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Remapping Extras – How Do They Work?

At Phantom Tuning, we are able to offer our customers much more than just vehicle performance improvements and power gains. We thought we'd cover in a little more detail, what our extras are, what they do and how they work!

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The process of ECU remapping is defined as downloading a vehicle’s ECU data, modifying the data and then uploading that data back onto the car. Whether you gain any bhp and torque is irrelevant. Technically speaking, a remap is the process of changing any data in the ECU. This can include removing speed limiters or removing a check engine code from the ECU’s data so that the code never triggers an engine management light in the future.

For example, if you asked us to ONLY remove a speed limiter and this can only be done by changing the data in the map areas of an ECU file, this would still be a remap. In an attempt to make things a bit easier to understand for our customers, we call mapping out speed limiters or things like adding pops/bangs as ‘remap extras‘.

What Remap Extras Can You Have And What do They Do?

Whilst this isn’t an absolute list of what is available full stop, this is a list of our most common extras:

  • Pops & Bangs – This is available for petrol vehicles only. In essence, we allow the fuel injectors to stay open for a short amount of time after the throttle has been closed. We also retard ignition timing so that the excess fuel is ignited during the exhaust stroke of the combustion cycle, creating pops (or bangs) and in some case, flames. This is only safe on vehicles that have no catalytic converter.
  • Hard Cut Limiter – This is available for diesel vehicles only. Most modern vehicles have soft cut limiters which hold rpm at redline under load. A hard cut limiter (also known as popcorn limiter) allows the engine to bounce off the limiter, similarly to a petrol vehicle.
  • GPF/DPF/OPF/PPF Off – The aforementioned are emissions systems installed in modern cars. DPF’s are installed in all diesel vehicles from 2007 (and some before this). Whereas a GPF (AKA OPF or PPF) is installed in petrol vehicles (usually from 2018). If people decide to use their vehicles off-road and want to remove these systems, we offer a software off solution. To remove these systems, there are 2 parts to the work – physical removal of the system and software removal. If you do one without the other, you’ll have issues. Physically remove the system only and you’ll have all manner of engine management issues. Delete just the software and you’ll end up with a blocked DPF/GPF. We only offer the software solution, so any customers wishing to fully remove these systems for their off-road vehicle must carry out the physical removal prior to arrival.
  • O2 Off – This is available for petrol vehicles only. If a vehicle has had a sports cat installed or an off-road vehicle has had the catalytic converters removed, it’ll often throw a check engine light because the O2 readings are different from what the ECU wants to see. This won’t cause any other symptoms but having the engine management light on the dash can be annoying. Therefore, whilst it isn’t a necessity, when installing a sports cat or removing the cats from an off-road vehicle, we are able to remap the ECU to remove the code from its data, meaning it won’t display a check engine light.
  • EGR Off – Similarly to a GPF or DPF, an EGR is an emissions system. Sometimes, EGR’s can get clogged or stuck open/shut. For off-road vehicles, we supply a solution via remapping that removes the operation of the EGR and also deletes any codes pertaining to the EGR system. Again, it is a job that requires 2 parts, physical blanking and software removal. We do not provide EGR blanking so this must be done prior to arrival of a job with an EGR off requested.
  • EA189 Rollback – You can read up more on a VAG rollback here, however: This particular remap extra is only relevant for VAG 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0 TDI engines produced between 2007 and 2014. You may remember VolksWagen’s ‘Dieselgate scandal’. In short, VW tampered with their engine software so that under testing conditions, the vehicle would produce different emissions statistics compared to real-world driving. When found out, as a PR fix, VW recalled all affected cars to have new software put on the vehicle that matched their claimed emissions stats in real-world conditions. Unfortunately a lot of drivers reported that after having the fix software installed, their vehicles seemed slower, economy was poorer and some individuals experienced repeated EGR and DPF failure. We’ll cover this topic more extensively in another post some day but effectively, we are able to reverse the cars software back to how it left the factory (which VAG main dealers will refuse to do), rather than the updated fix software. This reduces the chance of DPF and EGR failure and also can improve performance and improve economy. When having a remap, the gains are also stronger on factory software than fix software. So if you see this optional remap extra when booking online, we’d advise you choose to add it to your booking for maximum results.
  • Speed Limiter Removal – Speed limiters are often applied to fleet vehicles. In particular, we see a lot of Ford Transits that are ex-BT fleet or ex-British Gas fleet that have had speed limiters installed. The owners then have to put up with these speed limiters and sometimes, the only way to remove them is by ammending the maps data areas on an ECU. This is often the case for most factory speed limiters such as BMW’s 155mph limit. There are, however, cases where we are able to remove the speed limiter via diagnostic tools. If this is the case, you’ll save yourself a bit of money as we charge less for diagnostic tool work than we do for remapping work. To find out how we can remove your speed limiter, just call us or send us a contact form message.
  • DTC Off – Similarly to O2 off, DTC off is just the removal of a particular code from the ECU’s memory. for example, if you have a code thrown because you’ve modified the engine in some way but you know it’s safe for the ECU to operate the engine without this information, we can remove the code from the memory, eliminating the EML and potential limp mode.
  • Start/Stop Off – This is a common request by our customers. If your vehicle is equipped with start/stop and you want to disable this system, we can do so via the mapping process.
  • Hot/Cold Start Fix – Some vehicles, such as VAG PD’s suffer with difficulty starting when the engine is warm. We provide a software fix that removes this issue.
  • AdBlue Off – Another emissions system found on diesel vehicles. For off-road vehicles, we are able to delete the vehicle’s adblue system which means that you’ll never have to fill up AdBlue again, saving money. Furthermore, these systems can break and cause expensive repair bills, so it is also a preventative measure.
  • Launch Control – For some vehicles, the data for launch control can be set in the ECU and for other vehicles, this data can be set in the TCU (transmission control unit). For ECUs where we have an available solution, we can add launch control during the remapping process.
  • Cold Start Off – When an engine is started for the first time, from cold, the ECU causes a higher idle, usually circa 1500rpm. If you live in an area with lots of neighbours close by and your vehicle is loud due to an aftermarket exhaust system, you may be upsetting said neighbours when you go to work in the morning. A cold start off solution removes the higher idle on cold start.

Other Extras Bookable Online

As well as remapping extras, you have the ability to book other services during the booking process on our reg checker.

  • Gearbox Remap – We’ve covered this in large detail in this post!
  • Ghost Immobiliser – Arguably the best anti-theft device on the market. Learn more here.
  • BMW, Mini & Rolls Royce Coding – Add more factory spec to your car or enable hidden features. Learn more here.
  • Dyno Power Runs – 3 x power runs before and 3 x power runs after tuning.
  • Custom Tuning Session – This is really only necessary for HEAVILY modified vehicles. I’ve written the word ‘heavily’ in capitals because some people seem to think having an upgraded intake is classed as a heavy modification… When we say ‘heavily modified’, we’re talking about vehicles that have had upgraded turbos, injectors, forged internals and more. Not your standard exhuast and intake breathing mods. If you do, in fact, have a heavily modified vehicle, you’ll need half a day or more on the dyno to get the most out of your modifications. We’re going to cover custom tuning sessions in our next blog post, so stay tuned for more!

How Much Does This All Cost?

We have different prices for each of our extras and they start from £20. It is worth remembering, however, doing any of these means we have to REMAP the vehicle. This doesn’t mean we HAVE to apply the power gains to the car, it just means we would have to go through the same process to acheive the result. Of course, if you wanted the power gains, we wouldn’t be charging any more for this as it’s included in the cost of a remap.

For example, if you want JUST an O2 off on your vehicle the cost would not be £20. It would be the cost of a remap PLUS the £20 for the extra. This is because we have to do the same work whether we are improving the performance or not. An O2 off solution is still a remap…

If you’d like to see more of our pricing details, you can see this here.

What Can I Have On MY Car?

The easiest way to see what’s available for YOUR car is to enter your reg on our reg checker. At the bottom of the results page, you’ll see the list of available extras for your vehicle.

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Remapping Extras – How Do They Work?

At Phantom Tuning, we are able to offer our customers much more than just vehicle performance improvements and power gains. We thought we’d cover in a little more detail, what our extras are, what they do and how they work!

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These FAQ's Answer Most Questions

Whilst a remap will add a small amount of extra strain to the vehicle, all of our files are well within the safe parameters of the vehicle’s components (such as the engine & transmission/drivetrain) capabilities. We would only increase engine output to what we deem to be safe as it wouldn’t be beneficial to us or you to push your vehicle to anything beyond that.

It is not in our interest to push your vehicle past its limits. We simply wouldn’t have a business if we blew cars up on a daily basis.

There are a couple of ways for a remap to be detected. The most cost effective and most commonly used method by manufacturers is to check the CVN with diagnostics tools. If an ECU has a different CVN than it should, a manufacturer’s diagnostic tools will be able to detect this.

A remap can also be detected with manipulation DTC’s that appear within various modules in the car. 

Some dealer tools can even detect that changes have been made to the original software but don’t show exactly what has been done.

With most modern vehicles, our industry-leading remapping software and tools can successfully flash an ECU whilst keeping the original CVN and not throwing any manipulation DTC’s. This means most dealer diagnostic tools would not be able to detect the remap.

That said, a remap is NEVER undetectable. If someone wants to dig deep enough, they will eventually find it.

A good workaround for this which covers most instances is to have the vehicle returned to stock which we are able to do for £60 including VAT. Depending on the method of tuning for your particular car, we can mitigate the chances of it being detected.

A very common question with very common misconceptions. Ultimately, there is no such thing as a generic map. ‘Generic’ implies that we could use any tune file on any vehicle. Every tune we apply has been custom calibrated for your vehicle make, model, drivetrain, ECU and software version.

For stage 1 and most stage 2 files, we can use dyno tested, safe and proven solutions without having to make any tweaks. Why? Because we know it’s a safe calibration that we’ve used before on an identical drivetrain that’s been developed on the dyno and on the road. 

We can apply calibrations at our Bedfordshire branch for heavily modified vehicles with the use of our rolling road.

There is a common misconception that a tune made ‘on the fly’ is both much safer and will produce better results. This isn’t necessarily the case, the quality of the tune is down to the tuners ability to tune on a particular platform of drivetrain and ECU combination.

There is no tuner in the world that writes completely custom software from scratch every time. In most instances, they’ll either use a tried and tested solution OR use that solution as a base to work from and apply very minor tweaks. 

The only time this differs slightly is for heavily modified vehicles, i.e. uprated fueling, uprated turbos etc. In this instance, a heavily modified car will likely have a unique combination of modifications. What usually happens is the tuner will, again, apply a base map from a tried and tested solution and then modify that calibration with a few revisions to suit the modifications.

What you need to be looking out for is not the ‘custom vs. generic’ argument at all. You should be looking out for companies that offer remapping but use clone tools (which have a high likelihood of killing the ECU) and apply untested £1.00 calibrations from a CD they bought on eBay.

A good way to be sure you’re talking to a good tuner is to look at their reviews, digital presence and importantly, how much they’re charging. If they’re only charging £150 for a remap, the chances are they don’t have the funds to afford insurance or to pay to fix the car if it goes wrong.

TLDR;

There’s no such thing as a generic map. Don’t cheap out. Choose your tuning company based on reviews, presence and trust.

This is always a tough question. The reality is, modifying your vehicle will always affect a manufacturers’ warranty.

At our Bedford branch, we are able to provide customised calibrations for heavily modified vehicles with the use of our rolling road. You can also request before and after dyno runs when booking online or you can opt for a custom tuning session if your vehicle is heavily modified.

In general, at Phantom Tuning, we mainly cover stage 1 and stage 2 ECU remapping.

When it comes to relatively basic requirements such as stage 1 and stage 2 remapping, a dyno is not always needed. The reason for this is our remapped files have already been tested on a dyno where a slave or donor vehicle was remapped.

This means that we’ve already stress tested and proven the figures that our remaps can provide on a well-maintained vehicle.

For stage 1, the donor vehicle is identical to yours, so there is no need to dyno test the file again. For stage 2, the need for a dyno depends on whether or not there are any discrepancies in modifications.

As part of our service, in most cases, we will before and after road test a vehicle when possible, to ensure the remap behaves as intended.

This means that we’ve already stress tested and proven the figures that our remaps can provide on a well-maintained vehicle. For stage 1, the donor vehicle is identical to yours, so there is no need to dyno test the file again. For stage 2, the need for a dyno depends on whether or not there are any discrepancies in modifications.

As part of our service, in most cases, we will road test a vehicle when possible, to ensure the remap behaves as intended.

Ultimately, a remap will optimise the engine. Therefore, it is common to expect improved fuel economy under normal driving conditions.

If you’re expecting to be able to drive spiritedly and still gain another 20% fuel economy, your expectations are unrealistic.

Under normal driving conditions, most of our customers see slight improvements in fuel economy, anywhere from 5% to 15%.

Manufacturers restrict the performance of a vehicle for multiple reasons. An example would be warranty lifespan. It’s in a manufacturer’s interest to ensure their vehicles underperform to reduce the number of warranty claims during the warranty period. It also enables them to extend the time and mileage in which a warranty can be offered.


Increasingly now, manufacturers are saving costs by limiting the number of engine sizes they offer and instead using different versions of the same engine. This enables them to not only save money on research and development but also to charge more money for a vehicle with a higher power output.

For example, the Ford Transit Custom is available in: 100BHP, 125BHP and 150BHP. However, each of them uses the same engine, transmission and drivetrain. The interesting thing is that each of the versions are capable of 180BHP. They simply charge more for the higher-powered versions.

Manufacturers also need to bear in mind that their vehicles are being sold across the globe with various tax brackets, insurance groups and environmental conditions. As a result, they need one universal map to suit all scenarios whilst ensuring maximum sales of the vehicle in question.

Nothing. Typically, all that the different driving modes tend to do is change your throttle mapping. Some vehicles also add weight to your steering and tighten the suspension.

With a tune, the power is changed across all modes. your existing modes will still behave the same and each mode will have its own custom throttle calibration.

If your vehicle goes in for service work at a main dealer and it’s in warranty, we would advise you to bring the vehicle to us first to remove the map and then come back to reapply the tune.

If your vehicle isn’t in warranty or you’re not visiting a main dealer, you don’t have to worry about taking the map off and reapplying.

However, if you do have your car serviced at a main dealer, whether it is in warranty or not, they may need to apply a software update to your vehicle. In this event, there is a chance you may lose your map. If you do, we can reflash the modified file on to your car for a small fee of £60 inc. VAT.

We do. Stage 2 requirements are: upgraded intake & decatted or sports catted downpipes.

An average car will gain an extra 20-50bhp for stage 2, depending on the vehicle. 

The calibrations for stage 1 and 2 are quite similar, however, most of the additional gains will come from the physical modifications rather than the tune itself. For example, if you’re already running a stage 1 tune and have already applied stage 2 modifications, it’s unlikely that you’ll feel too much difference in changing the map to a stage 2. 

In short, no. A Remap wouldn’t disappear anyway; the whole flash data would disappear, but again, this is impossible on its own accord. If it were to happen, your car wouldn’t start! The only way you can lose your tune is if the vehicle is flashed to stock by another tuner or main dealer via software update.
There exists a rumour that disconnecting your battery will wipe your remap. This is just a rumour, your tune would still remain. If you were to take your battery out of your laptop and replace it, it wouldn’t automatically restore factory software. The same applies to your ECU. There is no way to hit the ‘reset button’ on an ECU without third party tools.
Unfortunately, components fail on stock and tuned vehicles. Whether it be a broken coil pack, blown turbo or cracked block. These things can happen and parts don’t last forever. Ultimately, we won’t tune a handful of vehicles because they are prone to specific failures post-tune. However, if your vehicle has an issue post tune, it’s likely that said issue was already present or on its way to being an issue before it was remapped. Our advice is to take it to a trusted mechanic to carry out diagnostics and to help you rectify the issue. In a worst case scenario, we are able to flash the vehicle back to stock for £60 including VAT to help diagnose the fault. Out of the thousands of vehicles we have tuned, we are yet to see a failure due solely to the car being remapped.
Whether your car is tuned or stock, the only way to determine these figures is to run the car on a dynamometer (AKA Dyno or Rolling Road). If you have not opted to pay for our dyno services in our HQ at Bedfordshire, we will not be able to tell you the exact figures for your vehicle. We can only tell you what an identical drivetrain, running stock power produced with the same remap. You’re always welcome to come back to us for a dyno run, power runs on their own are £100 including VAT.
If you’re after more power once you’ve had a stage 1 tune or ECU Remap, you’ll need to start making physical modifications to the drivetrain. Breathing mods such as intake and exhaust can add anywhere from 20-50bhp, after that, you’ll need to start considering turbo upgrades and more. Your best bet is to do some research in your vehicle’s community to figure out how much you’re willing to spend to make certain power figures. Once these modifications are installed, we can write custom calibrated tunes to suit your vehicle’s needs.
Whilst we love to see people carrying out more frequent servicing, for mild tuning, there’s no need to service any more than the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Doing so will only help increase your engine’s longevity but it is not mandatory. 
If your vehicle fails an MOT after being tuned, the remap is not the issue, you have a mechanical fault somewhere (likely with the emissions systems).
You must always inform your insurer of any vehicle modifications, including an ECU remap.
As mentioned previously, the only way to have ‘lost a remap’ is if the vehicle has been flashed with new software via a main dealer tool or by another tuner. If this hasn’t occurred, you haven’t lost your remap. Whilst we can check that your tune is still there for £60 including VAT, unless you’ve been told that your vehicle has been flashed, we’d advise not paying for this service. If the vehicle has been flashed to stock and you pay £60 including VAT for us to check, we can reapply the tune at no additional cost.
Unfortunately, we see a large number of mechanics run into issues with cars that they simply do not have the knowledge or tools to diagnose. It’s easy for a mechanic, with limited knowledge of how tuning works, to charge customers a few hundred quid for diagnostic services, not be able to determine the issue and blame a remap. Effectively, it’s their way of using a ‘get out of jail free’ card when they’re out of their depth. Time and time again, we flash vehicles back to stock, at the expense of the customer, for the issue to still be present. Put simply, if there is an issue with the remap, the issue will be immediately present. It won’t develop days, weeks or months later.

Our Pricing Explained

Job Type Price Comments
ECU Remap £375 As of Feb 2021, we changed our remap pricing to be as competitive as possible. All ECU remaps now carry the same cost, regardless of difficulty.
Dyno Power Runs £100 This charge is for a total of 3 power runs. This is discounted by £20 if purchased with a remap and includes an additional 3 power runs before the tune.
Custom Tuning Session £247 (Additional) If your car is heavily modified (i.e. turbos, injectors), you'll need a custom tuning session so that we can modify the tune on the fly. This is charged on top of the cost of a remap.
Gearbox Tune £350 A gearbox tune has a fixed cost of £350. This is discounted by £75 if purchased with an ECU remap.
VAG Rollback £150 For emissions rollbacks on affected VAG cars, a fixed price of £150 applies. This is discounted by £100 if purchased with a remap.
Already Tuned £60 Where vehicles come to us and are already tuned, it's in our interest to advise as to whether or not we can improve on the tune. If we can, we will set realistic expectations. If we cannot improve on the tune, we will also advise. A minimum charge applies for our time, in the event that we do not proceed to remap the vehicle.
Remap On/Off £60-120 Should you wish to remove your remap, outside of our 30-day moneyback guarantee period, we apply our minimum charge. Should you wish to have your remap reapplied, for instance, if the vehicle has been to a main dealer for a software update, our minimum charge applies and in some cases, depending on the job and software change, we may charge £120.
OFF Solutions Range For additional solutions such as EGR off or pops and bangs, the cost of these starts from £20. For situations where you may want a solution ONLY, for instance, an EGR delete but no remap, this will be the same price as a remap. We will optionally include a performance remap free of charge if this is the case.

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