Performance chip

I have a '98 toyota se camry. 181,000 miles with very little use of oil. no transmission problems. overall, the auto is in good condition. I read an article about performance chips. These chips advertise 50 additional hp, more torque and higher gas mileage. Bsed on the miles and conition of the auto, would i do damage to the camry by installing this chip? Thanks/Joe

I would be surprised if you could get all those benefits, but I some power increase would not be a surprise. Mileage, maybe, but I would not count on too much. Remember there is not free lunch. If it were just that easy, it would have come from the factory that way. But may people have been able to gain some power (Not a huge amount, but still noticeable) and generally without problems.

I would not do it, but that is a matter of personal choice.

Good Luck

In the old days we could get that by putting in the ultimate spark plugs. All that for $7. We are getting ripped off worse today.

Would you like slightly more power?
Are you seeking better fuel economy?

It’s a limited menu.
Pick one.
You can’t have both.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

It would be a complete waste of money to install a performance chip in a '98 Camry with 181K miles.

It would be a complete waste of money to install a performance chip in a '11 Camry with 81 miles.

You cannot get increased power and increased fuel mileage all at the same time. It’s one or the other, but not both.

If you put a performance chip in that car it will double its value, and do nothing for its power.

While there are a few worthwhile chips (actually reprogramming units for the CPU) for few cars, if you found this on a site that has ‘chips’ for every make and model, it’s a SCAM. Avoid it, don’t waste your money.

It’s a scam and many of these so-called performance chips are nothing more than a cheap resistor which the company has purchased for a fraction of a cent from China.

They change the resistance in the air temp or coolant temp circuit and this in turn allegedly provides a tiny bit more fuel to the engine while it’s running. The theory behind this is that more fuel equates to more power but that doesn’t match with the higher gas mileage claim either.

Look on eBay. You’ll find this scam listed there by the thousands. Reading the seller’s feedback you will find many complaints and also many positive comments from the ones who are not aware of what the word placebo means.
If this really worked then every car rolling off the assembly line would have a chip on it from the get-go.

You cannot get 50 more hp from a '98 Camry just by adding a chip. Even of the chip allows a richer gas mix by “fooling” the ECU by modifying a sensor signal (as OK4450 suggested, and I’d bet he’s correct), the engine only has the ability to breath in so much vapor (fuel/air mix). And the ability of the injectors is limited too.

The only way you could get 50 more hp out of that engine would be to add a supercharger or turbocharger, a new head (with different valves and cams), new manifolds both in and out, and maybe even a new ignition system.

And any increase in hp will be gained at the expense of mileage…and reliability. The more you increase horsepower is the more likely you are that something will break. There’s a bunch of parts between the engine and tires that probebly could not handle the extra power, including the axles, CV joints, and tranny parts. And the engine parts themselves may not be able to handle that much of an increase in combustion pressures.

People who soup up engines accept the fact that they’ll use more gas, they’ll have to beef up the parts and systems affected by the soup-up changes, and they’re probably going to overstress and break some things. It simply comes with the territory.

I’ll go against the grain a bit. I’m a big believer that you can get increased power and better fuel mileage at the same time, but you’ll be violating federal pollution laws.

Up to 1974, all cars ran with about 10% more fuel than needed. That gave them the best fuel mileage and power. Race car carbs were jetted to approach 16% more fuel than needed, since power kept climbing up to about 16%. Gas mileage dropped after about 10%.

The reason this extra fuel worked was because it increased the chances that every oxygen molecule in the combustion chamber had an adjacent fuel molecule for burning. Oxygen was the precious component and complete combustion chamber air/fuel mixing was nearly impossible with such a short time limit.

In 1975, federal laws required car makers to only deliver “chemically correct” mixtures of 14.7:1 air/fuel ratios.

Although today’s cars have significantly better combustion swirl designs and fuel delivery mechanisms, complete air/fuel mixing is very difficult to achieve. So I believe there’s still opportunity, even if it’s 1-2%, for an increase in the fuel mixture, to increase both power and mileage.

I’m open to learning if today’s engines have achieved complete air/fuel combustion chamber mixing (at which point I’ll be happy to say I’m wrong).

have a '98 toyota se camry. 181,000 miles with very little use of oil. no transmission problems. overall, the auto is in good condition.

Given that the “stock” ECU programming has gotten you this far, in such good condition, perhaps you should question the wisdom of messing with a proven winning combination?

You make an excellent point Joe. A slightly rich mix would likely provide more power, at the expense of higher emissions. But I suspect that the increase in surface-to-volume achieved by the better vaporization of the fuel produced by modern multiport injection compensates to a great extent by allowing more complete burning of the fuel at the prime point in the power stroke. Still, I have no doubt that 1-2% could be gained by running a bit rich. I suspect this is exactly what the subject chip does, allows a bit more rich running.

They claim that the new direct injection systems will provide a 1-2% gain all by themselves.

More power means less fuel economy.

Thengineers likely designed the optimum efficiency/power possible.

More power means less fuel economy.

When it comes to many modifications, that is true, but not always.

Variable timing can give an engine both increased power and increased fuel economy (compared to an engine or a similar car without variable timing). The same goes for reducing the weight of a vehicle, although it doesn’t actually give you more power. Reducing weight only improves the power-to-weight ratio.

There are other innovations that have also led to both increased power and fuel economy, like electronic fuel injection and adding more valves per cylinder. Most of these are designed into the vehicle, rather than being added on with aftermarket kits, but you get the idea. More power doesn’t always mean less fuel economy.

I agree with Whitey. More power doesn’t always mean less fuel economy. If you don’t care about emissions, you can make your fuel-air ratio a bit richer and get both more power and fuel economy.