Author Topic: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?  (Read 1273 times)

Offline sjw

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Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« on: 17 July 2019, 10:26 »
Right, was suggested that I make another thread, so here goes.

I'm looking for any proof of anyone who has used a tuning box sold as undetectable, such as a JB4, who has has warranty work denied by a dealer based on said box having been installed (but obviously removed before dealer inspection)

The reason I ask is because just about every other forum I read has dismissed the so-called "TB1" flag as fake, and did so months ago. That includes the "internal" document supposedly from Audi.

Fire away with any cases

Offline monkeyhanger

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Re: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« Reply #1 on: 17 July 2019, 14:57 »
Just asking if anyone's had drivetrain work denied following remap/box use and subsequent removal isn't going to prove there isn't a way for VW to detect if you don't get a response.

The most likely negative outcome for a remapped car is a slipping manual clutch. If you get one of them beyond 30k miles (and perhaps before then) is that it's a wear and tear item. My stock R slipped its clutch a few times at 23k miles in the coldest weather we had, and I couldn't replicate it to persuade the dealership to do any investigative work on it.

I've had 10 VWs from new and VW seem to be going out of their way to avoid responsibility for warranty work on technicalities, as I recently found out with a request to fix my tailgate, part of the work was to adjust the striker plate that had been badly fitted at the factory, with the tailgate requiring a slam to close. Warranty denied because there's a sneaky 6500 miles/6 month clause on adjustments - I was 7 months and 5800 miles since new.

Ended up fixing myself. The warranty manager of the dealership that put in the claim stated that VW are knocking back so many claims right now, for spurious reasons.

It's been stated that Golfs and other VWs that have either been new models or facelifted with the Golf 7.5 or after now have detectability for boxes/remaps - prior to that time, they were thought to be undetectable.

VW engines and the fuel system are pretty robust (except that awful twin-charged 1.4), so you're most likely to hear from someone with a dud turbo that requires warranty work on the drivetrain. Doesn't happen often, but the actuator went on my R's turbo at 6 months old and the turbo was replaced. Similarly, I had a turbo fail on my 2003  Polo 1.9TDI in the same way at 5 months old - 11VAGs owned from new, 2 needed turbos under warranty.

As you may not get a definitive answer to whether VW can and do detect remaps and boxes, I'd have to assume that they can and decide if I want to risk binning my warranty should the worst happen.

You probably won't need major drivetrain work under warranty, so you're playing the odds if you remap.

If you have a manual box, be prepared to stump up for a new clutch either way and wait at least a yearas the drivetrain is more likely to fail in year 1 than years 2 and 3 due to incorrect assembly or defective parts as it's in heavy use from day 1.

My recent experiences with VW are that they are in serious penny pinching mode right now and will deny any claim they can - goodwill gestures from VW are no more.
« Last Edit: 17 July 2019, 15:00 by monkeyhanger »
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Offline topher

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Re: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« Reply #2 on: 17 July 2019, 17:21 »
Unless you have the appropriate diagnostic gear to reset all the engine ecu learned values and adaptations after removing the box then yes they are detectable. The internal document you refer to is 100% kosher, I've seen it direct from elsapro on the official TPI listings. Whether they decide to deny a warranty claim is down to the individual/dealership looking at the car.

Offline jv

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Re: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« Reply #3 on: 17 July 2019, 20:50 »
There you go, just the person to answer - someone with years of remap experience with at least two of the tuning companies you mentioned on your other thread sjw  :smiley:
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Offline sjw

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Re: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« Reply #4 on: 18 July 2019, 13:20 »
Unless you have the appropriate diagnostic gear to reset all the engine ecu learned values and adaptations after removing the box then yes they are detectable. The internal document you refer to is 100% kosher, I've seen it direct from elsapro on the official TPI listings. Whether they decide to deny a warranty claim is down to the individual/dealership looking at the car.

Ok that's cool, thanks! But the JB4 (at least) claims to sit between the ECU and the other components and intercept the signals, meaning the ECU never sees the "fiddled-with" signals and values. How then does the ECU adapt, and what to?

Offline topher

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Re: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« Reply #5 on: 19 July 2019, 00:16 »
The technical documentation with all the answers you're looking for is hours and hours.. and hours of reading. I couldn't tell you what the factory scan tool is looking for on every engine/ecu type. The one test that sticks in my mind was for the C7 RS6 which gave a tolerance for the variable cam timing learned values as a way to check for modifications.

Online kmpowell

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Re: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« Reply #6 on: 19 July 2019, 10:08 »
Unless you have the appropriate diagnostic gear to reset all the engine ecu learned values and adaptations after removing the box then yes they are detectable. The internal document you refer to is 100% kosher, I've seen it direct from elsapro on the official TPI listings. Whether they decide to deny a warranty claim is down to the individual/dealership looking at the car.

Ok that's cool, thanks! But the JB4 (at least) claims to sit between the ECU and the other components and intercept the signals, meaning the ECU never sees the "fiddled-with" signals and values. How then does the ECU adapt, and what to?
Modern VAG cars have two flash 'counters'. The 1st is partially accessible by tuners and tuning companies which can block ECU changes etc, but the 2nd is completely inaccessible/encrypted and increments at every use of an external device which alters/changes the state of the ECU.

A VW dealership doesn't search for flags, they only look via ELSA for existing registered flags. Here in the UK, VW AG ask all dealers to run a specific diagnostic report (called SVM) which gets uploaded to the VW AG servers via VAS online. An automated response will be received. and if a flag has been found that flag will be shown and registered to the database. The diagnostic tool has no capability to do this locally. No information about a cars tuning state is held on the car's ROM, it's held centrally at VAG. VW keeps that record centrally of what the count number should be for each VIN (based on how many times it's been plugged into their systems), if the count displayed sits outside the number expected, then it goes into the first flash counter and looks for the TB1 and TD1 errors. It is when these are flagged, warranties are usually rendered void, and as previously mentioned this is a big thing in current VAG climate where every penny counts.

As mentioned, the flash counters serve two different purposes, one counts, one analyses. There is also another bit of the algorithm that analyses 'hardware' modification (tuning boxes and unidentified hardware that’s been plugged into the ECU) which produces a TXD code that is then monitored in the detection algorithm. It’s simple maths which will then flags the appropriate error (TD1, TG1, TE1 and TB1).

Here's a story from early 2018 where a guy was stupid enough to remap his car, and when Audi came back rejecting a warranty claim then come back on the forum claiming he had no idea it was mapped.... https://forum.rs246.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=127725&hilit=td1
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Offline Exonian

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Re: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« Reply #7 on: 22 July 2019, 00:08 »

Quote
It is crucial to disconnect the battery and either wait 5 minutes or short the terminals together (The terminal leads, NOT the battery terminals! :D) to reset the ECU learned values, after removing ya JB4.
 
I believe the only way for a scan to possibly detect or suspect a tuning box, after it is removed, is to look at the learned values for long term fuel trims and boost wastegate targets vs requested boost. By disconnecting the battery these values are all reset back to stock.
 
When you first install a JB4 - you are told it will take a few full throttle runs and some time for the ECU to learn / adapt - this learning is merely it progressively adjusting the duty cycle of the wastegate until requested boost meets the actual (or in this case, altered boost reading from the JB4). The ECU then learns this and stores it - this is the only thing that VW's mothership scan could pick up......but easily fooled by a ECU reset via battery pull ;)
 
Of course you should also scan and get rid of any suspect fault codes that may be lingering (like overboost/underboost etc).

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Offline AudiA8Quattro

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Re: Tuning boxes - detectable or not?
« Reply #8 on: 19 August 2019, 17:04 »
The dealers certainly seem to be able to detect tuning, but do insurance companies have access to the same level of equipment?
The dealer code also only says suspected tuning box, is that enough to deny a warranty claim? Or even more importantly an insurance claim?
I understand remaps are certainly more clear cut. But are tuning boxes?
Also how many cars are floating around on the 2nd hand car market that have been either mapped or had a tuning box fitted at some point, I doubt many potential owners would have a clue, so would it just leave them uninsured?
It really is a can of worms.
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