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Old 12th August 2011, 12:25   #1
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Default Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Yeah. You read that right about the price. And although I am not as knowledgeable as tons of other guys on the forum but I definitely do think it is a tuning box and not a resistor in a box (more knowledgebale folks on the forum will obviously weigh in about what they make of it and I might be proved wrong though).

All right since I have got a disclaimer of sorts out of the way let us talk about the product itself.

To cut a long story short (even before starting it) - I have been looking to extract more from my car (an Octy L&K 1.9 TDI of 2005 vintage) for quite some time (6 months or so) and when I came across this it looked like a good bet:

TD Diesel Tuning Box - Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI 89 Bhp / 90 PS / 66 Kw

The company did not look like a fly-by-night operator and the product seemed to be safe. Plus when I found that they have an e-bay shop (with 100% positive feedback from more than 2k customers) where the same product is listed at a discount (plus VAT waived off for internatinal customers) the deal looked pretty good. The final price after discount and VAT waiver came to 85 pounds (roughly 6,300 INR). Then they had a 14 day money-back guarantee so I thought let me give this a shot.

While I was not exactly after cheap stuff, I still find the price of a PSI (Pete's) box on the higher side. I was very keen to get the racechip (www.racechip.de) which they were retailing for close to 200 euros but sadly they did not have one for the Octy sold in India.

So all in all I did not think it would be harmful to try this one from TDI-tuning. It did not look as if it would damage the car and if I did not find the performance satisfactory I could always return it (or at worst write off INR 6k). After a few e-mails and calls were exchanged with the company enquiring about the product, I finally ordered it on a Thursday. The guys there are pleasent to deal with (although as I have found out, they are a bit busy on Mondays) and mostly prompt with their replies. I received my shipment on Tuesday (3 business days isn't bad) and the tuning box went in the car last weekend.

About the box

What you will get:

A fun to drive feeling.
A VERY good 3rd gear.
Improved performance of higher gears.
A smaller drop in speed when your foot comes off the gas pedal.
Unaffected fuel-efficiency (do not trust the on-board FE figures - they are too optimistic ).

What you will not get:

No 'kick' if you slam down on the pedal (you do get a decent kick if you floor the pedal in 2nd gear at around 1500 rpm but not otherwise).
No wheelspin.
No 'easy' procedure to set the box up (it's still not diffcult but not super easy like other boxes that I have heard of).
No check-engine light (even if you don't disconnect the battery terminals).

The won't gets are more in comparison with the PSI box. I have NOT driven any car with a tuning box/remap and my knowledge and comment about comparisons with the Pete's box are purely from reading about other forum member's experience with it. I must admit that I was a bit dissapointed that there was no 'kick' after flooring the pedal because I was expecting one. The wheelspin and the 'kick' that I read about made me feel that my car will dart forward the moment I press the gas pedal after installing the tuning box. It did not.

About the installing process - it is a bit tricky. The tuning box has a potentiometer screw based adjustment whch is nowhere as easy as flipping a button to switch between modes (not for me at least). You have to turn the screw in a particular direction till the engine idling becomes 'restless' and then turn it in the opposite direction for three revolutions. It took me a good amount of time (and multiple re-settings) to get this right.

My conclusion about the box.

I almost wanted to return the box after the first day of driving with it (because of my 'dart-forward-the-moment-gas-pedal-is-floored' expectation not being fulfilled). However after driving the car for a few days now I feel that the drive is much more fun with the box in place. Even though there is no 'kick' the car is much more responsive to my right foot and the third gear performance is on a whole different plane now. Much of my driving (75%) is in the city so a very good third gear suits my requirements. Also after looking at the dyno graphs of various boxes it looks as if the major difference that a tuning box makes is post 1700-1800 rpm and this one did make a substantial difference post that rev range. If you remain near or above that rev range you will have much fun with the car. So all in all I am sticking with it. For 6.3k it for sure is a VFM product.

I would welcome any member with prior experience of driving a Peted octy to test drive my car. This would result in a better comparison with the Pete's box and add to the knowledge on the forum.

And now some pics:

How it came
Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!-photo1172.jpg

What all came
Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!-photo1181.jpg

The box head (the potentiometer screw is below the rubber lid on the left of the box)
Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!-photo1182.jpg

Attached to the car engine
Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!-photo1189.jpg

Secured inside the battery box
Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!-photo1188.jpg

Cables secured and battery cover closed
Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!-photo1186.jpg

Last edited by Cesc : 12th August 2011 at 12:31.
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Old 12th August 2011, 12:33   #2
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Hope you would keep us all updated. Can you post pix of the potentiometer screw since I didnt see it in the picture.

Also, does this mean that its learns?

And whats the current odo reading?
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Old 12th August 2011, 14:57   #3
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

^ I will sure keep updating this thread with my experience with the box. Re. pic of the potentiometer screw - I will have to open the box and take a pic. In the third pic (top of the box where connector pins are shown) the potentiometer screw is located under the rubber lid (the one seen on the left of the connector pins between the steel and the black screw). One has to take the rubber cap out to access the screw.

I don't think it is an adaptive system (so don't think it learns). The current odo reading is 106k.
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Old 16th August 2011, 15:16   #4
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Neat review, thanks for sharing.

If you can get hold of a G-Tech / similar timing device, I recommend a couple of runs with the box on / off the car. We did that with the Petes box on Rtech's Octy and were very impressed. Not only did the acceleration improve noticeably, but the "push into the seat" feeling also became more prominent.
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Old 16th August 2011, 17:33   #5
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

If this thing works, it will be a great product at a whopping price. I hope its true.
What I learnt about the Petes box is it takes its time to read the maps and re set them. This takes a good bit of driving around 20-30 minutes at the most, after which one realizes the difference. Then, i believe one has the switch the engine off and then on again to experience the real deal. After that one realizes the change immediately.

Kindly post a more detailed driving report to enable us to get an insight at this wonderfully priced product.

Did you have to pay duty? Also what is the approximate weight of this box?
Thanks in anticipation.
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Old 16th August 2011, 22:12   #6
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

It is a good idea to add a tuning box after a few years of ownership. It adds a new flavour to the old car. With the upgrade you are good to go with the car for another few years. Replacement can be delayed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cesc View Post
A smaller drop in speed when your foot comes off the gas pedal.
Is that less engine braking? That's bad.
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Old 16th August 2011, 22:42   #7
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
If this thing works, it will be a great product at a whopping price. I hope its true.
What I learnt about the Petes box is it takes its time to read the maps and re set them. This takes a good bit of driving around 20-30 minutes at the most, after which one realizes the difference. Then, i believe one has the switch the engine off and then on again to experience the real deal. After that one realizes the change immediately.
.
Exactly, when you drove my Innova just after the box was fitted I remember you being disappointed. But 15 mins after that on Worli Seaface it was a different story altogether.

Is this a universal box with car specific connectors? I think it maybe be going by the price. The more expensive boxes are loaded with car specific maps.
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Old 17th August 2011, 16:52   #8
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Neat review, thanks for sharing.

If you can get hold of a G-Tech / similar timing device, I recommend a couple of runs with the box on / off the car. We did that with the Petes box on Rtech's Octy and were very impressed. Not only did the acceleration improve noticeably, but the "push into the seat" feeling also became more prominent.
That review with Rtech is what got me (and I am sure many others like me) looking for a tuning product in the first place.

I was actually hoping to get the car dynoed with the box in. Looked around the forum (and on Google) but could not find any dyno in Delhi. G-Tech could be a very good proxy as well. I have never done timed runs in my life though so really not sure how good would those before and after results be with me behind the wheels. Like I said earlier - I am all for somebody with prior experience of Pete's driving my car and posting a comparo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
If this thing works, it will be a great product at a whopping price. I hope its true.
What I learnt about the Petes box is it takes its time to read the maps and re set them. This takes a good bit of driving around 20-30 minutes at the most, after which one realizes the difference. Then, i believe one has the switch the engine off and then on again to experience the real deal. After that one realizes the change immediately.
After driving around with the box for a while (around 150 kms) I firmly believes this works. To what extent though is an open question. I have without a doubt felt all the changes outlined in my first post consistently. The car does pull well at higher rpms (above 1700-1800 rpm) and the third gear is truly fun.

I drove the car a bit more on the Delhi-Gurgaon e-way today morning and it drove like a breeze. The car definitely goes from 80-120 or even higher quicker than it used to. Additionally even at 120-130 it does not pant for breath but looks as if it can take a lot more. Now Octy is no slouch on the highway anyway (I have driven mine above 150 on numerous occasions and have touched a max of 190) but the car does feel a lot 'freer' at high speeds now.

Re. the change being felt after 20-30 mins - thanks to the potentoimeter based adjustment, it really took me a while (and multiple runs and a couple of calls to their UK office) to figure out the settings. I do believe that I have driven around enough to gauge the 'true' effect the box has and that is why I took a bit of time to post the review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
Kindly post a more detailed driving report to enable us to get an insight at this wonderfully priced product.
As a driver I am kinda average joe so not sure what exactly would forum members like you expect out of a driving report. However I would try my best to answer any sepcific questions you might have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
Did you have to pay duty? Also what is the approximate weight of this box?
I did not have to pay duty. I was expecting that I will have to pay but guess I was lucky. One reason could be that they shipped it in a packet (and not in a box). I did request them to attach documents (product cost and shipping cost invoice) outside the parcel which they did in a pretty neat manner.The approximate weight would be 300 gms or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oxyzen View Post
It is a good idea to add a tuning box after a few years of ownership. It adds a new flavour to the old car. With the upgrade you are good to go with the car for another few years. Replacement can be delayed.
Absolutely agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oxyzen View Post
Is that less engine braking? That's bad.
Yes. I do believe that it is less engine braking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
Is this a universal box with car specific connectors? I think it maybe be going by the price. The more expensive boxes are loaded with car specific maps.
They have various type of boxes. The ones for the newer generation engines are at least twice as costly. For ex. the Laura box is listed at 250 pounds. For the old gen engines like the 1.9 TDI I also think they have a universal box with car specific connectors.
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Old 18th August 2011, 17:33   #9
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Great. If you can feel the difference, then obviously there is a difference. I do have an ageing Octy in my garage which was driven by my nephew and has been Peted for as long as i can remember. I noticed first how the turbo whistle is more audible with the pete's box and how the octy actually jumps when given the stick. With an Petes, i can say for sure, that you wont have to try hard for a wheel spin but then again, for the price your wonder box comes at, that bit of improvement in power is also very very acceptable.

Im sure you will find some Bhpian in and around your area or Delhi/Gurgaon near-about to test drive your vehicle and let him test drive his. That is the only way one can make a comparison. Would have gladly offered you my car but for the fact its a bit out of the sphere in Bombay.

Regading a report, all we need to know is a few things;

1). Your experience with and without the box, which you have aptly put.
2). If there is any change in the turbo whistle, has it become more audible?
3). FE changes for the better or worse and does you car show a change in "Range", whether more or less?
4). Does the engine sound different than from whne it did not have the box?
5). Is there a change in emission figures? Does the PUC say something else?
6). Timings..but for that you would have to get some gadgetry help.
7). Any other changes which you might have noticed while driving.
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Old 18th August 2011, 19:45   #10
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

@Cesc

Great so you are now enjoying a rejuvenated car !! Tell me have you got your timing belt changed ? If yes at what odo reading ? My Octy is closing in on 55k on the odo & I am thinking of changing all the belts including timing belt. Just as a preventive maintenance measure, as my car has a remap & runs around 120 Bhp.

Do keep us updated..



Cheers
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Old 19th August 2011, 11:30   #11
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
Great. If you can feel the difference, then obviously there is a difference. I do have an ageing Octy in my garage which was driven by my nephew and has been Peted for as long as i can remember. I noticed first how the turbo whistle is more audible with the pete's box and how the octy actually jumps when given the stick. With an Petes, i can say for sure, that you wont have to try hard for a wheel spin but then again, for the price your wonder box comes at, that bit of improvement in power is also very very acceptable.
Going by experiences of people with a Peted Octy it definitely seems that there is a significant difference between this box and the Petes one. But for 30% of the price of a Pete's I think this box is VFM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
Im sure you will find some Bhpian in and around your area or Delhi/Gurgaon near-about to test drive your vehicle and let him test drive his. That is the only way one can make a comparison. Would have gladly offered you my car but for the fact its a bit out of the sphere in Bombay.
I am looking for one actually. Thanks for your offer. How I wish you were around here

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
Regading a report, all we need to know is a few things;

1). Your experience with and without the box, which you have aptly put.

Answered in original post.

2). If there is any change in the turbo whistle, has it become more audible?

I have never heard my turbo whistle. My car runs with windows rolled up and climate control on all the time maybe thats why. Wish I could give you a better answer on this.

3). FE changes for the better or worse and does you car show a change in "Range", whether more or less?

The on-board MID shows better FE figures but I definitely do not trust those. The Range (which I think is based off the FE calculations by the on-board computer) would again be inaccurate in my opinion. I think the extra fuel being dumped with the box in place is not being detected by the car's ECM and the FE figures are being churned out based on distance run and the quantity of fuel the ECM 'thinks' is being fed to the engine.

If I go by the tankfull-to-tankfull method then I see that the FE has gone down a bit. That is largely because I have tested the car a few times under hard acceleration. If I were driving as before then I believe the FE would have remained more or less unchanged.

4). Does the engine sound different than from whne it did not have the box?

The box takes around 20-25 seconds to power up and if I keep listening to the engine then I can clearly make out when it has activated. So yes then engine sound does change.

5). Is there a change in emission figures? Does the PUC say something else?

Emission check is due in a month. I have not yet noticed any black smoke though. I am running the stock filter which has done over 6k kms.

6). Timings..but for that you would have to get some gadgetry help.

Looking to do those. I think even a guy sitting with a stop-watch alongside should help in at least some sort of comparo.

7). Any other changes which you might have noticed while driving.

I am actually looking to drive a few days without the box in place to better make out the changes. I am neck deep in other stuff though so don't know when I would be able to do that.
Responses underlined.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky_63 View Post
@Cesc

Great so you are now enjoying a rejuvenated car !! Tell me have you got your timing belt changed ? If yes at what odo reading ? My Octy is closing in on 55k on the odo & I am thinking of changing all the belts including timing belt. Just as a preventive maintenance measure, as my car has a remap & runs around 120 Bhp.

Do keep us updated..

Cheers
Before I answer your question - you were the first guy that came to my mind when I thought of somebody from the forum testing my car. So maybe when you have some time????

I got my timing belt changed at 72k kms. I definitely suggest you get the one on your car changed because according to Skoda Europe the latest norm (released in 2009) is 60k miles or 4 years - whichever comes first. I 'think' your car is more than 4 years old so you should get it changed pronto.
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Old 20th August 2011, 14:48   #12
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Quote:
Before I answer your question - you were the first guy that came to my mind when I thought of somebody from the forum testing my car. So maybe when you have some time????
Would have loved to buddy, had you been in Mumbai. Unfortunately you are not. Will find out if any of my friends in and around where you live and get back to you.
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Old 20th August 2011, 16:18   #13
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Nice review. Never heard of these guys before. For that price, it certainly seems VFM even if it does not completely satisfy you with the kick in the back feeling.

Some queries

1. Whats the BHP/Torque increment?

2. Do you see more smoke coming out on hard accelaration from the exhaust?

3. Does it come with a toggle switch to get back to stock setting?
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Old 20th August 2011, 19:33   #14
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!


Before I answer your question - you were the first guy that came to my mind when I thought of somebody from the forum testing my car. So maybe when you have some time????

I got my timing belt changed at 72k kms. I definitely suggest you get the one on your car changed because according to Skoda Europe the latest norm (released in 2009) is 60k miles or 4 years - whichever comes first. I 'think' your car is more than 4 years old so you should get it changed pronto.





Thank you Cesc for offering me to drive your car !! Shall be glad to As for the timing belt, like I said my car is touching 55k so I did think it was about time. Surprising but the Skoda guys never asked me to change it after 4 years. Maybe because the mileage then was around <30k



Cheers
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Old 22nd August 2011, 15:18   #15
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Default Re: Performance on a budget - An Octy tuning box for INR 6,300!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Nice review. Never heard of these guys before. For that price, it certainly seems VFM even if it does not completely satisfy you with the kick in the back feeling.

Some queries

1. Whats the BHP/Torque increment?
That's exactly what I wish to find out. Unfortunately can't do that without a dyno and there are none around here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
2. Do you see more smoke coming out on hard accelaration from the exhaust?
Not as of now. I am running the stock air filter and have done 6k kms on it. So far I have done around 400 kms with the box in place and there is no evidence of more/black smoke (touchwood).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
3. Does it come with a toggle switch to get back to stock setting?
Nope. It has a potentiometer screw based adjustment. For getting back to stock one will have to remove the box or adjust the screw to precisely stock settings (which would be VERY difficult in my opinion).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky_63 View Post
Thank you Cesc for offering me to drive your car !! Shall be glad to As for the timing belt, like I said my car is touching 55k so I did think it was about time. Surprising but the Skoda guys never asked me to change it after 4 years. Maybe because the mileage then was around <30k
Cheers
Thanks Ricky. I will PM you and then we can set-up a convenient time for you to TD my car and give your opinion on it.

Re. the belt change - I really do not hold Skoda guys here (Giriraj Motors) in high esteem simply because they know precious little about the very cars they service. I have tried to avoid A** as much as possible. I came to know about the timing belt norms released by Skoda Europe through Briskoda (a forum for Skoda owners). Do get yours changed ASAP.
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