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Practical Reflash Tuning: Custom Software Patches

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Custom Software Patches

03.37

00:00 - When you're tuning an OE ECU, understandably the entire ECU and its functionality have been designed with the intent of doing the best job possible of running the stock engine.
00:13 This is absolutely fine in 95% of applications where you simply want to make some minor adjustments to what is already a relatively good calibration to suit some upgrades, such as perhaps an exhaust, a new intake, a filter, or perhaps a set of headers.
00:33 Often though, we may want to venture far outside what the factory engine was ever designed for.
00:40 And on the face of it, the stock ECU operation can start to appear limiting.
00:46 I'm talking here about adding forced induction to an engine that was originally naturally aspirated.
00:52 Perhaps exceeding the torque limits or airflow limits that the factory have hard coded into the ECU.
01:00 Or perhaps the ability to add features that never existed in the stock ECU such as launch control, flat shifting, closed loop boost control, traction control, or even repurposing the gauges on the factory dash to perform different tasks.
01:17 While this doesn't go for every ECU application, in many instances the way the factory ECU functions can be modified in the aftermarket to introduce these sorts of advanced features.
01:32 This is often referred to as a patch or a modified operating system or OS for short.
01:40 With these sort of changes, rather than just altering the tune data, we're actually rewriting the way the ECU works.
01:49 This can be a very powerful option that really bridges the gap between what the factory ECU can do and what some of the high end stand alone aftermarket ECUs are capable of.
02:02 One of the more common software patches would be a speed density patch which allows the ECU to be tuned using the input from a MAP sensor or Manifold Absolute Pressure sensor.
02:15 Rather than the more common MAF sensor.
02:19 This is ideal in applications where you're expecting to easily exceed the measurement range of the stock MAF sensor.
02:26 Or perhaps you're running an aggressive cam profile that isn't compatible with a MAF sensor.
02:33 In some instances you can even choose to run a hybrid system where the ECU uses the MAF input at low air flow before switching to the MAP sensor when the air flow is higher.
02:46 With the right custom operating system there is almost no limit to what you can do on a stock ECU.
02:53 And where re-flashing often wasn't considered suitable for competition cars or very high horsepower applications some years ago, this really isn't the case now.
03:06 Of course what you can do will depend on the support for your particular ECU.
03:12 So before you get too excited it will pay to check out the level of support available, either through commercial suppliers or the open source community.