Remapping Stages Explained

Posted by Nick Cook on

technician remapping bmw ecu

Remapping stages were introduced by the big software developers in recent years to help denote the hardware that is required to reach a level of tuning and ultimately a certain power figure.

In the tuning scene these days there are commonly 3 levels or remapping known as stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3 and whilst some (mainly us oldies) didn’t want to embrace it, it's something that tuning companies like ourselves have needed for a very long time.

Helping customers understand what they need to achieve a certain power level has now never been easier!

Here’s a simplified explanation of each stage of a remap/tune below.

Stage 1 Remap:

VW Polo on the dyno

Stage 1 remapping couldn’t be more simply put than a remap designed to work with fully stock components to take the ecu parameters to a safe and comfortable level whilst retaining the vehicles stock exhaust system, intake, airbox, intercooler and catalytic converter. Stage 1 is a true optimisation of the stock vehicles parameters within the ECU to unlock the potential power that the manufacture has left on the table.

Stage 1 remaps come with a variety of fuel specifications which will result in a greater power result. For example, the Stage 1 remap with Ron fuel sees 300bhp whilst Stage 1 using Ron Shell, V Power or Tesco Momentum 99 will see 330bhp.

If you are interested in a Stage 1 Remap for your VW, AUDI Group, BMW or Ford application, please see our remapping collection HERE.

Stage 2 Remap:

intercooler being fitted by technician

A stage 2 remap requires a certain level of hardware depending on the vehicle, however there are some basic requirements that we will touch on that could be required as an extra for stage 2 on certain car models.

performance intercooler is something that would be required at this level of tuning due to the increased boost pressure caused by the ECU tune. This, in turn, will create more heat, meaning you will need to upgrade the intercooler to provide your vehicle with a far greater core construction, a larger surface area and potentially a bigger inlet and outlet from the intercooler.

An aftermarket exhaust system is another key component of a stage 2 remap and in most cases a full turbo back exhaust system is required. This will comprise of a decat or sports cat downpipe, depending on your intended use, coupled with an oversized cat back exhaust.

Technician fitting exhaust system

The pipe diameter of your exhaust system for stage 2 remapping can also be very important and depends on several things such as power expectation, engine displacement turbocharger, size and so on. The turbo will also require some back pressure to operate optimally, however too much can cause issues with excessive exhaust gas temperatures and could result in damage to the engine so be sure to take the advice of your chosen tuning company.

It's imperative to feed your turbocharger with well filtered cold air so the intercooler doesn’t have to work as hard to cool the heated air passing through to the throttle body.

Another important component for a stage 2 remap is an aftermarket induction kit, which are now commonly referred to as stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3 denoting what level is required to match the remap you are aiming for. It's imperative to feed your turbocharger with well filtered cold air which in turn will mean the intercooler won't have to work quite as hard to cool the heated air passing through to the throttle body. Induction kits are often mass produced these days, making them relatively cost effective, which is good considering they are essential as part of a cooling upgrade ready for a stage 2 remap.

vudu induction kit

Other addons that may be required (vehicle specific).

An upgraded high-pressure fuel pump offers some of the modern-day direct injection to engine required for a stage 2 remap. This means you will either need an Auxiliary fuel setup or an upgraded high-pressure fuel pump which will keep up with fuel demand and allow for a more aggressive boost strategy.

Some applications mainly from VW / AUDI group can benefit massively from an upgraded turbo elbow, turbo muffler delete and upgraded intake pipe.


Stage 3 Remap:

Stage 3 remaps follow on from the above Stage 2 tuning hardware coupled with a stage 3 upgraded hybrid turbocharger.

In short, a hybrid turbo is an OEM part that is re-manufactured with bigger internals to produce greater flow and air capacity. This means that the car will move a greater volume of air and exhaust gas at the same given point of boost pressure as the OEM unit.

This allows the addition of fuel and timing adjustments to push the engine to its safe limits.

Stage 3 can often be used on a stock engine without the requirement of a forged engine; however, it is sometimes limited based on what the engine can handle in its stock form. It is often advised that a forged engine should be used in conjunction with a stage 3 kit to push for the ultimate power result whilst maintaining reliability and longevity.

vudu fiesta in car park

Need help with a remap?

Our expert technicians are on hand to help, simply get in touch on 01924 228042 or email us at

Remaps collection



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