A simple way to add more power without upgrading hardware?

Tom
Update by Tom Suddard to the Volkswagen Golf GTI project car
May 22, 2023 | Volkswagen, VW, GTI, Golf GTI, Mk7 GTI, 034 Motorsport

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Our Mk7 Volkswagen GTI now had a fresh suspension. What’s next? More horsepower!

And we know, we know: You’ve heard a million times that modern turbocharged cars can gain a huge performance bump from a simple tune. But it’s precisely that ease that has muddied the tuning waters in recent years.

See, if we stay true to our goal of keeping this a daily-driven car, then we can’t delete emissions equipment. Sure, we live in Florida and never have to have our car inspected, but most of our readers do have to pass an annual emissions test. So we’ll be discussing emissions legality with every drivetrain change we make to the car.

First up? A tune, of course, and we again turned to the 034Motorsport catalog. Its Stage 1 tune promises to raise output to 303 horsepower and 334 lb.-ft. of torque, up from factory output of 231 horsepower and 271 lb.-ft.

But peak numbers don’t tell the full story: 034 Motorsport claims its tune provides far more area under the curve, with an additional 81 lb.-ft. of torque at 4548 rpm. This means a huge improvement right in the meat of the car’s powerband on track. The tune also raises the redline to 7000 rpm, which should eliminate one shift from every lap at the FIRM.

[The Grassroots Motorsports ultimate guide to track car lap times]

Even better: Their Stage 1 tunes are available with a CARB EO number, meaning this modification can be emissions legal in all 50 states. This tune retails for $550, but also requires a $150 Dynamic+ End User Flashing Kit (basically an OBDII dongle).

Curious if these claims are true? So are we, so we’re headed to the dyno in a future update to test this tune (and more) on our GTI.

But we didn’t stop at tuning the engine: We also loaded 034Motorsport’s DSG tune, a $400 file that claims to improve our twin-clutch transmission’s behavior on track. How? The tune promises faster shifts, improved shift points in sport mode, more DSG clutch clamping force, improved response, and no more annoying kickdown switch in manual mode.

There is a catch, of course: This transmission tune is not CARB legal, meaning you’ll have to load it once you arrive at the track, then flash the car back before going on public roads.

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Comments
ConiglioRampante
ConiglioRampante New Reader
5/22/23 1:35 p.m.

I'm interested in seeing what the dyno shows.  And yeah, usual disclaimer about dyno's differing from one manufacturer to another, are calibrated differently, altitude plays a role, as does ambient air temps & such.  Still, it will be interesting to see some independent numbers...especially if the numbers are "at the wheels."

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
5/22/23 1:44 p.m.

Forte/1.6T gains with a tune alone are pretty impressive. Most net 30whp with a flash alone. Its insane

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
5/22/23 5:33 p.m.
ConiglioRampante said:

I'm interested in seeing what the dyno shows.  And yeah, usual disclaimer about dyno's differing from one manufacturer to another, are calibrated differently, altitude plays a role, as does ambient air temps & such.  Still, it will be interesting to see some independent numbers...especially if the numbers are "at the wheels."

Should be pretty easy to dyno it stock, load up the tune, and dyno it again......same day, same dyno.

2023BD
2023BD New Reader
5/22/23 6:34 p.m.

Those are nice gains on the VW. These little turbo motors are fun with very little effort. The piggyback units you can buy for $300-500 are able to make big improvements in 15 minutes install time. Forte 1.6T went from 192-236hp at 6000rpm and torque went from 215-280 at 3500rpm (Dynojet numbers). All that just from tapping a button on a app, plugging into two sensors and filling up with 93 octane. These piggyback units don't even interfere with the ecu. I swore I would never buy a turbo car before the Forte GT but now I am hooked. 

trumant
trumant GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/22/23 9:17 p.m.

The 034 tune for the Audi B9 platform will be going on my 2018 S4. ECU and TCU.

Warranty is already gone, so the numbers are stupid compelling

Stock: 350 HP / 391 TQ
Stage 1 91: 397 HP / 491 TQ
Stage 1 93: 431 HP / 567 TQ

ConiglioRampante
ConiglioRampante New Reader
5/22/23 9:46 p.m.
z31maniac said:
ConiglioRampante said:

I'm interested in seeing what the dyno shows.  And yeah, usual disclaimer about dyno's differing from one manufacturer to another, are calibrated differently, altitude plays a role, as does ambient air temps & such.  Still, it will be interesting to see some independent numbers...especially if the numbers are "at the wheels."

Should be pretty easy to dyno it stock, load up the tune, and dyno it again......same day, same dyno.

Agreed.  That the best way to do it/ show actual gains.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/22/23 11:43 p.m.
ConiglioRampante said:
z31maniac said:
ConiglioRampante said:

I'm interested in seeing what the dyno shows.  And yeah, usual disclaimer about dyno's differing from one manufacturer to another, are calibrated differently, altitude plays a role, as does ambient air temps & such.  Still, it will be interesting to see some independent numbers...especially if the numbers are "at the wheels."

Should be pretty easy to dyno it stock, load up the tune, and dyno it again......same day, same dyno.

Agreed.  That the best way to do it/ show actual gains.

Do more than one "after" test, though. I've seen modern cars that will show an initial power gain after being flashed, then they'll start learning around it and the gains go away. Vendors will usually chose to show the initial, atypical result but the real result is how the car works after it's stabilized.

ConiglioRampante
ConiglioRampante New Reader
5/23/23 1:23 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
ConiglioRampante said:
z31maniac said:
ConiglioRampante said:

I'm interested in seeing what the dyno shows.  And yeah, usual disclaimer about dyno's differing from one manufacturer to another, are calibrated differently, altitude plays a role, as does ambient air temps & such.  Still, it will be interesting to see some independent numbers...especially if the numbers are "at the wheels."

Should be pretty easy to dyno it stock, load up the tune, and dyno it again......same day, same dyno.

Agreed.  That the best way to do it/ show actual gains.

Do more than one "after" test, though. I've seen modern cars that will show an initial power gain after being flashed, then they'll start learning around it and the gains go away. Vendors will usually chose to show the initial, atypical result but the real result is how the car works after it's stabilized.

Interesting.  That's something I didn't know.

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/23/23 1:31 p.m.

The Touareg responded well to a tune. +65 hp and +84 tq.

flatlander937
flatlander937 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/24/23 12:51 a.m.

On the MK7 the stock IC is a huge bottleneck. And terribly inefficient. 
 

For reference on track I was seeing consistent 120-130 IATs on a 78F day in my GTI.
 

A buddy with a Stage 1 APR Golf R was seeing so much timing pull at VIR that it was misfiring coming out of every corner. We threw my data logger in it and these were the results from a 15min session, ambient temp was 78F for reference:

 

 

With the intercooler added  (APR)  he's now seeing consistent 140mph at the end of the back straight, vs 130mph 2 laps+ in.

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