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Is Unitronic Stage 1 / 1+ right for me?

tigeo

Autocross Champion
I would guess that 90% or more tuned folks get a tune from one company and that’s the one they stick with. It’s expensive to switch. Then they have to suffer through everyone saying “noooo MY tune is so much better” from other people who have only ever used one tune too.

What I often say is: Everyone says their tune is the best. And they’re right. Pretty much all the well known OTS tunes are excellent and safe, from what I can tell.
Bingo. Then the second-guessing that comes with it and of course the placebo of the expectation either good or bad after reading that or jumping to a new tune. Back to back all the same car etc. blind test would be one of the most amazing pieces of testing/data in the history of history. "Bro, I know this one is running XYZ tuner's tune...." followed by "It's litterally the one you hate on online" AHAHAHAHAHA ir e en funnier tell people the tune is X when it's Y and see the reviews after driving. Would be intersting none the less. As I said above, the variation in the stage 1 tunes isn't going to be as much as it's made out to be between the major tuners on the platform.
 
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tigeo

Autocross Champion
I did, Stage 1, stage 2, and stage 2+ IS38. The IS38 file for my car was ass, but Uni customer support told me a surprising truth, that with all my other mods increasing air flow and efficiency, that the tune just couldnt keep up. Stage 2 with DP and exhaust seems to be the sauce for them, and that is a very fun 300hp GTI, with torque near 400. I would drive that any day of the week, its a very fun level for the platform. I just got bored with it after 100k miles lol.
Not sure what you mean by "all my other mods increasing air flow and efficiency"? I mean, "FBO" is what they call for right...DP, exaust, IC, charge pipes, intake, TIP, etc. No idea on their IS38 stuff for the fwd GTI. It does seem that Uni puts most of their effort into the awd platforms and maybe that's part of it...controlling the wheel spin/bottom end torque? Just spit-balling.
 

Triple B

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
California
Car(s)
Golf 7 R
I picked the Uni tune for my R back in 2017 and have been super happy with it. It was a nice performance bump. We only get 91 octane here but I flashed to the 93 tune and put in a gallon of E85 and its a nice little bump again. I've no doubt the EQT tune delivers another 15 horses and an E85 tune would be nice too but I've heard probably one too many stories of things going wrong so I've stayed with Uni.
It's really disappointing that Uni never released their PowerMax tunes for the Garrett on the Mk7 nor the Flexfuel. They just seemed to jump straight on the Mk8 and from what I hear have developed Flexfuel for that and it'll be across the whole Mk8 range. That's left a bit of a bitter taste for sure. To that end they recently released a port injection kit for the Mk7 and it confused the hell out of me - its like they were asking their customers to go to another tuner because they don't support it.
 

GreatFallsofGreen

Ready to race!
Location
SoCal
Car(s)
GFG 7.5, 6MT
Another vote here for APR low torque. Despite all the concerns about timing and boost, plenty of people have been running their tunes up to 200k with out any systemic issues.

They revised their tune in 2020 with a whole host of tech that they document on their Stage 1 V2x post if you search for it. The same level of reengineering is the same work they do on Porsches and other higher end cars. The fact that they’ve been working towards CARB legal options is another suggestion of their overall quality of work and attention to detail.

All of those factors pushed me towards APR and I’ve really enjoyed how responsive and faster the car is. Having a tune that pulls with a punch down low and pulls linearly up to 6500 really works with the FWD dynamic of these cars as you don’t get the traditional wallop of torque that leads to wheel hop, torque steer, and inconsistent performance in hot and high altitude conditions.

Just my experience almost 2 years tuned with them. No regratz!
 

Chogokin

Autocross Champion
Location
So Cal
Car(s)
GTI Sport | Audi A3
Hey all, been away from the forums for a bit but finally looking at getting an ECU tune. I had a Dinan piggyback for a bit but it didn't add much power and put the car in limp home mode a few times, and I want to do it right this time. I've never tuned a car before and am a bit overwhelmed by all the options for the Mk7 platform.

I've also never ridden in or driven a Stage 1 GTI, so it's hard to know what it will feel like.

I'm leaning towards a Unitronic Stage 1 or 1+ (I have access to 93 octane fuel), because I read it relies more on timing advance than boost compared to some of the big guns like APR and EQT. And possibly more on the conservative side?

Anyone know how much it advances timing and is that potentially bad for the engine over time? How does that compare with running increased boost pressure?

My car is low miles (40k, 2016 model year) and I don't drive that much. Most of my trips are taking my young kids to and from daycare, as well as errands around town. I don't do track days, drag strip, or abuse my car in any way. It's my daily driver and only vehicle that I rely on. That being said I'd like a little more oomph and excitement to it.

My main goals are:
  • longevity of the engine and turbo while tuned (I plan on keeping the car long term)
  • reliability (I don't want to be dealing with constant issues like misfires and knock)
  • noticeable power increase to justify the cost, but doesn't need to be crazy
  • ability to flash at home and flash back to stock
  • I live in Minnesota and it will be freezing winter for half the year
  • I have the manual transmission and I'll upgrade the clutch when it goes, but it would be a nice bonus if I got some more miles out of it (more conservative torque down low)

If anyone with Unitronic could let me know if it sounds like a good fit and the overall reliability long term that would be helpful. Or if there is a different tuner I should be looking at instead. Thanks!

I drive my car in a similar fashion as you. I have a 2017 and only have about 26k miles. Most of my miles are from driving to and from my parents house once a week...which is about 50 miles round trip. At the time I had a JB4 and wanted to move to a flash tune. Initially I was going to just get an APR low torque tune. Being in CA...the APR tune is also CARB certified...but a friend of mine sold his GTI and he sold me his Cobb AP for a super bro deal price. I then bought a Stage 2 91 oct tune from EQT. Coming from a JB4...the EQT is a huge difference. The acceleration feels strong and smooth. The car feels noticeably faster...it pulls so much harder.

Same friend also had a Unitronic tune in his first GTI (2016 manual) before he got the EQT (2019 DSG). I got a chance to drive his 2016 right after he got his Uni tune...and honestly...it felt really good.

As some of the guys have already said...most of the OTS tunes are pretty good. They all provide enough of a kick to make a daily driver just a bit more capable.

Oh...I wanted to add that I also had a Dinan Sport Tuner. I used the Dinan for a few months and it never gave me any issues. Lol...I tried all the piggybacks at some point...Dinan, Neuspeed Power Module, JB1, JB4.
 
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tigeo

Autocross Champion
It's really disappointing that Uni never released their PowerMax tunes for the Garrett on the Mk7 nor the Flexfuel. They just seemed to jump straight on the Mk8 and from what I hear have developed Flexfuel for that and it'll be across the whole Mk8 range. That's left a bit of a bitter taste for sure. To that end they recently released a port injection kit for the Mk7 and it confused the hell out of me - its like they were asking their customers to go to another tuner because they don't support it.
Agreed. Would love to see MPI/flex on MK7...maybe it will happen but I'm on a 1.8 so the likelihood is even slimmer.
 

nicholam77

Go Kart Champion
Location
Minneapolis
In case anyone wants to know where this ended up... I ordered Stage 1 from Integrated Engineering last night.

It wasn't one of my original contenders, but with a 15% off sale it was hard to pass up and checks all of my boxes.

— flash at home capability
— they give you a high and low torque file, and all octanes and you can switch as much as you want, at home, for free, unlike Unitronic or APR
— low torque option is similar to APR, I'm going to start there and see how it goes with the clutch
— if my clutch does slip or I decide it's not enough power, after upgrading the clutch I already have the full Stage 1 high torque file, or a route to Stage 2 if desired
— I emailed them some questions and they responded within a few hours in detail, and the cable shipped out the next morning... so far responsive and good customer service

I totally get the love for EQT and the Accessport, and I appreciate everyone weighing in, I just wanted a less expensive, more conservative option to dip my toes in.
 

El_bigote_AJ

Autocross Champion
Location
Las Vegas
Car(s)
2019 GTI bunny
I have APR on my GLI, unitronic on my Tiguan, Sneeky on my GTI… and with that reference my stance is - diggstuned (via RadioShack) or hoontuned (now via eqt) **in that order 😅

iE looks cool on paper but based on their history over the years of “oops cases” and Lack of effort to polish the edges of those corners they cut on various hardware they offer turn me personally off when it comes to their tunes.
 

EpicTech

Autocross Champion
Location
Houston
Car(s)
MK7 GTI 6sp w/PP
Diggs tune be spicey yo !!
 
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