For example, your Polaris Ranger or Outlaw has the capability and power to exceed what the manufacturers allow you to use. This is because the manufacturers put limits on how fast you can go, which takes the vehicle’s top speed away from you. They could be seatbelt limits, rev limits, or gear limits. Although ultimately, they are there for your safety, if you do find yourself needing a bit more power, committing to an ECU flash or an ECU tune-up is a great choice.
Every off-roading veteran loves to have some more power under his wheels and usually spends a ton of money on upgrades to drive faster. But if you are not yet ready to spend big bucks on various engine and other performance upgrades, then it’s best you start with an ECU tune-up or a flash.
What Is The Purpose Of Speed Limiters?
In short, all speed limiters are for safety. Since side-by-sides are beasts meant to be out in the wild, all UTV manufacturers take some caution to keep your vehicle safe. For example, the limp mode present in many side-by-sides today can help your vehicle avoid further damage by limiting its speed by a lot.
Sometimes, even Polaris tends to under-tune their side by sides for safety, which keeps us away from the engine’s true potential. This is where an ECU tune-up could help you, by removing the Polaris Ranger’s speed limiter you can now witness the full power of the side-by-side without being held back by speed limits.
Basics Of Flashing An ECU By Yourself
In most Polaris UTVs there will be speed limits set for different gears. For example, it could be 40 mph in low gear and 75 mph in high gear. To combat this and achieve your vehicle’s full potential, you need to tune up your ECU. Your ECU controls almost everything that happens in your Polaris engine. If you know how to tune your own ECU, it will be much easier.
Say you want to take away this gear speed limiter. You simply edit the speed limiter and set the speed for each gear to an RPM that your side-by-side can’t reach. Since your Ranger can’t meet those RPMs, instead it will max out at its capability. This will mean you won’t have varying speed limiters on each gear.
Keep in mind, just because you increase the speed limiter doesn’t mean that you will reach the speed you have set up, it just means that the speed limiter won’t interfere with or slow down your driving.
If you feel like your seat belt speed limiter is bugging you, then you can get rid of that as well. By using an ECU bypass, you can remove the seat belt speed limiter entirely. As said above, all you have to do is set the limit to a speed that your vehicle can’t reach. This will let you drive practically without a speed limiter. But be warned, the seat belt speed limiter is there for a reason after all.
Pre-Tuned ECU Flash
Although the tune-ups mentioned above might seem at a glance easy to do, they are quite difficult in reality. If you lack the extensive knowledge to tune an ECU or if you don’t have the facilities on hand to do it by yourself you should consider getting an ECU flash done by a professional.
You can buy little pre-programmed flash drives that come with all the information that’s needed to get your ECU boosted and give you great performance gains. All you need to do is copy the tune to the on-screen prompt and then flash your ECU. An ECU flash can also get rid of your side-by-side’s speed limiters. Which will enable you to experience a great boost in performance.
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Common Reasons For ECU Flash Not Working
If your ECU flash doesn’t work, there are a few common reasons. One, it is not for your machine. When using an ECU flash it is very important to find one that suits not only your side by side’s model but also one that suits your vehicle’s production year. Since the ECU software is different according to make and model, if the wrong ECU is purchased, it will not work.
Or it could be that you have already customized your ride, which means you will probably need a custom tune to flash your ECU. Sometimes adding bigger tires and other engine attachments can have a big impact on the power and torque output of your vehicle. And this could meddle with the functionality of a pre-tuned ECU flash.
Upgrades That You Need After Tune-Ups!
Sometimes an ECU tune-up requires some external assistance for the extra power output. For example, in the 2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000, an exhaust system needs to be added to your vehicle if you install a stage two ECU tune-up. As the stage of your ECU tune-ups increases, the added modifications also increase. Plus, if you do tune your ECU, it is important you use higher octane fuel as your engine will require according to your ECU tune.
Usually, any ECU tune-up requires 91 octanes or fuel of a higher octane rating. If you don’t use the recommended octane level of fuel for your ECU flash it will make your engine susceptible to knocking, misfires, or other related problems.
If you do want a custom tune-up for your ride, you can get it done by a professional for anywhere between $50 to $100. This is without the cost of the flash drive or tuner itself.
Other than top speed, you can also change many more attributes of your Ranger through an ECU tune-up. For example, you can change the fuel-to-air ratio for cleaner and complete combustion. This will not only increase your power output, but will also increase your fuel economy.
Other Ways To Improve Top Speed
If you are looking out for a higher top speed out of your Ranger and an ECU tune-up just doesn’t cut it, then there are a few options that you can look for. A popular solution would be upgrading your wheels in accordance with the terrain you work in, effectively increasing your speed and efficiency. For example, mud tires are great for off-roading and produce an aggressive look to your vehicle. Polaris Rangers are no strangers to clutch builds either, so you could go for a clutch upgrade or a total clutch rebuild.
The power produced in your engine flows through the clutch. And if you have an inferior clutch on your Ranger, some of the power produced in the engine is lost at the clutch. You can avoid this with a better aftermarket clutch for your Ranger.
A clutch upgrade can give you a massive boost in acceleration and top speed, this is one of the first upgrades most Polaris ranger owners do. Clutch upgrades range in price and go up to $2000, yet dollar for dollar, that’ll be the most rewarding upgrades if you are looking for top speed.
Similarly, there are tons of other upgrades you can go with if you are looking for more speed.
These upgrades don’t really matter at all if you still have the speed limiter in your side-by-side. Plus. You should also know that if you have extensively modified the engine or are using bigger better-looking tires or just about anything that impacts power and torque, you should not waste your money on a regular ECU flash.
You will need a custom one so that you can maximize the RPMs and top speed you’ve added to your rig, custom flashes cost quite a penny and usually need a professional but if you’ve got the know-how to do it yourself, all the better!