Engine chip tuning manufacturers make plenty of bold claims about improving overall fuel economy and performance. But just how effective is this controversial technology? profi decided to find out by testing a chip box and a remap system at the DLG test station
Chipping engines can lead to some very heated debate, but there is no denying that the practice is actively carried out across Europe. For some tractor operators it might be the carrot of reduced fuel use that leads them down the chipping road, while for others it’s to gain extra power and performance. What few would deny, however, is that the relentless pursuit over the past decade of lower engine emissions has, in some cases, left Stage IIIA tractors struggling to match the fuel consumption performance of their ‘dirtier’ predecessors, and it is this, along with the escalating cost of diesel, that has probably done much to encourage farmers to experiment with chipping.
Granted, the new and supposedly more economical Stage IIIB engines are now reckoned to be reversing the argument, yet the interest in chipping amongst the farming community remains. So, how do these individual chipping systems ‘trick’ a tractor’s electronic brain? And what effect do they really have on output and fuel consumption? To find the answers to these two common questions, profi has carried out some investigative work with the DLG test station in Germany. We looked at the two systems available — a chip tune box and a remap — on two different tractors.
As usual, there are both pros and cons to each system: the chip tuning box can be easily removed; whereas remapping the ECU is said to give a slightly faster response, and it can be wiped off the tractor during a routine service software upgrade. From the outset it’s important to stress that all of the prices quoted in this article are for the German market and that there are several firms offering this service. Prices vary greatly, as do the standards of installation and the level of back-up.