VW T5 Chip for tuning introduction
With technology in the VW T5 and T6 moving very much towards ECU computer-controlled air flow and fuelling it has led to a common process called remapping which is also frequently referred to as chipping using a plug and play tuning box.
Remapping and Chipping is a slightly different process that I have noticed VW T5 owners sometimes misunderstand so I will clear up the differences shortly before we get into the various chips (tuning boxes) available.
There are a lot of different ways to increase the power output of VW T5’s of all models and years however the introduction of a plug and play “Chip” is becoming a very common and cost effective way to increase the BHP quickly and easily.
The various chips available on the market is what this review will compare for you.
Find the best Transporter Tuning box chip
VW T5 Remap cost
The cost of a professional VW T5 remap carried out at a garage can be anywhere from around £200 up to £500 depending on location in the UK and specification of your requirements.
It is worth pointing out that a very good garage will include a review/correction of other things when tuning your VW T5 rather than just applying a remap. This is usually the difference between a cheap tune and an expensive tune so it is worth checking what is included. Ideally at the very least you want them to feed back other simple areas that could be improved to give power gain.
High quality garages that are specialists in the tuning of VW T5’s will look for other areas of power loss. As vehicles age it is common that certain components/serviceable items that are not replaced can lead to loss of power and a thorough check of these can also give you very decent power gains before you even touch a remap.
Things such as old spark plugs, faulty fuel injectors, old air filters, faulty fuel pumps and many other areas can all lead to loss of power.
Comparing this to the cost of a the range of plug and play tuning boxes or “chips” that have been reviewed here, the prices start from around £70 for a basic tuning box up to £300 for tuning boxes that usually have more than one setting.
VW T5 remap vs a Tuning box
Before we compare the plug and play chips that are available it is important to point out that there are two ways to go about getting a “remap”.
The more expensive route but the most bespoke is to take your VW T5 to a garage that specialises in tuning, there are lots of businesses in the UK that offer this service.
They will usually put your T5 onto a rolling road Dyno machine to first test it’s current output and then remap the vehicle based on your requirements.
You might tell them you want the best MPG because you are off a 20,000 around the world trip. Or you might want the best power gain as you are off to Santa Pod drag strip Etc!
They will bespoke the mapping to your needs and then run the vehicle on the dyno again to show you the results.
The cheaper way is to buy a remap chip off Amazon or eBay. Plugging these chips in your self is extremely easy to do and most people with some confidence of DIY can do it.
The caveat to this (and why it is cheaper) is that you don’t get the before and after Dyno so you can only feel the results when you drive it but not actually see the real live results in a nice pretty graph.
To consider the other caveat, the chips are not as bespoke as going to a garage. It is therefore important to consider all the chips available on the market to make sure it is going to meet your needs.
So now we have considered the two key options we will assume that you are satisfied that the Chip is your preferred choice of tuning and I will carry on with the review of these options.
How do VW T5 Remap chips work?
The simplest way to explain this is first to imagine it from VW’s sales perspective. What would VW have been most focused on when designing the mapping of their fuelling, airflow and power output of the T5, especially since the emissions scandal?
Secondly, which key specification sells a VW T5 most commonly?
The majority of the new customer base for a VW T5 is most commonly for Commercial use. Then probably second to that for the purpose of MPV’s to carry several passengers from A to B.
Then finally a bit further down the list would be the Leisure users that wished to use the vehicle as a camper or day van.
If I was going to have a guess I would say based on the above core Customer’s, the key focus for VW would be MPG, Low Emissions and Reliability. Lower down the list would be the actual power output of the vehicle.
So knowing this background, it is reasonable to believe that the engines ECU has plenty of scope to be remapped to suit an owners individual desires. The factory standard mapping is designed to tick the boxes of the majority and isn’t bespoke to the final end user.
Some remaps focus on MPG and other focus on Power delivery, this is a decision you need to consider in which chip you actually buy. I will try and help point out the best chips for each.
VW T5 Tuning box review
Bluespark Automotive Pro + Boost Chip Tuning Box
The Bluespark Pro + is one of the most popular tuning boxes for the VW T5 and tops our list as the best performing tuning box on the market.
Unlike some of the other products reviewed, it offers a multi map solution with 5 settings that you can choose from, each map is designed to achieve slightly different power curves and MPG savings to suit a wide range of users.
The Bluespark is compatible with all of the VW T5 2.0 variants and is a top quality product that comes with a 2 year warranty as standard. It is the most expensive of the tuning boxes, however, comes with a 28 day money back guarantee to ensure that you are satisfied.
It’s simple and robust design plugs straight into the rail and boost sensors on the engine – The instructions are really clear and simple to follow even for someone with not much mechanical knowledge.
It is important to note that the device is also Warranty friendly, making this a firm favourite for those that are worried about voiding warranty or installing on company leased vehicles. The device can easily be detached and leaves no trace on the ECU.
CR2 Diesel Tuning Chip Volkswagen VW Transporter T5
The CR2 Tuning Chip is also a great value product, costing less that £100 if offers really good value for money and is also very simple to install. This tuning box plugs straight into the common rail fuel injector system and comes with good clear instructions to help you with this.
The device offers better MPG at medium to low revs and and power gain at higher revs. There are 10 programs to choose from which you can easily change with a push of the button on the device.
The device feels less bespoke to VW Transporters and offer remaps for a lot of other VW Models. The CR also doesn’t offer the same level of warranty or money back guarantees as the Bluespark, however, for the money it still represents very good value.
Pro Racing Chip Tuning Box
I really like the ProRacing Tuning box, it is very good value at just £70 and fits the 1.9 VW T5 range which is a little less common to find. Most tuning boxes for the T5’s focus on the 2.0 versions.
The device is plug and play and can be done within 5 to 15 minutes depending on your experience, the same as the other boxes in this review. It also boasts a 2 year warranty demonstrating a very robust and well performing product.
The MPG gains of 10% are not as impressive as the other products however the 1.9 range are already well set up as factory standard to return good MPG so it is perhaps not so surprising that the gains are a little lower for this model. The power gains of 25% to 35% however alight this product well with other manufacturers.
The tuning box also comes with 10 settings that can be activated with the press of a button so you can have a play around to find the setting that you enjoy the most.
It is worth pointing out that the software on the Pro racing tuning box is bespoke to the VW Transporter 1.9 range which makes this product stand out above other models that try to cater for a range of vehicles.
Protocol tuning CR-Pro Tuning Box
The Protocol Tuning box is a nice product that suits the VW T5 2.0 range, it is priced slightly higher than the CR2 box and offers slightly less power, however, the MPG gains possible are very competitive with other models.
The tuning box connect to the fuel injection system within the engine bay can can be installed/removed extremely easily.
Despite the lower BHP gains claimed, it is a very nicely manufactured product and comes with a 3 year warranty as standard which is the longest warranty on offer out of all of the boxes reviewed here.
The product is also warranty safe for those vehicles that are still within the VW warranty period. It will not leave a trace on the vehicles ECU, making it very easy to be undetectable.
Hopefully that gives you enough information to make an informed decision on whether a professional remap or a tuning box is right for you along with a review of the most popular plug and play products available.
All of the products reviewed here are great quality products and will all give good value for money whilst keeping your vehicle safe and warranted.
Be careful with some of the cheaper options on the market (mainly on eBay) especially ones that are claim to be generic “chips”. These are not as well refined/tested or supported and quite frequently are nothing more than a resister that could cause damage to your VW T5.