not)? Only plus with that system is weight savings, but I could probably lose a bit more weight with the left overs...
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