Close

    • Steve Dinan takes shots at BMW piggyback tunes calling them poorly calibrated - Piggyback versus flash tuning

      Steve Dinan is a well respected name in BMW tuning. His products are well engineered, well tested, and backed up with his warranty. They also are overpriced and regularly from a pure performance perspective beaten by offerings from other tuners. There is a 'Dinan' tax so to speak on the parts and he seems to aim for the more casual BMW enthusiast rather than the hardcore market. There is nothing wrong with that and Dinan also has shown they are capable of building motors that power Grand-Am teams to victory in Motorsport so higher level skill is certainly there than what is displayed by the street car offerings. However, he also is given full control of those ECU's through BMW Motorsport.


      Dinan sells flash tunes. It is in his best interest to put piggybacks down and make them appear cheap or inferior. However, he is right that flash tuning allows a greater degree of accuracy and it is more difficult. Full control of a BMW DME through flashing is harder to achieve than using a piggyback to alter the signals the ECU sees.

      There are merits to both approaches including negatives to both approaches. BimmerBoost features vendors that sell products based on both tuning approaches. Steve Dinan does not mention any tuners using both approaches simultaneously omitting a vital area that should be included in his argument. He also does not mention any of the plusses to a piggyback that his flash tunes can not match such as changing boost maps on the fly or meth injection flow safeties. Some tuners are readily combining both approaches to get the best of both worlds so to speak.

      Steve says the ECU is 'lied to' by piggybacks. Saying it is lying rather than modifying the signal is excessively negative terminology that is not really appropriate from a professional. He also states when the boost is raised from 9 psi to 14 psi in his example the car is using fuel for 9 psi instead of 14 psi and timing for 9 psi instead of 14 psi. The ECU then is forced to compensate.

      The factory DME's are capable of adjusting fuel and timing on the fly with the piggybacks. This seems like an odd scare tactic from Dinan considering the amount of miles BimmerBoost members have successfully logged with piggyback tunes. Additionally, even without a piggyback tune the stock DME in modern BMW's is constantly adjusting timing and boost. What does he thinks happens when the cars go into high elevation?

      His points about the transmission slipping and the stability control not working are comments that are really reaching. BimmerBoost has yet to see a piggyback user lose their stability control or have the trans slip for any reason other than too much torque thanks to the tune.

      Steve is right that he has a large computer science department at Dinan. He hires some very talented students from top engineering schools to work for him paying them large salaries. He has some very powerful computers working 24/7 at cracking BMW DME's. However, even he does not have control of all the functions of the factory DME in modern BMW's so slighting piggybacks for not having full control either seems unfair. Why not let the DME do the functions it does best and alter only those that need to be altered? A piggyback does that and his flash tunes also do that. They just go about it in different ways.

      Dinan says they can do things others can not. BimmerBoost has yet to see Dinan do anything on par with other tuners in the street BMW scene. His offerings are consistently outperformed for less money. Yes, he cracked the N63 V8 quickly but since then so have others either thanks to help from someone inside BMW or by getting their hands on the codes in whatever manner they did. What is it Dinan can do that anyone else can't exactly? Where are their projects that blow everyone else away? What performance records do any of their street cars actually hold?

      Watch the video and come to your own conclusion.


      This article was originally published in forum thread: Steve Dinan takes shots at BMW piggyback tunes calling them poorly calibrated - Piggyback versus flash tuning started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 95 Comments
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        How would you like me to respond to this? Should I even acknowledge this wasteful irrelevant and rude comment?
        Well first I'd like you to understand what a signature on a forum is.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        Yes, imagine if only I had "real power". I think I will wait until my warranty runs out to experiment with other piggybacks if I even feel like it. For now, the Dinan Flash is enough for me since I don't track or drag race. I just like the occasional urge for more acceleration when the road is clear.
        Then it sounds like Dinan is the right choice for you. This forum tends to have a performance emphasis and in that area Dinan lags.
      1. Viet Tran's Avatar
        Viet Tran -
        "Then it sounds like Dinan is the right choice for you. This forum tends to have a performance emphasis and in that area Dinan lags."

        You're right. Very strange that Dinan would be even mentioned in this forum though from the statement you just made. No doubt that Dinan isn't the fastest baddest thing out there, neither did I imply that they were. I simply made an observation based on the original post about the expenses of Dinan.

        I cannot trust Pro or Anti Dinan or Pro or Anti Piggyback people's comments...some say there is no problem, some piggyback users say their engines went kaputt...to many factors to take in. I can only talk about my own experiences with Dinan...not at any time claiming that Dinan is for everyone.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        You're right. Very strange that Dinan would be even mentioned in this forum though from the statement you just made. No doubt that Dinan isn't the fastest baddest thing out there, neither did I imply that they were. I simply made an observation based on the original post about the expenses of Dinan.
        Because it is a BMW performance tuning forum. Of course Dinan will come up here and their products will be analyzed. It's certainly fair game.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        I cannot trust Pro or Anti Dinan or Pro or Anti Piggyback people's comments...some say there is no problem, some piggyback users say their engines went kaputt...to many factors to take in. I can only talk about my own experiences with Dinan...not at any time claiming that Dinan is for everyone.
        I understand that and your experience is appreciated. There are users here with piggybacks as well. Both have their pros and cons.
      1. Viet Tran's Avatar
        Viet Tran -
        "The reason for that is Dinan is the only US company out of the ones you mentioned. If you compare pricing to others... well."




        This does not make sense. BMW M Performance parts would be inappropriate to bring into comparison if we follow this criteria. I looked at the complaint that Dinan is expensive, I saw nothing about "for an American Company it's expensive"...and I commented on an observation that I made about the reality of these accessory prices. That's all. At no point did anyone here or on other forums mention anything about domestic or foreign nationalities in the discussion.

        To save us both time, I'll be the first to sign off on this topic. No need to beat a dead horse.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        "The reason for that is Dinan is the only US company out of the ones you mentioned. If you compare pricing to others... well."




        This does not make sense. BMW M Performance parts would be inappropriate to bring into comparison if we follow this criteria. I looked at the complaint that Dinan is expensive, I saw nothing about "for an American Company it's expensive"...and I commented on an observation that I made about the reality of these accessory prices. That's all. At no point did anyone here or on other forums mention anything about domestic or foreign nationalities in the discussion.

        To save us both time, I'll be the first to sign off on this topic. No need to beat a dead horse.
        No it makes complete sense to compare US aftermarket pricing to other US tuners. Gruppe M stuff is high quality as is Akrapovic but there are better bang for your buck options from US tuners. Not to mention you don't have to deal with import costs, currency conversion, etc. Americans consistently offer better priced options than their foreign counterparts. Just look at G-Power for example.

        You are welcome to participate as much you want. Dinan has its market. This thread is really about Dinan going against piggybacks yet it appears now he will be releasing a piggyback of his own.
      1. Viet Tran's Avatar
        Viet Tran -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Because it is a BMW performance tuning forum. Of course Dinan will come up here and their products will be analyzed. It's certainly fair game.



        I understand that and your experience is appreciated. There are users here with piggybacks as well. Both have their pros and cons.
        I hope you understand the weirdness of your previous statment about how this forum is about "performance" which implied that Dinan should not belong in this forum, then right after this stating that "...it is a BMW Performance tuning forum. Of course Dinan will come up here and their products will be analyzed. It is certainly fair game."

        The two statements seem to contradict each other. I am under agreement that Dinan's products will be fair game and should be analyzed, that is exactly why I chimed in about the high pricing complaints. Do you think that I made this up or am here to irritate people? There are much more expensive products out there that many people simply ignore and that is why I made the observation in the first place. Whether or not they are u.s. based is irrelevant to me.
      1. Viet Tran's Avatar
        Viet Tran -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        No it makes complete sense to compare US aftermarket pricing to other US tuners. Gruppe M stuff is high quality as is Akrapovic but there are better bang for your buck options from US tuners. Not to mention you don't have to deal with import costs, currency conversion, etc. Americans consistently offer better priced options than their foreign counterparts. Just look at G-Power for example.

        You are welcome to participate as much you want. Dinan has its market. This thread is really about Dinan going against piggybacks yet it appears now he will be releasing a piggyback of his own.


        If the whole topic hinged round comparing u.s. tuners only, and I was aware of this caveat, I don't think I would have chimed in. Next time, it should be made clear that the comparisons are u.s. companies.

        The hypocrisy of Dinan's piggyback offer after this slamming of piggybacks is another topic. And it would be a mistake to presume I stand behind such hypocrisy or am a blind Dinan fanboy. I just like my warranty intact and if BMW won't honor it, then Dinan will. That's it.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        I hope you understand the weirdness of your previous statment about how this forum is about "performance" which implied that Dinan should not belong in this forum, then right after this stating that "...it is a BMW Performance tuning forum. Of course Dinan will come up here and their products will be analyzed. It is certainly fair game."

        The two statements seem to contradict each other. I am under agreement that Dinan's products will be fair game and should be analyzed, that is exactly why I chimed in about the high pricing complaints. Do you think that I made this up or am here to irritate people? There are much more expensive products out there that many people simply ignore and that is why I made the observation in the first place. Whether or not they are u.s. based is irrelevant to me.
        No I'm quite clear I think. If not allow me to clarify that IMO Dinan is overpriced for the performance gain and that if you want more performance or power they are limited.

        Dinan will come up when discussing BMW's. So will other products and those products will often be compared against Dinan's offering. It all makes sense to me.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        If the whole topic hinged round comparing u.s. tuners only, and I was aware of this caveat, I don't think I would have chimed in. Next time, it should be made clear that the comparisons are u.s. companies.

        The hypocrisy of Dinan's piggyback offer after this slamming of piggybacks is another topic. And it would be a mistake to presume I stand behind such hypocrisy or am a blind Dinan fanboy. I just like my warranty intact and if BMW won't honor it, then Dinan will. That's it.
        I understand your position and like I said there is a market for that which Dinan certainly capitalizes on.
      1. Viet Tran's Avatar
        Viet Tran -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Because you don't have to go with Dinan or Gruppe M? Just because Gruppe M has insane pricing doesn't mean Dinan suddenly becomes a value.



        You're talking down on AFE who does intakes for more cars than anyone you mentioned?



        Wow. Now imagine if you experienced real power.


        Do you see anywhere here in your reply that says anything about the qualifier "nationality" in the discussion?
        You even deepened the comparison without such a qualifier when you wrote: "Just because Gruppe M has insane pricing doesn't mean Dinan suddenly becomes a value."<------ this says nothing about nationality and should have if that were the issue.

        This entire line of comments is misleading because of that omission and as such it is dishonest or unclear at best. And I would not even waste yours or my own time commenting if these caveats were made clear from the start. You can fault me for making such observations without foreknowledge of these caveats?

        And even after our discussion about nationality as a qualifier:

        "No I'm quite clear I think. If not allow me to clarify that IMO Dinan is overpriced for the performance gain and that if you want more performance or power they are limited.

        Dinan will come up when discussing BMW's. So will other products and those products will often be compared against Dinan's offering. It all makes sense to me."


        You still are making vague statements about comparisons. Which is fine, but people can't read your mind and will eventually point out other products from whatever countries that are extremely expensive. I can't believe we are still on this.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        Do you see anywhere here in your reply that says anything about the qualifier "nationality" in the discussion?
        You even deepened the comparison without such a qualifier when you wrote: "Just because Gruppe M has insane pricing doesn't mean Dinan suddenly becomes a value."<------ this says nothing about nationality and should have if that were the issue.
        I assumed you knew Gruppe M was Japanese?

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        This entire line of comments is misleading because of that omission and as such it is dishonest or unclear at best. And I would not even waste yours or my own time commenting if these caveats were made clear from the start. You can fault me for making such observations without foreknowledge of these caveats?
        I'm really not misleading anyone at all I think most people here know which companies are domestic and which aren't.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        You still are making vague statements about comparisons. Which is fine, but people can't read your mind and will eventually point out other products from whatever countries that are extremely expensive. I can't believe we are still on this.
        I really don't understand your line of thinking here. I'm as detailed as they come when discussing the BMW aftermarket.
      1. Viet Tran's Avatar
        Viet Tran -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I assumed you knew Gruppe M was Japanese?


        >>really? Does the country matter now too? Good lord.


        I'm really not misleading anyone at all I think most people here know which companies are domestic and which aren't.

        >>that's great. I don't.

        I really don't understand your line of thinking here. I'm as detailed as they come when discussing the BMW aftermarket.
        >>You did not qualify your comment about domestic vs. international... So no you were not clear about this and if you just admit it we can all move on. I'm not a mind reader.

        For god's sake it's here for everyone to see. Are really going to keep this up because it irks you that someone is pointing out something because he did not understand your post?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        For god's sake it's here for everyone to see. Are really going to keep this up because it irks you that someone is pointing out something because he did not understand your post?
        I really don't even understand whatever issue it is you have.
      1. Viet Tran's Avatar
        Viet Tran -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        I really don't even understand whatever issue it is you have.
        No ideA I had any issue. Thought I was replying to your continual comments. Huh?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Viet Tran Click here to enlarge
        No ideA I had any issue. Thought I was replying to your continual comments. Huh?
        We're having some kind of misunderstanding I don't understand. I thought we already settled the market Dinan appeals to and the other options? Maybe we are on the same page and it's all good.