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HOWTO: Install a Performance Chip

Written by Wild Weasel

We've all heard about "chipping" a car to gain more power. It's widely known to be a fairly inexpensive way to get decent gains out of your engine. You can do it in Grand Turismo on the PS2 so it must have merit, right?

If you're lucky enough to have an engine for which someone makes a real performance chip or, even better, a programmable interface for, then this is true and you can get significant gains from proper tuning. A good friend of mine has an RSX-S with the Hondata module on it that allows him to do exactly that. He gained enough power to get more than a couple 10ths on the 1/4 mile track.

In the J-Body world, HP Tuners makes a programmer to do all this fun stuff. At the time of this writing, that's the only one available.

Unfortunately, there are all sorts of people out there trying to sell what they're calling performance chips that don't do anything of value at all.

This page is written to inform you about exactly what you're buying when you purchase any sort of generic performance chip and to caution you against ever doing so.

There is already a page here that talks about relocating the IAT sensor in the pursuit of power gains. Most of the performance chips floating around out there on eBay and elsewhere are doing this exact same mod. They use all sorts of fancy language to confuse the issue and try to convince buyers that they're doing something special but in the end, virtually all of them install in-line with the IAT sensor and put a resistor on the wire. That resistor fools the car's engine management computer into thinking the air coming in is cooler than it really is.

They'll tell you that this is of some benefit to you and gives you more power.

The truth is that they're selling you a resistor that can be bought for a penny. Sometimes they put it in a fancy box with a light and a switch or otherwise try to make it look like something more complicated. I've even seen them in a little box with more than one resistor so you can "choose what level of performance to use". They call them performance chips, or modules, or all sorts of other misleading things. I've seen them for over $150! They charge you ridiculous amounts of money (anything more than $2 is ridiculous) for something you don't need and that doesn't provide any of the gains they claim it does.

Now that you know that, please go read my page on Relocating the IAT Sensor to learn about what sort of damage you can do by doing that modification or installing one of the many "performance chips" that are out there.

Don't be lied to. Don't buy into one of those gimmicks. And if you were about to, and then read this page and saved yourself a few bucks, kindly send $5 my way through the button below. It's the least you can do for all the trouble I've saved you.

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