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TDI Power Enhancements Discussions about increasing the power of your TDI engine. i.e. chips, injectors, powerboxes, clutches, etc. Handling, suspensions, wheels, type discussion should be put into the "Upgrades (non TDI Engine related)" forum. Non TDI vehicle related postings will be moved or removed. Please note the Performance Disclaimer.

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Old March 24th, 2012, 21:45   #1
andruxin
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Default How much strain on the engine is it if I tow with a stage 1 or stage 2 tune?

Hello everyone!

I just purchased a 2012 Golf TDI Manual Trans and while I am waiting for it to arrive on boat I am seriously considering tuning with stage 1 or stage 2 from Mark at MaloneTuning.

I have a question to anybody who might know: I want to eventually perform a stage 1 or stage 2 ECU tune on the car. My question is whether it is OK to tow things with a hitch with an ECU tune in place? Or would that be over-burdening the engine? As I understand, the engine does not work harder with an ECU tune unless you are actually using the power gained from the tune. So, it *shouldn't* be a problem for towing anything.

I don't expect to tow regularly, but it's a thought that has crossed my mind and I want to know what you guys think.
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Old March 24th, 2012, 22:00   #2
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Should be fine. If load is hard to pull, use lower gear and keep rev's up. Better for the engine to work hard at higher revs than lower revs.
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Old March 24th, 2012, 22:21   #3
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It all revolves around the loose nut behind the steering wheel and how he chooses to operate the vehicle. Said nut is in charge of how the trailer is loaded, what gear is selected, how fast or slow the next hill is approached, etc..

Everything should be alright if that nut is properly torqued and not too loose or too tight.

No worries.

Bill
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Old March 24th, 2012, 22:28   #4
andruxin
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In other words, drive moderately when towing (obviously) and the engine will be fine. Besides, all that torque is there for that, so yeah I don't see why it would hurt the engine. Thanks guys!

Last edited by andruxin; March 24th, 2012 at 22:30.
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Old March 25th, 2012, 11:05   #5
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Just don't lug it. Sure the torque is there at low rpms, but that doesn't mean you should use it there. When pulling hard, keep rpms up even if engine can do it at lower revs. Piston tops will be cooler and bearing loads lower. Coolant pump spinning faster, more oil through piston squirters, turbo cooler, etc.

An exhaust gas temp gauge (egt) is a good idea for towing, especially with a tune. If you see it getting high, shift down or back off the go pedal a bit.

Read "Fix Until Broke" thread on his tuned towing experience.
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Old March 25th, 2012, 12:51   #6
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If you want to see your EGT and if you have VAG-COM, open Measuring Block 099.

The factory EGT limiter is set at around 800C (1472F), depending on ECU software version. I often see 2.0L CR TDIs reach 790-800C with no modifications. That is during a basic 3rd gear pull on flat and level road, with two occupants as the only load. Fairly cool weather up here in Canada too. It's possible that while towing a trailer you will be bouncing off the factory EGT limiter frequently, but it usually happens without you knowing it.

I don't usually change the EGT limiter in Stage 1, but for Stage 2 I sometimes raise it from 800C to 900C (1652F). The Stage 2 tune is strong enough that the EGT limiter could be reached by 3000 RPM during a basic 3rd gear pull (no load, single occupant). The ECU will automatically limit fuel to prevent your EGT from consistently going over the limit. This is a very good feature that pre-2009 TDIs do not have.

The general consensus on TDIClub for safe EGT limit (for older TDIs) is 900C / 1600F. The new CR TDI turbo is supposedly rated for 1080C (1900F) sustained, but I have not tried going that far. I feel that 900C (1652F) is high enough, and it's still well below what the stock turbo can safely handle. At least ~95% of of my clients went for the Stage 2 tune, many of them with DPF. The first CR TDI tuned (with Stage 2) was in March 2009. At the time of this writing, not a single customer has reported a problem so far. Not even a single DPF failure.

A straight-pipe exhaust (removing the DPF etc.) seems to lower EGT by 50C (~100F). I believe the EGT will drop nicely if the turbo is upgraded.

Cheers,
Mark
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Old March 25th, 2012, 16:12   #7
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Where/what are you planning to tow.

Small open utility trailer with a couple hundred kg of stuff in it, you won't even know the trailer is there and is of no concern whatsoever. It's like having a couple extra passengers.

I routinely tow two motorcycles on a heavy duty open trailer plus tools and spare tires and camping gear and what-not, total towed weight is around 1600 lbs, and with that, you have to be a bit careful, but with that, not one issue to date.

Main thing is to keep the speed down, stay in the lower gears longer when accelerating, and downshift on major uphills to avoid lugging. Around Ontario, there are no hills on main roads that are steep enough to warrant downshifting. Different story in the Appalachians, there are some hills on interstate 75 that warrant using 4th. But the climb out of Cincinnati going southbound is the first one worth paying attention to.

Your Golf has a 6-speed with a really tall 6th gear. If you are towing something real (microscopic featherweight trailers with next to no frontal area don't count) you probably want to avoid using 6th at all when towing, and stay in 4th below 100 km/h and use 4th on real uphills (nothing on any 400-series road in Ontario counts as a real uphill). The engine likes revs more than it likes being lugged down.
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Old March 25th, 2012, 16:59   #8
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This is good info, much appreciated!

Yes, mostly on the HWY 400 going up north, carrying something as heavy as a tent-trailer that might be packed with stuff like camping equipment.

I guess my scenario is pretty normal, nothing extreme considering it's a straight drive all the way. I will probably get a Gauge to check on the heat though. And sounds like VAG-COM is a good tool to have.

Chances are I would be towing so rarely that I would still do something like a Stage 2 tune with DPF installed. And by then I hope to get a Gauge for checking on the heat.
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Old March 25th, 2012, 17:21   #9
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Thanks, Mark for the detailed information. I will have to log my EGTs as well as boost if i am ever on a dyno again. However, from the point of view of the OP's question, this is the most important part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark@MaloneTuning View Post
The ECU will automatically limit fuel to prevent your EGT from consistently going over the limit. This is a very good feature that pre-2009 TDIs do not have.
I'm pretty sure that most tuners keep the EGT limits stock (at least for stage 1). This means that you cannot put "too much strain" on the engine. The ECU will not permit it to happen. Drive on. The worst that would happen is the power will be automatically be cut back to protect everything.

Have Fun!

Don
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Old March 25th, 2012, 17:45   #10
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Thank you for summing it up! Doesn't look like I should be worrying about it, just keep these things in my head and drive at higher RPMs in mid-gears when towing.

Thanks!
Andrey
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Old March 27th, 2012, 14:48   #11
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Any issues with towing a bug?
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Old March 27th, 2012, 20:03   #12
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Will a malone tune void the warranty?
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Old March 27th, 2012, 20:19   #13
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Modify => "You are your own warranty"

If you are really concerned about warranty coverage, wait until the warranty period is up.

Having said that, they are not allowed to void the warranty on the radio because you chipped the engine. But engine-tuning-related modification gives them grounds to not provide powertrain or emissions warranty coverage.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 18:58   #14
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ive put 10000+ miles on my 01 Jetta with two snowmobiles behind and i can usually haul along just fine at 70 or 80 MPH with even with a lower 5th gear. i watch my EGT's pretty carefully and have to shift into 4th sometimes for overpasses. but for some camping gear, you should be just fine
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Old March 29th, 2012, 10:04   #15
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I used my Jetta twice to pull my ATV up in the mountains I normally keep the engine between 2-2.2k rpms so its happy and has breath to accelerate. I not had any issues and I'm going up grades pretty decent so I think flat land would be fine
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