Sunday, January 18, 2009

Computer Programmers for Cars & Trucks

Let’s talk a little about computer programmers for cars & trucks (sometimes called “chips”). There are literally a hundred different brands available. The brand I prefer is Superchips. It is a unit that plugs into the ECM port on the truck. The model I sell the most is the Flashpaq Tuner which comes with three options: Economy, Tow and Performance. They are available for gas or diesel; however, I sell many more to diesel truck owners.

The way the programmer works is it has enhanced programs that are loaded into the vehicle computer and it stores the original factory specs in the programmer.
After the unit is plugged into the ECM port, first it scans the computer to make sure there are no pre-existing codes. Then it gives you options such as shift point adjustment, tire size adjustments for speedometer calibrations for larger or smaller than stock tires, removal of speed limiter, rev limiter adjustments and offers fan adjustments to turn on the fan at different temperatures than the factory set.

For example, let’s use a 2007 Ford 6.0 liter diesel. On tow safe mode (always recommended when towing), you get 47 horsepower with 81 ft lbs of torque. On economy mode, you can expect an increase of 5-7% better fuel mileage and 88 horsepower and 132 ft lbs of torque improvements. In performance mode, there is an almost 100 horsepower increase with 160 ft lbs of torque.

Any time the truck needs to go to the dealer and you want the factory computer back to original settings, simply reverse the install procedure and the original settings will be transferred back to the truck’s computer while the programmer will store the optional settings for future use. This is about a 5-10 minute process. It is very important to choose a unit that won’t mess with other options and functions of the truck computer. That’s why I prefer Superchips. Also check with your dealer about potential warranty issues. Some dealers actually install such products, along with lift kits, wheels & tires and other accessories and other dealers won’t touch a truck with modifications. So always consult your dealers’ service department prior to modifications.

Last, there are over a hundred manufacturers of this kind of product and it can be very confusing until you are fully familiar with what the programmers are and how they are best utilized. Don’t make a costly mistake. Find a local supplier that is knowledgeable and rely on them to help you get the best setup. We have the knowledge and skill and have sold these for many years. Give us a call and we can walk you through the things you need to know.