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> Jeep Articles > General - Product Reviews > Unichip Plug N? Play Computer

MoabJeeper Magazine Article

General Articles - Product Reviews

Unichip Plug N? Play Computer

Article written by Carl "Silverback" Schaible

Date Added: 09/27/2008

So you are looking to add some get up and go to your JK? Follow along as MOABJEEPER Magazine installs and reviews the Unichip Plug N? Play Computer on the BEAST.

Aftermarket upgrades, such as headers, performance camshafts, or adding even a turbocharger are expensive upgrades by anyone?s standards. MOABJEEPER Magazine has learned from past experience on the dyno that many of these upgrades suffer from Asterisk Disease. Not familiar with Asterisk Disease? Asterisk Disease is what happens when you purchase that aftermarket component with big hp or torque gains promised, and it fails to deliver. Why? Because the product performed, for the advertisement, only when it was configured in a specific way to make the boast. Most likely, this is not the way your rig is set up, so you won't see the same gains. To counter endless customer complaints, the manufacturers insert the handy-dandy asterisk after their claimed numbers saying something to the effect of "don't be surprised when you don't get these results" but in a language that doesn't drive away customers.

A reason why you don't see the gains is not the fault of the component, but your Jeeps computer itself. Engines have a sweet spot that they run in for emission testing, gas mileage, and overall reliability. Aftermarket components try to improve performance, and the computer tries to bring the engine performance back into line with its programed upper and lower norms. To truly unleash the power in an aftermarket component, or power that is already hidden away in your stock engine, you must address the computer program running your engine.

Unichip Plug N? Play Computer is the key to unlocking all the power of your performance upgrades as well as what already lies in hiding within your Jeeps stock engine. The best part? This is a bolt in do-it-yourself that does not alter the stock computer program. It installs down stream from your factory ECU (vehicles computer) but before the engine. The Unichip basically hijacks the ECU signal, cranks things up, and then sends the signal on to the engine all the while innocently whistling Dixie as if nothing happened.

Now that you have a Layman's explanation of what is going on when using the Unichip Plug N? Play Computer, lets install it.

The Unichip package comes with everything you need: The performance chip itself, a plug and play wiring harness, and the velcro to hold the chip in place. That is all there is to it; nothing more nothing less. There is no wiring, splicing, or soldering to get this job done... It is truly plug and play!

Before you perform any work on your Jeep, especially with electronic components, disconnect your vehicles battery. The negative terminal alone will be enough.

Locate your Jeeps ECU on the driver's side firewall just behind the washer fluid reservoir.

Remove the two OEM plugs closest to the fender. Slide the red locking mechanism back and then push on the black tab just behind it. With a little wiggling, the plugs will come right off.

Insert the orange plug and play connector of the Unichip harness into the orange ECU connector and ensure that the metal locking tab securely locks.

Next, Insert the black plug and play connector of the Unichip harness into the black ECU connector and ensure that the metal locking tab securely locks as well.

Now, install the orange and black OEM connectors into the back of the Unichip connectors ensuring you match up the black to the black and the orange to the orange. Also make sure you push the red locking tabs forward to lock the connections.

Next find the black plastic bracket between the ECU and the ABS distribution block. Make sure this bracket is free of any dirt or oil by wiping it down thoroughly with a rag and rubbing alcohol.

Using the supplied, heavy-duty velcro, attach the Unichip computer to the plastic bracket.

NOTE: This is the point that we realized this would have been a lot easier to do before connecting the wires. Learn from our stupidity and velcro the computer on THEN hook up the connectors.

Install the 24 pin plug labeled Unichip into the corresponding connector on the Unichip computer.

Finally, install the wire loom and A/B switch somewhere away from excessive heat. We put ours on the firewall just above the Unichip computer where the ECU wiring harness was already mounted. We simply used a couple zip ties to fasten onto the ECU wiring harness.

After the installation, reconnect the negative battery terminal, start the Jeep, and verify there are no check engine lights. This is where we headed to the Dyno shop!!!

Jeep states that the stock specs on JK 3.6 liter V6 as 202HP and 237ft-lbs of torque average. Unichip on the other hand states that they can get 229HP and 263ft-lbs of torque out of the JK with nothing more than their Unichip computer installed. To give us the best possible testing, we went to the Dyno Shop first thing in the morning with a half tank of gas in our stock JK to see what we could pull both stock and chipped. Here are the dyno results compared to Unichip's claimed numbers.

Baseline Numbers / No Mods or Unichip / 89 Octane

In stock setup we pulled the following:
Horse Power: 208 at 5000RPM
Torque: 249 at 4000RPM

We came in just shy of Unichip's stock numbers on their JK.
Unichip's numbers:
Stock HP: 210
Stock torque: 250

Stock Vehicle With Unichip / 89 Octane

Now that we had our baseline, we plugged in the Unichip and made some more pulls.

In chipped setup we pulled the following:
Horse Power: 228 at 5000RPM
Torque: 264 at 4000RPM

We were right in line with Unichip's claims.
Chipped HP: 229
Chipped torque: 263

We'd say those results are pretty dead on and well within an acceptable margin of error of their claims.

In our next test, we decided to follow Unichip's advice and install a Trueflow XDI Cold Air Intake (CAI) and a Cat-Back Exhaust for max performance results from the Unichip computer. With the new parts installed, we hit the dyno shop again first thing in the morning. Check out our results this time around.

Stock Computer / Trueflow CAI & Cat-Back / 89 Octane

Stock computer with modifications:
Horse Power: 210 at 5000RPM
Torque: 245 at 4000RPM

Again we fell right in line with Unichip's comparable setup:
HP: 211
Torque: 244

Unichip / Trueflow CAI & Cat-Back / 89 Octane

With the Unichip plugged back in, we pulled the following:
Horse Power: 236 at 5000RPM
Torque: 267 at 4000RPM

Unichip's claim:
HP: 236
Torque: 268

Not only does this show that Unichips numbers are totally realistic, it also shows just how important proper tuning is to maximize gains from bolt-on performance parts. Without the chip, the intake and exhaust netted us a dismal 2 HP. But hook up the plug-and-play Unichip and we gained 28HP.

This is where our comparison with Unichip stopped. They did not have dyno charts for the 91 Octane mode to provide us. So officially the test ended there; however, we wanted to know what we would see in the 91 Octane mode. Unfortunately, we gained less than 1 hp in any of the aforementioned configurations and less than 2ft-lbs of torque.

Final Thoughts

While choices are are fairly limited right now when it comes to performance chips for the Jeep JK, Unichip has brought the JK community a product that delivers as claimed - with NO symptoms of Asterisk Disease.

As for the lackluster performance in 91 Octane mode? The product performed so well in 89 Octane mode that we would be willing to overlook this.

Our Thank You's!

MOABJEEPER Magazine would like to thank Michael Timmons and Jack Friedman of Unichip whose help and support were infinitely appreciated.

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