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Nah that's a load of rubbish, and the author of that article is getting his panties in a bunch for no realistic reason. There are too many "could happen" and "might happen" statements in it to make me the least bit nervous

In the past, it may have seemed preposterous to lump a gearhead tinkering with his car under the same digital umbrella that catches people who jailbreak their phones. But today, dozens of ECUs run almost all vehicle functions, including the performance of the engine, steering and brakes. These units are run by computer code that automakers consider proprietary.
Bad example. Jailbreaking a phone isn't illegal.


At present, there's no known case in which an automaker has pursued litigation against an individual under the banner of a DMCA violation. At worst, it seems a car owner runs the risk of voiding their warranty by altering these codes. But that could change.
Damn right tampering with your ECU code can-and-SHOULD void your warranty.
 

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It'll be a boring world if we let the nanny state do gooders have their way.

You've got to break some eggs to make an omelette.
 

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According to the EPA and numerous stickers on any motor vehicle and now even on lawnmowers, doing ANTHING that changes fueling, intake or exhaust is against Federal law.

The whole idea with lean factory fueling is to cut emissions into the atmosphere. Using an ECU control unit that can alter the fuel air ratio is in violation----unless there is a disclaimer that says: For off road use only, as in racing etc, off public roadways.

Exhaust and intake changes normally make the fuel air ratio even leaner but then opens the can of worms about loud motorcycles.

A state that does extensive yearly safety and SMOG inspections can easily spot these modifications.

Sam:):coffeescreen:
 

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Absolutely not what the DMCA is even for, so no, this is nonsense. This is like asking if traffic laws will one day make peeing in the shower illegal... one has nothing to do with the other.
 

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I posted without reading the story---My Bad.

Kindly link my post to any performance ECU programmers and/ or air filter mods or exhaust mods and then all will make sense.

Sam:):coffeescreen:
 

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According to the EPA and numerous stickers on any motor vehicle and now even on lawnmowers, doing ANTHING that changes fueling, intake or exhaust is against Federal law.

The whole idea with lean factory fueling is to cut emissions into the atmosphere. Using an ECU control unit that can alter the fuel air ratio is in violation----unless there is a disclaimer that says: For off road use only, as in racing etc, off public roadways.

Exhaust and intake changes normally make the fuel air ratio even leaner but then opens the can of worms about loud motorcycles.

A state that does extensive yearly safety and SMOG inspections can easily spot these modifications.

Sam:):coffeescreen:
That's why most all of these devices or speed parts in general say "for off road use only", unless you find some tha have a carb E.O> number which means they are approved for on road use by CARB. (don't mean squat if you don't live in california).
Going too lean increases the amount of NOX emissions which isn't a good thing either. Most factory calibrations are set up to run at a stoichiometric fuel/air ratio. this is right around 14.7:1..... higher than this and you get a lot of nox, lower than this and you get unburned hydrocarbons.

I can see the premise of the article happening.
they said it'll never happen to off road diesel either and guess what?
it did.
 

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I know a little bit about fuel injection. Working at Motorola as an engineer I helped design Robert Bosch's FIRST digital, ECU-controlled fuel injection unit.

A correctly fuel & spark-mapped engine makes the most power AND gets the best fuel mileage. Manufacturers do NOT leave a lot of performance OR mileage on the table, especially automakers struggling to boost their CAFE by .1mpg.

So how can someone slap on a tuner and suddenly make gobs more power, or get better mileage. The bottom line is they can't. And simply adding a K&N air filter, or hi-flow exhaust doesn't create a need to re-chip or re-map the ECM either, at least not on bikes with 02 sensors. You'd have to do serious engine mods before needing to re-map the ECM, not just improve volumetric efficiency.

The cheapest "tuners" simply tell the engine it's colder than it is, so it runs richer. But the 02 sensor "sees" the rich condition and adjusts long term fuel trim to compensate. So in a day or so...it's back to where you started. Other "juice boxes" can adjust the width of the pulses to the injectors under all sorts of pre-defined conditions --- idle, cruise, WOT, etc.

But without a dyno, you're pretty much shooting in the dark when you start enriching/enleaning the engine from where the factory set it. Can you simply adjust it, go for a test ride, and iterate? Well, do you REALLY think your "seat of the pants" can measure a 3-5% improvement, maximum? I doubt it. And you're NOT going to get 10-20% power boosts. No way, no how.

Some riders CLAIM that by chipping the engine, and defeating EPA desired features like EGR (on an auto engine) they can THEREBY get better mileage. Wrong again. EGR enables greater spark advance under cruise conditions, hence better mileage. Partial throttle acceleration, well, if you want more power, why don't you just go to WOT --- wide open throttle?

There is simply nowhere in an engine's RPM range that an engine is intentionally run so lean, or so rich by the factory, for emissions control or any other reason that modifying the fuel map is going to do much to improve matters for you. Just the opposite; you lean out high cruise enough to see an additional 5mpg and you may burn your exhaust valves! Lean out the idle and it'll idle rough. Enrich the idle and it'll waste fuel and foul plugs. etc.

Sure, if you're a factory rider and have professionals who know more about YOUR engine than Honda or Kawasaki or HD does, and you've modded the cam timing, compression, run racing fuel, you have access to a dyno, etc. you may indeed need to use a Power Commander or whatever to obtain max performance from your MODIFIED engine.

But for mere mortals, including myself, chipping your bike or car OR truck is mostly a waste of time and $ unless you like blowing lots of black smoke. Even with all my background I wouldn't even THINK about trying to "chip" a highly tuned, high compression, fuel injected motorcycle motor unless I had someone with even MORE experience to work with me, AND access to a dyno.

The one place where autos really have it over bikes these days are knock sensing, which allows the spark timing to be advanced to take advantage of premium fuels. A bike engine must avoid detonation like the plague, so SOME ignition advance probably IS left on the table by mfr's --- for warranty reasons!

Run your trucks turbo at 15psi instead of the factory set 7, advance your timing, then you either have to add water injection or run it richer than snot to avoid pinging and cratering your motor. And you'll eventually crater it anyway.

My guess is 95% of the folks who have chipped bikes/cars/trucks have A) wasted their money, and B) actually DECREASED power output and mpg's at certain regimes. If you're one of the FEW who thinks you've really done your bike a major solid with a Juice Box, I'd like to hear about it. And see the dyno before and after graphs. Let's cut the subjective B.S., ok?

If you really want to get into all this, start by reading every single article on Dr. Dyno's website...

http://www.drdyno.com/AIM_2010-07.html
 

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Too late.

My Suzuki had the timing retarded on the first three gears. The fuel ratio was also altered. IMO this could not have been done in the interest of fuel economy.
It might have been done to try and save the ham fisted from themselves.
A nasty side affect was a vibration in the first three gears around 6000 revs.
By correcting the ignition timing and fuel maping, the engine now runs smoother. It is also a bit more responsive. But it is nowhere as responsive as an 185hp Buell. So why they would deliberately detune my bike escapes me.
But it has been corrected, and fooey to anyone who says that is bad.
The vibration also used to put my hand to sleep. That was more of a safety hazard than altering the ECU.

In the days of old, they did not worry about vibration putting body parts to sleep, brakes that stopped the bike a block too late, front forks that broke your thumbs, front forks that let the front wheel fall out if you did a wheely, head lights that went out when you applied the brakes, head lights than were about as bright as a smashed 40 watt bulb, kick start levers that would snap your ankle, boiling oil that burned your legs, primary chain cases that leaked oil onto the back tyre. After all that and many other exciting adventures, I really do not care what some dumb twit says about ECUs.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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My Suzuki had the timing retarded on the first three gears.
I'm not aware of any ECM's capable of monitoring the gear selection and mis-adjusting the timing accordingly. At least not on motorcycles. These days on cars with 5,6,7, 8 speed automatics the TCM will signal the ECM to retard the timing a tad before shifting to reduce the shock on the tranny. Kinda like letting off the gas a tad.

Test drive a SmartCar with an automatic some day if you REALLY want to experience the ECM "shutting down" the engine before each shift...provided you floor it and hold it there...

Can you back your claim up? Does the gear selector display on the dash show a connection to the ECM on the schematic? If not, how is the ECM even AWARE of what gear the tranny is in?
 

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I know a little bit about fuel injection. Working at Motorola as an engineer I helped design Robert Bosch's FIRST digital, ECU-controlled fuel injection unit.

A correctly fuel & spark-mapped engine makes the most power AND gets the best fuel mileage. Manufacturers do NOT leave a lot of performance OR mileage on the table, especially automakers struggling to boost their CAFE by .1mpg.

So how can someone slap on a tuner and suddenly make gobs more power, or get better mileage. The bottom line is they can't. And simply adding a K&N air filter, or hi-flow exhaust doesn't create a need to re-chip or re-map the ECM either, at least not on bikes with 02 sensors. You'd have to do serious engine mods before needing to re-map the ECM, not just improve volumetric efficiency.

The cheapest "tuners" simply tell the engine it's colder than it is, so it runs richer. But the 02 sensor "sees" the rich condition and adjusts long term fuel trim to compensate. So in a day or so...it's back to where you started. Other "juice boxes" can adjust the width of the pulses to the injectors under all sorts of pre-defined conditions --- idle, cruise, WOT, etc.

But without a dyno, you're pretty much shooting in the dark when you start enriching/enleaning the engine from where the factory set it. Can you simply adjust it, go for a test ride, and iterate? Well, do you REALLY think your "seat of the pants" can measure a 3-5% improvement, maximum? I doubt it. And you're NOT going to get 10-20% power boosts. No way, no how.

Some riders CLAIM that by chipping the engine, and defeating EPA desired features like EGR (on an auto engine) they can THEREBY get better mileage. Wrong again. EGR enables greater spark advance under cruise conditions, hence better mileage. Partial throttle acceleration, well, if you want more power, why don't you just go to WOT --- wide open throttle?

There is simply nowhere in an engine's RPM range that an engine is intentionally run so lean, or so rich by the factory, for emissions control or any other reason that modifying the fuel map is going to do much to improve matters for you. Just the opposite; you lean out high cruise enough to see an additional 5mpg and you may burn your exhaust valves! Lean out the idle and it'll idle rough. Enrich the idle and it'll waste fuel and foul plugs. etc.

Sure, if you're a factory rider and have professionals who know more about YOUR engine than Honda or Kawasaki or HD does, and you've modded the cam timing, compression, run racing fuel, you have access to a dyno, etc. you may indeed need to use a Power Commander or whatever to obtain max performance from your MODIFIED engine.

But for mere mortals, including myself, chipping your bike or car OR truck is mostly a waste of time and $ unless you like blowing lots of black smoke. Even with all my background I wouldn't even THINK about trying to "chip" a highly tuned, high compression, fuel injected motorcycle motor unless I had someone with even MORE experience to work with me, AND access to a dyno.

The one place where autos really have it over bikes these days are knock sensing, which allows the spark timing to be advanced to take advantage of premium fuels. A bike engine must avoid detonation like the plague, so SOME ignition advance probably IS left on the table by mfr's --- for warranty reasons!

Run your trucks turbo at 15psi instead of the factory set 7, advance your timing, then you either have to add water injection or run it richer than snot to avoid pinging and cratering your motor. And you'll eventually crater it anyway.

My guess is 95% of the folks who have chipped bikes/cars/trucks have A) wasted their money, and B) actually DECREASED power output and mpg's at certain regimes. If you're one of the FEW who thinks you've really done your bike a major solid with a Juice Box, I'd like to hear about it. And see the dyno before and after graphs. Let's cut the subjective B.S., ok?

If you really want to get into all this, start by reading every single article on Dr. Dyno's website...

http://www.drdyno.com/AIM_2010-07.html
Some of your statements might be true of a car running a modern ECM with knock detection technology and wide range O2 sensors but what does that have to do with a bike? Back around 2010 Victory finally installed their first ever O2 sensors to go closed loop. They run 2 maps now. One with and one without the narrow range sensors showing adequate temperature. The first map is basically intended to be used with a cold engine. If you want the wide range Bosch sensors you have to go after market and get an auto tune capacity on a fuel controller like the PC5. Even when you are running with the narrow range sensors in the circuit you are running a pre-map that acknowledges only whether or not you have a near 14.7/1 AFR.
I added a performance air filter that basically allows my engine to breathe a bit easier under load. At idle it really had no effect. When running with a load my engine was running lean because it could get the extra air and the pre-program did not adjust properly. I did what really needed to be done. I installed the PC5 and had it tuned throughout its RPM and throttle position range on a dyno. The end result is not mere vaporware as you have implied. My bike runs much stronger as both my butt and the dyno show.
In what way do I not have a real change in performance?
 

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I built racing engines for dirt bikes and dyno winner Harley Davidson big twins and there is a lot of torque and horsepower just waiting to be released in these engines but the work has to be done intelligently to be reliable, especially for the street. The BUTT dyno is good for one thing and that is for Pharting out EGO's and hearsay.:p

A typical scenario is this at a dyno shoot-out contest for the public: A Harley rider pulls his big twin scoot onto the dyno and you can see that all he did was a set of straight pipes and a free flowing K&N type air filter and this was confirmed by the owner to me, before the run. Lots of noise and thunder and then the results: 45 horsepower at the rear wheel!!!!!! No cigar and no trophy.

Next, his buddies roll their stock bikes (HD) onto the dyno and the quiet results are: 55 horsepower at the rear wheel!! The smile on their faces as they look at their Bud with the loud HD that has less HP and torque: Priceless.:wink:

I couldn't even begin to tell you how much real money and time it takes to achieve real horsepower and torque gains, even for a certified builder.

All Oldman has to do is hand a copy of his Dyno readout to a BUTT dyno person and that should be enough right there.:biggrin:

By the way, I was at a local Victory dealer back in about 1999, while my Cousin had his 98 Victory serviced and I strolled into the service area because I saw a new Victory with the engine out and on the workbench totally disassembled. It was there to diagnose a very loud transmission. (Which they all had during shifting) Here's what I saw through the eyes of an engine builder:

The victory engine was very well thought out and easy to work on and the reason the trans was so loud when shifted was the size of the gears were at least twice the size of any I'd ever seen. I'd say that this gearbox would never fail.

My sight was drawn to the 4 valve heads, with big beautiful ports that put down the STD racing heads that were still only 2 valves and cost me $3,000 per head for HD's.

The robust nature of the Rods, pistons and crank was designed for longevity.

That engine, the way it was, with an added S&S Super 'G' carb,(With no fuel injection) a PINGLE high flow fuel petcock, higher lift cam(S) a modified ECU to allow more RPMS and eliminate the 'speed governor,' a Barnett Kevlar racing clutch plate pack and a high performance exhaust, (Not straight pipes) would have easily beat my numbers on the Dyno at a fraction of the costs.

Polaris should once again be congratulated on their products.

I own a new 2014 Polaris Ranger, 800, 4x4, 6 passenger, ATV-side by side and even it just kicks butts.:biggrin:

Sam:):coffeescreen:
 

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>My guess is 95% of the folks who have chipped bikes/cars/trucks have wasted their money ....

You're clearly a 5%'er.... congratulations!

According to the dyno, for all your work and the $ you spent you managed to extract a whopping 7 additional horsepower and 7 foot-pounds of torque, peak.

So what did you spend? $2100? So $300 per pony....

I propose that on a 90 horsepower bike an additional 7 hp/ft-lb would be BARELY discernible on the "Butt dyno" and if going fast is the goal, the money would have been better spent at the track becoming a better rider. Agree? Disagree?

You make some valid points about lack of 02 sensors/wide band & knock sensors on bikes, until very recent. Even so, for the 95%, "tuning" and "chipping" is best left to experts with access to dyno's.

Which I think your example proves quite well.
 

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Add me to the 5% club ;)

My Raider has the full Vance & Hines exhaust system upgrade, along with a V&H FuelPak controller (chip). That combo:

-probably only gives an extra 2-5 hp, but also:
-get about 5-8 mpg better fuel economy!
-LOOKS soo much nicer (ok sure a subjective opinion)
-sounds incredibly nice without being overly loud (it's NOT a straight pipe)
-dropped about 30lbs weight off the bike

Factory motorcycles get designed by committees, so there are always "compromises" in the design. While the bike is built for good performance, it is also built for "civilized behavior" characteristics which includes smooth throttle response and gentle performance curve as well as being quiet.

For that reason, the bike does not leave the factory with optimum performance enabled. And that's to be expected

So the aftermarket tuners DO have a performance threshold available to fiddle with. The tuner chips & exhaust upgrades basically remove the "committee" from the engine.

So what is the down-side cost? Does the chip in my bike reduce it's life expectancy? Does it run "dirtier?" Yes the bike is technically "noisier", but that's the reason I like the exhaust mod in the 1st place :D any extra performance is just a bonus. But committees don't see it that way. Maybe 1 guy in the committee does, but other members veto him out :(
 

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Dyno

What Porky is saying.
There was a Dyno tuner from Japan at the Kent track this year. He was on his way to Bonneville. Even in Japan they know there is horsepower missing from a stock Harley, due to there state of tune.
How often does big brother tell us that getting our engines tuned will improve fuel mileage?

Wade. When my bike was connected to the dyno and the computer and the numbers were all shown on the big screen. You can see that the stock guages are lying, simply by looking at the bike, and looking at the big screen. Bike says 11,000 revs, on screen says 10,200.
On screen is showing horsepower and torque, speed and revs. Computer is recording fuel mixture and timing. Might even be in the small print at the bottom of the screen. There is a lot happening. An engine doing 10,200 and a back wheel going 152mph. It is common knowledge in the bike shops that Suzuki retards the timing on the first three gears. The computer picks it up and shows the 5 degree retard, and the change in fuel mixture.
Very clever guys know how to adjust this without installing a power commander. Trade secret involved here. Rearrange the ECU and plug it in, run on dyno, see and feel the results. I mean I ride the bike. I am not immune to the way it feels. The silly vibration at 6000 in third has gone.
I say third because that is where the bike spends a lot of time. 1st and 2nd are only at that rev range for a blip.

All the modern track bikes need dyno tuning. How else is the average guy going to get maximum power and reliability? The guys with engines that have carburetors, are most pleased to chat with someone that has had experience with them.

As far as cost on the dyno: that is a trade secret between the first ever WMRRA ( 40 years ago ) and Nels the Dyno dude. You may see my smiling face in his adds.

There are some things I try and understand, there are some things like welding and ECUs that I leave to the pros.
Next to get rid of is the silly ABS system.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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>My guess is 95% of the folks who have chipped bikes/cars/trucks have wasted their money ....

You're clearly a 5%'er.... congratulations!

According to the dyno, for all your work and the $ you spent you managed to extract a whopping 7 additional horsepower and 7 foot-pounds of torque, peak.

So what did you spend? $2100? So $300 per pony....

I propose that on a 90 horsepower bike an additional 7 hp/ft-lb would be BARELY discernible on the "Butt dyno" and if going fast is the goal, the money would have been better spent at the track becoming a better rider. Agree? Disagree?

You make some valid points about lack of 02 sensors/wide band & knock sensors on bikes, until very recent. Even so, for the 95%, "tuning" and "chipping" is best left to experts with access to dyno's.

Which I think your example proves quite well.
I disagree completely. I have no intention of ever becoming a race rider so a day at the track has zero value for me. What I wanted, and got, was a nice bump in passing power for the 2 lane roads when I am riding 2-up.

Forget your $2100, this is not a Harley. What I did was about like installing a stage 1 air filter on an HD but I went with a more integrated approach. I spent almost $800 that day including the $250 for the dyno tune. That total also includes over $300 for the PC5. The parts for my real mod were about $100 for a performance air filter. The remainder was the cost of installing the parts and tuning. If I decide to go further, the PC5 is already in place. That was a 1 time cost. Depending on where I go next I may or may not need a fresh dyno tune.
 

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I'm not aware of any ECM's capable of monitoring the gear selection and mis-adjusting the timing accordingly. At least not on motorcycles. <snip>

If not, how is the ECM even AWARE of what gear the tranny is in?
On Harleys they use a speed sensor which operates off the 5th gear in the transmission. (A basic Hall effect device.) The ECM then compares vehicle speed to engine RPMs to determine which gear the bike is in.

I agree with some of what you're saying, Wade, but you're painting with an awfully wide brush. There can be huge differences in EFI systems, even just among those available on motorcycles alone.
 

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What gear

On some bikes, but not mine, the gear is shown on the dash. If the dash light knows what gear the bike is in, I am sure the same info can be sent to the ECU. I mean valves are being opened and closed without a cam shaft.
Fuel and air is being mixed for different temperatures, of the air and the engine. as far back as the seventies the Honda 125 motocross bike was advancing the spark up to 10,000 revs and the retarding it. Was right there in the manual.
I had some interesting suggestions about how to get around the retard on my bike.
Do some fancy wyring so the ECU thinks it is always in 6th.
Pull the fuse on the ABS. And so on.
Some Harleys can crank out another 10 hp just by setting them up correctly.

Another example of non maximum power at the expense of catering to the jerk off crowd, is diaphragm carburetors. If you want to make more hp from your bike with diaphragm carbs, you throw them away and install good flat slide carbs. But now you can wheelie easier, and the engine does not back off revs as slowly, so Clyde the Slide may lock the back wheel if he is not careful with the clutch. They are sissy fying bikes for the hard of thinking, that will not learn how to ride, on something appropriate. So big brother messes with my bike, and this thread implies I can not change that. Bunk to both I say.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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There is always some meat left on the bone.

Vehicles are built and tuned for the average Joe who will not do anything to them except abuse them.
 

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[for] smooth throttle response and gentle performance curve.... (
And the alternative to smooth throttle response is what, the "all-or-nothing" throttle response I had on my Ninja before I rebuilt the carbs?

Broad brush or not, the guys selling Power Commanders are getting rich off the "something for nothing" crowd. Same as the people selling diet pills or spray-on wax.
 
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