Here at Mapmycar we can offer Gearbox tuning for a range of different manufacturers automatic and DSG gearboxes and use only the best software on the market from xHP and Quantum Tuning. We can offer Gearbox tuning for the following Marques.
How Remapping a transmission works
The TCU (Transmission Control Unit) defines the way how a transmission operates and reacts to driver inputs. From a driver perspective the operation looks very simple. You stomp on the throttle and the transmission starts to upshift the gears and downshifts them once you slow down the car. The complex task behind this, is that the transmission must pre-calculate constantly what the driver expects it to do next, as there is no formula to calculate technically correct Shift-Points.
Such a thing as a correct shift-point does only exist if you focus on a single variable, like optimal acceleration under full-throttle. In reality this is a multi-variable situation, where many things have to be considered like uphill/downhill driving, current brake-pressure, torque reserve of the engine in the current state, current steering wheel angle (cornering), current wheel-slip (e.g. ice or snow driving), special operating modes of engine/transmission (e.g. Particulate Filter regeneration, cold-start, overheat protection mode etc.), data from the Navigation System (e.g. tight corner or incline ahead), current gradient of the throttle operation by the driver and many, many more.
In a perfect world, the TCU could gather all those inputs, sum them up, apply a formula and spit out the perfect shift-strategy. Actually, that’s what manufacturers are doing to a high degree in their efforts to reduce cost. Many maps get "pre-calibrated" by a computer nowadays. Mapping starts exactly where the computers capacity ends, and that’s the fine line between "technically correct" and "perceived correct". All those "hard" data points now get layered by the engineer doing the mapping with a certain target group in mind. The permanent question is, if the customer will deem a certain behaviour, in a certain situation to be correct or not. What customer A sees as correct behaviour, can be judged as unbearable action by customer B.
A simple example: Let us assume, that for moderate acceleration on a flat surface, the transmission is programmed to upshift all gears at around 1500 (Engine-)RPM. Technically this would be OK for most vehicles and would lead to an overall relaxed, high economy, low wear driving style. Nevertheless, that behaviour will be perceived totally different in a 1-Series BMW 4-Cylinder, compared to an Audi with 8-Cylinder engine. And even within the same vehicle, there will be certain customer groups judging this as wrong behaviour and they will do so for varying reasons. Manufacturers try to solve this, by implementing multiple driving programs into the TCU, e.g. BMW with the DEC-Controller and it's Eco-Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings, which can be combined with the 3 positions of the Gear Shift Lever (D-Mode, S-Mode, M-Mode).
Each combination of those inputs can be configured independently (more or less) and activates different maps, that lead to different shift-strategies, which are of course again vastly different between vehicles. S/Sport+ in a M135i will behave different, as it does in a 550i and will again be different in a X5 M50d. It is all about the specific vehicle and the target group driving with it. To give another easy example: Some cars are allowed to direct-shift from 8th to 2nd Gear when the driver mashes the throttle, while others are not. The transmission is always able to do it, but for some models the Manufacturer decided to not allow such a huge jump in gears, as it could be seen as unfavourable by the planned target group.
Everything above only refers to the most obvious part of transmission control: The shift-points, so the moment when a transmission switches from one gear to another. Other control areas are the clutch pressures inside and outside of shifts, the clutch-timing on shifts (which greatly influence the shift-comfort) the slip of the Torque Converter Clutch, clutch-stress calculations, traction management during Launch Control etc. Overall a modern transmission controller sports around 15.000 maps. Many of which are only there to alter the behaviour in specific situations, e.g. Towing. For instance, a customer living in a totally flat area and never driving in the mountains, will not touch thousands of those maps. They just will not come into play, until there is an incline.
With the above said, it should become clearer what "mapping a transmission" means and why a single calibration cannot be used for all cars. Our customers (in most cases) are searching for sportier behaviour of their Transmission and that’s what we have in mind, when doing the Maps. We remove compromises the OEM Manufacturer had to make for various reasons (for instance to keep distance to the next higher model), we re-think the logic of calibrations from scratch, so that it leads to more fun with your car on a daily basis! Not only on the Racetrack, but also on the way there.
DSG, S-Tronic & PDK Tuning
A direct-shift gearbox (Direkt-Schalt-Getriebe), commonly abbreviated to DSG, is an electronically controlled dual-clutch multiple-shaft manual gearbox in a transaxle design, without a conventional clutch pedal and with fully automatic or semi-manual control.
In simple terms, a DSG is two separate manual gearboxes (and clutches) contained within one housing and working as one unit. By using two independent clutches, a DSG can achieve faster shift times and eliminates the torque converter of a conventional automatic transmission.
On Porsche the gearbox is known as PDK (Porsche Doppel Kupplungs getriebe). On most Audi models, the DSG is referred to as an S-Tronic gearbox. It can be quite confusing as the normal Torque Converter Autos are also sometimes called S-Tronic as well.
Most Automatic Gearboxes have a set torque limit within the software, meaning tuned cars will be limited to this figure even if the engine is wanting to produce more. We can increase this torque limit to more realistic levels or in some cases remove it completely.
We can significantly improve Gearbox shift times by up to 20% which helps maximise acceleration.
Even in manual mode, most gearboxes will automatically change up at a set RPM. This does not always suit everyone's driving style and can be quite annoying. We can set this to a higher RPM or disable it completely. Ideal for track or fast road use.
BMW & Toyota Supra ZF Gearbox Tuning
Since introduction of the ZF 6HP transmissions in BMW vehicles in the early 2000s they remained a Blackbox for Tuners and car enthusiasts worldwide. While the ZF units have been tuned for many years now in other vehicles, BMW applied intense encryption and signature mechanisms to avoid Tuners and enthusiasts from doing so. While this is understandable from a manufacturer’s perspective, it does not satisfy the needs of BMW enthusiasts worldwide. The ZF-Automatics were used throughout the whole BMW range from the 1-series hatchbacks to the mighty Alpina B5 cars putting out around 500 bhp and 700 Nm of torque. While the hardware stays widely the same throughout all applications and is mainly divided in only a few types, the software inside the controller makes it possible to adapt the transmission to every vehicle and mimic a wide range of driver styles. Smooth and comfy in the Diesel applications, the same transmission in the Alpina B3/B5 come with a way sportier touch and make it hard to believe, they are from the same breed.
Tweaking your transmission is not only about getting quicker or holding more power. Few people are aware of how deeply an automatic transmission contributes to the overall driving experience. From crawling in traffic, over city driving, to taking your vehicle to the drag strip or a racetrack, the TCU widely defines how your car feels. Like everyone drives different with a manual, the maps inside the TCU hide the secrets to tweak your automatic transmission to your personal likings and finally experience what BMW promised you once in the glossy brochure!