What’s Better? ECU Remapping VS Performance Chips

Are you looking to enhance the performance of your vehicle? Maybe you want to improve fuel efficiency, towing capabilities, or off-roading performance. Whatever your reasons may be, Cairns Diesel Service is here to guide you in making the right choice.

When it comes to power upgrades for common rail diesel vehicles, two popular options are

  • ECU Remapping 
  • Performance Chip Power Modules

 Both methods offer similar performance gains, with an average increase of 10-20% in power and torque. Lets break down the difference between ECU remapping and performance mod chips to help you determine which option is best suited for your needs.

ECU Remapping


ECU remapping involves modifying the parameters within your vehicle’s existing Engine Control Unit (ECU) to optimize performance. This process is done through a laptop and specialized software, allowing adjustments to be made to various parameters such as emission controls, torque limiters, injection timing and duration, rail pressure, and boost pressure. By fine-tuning these parameters, ECU remapping can deliver improvements in power, torque, and overall performance throughout the RPM range.

One significant benefit of ECU remapping is the elimination of flat spots in the power and torque curve. Many modern vehicles, especially common rail diesels, suffer from a lag or lack of response during acceleration from a stop. ECU remapping can address this issue, resulting in a smoother and more responsive driving experience.

At Cairns Diesel Service, we take pride in our expertise and experience in ECU remapping for 4WD and Ag Applications. Our team of professionals uses state-of-the-art equipment such as the latest AlienTech Scan Tool KESS3 that you can read more about here. It’s incredible how much of a difference an ECU Remap will make on a vehicle.

Cairns Diesel Service use AlienTech Scanning Tools in the ECU Remapping Process 

Here’s a review from one of our customers after driving their vehicle after receiving a Remap


“So my husband has been nagging for ages to get the car remapped. I thought it was a waste of money. Anyway we finally decided to get it done, I was skeptical it would make any great difference. Oh boy was I wrong. Our car is now like a totally different car. It’s so much quieter, changes gears so much smoother, has a lot more power, especially when towing and the fuel economy has improved. I now have more confidence in our car especially as we are on the road full time and need a reliable car. Well worth the investment. Thanks to Daniel & the guys for their friendly, prompt & reliable service. Now you can say I told you so.”Fiona Sulamn, Cairns, QLD – CDS Customer



Permanent ECU Reprogram allows for the most in depth modification possible, as the parameters are adjusted directly – whereas chips are classed as more of a ‘piggy back’. Also, prices vary between the two but Remapping is usually a more affordable service than purchasing a chip. But this does depend on where you go!


If you need your adjustments reversed, this can be more difficult as opposed to a chip that you can remove. But if you planning on keeping your vehicle for a long time to come, this really is more of a Pro!

Performance Mod Chips

Cairns Diesel Service Install Steinbauer Performance Chip Power Modules Performance modules such as the Steinbauer Chip are an excellent option when you aren’t able to make permanent changes to your vehicles ECU for whatever reason. They are extremely effective upgrade that deliver up to 20% power and torque increase! Read more about the incredible capabilities of this chip here. These types of power chip mods are supplementary engine management systems that piggyback off your vehicle’s existing ECU. The module (chip) then gives us full control over the timing and mixture functions, Boost Control, EGT protections, drive existing injectors, eliminate road speed governors and much more.

Unlike ECU remapping, performance mod chips offer the advantage of being plug-and-play for most modern diesel vehicles. This means that if you ever sell your vehicle or wish to remove the chip for any reason, you can easily unplug it, and the vehicle will return to its standard parameters set from the factory. This flexibility and portability are key differences between ECU remapping and performance mod chips.

However, it’s important to note that performance mod chips are generally more expensive than ECU remapping. The cost of the chip itself, along with the time for tuning, installation, and labor, adds up to a higher price tag compared to ECU remapping.


The flexibility of turning on and off your power mod and you can still receive up to 20% power with a chip


The ECU isn’t directly modified, so it’s argued


Choosing the Right Option

Now that we have explored the differences between ECU remapping and performance mod chips, how do you decide which option is right for you? The answer depends on your specific needs and circumstances.

If you are looking for a cost-effective way to increase the performance of your common rail turbocharged diesel vehicle, ECU remapping at Cairns Diesel Service is often the best choice. Our team of experts will fine-tune your vehicle’s parameters to deliver optimal performance throughout the RPM range.

On the other hand, if you are unsure how long you will keep the vehicle or if you are chasing high horsepower, a performance mod chip like the Steinbauer Mod may be the preferred option. These chips offer the convenience of easy installation and portability, allowing you to transfer them to another vehicle if needed.


When it comes to enhancing the performance of your common rail turbo diesel vehicle, both ECU remapping and performance mod chips offer significant gains in power and torque. ECU remapping allows for precise tuning and the elimination of flat spots in the power curve, while performance mod chips provide flexibility and portability.

At Cairns Diesel Service, we specialize in both ECU remapping and performance mod chips. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing top-notch diesel services backed by our industry expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction. Contact our performance department today to learn more about our services and discuss which performance modification option is best suited for you and your vehicle.

Share this story:

Related Posts