Unitronic Big Turbo Tune & Customer Service

Having problems with your Volkswagen or Audi? Have questions in regards to upgrades and tuning? This is the place to ask your questions.
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Steve In Chicago
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Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:01 pm
Location: Chicago, IL.

Unitronic Big Turbo Tune & Customer Service

Post by Steve In Chicago » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:07 pm

I decided to do a big turbo build on my 1999 1.8t Passat. Starting with a brand new from VW, AEB crate engine, the go-fast goodies include IE rods, Garrett GT-2871r turbo, TiAL stainless steel exhaust snail, TiAL external wastegate, ATP log style exhaust manifold, custom 3” down pipe, all V-band connections, water/meth, FMIC, engine management upgrade to the newer DBW style with wide-band feedback. The list goes on and on. For the tune I chose the Unitronic 630cc file. The shop doing this build is Mobile One Inc in Glenview Illinois (an authorized Unitronic Dealer).

If you’ve followed any of my build threads, you’ll know it took Unitronic months to deliver a tune. When I asked why it was taking most of the summer, I was told it was because this is a specialty tune, custom written for my specific application. Delay, delay, delay. I was told, It’s summer and this is our busy season. Waterfest is here and most of the staff is at the show. It’s the winter holiday season and staff is off. There were too many excuses to remember. I wish I had kept a log of the entire excuse parade. No matter what time of year I called, Unitronic provided only excuses and promises.

With fall fast approaching, I had a driving trip planned with a group of VW/Audi enthusiasts to tour the winding roads of the Appellation Mountains. I tell John at Unitronic that I’m going to miss this trip because Unitronic hasn’t finished the ECM. John says the holdup has to do with emissions and offers this solution… They’ll ship the tuned ECM so the car will be back on the road, then later on come up with revisions that Mobile One Inc can flash at the shop.

The tune that did finally show up didn’t work so well. When I hit the throttle hard, air/fuel ratios would swing lean, then after a bit, sweep rich where they should be for full throttle full boost. At full throttle, it pulled hard most of the time. On some occasions, it’d break up badly and the car would go nowhere. “Break up” as in excessive misfiring. It sounded and felt like an engine capped by the rev limiter but this was going on at 3000 rpm. This was supposed to be a MAF tune and it was barely drivable with the MAF plugged in. I had to run it with the MAF unplugged. A good deal of the time the idle was unstable and wondered around like the engine was struggling.

In an effort to solve these problems, the shop did some data logging and sent that info on to Unitronic. The shop also requested from Unitronic a list of every specific thing the car needed in order to run this tune properly, and made sure those items were addressed correctly. Every so often the shop or I would call Unitronic and ask about a revision status update. Never a solid answer. Always an excuse and a promise.

January arrives and the car is now due for emissions inspection. If the car doesn’t pass, the plates expire. Expired plates makes the car both un-drivable and un-parkable. I don’t have a garage I can hide it in and the car will collect tickets parked on the street. Unitronic comes up with the usual… nothing but excuses. Mobile One Inc takes it upon themselves to take a spare ECU and write a tune specific to passing emissions. With this, the car passes emissions. We’re finally over that hurdle, no thanks to the internationally renown tuning experts at Unitronic.

I call Unitronic to check status of the promised revision and all John can talk about is how the car now passes emissions and aren’t I happy about that. I tell him not to re-direct the topic and not to take credit for something they had nothing to do with. I’ve now been strung along for three quarters of a year. I’m sick of this. I’m done with this. I want out of this nightmare. I want a refund.

All through this ordeal, John at Unitronic made it clear that he’d rather this story doesn’t get posted in the automotive forums. He brought this up several times in several different conversations with both myself and the shop. If someone doesn’t want a problem to generate bad press, they should solve the problem. This is basic old-school customer service. A teen working a fast-food window has the business acumen to know this.

After asking for a refund I’m rewarded with… you guessed it… more excuses and promises. Several conversations transpire over the next several weeks. I’m fed up with this situation and it appears there is no uncomplicated way out. I start shopping attorneys in the Laval, Quebec, Canada area.

Friday, after yet another week of being strung along and having my ears filled with warm sales-excrement, I reach my limit. I tell John there is no good reason it had to come to this, but I’m shopping attorneys and from here on will pursue this matter through legal means. John calls me back a short while later and informs me he was suddenly able to “pull some strings” and provide a refund. He says he has to make just one final call to Mobile One Inc and then he will call me back directly. The rest of the day passes and I never hear from him.

At the end of the day I call Mobile One Inc to see if they have any news. They tell me Unitronic called to arrange a refund through the shop. They also tell me Unitronic (John, I’m guessing?) said I called them 19 times that day. Nineteen times! I may have called 19 times throughout the entire three quarters of a year of this ordeal, but I assure you that day I called only once and was called back only once.

I did eventually get the promised call from John, the next day. More excuses and more conversation regarding not writing about this fiasco on the internet.

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