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can a chip be bad for your car?

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  • can a chip be bad for your car?

    hey everyone,

    i was wondering if changing the chip in your car can actually be bad for the car. it should strain the engine more, right?

    the reason i'm asking is because i had a friend with an s14 who said his turner chip caused detonation and did some damage to his engine. so he went back to stock.

    i havent really seen this discussed in here before, so i thought i'd ask.

    just wondering if there are any disadvantages to having a chip (besides lower gas mileage maybe)


  • #2

    you can have detonation even with the stock chip if the motor isn't up to spec.

    switching to an aftermarket chip can unmask problems like vacuum leaks, carbon deposits, sh*tty gas etc that cause detonation because of the more aggressive timing. You might not have any pinging/detonation with the stock chip, and then have problems with the aftermarket one. switching back to the stock chip will "cure" your problems in this case.

    So yes, a chip can be "bad" for your car, but it's because it has less room for error when it comes to your car's condition.

    I've had the TMS chip in my car since I bought with zero detonation or pinging, 20 city/28 highway MPG, and more hp. I think most people think its pretty good. . . until the iigomotiv chip came out anyway.

    Last edited by blyguy; 08-02-2004, 03:50 PM.


    • #3
      What blyguy said is possible, but I think even that would be rare (that is would exaggerate other problems). You HAVE to use high-test tho (93). You should already with a stock S14, but a chip will make it even more necessary.
      In theory a chip should make your mileage better as it burns the mixture more efficiently...but that's if you don't use the newfound power, which is unlikely. HTH

      EDIT: I heard it might wear out your plugs more quickly too
      Last edited by AlpineRunner; 08-02-2004, 04:37 PM.
      "It is needless to say that self-propelling vehicles, like other machines, will never do as much for one who does not understand them as for one who does."


      • #4
        hmm, ok. i live in CA so the highest octane we get is 91. I might stay away from an aftermarket chip then. i'm having plenty of fun already with the car stock. just would have been nice to have some more power outta the car.

        when i bought the car about 2 months ago though, the compression test numbers were good : 200/200/195/195. should my car be ok for a chip? even considering the 91 octane?


        • #5
          compression numbers don't really tell you if you'll have early detonation or not. they will tell if you have a good seal with your valves and piston rings.

          This may be oversimplified, but pinging/early detonation occurs when the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder ignites too early (before the spark plug fires). This is bad because the piston is compressing the mixture while it's igniting, causing damage to pistons and rings etc. (Piston moves up while detonation moves down = Kablammo!) Not to mention the loss of power.

          Carbon build up can detonate early because hot spots form and ignite the air fuel before the spark plug can, likewise low-octane gas is more volatile and is more prone to early detonation.

          Detonation in a s14 is a no-no, so my point was that a chip CAN cause detonation that wasn't there before (like your friends car)
          I don't think a chip is a bad thing, as long as you keep an eye on things like where you buy your gas. I think iigomotiv has a CA 91 octane chip available. I've never driven my car w/o the TMS chip, but compared to other stock M3s I've driven, mine feels a little quicker.



          • #6
            You can get a chip that is supposedly optimised for 91 although all that means is that the ignition timing advance is less aggressive.
            The chip can also be programmed to raise the rev limit. This is necessary with hotter cams that don't show peak power until after the stock rev cut off is exceeded.

            The exchange of the chip is really not the best and or safest way to increase power when fuel quality is unreliable.
            The best way is to switch the entire engine management system to one that eliminates the clumsy and small AFM, and the extremely coarse Throttle position switch.