Mihnea 3b chip impressions - slightly long

Craig Gary cgary at psu.edu
Thu Jul 24 17:52:35 EDT 2003

Greetings all,

I know the there are still quite a few listers out there who are
considering an ECU chip upgrade, so I thought I'd provide my
impressions of Mihnea Cotet's chip / transducer set.  My impressions
are solely seat-of-the-pants, as I have no way of generating
performance figures (ie, 4-wheel dyno, G-tech, G-timer).

My engine is completely stock, with a k24 turbo and the stock exhaust
manifold, so I went for Mihnea's basic chip configuration (though I did
opt for a 3-bar pressure transducer instead of 2.5 - anticipating
potential future modifications)

I've been running the MRC chip set in my 200q20v for two months now and
have been extremely pleased with the performance increase.  It quite
honestly drives like a different car - not that I was at all
disappointed with it's performance before - but, now I really look
forward to driving the car (especially since I ride my bike to work
every day, and only get to drive on evenings and weekends).

I've had the opportunity to drive the car a variety of conditions, and
have been impressed not only by the noticeable increase in power, but
in the increased fuel economy.  Over Memorial day weekend, I made a 400
mile round-trip to Ithaca, NY and averaged 28 mpg, which wouldn't be
incredibly significant if it weren't for my stuck-open thermostat,
which had previously been limiting my economy to 23 mpg or so.  Pretty
impressive.  I can't wait to test it after the thermostat is
replaced... and the huge pile of other parts that I have waiting to
install.  While I was in the area, I also had a chance to run Watkins
Glen.  It was only three paced laps in the rain, but we were moving
faster than I expected - 85 mph on the straights, and pretty fast
through the turns.  It's a fun track, I can't wait to attend a weekend
event there.

The power delivery is very smooth under boost, and the car pulls
quickly and strongly into the red.  I really haven't been pushing the
car very hard overall, because the timing belt is due to be replaced,
and my aging (stock) TBV just died.  I picked up a new (cheap)
Stratmosphere at WaterFest 2003 over the weekend, and threw it into my
pile of to-be-installed parts.

I should point out that while I've had my Avant for almost 4 years now,
I've never driven another 200q20v, much less a chipped one, so I can't
give any relative impressions vs. IA or Lehman.

Mihnea has been very easy to work with, and seems to be a good, honest,
and knowledgeable guy.  Even if his chip set wasn't less than half the
price of the competition, I can't believe that the other tuners have
anything more to offer.

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