-LIFTING THE LID ON COMMON RAIL DIESEL PERFORMANCE-
We often get asked about the method of generating extra power from common rail diesel engines. This data sheet answers these questions. In totality, there is only one way to get more power from any motor, in particular a diesel engine, and that is, tune it to use more fuel. More fuel equals more energy and therefore more power. In a common rail diesel engine, there are three ways to deliver more fuel. 1) Injector Signal Interception 2) Fuel Pressure Control 3) Re-flash the factory Engine Management System, or ECU for short.
1) Injector Signal Interception In this method, you intercept the ECU controlled injector signal/pulse.
In technical terms the signal to the injectors is called Pulse Width. This signal controls the injector open duration/time. Intercepting this signal you can extend the opening duration by a fixed value … say 10% Benefit: This increased duration allows more fuel to be injected. This is an accurate method of controlling fuel flow into the combustion chamber utilising the engine designer’s original Engine Management System (EMS). Largely, zero engine code errors since the signal to the injectors is downstream of the factory ECU By intercepting and manipulating the injector signal you make signal longer thus making the injector close later (increasing the signal strength will also have the effect of lifting the “pintle” higher to make the injection orifice larger) Issues: You cannot start injection earlier unless an extremely smart module takes an inaccurate “guess” at when the signal is going to be sent via the factory ECU and tries to anticipate what it should do with the start time of the signal. The estimate may, of course, be wrong because you (the driver) may change throttle position, or the engine initiates another change (ie higher/lower boost) so that injection cycle will not be what the factory (OEM) ECU desires. Therefore, no injector signal interceptors (that I know) manipulate captured opening times or opening pulse. Problem with delaying the close time is that the combustion process is trailing off, peak pressures are over and the extra fuel being injected after the fact is bordering on being wasted when trying to exact a higher horse power rating. That is why Injector Modules (fuel only) typically only achieve “UP TO 20% increase” in torque. Remember, the factory ECU also extends the close time to achieve extra power and this further emulated extension is over and above this and would be a doubling of that extension, effectively making the injection duration TOO LONG. It would be like closing the gate after the horse has bolted. The combustion process is no longer efficient and black smoke occurs. The real benefit is in controlling the injector orifice size with a little extension of injection timing. Our Dominator 2 Module does precisely this and has the added benefit of added turbo boost so it is not a FUEL ONLY Chip like others on the market. On the whole this is a good means of adding more fuel and therefore more power whilst having some limitations on fuel delivery which is that of achieving a maximum of around 20% extra torque. Around 25-30% when also adding boost.
2) Control the Fuel Pressure
With this second option we intercept a signal to the ECU via the Common Rail Sensor.
With this intercepted and manipulated signal the OEM EMS then controls the fuel pump spill valve(s) to request more pressure. Incidentally, injection times in a Common Rail engine are made to vary with more or less fuel pressure and is why common rail fuel systems are extremely accurate in fuel delivery (even more so with Piezo Injectors now seeing their way onto more and more engines). The factory ECU asks for more pressure and controls injector timing to suit the new rail pressure. This method works very well since the factory ECU is still in full control of the fuel injection. No problems exist here except that we are asking the fuel system to hold more pressure and the fuel pressure limiter may open and bring up an engine code (which is not an issue if you purchase our Performance Modules since we can also supply a fix for this). Note: the fuel pump is NOT asked to work harder as the fuel pump is gear driven from the crankshaft and makes max pressure (circa 25,000 PSI) just off idle. The extra pressure delivered to the common rail comes from an electronic solenoid, called Suction Control Valve, which sends more or less pressure to the fuel rail and diverts all unused pressure back to the fuel tank. This is a very smart system and is why we will see this system around for many years. Also, as with the injector signal interceptors, as to the fitment of these modules no one will be any wiser as, as they are undetectable to OEM scan tools and thus can be removed without a dealer knowing one was ever installed.
3) The last solution is OEM (factory) ECU re-flashing or reprogramming.
Some OEM ECUs have had their code “cracked” allowing smart software developers, like ECUTEK and Chip Tuning, to re-flash the factory ECU settings (or maps). It’s a VERY GOOD way of making more power however there are some issues that are too problematic for HARD CORE vehicle owners or performance developers to accept. Here are the issues. We re-tune factory ECUs when Diesel Particulate Filter errors are occurring and customers want the function fully removed. They is no other way of removing the DPF unless the ECU tune (file) is edited. Go in and turn off the DPF, EGR and give it a performance tune all at the same time. Other than that, the factory ECU reflash is a permanent addition to the OEM ECU and cannot be removed unless the vehicle dealer reflashes a new factory ECU update which will overwrite to performance (edited) tune. It can of course be reprogrammed AGAIN from the place that first uploaded the re-flashed map. To reflash the ECU will cost money each time it needs to be reinstalled. Remember, this is not the case with the first two options above as the “Chips” can be removed and re-installed countless times. Some re-flash companies now “LOCK” the computer so that EVEN THE DEALER CANNOT OVERWRITE IT with a new factory update!!! They say that if you want to unlock the program, just take it back to the flash installer and pay a “small fee”. I bet the “small fee” is not so small. So after the OEM has overwritten the OEM ECY with an update (ie for the air conditioning or DPF or anti-lock brakes, or surging issue etc etc) you need to take it back to the flash installer and again pay a “small fee” ! We do not lock up the ECU ever.
So, that’s the diesel performance product line up in a nut shell. Putting this info together we believe will help customers make an informed decision. There are many brands out there and some will buy one brand and some will buy another brand. That’s a free market at work. The good news is that since we can supply each of the above, we can advise customers honestly as to which one is better for them. Though, as most customers tell us, our Performance Modules provide features that others don’t have, like Exhaust Gas Temperature Controllers that actively protect the engine as you drive, and are better priced when comparisons are made.
The above information we will undoubtedly cause some in opposition to be upset with the facts being made public however we trust that the information like this being in the public arena will make most happy.
A little about our Performance Modules.
All Common Rail Chips that plug into the common rail sensor change the same signal. However, because a Chip plugs into the common rail sensor it does not mean they do the same job. Some will use the variable resistor method as mentioned below and some brands even vary the resistor effect at idle signal as well. (increase idle RPM) Smart performance modules must allow full laptop tune-ability and allow variable changes to be added at any point along the rev range, or more precisely along the ECUs load points. Low tech Chips will only vary values by a fixed amount via an inline variable resistor. We have seen very high price tags on some of these Chip suppliers which try to convince buyers that it MUST be a good Chip because of the price. This is not the case, and for a long time well-known companies have over charged for a Chip ostensibly being around $60.00 from parts available at any electronics shop. Our Performance Modules address the fuel maps BASED ON ENGINE LOAD AND BOOST PRESSURE so it is not a fuel only Chip. These Performance Modules by adjusting the turbo boost by a small amount helps balance the air fuel ratio. This has a positive effect on performance, efficiency and Exhaust Gas Temps (EGTs). Again, top end “Chips” will be fully programmable via laptop and have individual cells to adjust.
The tune on the Performance Module can be as docile or as lively as you want. You can select 1 of 9 different tunes. The Module is very powerful in this regard. i.e. you can use the Module to give you HEAPS of extra power or to give a good combination of power vs. economy … whatever is desired by you the customer. In saying that, the goal of MOST customers is a 50 / 50 power vs economy split and we can certainly provide that.
As most of our customers are part of the Grey Nomad community they want something that is SET and FORGET. This is what we supply on our standard tune 4. IF, you wish to go higher, you can … but of course, is not necessary at all. Just plug and plug for most vehicles.
Regarding the newly found engine power: The “power band” of the engine is changed completely. You will actually learn to drive the car differently as you can now stay in gears longer and with less gear changes as the engine torque comes in much lower down in the rev range and is higher throughout the entire RPM range. You will easily achieve 30% increase in torque with the tunes provided.
A little about the competition.
The big 4 Chip providers in Australia supply the same product s each other. They sell the same rebranded Chip purchased from an overseas company (you can tell by the product pics in the 4×4 magazines – they all show the same product with a different sticker on top). The big 4 companies plus Steinbauer are FUEL ONLY CHIPS. They do not adjust turbo boost to match the added fuel.
We have 3 different types of Performance Modules available for most late model diesels:
- Dominator MK1
– Rail and Boost Tuning $1099.00
– Rail and Boost Tuning – with EGT Control $1399.00
(the DOM1 comes with 9 different tunes all on-board)
- Dominator MK2
– Injector and Boost Tuning $1329.00
– Injector and Boost Tuning V6 and V8 engines $1529.00
– Injector and Boost Tuning with EGT Control $1599.00
– Injector and Boost Tuning V6 and V8 engines with EGT Control $1799.00
(the DOM2 comes with 9 different tunes all on-board)
- Dominator MK3
– Rail, Injector and Boost Tuning $1599.00
– Rail, Injector and Boost Tuning V6 and V8 engines $1799.00
– Rail, Injector and Boost Tuning with EGT Control $1869.00
– Rail, Injector and Boost Tuning V6 and V8 engines with EGT Control $2069.00