Engine management is a key component of any modern vehicle built today, however, emission laws restrict manufacturers to produce vehicles at their complete potential. This study investigates the control of an engine using aftermarket engine control units to increase performance, fuel efficiency and driveability.
When manufactures produce vehicles, they are inherently conservative. They spend billions of dollars building engines, chassis, and electronics which are all restricted due to strict emission laws and rising fuel costs all around the world which have brought about trends by manufactures to produce vehicles with detuned engines.
This thesis presents the essentials needed to understand the need for aftermarket ECU’s and how they work, unlocking the hidden potential in modern day vehicles. A tuning manual is also developed and twelve aftermarket ECU brands are compared and analysed based on the criteria of which gives the best interface and options to achieve an increase in performance, fuel efficiency and driveability simultaneously. The information acquired is then verified on a vehicle through the use of a chassis dynamometer.
The ECU of choice was the Haltech brand units due to their outstanding features which met all the criterion used for comparison. However, it was explained how these units can sometimes have a high price tag and as such, alternative units were also advised in the instance where a tight budget may be an issue.
The advancements of engine control will be continuing throughout the years with different engine technologies being produced. Furthermore, emission laws and taxes are also bound to increase, putting more pressure on vehicle manufacturers and as such it is important to have in-depth knowledge of the potential aftermarket ECU units are capable of.