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  1. #1
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    BMW 335i 6AT TCU tuning. What do you want to see?

    Ok, so I know everyone keeps talking about needing tuning for the TCU in order for these hardware upgrades to reach full potential. So you keep saying you want to see tuning, but what are you looking for in the tuning? I would like to hear specifics. Currently I am working with a transmission company that is doing a hardware upgrade far beyond anything else that has been done. Actually the only thing that has been done is a minimal clutch disk upgrade from lvl10, which by no surprise has not proven to yield much improvement.

    Right now to get all you can out of a stock transmission you could...

    1) Install the alpina TCU flash

    2) Install stiffer transmission and/or motor mounts as well

    3) Purchase a shimmed valvebody from lvl10 (not the preferred method, but hey, seems to be helping most and without access to the TCU, I guess it's an option to help increase line pressure)

    4) Transmission cooler

    5) lvl10 super pump assembly. (no idea what this entails or does but it's on their website)

    Of course you can get the torque converter rebuilt but tons of shops can do that so lets move on.

    What are we looking for in the tune exactly? What are we trying to accomplish? Is it not possible to change load values now so that the TCU sees full load values?

    Does anyone know exactly what the Alpina flash does and how it does it? What is keeping us from unlocking the alpina flash or comparing it to a stock flash file?

    More info on a new 6AT transmission upgrade coming soon!
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    The only thing we really need is higher shift points. Instead of 6700rpm we need it to shift itself at say 7200rpm.
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    Need control over line pressure.
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    Line/clamp pressure. No ability to influence that, no dice.

    The shimmed VB is rudimentary but should help in that regard.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Terry@BMS Click here to enlarge
    The only thing we really need is higher shift points. Instead of 6700rpm we need it to shift itself at say 7200rpm.
    so as of now TCU forces the car to shift at 6700RPM? I honestly thought it was 7000RPM, but really haven't let the car shift itself. So I'm guessing this is a shift point that can only be altered in the TCU and it must be cracked? Does the alpina flash alter this at all?

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by lulz_m3 Click here to enlarge
    Need control over line pressure.
    @Terry@BMS has stated and I have seen others state that we can max out the line pressure now. Terry, how is this done? Via JB4? Flash? How are we controlling line pressure now?

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 135pats Click here to enlarge
    Line/clamp pressure. No ability to influence that, no dice.

    The shimmed VB is rudimentary but should help in that regard.
    I do not know enough to fully understand what all of the changes to the valvebody lvl10 has done or how easily another company could, or if they do anything a cracked TCU tune couldn't. I believe line pressure has already been taken care of though?
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mjmarovi Click here to enlarge

    I do not know enough to fully understand what all of the changes to the valvebody lvl10 has done or how easily another company could, or if they do anything a cracked TCU tune couldn't. I believe line pressure has already been taken care of though?
    Lol as I understand it all the LVL10 VB is is a standard HP21 piece with shims to force higher fluid pressures. Nothing fancy there, quite rudimentary actually. But I find that more plausible than their actual trans rebuild.

    There seems to be a lot of conjecture here (which really shows how little we know RE: the trans) but count me in the "no TCU control, no dice" camp. The trans hardware actually appears to be pretty damn strong from ZF. I'm debating whether to go hybrid stock frames this Summer or 58mm Single over the Winter, if no progress is made on the trans front i'll probably go hybrid twins and have to call it a day at 500WHP/500WTQ.


    At the same time, donor 6ATs are not all that expensive. So if you do smoke yours, you have options that aren't brutally expensive.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 135pats Click here to enlarge
    There seems to be a lot of conjecture here (which really shows how little we know RE: the trans) but count me in the "no TCU control, no dice" camp. The trans hardware actually appears to be pretty damn strong from ZF. I'm debating whether to go hybrid stock frames this Summer or 58mm Single over the Winter, if no progress is made on the trans front i'll probably go hybrid twins and have to call it a day at 500WHP/500WTQ.
    I'll pose the question again as I got no bites last time. Since no one BUT Alpina has cracked the TCU, has anyone contacted them to see if they would be interested in helping out? Or am I missing something?
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    Alpina is more or less owned by BMW. They aren't going to help us.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Tifosielia Click here to enlarge
    Alpina is owned by BMW. They aren't going to help us.
    I thought (and that's what I'm finding) is Alpina works with, but not owned by BMW.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by I6+TT=FTW Click here to enlarge
    I thought (and that's what I'm finding) is Alpina works with, but not owned by BMW.
    Yea. I’ve never called them; it’s a waste of time. They’re so close with BMW precisely because they won’t divulge this type of proprietary information. Their close business relationship provides them with a pretty strong incentive not to hand over this information to a bunch of lowly enthusiasts. Sad that the brand has pivoted in that direction but what can ya do.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by I6+TT=FTW Click here to enlarge
    I thought (and that's what I'm finding) is Alpina works with, but not owned by BMW.
    I think the short answer is no, no one has contacted them. I've contacted ZF and they actually tried to help but believe it or not they are not provided any software from BMW. Even when transmissions are sent back for warranty rebuilds, or service, or whatever they use universal ZF software to troubleshoot and test the transmissions and then they go back to the dealer to receive software. It's actually pretty crazy how protective BMW is over their software, I learned a lot doing research on all of the for the past 8 months or so.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mjmarovi Click here to enlarge
    So you keep saying you want to see tuning, but what are you looking for in the tuning?
    For it to work? But I guess that isn't specific enough.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by I6+TT=FTW Click here to enlarge
    I thought (and that's what I'm finding) is Alpina works with, but not owned by BMW.
    Alpina does whatever BMW says or BMW will cut off the gravy train. They don't 'own' them but they 'own' them.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by mjmarovi Click here to enlarge
    I think the short answer is no, no one has contacted them. I've contacted ZF and they actually tried to help but believe it or not they are not provided any software from BMW. Even when transmissions are sent back for warranty rebuilds, or service, or whatever they use universal ZF software to troubleshoot and test the transmissions and then they go back to the dealer to receive software. It's actually pretty crazy how protective BMW is over their software, I learned a lot doing research on all of the for the past 8 months or so.
    Why can't the universal ZF software help us? Because it isn't compatible with the ECU or what?
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    Why can't the universal ZF software help us? Because it isn't compatible with the ECU or what?
    Exactly, I'm not sure how the other ZF cars work, I think similarly, but ours for sure the TCU is very much so tied into the DME, actually from my research I'm almost not sure if it's just tables that haven't been unlocked or a whole other module that needs to be unlocked.

    I had tried searching for a possible standalone solution to just run the transmission off of a standalone but I guess it's too tied into the DME.
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    Since we do have access to the DME, could the 'ties' be cut from the DME side? So that the DME doesn't RELY on the TCU to be there / be functional? Just thinking out loud.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Xearom3 Click here to enlarge
    Since we do have access to the DME, could the 'ties' be cut from the DME side? So that the DME doesn't RELY on the TCU to be there / be functional? Just thinking out loud.
    Code it to think its a Manual transmission.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Xearom3 Click here to enlarge
    Since we do have access to the DME, could the 'ties' be cut from the DME side? So that the DME doesn't RELY on the TCU to be there / be functional? Just thinking out loud.
    Anything is possible, but figuring out how to do it is another story. I've contacted and continue to look for companies that do flash tuning and particular with TCU tuning to see if they can help out. Haven't gotten far so far...
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    Alpina does whatever BMW says or BMW will cut off the gravy train. They don't 'own' them but they 'own' them.
    We actually asked that question (does BMW own Alpina) specifically during our plant tour in Munich a few weeks ago. Oddly, the tour guide (who was impressively knowledgable on other things, so I don't have any reason to doubt his knowledge on Alpina) said they were a subsidiary of BMW. If you look at Alpina's website, it says differently, so perhaps something was lost in translation, but as you say, they are clearly tied together at the hip with a far more "integrated" relationship than anyone else.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    Alpina does whatever BMW says or BMW will cut off the gravy train. They don't 'own' them but they 'own' them.
    ah gotcha. Makes sense.
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    The TCU software is partialy ZF and modified by BMW. Both the Original BMW as the Alpina are signed correctlty, that's why you can upload the alpina version. They are closed source.
    The area to break is the bootloader of the TCU, the part that checks the firmware signature. If that can be taken out you can load whatever you want.
    Problem is that the complete thing is encrypted with a strong alghoritm very harsh to break.
    The platform is known, it is based on a standardized software platform commonly used in the german car industry. And so hardware is available to monitor and hack the software. But this is quite costly, think about 5-6 grand to start with a proper setup to have the tcu working on a bench. And then you have to calculate the hours required to break/hack the software...

    This was at least what me and my tech concluded after contacting ZF and some software coders working in the automotive industry.

    For less money you add a cooler to your gearbox and rebuild it now and then...

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    Hmmm interesting, I'd really like to know what an estimated total cost would be to get an up and running TCU tuning software, Cobb supported, or similar.
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by RTA Click here to enlarge
    The TCU software is partialy ZF and modified by BMW. Both the Original BMW as the Alpina are signed correctlty, that's why you can upload the alpina version. They are closed source.
    The area to break is the bootloader of the TCU, the part that checks the firmware signature. If that can be taken out you can load whatever you want.
    Problem is that the complete thing is encrypted with a strong alghoritm very harsh to break.
    The platform is known, it is based on a standardized software platform commonly used in the german car industry. And so hardware is available to monitor and hack the software. But this is quite costly, think about 5-6 grand to start with a proper setup to have the tcu working on a bench. And then you have to calculate the hours required to break/hack the software...

    This was at least what me and my tech concluded after contacting ZF and some software coders working in the automotive industry.

    For less money you add a cooler to your gearbox and rebuild it now and then...
    So it can be done but it looks like the only option is what, a brute force approach unless someone 'somehow' gets an inside source?
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    Brute force or a key leak.....
    And BMW has a very thight policy on encryption these days (M4/M5/ etc)

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by RTA Click here to enlarge
    Brute force or a key leak.....
    And BMW has a very thight policy on encryption these days (M4/M5/ etc)
    Ok so what would it take to brute force our way in?
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