ECU Tuning Update – Still Worth It?

Earlier this month we wrote about tuning the ECU in our JK Wrangler. Twenty five days and several thousand miles later do we still love the change?

To recap why we sought out a professional tuning shop in the first place.

“We have all fell victim to the traction control system overreacting and limiting forward progress. There have been plenty of times trying to drive in the snow where I simply could not get forward momentum due to the wheels wanting to spin and the nanny aids limiting peak TQ, the engine limits spark, and the brakes are applied to try to regain traction. When you drive a Jeep and can’t move in the snow it’s the most embarrassing thing imaginable.

Another limitation is the systems ability to compensate when you lift the vehicle and add larger tires. The calculations built into the Jeep’s computer allow for a very small window of speed deviation between the wheels and also limit the amount of body roll based on factory dimensions. All of that means that the nanny systems are more prone to activating and decreasing the fun factor.” You can read the rest of the first article here… ECU Tuning our JK

Traction Control

The video above shows how a little traction control can help you tackle obstacles.

One mistake I made writing the first article was to talk about power gains and engine performance. That wasn’t really the point of the type of ECU tuning we did, it was a by product of the main goal of retuning the traction control and stability control for more performance.

In some low traction situations you actually want the tires to spin. The factory programming would often cause the Jeep to come to an almost complete standstill in an effort to regain traction. Not a very helpful feature when you are trying to enter the highway from a parking lot and you need acceleration.

My original goal was to completely disable the traction control system on the JK. Frank, from Tuning Tech by Frank Smith convinced me otherwise. He was right, leaving it on but significantly reduced has made the Jeep safer than just turning it all the way off, it still provides the additional traction enhancement, while staying in the background and allowing your lead foot to overcome the traction system when you need to. In 2WD the traction control button now has a purpose. Before it turned down the system settings but it was still far too obtrusive. Now pressing the button I have been unable to get the system to activate.

In 4WD the system is also almost completely removed. I was able to produce over steer and wheel spin without reducing momentum like the original settings. Which translated into the 4WD, transfer case in 4H, allowing me to use the throttle to control the Jeep’s speed, direction, and not cause it to halt forward progress. We call that working as desired.

We also removed the engine management feature that was supposedly designed to prevent stalling. Of all the things I have done to the Jeep this has to be my favorite. It drives like an old school manual vehicle. Move clutch, add gas and go. No drama.

Should you do it?

If you have ever complained about acceleration of slippery surfaces, had your stability control kick in and almost cause an accident, ever felt like your Jeep can’t get out of it’s own way in winter the answer is yes. If you love your Jeep the way it is, don’t change it. For me, I can’t believe this wasn’t the first thing I had done to Ol’ Red

 

William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

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