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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all
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.

Nm Nm
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

HP HP
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. %
Gear
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.
Alfisti regards
Erik :D :D :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hi Erik,

Just a quick reply (for a change) found your chip comments very informative and interesting and I would also like to thank you for the time you must have taken to write what is a post of some length in such a clear and easy to picture manner.

I just hope when I eventually trade in for a 155 it has the 'natural' BHP yours does!!

Thanks again


MAK

164 Super

100% FREE OF BMW PARTS
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
elp...

thanx for the info. you've done well to get all that extra power from the chip... have you got a fancy air filter too?

regards

J
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Jason
No, just a new std. one - those with dynamometers says that the original Alfa filters are letting in air enough. I think that it a question of all tollerances in the engine are near optinal. rolleyes:
Alfisti regards
Erik :
 

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Registered
Joined
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177 Posts
Yes, very interesting. We have had a similar debate on the swedish alfa site (http://alfaromeo.org) about Unichip where a guy got his 156 2.0 TS tuned buy the local Stockholm Unichip dealer. The figures it resulted in was real fantasy figures, like 187 hp at the wheels. He should had posted his dyno plots but we haven't seen them yet.
Anyway, as comparison TS motors website was mentioned. At www.tsmotor.com -> Unichip _> Bilmodeller -> Alfa Romeo you can look at dyno plots from several tuned Alfas and they are more moderate. In the debate several rumours came up, like; Figures for the tuned car is always manipulated to look better.

I don't know. But if you don't mind I copy your post into that debate. Okay?

I can also mention that everything I heard about TS Motor is good, so I have no reason to suspect any tricks. But what about Gazzella Autotech in Gilleleje, did you ever consider their services?

And when we're talking about it; Some weeks ago I met a guy with the same car as you have and it was fitted with modified exhaust, camshafts and chip. Together it should produce 186 hp, which felt quite reasonable compared to my Q4. It was at noon in town, so I didn't want to take the comparison to far ....

/A. Möller
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi all,

Does anyone know if the uni-chip is available in the U.K it may be of interest to a few who are considering one?

Oh and I do know that there are plenty of cases where over enthusiastic dyno figures shall we say appear in rolling road centres, however as regards the uni-chip who knows?

It does seem a huge gain though from the approx standard 150 bhp.

Keeping an open mind MAK

164 Super


100% FREE OF BMW PARTS
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mak,

I've just had a reply to a mail i sent yesterday to a company called 'The engine Tuner' in Basildon, Essex. http://www.theenginetuner.co.uk

I got a very polite response from Karen, who informed me that the unichip plus fitting, and setup on a rolling road would generally cost around £400 + Vat.
I'd also asked for some expected bhp increases etc. But i have to give her more information to get a more deffinate answer. However she said that "on some cars they have seen as little as 3 bhp, but 20 bhp from modified cars" As you can see, she was very honest, and "didn't want to mislead me" Which i thought was nice rather than plucking some figures out of the sky.

However £400 + vat, sounds like a lot of money to me. But then when you add in the £40 - £50 per hour that a rolling road usually costs i don't spose it's that bad really.
I do see some deffinate advantages to the unichip, so it might be worth the extra -interchangable between cars being a big advantage obviously.

Mak, you've got a V6 in you're 164 right?
I'll mail her back with some more details of my 155 V6.
Obviously every car varies so much, but i'll try to get a 'ball park' figure for bhp increases etc, etc.
More Uk dealers can be found on the Dastek site mentioned above though.
According to the site, the unichip is a one off, i mean, what can you compare it with?

Maybe Elp was the lucky one?
How much they paying you Elp? lol, only joking, hope you are enjoying your car.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating so to speak.

Dastek versus Squadra, hmmm.
The debate goes on!

Regards,

A.H
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Alex,

The honesty of the person you spoke to is a refreshing change but it pretty much reinforces what I thought about the chips in general. That being there seems very little difference between any of them. Sure Erik's sounds amazing but I would think that his particular car would give out something near that what ever chip designer he used, he just has one of 'those' engines.

So this leaves cost for me and although there are benefits to rolling road setup etc unless we are going to be track daying it etc I just can't see the sense in spending over £400 for a non warranted increase of as little as 3bhp.

So it looks like remaining for me the embarrassingly cheap and highly regarded Squadra chip available from Ian at Alfasalv.co.uk, of course if you keep to the same model they are interchangeable can't see I'd ever want anything other than a 155 6C to be honest!!

Unless of course another stone is cast into the pool which I wouldn't discount!!!!

Best regards and thanks again

MAK

164 Super

100% FREE OF BMW PARTS
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Guys
No one in their right mind will give a guaranty for so or so many HPs or increases of power fitting a chip.
This morning I went to TS Motors to have a minor re-mapping to cure some hiccups at part throttle opening at below 2000 RPM. The guy who fitted and my chip told me that if when finding no improvement on at car they remove the chip and only charge for a power check at their rolling road, i.e. € 185 (£ 91 + UK VAT), which I find very fair. (And no, unfortunately, I’ don’t get paid by them). He also told me, that on late models BMWs and Audi V6s they often found that the factory mapping can’t be improved upon – this applies to some extend to the Alfa 156 2,0 model year 2000 and forward, as well, the “hole” in the torque curve below 3500 RPM have been cured.
They even state on their web that on some models (for instance, the 155 V6) no improvement is obtained fitting the chip.
I see that the UniChip is sold by a number of dealers in the UK so just shop around to find the best price/location for you (I could have had my chip fitted in Denmark but at a somewhat higher price – it more than paid for the ferry crossing).
My main reason for fitting the chip was the bottom torque hole and not whatever HPs I got, but to someone else the ultimative number of HPs is essential, we are all different, just like our engines. :confused:
Alfisti regards
Erik
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Erik,

As per usual found your post full of the reason and logic that we have become a custom to.

One opinion that did surprise me however was the uni chip chaps comments regarding the 2.5 6C. The normal engine I believe puts out around 160 bhp which even in its first year was not a great deal and the new 156 develops something near 190 bhp. I would say that there is plenty of scope for tuning as I don't think there has been masses of changes have that have taken place in the development of the engine from transition from 155 - 156.

Of course if i'm mistaken then I'm sure Numan or someone else will enlighten please. Furthermore I think Squadra remapping quote approx 16bhp gain on the 155 6C engine and it costs about £150 off the top of my head!

As I have said before your's is probably just an excellent casting with superb construction Erik and whatever chip you had fitted would probably see about the same gains you lucky........*%@*&*@!

Best regards

MAK

164 Super

100% FREE OF BMW PARTS
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi,

I have a 155 V6 too. I'm a little disappointed that it can't be UNIchipped successfully. Squadra tuning claims about 17 bhp for it. Which kinda chip should I get?

Thanks

Zamani
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hi 75 evo,

I think you, me and mak have just found the answer!
No success for the V6 with unichip?
At that price it's the Squadra for me.
But why no result from a unichip in a V6?
Seems strange.
At least with the squadra at around that price, it's worth a go, even if it 'only' results in a few extra horsepower, and more drivability. It's also not that much to loose if you do decide to change car.

Don't know about you guys, but i'm gonna see about getting one at the end of the month.
However Mak, still no reply from anyone at Alfasalv! Looks like i'll have to phone him.

Regards,

A.H
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi there Alfisti,
I would just like to confirm that the Dastek Unichip is in fact a South African product (the .za at the end of the e mail adres stands for "Zuid-Afrika")
The factory is about 7 km from my house here in Pretoria.
The man behind the Unichip is Pieter De Weerdt. He is a very well known and highly successfull tuner here in South Africa, and also a well known racing driver.

I think I'll also visit him sometime for a Unichip.

Kind regards
Jacques
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi Alex,

Exactly what I have concluded their so reasonable and well reputed got to be worth a try!

I did mention that Ian (Alfa Salv)is a nightmare at e-mailing people he just doesn't have time or so he reckons!!!

I'll get him on the site for you I'll speak to him on saturday if I can get him he's been on about putting in a guest appearence for about a month! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Cheers MAK

164 Super


100% FREE OF BMW PARTS
 

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Premium Member
Tesla Model S
Joined
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8,046 Posts
Excellent topic lads... although 400 + is so so expensive. I think you would be crazy to pay that for a chip. I payed 220 recently for mine and that gave me a good 6or7.

But if its a unichip you want, thats up to you. I agee that some chips differ but for 400 pounds you need guarantees!!!!!
A Super sprint and a filter would give you some thing near that for sure.

Removing the cat would also take you over that.
Good luck people.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hi Guys
Well, well, I don’t say that it’s useless to chip tune a V6, it’s just what TS M have found on one car of that type in their workshop, but I think it’s fair of them to say so on the web.
Mak – the 156 V6 2,5l has 24 valve heads so they don’t compare equal.
As for the price, I paid that’s equal to £ 341 at do-day’s rates, of which £140 was fitting and mapping no the rolling road, which is find fair but, of course, still a lot more than £ 150; it’s all a matter of choice and belief.
One thing is not debatable, though, if you at a later date want to do more to the engine, exhaust or induction you need the ECU remapped. With the UniChip you just bring the car back to the mapping lads and have it done – with a “fixed” chip I don’t know what can be done. A map-able chip is giving you the ability the tune fuel/air mixture and ignition timing, which is the impotent thing when any tuning or conversion is done to any car – it was just so much easier when we had carbs and distributors.
Keep it going :cool:
Erik
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hello Mak and Alex,
First off may i say Mak that you've been doing a stirling job at trying to sell these chips. Thankyou. Alex, i'm afraid i haven't seen your email. Could you please resend it and i'll get straight back to you.

If anybody else needs any info on the SquadraChip then please email me. mailto:[email protected][email protected]</A>

Cheers
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi all,

Firstly, Mak, i mailed Ian this morning, and got a reply 45 mins later!
Now that's service!

Ian, if you're reading this thanks again.

I'm going to take the plunge in a few days.
I'll ressorect this topic again in the not too distant future to let you guys know the outcome.

And to Mak,(that your real name? ;)) thanks for your efforts, i think he owes you commission!
I don't mind, you've saved me £300!
£155 inc p&p, jeez that's good.

Now let's see if it works.

Best Regards,

A.H
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi Alex,

I'm interested. Please let me know how it goes. :cool:. I would buy it except that it's UKP155.00, which is about RM1000.00. RM1000.00 is a lot of money so I'm very cautious with this purchase. :cool:)). If it's good, then I'll get it for sure. I plan to add an exhaust system and use the cams from the 164 3.0 QV. I also saw a nice, equal length downpipes from a site in Japan (www.unicorse.co.jp), I'll have that done locally at 1/10th of the price.

Though I was a Squadratuning's site and saw a 146Ti owner from Malaysia saying he smoked a 164 3.0 after the chip. SOunds impressive, but 4-Valve cars often respond well to chipping. For us with 2-Valves/cyl, I'm a little skeptical.

Zamani
Ipoh, Malaysia.
 
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