What is a Dynamometer?

What is a Dyno?

A dynamometer, often referred to as a Dyno, is a special device use for measuring the power output (specifically force, torque or horsepower) from an engine. There are many types of dynamometers but when it comes to cars, something called a “chassis dynamometer”, otherwise known as a “rolling road”, can be used before and during tuning or ECU mapping.

There are also several types of chassis dynamometers, including absorption/hydraulic dynamometers, inertia dynos and transmission dynamometers. Hydraulic dynos are known for giving the most accurate readings and generally being more expensive to purchase. All types of chassis dynamometers can be used for dyno power runs, diagnostics and to assist with tuning (dyno tuning).

Orange Audi TT on Dynamometer for Dyno Tuning in King's Lynn, Norfolk at A Reeve

Dyno Power Runs

A dyno power run is simply where your car is placed on the dynamometer and the bhp (horsepower) and torque are measured. This doesn’t include any tuning or full diagnostics but where possible (and in our workshop) boosts and fuel usage can also be monitored using an exhaust gas analyser and wideband lambda sensor.

Dyno Tuning?

Dyno tuning refers to the act of using a dyno to assist with the tuning and remapping of a car or road vehicle to enhance performance, speed, power and torque. For the very best engine tuning, initial diagnostics are carried out using a dynamometer and from there the power of your car can be measured and any problems can be diagnosed. The results of your initial rolling road diagnostics will determine which parts or modifications are needed to get the best out of your car. The dyno can be used throughout tuning and remapping to test and check results. This is often referred to as Dyno Tuning.

Every racer knows that horsepower and torque are important, and for this reason using a dynamometer is an important part of engine tuning for many racing drivers. However, the use of a dynamometer to measure the output from a vehicle for tuning is not only beneficial for racing cars, but also for high-performance cars, campervans and even standard, small cars. Aside from measuring simple power and torque, dynamometers can be used to measure fuel consumption and emissions from vehicles and for calibration of ECU during live mapping. Dyno tuning often involves full remapping of the ECU.

The benefits of using a dynamometer for engine tuning

Some of the benefits of using a dynameter for diagnostics and tuning include greatly increased engine performance, better fuel economy after tuning, increased speed and a better overall tune, making dyno power runs a great investment.  Your car will also have greater access to engine power, not only increasing fuel economy and reducing carbon footprints but road safety too.

Dynamometers can significantly enhance engine tuning by measuring power output at different levels of acceleration, allowing your car to be tuned to run at its full capacity.

Engine tuning with a dyno also allows your vehicle to be fine-tuned to your driving style through engine adjustments and even steering transmission.

Data from a dyno tuning session for MINI S Cooper at our workshop in King's Lynn

Dynos also offer great benefits to campervan owners who want to get a better drive, increase fuel economy and the miles per gallon on their vehicles. Over time, some modifications can even pay for themselves due to significantly reduced fuel costs and savings on replacement parts.

These are just a few of the many benefits of using a dyno for diagnostics and tuning, there are many more including improved throttle response and diagnosing conditions which could cause premature wear and tear or limit the performance of your car.

How does a chassis dyno, or rolling road actually work?

A chassis dynamometer contains something called a “drive roller” which is effectively a large rotating drum. The car is driven onto the drum and the power is measured as its wheels (tyres) contact the surface whilst in different gears and at different speeds. Your car is stationary on the dynamometer, however, real driving is simulated. Some dynos allow for the acceleration between different points and gear changes to be timed, (including ours!) which is a great bonus for calibrating during live mapping sessions.

Dyno Tuning Results

A Mini Cooper S F56 JCW which came to our King’s Lynn workshop for Stage 1 Tuning on our Dyno:

Blue MINI Cooper on the Dyno at our workshop in King's Lynn, Norfolk

Mini Cooper S F56 JCW

Stage 1 Tuning on the MAHA Dyno

We performed some careful calibration tuning for the customer who just wished for a much better drive. We delivered a nice smooth and progressive tune holding up to the Rev limiter.

Dyno Tuning Data for MINI Cooper S from A Reeve Performance's Garage in King's Lynn, Norfolk

Horsepower Attained: 277.9 bhp
Torque Attained: 403.8 nm

Does my car need to go on the dyno?

If you would like to get the best fuel economy out of your vehicle or if you would like to increase speed, power or toque, a dyno power run will be of great assistance. Also, if you would like to find out how well your car is performing before deciding which modifications you need or which tuning parts and services you would like, a dynamometer will give you the very best diagnostics and accurate measurements.

Additionally, if you have a camper van or a heavy load vehicle and want to unleash the full power of your engine, a dyno tuning session is a great investment which can help you save lots of fuel and future repairs.

Our Dyno Facility

Our Dyno facility, the Maha MSR500 is a hydraulic dynamometer, used by many key players in the performance car industry, including Porsche, Toyota and BMW M Power to name a few. It has been built within a purpose-built cell at our state-of-the-art performance garage in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

We invested a lot of time in choosing the very best dyno and explored all options, from the most cost-effective American models to the Australian brand, Dyno Dynamics. However, after much consideration we decided on the Maha MSR500 which can simulate real driving unlike many other dynos, allowing for a much more accurate reading.

Simulating real driving with the dyno

Wanting to achieve the very best set-up, we conducted a considerable amount of research into issues that could give inaccurate readings from the dyno. Some of the issues include heat soak and high-intake air temperatures which we obviously wanted to avoid. Our set-up incorporates a system where fresh air is drawn from outside to simulate real driving without warm workshop air potentially falsifying the readings. We also have an exhaust extraction system set up and lots of other measures have been put in place, so we can provide you with the very best diagnostics and tuning services.

Want to know more about our dyno?

At our friendly workshop in King’s Lynn, we are always happy to chat through your options and discuss any concerns you may have about the power, fuel consumption or any other issues relating to your vehicle. Just get in touch and we will talk you through all the options and come together with a plan to help you get the most out of your car and enhance performance. Even if your car is brand new, diagnostics and tuning can be of great benefit. After all, not every car is created equally when they leave the factory, with many cars having not been tuned to their full potential. Dyno tuning services such as ECU Remapping with the rolling road can increase road safety and enhance handling, power and torque among many other factors.