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    • EcuTek superior to PTF Bootmod3 (BM3)? Pump gas Ecutek tuned F22 M235i N55 vs. PTF BM3 tuned F22 M2 on ethanol

      It seems there is a bit of an EcuTek vs. Pro Tuning Freaks Bootmod3 battle taking place behind the scenes. Many BimmerBoost members tune their cars with BM3 but EcuTek is the new kid on the BMW tuning block with arguably the better software tuning suite.


      Now, EcuTek is more established but their BMW effort is recent. Some are accusing EcuTek of stealing from PTF which is laughable to those in the industry:


      EcuTek is the larger company and does indeed have the more impressive tuning pedigree that is well known in Nissan/Infiniti tuning circles.

      So which system is superior for tuning your N55? Well, the truth is the software can only take you as far as the quality of the tuner.

      BimmerBoost previously wrote an article about inexperienced tuners or social media tuners using BM3 software and motors being blown as a result. A bad tuner can blow a motor with EcuTek as well but EcuTek seems to have a much better vetting process than just selling to anyone with a BMW and a Instagram account who wants to call themselves a tuner.

      The quality of the tuner is ultimately key but it seems a battle is taking place between tuners touting their respective platforms.


      Who wins? We do. The more competition the better for BMW enthusiasts.

      While some will use the video below to state EcuTek is better because a bolt on M235i on pump gas edges an ethanol BM3 tuned bolt on M2, that vastly oversimplifies the topic.

      This battle is just heating up and EcuTek still has a way to go before establishing themselves in BMW tuning. What will be telling is what tuners adopt EcuTek or switch from BM3 in the future.


      This article was originally published in forum thread: EcuTek superior to PTF Bootmod3 (BM3)? Pump gas Ecutek tuned F22 M235i N55 vs. PTF BM3 tuned F22 M2 on ethanol started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 11 Comments
      1. F87Source's Avatar
        F87Source -
        The thing that makes ecutek better imo is that it has a large network of certified tuners that have been tuning crazy high horse power cars for years, and understands tuning isn't just cranking up boost. If we look at bm3 there aren't many tuners willing to touch it as they're not familiar with the interface, same goes with mhd Imo, vs ecutek who has a bunch of certified tuners in every almost every major city.

        It's not that bm3 is bad, it's just like you said there aren't many qualified tuners for it. I'm just glad one of the best tuners here in Western Canada can now tune my car.

        The only issue is that I think ecutek comes in at the highest price out of all the tuning options, and you have to pay for the racerom iirc, which enables all the cool features like e85 flex fuel, map switchimg on the fly, and launch control. This becomes an issue when you factor in all the cheapos in the BMW community wanting max power for $0, and won't even pay for supporting mods. Plus real tunes will cost considerably more than Instagram tuners as you also have to rent Dyno time. So I'm worried if this will inhibit ecuteks growth, but if they manage to do what they did with the gtr it'll be incredible and I don't think anyone will be able to keep up.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by F87Source Click here to enlarge
        The thing that makes ecutek better imo is that it has a large network of certified tuners that have been tuning crazy high horse power cars for years, and understands tuning isn't just cranking up boost.
        This is important to note. Look at the S55 engines lost to 'instagram' tuners. They ramp in boost hard and max timing and think that is how you tune. Of course the rods give out when you are hitting them with massive torque early in the rev range.

        When a skilled tuner works at it they can clear 800 whp on the factory S55 rods, unheard of: https://www.bimmerboost.com/content....edium=facebook

        The quality available to EcuTek vs. PTF is a colossal difference.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by F87Source Click here to enlarge
        The only issue is that I think ecutek comes in at the highest price out of all the tuning options, and you have to pay for the racerom iirc, which enables all the cool features like e85 flex fuel, map switchimg on the fly, and launch control. This becomes an issue when you factor in all the cheapos in the BMW community wanting max power for $0, and won't even pay for supporting mods.
        A very important point here. Let's be real, there are guys driving $65k+ cars but they are leased and often by their parents. That is why suddenly a couple grand is a huge deal.

        Terry did the smart thing with the JB4 as if M guys are cheap the kids buying used 335's are even worse. They can't scrape together $5k+ for a high quality turbo upgrade but a JB4 for a few hundred bucks is possible. Hence JB4 sales numbers.

        These guys care more about peak figures than quality tunes anyway. The percentage of guys willing to pay for quality is small but they do exist. It's amusing to see the M3 is the most popular BMW platform to tune but 80% are leased. The guys with the F90 M5 have more money but a fewer % of them tune because they are older.

        Hopefully when people see the quality of EcuTek and quality tuners start using it for BMW's guys will be willing to pay for quality. I would be.

        Frankly, I don't cry for people who blow their motors chasing figures on social media posted by guys tuning from their kitchen on their laptop. You only see the peak figures on graphs, not the horror stories.
      1. F87Source's Avatar
        F87Source -
        Damn right sticky, finally someone who recognizes this.

        It's frustrating because I've called some of these tuners and my God just speaking to them, I don't even know if I'd trust them as a person let alone with my car. The amount of unprofessionalism and cussing, while asserting "they are the best and how I want find anyone better and I should get it tuned now" is unbelievable.

        In regards to quality of the product I believe ecutek in it's infancy is equal to bm3 and mhd in my respective opinion (I don't know the full details so I'm not going to make false claims), asides from the extra features each option gives (e85, burbles etc) the ability to edit tables should be the same. What makes them stand apart is who's tuning them, since ecutek has a huge community of vetted tuners who can tune finnicky cars like the sti with it's brittle piston ring lands the results would be a better tune and more performance. But if you have a good tuner that can tune bm3, mhd and ecutek minus the extra features that separate them, someone like twisted tuning who is ecutek certified, I'd think that the results as of now will be very similar until those extra features come into play. Once ecutek gets a start and create their racerom I think that's when we see ecutek step ahead of the competition with features it's able to offer, and better algorithms to accomplish it. For example i've heard Evo guys with flex fuel before and if they don't get close to the proper
        ethanol mix that the interpolation maps were tuned at, the car would run way to rich or lean and wouldn't make optimal power. But on other flexfuel kits with better algorithms the car ran perfect no matter what % ethanol was in the tank. Of course this may be different with BMWs as the ecus are super smart and can have fuel adaptations made by itself, but the idea is that some tunes may have better code hence higher quality like you said. I believe ecutek and their huge engineering team will get it done.


        Next If we go onto the BMW community itself I couldn't agree more with what you have to say. Not only is the community cheap but they're super stereotypical and hearded like sheep. For example the n54 makes so much more power than the n55 because tuning has been cracked on the less advanced ECU, and there are a plethora of parts available that hasnt made it to the n55, so how can you compare the two? I've seen in Facebook groups the immense amount of clowning that goes on towards every non n54 motor even the s55 and v10 m5 engine, how the n54 reigns supreme and is the best BMW motor of all time.... It's this stigma that also stops companies from being able to grow into new markets and it stunts development of platforms. So I'm worried it'll stunt ecuteks growth, like look at Cobb for instance. They had weak ots maps for conservation of the engine until you get a protune, but the result is people freaking out and failing to adopt it as they were to cheap to get it protuned.

        No disrespect to jb4 as theyve done alot to help our community, but I think jb4 is better stacked on top of a flash and can't compare to a flash tune alone. My logic behind it is when I get a protune it's $220/hr + $dyno setup fees. So I'm not going to spend money to tune my car on 91 octane which I never use as in my city 94 is available everywhere. But when I'm out in the middle of nowhere and only 91 is available I like to have jb4 to crank down the boost and be able to use 91 for cheap. Plus I love the bonus features like gauge hijacking and boost by gear, and easy water meth integration is nice too, plus Bluetooth data logging is better than having an obd2 cable across my lap especially since I drive stick. But that water meth kit is super nice, as I don't have to tap into ECU harness cables (like on other kits) which if not weather sealed properly can result in issues if water reaches it. Plus when I put my car back to stock those wires aren't all messed up and I don't have to buy a whole new wiring loom.

        Anyways that's my rant, and I do hope ecutek succeeds.
      1. maxnix's Avatar
        maxnix -
        Well, I think it is indicative that even on a Cobb tune that one cannot drive across the nation on any one of their Tunes except the least gain ACN tune. What tuning in is taking out the safety margins that manufacturers leave in so their can do that. It is really dumb to not leave that 5% or 10% margin in there so that you know that your engine will hold together and not fail you at the top of the Rockies or in Death Valley or on the California coast.
      1. F87Source's Avatar
        F87Source -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by maxnix Click here to enlarge
        Well, I think it is indicative that even on a Cobb tune that one cannot drive across the nation on any one of their Tunes except the least gain ACN tune. What tuning in is taking out the safety margins that manufacturers leave in so their can do that. It is really dumb to not leave that 5% or 10% margin in there so that you know that your engine will hold together and not fail you at the top of the Rockies or in Death Valley or on the California coast.
        It's an ots map in the Subaru community it was understood those maps were never meant for driving more than a few hundred feet onto the Dyno. Cobb generally gives you those so the protuners have a place to start. Also you can't really expect Cobb to go across the country like oems do to make sure it works fine in every single condition and on every single car that has different mods, and increase performance. Tuning is not as simple as grabbing the existing power band and shifting it up, when you change he one variable all the others want to change but in a nonlinear fashion.

        Ots maps on bm3 are so good because they spend most of the development time making sure they had testers around the world on different fuels, and altitudes send them data. It's not easy to have it done like that especially when you're a company that doesn't just make tuning devices for BMW's.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by maxnix Click here to enlarge
        Well, I think it is indicative that even on a Cobb tune that one cannot drive across the nation on any one of their Tunes except the least gain ACN tune. What tuning in is taking out the safety margins that manufacturers leave in so their can do that. It is really dumb to not leave that 5% or 10% margin in there so that you know that your engine will hold together and not fail you at the top of the Rockies or in Death Valley or on the California coast.
        Why exactly can't one drive far on a Cobb tune?
      1. F87Source's Avatar
        F87Source -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Why exactly can't one drive far on a Cobb tune?
        I think he means the ots maps (I heard early revisions had driveability issues, but I believe that was resolved). Otherwise if it's in regards to a protuner, your protuner is doing a really garbage job.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by F87Source Click here to enlarge
        I think he means the ots maps (I heard early revisions had driveability issues, but I believe that was resolved). Otherwise if it's in regards to a protuner, your protuner is doing a really garbage job.
        That makes sense. Honestly, the early OTS maps on various platforms seem to need several revisions.
      1. F87Source's Avatar
        F87Source -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        That makes sense. Honestly, the early OTS maps on various platforms seem to need several revisions.
        Yup, either that or he was definitely exaggerating, because the dme has so much ability to make adaptations that altitude changes don't affect these BMWs as much as they did on older less advanced cars. Some older cars with less advanced ecus may struggle with the increased/decreased power (air density, afr fluxes) from elevation changes (most prominent on NA cars) etc. But that's not really an issue anymore.
      1. julienjj's Avatar
        julienjj -
        This is a silly debate because we are mixing the tuning interface with the actual tune.

        To reflash a car you need 3 things :

        -Flashing & checksum correction tool
        -ECU definitions
        -Data interpretation software.

        Following the garbage in -> garbage out process; what matters are the skills of the tuner and what tables are available to him.

        This is where cobb failed. They had the proper hardware but they failed to offer the ECU tables quickly enought. Their tuning software was also designed to block the sharing of tune and information by locking them to each cobb serial number, obviously in favor of their existing pro-tuner network and making it harder to go to your favorite tuner for a custom tune (their free software is even harder to get now, since you have to pass a online training class for each cobb serial number (LOOOL) to get the tuning software)

        Bm3 is not unlike that too, since whatever tune you upload in their system is pretty much captive in a custom format forever. You are also dependant on them to add extra tables to the ECU definitions. They are the most "vapor/cloud" based and if they go down, you've just lost everything. I have not dealt with the custom tuning side of BM3 yet, but I suppose their tuner license give you a portal license to use their software ecosystem as well, with the tune still captive within the ecosystem.

        MHD is more focused on selling you the flashing "hardware" since they provide a way to flash maps made by any standard tuning tool. It reflect in the price as well, since like 80% of the cost is the flashing license. They also cooperate with the design of the XDF, so you get a good set of ECU definitions for tunerpro that you can use by yourself or supply your tuner with, but nothing prevent you from using WinOLS (the industry golden standard) and paid definitions files to tune your car or have any tuner do so. The app will correct the checksums and flash anything valid.

        EcuTek has a good flashing platform (albeit very intense on DRM, need a dongle to work) it will flash any standard bin made by WinOLS but the software they offer is locked to you and you cannot add your own tables, you are locked there as well. I expect their OTS tune to be locked as well. The good thing is that the hardware flasher is never lost, you can buy extra license to add other cars (even other brands) to your tool. Where they shine are the raceroms with customs feature, but for now I wouldnt hold my breath on those for the N55. The BMWs dme are much more locked down than JDM cars. There are no workaround for editing certains areas on them without physical access (hello 2hours teardown to access the n55 dme) also we are still only able to write them, not read them via OBD.

        For the groups BMW enthusiasts we are, I think the more open our ecu tuning gear is, the better it is for us.
      1. F87Source's Avatar
        F87Source -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by julienjj Click here to enlarge
        This is a silly debate because we are mixing the tuning interface with the actual tune.

        To reflash a car you need 3 things :

        -Flashing & checksum correction tool
        -ECU definitions
        -Data interpretation software.

        Following the garbage in -> garbage out process; what matters are the skills of the tuner and what tables are available to him.

        This is where cobb failed. They had the proper hardware but they failed to offer the ECU tables quickly enought. Their tuning software was also designed to block the sharing of tune and information by locking them to each cobb serial number, obviously in favor of their existing pro-tuner network and making it harder to go to your favorite tuner for a custom tune (their free software is even harder to get now, since you have to pass a online training class for each cobb serial number (LOOOL) to get the tuning software)

        Bm3 is not unlike that too, since whatever tune you upload in their system is pretty much captive in a custom format forever. You are also dependant on them to add extra tables to the ECU definitions. They are the most "vapor/cloud" based and if they go down, you've just lost everything. I have not dealt with the custom tuning side of BM3 yet, but I suppose their tuner license give you a portal license to use their software ecosystem as well, with the tune still captive within the ecosystem.

        MHD is more focused on selling you the flashing "hardware" since they provide a way to flash maps made by any standard tuning tool. It reflect in the price as well, since like 80% of the cost is the flashing license. They also cooperate with the design of the XDF, so you get a good set of ECU definitions for tunerpro that you can use by yourself or supply your tuner with, but nothing prevent you from using WinOLS (the industry golden standard) and paid definitions files to tune your car or have any tuner do so. The app will correct the checksums and flash anything valid.

        EcuTek has a good flashing platform (albeit very intense on DRM, need a dongle to work) it will flash any standard bin made by WinOLS but the software they offer is locked to you and you cannot add your own tables, you are locked there as well. I expect their OTS tune to be locked as well. The good thing is that the hardware flasher is never lost, you can buy extra license to add other cars (even other brands) to your tool. Where they shine are the raceroms with customs feature, but for now I wouldnt hold my breath on those for the N55. The BMWs dme are much more locked down than JDM cars. There are no workaround for editing certains areas on them without physical access (hello 2hours teardown to access the n55 dme) also we are still only able to write them, not read them via OBD.

        For the groups BMW enthusiasts we are, I think the more open our ecu tuning gear is, the better it is for us.
        Yup, I agree. But as of most flash tubing platforms likely will have the same access to tables because there are companies out there developing flashing methods, and allowing obd2 flashing (like magic motorsports), which is why everyone can flash without an ECU unlock now. But the thing that separates ecutek from the rest is the ability to have great tuners local to you, that are actually certified in tuning, instead of picking me random tuner over the internet. Sure there are some great tuners out there online, but I personally prefer meeting then in person, and even taking them to the track with me to dial the tune in there.

        I think Cobb failed because it hopped on board when flashing was at it's extreme infancy, and table definitions were super limited, and they couldn't even flash most ecus because no one really knew how to bypass locks. Then bm3 came in and figure how to bench unlock the ECU, and now obd2 unlock flashing which I heard came from magic motorsports first.