Types of Map
A Custom map is where every static map starts from on a software build. The map is read from the car then adjustments made to it by the technician to try and obtain what the customer wants from the car, using his skill and experience of the both the ECU and the engine type to achieve what the customer is looking for and to take into consideration any modifications that have been made. He will then either road test the car with diagnostic equipment recording the details or run it up on a artificial test, such as a rolling road. He will then review the results and tweak further if required. Some companies do this first run on the dyno and deliberately leave a margin for improvement, which they then apply for a second run which leaves the customer with an immense sense of satisfaction that the person doing it has tweaked it to their car. Truth is, they could have done that to start with – and yes there are a number of companies that do this!!
Of course, no technician is going to start from a blank canvas, either in mind or actual mapping and will over lay what they have done previously time and time again in the main anyway, otherwise he will be there for days. The downside to a custom map is of course it is un-tried, un-tested and there is little knowledge as to any longer term affects, other than that of the person doing the mapping. In the main though, a custom map will produce roughly the same power as a generic map.
This is what most people think Custom Mapping is, but it is very very different. This is mapping done with the car running and driven on the dyno, not stopped and having the map loaded on with the engine off and then been given a dyno run. Live mapping is what companies do mainly for competition cars and specially modified cars with real hardware changes (i.e. not just an induction kit or exhaust) and of course this is much more expensive.
In reality a Generic map doesn’t exist in modern tuning. Most cars now have software that is unique to them as it includes data such as chassis number, so most tuning companies will download the map that is on the vehicle and work from that map wherever possible. What is generic is the knowledge the tuner has of that engine type. Basically, no one will start with a blank mind, so all prior knowledge will be put into the map and then tweaked accordingly. Years ago you could buy “chips” for your ECU – these were indeed generic as they were very basic data on the older ECU’s and you could swap them in and out as required, this is not possible and in fact the vehicle wouldn’t even start now if you did similar with modern mapping data.
Lets talk torque
Torque is the measure of power of a moving (rotating) force applied to an object around its fulcrum (pivotal point). In a car, ‘torque’ expresses the effort exerted on a shaft to move the vehicle along. When torque is great enough to move a shaft through a given distance in a given time, is ensures that the ‘job’ of moving the car is done: such as ‘job’ is expressed as ‘power’ and measured as horsepower.