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Old 18th July 2005, 16:16   #1
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Default Product Review: Pete's Digital Diesel Tuning Box

Product Review: Pete’s Powerbox for Skoda Octavia 1.9TDi 90bhp Non PD.
Manufacturer: PSI-Motorsport, Belgium
MSRP: Rs.35,000 in Mumbai. / Rs.33,500 in all other States.
Warranty: 2 years
Website: http://www.petes.in/

Manufacturer Claims:
Standard: 88 bhp 202 NM torque
PSI: 108.62 bhp 240 NM torque
- Horsepower and torque increased by 20%
- Better fuel efficiency
- Plug & play
- No changes in original ECU
- No modification to OE parts


Power figures in KW (1KW=1.34hp)

Pete’s tuning boxes are available for a wide range of turbo diesel cars including the new common rail diesels from Hyundai and Mercedes. Prices for these are a bit more expensive and start from Rs.37,500 (Rs.36,000 outside Mumbai) for the Hyundai and Rs.39,000 (Rs.37,500 outside Mumbai) for the Mercedes 5 cylinder engines.

My Report:
The stock 90bhp TDi engine of the Octavia is a great engine, ideally suited to the Indian road conditions of low speeds and stop/start traffic. It’s torquey nature means you can run a higher gear that you normally would in another car, yet have enough power to overtake without feeling the need to downshift. The excellent fuel economy it gives is the primary reason that allowed Skoda to establish itself as a brand in India.

However, from the enthusiast’s point of view, the low revving diesel could use more power, a wider power band and more torque. If all this can be done without affecting the FE, that would be great! And this is exactly what Pete’s Powerbox claims to provide – more power and torque, but not at the exchange of higher fuel consumption. If this sounds like an oxymoron to you, well, that’s just what we set out to prove by testing it these past few weeks on my 2004 TDi with no modifications except for better tyres.

Installation:
This is the beauty of a piggyback tuning box. Installing it is literally a DIY thing. It takes all of 10 – 20 minutes (depending on where and how you want to fix the box) and is guaranteed to work. No guesswork, no trial and error, no blown engines. Plug it in and you have instant power.

As the photographs below show, installation is a simple procedure.
1. Remove the plastic engine shroud.
2. Unplug the original connector and hook it too the connector supplied with the box.
3. Route the Powerbox wiring to where you want to mount it.
4. Secure all wires and mountings
5. Put the plastic engine shroud back on.
A detailed instruction page is given with the package and it would take the seriously ham fisted to mess up this installation. Further, seeing the “Audi” logo on the connectors puts your mind as ease!

One criticism I have is that the box should have been supplied with a mounting bracket that can be directly fitted to a bracket in the engine bay. Or, the wires should have been long enough to extend into the cabin, where the box can then be neatly kept inside, away from the elements. This would be useful when servicing your car, as even though the manufacturer states that the box is weatherproof, you can’t help but worry about water seeping in or the mechanic “accidentally” knocking it around. Thought on speaking to Peter, I was informed that the best place to install the box would be in the battery shroud, that way it is invisible, relatively cool and sheltered from the elements. This works for the Octavia, but my comments about may hold true for other vehicles.

Performance:
It’s human nature; you are content till you sample something better. And that pretty much summarises the effect on me after fitting the Powerbox. I was satisfied with the power and torque of this simple, non-CRD, engine…till I tried something better!

Moving slowly out of the narrow lane that leads to the main road from 4-season, the garage and official retailer of Pete’s Tuning Box in Mumbai, I briefly mashed the pedal. The simultaneous “WHOOAA” from GTO, Rehaan and myself confirmed that the box was indeed plugged in and working!

The first thing we did was head to Worli Seaface to see the improvements in the 0-96 kmph (0-100mph) timings. We had GTO’s G-tech with us for some accurate measurements, and we had achieved a best time of 13.33 seconds from the stock engine.

Our first run with the “boxed” car showed a 11.65 second run, and that was with too much wheelspin, as I launched at the same rpm as I had before the box was installed. A few acclimatisation runs later showed timing dropping drastically. The best we got was a 10.75 second run. The reduction in time was further aided by the ability of the engine to continue making power right till it’s 5,000rpm redline, unlike the stock engine which runs out of steam at 4,000rpm (see graph above).

Taking a few variable factors into play, it is still an improvement of 2 seconds over the stock car. 2 seconds to the layman may not sound like much, but everyone reading this post would know that 2 seconds is a lifetime when we talk performance figures.

G-tech tested 0-96 Kmph
Stock: 13.33 sec.
Powerbox: 10.75 sec.

Real World Performance:
Acceleration figures can be misleading at times and don’t always paint a true picture of the car’s real world performance. The Toyota Corolla is a prime example of delivering on paper but not on the streets.

So, how much of a difference does a boxed Skoda make in everyday driving. The simple answer is a lot. The most prominent performance increase you notice is when you first floor the accelerator at 1,800rpm. Whereas the stock car was no slouch in this department, the difference now is simply addictive. Sure, I will get used to it, but for now, I just love giving people rides and look at their faces when I suddenly mash the pedal. Simple pleasures…!!

As you see from the graph, there is a big rise in torque, with the maximum 240NM of torque being produced from only 1,800rpm and staying that way till almost 3,000rpm. That means you can safely drive in third gear in the city and still out-accelerate almost all other cars by simply changing the angle of your right foot.

Out on the expressway, the difference was amplified. Where the stock car runs out of breath at an indicated 180-185kmph, the boxed car gallops past that mark with ease and finally stops at the 200-205 kmph mark. Consider a 10% speedo error, and that would mean the top speed is about 184 kmph. Another notable increase over stock.

Fuel Efficiency
A person spending thirty large ones to improve the performance of his car would not really be concerned with fuel economy. However, in these days of increasing fuel prices, it is always a consideration, and, if you can have more power with little loss in your FE, you have a happy customer!

The writing on Pete’s box claims an improvement in FE. I’m afraid to say that this is the one claim I would have to oppose. However, I’m happy to note that my FE did not drop either, and that alone is enough to bring a smile to my face. Running with the box over a period of a few weeks in city traffic, high-speed runs and acceleration tests, yielded me a combined average of 10.5 kmpl. Remember, that figure is inclusive of 0-96kmpn testing and high-speed runs. With some extended “regular” driving, that figure is sure to rise.

No, I have not done FE runs like the magazines, but then how many customers run their cars in that way? This is a real world, hard driving figure, which I’m sure could be improved upon with driver who has a lighter right foot.

Another benefit of the Pete’s box, and totally unexpected I might add, is the almost complete absence of black smoke from the tailpipe. A stock car under hard acceleration coughs out enough smoke to get the biker behind you mad, but with the box fitted, the smoke levels have dropped drastically. What that means is that the fuel is being effectively consumed to produce power and not wasted.

Conclusion.
Simply put, you cannot find an easier, more reliable and safer way to increase the power of your TDi engined car. Tuning boxes like these have been in use for years overseas, and I’ve yet to come across one instance where any major failure could be attributed to the fitting of these boxes. The fact that you can now buy this over the counter right here in India, with a bill and 2-year warranty is just icing on the cake.

The MRP may seem steep initially, but look at it this way. Which other performance part can you install in 10 minutes, get a guaranteed performance increase of about 20% and without affecting your fuel economy. Plus, when you sell your car, you simply unplug it and take it with you or sell it a get back part of your original purchase price. This sounds like a win-win situation to me, and you don’t get too many of those these days!

Pros:
Easy to install
High quality connectors
Tried, tested & instant results
No loss of FE
Reduction in smoke from the exhaust
Warranty

Cons:
No mounting bracket provided
Wiring not long enough to mount unit in the cabin
Erm...

__________________________________________________ __

Images courtesy Rehaan

The guinea pig.


Pete in a box.


Stock 0-96kmph timing


Installation
Step 1:Remove the plastic engine cover.


Step 2: Unplug the multi-pin connector which is located on the Injector Pump.


Step 3: Plug the old connector into the Pete's Box connector.


Step 4: Route & Fasten the wiring leading from the connector to the box.


Step 5: Secure the box in it's location.


Time to check the improvements.


Either the car got faster, or the camera got slower!


Quite an improvement on the first try.


And with a little more launch practice....10.75secs!
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Old 18th July 2005, 16:54   #2
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Hey Rtech congrats on the mod and that was a great review.

For the rest of you planning to go down this route I think I have found a website that could put your queries to rest...

http://tdiclub.com/TDIFAQ/TDiFAQ-6.html
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Old 18th July 2005, 17:04   #3
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wow!!!! that is some test results rtech,
to be totally honest when i first heard about it i was a little doubtful about it i thought it was just one of those "bhpgainers" you find on the net..but now i cannot wait to try one out on some car
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Old 18th July 2005, 17:10   #4
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wow!! 20% increase is good. hopin to get one soon, but only when the price drops a lil bit
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Old 18th July 2005, 17:51   #5
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Great results on the octi! Hi Pete, do something for my Palio 1.2 petrol (please start doing something like this for petrol cars too).
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Old 18th July 2005, 18:16   #6
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Hey Rtech, let me address your cons first

The mounting bracket has already been taken up but we are still to find a good solution because different cars have different ways and places where the box can be mounted. PSi is on the job anyway

Regarding the Lead length, I am sorry that cant be any longer. According to PSi it a calculated length and they cant extend it any further. The losses due to the extra length will play foul with the effeciency of the box.

And now for the fuel effeciency. Actually this is dependent a lot on where you drive and how. A lot of our customers have got back to us with an improved figure. In fact all our Hyundai customers have been getting a min of 10% increase. We have actually not yet figured out exactly how some get a better figure. In any case nobody has till date returned a dropped figure and that itself is GREAT, since you get the extra power with NO LOSS IN MILEAGE,

THX for the great review Rtech.

The latest news on Pete's is we are really glad to inform you all that " AUTOPSYCHE" - Arush has just joined our team of Esteemed Dealers. You guys know him well so all you guys in Delhi you have a known figure to help you in case you need a Pete's Tuning Box.

Rgds,

Peter

Last edited by turboindia : 18th July 2005 at 18:18.
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Old 18th July 2005, 18:31   #7
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Great review RTech and great product i guess.
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Old 18th July 2005, 18:46   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turboindia
The mounting bracket has already been taken up but we are still to find a good solution because different cars have different ways and places where the box can be mounted. PSi is on the job anyway
That's great news! I realise that this may be a problem as each car would be different, but ultimately it would just add to the ease of attaching the box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by turboindia
Regarding the Lead length, I am sorry that cant be any longer. According to PSi it a calculated length and they cant extend it any further. The losses due to the extra length will play foul with the effeciency of the box.
I wasn't aware of that. But I'm sure once a proper mount is made, this would become a non-issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by turboindia
And now for the fuel effeciency. Actually this is dependent a lot on where you drive and how. A lot of our customers have got back to us with an improved figure. In fact all our Hyundai customers have been getting a min of 10% increase. We have actually not yet figured out exactly how some get a better figure. In any case nobody has till date returned a dropped figure and that itself is GREAT, since you get the extra power with NO LOSS IN MILEAGE,
Yes, I'm sure the FE would improve. As I mentioned in the review, all my calculations were based on HARD driving.

Last edited by Rtech : 18th July 2005 at 18:47.
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Old 18th July 2005, 18:53   #9
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And some GREAT news for the Team-Bhpians

We have decided to offer a special 10% Discount on the Pete's Tuning Box for all the intersted Team-Bhpians for a limited time upto the 15th of August, 2005.

You guys just need to PM me and I'll tell you which dealer to contact depending on your place.

I guess you guys now have another reason to be Pete's TUNED,

Rgds,

Peter

Last edited by turboindia : 18th July 2005 at 18:54.
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Old 18th July 2005, 19:30   #10
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Great review, Rtech. We all saw how the car was flying with the 'box on the amby valley road last week. Excellent product Peter!
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Old 18th July 2005, 19:38   #11
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Nice Review Rtech...

Well there will shud be another one when done with the testing ...
What equipment is it that you were using to check the time ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by turboindia
And some GREAT news for the Team-Bhpians

We have decided to offer a special 10% Discount on the Pete's Tuning Box for all the intersted Team-Bhpians for a limited time upto the 15th of August, 2005.

You guys just need to PM me and I'll tell you which dealer to contact depending on your place.

I guess you guys now have another reason to be Pete's TUNED,

Rgds,

Peter
Thats not fair Peter ...
I was a member too before I bought the KIT ... And now u come up with the discount ...

Just kiddin Peter but i glad that you r promoting your products ...
Have had more than enuf good service from you ... So no complaints on money well spent ...
And congratulations on the new dealer in Delhi ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJK
Great review, Rtech. We all saw how the car was flying with the 'box on the amby valley road last week. Excellent product Peter!
Well you shud see the E class fly ... What say peter .. Remember at the time of tesing ???

Rgds,

EVO6

Last edited by EVO6 : 18th July 2005 at 19:43.
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Old 18th July 2005, 19:54   #12
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I can hardly explain how it felt EVO. That was an experience I'll never forget actually. The T-day on the Express highway.

Take care

Peter
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Old 18th July 2005, 19:55   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karthik247
wow!! 20% increase is good. hopin to get one soon, but only when the price drops a lil bit
And WOW you seem to have got your wish. you have done a lot on your car Karthik. I guess the only thing missing is the Pete's logo on your back,

Hey go ahead and PM me,

Take care

Peter
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Old 18th July 2005, 20:20   #14
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Superb and spot-on review, Rtech.

Trust me, the difference may be 2 odd seconds in the acceleration runs and that by itself is phenomenal. But you "feel" more than the actual 2 seconds - the instantenous rush of velocity is so A-W-E-S-O-M-E that we were literally pinned back to the seats during hard acceleration.

Me, Rtech and Rehaan were having a discussion that for petrol engines, there are mods like free flows, K&N filters etc. etc which are a BIG hassle to get good quality work on. And even then, whats the calculated increase in performance? Heres a plug and play box that has made access to more power easier than ever.

Good Job, Turbo India. How much is that box for a C220 again?

GTO
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Old 18th July 2005, 20:37   #15
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WoW now thats what i call a review! Professional to the core, i honest preffered reading this to the test done by autocar and overdrive. It itching me to get this box even more now but i dont wanna take chances with my Endeavour as yet before some1 else fit one on it :P also i barely use that car so i dont really think its worth it for my drive to get a smile on his face more often than me.....probably would be worth it when my dad finally picks up the E270 Cdi which is long due.........this way i can swap the box to whichever of the two cars i drive
Good work Rtech and the crew that tested it and booming luck to Peter for blessing us all with this magical box, waitin for you to drop some more bombs like this on us in the near future.......i am sure you have a lot to get to us and expand your offerings.....probably next step would be a similar box for petrol cars but u seem to yet be secertive about it .....this time around we better be the first ones to know well in advanced so all of us can save up some cash and have a big smile on our face when we see your products ad in the mags.
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