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Old 08-17-2010, 06:33 PM   #1
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G-Force Chip - Real or Rip Off

Since this subject comes up now and again and is the source of hijacked threads I've created one just to discuss this alleged useful item.

The product MINI COOPER G-Force Peformance Chip

My contention is this is a product designed for one thing only, to part a fool and his money. Now I've never seen, purchased or used the product in any way. My opinion is based solely on the years of experience I have in modding cars, reading and writing ad copy and just the general issues I find with their site.

To whit...

They advertise a chip is available for many vehicles that have never even seen an ECU. To me this means they used a generic vehicle database listing and didn't even bother to take the time remove the entries that not valid. If they do not attend to this simple detail do you think they really take the time to create a "tune" that is best for your car?

Where do you find an AIT Sensor on a 1973 Triumph Spitfire? Or a 68 BMW 2002? we can back further too. How about a 56 Hudson Hornet 4DR Sedan? That 1950's era Porsche 356, yeah, that has a need for this item. Every one of these examples are on their site.

The other problem I have is how this works. From the site:

Quote:
Installation can be performed by anyone using simple hand tools. The GForce module installs into your MINI COOPER's engine bay and is connected via 2 wires that plug into the AIT sensor. The unit is then able to reprogram the ECU thus improving your car's performance.
Two wires that plug into the AIT (Air Intake Temperature) sensor. From my years of experience to me this means they are adding a resistor of some type in line to fool the ECU into thinking the intake air is colder than actual. Is this really how you want gain more power, by tricking the ECU?

Click the image to open in full size.
Assuming I am correct and this device is only a resistor it is horrendously overpriced. From what I can tell doing some searches you get this "chip" with two wires coming off the box, 2 quick connectors and 2 zip ties. Something along the lines of the items displayed on the left.

Someone on the zcar forums purchased one from SLR motorsports, another company that advertises the same thing and has a very similar look and feel to the site as G-Force has. Look at what they got. Yeah, 15 cents worth of parts at best.

Click the image to open in full size.

Other items that toss a red flag to me:

The domain is hidden when ownership is checked. Makes it harder to go after them. Do companies that have little to hide when it comes to contact info do the same thing, very rarely.

Do a search for reviews. Educate yourself, but I still contend that the $69 spent on this would be about as useful as buying hurricane insurance for your house in Manitoba.
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Last edited by Nathan; 08-17-2010 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:45 PM   #2
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I don't know anything about this product. But.... MSRP- $399.99 and they're selling for $69.99. Come on, really???

How can that be legit? The laws of supply and demand still exist right?
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:50 PM   #3
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I share Nathan's views, and not simply due to "internet rhetoric." Although the following seemed pretty damning:

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Generally, they add a resistor to make the ECU think that the temperature is cooler, so the air is more dense, so more fuel is added. This is to combat the supposed idea that modern engines with leaner mixtures do not run as smoothly and have poor throttle response. With a closed loop, the ECU will correct at steady state, but when accelerating in open loop mode, the mixture will be richer. Like an accelerator pump in a Weber carb. Many state they add 6% to 8% more fuel than standard during acceleration.

Advantages? People report better running, but it could be the placebo effect at work. More power is unlikely.

Disadvantages? Messing up the emissions control is likely. The result will be non linear, since the mass flow sensor is non linear, so the % fuel added will vary with ambient temperature. This could make the mixture much richer in extreme temperatures, which is not very desirable. Some have a thermistor to compensate for ambient, but unless this is remotely mounted in clean fresh air, it is hardly going to be accurate.
My views ($.02, opinion, etc...):

1) G-Force, SLR, and RS4 all seem to be the same product/site/company;
2) 60 hp for $60 seems to too good to be true;
3) The photo for the G-Force HQ seems to be photo-shopped, and a search for the "founder" Simon J. Bruce results in nada;
4) As Nathan said previously, the fact that it's "available" for almost any car, scares me.

This all leads to the same scenario as the Turbonator/Tornado/Electric Supercharger scam a few years back. Yes, it might actually work, and, if so, fair play to those that get those amazing power gains so cheaply. But if it doesn't, best case scenario is that you're out $60. Worst case, well....

As stated previously, YMMV.
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Old 08-17-2010, 07:00 PM   #4
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I don't know. The soldering seem to be of high quality and in compliance with J-BOD standards with plenty of pins on the chip for expansion. A little careful digging revealed some background engineering by the On Whore-izon guys, but seems the project lead turned out to be a litigious scum thus forcing the On Whore-izon to backwards engineer their own product and sell it under a different brand name.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:17 PM   #5
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So snake oil aside, what effects does adding a resistor have? Anything?
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rally@StanceDesign View Post
So snake oil aside, what effects does adding a resistor have? Anything?
It fools the ECU into thinking the intake air temp is lower than it really is enriching the mixture. However, the O2 sensor will see this richer mixture and try to trim the fuel back.
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:20 PM   #7
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It fools the ECU into thinking the intake air temp is lower than it really is enriching the mixture. However, the O2 sensor will see this richer mixture and try to trim the fuel back.
Perfect reason to buy two then!
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Old 08-17-2010, 09:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nathan View Post
Educate yourself, but I still contend that the $69 spent on this would be about as useful as buying hurricane insurance for your house in Manitoba.
Another hint, don't bother with earthquake insurance either, as Manitoba sits on Pre-Cambrian shield (solid rock, goes way deep)

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Old 08-17-2010, 11:21 PM   #9
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I know someone who did the mod...

not with this, but just putting a resistor instead of the temp sensor. Chose a value such that the ECU thought it was 70 degrees or something. He picked up a few HP, but pulled the item anyway. It was John Petrich up in the Portland area. He's a good guy who has done lots to his car.

While it does fool the ECU, you still have the knock sensor to protect the engine from extreme lean conditions, so it's not as bad as it seems.

But $70 is just BS.

The MSRP is just there to create a psycological "anchor" for the value to make prospective buyers to think it's a deal. A bad deal for a plastic box, a sticker and a resistor array. But the guys spared no expense. They could have just put a single resistor in there and saved a quarter! No expense spared!

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Old 08-17-2010, 11:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
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It fools the ECU into thinking the intake air temp is lower than it really is enriching the mixture. However, the O2 sensor will see this richer mixture and try to trim the fuel back.

I think you have this backwards. I think this effective thermistor cheat is an attempt to lean the mix and therefore gain some power. Colder = leaner, hotter is richer, So the O2 sensor will sniff the exhaust and try to adjust, but it will be trying to richen it back up. And yes, you do still have the knock sensor to yank timing if it gets too lean.

It is much safer and effective to work with the ECU instead of trying to cheat it.
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