Let's understand what's on the market
For the most part there are three different forms of engine tuning. 1) ECU flash tuning, this comes in two forms - either removal of the ECU and send it in for reprogramming or the on-location reprogramming via the OBD port. 2) Rail-pressure boxes, these are a simple plug and play device that consists of a box and harness. 3) Injector duration module - a more complex electronic and wiring harness configuration.
Injector Duration Module
These are advanced, completely independent electronic computer module. These should not interfere with the manufacturers ECU and only inject additional fuel when the engine is under load. Important to note here is that there are several brands that claim to be Injector Duration modules, but not all are. STEINBAUER PowerModule was the original Injector Duration Module on the world market and is the only brand that is 100% Injector Duration technology. Other common brands in the US market that claim to be Injector Duration modules. Yet not all their products are 100% injector duration modules - DTE Systems, Ag Diesel Solutions and TS Performance Agri-Power.
ECU Flash Tuning
ECU tuning is hacking the code the factory manufacturer installs in the engines ‘brain’. This process overrides the original manufacturers programming on the ECU and installs a new software ‘map’ or program on the ECU. Some request that you remove your engine ECU and send it directly to them for re-programming. The most common is that an independent rep will come to you and upload a new software map onto your machine or vehicle via the OBD port. ECU re-mapping changes the fuel mapping and can change other parameters because the manufacturers original ECU program is overridden or ‘tweaked’. Common brands in the US market - EkoTune, Agri-Tune, Alientech, HeavyDiesel Tuner, Diesel Spec Inc and Tractor Chiptuning,
Rail Pressure Boxes
Rail Pressure tuning boxes are a cheap and crude form of aftermarket tuning. The operate using a very basic electronic that works primarily by manipulating the fuel pressure signal that goes to the ECU from the fuel rail pressure sensor. It is important to note here that they inject additional fuel, throughout the entire injection process, pre, post and main injection. It has become quite common over the past 5-6 years that many companies market a product as injector duration tuning - yet upon investigation, its simply a rail pressure box with an additional harness made to appear like an advanced module. Common brands in the US market - TS Performance, Ag Diesel Solutions and Bully Dog.