View original topic: Opinions on performance chips in the 2.1L +
Dogpilot Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:45 pm

Has anybody tried or heard any feedback from using this chip in their van?


bljones Tue Jan 24, 2006 8:45 pm

I was wondering the same thing.

r39o Tue Jan 24, 2006 8:54 pm

It is supposed to be good. What I wonder is what is so special about the "D" ECU? Is it the only one with a socket for a chip? Guess, I have to go look, sometime. I may yet convert my Digijet to a Digifant or Megasquirt or who knows....

mr_vanagon Tue Jan 24, 2006 10:41 pm

Why would I spend 100 bucks for 5 more horses? Maybe I'm just too cheap to mess with speeding up a vanagon. Anybody ever put a 10 cyl diesel toureg in a vanagon yet?

Dogpilot Tue Jan 24, 2006 10:52 pm

The tourag engine, in the crate fits perfectly on the floor, clears the slider opening by at least 4". Be sure to strap it down, or it will slide around.


walrus Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:17 am

What that ad does not say is that you most likely need to use a higher octane fuel to get those added benefits. It probaly discloses that tidbit in the installation sheet.

[email protected] Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:19 am

I don't know if it is "worth it" or not, but I just picked up a spare ECU with the D designation so I'm probalbly give it s hot here in the near future!

squareyes Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:33 am

i've got the chip in my crew cab
there is a difference, i go up the big hill in town at 90km instead of 80km
the engine rev's way higher which gets you into the next gear on steep starts. the main reason for the chip is to now switch to 1.4:1 ratio rockers. with the new rockers the engine can be up to 30hp higher.

El Boxeador Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:55 am

Good info squareyes! Thanks. 8)

r39o Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:36 am

Kewl. That provides impetus for either changing to Digifant or having them tune Digijet. I think my Euro 112hp Digijet ECU does not provide for lambda input and, I am told, they run rich. I'll have to dig into this as I want a new engine sometime. Wonder what you would get from a bigger engine and those mods? The mind wonders..... Then again, I have read the wbx is tuned a lot in Germany, but the information is not wide spread (read it is in German.)

squareyes Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:54 pm

gowesty is talking about tunning chips for their higher hp engines

also if you think the germans are doing lots....checkout the beetle boys
they love the wasser and really don't care if the heads might leak
the 2.1 is the largest flat 4 that vw made so they are happy to take it and tune it till it explodes......bored out and turbo-ed

bacwmi Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:13 pm

Would the chip make any difference in an automatic trans van?? It seems from what i read on the first link that it would correct any problems with the air/fuel mix when using the different cam but without the new cam the revs going up to 6000 don't mean that much to someone with an auto

r39o Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:19 pm

bacwmi wrote: Would the chip make any difference in an automatic trans van?? It seems from what i read on the first link that it would correct any problems with the air/fuel mix when using the different cam but without the new cam the revs going up to 6000 don't mean that much to someone with an auto
If you modify the governer you can hang in the gears longer to take advantage of that higher end power. (It is a simple mod at that.) Sure, you may not be able take alot of advantage to the highest end, but look at the curves. They are all up. Only the hp is way up at the top end. The torque picks up lower, too. You drive torque. Not HP. You notice the torque. The chip is a cheap mod, in reality.

bacwmi Wed Jan 25, 2006 5:32 pm

Thanks R39o that makes sense and I remember seeing something on that mod --I think they just cut off a corner or re shaped something on the gov I would like to give this whole deal a try I am going to check the part number on my ECU --hope it ends with D

McHuntley Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:13 pm

Hey squareyes,
Can you tell me what it did for your mileage?
Better or worse?


squareyes Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:40 pm

the mileage is a little lower, but that might be that i'm driving the truck that much faster than before.

one of the articles talks about quite an improvement in mileage with the rockers installed....makes the engine more efficient i guess

Phil G Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:37 pm

I would be willing to bet that most of that 'whopping' 5 hp increase is made by changing ignition curve, and/or maximum rpm. The problem with this is that it slightly increases power in a given spot on the rpm curve at the expense of torque/hp somewhere else on the curve. Also by raising the rev limit it is possible to say the chip will make more hp simply because the engine, which is essentially a compressor, can gobble more fuel and air at that higher rpm, and therefore make a bit more hp. This does nothing for torque though, since the stock cam is ground to provide maximum torque long before the STOCK rev limit. At the stock limit, the engine is producing less torque than it's maximum, and falling off further the higher the motor revs thereafter.

Everyone talks about hp, the measurement of how quickly the job can be done, but torque is the measurement of how MUCH work can be done and this is far more useful when considering improvements to a small motor pushing a heavy van.

I would also suspect that any additional hp gains from the combination of ratio rockers, free flowing exhausts, and free flowing intake are primarily gained by those specific tweaks, not the chip. And of course I would wonder about any chip claims alluding to these gains having more to do with the chip WITH these mods, than making the mods without the chip. In other words, if there is really 30hp to be gained doing all this, something I doubt, then 25hp of it would be gained anyway without the chip. Think about it - a 30% increase in power from pipes, air cleaner, ratio rockers and chip? I find it a bit 'rosy'. And while I'm not going to accuse the chip maker of being a snake oil salesman, at the same time I wouldn't spend my money until they could prove to me with hard dyno results exactly what was gained, but more importantly exactly what was lost to get that gain.

One way that chips can really make a difference is in cars that have electronically controlled automatic transmissions. Manufacturers often use the shift points to clean up a vehicle's numbers - both mileage and emissions for the Feds, and in this neighborhood CAFE also. So in some cases significant drivability and performance gains can be had by massaging the shift curve.

We once put a 93' Chevy Z71 pickup on a chassis dyno before and after exhaust, chip, and K&N went into it. As I recall there was only about 12hp gained on this 225hp engine - more realistic by % of total power, and most of that was due to the new exhaust system, but that didn't tell the whole story. The torque curve stayed about as broad, but moved up a bit, and drag racing the truck against a stop watch showed a very real improvement because of the shift point mods working together with the torque change. That chip was from the guys at Jet, and was well worth the money. The truck is still around and has 190,000 miles on it now. The mods were done at 40k.

About the only folks I know that will show you hard numbers for their chip's performance gains - and losses, and put their money where their mouth is, are the guys at Jet performance products/Jones fuel systems in Huntington Beach, California. They used to make a chip for the 2.1 Digifant, but I don't know if they still do. I think at least they'll give us a realistic picture of what is really possible, and what is not with a chip. I believe they were the first company to manufacture tuning chips back when the early Corvette TPI's were made tunable - before OEM laptop software took over. They also had years of tuning experience on GM carburetors for GM and for NASCAR & Winston Cup teams. I'll call them tomorrow and see what they have to say - might be illuminating.

Lastly, I really would have trouble buying the argument that enriching the stoichiometric fuel ratio on the 2.1 Digi would do much more than create smog and kill the van's already poor fuel mileage. These motors neither have the compression or combustion design needed to really make use of more fuel without mechanical modifications. They have been engineered to have a very broad and useful torque curve and good overall drivability.
When you consider their tiny displacement, they actually do an admirable job of pushing 4,000 or more pounds around.

r39o Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:17 pm

I emailed Jet. Their terse response was: "Not available." Now whether or not they had it or what, of course, I can not tell. All I need is the file, I can burn my own.

So maybe a trip to them is in order....perhaps a phone call. No time for that at the moment.

Phil G Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:45 pm

I'm going to be up in their neck of the woods the beginning of next week so I'll pay the guys a visit. The brains of the operation are in the lab, on the chassis dyno or flow bench, not the email client so the response you got was probably from the girl up front answering phones and running interferance so the guys can get their work done. Mondays and Friday are never good days for a Leisurely chat there - It's a pretty busy little shop

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