Rookie Question re Chipping

Thinking about buying a 2004 A6 2.7T. I just passed on a chipped up "used" 2000 model.
The guy selling the 2000 said that his chip did not void any warranty, but
that the 2004 warranty would be voided by a chip. Before I even ask the dealer such an inflammatory question, looking for any wisdom here.
Also, can someone summarize the trade-offs involved in chipping (assuming you do the suspension/ air intake mods to go with it)? Does gas mileage suffer? If so, can this be turned off with the APR chip for long trips when mileage might be paramount to speed?
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Regardless of model year, a chip does void warranty on all parts affected by it, that is turbo, engine, and other driveline components that the dealer can come up with (and believe me, they can come up with the strangest of things). The way that guy got away with it is probably by putting his stock ECU back in for every dealer visit. This way the dealer never found out he was chipped.

The problem with 2002 and newer Audis is that you cannot camouflage the fact that you're chipped as easily as you could on earlier models. The moment you pull out the original ECU to get chipped, you break a so called "chastity belt" and that's how the dealer will know that you tampered with the ECU. Morever, the ECUs are now specifically coded for the particular car through the use of immobilizer (not previously available for the US-spec Audis) so it's not as easy to make a spare ECU work with your car. That said, there are some tuners out there, like Revo, that can reprogram the ECU through your serial port (APR is also launching this service now), which means they do not even have to pull the ECU out and break the chastity belt. For additional $$$, they can give you tools to switch between their programming and stock programming so that when you come in for service, everything looks completely stock to the dealer. Now, whether that's ethical or not - that's all up to you - I won't pass judgement.

You do not want to talk with an Audi dealer about chipping - trust me. They'll just get all suspicious and raise red flags from that point on during your every service visit. Unless you have a friendly service advisor that you fully trust.

Basically, the harder you make the engine work, the shorter it will last, but it's difficult to put a figure on it. As far as mileage, it only suffers if you drive it hard. Otherwise, during non-spirited driving or steady highway cruising you may actually notice the gas mileage improve a little because most tuners' software is better mapped to the north american fuel (if that's where you are). So, you do not want to turn it off for long trips. But yes, some tuners do give you the option to turn it off (go back to stock) - APR, GIAC, Revo, to name a few.
Just as an example, my friend and I too our A4s (both are 2001 1.8TQ manuals, but mine was stock at that time and his was GIAC X-chipped) on a 250 mile drive, all highway driving at a steady 75 mph. I averaged 30.5 mpg. He averaged 33 mpg. Prior to the trip, we filled up with the same gas at the same gas station.
Cheers,
Pete
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Thank you for the excellent and informative reply!

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Can also confirm better mileage after having my A41.8TQ chipped. Basically, what happens is there is more torque available at the same level of throttle flooring, so you do the maths.
No reliability issues in my case. Oil consumption being close to nil. The only thing that might suffer if you're getting a manual will be the clutch.
My two cents,
JP Roberts

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wrote:

Hi, First off - The 2.7T can be made MUCH more powerful with only a chip. I have an S4. Stock its about 250HP/260ft lbs - Chipped, with the APR, I am pushing 318hp/366Tq.
Its a huge difference.
The engine block is essencially the same as the one in an RS4. Which is over 400HP, so I wouldnt worrry about that.
BUT -There are trade offs.
The stock diverter valves can fail. Mine did. There are 2. I could hear a whine/ hiss sound and I was loosing power. I replaced mine with the Bosch part # listed for the Porsche 911 Turbo. Parts cost about $90.00.
The Throttle Body boot is another weak point. It can go anyway, but chipping just makes it go sooner. Mine went. Big time power loss. Flooring it on the highway, while on a hill I was still slowing down. It had 2 holes in it! replaced it with an aftermarket one, which had Kevlar around it. Parts cost about $100 shipped.
If you are someone who likes the extra power, I definitely recomend it.
I did mine just as my warranty was ending. But I did have one repair under warranty while I was chipped. My MAF went bad. They didnt say anything. I do have the APR, and I put the car in non chipped mode when I dropped it off.
Best of luck,
Adam
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