4WDING, CAMPING,CARAVANING, ADVENTURING...& A BLOODY GOOD LAUGh
DPCHIP ENHANCED TROOPY- SAFETY IN NUMBERS
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK ALLEN
The mine field that is ‘engine performance upgrading’ takes an awful lot of brain strain to wade through. The claims, counter-claims and untruths that leach from all manner of self-proclaimed diesel performance experts leaves one wondering how there is no governing body to sort the facts from the bull.
While I’m sure some of the ‘newer’ experts could provide a perfectly good and safe engine performance upgrade, I just can’t quite come at handing over my pride and joy – read ‘expensive engine’ – to someone who hasn’t been in the ‘game’ for a long time. Sure, the younger set tend to be more up to date with all things electronic than the older generation, but I still wonder if some youngens’ totally understand the ramifications of exactly what they are fiddling with on the electronic workings of a common rail turbo diesel engine.
Given my own exhaustive research on upping my Troopy engine outputs, I’ve gone with the tried and tested, perhaps slightly conservative and overcautious, albeit guaranteed safe and simple DPChip – a simple plug in electronic computer module that has been individually programmed for my vehicle to alter the fuel, timing, boost, pressure and air characteristics for safe, upgraded performance returns across a wider power band. No ECU flash tunes, no remaps and no outlandish claims of clutch destroying power upgrades. The DPChip module simply plugs into the existing wiring harness and took Andrew Leimroth, of Berrima Diesel, literally a couple of minutes to install for the much anticipated instant gains.
Given the people behind DPChip are Berrima Diesel and have been in the diesel engine game since 1956 (Reinhard Leimroth was trained by Robert Bosch) and offer a 6 year warranty on their power modules as well as factory backed driveline warranty and a 60 day money back guarantee, that goes a long way for my piece of mind and belays any fears of mystical electronic gremlins causing limp-home modes that we hear of other systems all too often.
With the DPChip living downstream of the factory ECU, all engine safety modes are left intact. If something goes wrong, everything will happen exactly the same as it would without the DPChip and all factory engine fault codes will activate as standard.
The DPChip is user-adjustable, so can indeed be easily ‘wound up’ to provide more power gains albeit at the expense of fuel usage, so I’m more than happy with the ‘out-of-the-box’ settings and improvements. Before and after dyno runs show the DPChip enhanced Troopy pumping out an extra 106.1Nm at its peak and about 100Nm more across the useable rev range. While the actual percentage increase isn’t up to the maximum claims of ‘up to 25 and 35%’, my outputs of 747.5Nm and 131.0Kw (at the rear wheels) are in combination with a 3 inch mandrel bent Taipan XP exhaust and has sure made a notable driving difference.
Before we get into how much ‘better’ the Troopy is to drive now, we need to understand this is a commercial-type 4x4 with low gearing (box and diffs), a manual gearbox and low revving engine… not an auto, high revving passenger or SUV type 4x4. Given that, we simply can’t expect shaving huge amounts of time off quarter mile runs or being able to smoke buzz boxes off from the traffic lights. While there is more urgency in the initial acceleration and it’s now far easier to match it with the general traffic, it’s the added torque that comes into play once you’re up and rolling that has made a huge difference to this Troopy. My roll-on times (accelerating from 60 or 80 up to 80 to 100km/h without changing gears) has improved outta site – that’s the higher torque doing its thing. Being able to hold a higher gear on the freeway, while lugging around town and while towing is easily done, and again, that’s the advantage of having more torque to play with.
Given exorbitant diesel prices, fuel consumption is always a big issue and given we’ve upped the power outputs, most people would want to know what it that does to fuel economy. From my first five tanks of fuel (at about 500km per tank load) my first tank returned abysmal fuel economy – about 3 litres per 100 kays worth down… because I was using all that power at every chance I could. Poof - blew the Postie bike off the lights, wow – I beat that V6 Dunnydore and Hey… I managed to keep 110km/h up the steepest Freeway hills on Earth and I was over-revving that four and half litre in the lower gears more than necessary. I admit it, I played (safely of course) and enjoyed it… until I realised the crap fuel consumption I got – you don’t get anything for nuthin’… if you use that power, expect to get worse fuel consumption.
My next two tank fills; I drove ‘normally’ and allowed the engine to take advantage of the extra torque without over-revving it all the time. No loutish driving, no stomping on the load pedal at every chance and I got the same fuel consumption as pre-DPChip. Using that higher torque at lower revs in higher gears without over-loading the engine is the only way you’ll achieve improved fuel consumption.
With the last fuel load, I drove like Nanna… a very hard thing to do as I like to be at the speed limit all the time on long distance hauls. Instead I dropped back by 5 to 10 kays an hour, took off gently and got honked at a few times by impatient drivers. Returning 3 litres per hundred better off gave me a huge grin and fuzzy-feel-good hit, albeit I know it would be short lived as I can’t drive like that all the time. So, depending on how you drive and how you treat the accelerator pedal can have a huge impact on fuel consumption.
All up, I’m stoked because I’ve got improved torque at lower revs for towing and long distance touring is easier, plus returns a similar to slightly better fuel consumption figure and am totally confident of not having detrimental effects to my expensive engine.