Adjustable Chip Tuning Boxes (Diesel) – What You Need To Know

More and more #dieseltuning boxes are adjustable. The adjustability allows the customer to increase the power of the engine over and above the standard settings of the #tuningbox.

While this is in theory a good thing, the customer needs to understand the consequences of changing to the settings of their diesel tuning box before they make adjustments.


As I covered in the previous article, the highest quality tuning box, i.e. the tuning box that has been tested the most thoroughly will not necessarily be the tuning box which quotes the biggest power gains.

There is a reason for this. While increasing fuel is an easy way to increase power on a turbo diesel engine, increasing fuel also increases combustion chamber temperatures and if these temperatures get to high, the life of the pistons, valves and turbo can be reduced.

A quality tuning box manufacturer will supply their product with the setting which they believe to be the maximum safe setting. i.e. the setting that gives the maximum power without creating dangerously hot combustion chamber temperatures.

If you are going to change the settings on your tuning box to increase power, then you should be aware that you could also be decreasing the life of the engine parts.

You need to weigh up if the extra power is worth the extra stress on the engine.

It gets more involved but in the simplest possible terms, excessive smoke from the exhaust means high combustion chamber temperatures.

Driving Style – Use of Car

The more informed a customer is, the more they can get from a product and a tuning box is no exception.

Example 1 – More Power

If you find that you need to have your car planted to the carpet a lot of the time to go at the speed you want, then I would recommend sticking with the factory tuning box settings because you will be putting a lot of heat in the combustion chamber for extended periods of time.

Example 2 – Enough Power

If you find that your engine makes enough power and you only very occasionally need to give the engine full throttle then I would say you can be quite aggressive with the tuning box settings. You can be aggressive with the power settings because you will rarely be using full power and when you do use full power you are only doing so for a very short period of time. The aggressive settings will put extra heat into the combustion chambers but it will only be in very short bursts.

Example 3 – Towing

Towing. I do not recommend fitting a tuning box to a car that struggles to tow. Car manufacturers build their engines for worst case scenario i.e. maximum engine loads for extended periods of time, towing up a hill for example. This worst case scenario and the head room the car manufacturers build into their design is what the chip tuning manufacturers exploit to get more power. If your car is already working at the maximum duty cycle, you have no headroom to exploit. You should keep the engine standard. The only real solution to this problem is to fit a more powerful engine or to buy a more suitable car.


1. If you find your engine is powerful enough and you just want the engine to make more power for short bursts, you can be quite aggressive with the settings of the tuning box.

2. If you find your engine lacks power and you are using full throttle quite often, I would stick with the settings that the diesel tuning box manufacturer supplies.

3. And if you are using maximum throttle full long periods of time, for example towing, I would not recommend fitting a diesel tuning box.

These three examples cover the whole spectrum, you have to decide where your car and your driving style sits and adjust the diesel tuning box accordingly

Street & Circuit sells a wide variety of tuning boxes for most modern cars petrol and turbo – Click here to find the tuning box for your car.

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