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The Unichip is a piggy back ECU, and used to be called the PROgram, it was used largely by Porsche owners...but is adaptable to nearly any car, including the MKIV Supra. I'd never heard of anyone using it with a MKIV until now. One of our local Seattle area Supra owners was talked into being a "guinea pig" for the installation and tuning of the Unichip, and the results are very good so far. The bang for the buck of the Unichip looks unbeatable at this point, but I'm waiting patiently for them to explore the possibilities and limitations of it. Here is what I know so far:

The car that it was installed on is a 1997 6 speed with about 50k miles and standard BPU mods (no FMIC) except for ported turbos. He has an HKS downpipe with catalytic converter still on the car and it made 385 rwhp/403 rwtq on pure 92 octane pump gas. The dyno graph (which I do not have) is very smooth...much smoother than I've come to expect from running pump gas. Not sure what boost he ran at for that, but I can tell you that he is using the Unichip for fuel control (instead of the HKS VPC/GCC).

The Unichip may prove to be the best bang for the buck solution for the MKIV, as it will effectively replace a Greddy BCC, HKS VPC, HKS GCC, and GForce upgraded ECU...all for about $600 (uninstalled). This compares favorably to the AEM, which is set to retail for $1999 or so, but I won't tell you that it can do things the AEM cannot because I have a feeling the AEM is more capable overall. The Unichip is not a direct replacement for the factory ECU, but plugs into it and is tuned by a laptop computer interface.

Judging from what I saw so far, I may personally be getting a Unichip instead of the upcoming AEM ECU...but I'll wait and see. Here is more information on the Unichip if you're interested:

http://www.theracersgroup.com/theprogram_unichip.html

By the way, I hope this doesn't come across as a "AEM bashing post"...that is by no means my intention. The AEM unit is going to rock, but I am so happy to learn of another option when it comes to ECU upgrades for the MKIV...and for substantially less money. Don't bother asking me any technical questions as I am sure I cannot answer them...I'm presenting all I know for now. :)

Steve T.
 

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Steve, I looked into this a bita couple years back. It looks the same now. The AEM is a full engine management solution. The unichip is much more of a fuel/inigtion computer. I think it would be a good option for a BPU level of mods. Can you tell us what dyno results your friend achieved? What was the cost of the unit? Did it plug into the stock harness or did it have to be spliced in? On what basis do you claim it replaces a BCC? I'm assuming your friend still runs a boost controller, right?
 

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This unichip looks pretty user friendly per there site. Also where does it say on the site the price of the computer?
 

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It doesn't. It says the price is worked out with the dealer. Probably because the package deal has to include tuning the car.
 

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I told you Jim...no questions! :)

Anyway, I'll try. You're correct that at this point it does basically fuel/ignition, but the timing upgrade is about the be released for it. They do revisions of the software fairly regularly, so I'm sure that the product has come along since you last looked at it. The dyno results were listed to the best of my memory (385 rwhp/403 rwtq with single cat and pump gas).

The Unichip cost $600 but he paid at least $400 for installation and dyno tuning...bringing the total to at least $1000. When you figure that the AEM will also need to be dyno tuned to produce optimal results, I don't consider this a bad thing. In fact any modified Supra would benefit from dyno time. I'm not sure how it was connected to the stock ECU, but it definitely replaces the BCC as it can control all that stuff. He said you could even configure it to turn on your headlights at 2500 rpm if that is what you wanted to do...lots of customizing available. My friend does run a boost controller (Blitz SBC-ID) but the Unichip can handle boost control duties as well, similar to the AEM I believe. You can do it either way.

If anything, it sounds like the Unichip might be a great "entry level" ECU solution, but the more I hear about it, the more full featured it is sounding. I think they are continuing to build in more functionality to it all the time. It can definitely raise your rev limiter too...that is why I said it could also replace a GForce ECU upgrade.

Steve T.

XCELR8 said:
Steve, I looked into this a bita couple years back. It looks the same now. The AEM is a full engine management solution. The unichip is much more of a fuel/inigtion computer. I think it would be a good option for a BPU level of mods. Can you tell us what dyno results your friend achieved? What was the cost of the unit? Did it plug into the stock harness or did it have to be spliced in? On what basis do you claim it replaces a BCC? I'm assuming your friend still runs a boost controller, right?
 
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Can someone PLEASE tell me how this thing is as good as a standalone (this is a piggyback unit) and offers the same flexability, when it only has 5 wires? Presumably these are air/fuel input, air/fuel output, ground, 12V in, and another one. How on earth can this thing override your stock ECU without interfacing between the ECU and the car's sensors and actuators? It strikes me as an overglorified SAFC, yet claims to do a/f control, traction control, boost control and a dozen other things. I had this debate with a Unichip dealer and he just kept dodging the question of HOW it works and eventually left the dicsussion entirely.

The claims could very well be true, but so far no one can explain to me how this piggyback outperforms a standalone but only has at best 3 interface wires.
 

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Steve, I just don't see how it does everything you say. Their own site says nothing about doing boost control, raising rev limits, etc. All it says it does is replace the stock fuel, ignition, etc maps with what they program in. I guess I could see how they override the fuel cut, but I don't see how they control boost. If they do, then I'd immediately want to know whether you can select between at least 2 boost settings and have separate maps for each. You said your mechanic is doing the work on this customer's car, so run the questions by him. Just exactly what lines does it splice into and does it have a car specific harness solution?
 

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Ok, in the FAQ section of their site they say:

Does the Unichip only control timing and fuel?

*NO, The Unichip can also be used for the following functions:
*Change switch over points for variable cam timing control (VTEC, VVT, etc.)
*Electronic boost control
*Water injection
*Override speed limiter
*Drive additional injectors
*Raise your rev limiter
*Achieve progressive nitrous control with retarded timing
*Provide launch control on turbo-charged applications
*Replace mechanical ignition system with mapped ignition
*Optimize timing and fuel map settings
*Easily re-programmable
*Real time tuning via laptop
 

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This does look good, however I also would want at least 2 different boost settings.

Jeff
 

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I herd about these folks a while back and saw a few honda guys try to tune with them and failed. I've also talked with a couple of people locally who tried to tune their supra's with it and had problems as well. I believe they couldn't control either fuel or timing with the piggypack for some reason. The only cases I've herd (never saw the results in person) this unit work well was on older Porsches.
 

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silvino said:
I herd about these folks a while back and saw a few honda guys try to tune with them and failed. I've also talked with a couple of people locally who tried to tune their supra's with it and had problems as well. I believe they couldn't control either fuel or timing with the piggypack for some reason. The only cases I've herd (never saw the results in person) this unit work well was on older Porsches.
The new Subaru Impreza WRX crowd seems to be having good luck using the Unichip. I'm sure the tuner has a *lot* to do with it, though.
 
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It totally depends on what the user wants, and what horsepower/torque figures he/she is looking for. If you're a person who is striving for a lot of horsepower, and will want more later...........then again, you will want a standalone.

The Unichip is good for average horsepower gains(how many supplementary injectors can the Unichip drive?). You only can tune so much with this piggyback device.

Running a standalone will yield much better results, as long as you can tune it properly.



"The tools are only as good as the one behind it."

Stan
 

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Just got off the phone with Tony from Unichip.
There are some issues that I felt might become a big issue down the line.
1. Though they use a laptop to program it, it is not something that anyone can do. You will have to take the car to them to do it. That means, once they set up your car that's it. No more changes unless you take the car to them. Which sucks since those of us with VPC and some kind of a fuel computer can just change the setting (at least we have the option).
If you run different gas in the car it has to be tuned to that particular gas, which is not new but not being able to adjust anything on my own kind of killed it for me.

2. It can drive NOS, and seems to be pretty good system but there is an additional $150.00 fro the driver + installation.

3. Talking to Tony, he seems to be pretty knowledgeable about the Unichip but completely in the dark about the Supra.
I had some very specific questions. Can I get rid of the VPC (what's the VPC he asks) so I explain but his answers were unsure (at least that's how I felt) AFC same process.
Then he mentioned that I might have to put the car back to MAF!!!
Then he said I could get rid of it.
Then he recommended me to some one local who he said knows the system well. Talking to him was a disaster. This guy had no clue about anything in a Supra. He seems to know about Mustangs but that's not going to give me the worm and fuzzy feeling that I'm after.
Experimenting is not a good thing with single turbo cars. This system may be a nice unit but I rather have the ability to tune it on my own with my tuner than having one of these guys do it. Being that it's a fuel system computer, if they mess up you're buying a new engine.
I guess G-force is about the safest way to do things coupled with a VPC and an AFC GCC where you know what you're getting.
AEM unit may be very attractive since you can tune it your self. But Unichip may not be what I want to put in my car and floor the throttle. This is of course my opinion.
 
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As I said in a previous UNICHIP thread the unit itself is not worth the money. In Australia at least (and I wouldn't think the US model was any different ~ V2 has not been released yet and won't be for another 16 mths) the Unichip does NOT control timing (on a SUPRA TT and most Toyotas for that matter) so in reality it is a very expensive fuel computer for the SUPRA. SUre it has auxillary controls but I have one on my SUPRA and will be pulling it off soon as it doesn't even control fueling properly. Plus you have to take it to the UNICHIP dealers to get it programmed as they won't release the software for the general population.
Cheers
Andrei
 
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