Performance Parts

he Most Important Performance Part In A Modern Engine Is The Piggyback Chip

The sky is the limit as to how many different types of performance parts are available to improve car engines' power output and performance.  In some cases, existing parts are modified to adapt their functioning and in other cases, parts are replaced entirely with new and purpose-developed parts.  Mostly, modifications to engine all aim to achieve the same thing: force more air into cylinder before the inlet valve closes.  The more air the engine can ingest, the more oxygen is available for the combustion process and the more power the engine will develop.

Modified Engine Performance Parts

Some engine performance parts are modified to optimise their operation and a typical example of this would be optimising the cylinder head to offer less resistance to airflow into the cylinders.  This is commonly referred to as “gas-flowing” the cylinder head, but while this process of smoothing the walls of the air plumbing may result in higher air speeds and better cylinder-filling, it may also be accompanied by “porting”, where the actual airflow passages in the engine are also widened to admit a higher volume of air.  In years gone by when cars used all-mechanical parts to deliver fuel, like carburettors, these devices would have had to be entirely replaced with high-performance items, but nowadays engines are controlled by engine management systems and engine performance parts like piggyback chips can be added without having to replace the system.

Modifying the ECU Signals

Piggyback chips are highly effective performance parts that can improve an engine's power delivery through the modification of the electronic signals going to many of the engine's control mechanisms, like modifying:

  • ignition timing for high-performance running
  • cam timing (and sometimes replacing the camshaft with a more performance-orientated item)
  • the operation of the variable camshaft control mechanism (if fitted)
  • the operation of the turbo wastegate to allow more turbo boost pressure (turbocharged cars)
  • the fuel delivery regime to inject more fuel into the combustion chambers

Replacing Parts

Sometimes, special performance parts are fitted in place of existing parts that cannot be modified satisfactorily and these may include:

  • Exhaust manifold: a “branch” is sometimes fitted that may have equal-length piping, smoother surfaces and more elegant and less restrictive bends.
  • Exhaust system: working in tandem with the exhaust manifold to achieve optimal cylinder scavenging, a “free-flow” exhaust system may offer less resistance against exiting gases – and make more noise.
  • Camshaft: a more aggressive with higher lift, longer duration or a combination of the two may achieve notably better cylinder-filling.

Achieving a Balance

It may not always be easy to achieve a sound balance between performance and economy and make your performance parts work together in harmony with your modified engine management systems.  Our team of experts can program your piggyback chip to work best with your modifications and tests on a dynamometer would show what changes should be made to the ECU mappings to yield the most power.  However, another, milder map can be programmed to be selected automatically under part-throttle conditions to optimise economy when you do not require the extra power.

Clearly, the piggyback chip is one of the most important performance parts in your engine.

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