A vehicle that’s mass-produced for the public isn’t going to have a hot tune loaded into its ECU, for reliability, emissions, and safety reasons. Thankfully, the high-performance aftermarket has found ways to unlock the full potential of most vehicles. SCT Performance and Bully Dog are constantly finding ways to safely optimize a vehicle’s performance.
Automakers create specific ECU calibrations for their vehicles as they’re being developed. These calibrations are extremely complex since they have to work with so many different vehicle systems. There are compromises that need to be made when these calibrations are made, and the vehicle’s performance is always one of them.
Jill Hepp from SCT explains what goes into creating a high-performance calibration for an ECU.
“We have a specific approach when we’re creating calibrations. The goal is to enhance the driver’s experience while maintaining emission compliance, and staying well within the vehicle’s mechanical limits. This is accomplished by gathering stock data comprised of emissions output, power level, and driver feel while data logging a vehicle during testing. Then, we repeat the same testing as stock, but with calibration changes until a well-balanced driver feel is achieved within the required boundaries. We test for street driving in various areas such as city and highway conditions. The calibrations are also dyno-tested for power comparison.”
The process of creating these calibrations is very technical since the SCT and Bully Dog engineers are working with the OEM ECUs. These calibrations have to account for how the vehicle will react in different driving situations without damaging the vehicle. If you’re interested in adding horsepower to your vehicle, you can check out the SCT and Bully Dog websites to see if they have a product for you.