The issue of chip tuning pops up in the Forum all the time and I have a few times contributed as I have considered it for my Alfa – and advocated for map-able chips. Similar engines performed very different, some actually don’t need any or very little tweaking to response well, others will not at all without being dismantled, rebalanced, horned and lots of other interesting things. Even to day, when robots managed by computers build engines these differences is present.
I therefore decided to have a UniChip by the New Zealand Company Dastek – www.dastek.com.
Their Scandinavian agents TS Motorsport – www.tsmotor.com
- fitted and mapped it; I live in Denmark but very near to the TS Motor in Helsingborg, Sweden, but dealers are found in many countries.
Dastek claim that they aim to give back the control of engines to engineers and mechanics in these days of electronic engine management – but look at the webs.
Did I get what I wanted – well, look at the power and torque figures. Especially the torque at low’ish revs is much improved, all 2,0 16v have a hesitation between 2500 and 3500 RPM, which is the range I use most in daily driving. I timed the acceleration (not very scientistic, just a stopwatch and an eye at the tachometer) in 2nd to 5th gears in the 2000 to 5000 RPM range before and after the UniChip – an article on tuning classic cars reminded me of I this old tip for tuners. I have curves of the performance, but unfortunately, I couldn’t copy the curves into the Forum – if anyone like see them, mail me.
RPM No chip UniChip
1500 142 157,2
2000 148,5 169,5
2500 163,5 196,3
3000 171,4 203
3500 178,9 209,6
4000 195,7 212,4
4500 194,5 215,4
5000 192,3 213,1
5500 188,7 210,5
6000 185,9 208,7
6500 178,6 203,6
7000 157,2 185,3
RPM No Chip UniChip
1500 29,9 33,1
2000 41,7 47,6
2500 57,4 68,9
3000 72,2 85,5
3500 87,9 103,0
4000 109,9 119,3
4500 122,9 136,1
5000 135,0 149,6
5500 145,7 162,5
6000 156,6 175,8
6500 163,0 185,8
7000 154,5 182,1
STD Unichip STD Unichip STD Unichip STD Unichip Change Change
RPM 2-3000 2-3000 3-4000 3-4000 4-5000 4-5000 2-5000 2-5000 sec. %
5 15,67 13,65 13,71 12,84 20,87 18,81 50,25 42,34 -7,91 -15,74
4 8,11 7,89 8,50 7,27 9,06 7,95 25,67 23,11 -2,56 -9,97
3 4,69 3,48 4,21 4,00 3,90 4,16 12,80 11,20 -1,60 -12,50
2 1,99 1,65 1,60 1,51 3,60 2,08 7,19 5,35 -1,84 -25,59
As it happened, it turned out that my car is one of the lucky ones, giving better figures standard than Alfa claim – the guy that did the mapping said that he very seldom sees such over performing figures from any car maker.
The figures being as they are (before and after) I got queues and asked how the dynamometer calculates the figures. What is does is, first the car is accelerated at full throttle through the rev range and then declutched to run the speed off by it self all in fourth speed. In this way the dynamometer calculates the times the acceleration and deceleration took and get the net figures (eliminated from friction loss in the transmission and tyres).
The car and service history: It’s a 155 2,0 TS 16v S, first reg. July ’96 I took over in April ’00. Mileage at fitting and test 126000 km, regularly serviced every 20000 km, new cam variator at 60000, belts, tension pulleys, spark plugs and air filter at 120000 km. Only modification: Slightly taller tyres (205/50-16) giving 35,3 km/1000 RPM in fifth (34,3 standard).
Driving impressions: As the timing chart shows a useful gain is achieved without being dramatic. My first impression on a longish motorway journey was a more eager and responsive engine needing less throttle opening maintaining speed going up hill. Engine sounded more eager, too; as the exhaust had started leaking from the front end, but it hadn’t. Since, I been with the car on a roundtrip to Italy for a week (3100 km) and I felt no lack of power on motorways, on overtaking or in the mountains, but I haven’t, either, on other long trips before. You soon get used to changes, even the eager sound is gone or I’ve got used to it. It is early days, jet – I had the chip fitted 4 weeks ago –but it seems that fuel economy has improved 3-5%.
Am I satisfied: Yes, but going by the figures - I have gained around 18% torque where I need it and 186 HP is astonishing - it doesn’t feel that much, though. It might be I got used to the change quickly or it’s a tribute to the standard Alfa’s performance. It has not become more temperamental than before. At € 335 for the chip and € 205 fitting and mapping I don’t find it expensive. If I later want to do more to the engine I just have to have it remapped or when I buy an other Alfa I remove it (and this one returns to standard) and have it fitted and mapped for the new one – and so on.