For those of you interested in / anxiously awaiting ipd ECU upgrades for 2003 and 2004 models we have some news. Late in December development work was finalized on the calibration files to allow us to begin doing upgrades. We acquired a few local cars to perform test downloads on and ran into the following scenario. Several of the cars we upgraded with great results, however when we attempted to upgrade a 2004 S60R we got a warning message from our software upgrader that the base software of the car did not match the base software version we had read out of the cars back in July. We could have proceeded by overwriting the new base software with the earlier version, but it is our goal to provide upgrades with the latest base version of software that Volvo is using. The owner of this particular car is not aware of any upgrades his dealer may have performed and this is the crux of the situation. In the past changes to base software would show up on your work order / invoice. We have information now that is pointing to the possibility of software “improvements” being made without the vehicle owners knowledge. For example, you take your car in for warranty repair or service and any time the car is plugged into VADIS (Volvos aftermarket diagnostic and information system) it gets the latest factory software updates automatically. As I mentioned above, this used to show up on your paper work, but it appears that this is no longer the case.
A simple analogy for this is to relate it to a computer software update for a personal computer. Software companies routinely make patches and improvements to their software and if you use any web based Microsoft products you most likely have seen the automated upgrade system in action. (Would you like to update now?)
This is very similar to what we are encountering with our Volvo ECU upgrades at this time. Since Volvo isn’t kind enough to provide us with these updates , we have to “bump into them” so to speak.
When we do find software updates during an upgrade procedure the process of reading out the base software is not always quick and easy. In some cases we have to extract the new data out of the ECU. This is a complex procedure and can take anywhere form 1-4 weeks.
(Is your head starting to hurt now? Mine is!)
Anyway, at this time we are researching a source for technical service bulletins related to engine management software changes. (software changes to other functions of the car such as the suspension, climate control, etc do not alter the base engine management software)
This will help us to know in advance if a particular year and model may have revised base software. The situation we are trying to avoid is
having a customer send in his/her ECU and finding out we do not have the latest base software available. The cost and inconvenience of overnight shipping the ECU back and forth and having your car down for 3 days is bad enough one time let alone twice!.
We can certainly upgrade these cars and generally not have owners experience any noticeable drivability losses by overwriting the revised base software with the earlier version like other tuners, but that is not how we operate. We want to maintain the highest level of quality and performance in our products.
The bigger question is “ When will we be ready to go with ECU upgrades for 2003-2004 models? “ At this time we do not have an answer, but we are working on it with high priority. For those of you that may be interested in an upgrade in light of the above information please contact us for more information (email@example.com or ask for Scott Hart at 1-800-444-6473). For all we know at this time, it may be just the 2004 R manual trans cars that are effected by this as we have not been able to access all of the new applications applications. We were able to upgrade the ECU in our 2003 XC-90 project with 2.5T engine just fine.
In regards to additional upgrades, Thomas Alsterfalk of TME SWEDEN is here at our facility this week doing final test fitting of R specific downpipes and sport exhausts. Once these parts are confirmed to fit and function properly on our US model cars, he will head back to Sweden to begin production. We should start getting these parts for sale this spring (April-May). The prototype parts will be sent to swedespeed next week for use on swedespeed member Kai’s S60R project that is being featured in a multi part R upgrade article here on swedespeed. Part 1 of the article should be posted in the “features” section in the next week or so.
Watch here for further updates.