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What is ECU re-flashing?
Most modern engines are equipped with a microprocessor based computer referred to as the Engine Control Unit or Electronic Control Unit which is abbreviated to ECU. In general terms, the ECU is primarily responsible for monitoring and managing the engines performance via a number of sensors and then calculating the proper signal to send external devices to control the engines operation. All of these output responses from the ECU have to be predefined in ECU’s internal memory. Most ECU’s have a main memory storage system that is comprised of a nonvolatile Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory device called an EEPROM. The term “Flash Memory” refers to a particular type of EEPROM that has a fast erase and reprogram time of its internal storage. ECU ReFlashing, in general terms, is a method of erasing the ECU’s program code (instructions) and reprogramming the vehicles ECU’s Flash Memory with altered program code, thereby changing how the ECU will respond to inputs. Stock ECU's generally are far from optimal and are developed to allow for a wide range of riding styles, fuel quality and operational conditions. The result of this is often a compromise resulting in sub-optimal performance. Significant improvements can be achieved through correcting the stock ECU's deficiencies and tuning the engine to take full advantage of it's potential.
When you run a piggy back system, most of them are interfaces that connect between the ECU, and the sensors (typically fuel injectors) to interrupt this programmed signal from the ECU and change it to accommodate for changes the user wants. More fuel, less fuel to reach a target AFR (air-to-fuel ratio). Even piggy back systems that have "auto-tune" features are still only hacking the injector signal to reach a targeted AFR.
Timing. Is. Everything.
Now fuel is not the only objective one should look to making modifications to when looking for optimal performance for the changes they made to their bike. Proper ignition is the single most important and critical elements in tuning an internal-combustion engine. Here at Toce Performance, we run our changes to ignition on our DynoMite Dyno. Paired with disabling AIS/Pair Systems on the bike along with a built in weather station to appropriately display the torque curves based on atmospheric changes. We make our adjustments to the ignition maps to built a solid TQ line without losing a fraction of HP. Ignition Timing or ignition advance is the point in the engine cycle when the ECU generates the spark at the plug. The spark begins combustion and it has a direct effect on how an engine runs, how much power and toque it makes, and how reliable it is. So you can see why just dumping or removing fuel without making changes to this now "free-er flowing system", can act as a band-aid in terms of making the bike run clean/smooth. Optimal power is always based around adjustments to ignition. That being said, too much advancement can cause detonation, and very many, not so exciting things. We design our tunes for drivability and to make the safest amount of power. We do this by unrestricting the ECU's which is another huge benefit to make more ponies.
Take in example, our 2015 Yamaha R1 (BMC Air Filter and 3/4 Cat Delete Toce Exhaust). Where simply making changes to the ETV system (Electronic Control Throttle Valve) and removing the factory Fuel Cut, allowed us to make an incredible 10 horsepower without any other changes.. Two things that cannot be done with piggy back systems. Mixed with the knowledge of our tuners, and many many runs on the dyno, we were able to generate 34.9 Extra Horsepower out of the bike, all while remapping both the IAP (Cruise map) and TPS (Load map) to make a smooth transitioning street bike, into a powerhouse. With changes to ignition, we were able to increase the torque an additional 14.3 foot pounds and 1900 RPM's earlier making this bike truly fun to ride. Our 2017 GSXR1000 Generated even more numbers. Here's a few questions we often receive that we hope will help you in the deciding factor when choosing an engine management system. Thanks for your time, and feel free to ask us anything if you need more info.
Will Re-flashing the ECU’s memory void my manufactures warranty?
Re-flashing the ECU, as well as other alterations to the vehicle, could void your Original Equipment Manufacturer warranty often referred to as the OEM or factory warranty as well as any Extended Warranty you may have purchased to cover future repairs to the vehicle. Warranting repairs and recall’s to your vehicle after it is altered would be at the discretion of the OEM. Plainly stated: Typically this type of alteration, if confessed or detected, WILL VOID YOUR VEHICLES WARRANTIES. Off road competitive use of an vehicle in any form could be grounds for voiding the OEM warranty. This product was developed specifically for individuals who plan exclusive competitive use of their vehicle in off road competitions, and those individuals have no doubt the OEM warranty is void. Warranty periods are a form of insurance you paid for when you purchased your vehicle. If voiding the OEM warranty is a concern, you should wait for your warranty period to expire before you have this service performed to receive the full benefit.
Is having the ECU re-flashed a common and safe performance upgrade?
There is a worldwide industry dedicated to reprogramming automotive ECUs with the intent to increase performance, drivability and fuel economy. Many of these aftermarket services are provided with the intent the vehicle will operate within State and Federal laws and regulations during public road use after the ECU is re-flashed. Most re-flash services retain all of the safety features of the original program code developed by the OEM. But since the re-flash is not an OEM software file it must be re-certified to be considered legal.
Can the re-flashed ECU be returned to stock?
YES. The vehicle or ECU must be return to us and we will remove the altered program reinstall the factory OEM program. Just send us in your ECU with your order information and we'll happily reflash it for you at no extra charge other than shipping.