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The Test Of Time

Ford Ranger ECU Remap

Reliability is key, so how is Dan’s Roo Enhanced Ranger holding up?

If you haven’t noticed over the years we’ve had a pretty consistent message here at Roo Systems HQ. Reliability is king. When you’re heading off for a family beach side holiday or off forging new tracks through the heart of Australia gear like suspension lifts, larger tyres, bar work and power upgrades can all make life easier, but not if they’re at the expense of reliability. It’s that idea we put into everything we do here and why we’ll do things the way we do, and use the gear we use. For our customers reliability is key too. A big set of tyres aren’t much chop when you’re stranded halfway across Nolan’s brook with a cactus engine from a leaking snorkel.

A little while ago we got you in touch with one of our customers Dan Everett who had just had a heap of work done here at Roo to see how his experience had gone. We’ve just reached out to him again as he prepares for a Cape Trip to see how things are holding up, if he’s had any issues, and how he’s enjoying the Roo enhancements to his 2017 Ford Ranger, head below to see what he’s got to say.

OWNER’S OPINION

You might remember a testimony I did for the guys a few months back when they did one of their towing and touring packages on my PX2 Ford Ranger; a DPF back stainless steel exhaust system and a custom tune to make the most of it. The actual power figures it saw on the dyno were irrelevant but it was up around a 25-30% increase in horsepower and torque. As I mentioned before I work for a whole bunch of 4×4 magazines and a big part of that is testing camper trailers, so the Ranger sees a lot of work with a couple of tonne hitched onto the rear bar. It was the main reason I wanted to get more grunt out of it in the first place. In stock form there was plenty of get-up-and-go for running around town or even a sneaky beach run when the deadlines allowed it, but when I hitched up a camper or caravan things became a lot more restrained. It’d still shuffle around alright but overtaking was next to impossible unless my adversary was a Lada Niva stuck in second gear, and I found myself still planning the approach to long steep climbs even at freeway speeds; something that’s near on impossible to avoid up and down the east coast.

When the guys pulled the Ranger in for the Roo treatment the changes were immediately obvious. The power was now available from right down low which meant throttle inputs were much more responsive, and it pulled away from the line far easier. Even with a camper it’d spin the tyres if you gave it a boot full of anger. It’d also pull harder higher up into the rev range and no longer feels like it’s running out of puff if you try and wind it out. Since then I’ve racked up around another 10,000km on the clock with countless more camper reviews thrown into the mix along the way. I’ve also thrown a whole heap of off-road gear at it too. So, how is it holding up?

The first thing to address is reliability. The whole point of me buying a new 4WD is I couldn’t afford to keep repairing my old one. Reliability was my number 1 concern and the main reason I went with their conservative towing and touring package rather than asking them to push the limits on pure power. On that front, the Ranger has been flawless. There’s been no check engine lights, no funny starting characteristics, no excessive smoke or increase in fuel usage that’d indicate everything isn’t A-Okay. It’s even been through Ford service again and they were completely happy with how it’s all performing.

The performance is still as good as ever as well, the upside to re-mapping rather than old-school diesel tuning. It can’t really go out of tune, unless the ECU gets wiped or I get the tune taken out there’s no way performance and fuel economy can go back to how it was before.

One thing worth mentioning is the Ranger is now a fair bit heavier with a heap of heavy-duty armour I’ve been fitting to it and I’ve recently stepped up from the stock 265/60R17 lightweight street tyres to a heavier 285/70R17 mud tyre. It’s increased rolling diameter and weight so was expected to knock fuel economy and power around drastically. Many with my model Ranger and similar tyres are reporting around 13L/100km, mine is now around 11L/100km, so despite bumping up 1.5L/100km since the stock tyres it’s chewing 2L/100km less than non-remapped vehicles so I’d still chalk that up as a win. The power remains relatively unchanged as well. In older 4WDs I’ve had, a step up like that has almost always necessitated gearing changes, in the re-mapped Ranger it’s barely noticeable. It’s also worth mentioning it goes from sea level to around 1000m above multiple times a week so certainly has its work cut out for it.

While I had my initial concerns getting the Ranger re-mapped it’s one of those things that the longer it’s like that, the happier I am that I’ve done it. It’s far safer to drive in flowing traffic and makes towing significantly easier. It’s chewing less fuel, and has actually had a flow on effect making other modifications work better too. I’m normally very careful about endorsing brands and companies, but I’m over the moon with the work the Roo guys have done.

While Dan’s wrapped with his new setup and is pounding out the kays on and off-road the reality is the work done to his 4WD is no different to any of the other 4WDs we get through the doors here at Roo HQ. You’ll never find us getting caught up in the numbers game or building diesel drag cars and passing them off as tourers, because it’s just not what we do. We get out there and travel to the far reaches of Australia and build our 4WDs accordingly. Our customers do the same, so we build theirs the same too.

If you float around on the interwebs long enough you’re bound to come across a negative opinion here and there from someone who met someone once who read something bad in a toilet stall, but you’re getting info straight from a reliable source here, and I reckon if you tracked Dan down he’d tell you the exact same thing behind closed doors as he has here. If you want your 4WD to go further, harder, and longer than you ever imagined give us a call. You might be surprised just how big the Roo difference is.