HOWTO: Install a Performance Chip
Written by Wild Weasel
We've all heard about "chipping" a car to gain more power. It's widely known to
be a fairly inexpensive way to get decent gains out of your engine. You can do it
in Grand Turismo on the PS2 so it must have merit, right?
If you're lucky enough to have an engine for which someone makes a real performance
chip or, even better, a programmable interface for, then this is true and you can get
significant gains from proper tuning. A good friend of mine has an RSX-S with the
Hondata module on it that allows him to do exactly that. He gained enough power to get
more than a couple 10ths on the 1/4 mile track.
In the J-Body world, HP Tuners makes a programmer to do all this fun stuff. At the
time of this writing, that's the only one available.
Unfortunately, there are all sorts of people out there trying to sell what they're
calling performance chips that don't do anything of value at all.
This page is written to inform you about exactly what you're
buying when you purchase any sort of generic performance chip and to
caution you against ever doing so.
There is already a page here that talks about relocating
the IAT sensor in the pursuit of power gains. Most of the performance chips floating
around out there on eBay and elsewhere are doing this exact same mod. They use all
sorts of fancy language to confuse the issue and try to convince buyers that they're
doing something special but in the end, virtually all of them install in-line with the
IAT sensor and put a resistor on the wire. That resistor fools the car's engine management
computer into thinking the air coming in is cooler than it really is.
They'll tell you that this is of some benefit to you and gives you more power.
The truth is that they're selling you a resistor that can be bought for a penny.
Sometimes they put it in a fancy box with a light and a switch or otherwise try to
make it look like something more complicated. I've even seen them in a little box with
more than one resistor so you can "choose what level of performance to use". They call them
performance chips, or modules, or all sorts of other misleading things. I've seen them
for over $150! They charge you ridiculous amounts of money (anything more than $2 is
ridiculous) for something you don't need and that doesn't provide any of the gains they
claim it does.
Now that you know that, please go read my page on Relocating
the IAT Sensor to learn about what sort of damage you can do by doing that modification
or installing one of the many "performance chips" that are out there.
Don't be lied to. Don't buy into one of those gimmicks. And if you were about to, and
then read this page and saved yourself a few bucks, kindly send $5 my way through the button
below. It's the least you can do for all the trouble I've saved you.