Malone or Kerma tune?

bigjake

Veteran Member
Joined
May 7, 2015
Location
Charlottesville, VA
TDI
2005 Jetta MKIV, 1.9 BEW with 09A
Hey guys!

I just recently replaced my KP39 turbo with the VNT-17. I'm running it on a stock tune now and it's a bit laggy, which I expected. I want to get a tune and a three bar MAP sensor. I keep seeing people throw Kerma and Malone out there and I'm curious as to which one I should get. All I'm looking for is to erase the lag, improve my fuel mileage and give me a little more power for my daily driving. I very rarely drive the car hard, so I don't think I'm going to need anything too crazy. Also, will I have to worry about boost creep even though I changed the turbo?

-Jake
 

Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
Malone, hands down. He tunes them in a way to make the power transition as you accelerate smooth, plus he's very easy to work with.
 

Nuje

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Location
Island near Vancouver
TDI
2015 Sportwagen; Golf GLS 2003; 2016 A3 e-tron
+1
Like I posted in another thread: I've always been totally pleased with both the service and the product from Malone.
Nothing bad to say about Kerma because I've never used anything from them, but that's mostly because I've been so pleased with Malone.
 

Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
I just looked on their site with what my car is tuned at, and price is exactly the same as what I paid over a year ago.
 

OlyTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
Location
Olympia, WA
TDI
'04 Golf
Mark Malone tuned my 04 at a TDI Fest years ago and he just dialed it in so nicely. Superb and has stood the test of time.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
Malone and Rocketchip are both good. RC is a bit hard to get a hold of. Kerma is a bit more "upscale?", I suspect they get the actual tunes from a 3rd party.
 

Nero Morg

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2017
Location
OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon, 2001 Jetta TDI, 2014 Passat TDI
After going through the process of dealing with Kerma for a friend's car's tune, they have an in-house tuner but he's kind of grouchy, and the impression I get from him is he only wants to toy with newer stuff, doesn't want to mess with or help diagnose tunes that need adjusted. I thought about rocketchip when I did my own, but didn't want to deal with the 'difficult to get ahold of' part, but heard his tunes are amazing.
 

mittzlepick

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2001
Location
union maine
TDI
2004 jetta wagon (365k)2001 wagon tire burner 6spd 2003 wagon(417k)
Whitbred does unlimited retunes if i recall but you need to send ecu in so theres a delay. Malone has dealers so you can save on the cost of a box tuner or buy one from him. Kerma is what i have used and had hermtdi do a malone for me. And i got a car with a whitbred tune. He will also immo delete on the cheap.
 

mrfiat

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Location
Los Ranchos, NM
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI (Reflex Silver) , 2003 Jetta TDI Wagon (Black)
I have a Stage 4 Malone tune on my wagon. I get about 38 mpg on the highway and it does smoke a bit. VNT17 and 3 bar MAP. It does have some lag, which is annoying, but I think that is just the way the VNT17 is on the ALH. The power is quite nice though. My other ALH has injectors and a Kerma Tune. It has decent power, not has much as the Stage 4 car though. It doesn't have much smoke. My best leg on my last highway trip was 48 mpg, so much, much better than the Stage 4. No noticable lag on the Kerma tuned car. I have no idea if Kerma could get less lag on the VNT17 or not.
 

zaeli

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2005
Location
North Carolina
TDI
99.5 golf 175k (totaled, sold) 2000 golf tdi 375k (Malone 1.5) 2002 green diesel bug
I liked the RC2+ but pleased with the Malone 1.5 on a 375k vwv alh. 50mpg calm, 45mpg mad max
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Location
Redwood City, CA
TDI
2003 Golf TDI 5 speed
I've been wanting a tune and injectors for quite some time now. Malone has been on my radar since I first looked into it. My bone stock '03 gets 48MPG highway and I'd really love to break the 50MPG mark. It has an aftermarket clutch rated to 300 HP and 300 lbs/ft. Is it feasible to expect 50MPG if I do injectors and a 1.5 Malone tune? I drive like a little old lady so mileage is pretty much my only desire.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
With the right tune and injectors, Yes. Tell them your goals, maybe get a recommendation for injectors.
 

Owain@malonetuning

Associate Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jul 1, 2016
Location
Vancouver
TDI
335d, 05 jetta wagon, 84 jetta td
I have a Stage 4 Malone tune on my wagon. I get about 38 mpg on the highway and it does smoke a bit.
you've got something going on with the car that probably isn't a tune issue. Start with IQ and pump timing, if it's laggy then you probably have a leak, vnt17 isn't much bigger than stock. A 170-200hp ALH should be able to get 45+ mpg no problem if driven sensibly.



sprint 520s or a similar 205 nozzle should do the trick for economy, larger nozzles can be dialed back, but the atomization on the smaller stuff seems to be a hair better (plus the ~50-100 price difference). No ebay specials, go for a European made injector from a reputable shop.

Spending money solely for economy though probably isn't your best bet. If your current injectors are solid then money would probably be better spent on a name brand touring tire.


boost creep is mostly a problem on KP39 turbos, they're not great and have problems even on the factory software, especially at altitude.
 
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mrfiat

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Location
Los Ranchos, NM
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI (Reflex Silver) , 2003 Jetta TDI Wagon (Black)
The IQ and pump timing are spot on. I've already gone through everything with the guys on the forum and was unable to improve the FE or the lag. I did not pressure test for a leak, so I will figure out how to do that and see if there is a leak in the pressurized part of the air intake after the turbo. I do know that the boost pressure is quite good, so a leak seems unlikely. Other people on this forum have said they have the same lag problem with the VNT17. The car is mothballed right now, just to keep my insurance lower, so I cannot test drive it now
. Driving my sedan instead for now.
 

Nevada_TDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Location
Reno, sort of...
TDI
2001 Jetta TDI
A while back, I had Mike @TDTuning (Sales@TDTuning.com) do a Stage 3 tune with .205 nozzles and the car was a blast to drive. My point: I had 4 adults, luggage, and the cruise set at 75 MPH (actually 72 MPH I found out later) from Reno to Tulsa and back my mileage was a solid 52 MPG both ways. I could not have asked for more.
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
The IQ and pump timing are spot on. I've already gone through everything with the guys on the forum and was unable to improve the FE or the lag. I did not pressure test for a leak, so I will figure out how to do that and see if there is a leak in the pressurized part of the air intake after the turbo. I do know that the boost pressure is quite good, so a leak seems unlikely. Other people on this forum have said they have the same lag problem with the VNT17. The car is mothballed right now, just to keep my insurance lower, so I cannot test drive it now
. Driving my sedan instead for now.
If you have a boost leak you will not build boost as the ecu expects, this causes the ecu to think it needs to deliver more fuel to achieve expected boost when it actually needs more air. That is most likely the cause of your smoke and poor economy
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
So you get the boost you are after, but it over fuels
 

pkhoury

That guy with the goats
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Location
Medina, TX
TDI
2010 JSW DSG, 2013 JSW 02Q, 2014 NB 02Q, 2015 GSW DSG, 2004 Golf 02J, 2005 JW auto, 2003 Jetta 02J swap, 1995 Ford F-450
If you plan on doing any deletes (downpipe, EGR, etc), Kerma is definitely out. My only dealings with them are on here and on the facebook TDI joke-of-a-forum, and they weren't nice. I'd honestly never do business with them if I could help it.

I've heard good things about Rocketchip and met him at a TDI GTG once in Western Michigan, but don't have any experience. For me, it's Malone all the way. Owain has always treated me good and never steered me wrong.

My two cents on your VNT-17 upgrade - darkside developments also sells an aluminum SMIC fairly cheap (around $120 after currency exchange), and you can also do hard piping on your car, as well as get an upgraded intake manifold that doesn't starve cylinder 1 of air. Last time I bought a VNT-17, I also saved a little and went with a Mellet for my ALH (made in China, assembled in the UK). So far, no problems, though I don't have the turbo whistle of the VNT-17 on my BEWs.

And boost creep should be non-existent with the VNT17. It's all around a much better turbo than that craptastic KP39. Hope you saved the KP39 if it didn't blow, though. Amazingly, they can still fetch some decent money on ebay. Why? Because there are NO replacements for the actuator. When something fails on the KP39, it's all or nothing.
 
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