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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Car used - 57 Plate (late 2007 registration) 123D M Sport with 1000 miles on the clock (approximately). No other modifications other than lots of toys fitted as standard.

TUNING BOXES:

Spider:

1) Packaging is pretty basic.
2) Instructions are even more basic. Picture on the one side of A4 instructions provided was of a 2.0D engine, not the 123D as ordered - although the unit was correct.
3) The unit itself - looks very well made. It is very solid, perhaps aluminium and all the connectors are OEM units... (although I note a three spoked star on some of the plugs... ;) ) The item is almost the same weight as a small house brick - approximately 50% the size as well.
4) Fitting the unit gives a good basic slug of power - it is noticeable. The unit seems to take some 100 miles or so to get itself bedded in - although this was not a scientific check, as I cannot establish the output. The increase in power though, is undeniable.
5) MPG appears to suffer on full load slightly - although overall, I noticed a bit of an improvement when I was not "TESTING" the unit.. if you get me ;)
6) Item is sold with a warranty for the engine, but no mention of after sales support or user help.

P-Tronic:
1) Packaging - much higher quality than the Spider
2) Instructions - much more comprehensive, and clearer. Reference made to the help desk support in their company and warranty as well.
3) The unit itself is like a squashed version of the Spider unit - but in hard ABS plastic. The connectors themselves are OEM units again (one or two with the three pointed star.. ;) ) The item weighs less than a quarter of the Spider unit...! It feels like it is mostly fresh air... The item has a screw end box cover - unscrewing this reveals some terminals with adjustable resistors - setting this increases or decreases sensitivity - unlike the Spider unit which has no adjustability.
4) Fitting the unit is, as the spider, a matter of minutes - however, take your time - literally wait till the high pitched whine from the pump has cut out. You will be able to tell when this is by the blood stopping flowing from your ears, and dogs stop howling. Plumb the unit in- line into the common rail.
5) Like the Spider, it seems to take a couple of trips to really bed in. To begin with, I had the engine warning light come in straight away, before even driving it. Getting in touch with the help desk guys proved that shutting the car down totally, and restarting - over a few times - (in practice I also removed and refitted the item) seems to cure this.
6) Power does not seem as smooth or urgent as the Spider unit - and this appears to be different in different gears.
7) Power output is rated higher in the P-Tronic. I am going to get this rolling roaded to check out exactly what the claims translate to.

All in all - the Spider appears to be a simple fit and forget unit. The P-Tronic appears better for rapid service, support and adjustability - and allegedly another 20 bhp and 30NM of torque (or thereabouts) or so.

Hope this helps with anyone evaluating these. I have bought and fitted, and used both now.

P-tronic is interim stage before I go for a stage II full remap with some other gubbins to take me up to the 300bhp mark.

I am already breaking traction regularly on stock M Sport 205/225 tyres - although this is unsurprising, seeing as I now have more torque than a 2007 Porsche Carrerra 4S... :( but dont have the four wheel drive or decent width tyres to get the power down...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ah, depends on whether you want adjustability and the better after sales support.

Bear in mind there is a price differential - the Spider unit is £300 - and the PTronic is about £100 or so more. Small change really to some people. But what I found is that the P-Tronic team were a highly professional bunch who were very keen to resolve the issue with the yellow light of doom on the dashboard.

I think the Spider team are not so caring and rapid to turn around solutions by comparison. Thats my tuppence worth.

But then in terms of £/value the Spider appears to be better fit. But minor edge on £/value terms.

Overall, I prefer the P-Tronic - but this is purely subjective. I dont mind paying slightly more, for slightly more performance and better service, packaging etc. etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Darryl. Will do write up of full remap in late summer.. :) Stay "tuned"...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not yet... will do - as per first post, I am looking to get it rolling roaded with the P-Tronic kit fitted. Proof of the pudding of course... always in the eating! I will be happy to get to close to 300bhp to be honest - the real problem of course is the industrial amounts of torque that diesel engines get, it will be trying to pull my face off if I nail it when its in gear and moving... biggest problem is getting huge rear tyres to channel all the grunt into traction, as at present it spins up (even with ATC ON!) even in third...

My poor rear tyres (literally) wont last long (bring on the Goodyear F1's...)

Cheers
 

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'grin, I would be interested to see dyno charts of just the ptronic box fitted, to see what the increase is. Probably an idea to do a run with no mods fitted first of all, in order to see the true increase. Sorry if you already know this (suspect you do!)

On this basis I might buy one myself...In my experience the Promotech box does not feel quite as much as the 37hp extra claimed by the manufacturer (143 to 180). It does make an acceptable amount of an increase for the price, £450, but it isnt 25% more power, more like 10-15%. £450 is a lot, but remap is not an option for me.

The turbo boost is turned up by a small amount (0.1bar?) by the Promotech box I have; there is a cheaper version (about £375 IIRC).

Car feels a lot more peppy from idle and once the turbo wakes up you are on your way, previously the power delivery was very linear as stock, and felt a bit less powerful at low revs and low boost. At 3500-4500 it now has a powerband and I would say it feels about the same as a pre facelift 120d.

Perhaps when I get to 5000-10000 miles it will loosen up a bit more releasing another 5-10hp.
 

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texasjohn said:
the Promotech box does not feel quite as much as the 37hp extra claimed by the manufacturer (143 to 180)
In the first mine didn't ether, but now after some time, and a long trip last week, it really feels quicker than in the beginning. Strange?!
I read that it wil take some time for the digital unit to configure.
 

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any 1 else with 118d's have any more experiances with any tuning box? im reluctant about the dash light issues? any experiances with Dragon tuning? or any other recommended?
 

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An interesting read, I have a few questions:-

- Does the p-tronic feel more responsive and faster or the spider??
- Any ideas on a typical 0 - 60 time with either box??
- When you say about shutting the car down totally do you mean turning the ignition off then back on again a few times??
- Have you noticed any difference in mpg with either box??

Just about to bite the bullet and get mine....definately thinking p-tronic as like you said for about £150 more there seems to be a significant increase in performance over the spider.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
simon737 said:
An interesting read, I have a few questions:-

- Does the p-tronic feel more responsive and faster or the spider??
- Any ideas on a typical 0 - 60 time with either box??
- When you say about shutting the car down totally do you mean turning the ignition off then back on again a few times??
- Have you noticed any difference in mpg with either box??

Just about to bite the bullet and get mine....definately thinking p-tronic as like you said for about £150 more there seems to be a significant increase in performance over the spider.

Cheers
Hello mate.

1) The Spider, surprisingly, felt quicker. I think the way it is configured is like a solid chunk. The Ptronic feels more staged over the rev range. You can clearly tell it is calculating the optimum settings, whereas the Spider feels a bit more like a slug of torque in one go. This is how it "feels".

2) I have not measured 0-60 with either box - I dont have a G meter. I am happy if someone has one, to check this out some time... :) Both items are clearly significantly faster. Noticeably so. I would reckon coming on for at least a second quicker, perhaps nearly approaching 2 seconds quicker.

3) Shutting the car down - as I say I switched off completely. Then I went into the engine bay, waited till the high pitch whine has faded (chased the dogs away, mopped up the blood from my ears) and then disconnected the unit. I went for a run with the car as normal (oh cripes, so slow) then refitted all again - taking my time. I did this twice - and it seemed to cure the yellow engine half full symbol. It is eminently possible I didnt push a connector on completely snugly (although dont think so).

PTronic help desk also recommended just starting up and stopping a few times - but I combined this with refit - and at no time did I drive the car with the warning symbol on. (well.. maybe a little bit - but it was in limp home mode, so just around the corner). Problem was fixed, so, well worth persisting!!

Weeee!

4) MPG with the Ptronic I cannot tell - I measured the Spider unit - but that was early days - on balance, perhaps slightly better. The Ptronic is fitted now, and I think I am horsing about a bit more perhaps. But then you get into gear a lot quicker.. So I ease off, after a savage prod of the second gear (from start... weee!), which takes you to over 40 ish mph in a blink of an eye, wheelspinning all the way.
 

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Fantastic write up!

Obviously yours is now more than a match for my bogo 130i. With all the extra power you're adding, are you thinking of an lsd or uprated brakes?

I've a heavy right foot and constantly find the inside wheel spinning!

How do you find the devil power? I've always been a petrol head, but with the figures yours is going to produce, it could well be a serious alternative in the future. (Does it still sound clattery or is it now more meaty?)
 

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shweet :D think i'll be having one of those then :lol:

Thanks for the response!! :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
gg8tcw said:
Fantastic write up!

Obviously yours is now more than a match for my bogo 130i. With all the extra power you're adding, are you thinking of an lsd or uprated brakes?

I've a heavy right foot and constantly find the inside wheel spinning!

How do you find the devil power? I've always been a petrol head, but with the figures yours is going to produce, it could well be a serious alternative in the future. (Does it still sound clattery or is it now more meaty?)
I come from a 400 bhp (ish) Nissan 200Sx, so was a petrol head too. Times change, and things move on. I DO love the stop start, and I do love the fact when I cruise I am getting nigh on 50mpg!!!

If you listen outside the car you there is no additional clatteriness. Diesels are always not the sweetest sounding units. V6s, V8s only and bigger sound decent for diesels I think.

To be honest, I dont care... the 123D unit is so smooth and grunty.

besides, its dead quiet inside!! Which is all that matters. It isnt a sports car - but boy, is it nearly as quick as one...

For me, its the ideal jack of all trades. back seats down, loaded up with all my crap off to a storage unit. Then nail it back when it is empty and back end steering all the way... wooooooo...

As far as LSD goes? If I was getting closer to 300 bhp I would consider it...

The brakes? Not considering it - DEFINITELY going for larger meatier brakes! No doubt at all. Car is not slow now.. especially as 123D gearbox has different, quicker ratios! Does mean if you are pushing on, that you can skip some gears completely due to the stellar amount of torque..
 

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Well I now have mine and just fitted it this morning took literally 2 mins, went for a very quick test drive just to make sure all was well, so far so good no engine light (yet), not had chance to do a longish trip yet but will do that later on tonight.

Out of intrest those of you that have one, have you adjusted the sensitivity..and what does it do?? It seems the default is set in the middle (4) and ranges from 1 - 7.
 

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simon737,

How about top speeed? my 123d does not pass the mark of 245km/h on the dash...climbing up or down the road :( (original with no box fitted).
What about fuel consumption??

Thanks.
Filipe
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
simon737 said:
Well I now have mine and just fitted it this morning took literally 2 mins, went for a very quick test drive just to make sure all was well, so far so good no engine light (yet), not had chance to do a longish trip yet but will do that later on tonight.

Out of intrest those of you that have one, have you adjusted the sensitivity..and what does it do?? It seems the default is set in the middle (4) and ranges from 1 - 7.
I have adjusted the sensitivity now, yes, I moved it to the left out of the middle - not sure I noticed a big difference? :? :? :? :?
 

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Not sure on top speed, not really any roads around here that i could legally try, only fitted it this morning so no idea how it will affect consumption...I'd be able to tell you better in a month or 2 when its bedded in better.

Cheekiest, yeah i've moved mine to position 6 i.e 1 from the left so i'll give it a go on that and see what happens, you looking at any of these BMW performance products...i.e brakes??
 
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