Generally speaking, the higher the tuning stage, the more power you get.
The details of each stage depend on the mechanical features of the vehicle, but there are some general rules. Let us give you the gist of it here and then move on to more specific information below so that you can get an idea of what is best for you.
Stage 1 tuning in most cases requires no part changes, although it can in some cases. For example, for some cars with superchargers, a pulley replacement may be a part of stage 1. However, in most cases, stage 1 is only a software modification. Especially on turbocharged vehicles, it is the most beneficial upgrade in terms of power all the way up to stage 3 mods and higher. An additional benefit is that it is usually more affordable and at the same time brings more power than most upgrades in stage 2.
Stage 2 tuning adds some new parts, mostly for intake and exhaust sections. Aside from giving a bit more power, Stage 2 also serves as the basis for the next step in tuning. The parts added for stage 2 vary greatly as there are many different kinds of intake and exhaust upgrades. If you go with stage 2, chiptuning is also a mandatory part.
Stage 3 goes further, including changes to engine internals, turbocharger, injectors and much, much more. Changing all these parts is not obligatory, as Stage 3 is often customized and tailored to meet the desires of customers. We are here to provide expertise and guidance.
Importantly, you can also specify the fuel quality you want us to tune for. Different fuel quality also affects the scope of modifications. Higher octane levels leave more room for boost and advancement of ignition timing.
Stage 1 is the most common tuning upgrade. It is also the one that requires no hardware upgrades whatsoever.
Stage 1 tuning is an ECU software upgrade that extracts more power from the engine by adjusting its operational parameters. It is most efficient on turbocharged vehicles as it allows for more adjustments.
In short, stage 1 adjusts several parameters, including fuel and air delivery, their mixture and ignition timing, as well as numerous accompanying aspects, depending on the particular vehicle that is being tuned.
Moreover, each of these aspects varies depending on different conditions. For example, the relations between the aspects will greatly depend on the rpm of the engine. Similarly, when cold, engines have different maps. Also, different driving modes have significantly different setups.
So, you see, there are thousands of combinations between the different aspects, depending on their mutual relations, outside conditions and the desired outcome.
A good tuner will adjust these aspects after meticulous calculations and always keep all the parts within their safe boundaries. Most limiters are kept, anti-jerk function is preserved, all temperatures are within OEM safety boundaries and no part is ever overstressed. Some vehicles whose potential is not completely utilized get removal of those limitations, but they are also always within safe barriers for parts.
The ECU tuning includes optimizations of boost, fuel targets, ignition timing, start and duration and more.
If you are interested in learning more about our tuning development process
Stage 2 tuning, unlike stage 1 introduces new hardware parts to make more room for power gains.
Mostly, parts upgrades for Stage 1 include intake and exhaust parts, including parts such as downpipes, catalysts, air filter, full intake systems, intercooler, cat back and similar. Each of these parts makes a bit more room for adjustments, so Stage 2 adds a bit more potential for power. However, its main benefit is that it helps the engine breathe easier and serves as a great foundation for more elaborate changes that come with Stage 3 tuning.
Of course, different versions of Stage 2 upgrades lead to different power gains. Generally speaking, high flow catted downpipes or completely catless downpipes will surely give more benefits than a more restrictive setup. Similarly, a full intake system will give more breathing space than a sports air filter, which will, in turn, be more efficient than a regular replacement filter.
While there are differences in power gains from using different parts, Stage 2 tuning usually does not produce huge power gains over Stage 1.
It is very important to note that chiptuning is an essential part of Stage 2 tuning as well. Aside from being the most beneficial upgrade in terms of power, it also complements the hardware parts, adjusts the software to incorporate the parts into the system and fixes any potential errors.
Stage 3 tuning and above is far more custom work than the lower levels. It includes hardware parts that improve forced induction based on the desires of the customer and designed to give the ultimate driving pleasure and unmatched performance.
Limitations of OEM parts are removed through the use of aftermarket performance parts. The list of parts depends on the scope of modification and the desired power, as well as the stress levels that OEM parts can endure.
It includes things like a more capable turbocharger, fuel pump, injectors, valves for intake and exhaust, sports or race clutch, more capable sensors, connecting rods, camshafts, crankshaft and more.
Basically, higher tuning stages depend more on the desires of the customer and budget than on anything else. For example, if a customer wants a large aftermarket turbo and the OEM injectors can’t deliver enough fuel, you need aftermarket injectors; if the clutch can’t handle the new torque, it also needs an upgrade; if the engine internals are incapable of enduring the pressures, they also need strengthening...
Race cars and special projects are a big part of our expertise. We have been developing software for special projects for a few decades already with remarkable success in severely modified road cars and motorsport.
If you want Stage 3 or higher, or if you have a special tuning project in mind, feel free to contact us and make the best of our experience, knowledge and support.