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Chiptuning vs. Tuningbox

The correct information of our clients and would be customers was the main objective of the writing of this article. Having read a great number of professionally soundless, overwhelmingly marketing oriented  and plagiarizing articles here you will find adequate and relevant information, helping you to choose the best option prior to purchase.


Basic Principles

1. The operation of the engine is commanded by the computer (ECU), upon the information received from the sensors in the motor compartment. All the sensors data arrives to the ECU.

2. The communication with the ECU is possible threw the factory made OBD (EOBD, OBD2, CAN) service plug, it was designed and homologised for this purpose (since 08.2000) This is the accepted edge technology today. The precise optimization of the operation parameters is possible threw the OBD plug.

3. The chip tuning will not alter the functioning of the diagnostic instruments, the reading and resetting of the error records will be done without difficulty.

4. There will be no loss of guarantee for the original parameters can be restored.
In case of software refreshing the modifications required will be made free of charge.

5. A basic precondition of the engine optimization – chip tuning – is that all parameters of the engine function are to be modified in harmony with each other.

The digital  tuning box, declared as milestone, has basic deficiencies. In the case of turbo charged car it can not adjust the turbo charging load, in case of a suction engine it will not adjust the pre ignition and as such is not suitable for the optimization of the engine.
The modification of one single signal and for that reason false information supply to the ECU (see tuning box) can not be considered as optimization of the engine.

The MMC Autochip is dedicated to chip tuning since 1998, starting from 2001 this is our only activity. The optimization of the engine, that is chip tuning is not tuning box and the tuning box is not chip tuning! Those looking for tuning box please do not call us!


The chip tuning can only be done by professionals, with adequate professional knowledge and several years of professional experience. The optimization of the engine allows individual settings. For this activity a number of different software and hardware is necessary with continuous updating due to the appearance of new models of cars. For the investment involved is at the range of millions, in case of outstandingly low priced chip tuning the lack of adequate technical support can rightly be supposed. During chip tuning the commanding chip in the computer of the car is reprogrammed in order to achieve better efficiency and optimal operation. There is no need to install subsequently any electric circuit or box of uncertain origin which might mean further source of error. The engine can be controlled perfectly by it s own computer because it was factory-made for this purpose. All the data of the sensors (6-8 pieces.) in the motor compartment reach the computer, the parameters are real, programming is done in the computer. By chip tuning there is chance to modify each and every parameter belonging to the engine function in harmony with each other, depending on the revolution and the load. There is a personal contact between the client and the programmer and we can consider individual requests, for e.g. aiming to improve the factory-made low torque revolution ranges. A good professional makes advantage of his own experience ( not just selling the products of others ) taking use of thousands of hours spent with the computer, results of experiments, tests, achievements gained by empirical methods during several years. The proverb is true here too “all that glitters is not gold” not all chip tunings are good. There are more and more frequent cases, when the client having chip tuning in his car, calls with problems like: emitting of smoke, too much fuel consumption, the accelerator pedal is too much sensible, the automatic gearbox should not shift to the last gear, etc. Many times upon reading out the data from the computer we must face astonishing facts, I should say most decently there are still rather brave people in this country… In each case we let our customers know the errors spotted and also correct them. When we hear that factory-made chip data is to sent somewhere threw the internet and the tuning file will be received in turn which is just to be filled into the computer, it is completely clear for us that there is an inter mediator who has not got the faintest idea on the characteristic diagrams belonging to the engine function, and chip tuning. In these cases individual requests can not be considered, we only can cross our fingers to see that at least a tuning corresponding to general parameters could be reached and the engine will not be damaged by settings of unknown origin. In case of a given model the same engines may have and have indeed differences: e.g.: the VW Golf 1.6 model is supplied with Bosch, Siemens and Marelli computer, not to mention the differences in software.

The MMC Autochip in each case optimizes the own factory made software of the engine and undertakes guarantee regarding the parameters of the model selected.
What we have to consider seriously in any case is: it worth to ask about the number of years spent in this field, for many self appointed “specialists” are trying to infiltrate into this industry. It is also a sign self appointed category when a software of the same make but different outfit is about to be loaded into the computer. The following malfunctions may happen in this case: for e.g. the idle is changed, control lamps are lid, the diagnostic instruments can not communicate with the computer of the car, worst of the case is when our car would not even start. On the long run the cheapest solution may turn out to be the most expensive, so don’t just ask the price but also talk about real chip tuning!


The tuning boxes are mass produced, in most of the cases dealers and retailers are selling them, it can also be mail ordered and be installed even in a parking lot for it needs no expertise. However, this means an undisputable advantage against chip tuning from the point of view of massive sales, so for the customer it just can seem to be a comfortable solution. The tuning box can be applied universally in cases of different models and motor capacity: for a 1.3 Multijet Punto the same tuning box is recommended and sold as for the Bravo 1.9 JTD or an Alfa or a 2.3 Multijet Ducato. Model specific settings are obviously not possible. Using a tuning box there are no choices of fine tuning or to fulfil individual requests of customers which could be done with chip tuning. Data from the accelerator pedal sensor also reach the computer, the tuning of the sensibility of the accelerator pedal can not be done with a digital tuning box fitted on the airflow meter or the rail sensor. This only could be done by an additional tuning box mounted on the accelerator pedal sensor. That would mean however superfluous additional costs and the need for one additional tuning box. A chip tuning includes the adjustment of the sensibility of the accelerator pedal upon request, without any surcharge.  The mounting and demounting of a tuning box can be done without expertise. The tuning box is installed between the computer and the sensor in the motor compartment.  Modifying the signal voltage or resistance parameter of the sensor this way, false data is transmitted to the computer, resulting in more use of combustible or letting higher pressing on the system. It can not adjust the rest of the engine parameters, harmonization of the different data is not possible. It is easy to recognise the tuning box which controls 1 sensor: it s fitting needs to cut 1 connection in the motor compartment and to insert the box in line in the very circuit. The operational principle of the analogue  and digital “programmable” tuning box is the same: they transmit false data from the sensor to the computer. The digital version performs only better for the extension of the signal faking can be adjusted depending on the revolution. Summing up: analogue box = a fuse or a voltage regulator. Digital tuning box = voltage regulator which adjusts the volume of the resistance depending on the revolution. It is to be noted, that a resistance is not belonging to the most expensive parts…A chip or processor in the tuning box is necessary for the operation of the very BOX and is not equivalent with the commanding chip in the ECU which controls the MOTOR operation. The tuning box will not modify any data  in the chip of the computer, so the denomination as chip tuning box, or chip box are not adequate, it is sensor tuning box correctly. There are somewhat better quality tuning boxes which can mislead 2-3 sensors at a time (out of 6 or 8) their price starting from HUF 100.000.-, but even those can not regulate the turbo charging. There are some car models the computer of which is not programmable ( these exemptions are primordially Japanese, Korean or US some made products ) in these cases the tuning box can be an intermediate solution if we are willing to pay a higher price for a modest output increase. In the case of turbo charged cars the tuning box controlling 1-3 sensors will process more fuel into the combustion area, but more fuel needs more air to produce higher burning and efficiency. This additional air can only be obtained by increasing the turbo charging, but the tuning box is not capable to regulate  that. This regulation can be solved by the chip tuning, if the charging output will increase with 0,2 – 0,3 bars that will not affect adversely the turbo charger ( due to the factory made reserves, huge margins ), but this will make a great difference from the point of view of output and optimal burning. In case of turbo charged engines approximately half as much increase in output and torque can be achieved with tuning box as in case of a professionally done chip tuning. The tuning boxes sold for suction engine cars process more fuel into the combustion area because they change the data signals from the Lambda test or the air volume meter, but they do not adjust the pre ignition to the modified conditions of operation. The fundamental principle of the optimization of the engine is that the different parameters must be modified in harmony with each other. The modification of a single parameter may give some increase of performance, but it offers much less than optimal operation and the best possible output increase could be. The perfect burning of the additional fuel needs more time and thus the modification of the pre ignition is essential, which is in each case adjusted according to the revolution and load in case of a chip tuning.

Concrete example: E39 530D BMW 184LE 2002 with manual gear shift.
The owner of the referred vehicle called me with the problem that after having a tuning box installed 5 month before he got the idle unbalanced , it is varying with cold engine, he had already changed the injector tops ( in case of this model it costs HUF 90.000.- each ) but even this did not offered him a permanent solution. He also complained that in case of full gear when he shifts ( without pressing the accelerator pedal ) the revolution is not decreasing it seems to be “overdosed”.  Upon agreeing in a date, this gentleman visited our workshop and when we completed a test drive the removal of the tuning box followed. We could realise that the factory made connector was disconnected from the sensor of the rail pressure and the tuning box was exclusively connected here, which was only able to falsify the data of this one sensor. The regulator in the tuning box could be set in scale of 10 grades with a screwdriver. In the grade 10 control lamps were lid and the motor disabled. The client used the box in grade setting 9 and the data detected were also reflecting effects of this grade. The tuning box has boosted the voltage signal with 30% which increased the standard 1350 bar compression with several hundred bars over! It was the consequence of this unrealistically high compression that the tops of the injectors were deteriorated before time and that the high revolution “went on” while shifting. Once everything was in place, we read out the own program of the car threw the service plug. During chip tuning 6 different parameters were modified: fuel quantity, injection time, enrichment at acceleration, limitation of output, turbo compression and rail pressing (5% instead of 30). Loading of the turbo program was also made threw the factory made OBD plug, the bonnet was only lifted to remove the tuning box. The problems caused by the tuning box were eliminated, the motor got a higher torque, acceleration was significantly better in all revolution ranges, the revolution was adequately declining when shifting or letting up the accelerator pedal, the over spinning ceased to exist and the client left satisfied.

The following professionally incorrect statements were found in tuning box web sites and advertisements:

  • New! We found this sentence in a good print quality booklet offering a selection of tuning boxes:
    “The tuning box is an external tuning solution which receives the signals from the command centre and forwards them to the injector.”
    Explanation: A very good sentence, suitable to mislead non-professionals. The only problem is that it has no sense. The signals come from the sensors (as it is stated in it s denomination), to the command centre and not likewise. The tuning box is located between the sensors and the computer, it is not capable for anything else than faking data. This is not optimisation of the engine! The command centre gives orders to set parameter data belonging to all motor functions (the injection among them). The optimization of the motor is only possible with the modification of the commanding program.
  • New! „The active particle filter (FAP type) engines can only be programmed with digital tuning box.”
    Explanation: In case of professionally done chip tuning the FAP filter continues to function perfectly. With chip tuning the air and fuel quantity can be precisely adjusted in the condition of partial load, at acceleration depending from revolution and load, with consideration of the heat of the engine and the outside temperature.
  • „The engine has to be dismantled during chip tuning.”
    Explanation: To do chip tuning the engine never has to be dismantled. The computer and the engine are two separate units, the command unit is frequently placed in the passenger compartment and not even in the motor compartment. (It is obvious that the “author” of  the above statement lacks any professional knowledge.)
  • „The chip tuning is irreversible.”
    Explanation: The factory set parameters can always be reset.
    Since 08.2000 all cars are fitted with standard OBD plug. A 95% of these cars are programmed threw the service plug, reprogramming of the factory set program generally takes 2 to 3 minutes. In case of the remaining 5% and in case of older makes removal of the computer is needed which is normally fixed by 4 screws. If the chip of the computer is not reprogrammable as is the case of models before 98, the chip is to be replaced. The computer has not to be dismantled even to carry out this task, only its cover has to be removed. Resetting the factory parameters in this case will take between 15 and 30 minutes.
  • New! „The chip tuning exposes the engine to extreme usage.
    Explanation: During chip tuning 6-8 parameters belonging to the engine functioning are increase by 5-10% in harmony with each other and these factors are summed up. In contrary to this the tuning box connected to only one sensor will increase the original setting of this single parameter with up to 30-40%. This way the part belonging to that particular sensor will be exposed to extreme usage and will have to be replaced sooner than normally. It is a rather spectacular show when all kinds of digital gadgets are connected to the tuning box while programming, but if the box can only modify just one sensor, should it be a NASA computer it would also alter just one parameter.
    Example: What would be your choice while listening to music? A one loudspeaker mono “system”, with one control knob or a 7.1 sound system of 8 loudspeakers each of them connected to a separate mixing console?   More or less this is difference of setting between the tuning box and the chip tuning and at full volume the membrane of the mono loudspeaker is would already be parted when the 7.1 would be at its half volume only. Obviously there is extreme chip tuning for car racing purposes, but the setting of parameters for everyday use remains always within the factory set limits.
  • „A 20-30% output increase in case of both gas and diesel vehicles”
    Explanation: In case of gasoline fuelled cars without a charger (suction engines) a 12-15% output increase can be attained with chip tuning (by tuning box 5% perhaps) independently from the model. Without mechanical transformations, just fitting a tuning box, a 20% increase of output is simply impossible.
  • „VW Passat 1.9 PD TDI 130 HP, with tuning box 180 HP.”
    Without an increase in the turbo charging this statement is a phantasmagoria too, +20% is realistic instead of the 50% that is stated above. With the chip tuning 50% increase is possible, what we can with official test record sheet, you can see it in the menu References.
  • „Mercedes 300 CDI 231 HP, with tuning box 286 HP.”
    No comment.

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