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So, I put together a chip FAQ

dpham00

Modérateur Emeritus
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Chip FAQ

This guide only talks about the 2.0T chip, however, many of the topics apply to the 2.5, 3.2, and TDI as well. Not all chip vendors have a program available for all engines. This guide is mainly for people in the USA. This is still a very rough first draft, just wanted to see what you guys think. Please let me know if you have any suggestions, or if I made a mistake somewhere.

What is Chipping and how is it Different From Stock Software?
For the MKV, chipping/flashing/ecu upgrade refer to the same thing. Typically, an aftermarket manufacturer will acquire the stock ECU code, make some modifications to improve performance, including, but not limited to, boost, timing, and fueling. Most chips also slightly raise the rev limiter, and remove the speed governor. The chip is this modified ECU coding which is then installed on customer’s cars.
-All 2.0T chips increase boost.
-Some 2.0T chips will maintain similar to stock air/fuel ratio.

What Do I Need Before I Install a Chip?
Nothing! All chip vendors provide a chip that will work with an otherwise stock car. An upgraded DV (only applicable on the 2.0T) and PCV is recommended, as they have a tendency to fail when chipped, however, you can wait until they fail before replacing them as well.

Note that some chip vendors also provide additional software that can be used with additional mods such as an exhaust or a turbo upgrade.

What’s Involved in Chipping?
In the old days, chipping involved physically opening the ECU and soldering in a new chip. Those days are gone. All major MKV chips are flashed through the OBD2 port under your dash.

Performance:
The chip by far is the best bang for the buck in terms of performance. Most chips in the US will provide similar power gains.

Note:
-These numbers are provided by the manufacturer’s websites and are for a chip only.
-All power gains are at the brake horsepower (bhp), meaning they are crankshaft/flywheel HP, not wheel HP (whp). Most dyno plots show WHP. Also, dyno plots are really best used for tuning purposes as they can vary substantially based on the dyno and ambient conditions.

APR
91 octane: 246hp/282lb-ft
93 octane: 252hp/303lb-ft


GIAC
18-50hp and 50-85 ft-lbs gain


REVO
250hp/285 ft-lbs (http://www.revotechnik.com)
These graphs where taken from (http://www.revotechnik.com.au)


Yes, I know the graph conflicts with the stated values. 98 RON is about 93 AKI (rating used in the US), though this is a very rough approximation.

Unitronic
245hp/277lb-ft
I could not find dyno plots on Unitronic’s website

Dahlback Racing
244 hp (180 kW)/ 265 ft-lb

SpeedTuning
249 hp / 360 N*m (266 ft-lb)
**Note that the stock graph is not accurate because the 2.0t is underrated from the factory and will produce substantially more than what it’s rated at.


O.CT
235hp / 350 N*m (258 ft-lb)
**Note that the stock graph is not accurate because the 2.0t is underrated from the factory and will produce substantially more than what it’s rated at.
Green=stock torque, yellow = O.CT torque, cyan = stock hp, red = O.CT hp



Trial Software/Moneyback Guarantee
Both REVO and APR offer free trial software. Note that the installer may, at their discretion, charge an installation fee even on the trial software.
-Some manufacturers have said that they could chip over another manufacturer’s software. If you plan to do this, then you should check with them first. What I mean by this is if you go from the REVO trial to the APR trial.
-GIAC/Unitronic does not offer a trial software, however, they do offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

What Chip Should I Choose?
IMO, you should choose a local dealer who is knowledgeable and has good customer support among GIAC/REVO/APR. These are the biggest and most popular vendors out there and they have a wide network of dealers.
-Local is important because you don’t want to drive 4 hours just to get reflashed when the dealer flashes you to stock, or if you want an upgraded and/or newer flash. Keep that in mind when choosing who to go to.
-Good customer service is important – you don’t want to get a chip and when you have a problem, the dealer who installed it might not help you out. Talk to people in your area to see who they’ve had a good experience with.
-Look to see if they have a big dealer network base. A small network base isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just that if the dealer near you closes down, and you need to get reflashed, then you might have to travel a very long distance. And if the shop is small, then they might close down, in which case, you’re essentially SOL if you needed a reflash.


Where to Get it Installed?
-The chip can be installed at any dealer who distributes the chip that you are looking for. Also, please read the section ”What chip should I choose”. For reference, I have linked to the dealer locators:

APR: http://www.goapr.com/VW/dealer/locator.php

GIAC: http://www.giacusa.com/dealermap/

Revo: http://www.revotechnik.com/loc....aspx

Unitronic: http://www.unitronic.ca/uni/content/section/4/26/

Neuspeed: http://www.neuspeed.com/dealer..._euro

Price

*Notes
-I rounded some of the numbers to make it easier to add.
-All prices are in USD, UNO.
-Prices do not include the dealer installation fee, which typically range from free to $100.
-Sometimes you can save some money by buying it at the show, or when they have sales.
-Prices are list price only. Dealers have some leeway with regards to giving discounts, so check with your local dealer.

The base price for a pump gas chip is as follows:
APR: $600
GIAC: $550
Neuspeed: $500
REVO: $500
Superchips: $ £600 (~$1200 USD)
Dahlback Racing: 890 EUR excl. VAT (~$1300 USD)
SpeedTuning: $300
O.CT – Price not listed on website
Unitronic – $550


Additional programs/items can be added
APR addons:
2 programs (i.e. stock & chipped) $150
3 programs $220
4 programs $290
Fault Code Erase/Throttle Body Alignment (FCE/TBA) $100
Security Lock-out $60
Anti-Theft System $200
Stage 2 software (for those with a downpipe) – no additional charge

GIAC addons:
Stock $50
Race 100-104 octane $100
Kill $50
Valet $50
Security Firewall $100
Handheld Flashloader (to allow switching) $150


Neuspeed:
Neuspeed does not offer any additional programs.

Revo:
Revo Select $200
Revo Select Plus $350
Stage 2 software (for those with a downpipe) $50

Unitronic addons:
Stage 1+ $50
 

dpham00

Modérateur Emeritus
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Switching Technology
Any chip manufacturer can reflash you to stock, most are free, though some dealers may charge an installation fee. APR, GIAC, and REVO allow switching between programs.
-APR switching is done via the cruise control stalk.
-GIAC switching is done via the flashloader. This unit is plugged into the OBD2 port under the dash. If you decide to buy a used one, make sure that it’s CAN-capable for the MKV. At the moment, there is no ability to switch using the Vag-com cable for the MKV.

http://www.giacusa.com/flashloader_handheld.php
- Revo Select – Switchable between stock and two octane specific programs and includes anti-theft. It connects via the OBD2 port under the dash.
-Revo Select Plus – Includes Select features plus boost, timing, and fueling adjustments, PC connectibility, and 3 user based modes.

-Please see here for more info on the REVO units: http://www.revotechnik.com/products/sps.aspx

Buying Used
All MKV 2.0T ECU’s come with the VIN # encoded into the ECU. If you buy a used ECU, then you will have to have the dealer recode it through VW’s GEKO system, and the cost from what I’m told is around $300-$400. Also, the warranty on the chip is generally linked to the VIN #, so my guess would be that the chip vendors won’t reflash you for free if you bought a used ECU. If you plan on buying a used chipped ECU, I’d strongly recommend that you contact the manufacturer of the chip directly and discuss with them your intentions.

Reliability
Obviously reliability is as big concern for people when purchasing a chip. Increasing the power output of the car will decrease the life of the engine, however, there have been very very few engine failures that have been proven to be caused by to the chip itself. Sure, small stuff like the dv or pcv failure occur, but these have also been known to fail on stock cars as well. Chipping is still always considered a risk, and if warranty is your main concern, then don’t chip the car. Also, driving styles will affect the reliability as well. Bottom line is, there are hundreds, probably thousands of people with chips with no major problems at all.

Warranty on the Car
Ahh…the famous question…will the chip void the warranty? The answer isn’t a resounding yes or no. The bottom line is no modification will outright void the warranty, however, if the dealer proves that the modification directly caused failure of a stock component, then they most likely will not honor warranty in that scenario. If however, you have a chip, and the radio stops working, then they will have to fix the radio under warranty.

Another important thing to note is that the original warranty on the car is through Volkswagen of America (VWOA). The dealer is a separate entity from VWOA and may refuse to service your car for almost any reason.

Can the VW Find My Chip?
Certain chips provide a security lock-out option which doesn’t allow one to change the mode without knowing the code(APR), or using a specific flashloader (GIAC) . When it is used in conjunction with stock mode, the chip is very very hard for the dealer to detect. If VW decides to analyze the software code, then it won’t match stock, and they will know you are chipped, but this is an extremely unlikely scenario. Also, most chip vendors will flash you back to a stock VW file if you wanted to (though it might not be the one that your car came with)

Will Shifts be More “Jerky” With a Chip on the DSG?
When driving in “D”, the shifts should feel the same as stock. Personally, I have GIAC, and the shifts actually feel smoother with the chip than when I was stock. Some people have reported harsher shifts on certain files of certain manufacturers, however, at this time, I believe that it has either been fixed, or a fix is currently in the works. If you do experience harsher shifts with your chip, then you should talk to your chip manufacturer about it, and if they say it isn’t a common problem, then you should start a thread to find out who else on the forums also has the same problems.

Chips & Exhaust
For the mkv, an exhaust is generally sold as two parts, the downpipe (which includes the cat) and the catback section.
-A cat-back exhaust can be used with any chip without any issues.
-A turbo-back exhaust (TBE) or a downpipe(dp) is more critical as it changes the catalytic converter (cat). Some aftermarket cats can be used on an otherwise stock car, and won’t cause a cat related check engine light (CEL) such as the AWE dp with the metal cat. If you decide to get a cat that is inferior (in terms of emissions control) and will cause a CEL or decide to go catless, then you can use the APR/REVO Stage 2 program which will eliminate the cat related emissions CEL. You can also use an o2 sensor spacer to help reduce/eliminate the cat related emissions CEL. One such spacer was designed and sold by vortex member "Wayne92slc" and sometimes referred to as the "Wayne Angle Block". GIAC tuned their chip to be optimized with the AWE Turbo-back exhaust, but they have tested their chip on an otherwise stock car and found it to work just fine. GIAC does not offer a program that will tamper with the cat related emissions CEL.
- TDI models through 2006 have no sensors after the catalyst, so the ECU has no idea what's going on with the catalyst or even whether it exists. (The upcoming 2009 model will be an entirely different story.)

Vag-Com Logging
The Vag-Com is a tool made by Ross-Tech (www.ross-tech.com) that works similar to the dealer scan tool. It does a variety of things, but in the context of a chip, it will allow you to log data on your car. Some vendors will do vag-com logs, but some won’t. It isn’t required to log data via the vag-com when installing the chip, but having baseline data is very useful to have later on so you can see when you have a problem and what changed. If your dealer doesn’t do it, then you can take logs yourself if so inclined.

Can you adjust the boost, timing, fueling, idle, fuel trims, and other settings?
Unlike the 1.8t, at this time, there isn’t a program that allows you to adjust it via the Vag-Com cable. This means that programs like REVO Lemmiwinks, APR V-tune, and GIAC Mobile Tuner will not work for the MKV. The only company that allows you to change settings is REVO with their SPS unit. See “Switching Options” above for more info on this.

How can the chip be removed?
The only way to remove the chip is to reflash over it.
-Some people get reflashed by the dealer due to a recall, so the chip is removed. In this case, go back to the dealer who installed the chip, and they should reflash you for free, though some may charge an installation fee.
-Unplugging the battery will not remove the chip
-Some manufacturers have said that they could chip over another manufacturer’s software. If you plan to do this, then you should check with them first.

Does Chipping Affect Gas Mileage?
Yes and No. If you drive with a light foot (i.e. stay outside of boost), then gas mileage shouldn’t be affected, or you might even get slightly increased MPG. If you drive with a lead foot, then the mileage will go down.

Maintenance
Proper maintenance is critical to the car’s health. It is even more so important in chipped cars. VW requires oil changes at 5k, 10k, and every 10k thereafter under NORMAL use. Depending on how you drive the car, you might want to reduce the oil change interval, and other service requirements. You must use a 502.00 oil.

Can I Make my Own Chip?
Yes, you can make your own chip, if you had the money and knowledge to do so. Be advised that the cost of making your own chip would many times higher than buying an off the shelf chip. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, then you can cause lots of damage. If you are still interested in making your own chip, then this is a good place to start:
http://www.checksumm.com/chiptuning/index.php

Are There Other Alternatives to Chipping?

Chip websites:
-I have included some of the less common US chips here as well.
APR: http://www.goapr.com
GIAC: http://www.giacusa.com
REVO: http://www.revotechnik.com
Unitronic: http://www.unitronic.ca
MTM: http://www.mtm-online.de/en/index.php
Oettinger: http://www.oettinger.de/index2_e.htm
O.CT http://www.oct-tuning.com/index.php
Bluefin Superchips: http://www.superchips.co.uk/superchips.php
http://www.mybluefin.co.uk/bluefin.php
BSR: http://en.bsrab.se/products/t862/
Dahlback Racing: http://www.dahlbackracing.se/english/main.asp
SpeedTuning: http://www.speedtuningusa.com/products/vw.htm
 

vdubbaby

Fast is the only way!!
Location
Pittsburgh
So, if a dealer says to you "Did you know your car has chipping software?" Do you play stupid or should you own up to the fact that you do have a chip?
 

bcze1

You people make me laugh
Great stuff Dan! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

One small addition to the Price segment. For REVO you can also buy the SPS that does not allow for custom tuning, but does give: Stock, 91, 93, & kill for $199.
 
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