Bulls and Horses, courtesy of TD Performance tuning exercise

Click here for larger imageI tried a bora before and after the tdperformance piggyback chip.

The bora is equipped with a supersprint muffler, grounding and a voltage stabiliser, prior to the piggyback.

The pick up is just bearable (considering all factors), while the mid and high end has the feeling of “cleared sinus” due to the supersprint effect.

With the tdperformance piggyback, the pick up seems to have improved, but not much. The mid and high end feels like having a “mint” effect, after the “sinus is cleared” Very Happy

Can't quantify the improvement, unless a dyno is being run.

From a test-user perspective, I can do feel the difference, and I can relate to one of the fellow enthusiast's earlier comment that “this investment is by far the best mod he has done todate”

When turning off the aircon, I can just run the car effortlessly, but in the context that it's a 1.6l (don't compare it with a 2.3l V5 or a 1.8T la)
Obviously, with the aircon off, there's expected power gain, but I find the acceleration exceptionally smooth, vis-a-vis stock w/o aircon.

And my face is filled with glee. Because the tested bora happens to be my ride.

All these, as a result of some 3 hours nerve breaking process. Not for the weak heart!

Installation Process

Click here for larger imageThe installation is per what I had described earlier. The tapping of wires are done professionally. Soldering of the wires ensure that the signal are not distorted, where I believe the level of distortion can impact the management of the engine somewhat.

The O2 wire, which was rerouted to the TDperformance chip, before routing back to the ECU, are also soldered and properly insulated. Overall, I feel that the installation of the piggyback chip is professionally carried out, and you can feel the assurance that your car will not stalled because of poor tapping of harness, as what a fellow enthusiast had experienced when he first had his bora uni-chipped. The box is slotted nicely behind the firewall, beside the ECU box, and well concealed.

Removing the cover for ECU access, and you will find the ECU exposed itself along with the transmission ECU.

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Tapping on the right signals, for the piggyback box to intercept and modify the signal before feeding back to the ECU. First you need to identify the wires to be tapped, from the ECU and piggybox. ADM uses a voltmeter to test the signal to ensure that the wires matches with the factory wiring diagram completely. You don't want to mess the wiring and give the ECU the wrong signal altogether!

Wires from the piggybox that will be tapping on ECU signals

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Tapping the wire requires soldering to ensure proper wire contact. This ensure absolutely no signal lost due to the improper wire connection.

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A complete setup will look like the one below (right)

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First reaction

After the installation, I could feel the throttle feel lighter, but I was inclined to brush it off as psychological factor, based on previous mod experience.

After 10-15 minutes of driving, while the throttle was felt lighter, and the car seemed more torquey , I still did not want to conclude the improvement.

Deep diving …

2 days of driving after the piggyback chipping, I felt as if the ECU is learning, and that the car is “more fun” to drive. Granted, don't expect a TD-performance chipped car to pick up like a 1.8T or even a 2.3V car. Instead, I can feel the car torquier than previously, with the power ready to be unleased anytime.

The improvement is felt mostly in its mid and high range. This is pretty in consistent with the dyno which Silbora has done on his car. The gear holds longer before it upshift, and the process of hold and upshift is very linear and smooth. Overtaking at 80km/h is now a breeze, although you must see the opposite party lah.

Beyond 120km/h, the car still feel torquier, and I can still push it further effortlessly. As I said previously, if I say putting a supersprint muffler is akin to clearing my sinus, adding on the chip is like having a mint effect!

Drag the car to 170km/h, that's where I feel the car starts to feel alittle lethargic. Did not try any further, due to the road condition factors.

Fuel consumption seems to remain unaffected, if not improved, despite my spirited driving in the last 3 days. It hovers around 10.8l/100km, which is quite a good mark given that I would have expected 11.5-12l/100km easily on normal day.


My bottomline, I have to agree with a fellow enthusiast's comment wholeheartedly — This mod is the most satisfying modification I had done to date, if I could rewind the clock, I would save all my money that was spent on ecotek, magnet, grounding, etc and go straight into this piggyback chip right away!

Obviously, more observation is needed, especially on the fuel consumption, as well how long the drivability factor continues to hold. But right now, I am very satisfied with it, and would strongly recommend to anyone, as long as they are not expecting a F1 performance gain (exaggerating, but you know where I am driving at!) Smile

Final verdict: Two thumbs up

Some of my takeaways on my decisions

Between Upsolute & TDperformance (the two tuning companies under consideration for my ride's tuning option), the decision was deliberated for a long while. In the end, I go for Tdperformance, not because it' the best, but in terms of overall performance + cost + effort + risks , I feel the latter is much more worth for me.

Firstly, you should know that upsolute do a fuel remapping, advance ignition timing possibly, etc to increase the performance. Because it's an NA engine, that's so much it can improve on. Whereas, Tdperformance make use of O2 value to advance ignition timing & fuel adjustment, by “sniffing” on the values of throttle position and air flow rate, to intercept and modify the value of O2 to be feed into the ECU.

as you can see, upsolute will be all rounded as compared to tdperformance, but in terms of the performance gain, I reckon the difference between the 2 is not signficant, given that we are dealing with NA engine (will be alot of diff if we are talking abt turbo engine). So would I want a perfect chip up, that goes along with the hassle and risks, is something individual owner needs to assess for himself/herself.

For upsolute chip, you need to pay around $100 for the desoldering of your eeprom chip from your ECU, and solder the upsolute chip onto the ECU board. there's a risk of mis-soldering, etc that you need to bear, as the installer you engaged locally is unlikely going to bear any risk of the consequences of the chip if that happens, since they are not agent for upsolute, but just a “solder-er” … Furthermore, if upsolute does not have current software mapping of you stock eeprom chipset, you will need to extract that currently in your ECU (and the process can be as tedious as desolder the stock chip, extract it, and resolder it back to ECU). Bearing in mind that anything can goes wrong during these process, and upsolute is absolutely not hold accountable for any problem, neither does the installer. But of course, upsolute will bear the issues if it's proven that there's bug in their software, or some upgrades they have developed, but all upgrades are done at your own cost (since u are engaging a 3rd-party installer to install for u..)

basically, for me, while I go for the notion of “mod don't scare, scare don't mod”, I find that in this case, it'll be too energy draining for me to go for upsolute,i go for a perfect enough solution, rather than a perfect solution (at an imperfect cost & timing), so hence tdperformance.

I have just installed it, and am pretty happy with the incremental performance gain. It improves the driveability, that's all (don't expect a chip to improve the performancel ike a 2.3V5 )

Some Technical information on the wiring

1. There are total of 5 wires out of the tuning box, which consists of microprocessor, etc that read, computes & intercept signals that otherwise go to ECU and transmission chip.

2. There are total of 2 signals that the tuning box tap on. Throttle position signal & Air flow signal. To tap on these two signals, the tuning box needs to tap on 2 wires that go into ecu, where the tapping is done via soldering. These ensure correct reading of the signal, and no wire is cut at this point in time.

3. The O2 wire, going into the ECU, will be cut. The cut is necessary to intercept the O2 signal. By intercept, it means the tuning box takes in the old reading, computes based on the value of throttle-position & air flow, (and other built-in parameters possibly) and send out the modified O2 value. One end of the wire goes into the tuning box, while the O2 output signal (out of tuning box) goes into the ecu's O2 pin. The wires are soldered and properly-insulated.

4. The 5th wire is actually a grounding wire. so pretty straight forward.

All the wire connectors are properly done, and soldered. I don't think there's any way where the wire connector will be loose and cause a signal fallout.

If one is worry or panicky about the cut of O2 wire, then I reckon he will be more panicky and worried when he see the stock & new eprom chips being desoldered and resoldered back onto the ECU board respectively.

To revert back to stock, there's 2 way

1. Tune the tuning box to stock by turning off the dip switches.

2. Cut off the 2 wires that taps on the Airflow and Throttle-position signals. Then “rejoin” back the two O2 signal wires (by soldering).

#2 will be useful if you want to take out the tuning box and bring it to your new ride.

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