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Old 09-26-2016, 07:20 PM   #1
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Default what about Performanc Chips

I happen on several sites touting performance chips, some claiming improved "pep" but also better mileage. Are these devices worth it? Some comments said if they really did work the big 3 would be all over it - but I can see why they wouldn't necessarily make their cars more efficient in that manner (someone's gotta support the oil industry!).

...sounds too good to be true..
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:28 PM   #2
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I happen on several sites touting performance chips, some claiming improved "pep" but also better mileage. Are these devices worth it? Some comments said if they really did work the big 3 would be all over it - but I can see why they wouldn't necessarily make their cars more efficient in that manner (someone's gotta support the oil industry!).

...sounds too good to be true..
Well, for starters, they all violate US Federal laws concerning tampering with emissions systems (and both the seller and buyer are breaking the law). Also, any improvements they make in "pep" or better milage will almost invariably be at the expense of emissions.
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:34 PM   #3
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.

There is no free lunch.

You can always pump more horsepower out of any engine,
but always at the expense of something else.
The trade off could be engine longevity, or emission, or something...



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Old 09-26-2016, 08:44 PM   #4
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Look at it this way- the manufacturers want to be able to tout "more power" and "better MPG" these are huge selling points.

regulations regarding MPG and CAFE standards do not generally apply to our vehicles as they are "commercial chassis"...and guess what- most safety regs don;t apply either
( and this is where MB has gone farther than others to include safety features).

But emissions regs do apply and our vehicles have to comply with Federal and CARB regs for 5 years after sale on their dime ( that means they have to build reliably or it is on them- case in point VW).

chips or tuners can be useful for altering shift points or perhaps lowering the temp at which fans come on- but more power usually means less MPG and less reliability- sometimes because the engineers who write the codes/ enter the data have tunnel vision.


the sign at the hot rod shops says:

How Fast
How Long
How Much

you pick 2

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Old 09-26-2016, 11:34 PM   #5
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Not trying to sidestep the fed n state laws but it seems to me that if the chip would be limited to better mpg even with some performance hit is still within the spirit of the law. Someone pointed me to the air quality board in CA
https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/afterm...es/amquery.php
They have a database of aftermarket parts that are allowed. I'll have to check this sometime.
Still if these were allowed and the gain is only 1 or 2 mpg at best, then we're looking at a couple of years to get any ROI at the prices I'm now seeing. I don't see driving over 25K in the next couple of years.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:40 PM   #6
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Well, for starters, they all violate US Federal laws concerning tampering with emissions systems
Emphasis mine.

That is patently false. Hyperchips are CARB approved. Superchips tuners are 50 state legal for almost all vehicles. And it's been this way for more than a decade.

Many of the tuning computers allow users to adjust for power OR fuel economy. And both are done without increasing emissions by changing timing, engine temperature, fuel pressure and more.
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Old 09-26-2016, 11:56 PM   #7
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There are lots of different kinds of "chips". Some just alter the mass air flow sensor or water temp sensor readings, others allow a completer reprogramming of the fuel and spark curve, and can have multiple, switchable programs. Obviously, the results will be similarly all over the map.

Stock programs need to account for a lot of issues that may be encountered, bad gas, varying weather conditions, varying load conditions from towing or hauling, plus whatever else might happen. Based on this, there is room to optimize conditions for a particular weight of vehicle, type of driving, etc, but you don't want to give up the capability to allow for outlying conditions that could cost you and engine.

If you are willing to spring for one of the chips that allows individual programming for multiple conditions, you could probably get some overall benefit in at least some of those conditions. Maybe one for low altitude flat lands, one for climbing at high altitude, one for power, one for city, one summer one winter, etc, all switchable. Those setups aren't cheap or easy to program properly, so ROI is very, very, shaky on them. Add to that the fact that if you mess up and have lean mixture and/or too much timing when climbing a mountain, it could perforate a piston or burn valves.

As a hobby, it could be entertaining and educational, as an improvement to day on day driving in a van, probably a money loser.

IMO, for a driver, I would pass.
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ra2jim View Post
Not trying to sidestep the fed n state laws but it seems to me that if the chip would be limited to better mpg even with some performance hit is still within the spirit of the law. Someone pointed me to the air quality board in CA
https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/afterm...es/amquery.php
They have a database of aftermarket parts that are allowed. I'll have to check this sometime.
Still if these were allowed and the gain is only 1 or 2 mpg at best, then we're looking at a couple of years to get any ROI at the prices I'm now seeing. I don't see driving over 25K in the next couple of years.
I don't think you'll ever get any ROI ever on these devices. Anyone I've talked to about them speaks to increments in performance, not mpg.

The OEM has two challenges to deal with: EPA and state emissions requirements and aggregate CAFE mpg standards although perhaps at the GVW of RVs, there is a CAFE exemption. In any event, having satisfied the emissions requirements, I think their next marketing priority by an OEM would be mpg rather than raw performance.

I don't know about the country as a whole but California smog testing has become pretty much automated. The test procedure and results transmits directly to Sacramento and there doesn't seem much fudging room capability any more by the testing facility.

I've also heard that even if an unapproved third party chip is removed prior to smog testing, that the test results can indicate its prior employment although I haven't seen any evidence to support that.
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:36 AM   #9
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There is one device that I'm considering that loads an alternative tune for the Ford V-10. The object is to adjust the transmission shift patterns and propensity for downshifting too early.

Not every state needs carb certification. Not all states emission test. In the places that do, you either pass or you fail. They don't examine your "program" as some would believe.

Whether these chips or tunes are worth the prices commanded is another conversation altogether.

When I put the blower and new exhaust in my Mazda, if was clearly marked it was not CARB certified. That didn't make it illegal in my state. FWIW, people that have put this equipment on these cars still passed emissions in Georgia, which has pretty rigorous testing.
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:49 AM   #10
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That is patently false. Hyperchips are CARB approved. Superchips tuners are 50 state legal for almost all vehicles. And it's been this way for more than a decade.
OK, i will retract the ALL. It is true that CARB has a certification program that a few respectable "tuners" use. The EPA has one, too, but it is so onerous that it is almost never used. However, the EPA will apparently generally honor CARB certification as reasonable evidence of compliance.

But, unless your "tune" comes with a CARB certification sticker (which you have to put on your vehicle), my comments apply.

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Not every state needs carb certification. Not all states emission test. In the places that do, you either pass or you fail. They don't examine your "program" as some would believe.
[...]
When I put the blower and new exhaust in my Mazda, if was clearly marked it was not CARB certified. That didn't make it illegal in my state.
This is all true, but I was NOT talking about state laws or emission tests. I was talking about EPA regulations which apply nationwide.
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