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There was an MMM Magazine article (“Rechipping a motorhome”) on Pages 182-186 of the February 2017 issue, but I think Peter Rosenthal wrote a shortish piece later about having his own (Renault?) van tuned.


I note that you bought a new Swift Escape 674 in November 2017 and I assume it has a Euro 6 2.3litre 130bhp motor. It needs saying that the 674 model is not a small motorhome (7.41m in length and 2.88m high) and although the 130bhp motor should be ‘adequate’ torque-wise, you shouldn’t expect startling performance, particularly if you are loading the vehicle close to its 3500kg maximum authorised weight.


Two things to consider before going down the tuning road


1: Discuss this with your insurance provider just to see if they are happy with your plan and what impact (if any) it might have on your insurance premium.


2. Your Swift Escape’s Fiat Ducato warranty will last until November 2019 and any tuning by a 3rd party will potentially invalidate the warranty. The February 2017 MMM article suggests checking with the base-vehicle manufacturer (in your case Fiat) what their attitude to tuning within the warranty period would be. However, the simple answer is that Fiat would undoubtedly consider such work an unauthorised modification and, in the unlikely event that a significant engine problem occurred before the warranty expired and the fact that the vehicle had been tuned was noticed, Fiat could feel justified in rejecting any claim for refunding the cost of an under-warranty repair.


How many miles has your Swift covered - as its motor’s performance will need, say, 10K miles before reaching its full potential? How do you drive it, as the smallish-capacity turbo-diesels fitted to modern motorhomes will benefit from being revved if you want to make the most of their power? If you are trying to stagger the motorhome along at minimum revs and changing up early (like my wife drives our Skoda petrol-engined car after owning a diesel-engined VW for 14 years) acceleration will seem lacklustre.

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I have owned my 2006 Fiat-based Hymer from new and had it "chipped" (or rather re-mapped) after a year or so, with the aim of improving towing performance, because I towed a car on a trailer. The work was done by a garage (no longer in business) which at the time had become a Fiat commercial dealer, having been active in fitting intercoolers and other performance enhancing stuff for many years. I asked whether having the engine mapped would compromise the Fiat Warranty and they said that as a Fiat dealer they would simply turn a blind eye. It was some years later before I got around to telling my insurer but they were quite relaxed about it and did not apply any cover restriction or premium increase. As I understand it there is no visual evidence of remapping having been done and in order to detect remapping an expert would need to connect the right sort of software to the ECU, which was never likely to happen. In the event I never had to make a Fiat warranty claim and the engine never missed a beat in 12 years so the remapping never actually became an issue.


My understanding is that although Fiat offer different engine power outputs (eg for different markets) mechanically the engines are all the same and the difference is in the mapping and different engine accessories like the type of turbo fitted. Mine is a LHD Hymer imported from Germany and apparently it had a more powerful configuration that the RHD equivalent from the outset, which allowed the garage which did the remapping more scope to improve performance. They put the vehicle on their dynamometer and printed a graph for me showing the before and after.


I was well pleased with the performance improvement. Better acceleration, less need to change gear on hills - just what I hoped for, so no regrets at all. My engine is a 2.8 JTD and of course designs have move on since then but hopefully the same options for remapping apply.

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StuartO - 2018-12-14 8:13 AM


...My understanding is that although Fiat offer different engine power outputs (eg for different markets) mechanically the engines are all the same and the difference is in the mapping and different engine accessories like the type of turbo fitted...


There are significant technical differences between the Euro 6-compliant 2.3litre motors now fitted to Ducato. The 150bhp version has a variable-geometry turbocharger, whereas the 130bhp version does not. The 180bhp version also has a variable-geometry turbocharger, but also has internal modifications not present in the 150bhp powerplant.


As far as I’m aware there are no ‘market-dependent’ differences between Ducato motors (or at least not within Europe). I suspect that your Hymer’s 2.8litre motor is the “Power” version with a variable-geometry turbocharger and, although this was a common engine specification outside the UK, it was also available here for RHD Ducatos. There have occasionally been differences between LHD and RHD Ducatos, with a torque-converter automatic transmission being offered for the 2.8litre motor for LHD-only Ducatos for a short while before the X250 range was introduced in 2006. Also the Fiat 2.0litre motor was initially only available for LHD Ducatos, with a ‘downrated’ 2.3litre powerplant being offered for RHD Ducatos instead.


What you’ve said about the warranty-risk factor is true - it should be possible for David’s Swift’s motor to be remapped to provide equivalent (or superior) torque/power output to the 150bhp motor despite David’s motor having a simpler turbocharger. And the remapping won’t be detectable unless suitable equipment is used. But a Fiat Professional agent will have that equipment and, if an ‘official’ Fiat software update needs to be applied to David’s Ducato (a fairly common occurrence) it’s anybody’s guess whether the Fiat update would marry happily with the remapped software, or would wipe it or corrupt it.


As Tony has said above, there have been earlier forum discussions about this (2016 example here)



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From memory Derek the 2.8 of that era had a smaller Turbo fitted to the RHD purely because there was less space available under the bonnet. The RHD was 137 BHP and the LHD 142(?).


I had a Tunit box fitted to my 5 Ton Tag Axle van and it made enough difference to improve the driving experience when the jumper was set halfway between Min and Max setting.

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The Ducato Wikipedia entry




lists two versions of the 2.8litre JTD powerplant - a 128PS version available from 2002-2006 and a 146PS “Power” version availble from 2004-2006.


The “Power” version was described in this 2004 Fiat Professional press release




The press release stated that the lower-output non-“Power” version produced 127bhp (the figure usually quoted in UK motorhome magazines) and the “Power” version 146bhp - though bhp and PS are not in fact the same.


Brian Kirby owned a LHD Burstner motorhome with the 2.8 JTD “Power” motor (referred to in this 2015 thread)




Brian’s and Nick Fisher's comments in that thread suggest that the “Power” version was not fitted to RHD Ducatos, but was fitted to RHD Iveco Dailys. And when the output from the Daily motor is quoted, 146 horsepower is the figure normally given.


It’s possible that the “Power” version could not be fitted to RHD Ducatos because its different turbo and manifold/cooling modifications prevented this, but could be fitted to RHD Dailys as the motor was mounted lengthways not crossways as on the Ducato.


I’m pretty sure that no UK motorhome converter fitted the “Power” motor, or offered it as an option, so I do wonder where the idea comes from that there was a variant for RHD vehicles that had a 5bhp lower output.

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