Stories of a Modern Day Mechanic - PJT
12 May 2015
Stories of a Modern Day Mechanic - PJT
Being on the forefront of R&D for Unichip Australia and New Zealand people often, very often ask me personally, “what car do you drive?.”
To give you the answer I must give a brief overview of the customers I deal with everyday. The majority of people I deal with on a day to day basis can be clumped into two distantly different back ground’s, we have the ”Tradies” as the name suggests they are Tradesman, mostly aged 30-45 and raring to go, and “Grey army” these guys are the much respected retirees, are some of the most polite, patient, and interesting people I have to deal with.
The Grey Army ,well they basically want to know everything, who, how, what, why, when, where… Everything… (Don’t get me wrong they have a right know everything about the product) The trouble was at my end, how do I explain the most advanced Diesel engine control unit on the Market in layman’s terms?
See with the Tradies, its easy these guys are just happy to refer to the web site all information is at their finger tips, and for the most part they have already been on the web page and just calling for clarification… “You mean the Unichip controls Injectors timing and duration?” or “You mean that I can have up to 5 different maps?” (More about that one later…)
I am a mechanic by trade, though these days I spend most of my time in the office, on the computer updating the web site, social media, sales and tech support however in spite of this I am still a mechanic. So you think this task of explaining something I deal with everyday would be easy.
Well it’s not, or at least for the first 100 times I tried it wasn’t, I’d confused them, then they would confuse me then whole thing was an ugly mess and generally it got to a point of frustration before I would get them to look up the web page have a read and call me back.
So after much forethought I needed a plan, a simple step by step plan on how to explain the effectiveness of Unichip and how it will enhance their vehicle.
Think of internal combustion like igniting fire, you need three basic elements.
Fuel via Rail pressure: Increasing the rail pressure allows the dyno tuner (I am going to call the Unichip tuner from now on) to increase the volume of fuel into the engine.
This is how most of our “competitors” get there results. (Now I say the word competitors and use the term very loosely.)
However to their credit and for the most part they are selling products that do increase Power and Torque this is a fact and no one can take this away from them.
Most (nearly all the other diesel tuning products) can only increase fuel via rail pressure and when you are looking for a substantial increase this can be a problem. So there is good and bad when talking rail pressure, a little bit is good and necessary to cover the requirements of increased injector duty cycle, but to solely rely on rail pressure for you entire fuel control can be a mass of complications and engine “check” lights.
Fuelling Via Injector Duration: Increasing the volume of fuel released by the injectors, this is where the Unichip and the Unichip Tuner come into their own. No other Unit can control the injectors as precise as the Unichip, if at all. This is the safest way and most accurate way to precisely control fuelling for your vehicle, remember with most diesel engines more fuel = more power (up to a certain point) Unichip injector drivers allow “Live” 3D mapping. (Refer to web page.)
Air or Boost Control: Yes Unichip has control over your boost, but it’s not what you think we don’t go winding up the boost pressure to 30 PSI and say off you go. It’s a lot more mathematical and precise than that, it’s usually only an increase of 2-4PSI and in some cases we have to decrease the factory boost settings. (This is also done using 3D mapping.)
Ignition or Injection Timing: We all know that diesels don’t have spark plugs, so how can we possibly have Timing Control?
The Unichip Tuner can send demand signals to the factory injectors telling them to open at a certain point of the engine revolution thus manipulating (Now this is the important bit) where and when the injectors open (injection timing) to start the combustion process. Heat is the number one enemy of a high performance diesel engine, by “advancing” the injection timing the combustion temperature is greatly reduced!
So above you would say would be a very basic or rough explanation of how the Unichip works with the tuning parameters on your turbo diesel and that’s where all other brands stop at tuning.
However we are a little bit different at Unichip and we also have two other important features (I usually get excited when I explain this important part of the information.)
Throttle Pedal Manipulation: This is a stock feature on all Unichip’s that are fitted with a Unichip Q4 (on factory drive by wire vehicles). Most factory throttle strategy’s are not 1 to 1, so basically when you command 50% throttle the factory setting only gives 30%, we take full control of that and give you what you command, this makes the pedal feel sharper and eliminates turbo lag. (You really have to drive a car with this feature to really appreciate it.)
Water Temp protection: Built in over heat protection, if the engine temp gets above a pre set temperature, the Unichip has this unique feature so that we decrease the power output on a sliding scale until optimum temperature is reached and the tune is re-entered into the Unichip, all this happens without the slightest feeling from the driver’s seat.
So now I have given everyone the easiest break down I can think of for how a Unichip works… If this ever fails I invite people to come into the shop for a visual explanation and a test drive of my car.
Yes the answer to the original questions, “what car do you drive?.”
A 2015 LTZ Holden Colorado, this is my second Holden Colorado that I have owned the first was a 2013 LT.
Being in the position I’m in I can (without sounding arrogant here) pretty much choose any vehicle I want as work vehicle. I could have chosen a Toyota, or a Ford or a Mazda or a Mitsubishi but I chose to go with the Colorado.
This is not because I have any special deals with the good people at Holden, or I get a major discount but the simple fact is a Colorado fitted with a Unichip is an awesome machine!
Working where I work I get to drive a vast array of different car’s from stock Suzuki swifts, Turbo V8’s to 450kw Subaru’s, I have driven turbo, supercharged, big blocks and nitrous vehicles. I may not have Jeremy Clarckson’s good looks and boxing ability but I can give a very educated opinion on how a car drives.
To give you an idea, the 2015 Holden Colorado LTZ came in with 80km on the clock, that eighty by the way not 80,000km. And 110rwkw (rear wheel kilowatts), it has major turbo lag and lacks that torque punch I had fallen in love with my old Colorado. After fitting and tuning the Unichip we were able to get 147.8rwkw. As far as torque is concerned (Now this is for towing that van up long gradual hill, or over taking a B-Double on the Hume) we gained 110nm at the wheels! It’s incredible when you think of it, so the torque jumps up from 403nm –513nm (when measured at the rear wheels) then with the added safety of a water temp over heat compensation table there is only piece of mind with this product.
Now power and torque and only two thirds of the equation the final third and this is a surprise to some but to the grey army this is the most important part of the equation…… Fuel economy.
Doing back-to-back testing on hwy and suburban driving I managed to get the following results.
From home to work across a two-week period, to give you an idea I live approx. 15km from work with 12 sets of lights in-between, during this time I would do the occasional trip to the shops, but it was mostly stop, going short trips. (For those of you who don’t know this is the worst possible driving condition for fuel economy.) I got 860km to the tank this is a 75lt tank.
Now comparing the same car with constant Hwy driving I got 1010km (I did have the fuel light on at this point and had to fill up at the BP just out of Bonnie Doon on Maroondah Hwy…. Lucky.) I do believe I may have gotten maybe 50km more and made it to Yea but I got scared of getting my wife and I stranded… Not so much having to walk to get some diesel more the verbal abuse I would have copped from my beautiful wife for trying an economy run and being wrong…
Now I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and by a brand new Holden Colorado, but for what I use everyday the 2015 Holden Colorado delivers everything I require, Power, Torque and Fuel economy.
The looks,the interior, the colour, the handling are also a bonus, I even got complemented on the styling when filling it up at the Local BP!
I would give it a 8.5 out of 10 for a great family and work truck.