ECU boost­ing

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Diagnostics Doctor -

How can you tell if the ECU has been chipped in a sec­ond­hand car? Ob­vi­ously deal­ers are re­luc­tant to ad­mit it, even if they know. Syd­ney Phillips There are ba­si­cally three meth­ods of chip­ping a car. The sim­plest and ar­guably least ef­fi­cient method is to sim­ply con­nect a de­vice to the EOBD, but this is eas­ily checked by en­sur­ing that there is noth­ing plugged into the EOBD socket.

The next method is fit­ting a tun­ing box some­where in the en­gine loom be­tween the en­gine sen­sors and the ECU. The tun­ing box works by al­ter­ing the data re­ceived from the en­gine be­fore it is re­layed to the ECU. Al­though this may be hid­den, it should not be that dif­fi­cult to find and would very likely be la­belled with the mak­ers’ de­tails. Nor­mally un­plug­ging the box and re­turn­ing the wiring di­rectly to the ECU should set the pa­ram­e­ters back to the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

The third method is to re-flash or al­ter the soft­ware in the ECU. This would not be vis­i­ble and the only way to know if it had been done would be to have the soft­ware checked by a main dealer. This could only be re­turned to its orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion by re-flash­ing and re­set­ting the soft­ware in the ECU. I would imag­ine that any main dealer would be quite happy to charge you and in­form you if the stan­dard soft­ware wasn’t in­stalled.

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