The Magic of ECU Tuning - /ENGINEERED

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Steve Dinan is an icon in the BMW world. DINAN's cars are fast, reliable, and well-rounded. Who better to learn about tuning your ECU?Learn on Monday, wrench smarter on Sunday. Introducing a NEW series on /DRIVE, aimed at educating you to build a faster, better, more reliable car: /ENGINEERED. We want to empower our fellow enthusiasts to know more, and do more, by learning from some of the best engineers in the game.

... 2015 BMW DINAN DRIVE ENGINEERED Season advice best cars educational engineering fabrication howstuffworks specs tech technology tips tuning

Note, he says that software tuning a Naturally Aspirated engine nets you a 0 gain.\n\nHis shop sells software for N/A cars (BMW S85 / M5 V10). \n\nWhich is it?
This guys a good salesmen
Ajay Borkar
I liked the video a lot. Lots of great information, but I had one problem. Please stop with the switching of cameras when interviewing someone. It got weird and the subject had to keep turning to whichever camera was being used. Thanks for the video though.
Anthony Maddison
This was a great video, really interesting.
6:50 is incorrect you can get a bone stock zx14 retuned for 10-15whp same for hayabusa, many many stock n/a cars can get a 10whp 20ftlb gain by tuning because many times manufacturers make them lean from the factory for emissions etc.
Brandon Le
This guy is brilliant, I'm learning so much off of him and hearing things I've never thought of. Great to get professional insight at such a high quality!
Bryan Santos
what about the shark injector? is it a good ecu tuning?
C. M. H.
Agree 100% with what Steve said, with one caveat. Several manufacturers essentially de-tune performance engines by vehicle class. Meaning, lower end vehicles would have lower HP 'tunes' from the factory. Take a C class AMG, for example. For all intents and purposes, the same engine as an E, CLS, S Class but a lower HP output (M156). A simple aftermarket brings your lower end tune up to the rest of the power of the higher class brethren.
Casey Lockwood
Wish this guy was my uncle.
Clever and Original Username.
Hey, Dinan! Great guy, fantastic cars, and gorgeous work.
Corrado VRz
Excellent episode, I'm not a BMW fan but I liked this guy and it was good to get a view behind the Dinan approach.
Craig Martin
This is a very experienced and wise man, wish this video was longer
great listening to him thanks
Dashcam Dumbasses
Wow this guy is awesome. If he was one of my teachers I would have actually listened.
Dinan F25 X3
You can get gains out of an NA but it's not even a fraction of what fa gets
Excellent video, thanks for this. I want to get into engine tuning once I buy a Power FC for my car and this helped me understand the process a little better. What he said about the stock ECU having coding 'traps' is dead on. My Celica ECU CANNOT be tuned either through a direct link up or piggybacks due to these traps. It forces the owner to buy an entirely new ECU, which runs $1000 unfortunately.
Drive, having this show was one of the best decisions ever!! Brilliant job.\nLove all the episodes but this one takes the cake.\nYou need to admire a person that can explain something that is extremely complex in simple fashion. Mr. Dinan shall now be called ECU guru.
Dr. Pavel I'm CIA
Guy sounds and talks like Linus Torvalds. Hell even moves like him. I liked him.
Dusan Vukicevic
I could listen Steve Dinan all day everyday. So much knowledge and experience.
As fun as it is to watch some guy thrash around a new (or custom) car in a beautiful setting, Engineered and Inside Koenigsegg etc are probably my favorite series on this channel. Well, I suppose I like Big Muscle too and another series that was once a regular feature on this channel.
Engineering Explained
Everything is more complicated than it seems, fantastic video!
This guy knows what he's talking about.
Franco Regalo
There we go!! good shit /DRIVE
Frost Bite
It's not magic. ECUs are tuned by manufactures the way they are to make them last. You want to add more power, it's not going to last as long.
Gabriel Sterr
I just learned more about ECUs in 14 minutes than in all my life before. Thanks a lot!
Geoffrey Vun
I've learnt so much in this episode its comparable to an hour class in college. Dinan is simply amazing, I can imagine this guy teaching. Best /Drive episode I've watched
Giancarlo Eiras
Man I was simply just in a haze listening to Dinan talk! It could of keep going for hours and I wouldn't of even noticed! That's a really rare/ special gift.
Nice to hear the truth very smart man thanks for the honest information
Hadi Abbas
Dooooope video\nVery informative
Hoist Hanger
Really interesting to hear about the 'traps' manufacturers put in the ECU. I guess that's no surprise as the manufacturers have been moving towards 'dealer only' serving for a couple decades. Great episode, Steve Dinan definitely has passion for what he and his company do. Love seeing how he lights up when he's speaking about cars/tuning.
Ian Thompson
Dinan is correct, manufacturers tune the engines to the max based on the mechanical limits of parts. People just don't understand that. Now if you remove some emission stuff, get a better flowing intake and exhaust and then tune it of course you can make more power. But stock your not going to be able to beat......... I thought this was a fantastic video
JDM Cesar
imagine what he would charge to map my AEM standalone. paid $1000 for device and $600 for a street tune.
So jb4 is not a good idea?
James Wut
Awesome video and very informative but I have one point to make.\n\nTuning a stock engine is not worthless.\n\nYes knock sensors are used to set a specific timing, but on a stock vehicle the manufacturers are usually a LITTLE conservative so there is still SOME on the table. They create a \
Jane Huzrad
I hope that one day they create an ECU for the brain, so I can just download his knowledge and install it into mine. What an amazing guy too!
This was amazing. Einstein always said that if you cant explain something in a simple manner then you don´t know what you´re talking about, and Dinan definitely knows his stuff. He gives a clear proper explanation and keeps you interested the entire video. Please make more videos like this, amazing!
Jay Jones
Sir wanna be my sensei
Jeffrey Rose
I worked on a Dinan Tuned X6 M-Sport last week... guy didn't take very good care of it but a beautiful machine, not a fan of the X6 but this one was ok
Jonathan Chung
Need more episodes like this.\n\nMore indepth
Was he taking a jab at JB4 and PROcede tuners here?? Haha
Joshua Childers
Eh performance chips or tuners you order online not working? I call BS. I've seen quite a few trucks and cars programmed and have seen a difference.
Dear Steve Dinan,\n\nYou need to start your own channel here on YouTube! It was a real pleasure listening to someone who has \
Lazza Leppi
All this won't mean anything in 20 years. It's like talking about which horseshoe made a faster horse.
Leo Bustos
Cars are for mentaly didables people.and women.
With this man's words of wisdom, I am having serious second thoughts about learning how to tune my own ecu. I'll leave it to a professional.
So he wasn't optimistic about future ECU tuning. Ugg... Take a look at a modern diesel. So many sensors!
Mac Cat
Educational, informative, entertaining and, as always, very well done.\nThank you DRIVE and Steve Dinan.\nI would like to see more episodes like this and lot more of Steve Dinan.
Marc Monson
this series wastes a lot of paper
Mark Estrada
You can do a lot of damage if you don't know what you're doing. I'm an old school mechanic and i retired from repair right when the first American DIS started to appear. I could usually find bad sensor on the new computer controlled with an ohm meter without a problem. Their was nothing on the internet to help you much unless you wanted to pony up a couple of thousand bucks for Mitchels on the dial up. A small shop like mine was on your own. Either you could diagnose or you went out of business. \n\nThat being said,I bought a C5, 4 years ago as a daily driver and it's been a learning curve. I have HP tuner but I'm real careful about what i do and save everything if i do change anything. It's cool to try different tunes from others if you dont have a dyno, but i had it done right after i put a new 500 Hp engine it. I do understand injection tables but i am nowhere near knowledgeable enough to change them. \n\nIt is nice that you can get right to the basic fundamentals of what makes an engine run correctly. I love it. I wish was young and just getting into it, I'm getting old and dont have time to get in too deep like i used to. I taught myself auto repair and computer repair and networks after i messed up my back. I was in the trade for 25 years, and a lot happened after i quit fixing cars. \n\nThere is a lot of money to be made if you learn to program ECU's and cal. fuel injection. shop are becoming just parts replacers and good tech's a few and far between. If you're thinking about it and have the aptitude, do it. Win-win.
Mark F
Megasquirt FTW
Matthew Zuber
Mr. Dinan just took a super complicated subject and was able to explain it to the every day car enthusiast. That is no easy feat, and i thank him for lesson on ECUs.
Max Germain
I found the video informative. Although the things have changed a lot across manufactures, I guess BMW is a lot different than tuning a GM car.
Mike Regner
Another basic vid by drive. When are they going to step there game up on here and have more advance level stuff?
The way this guy talks is like one of the best doctors with incredible bedside manner.. hes like a human Quaalude to the listener.. he can say your grandmother is a serial killer and you would just nod your head with dazed eyes.... Idont know what it is about him though.. he reminds me of Jeff Bridges, Michael cane, and Chevy chase rolled into one.. lol.
Modor An
Damn, Mr. Dinan is a very down to earth honest and funny guy...i like that.
Mopar Magic
Very informative. This guy teaches better than my damn college professors.
6:35 No, sorry you're wrong. You would be correct, except that manufacturers have to adhere to emissions standards and that's where the performance can be gained. There a bunch of engines used in different applications but some may be detuned. That's where power can easily be gained.\n\nAnd I'm not talking about some $20 eBay chips. I mean professional tuners that are ~$400.\n\nI come from motorcycles so here's an example. The newest generation R6 never achieves WOT in 1st or 2nd gear due to noise and emissions restrictions. That's easy to fix with a Flash though
teach me master *_* i could listen to him for years
My Stoner Mind
This guy is cool man
Patrick M. Blanchard
Mr Dinan knows his shiz!
Poor Man Mods
I bought one of this $20 chips and made over 100 hp with it
This bloke seems very knowledgable, however that said we should be striving to demystify car tuning. We shouldn't fear it, Things like Hp academe give a good base. I'm an amatuer but I find tuning with a knock sensor while always monitoring AFR works well enough, plus all modern ECU's will learn and optimise your maps with the proper inputs.
Excellent insight into the world of tuning, keeps it simple so the common folk can understand. I would like to touch on his one comment about software not providing any gains without hardware changes....piggy back systems that adjust fuel/timing can gain 10-20hp in some areas of the torque curve but not peak numbers. Manufacturers like to run it rich in the higher rpms to protect the engine in hot climates for example at the cost of power. Also variable cam systems like vtec crossover points can be lowered so even a stock engine has gains to be made but only with time on a dyno with a proper tuner and not mass produced fixed programming drop in chips like he has said.
This was by far the BEST /DRIVE episode ever (for information). You guys could have turned this into a 1 hour/5 episode series. And I would binge watch this for 5 hours straight.
Rexin Oridle
One sentence: I like this dude.
Rs Koro
Anybody else feel like they NEED a Dinan Tuned Beamer !?! Steve you hardwired geeza how difficult/fun was this I wanna hear more of this story!!! Scientific education in reality!
Sai Wolfie
great video, I just drove an M4 yesterday at the dealer in Seattle WA and have been drooling like a dog since. If I ever had it ECU'd I'd want these guys doing it!\n\n PS I haven't bought it yet. Turns out they are really expensive...
Sam Stoner
I love seeing the head of a company who also knows his stuff. Steve reminds me of Christian von Koenigsegg, but replace supercars with BMW ECU chips.
Shane Drake
To the people saying Steve Dinan is wrong concerning N/A Tunes being worthless as far as HP gains. There are two sides to this, and Steve is coming from the BMW, German luxury market where the manufacturers have very little incentive not to tune the N/A cars to their maximum efficiency from the factory. Now talk about the american sports car market or even cheaper cars and yes there is sometimes room fro improvement, especially the older you get. I have seen this first hand with the Audi market and its why the Turbo four cylinders are always preferred for the modders over the N/A 6 cylinders. \n\nWhen a manufacturer tunes a vehicle they consider compliance to emissions laws first, reliability second, and power/MPG last. A modder seeks to essentially reverse the priorities of that list..
Always found the easiest way to explain octane is this: octane is a measure of the gases ability to prevent detonation. More octane = less detonation.
bet this guy would enjoy tuning a rotary engine haha, basically nice flat torque curve to redline :)
I bought a 200$ reprogramming tool for my standard ecu na clio, i can now install different tunes, like for an example if want a lean fuel mixture for pops and bangs. I was pretty unsure about the purchase but i feel like with the ron 98 tune i have more torque in the low revs, placebo or real?
VF Gunrunners
Yup hes a tech nerd, Awesome
Windbooster Owen
Hello, do you know electronic throttle controller? it can not only accelerate throttle response but also slow down throttle response of your car. It can provide you with racing car driving experience and also save fuel if you choose the economy mode. It is different from ECU tuning, it does no harm to your car .
He barely even scratched the fundamentals.\nThis to consider before tuning your car;\n1. Cylinder Pressure Sensor\n2. Rich air/fuel mixture until you.\n\n3. Sometimes working smarter is better ex: run lean/er at idle\n4.Use a pressure sensor or dynanometer to find the best ignition time position or knock sensor.
Yup Got It
Zero the Wanderer
I know not to believe everything on the internet, but seeing it in person, remapping the ECU on N/A cars can make a difference. Was at a shop with my friend who has an early '00s Bimmer and he gained 28hp on his N/A engine. It was done by a shop, not just a cheap chip, and was about $500, give or take. Extended the power curves and made everything smoother.
Wow..he knows his shit. Could listen to him all day. Everyone buying a $15 chip on ebay should be forced to watch this..
Is surprising how simply just having a all-round nice boss can make the brand so much more appealing. Hope to see more of Dinan! Maybe a tour around the factory, showing them tuning a car etc
I will never ditch this guy's class if he's my college professor.
cool, calm and very informative dude this steve dinan. im betting he knows some about engines :D
I would love to see these videos come back, my favorite series on youtube ever
I respect what Steve has accomplished. I learned a lot by watching this. However, he's wrong when he talks about ECU tuning on N/A engines being a waste. I know from personal experience that I picked up 3 mph of trap speed and 3 tenths in the 1/4 mile with just a tune on a 5.0 Coyote Mustang. This was consistent across 2 cars that I owned. There ARE \
joseph emerson
These /Engineered segments ARE FANTASTIC! Please make more!
i've been tunning ECUs since i started playing NFSU2, i dont need no advices
Steve dinan is no doubt intelligent and knows a thing or two about tuning cars, but a lot of what he is saying is inaccurate or misleading. Tuning can be difficult and takes time to learn but it is not impossible for an average person to learn. Personally I played around with it for a few months and successfully tuned a car that runs well and makes big power safety. Drive should do an engineered episode on a company like haltech, aem, motec who actually build ecus or even Andre from the High Performance Academy. Many of the things Steve suggests about ignition timing are not true. The purpose of optimizing ignition timing is to reach MBT(maximum brake torque) for that load and rpm. This does broaden the power band but that is not why it is done specifically. Also modern engines almost always gain something from tuning. Whether it is cam timing, fueling or igntion manufactures always leave something on the table. Even with knock sensors most cars still have overly conservative ignition advance. the best way to dial in an engine is on an individual basis. Dinan remote canned tunes in my experience are complete shit. They run rich and have very conservative ignition timing, not ideal by any means. Frankly the whole basis of Dinans business selling pre-made tunes you just load into your car is extremely stupid. To properly tune your car it should be done custom on a Dyno (obviously by a reputable tuner).
This sounds kinda like computer overclocking, but more complicated.
The camera switching when Steve looks at the camera is annoying. Let the guy stare directly into your soul!
I could listen to this man for hours
nibot kram
Finally a tuning video from someone that actually knows whats going on.\nI saw Steve flogging a white E36 M3 at Laguna Seca in the late 90's. He had a blower on it and beautiful blonde in the passenger seat that couldn't keep her hair from blowing outside the car. \nThe M3 had tremendous exit speeds and was later featured in Car and Driver or Motor Trend or both. \nMy brush with greatness...................
noel diaz
This man is a LEGEND!
paul zapodeanu
If I understand correctly there is no gain to be had from ecu tuning a naturally aspirated engine, right? I have a K24 Honda and was thinking of getting it's ecu tuned, since the guys on the Honda forum over here swear by it, but I'm starting to reconsider. As they advertise it, the tune changes the drive by wire mapping (which apparently is a little tame from the factory to make for a family friendly car). That is probably simple to do and is probably noticeable but nothing you couldn't otherwise achieve by pressing more on the throttle pedal. They are also talking about changing the fuel maps so that the engine is more economic if not stressed and more powerful when you step on it. With what this guy is saying, I'm thinking this claim to be very unlikely, or the improvements to be on the order of fractions of a percent. The last thing they do is change the VTEC RPM engagement, so that if you are shifting at redline and on wide open throttle, when you go for the next gear, you don't drop back on the low RPM cam. Also here I'm thinking there might be some advantage, but in the real world how many times are you gonna do that and what are you going to do with the milliseconds you saved by doing so.
I call bullshit on ALL OF THIS. If these small players can improve the torque/power curve without sacrificing consumption or engine life then why haven't the multi-multi-multi-billion dollar companies that make these cars already done that?
The dinan M2 is going to be EPIC.
theDARK Pototoy
Every BMW guy who owns 80's-90's cars should watch this video. Amazing work goes into those chips!
MEGASQUIRT the DIY engine ECU. Build it yourself, or buy it build.
cars in the US are almost always detuned so just tuning it can help with little to no mods