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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, long time lurker, first time poster. I recently had installed a RaceChip GTS under my hood and, even though I'm happy with the gains (and would give them a glowing recommendation), I noticed today when I decided to actually try and push the engine a little past its limits that midway through the gears, the acceleration just cut out and until I turned the car off/on again, it took a substantial amount of time to accelerate after the mishap. I looked into it here and there and think it's fuel pump/delivery related or may relate to the octane of said fuel. Has anyone who has gotten a passthrough chip or ECU tune encountered any kind of similar problem?
 

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Congrats on the first post!
I am really glad that you like your racechip. I've thought a lot about installing one but haven't gotten around to ordering one yet. Any chance I can convince you to write up a little review? Or PM me with your thoughts on it at least. After one not great experience with the LAP3 Uncle chip our and the veloster turbo community really got snake bit on the whole piggyback scene. But pretty much every other kia/hyundai community really likes them.

SO, to your issue,
1. What octane fuel were you using?
2. What do you mean "pushed the engine a little past its limits"?
3. Any chance you were logging or monitoring any data? For example, with the torque app.
4. Can you provide a few more details on your car? Year, other mods, transmission.
5. What did you have the device set to?
6. Did you get any warning lights or codes?

Based on what you have said already I have a theory but I'll wait until you respond to share it.

Also if you think it might be a fueling issue, you can consider upgrading your fuel lines. I've read where in certain instances this may be necessary. (I think that it was mostly earlier years pushing quite a bit of power but I don't remember for sure...)
Anyway, I know KDM Tuners has fuel lines, https://kdmtuners.com/?wwref=260
 

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What does it do?
Is it like LAP chip that tricks oxygen sensors and dumps more fuel or actually there is some true tune map?
From their description - you are using stock plugs. That is weird a bit...


Anyway, from what you say I would be looking at two options.
- fuel
- boost

Fuel, as said above, can be limited by kinking fuel lines. I had the issue when running tuned (I have spare ECU with tune - easier to alter tune), but never when I ran on OEM. The problem may be slightly patched by stiffening engine mount (dog bone).

The other not so common, but occurring is boost issue. I had this happen a few times and it was pretty much same as you are describing.
Lost power (not completely, just felt very weak.
The fuel/kinking line is more of abrupt lost of power, like hitting brakes. Fuel gets cut off completely due to flow restriction, but power comes back completely with the next push.

So going back to the boost - well, I do not have any good answer. At some point it stopped doing it. At least not so often anymore. It was more common on MT one than on the AT (I had both - 2015 MT and 2016 AT)...
 

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What does it do?
Is it like LAP chip that tricks oxygen sensors and dumps more fuel or actually there is some true tune map?
From their description - you are using stock plugs. That is weird a bit...
Yes and no. It is like the LAP3 chip. But that is not exactly what either does.
They both have 2 connectors and both of those run to the MAP sensors (on the intake manifold and intercooler). That part seems has been confusing for install to some people since it would be easy to get them backwards, although it doesn't at all sound like thats the issue here.

Since the manifold MAP sensor is also used as the IAT sensor, it does have the ability to do the basic old IAT resistor hack type thing to dump more fuel but with a couple differences.
1. For the Racechip (not sure about lap3) it's not a static resistance change. The signal is fed through a processor which alters the signal. Exactly what it does (amount of resistance) and when it does it (at which rpm), I don't know. But I am under the assumption that it is variable.
2. It also controls boost. If a manual boost controller worked for our cars they would probably be very popular, but to my knowledge, none do. I've traded a bunch of emails with Racechip support. They are very hesitant to release specifics but I eventually got them to tell me that the max boost increase by the GTS (the highest of 3 levels of the product) is 4 psi.

Since the only signals (that I know of) that these piggybacks have access to are boost at the intercooler, boost at the manifold, and IAT. I don't think they have access to a good time source (as in RPMS). So my guess is that IAT signals are modified in relation to boost.

The LAP3 chips give us a little more information because they have 3 dials that are adjusted (these might just be potentiometers and not actually a processor, thats what I suspect but I can't say with any certainty). The first dial adjusts IAT signal. The second two adjust boost signal. On their device the second two numbers must match. So we can possibly assume that second boost signal is just a safeguard. Regardless, we know what its doing... generally.

Now, since we (or maybe just I) are assuming that by varying the IAT signal the A/F ratio can be adjusted in relation to boost. We really have a device that's a lot more complex than would be assumed on first glance. I can dig up the link later but Racechip support actually posted boost, lamda, a/f levels for their product on the Stinger and while boost increased noticeably a/f was always very near stock (which is safely rich from what I can tell). What I don't know about is how ignition timing is affected. But they do seem to do a lot of testing. They have a nice facility (from their pictures and their youtube videos). And they have their own dyno where they do all of their testing. Something worth noting is that their dyno charts show power at the crank not the wheel and Nm not ft/lbs. That threw up some red flags the first time I saw it but cleared up quickly.

Another interesting note is that it seems Racechip can make adjustments to your piggyback if you have the Racechip app (they push out your changes through the app store). I have seen people request shifts in power delivery up and down in the powerband. Since Racechip probably doesn't have access to engine rpm I'm guessing they just alter the ramp up speed of the altered boost signal.

I really wish I had access to tell exactly what they were doing all the time but without buying the product and doing my own logging I doubt that will happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can do a review once I get everything playing nice with each other, since the car is still a WIP (I still have to get a pedalbox since the XLR unit I received from RaceChip had the incorrect wires, as well as putting in an oil-catch can, strut bar, various Mazda3 aero pieces that I've read fit on our cars with a bit of ingenuity, and depending on the severity of the problem, maybe more) and yeah, I heard that there was a huge funk about that in the Veloster community, probably because since only 1 guy handles the entirety of the K5 store so I just automatically assumed human error on those since I've read even some Forte owners have so-so experience with them since they figure they may have received an Optima chip accidentally but I'm probably way off base. Anywaysz lemme answer your questions/concerns in order:

1. Someone who owed me a tank of gas put in 91 Premium.
2. Basically, I decided to not let off of the throttle to see just how many horses I could pump out but I'm assuming around gear 3 or 4, the problem arose (Also, you have to forgive me, I didn't try to replicate the ordeal due to try and get a better idea when it happens due to the fear of causing any actual damage to the car).
3. I do monitor with the Torque app but have never logged with it.
4. 2015 Kia Forte5 SX with (Not gonna bother listing some of the less important ones, like wheels)...
-HKS M45XL Spark Plugs
-Muffler Delete/Custom Exhaust
-Megan Racing EZ Racing II Coilovers
-K&N Air Filter
5. I have kept the GTS unit to the 5 Setting which is it's "Sport" setting.
6. No warning lights nor codes, aside from my TPMS sensors but I think that's more related to my aftermarket wheels.

My engine IS however, sputtering a bit while in idle, which I thought was due to some things being dirty or fiddled with but after cleaning the spark plugs, fuel injectors, and MAP sensor, it still persists (however it is a little better currently) so that makes me think there's an issue with either the fuel pump or just the octane. Also, going back to #2, I've read that the automatic's transmission has a pretty strict limit as to how much it can handle as well, which did scare me quite a bit when this happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
But they do seem to do a lot of testing. They have a nice facility (from their pictures and their youtube videos). And they have their own dyno where they do all of their testing. Something worth noting is that their dyno charts show power at the crank not the wheel and Nm not ft/lbs. That threw up some red flags the first time I saw it but cleared up quickly.

Another interesting note is that it seems Racechip can make adjustments to your piggyback if you have the Racechip app (they push out your changes through the app store). I have seen people request shifts in power delivery up and down in the powerband. Since Racechip probably doesn't have access to engine rpm I'm guessing they just alter the ramp up speed of the altered boost signal.

I really wish I had access to tell exactly what they were doing all the time but without buying the product and doing my own logging I doubt that will happen.
I got that vibe from them as well when I was researching everything I could about RaceChip units. Essentially speaking, they seem to just be talking BS since there just isn't any info about a lot of aspects of them (Hell, when I was looking into whether to go Tork ECU-Tune or LAP3, they LITERALLY appeared out of nowhere in an ad that I hadn't seen before for the days I was looking around) which made me even more skeptical but just the many testimonials of hordes of EU cars turned me around on them even though sadly, for us here, there's only their Kia Stinger video and someone else's Elantra video on youtube, both of which just 3 minute before/after runs on a dyno. Either way, at this point, I have a glowing recommendation but time will tell if I go back on that.
 

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Great! I really look forward to your review!

While 93 might be better, I think Racechip recommends 91+ in sport mode.
Did Torque show any codes or misfires? What were you monitoring at the time?
What are your plugs gapped to and have you inspected them since your issue?
Was your car sputtering before this happened?

I haven't heard what the auto's power limit is. There's a lot of speculation that the DCT is about 250whp although Sxth dynoed a DCT a week or two ago that didn't slip until about 270whp. I would expect the auto to be capable of holding more power than the DCT.

I wonder if your car went into limp mode. I have no idea what that looks like since I have never encountered it. But the experience you are describing doesn't sound dissimilar.
I also have a 2015 in auto. The highest boost I have seen is 18.9 psi (stock tune). About the only time that I see 18+ psi is in 3rd gear. I have read that we go into limp mode at 21.5 psi (I can't confirm this). So if your car was already commanding 18.5+ psi and the racechip was adding an extra 3 psi in sport mode then you could have exceeded that 21.5 limit.

Have you reached out to Racechip to see what their thoughts are?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh if that's the case with the Octane, I may as well stick to it then BUT this all reminds me that I really wanted to actually email them about what fuel they recommend when running their things, plus I'd need to look around for a pump with 93 Octane as well since I think 91 is the norm around my area. Also, I honestly didn't even think to check the Torque app for any errors when it happened since I'm mostly a novice with it (Only have it monitoring Boost and HP. I'll throw the Throttle graph back on once the Sprint Booster V3 comes in the mail) so I'm not used to actually utilizing the app properly yet since this is the first thing I've added to my car that would benefit from doing so and a friend and I (mostly the friend) did the spark plugs, so I'd need to either get in touch with him or even visit a mechanic sometime to doublecheck that.

Finally, yes, the car was sputtering before but I suspected that was because I was messing with the MAP sensor when installing the RaceChip since it only really started once I messed with it. I took my car in to the shop afterwards so they could install new PowerStop rotors/pads for me and also asked if they could double check the myriad of reasons why I thought the car was sputtering (Making sure my MAP sensor was fine, cleaning fuel injectors, cleaning spark plugs, etc.) which they did but I never thought of the fuel lines or pump to be one of them so I'll look into those as well BUT you may have a point with the boost causing my car to go into limp mode since I did see that once I was in 3rd gear, my Maximum boost actually broke the digital gauge on the app and was a 22+ once I pulled into a lot to restart it all. I didn't reach out to RaceChip since, like pretty much we all stated earlier, they seem to want to stay mute on that but I maybe out of luck on the "downloading new tunes" scenario since I didn't opt for the version that was Bluetooth enabled but I do have the version where they give me a free remap so something may come from this.
 

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That's a bummer that the XLR didn't work. I really like the control knob that it has better than the control interface for other pedal boxes.

You should get a new MAP sensor. They aren't that expensive. You can buy a new one or I think PLP has one he's selling.
The first things I would do would be place the plug in the Racechip harness to remove it from the car. Check for issues.
Check spark plugs for cracks and double check the gap. Check for issues.
Replace the MAP sensor. Check for issues.

I would bet one of those 3 will resolve your problem.

You saw 22+ psi with or without the Racechip? Either way, that shouldn't happen. What you see in Torque should be what the ECU is commanding whether the Racechip is installed or not. I can't think of what could be causing that, maybe a boost leak somewhere... maybe someone else can chime in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, they offered to send the correct cables out but they said it may take a while since it took almost a month for the unit to come in the first place since they have a pretty hefty backorder right now (XLR is very popular right now). Honestly though, your comment on the aesthetics has convinced me to go down the XLR route instead, may as well not give up one them yet because SB V3, even though it has way more settings than you'll ever need, just looks plain ugly. Also, thanks for all the tips, next time I amass enough items to shove into the car, I'll remember to ask for all these to be done since the car is still running fine right now and I'm at a point where I'd like to put in multiple things at once (For example, I'll probably get the MAP sensor, new Brake lines, Strut bar, and Fuel lines).

And that 22+ was with the chip. I have the gauge on Torque that's basically 2 half circles, one for vacuum and the other for boost and they both meet their apex at the top at 22. I've only ever hit 20 at stock so hitting 22 just tells me that I most likely went over it. I'll take a screen of it later but either way, it just means I need to relearn my car's parameters for the time being.
 

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Did you update Torque with your elevation? Might not make that big of a difference but 20 is high for stock.

Do you do any of the work on your car yourself? If not, no shame. But you can do the MAP sensor very easily. It's just a plug and 2 screws and is right on the front of the engine.
 

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So basically with everything said here, for the price of GTS one can get a more or less real tune.
Sure, it is more permanent, unless you get a spare ECU... which then increases the overall cost.

The sputtering - that is exactly what I had when the boost got limited. It would run rough at idle, almost like dying, but after a few seconds it would recover and start going smoothly again.
As for the boost limit. Happened a few times that even when it was running smooth, it would still need a restart. And once, just once, the restart did not help until the engine cooled off.

Per boost.
I was using mechanical gauge on both. I check its calibration in the lab (at work) and it was almost spot on. Almost means I would be off by a fraction of psi.

So, during the idle sputtering boost would be jumping back and forth. From about -10 in Hg to +5 psi. When settled, it would be at -17 to -15 in Hg.
When driving - both when stock showed same results - +15 psi sustained with around 18 psi peak that would take place anywhere from 2000 to 3500 rpm. Above 4000 rpm it would start tapering off towards 12 psi or so.
Weirdly, octane rating did not really make much of a difference.

Then, with the tune, I was shooting about 23 psi, sustained 21 psi. It was a drastic improvement. I just loved how it drove.
Now, driving wife's Q5 that is 2.0T - I must say Forte did NOT have any turbo lag. In Audi, the power comes, you can feel it, and then it stays with you even past 80 mph. However, in KIA you could feel like it was almost hitting you. WOT in 3rd and you could feel relatively quick power buildup and strong pull. While OEM was getting weak past 70 mph, with the tune - 90 mph and was still pulling like crazy.

There are days I miss the car :)
But then EV makes me smile each day from being quiet and as quick as tuned F5 (up until about 40 mph), not to mention power delivery on demand.


Oh, one more thing.
I believe 22 psi is the max the OEM MAP can read, hence you might not get more than that from Torque.
Get a mechanical gauge which is much faster in response and much more reliable.
 

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GTS - $500 48hp/85tq
Sxth OEM+ (with rental flashing equipment) - $424 10-15hp/16tq

The most basic Racechip S is $279 and claims 32hp/56tq at the crank. Maybe about 24hp 42 tq at the wheels in an auto.

Of course, you're missing a lot of features that the tune would have but you're getting more claimed power for cheaper and its removable. But, it's not an apples to apples comparison.

The rest of your post is very interesting, I don't have anything to add to it though. :) Maybe only that I want more boost. lol
 

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GTS - $500 48hp/85tq
Frankly, I highly doubt it... there is nothing on their page supporting this statement.

Sxth OEM+ (with rental flashing equipment) - $424 10-15hp/16tq
If stock is say 200 and Sxth added only 15, then it felt much more. Car felt like it had about 30% more power in lower gears (actually grip limited).
The biggest difference was in the higher speeds. Was unstoppable.


Going back on track.
Adding 50 HP and 85 lb*ft takes a bit more than some cheat. Especially when you are talking about adding more than 40% of torque.
Even Sxth does not claim that with stock internals. For bolt on it claims extra 45 torque and 40 power... so I would be very careful in believing GTS can add 85 torque on a stock car. Especially for our (well, not mine anymore :)) 1.6T. If it was VW 2.0, I could believe it.
 

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Ha. Yeah they say up to that amount so I don't know. But, there's a lot of praise from users on other platforms, including Hyundai/Kia owners. Their are also plenty of dyno's from guys running these on Stingers and Optimas plus other makes, Honda, BMW, Merc, etc

Consider this, a rough way to estimate the power of 1 additional psi of boost is plus 7% output of the motor in naturally aspirated form. Since we make about 200 hp at about 16 psi our naturally aspirated power should be around 95 hp.
((95 hp *0.07)*16)+95 hp=201.4 hp
So we're in the same ballpark. 95*0.07 = 6.65 this is about how much crank horsepower we could get from 1 additional psi.
6.65hp * 4 psi (the amount their sales/support guy claimed) = 26.6 hp which would only result in about half of what they claim. But, I have some doubts about the 4psi. LAP3 uncle chip has reportedly added up to 7 psi.
6.65 * 7psi = 46.55 hp
This seems to match up a little better with their claims.

We can also make assumptions about peak horsepower remaining at near the stock rpm range and torque peaking far lower...

Anyway, that is all to say, by adding 7 psi they could maybe hit those numbers. Not sure how they could do it with less psi. But even adding 2-3 psi would probably result in 12-15 whp and 20-25 wtq. That would definitely be noticeable.
These piggybacks are really just smart boost controllers.

Regarding Sxth, they just hit the lower 300s wtq on stock internals the other day. Durability? Probably limited. But it's possible.
And I'm not doubting their tune. I would love to get one someday. It is MUCH more comprehensive than these piggybacks. Even without touching boost they are making solid gains. I don't think the current OEM+ tune modifies boost levels. Since Sxth posts numbers at the wheels we can assume about 20 crank hp and 20 crank tq. Which would be a safer way to achieve the same numbers as 2-3 extra psi plus having throttle input made a bit more aggressive among other things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
RaceChip is definitely just playing with the boost. To the point where they actually only make RaceChip units for cars with a stock turbo in it. Also, I figured that the car going into limp mode WAS from actually just pretty much getting more psi than what is allowed, which may actually give other products like LAP3 an edge since those are probably made for those kind of limitations in mind. Either way, lemme contact RaceChip and see if they have a way around this.
 

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Yeah, they offered to send the correct cables out but they said it may take a while since it took almost a month for the unit to come in the first place since they have a pretty hefty backorder right now (XLR is very popular right now). Honestly though, your comment on the aesthetics has convinced me to go down the XLR route instead, may as well not give up one them yet because SB V3, even though it has way more settings than you'll ever need, just looks plain ugly. Also, thanks for all the tips, next time I amass enough items to shove into the car, I'll remember to ask for all these to be done since the car is still running fine right now and I'm at a point where I'd like to put in multiple things at once (For example, I'll probably get the MAP sensor, new Brake lines, Strut bar, and Fuel lines).

And that 22+ was with the chip. I have the gauge on Torque that's basically 2 half circles, one for vacuum and the other for boost and they both meet their apex at the top at 22. I've only ever hit 20 at stock so hitting 22 just tells me that I most likely went over it. I'll take a screen of it later but either way, it just means I need to relearn my car's parameters for the time being.
Any update on your XLR order?

Also, any update on a Racechip review? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I returned the XLR. I'll probably end up reordering another one at a later date but right now, I'm gonna learn more about the GTS. I'm probably not going to have a review ready for a while (I think I'll wait for after I get another XLR) . I'm debating on either doing that or just making 2 separate reviews about it but I still need to try the rest of the settings on the chip. I just finished figuring out my engine sputtering and it becomes less or more pronounced depending on what octane of fuel I have in the car (I now just use Mid-Grade/89) and also, the engine/exhaust does pops and crackles on harder acceleration. RaceChip kinda makes this a mystery box as well since the manual they give you is vague when it comes to which settings do what but regardless, I just need to find a god spot/time to give the chip a good thorough testing.
 

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So maybe get a good quality tune before the engine gets damaged...

It is simple to allow more air to be pumped in, but results of this game can be fatal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So maybe get a good quality tune before the engine gets damaged...

It is simple to allow more air to be pumped in, but results of this game can be fatal.
Yeah but I'm going to test the other settings for maybe a week each. For all we know, and because RaceChip is pretty radio silent as well, the other settings may actually tackle it differently.
 
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