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ABT AEC - can you switch between vehicles?

Discussion in 'Leon Mk3 (2012-2020)' started by BarryBlack, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    Hi all, this is my first post here. Be gentle!

    Two weeks ago I bought a 2017 Leon Cupra ST 300 4Drive DSG (that's a mouthful!), and I'm generally very happy with the car. Though, for something with 300 odd Hp I did imagine it would have a little more punch than it does.

    I've managed to acquire an ABT AEC which was fitted to an older Cupra 280 with DSG, and the chap claims the box gives an extra 58hp / 80nm over stock. His car had the CJXA revision of the EA888 Gen 3. Mine is CJXC, albeit the car has 4Drive. As far as I can tell, the ECUs are the same across these two engines, only the tune is different; indeed, if my research is correct, the engines are physically identical.

    Does anybody have any experience with switching these piggy back ECUs across vehicles? I've contacted ABT, both in German and English (I'm located in Germany), but I'm being completely ignored (par for the course with ABT it seems).

    Appreciate any and all assistance, thanks in advance!
     
  2. BigJase88

    BigJase88 Jase

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    Plug it in and see if it works

    it just works by messing with signals from different sensors so i would imagine it will work no problem
     
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  3. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    I've heard conflicting reports; ABT say that the device somehow connects to the CAN bus of the car, but a guy who teared one down in Australia a while back claims that they're more basic in their operation than a JB4. Yet somebody else has mentioned that they're somehow tied to the car in which they're originally installed - guess we'll see
     
  4. BigJase88

    BigJase88 Jase

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    Where does it plug into if its just an engine harness with plugs it will just be like any tuning box, if its obd port may be tied to a cars ecu
     
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  5. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    Thanks for your responses mate... Not OBD, just harness as far as I can see. You're saying it's not tied to the cars ECU if the OBD port isn't involved? I'm a relative newbie with piggy-back tuning, have only done remaps until now
     
  6. Slickric21

    Slickric21 Active Member

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    Apparently they are tied to the cars VIN they were initially installed on but you could try it and see ?!?!?

    re contacting ABT they generally ignore any contact with anything that may be ‘awkward’ for them.

    Your best bet would be to contact a local reseller who may be able to help you or give you more info on it and if it’s possible.
    Richter are the main reseller in the UK I think, don’t know about Germany however.
     
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  7. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply

    I've heard the 'tied to VIN' rumour myself, not sure if it's true though. I've not received the unit yet, will give it a try once it arrives.

    The reseller route is a good idea, I know there are some ABT resellers in my area. Will see what I can find out.
     
  8. BigJase88

    BigJase88 Jase

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    Yeah it will work will just mess with the signals, sounds like a pretty straightforward tuning box, i would have no reservations about fitting it.

    more importantly why the hell have you not got it on already :eek:
     
  9. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    It's in the post on its way to me still! I'll report back once it arrives and I've had a chance to plug it in and see if it works
     
  10. Slickric21

    Slickric21 Active Member

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    I know when I ordered my R ST and it arrived in the UK the dealer claimed they had to send some logs to Richter who then programmed the module for the car, sent it to Seat, who then install it.
    Of course who knows how much of that is actually BS and Richter just send a generic unit , but it sounds good to the customer buying it.

    After researching the ABT box on the net for quite a while, read all the years old stuff like the Aussie bloke who did a tear down, George from BMS saying it wasn’t CAN-bus otherwise it wouldn’t need certain sensors. I have definitely concluded it must have a CAN-bus connection. It wouldn’t be able to do what it does protection/performance wise based on charge air temps, oil temps, altitude, coolant, intake temps etc etc of couldn’t get all this info if it was just intercepting a few sensors. And if it wasn’t why would it need the very expensive Bosch CAN-bus wiring harness ?

    Found this link very useful in what it does
    https://autofidelity.com.au/performance-tuning-abt/
     
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  11. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    Thanks for the link @Slickric21, very informative. Some of the best info I've read yet.

    I'm also inclined to think it's more than just an interceptor device. Luckily I didn't pay much for it, and the guy I got it from lives in the same state as I do, and will have had access to exactly the same fuel as I do, will have had very similar weather to me, similar altitude etc etc. So I'm hoping that since the engine the unit was installed on is effectively the same, it should work; so long as its not somehow locked to the original car. Time will tell!

    I should receive the unit next week.
     
  12. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    An update for those interested: I've since found some content which suggests very strongly that the ABT AECs are NOT locked to the ECU of the first install, at least not those from around 2015-2016. I'm getting more sure that this is going to work. Hurry up DHL!
     
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  13. Marko70

    Marko70 Active Member

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    when I was buying mine in the dealership there literally a guy there with a laptop plugged into OBD port, he was getting the relative info for the ABT upgrade, not sure why any module can't work with any ECU but there's obviously something in it...
     
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  14. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    Could potentially have been something as simple as the ECU ID or revision. I'm sure they record all such IDs for warranty and logging purposes. We'll have an answer once the often terrible German post delivers the goods!
     
  15. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    Well, I wrote Richter, and this is the response I got:

    Womp Womp, back to the drawing board :censored:
     
  16. Slickric21

    Slickric21 Active Member

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    They may just be providing the ‘company response’.
    You should still try it when it arrives.

    Plus the fact that you are in Germany there has to be more resellers than in the UK and they won’t be tied into a contract with Seat. If it is locked, you now know it can be reprogrammed anyway.
     
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  17. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    That is technically still possible, but highly unlikely; I finally got in touch with ABT themselves and spoke to one of their reps in Kempton at their HQ earlier today. A summary of what I learned:
    • Each ABT AEC device is indeed locked to some sort of unique identifier from the car on which it is originally installed
    • They will reprogram the devices for other cars / engines, but it depends on the compatibility of the revision of the board in the device with whichever engine the requested car has. In my case, same engine, different variant, so the device and the loom would indeed be compatible.
    • The cost of reprogramming the devices is prohibitively expensive, almost akin to purchasing new - The guy I spoke to said they'd take 400€ off the price normally charged, which makes it not worth it in my view.
    • Here in Germany they are running a promotion at the moment which brings the cost of a new install (with a new device with guarantee) to a grand total of 20€ more than having the old device reprogrammed.
    • If I had have tried to use the unit, it simply wouldn't have done anything - The device checks the unique identifier saved within the unit and compares it to that which the ECU returns when queried. If they don't match, the device simply fails to power up and passes through all signals from sensors unmodified. Of course, this could be BS, but as you previously mentioned, I doubt the expensive harness the devices use and all the access to the ECU that enables is just for show.

    So, I got some thinking to do. The price quoted is still significantly more than an equivalent APR tune, but I do very much like the idea of the advanced engine protection which the ABT AECs claim to provide.
     
  18. Slickric21

    Slickric21 Active Member

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    I’d abandon this idea mate.
    It’s too much money.

    Go for a proper Revo or APR remap, they have lots of protection built in also.

    The only reason I got my ABT was it’s a option from Seat from factory on the R ST so is warrentied and only cost £500.
    In 2.5 years time when warranty is up it’s coming off and I will get the Revo stage 1.

    Don’t get me wrong the ABT does what it’s says on the tin, as my Dragy results have testified, but it still is only 345bhp when 375bhp is easily attainable no sweat on this car.
     
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  19. BarryBlack

    BarryBlack Active Member

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    I see your point, however ABT comes out to around 'only' 300€ more than the equivalent APR Stage 1 tune, and the warranty / removable nature of it is what appeals here. My car still has 18 months left!

    Also worth noting that if I went with ABT, their 'old' 370ps / 460nm tune would apply because my car is pre-DPF... INB4 somebody saying that APR / Revo / 'real' remaps perform more consistently, I actually don't care much about that. I'm okay with ABTs assertion that their devices only work when all safety conditions are met, and if that means inconsistency, so be it.

    Sounds like you're somewhat disappointed with your ABT device? Have you driven a car equivalent to yours with a different tune? I'm very interested to hear your thoughts / experiences.
     
  20. Slickric21

    Slickric21 Active Member

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    I think the warranty is with ABT and not Seat for cases like yours and tbh don’t know if it’s any good or not.

    re it being 370hp I’d be sceptical of it achieving that because one of the unfortunate side effects of the ABT’s safety features is that on a dyno without proper airflow (eg the same you’d get on a road actually moving) the intake temps will rise very quickly and it will ramp power down.
    I don’t know anybody who has dyno’d an ABT box and gotten the power claimed.
    I’m not saying it’s not there, quite the contrary (See below), but you’ll never be able to verify it in a dyno.

    I’m over the moon with mine in fact. And I’m convinced I’m getting in the region of the claimed 345hp
    I opted not to dyno my car and instead bought a dragy so I could gauge real world performance out on the road.
    I don’t know if you saw the discussion/results in the thread by another user re the “Cupra R ST ABT issues” but my 0-60 time is 4.09secs and standing 1/4 mile 12.38secs.
    This is far superior than a stock 300ps would do.
    I’m well happy.

    The point I was getting at when I said I’ll have it removed after 3 yrs is that there is more performance to be had easily on this engine and my car (R ST).
    Another guy with my car has an APR stage 1 map and he has 375hp now. (He had the ABT box removed)
    He can now do 0-60 3.69sec and 1/4mile 12.04 !!!
     
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