In general, there are two ways of remapping a vehicle. Due to the hundreds of different ECU variants, each and every vehicle has to be tuned in a slightly different way which means that the services we can provide and the amount it will cost can vary between customers. Check out our 'Pricing and Warranty' page or contact us for more information!
In terms of reading and overwriting the current software on the vehicle, there are two ways of accessing a vehicles Engine Control Unit (ECU): Via OBD port connection or via an ECU removal process, also known as a 'bench' job.
Remapping via the OBD Port
Connecting to the ECU via the OBD port is the preferred and most common method of remapping as it is by far the quickest, easiest and most effective technique. Most importantly, this method significantly reduces the chance of any hardware malfunctions because nothing mechanical has to be touched. We gain access to the ECU using a laptop with some specialist software and a 'flash' tool. The equipment is connected together using an OBD II cable (CAN/J1850/K-LINE) and a USB cable. Some particular vehicles require additional access through the ECU directly such as the Volvo XC60 and for this we use alternative cables such as the 25 pin Bootloader K4 cable to make a direct K-LINE connection to the ECU itself.
The OBD connection process is usually quick (less than 2 hours from start to finish) and has a very high success rate. If any of the software were to corrupt whilst reading or writing, we can simply reinstall the original software and the vehicle will be unaffected by the change. There are over 17,000 variants we can carry this out on and this number is ever increasing. The process is explained below.
In order to protect yourselves and us, we analyse the vehicles health using our advanced diagnostics equipment. This usually takes up to 10 minutes to complete and will show any signs of damage before we start the tuning process.
Once the initial tests are completed we attach a CTEK trickle charger to the battery. This provides the battery with a stable 13-15 volts which prevents the ECU from malfunctioning whilst we are reading and writing the software.
We then attach our flash tool to your vehicles on board diagnostics (OBD) port. This powerful equipment removes the map from your vehicle and allows our software experts to enhance it using our various different editing programs. We then install the new map back into the vehicle.
We now use the health check equipment again to ensure the vehicle is unharmed by the process.
Yourself and the technician go for a quick test drive to ensure the vehicle performs as expected. If required, the map can then be adjusted and payment can be made by bank transfer, cash or card.
Remapping via ECU Removal
Although we always prefer tuning via the OBD port, there are still thousands of vehicle models that cannot be tuned via this connection because of a number of reasons. First of all, ECU removal has to be carried out if the ECU has Tricore protection (which cannot be bypassed by the flash tool) or to unlock certain ECU's such as the PIR2.1 or the Siemens SIMOS 8.5/16.11, as commonly found in the Audi S4 2008-2015 models. In these instances the ECU (usually located in the engine bay, above the wheel arch or underneath the front windscreen) has to be physically removed from the vehicle so the microchip inside can be accessed.
Unfortunately the standard turnaround time for ECU removal work is 3 days in which the vehicle will be completely immobilised. If required we can carry out this work whilst you're away on holiday so that it's ready for when you return. This is often the most practical solution for our customers as many people struggle without having a car for a few days!
As always, we start off by analysing the vehicles health using our advanced diagnostics equipment. This usually takes up to 10 minutes to complete and will show any signs of damage before we proceed to remove the ECU from the vehicle.
Once the initial tests are completed we disconnect the battery to prevent any voltage spikes from damaging the ECU. We then continue to remove the ECU from the vehicle. Now that the ECU is removed the vehicle is completely disabled - it will not start or even lock without the ECU present and connected.
We send the ECU to our specialists where it is unlocked in a special room via a K-TAG or CMD Flash (physical microchip connection) process. Depending on the ECU variant, this allows us to either unlock or completely remap the unit. The ECU is then sent back to us at Momentum Tuning.
We bring the ECU back to yourself and refit it to the vehicle. The battery can now be reconnected AFTER the ECU is connected up.
Yourself and the technician go for a quick test drive to ensure the vehicle performs as expected. If required, the map can then be adjusted and payment can be made by bank transfer, cash or card. Please note that some vehicles will require the ECU to be removed and sent away again if the map requires adjustment.