Case study

Tuning the BMW ZF automatic gearboxes with XHP Flashtool


So you've heard of XHP...but don't have an Android device, or are worried about damaging your car?

We’re seeing more and more enquiries daily for the XHP Flashtool gearbox tunes. This groundbreaking piece of software really unlocks all the BMW ZF automatic gearboxes, allowing for faster shift times, more power & better response. In this case study we’re going to look at the benefits, and the install process.

What can you actually do for my gearbox?

We offer three stages of tune for the ZF gearboxes, all set up slightly differently to suit different styles of driving;

Stage 1 TCU Tune

  • Optimised D Shiftpoints to facilitate sporty, yet economy style driving
  • Optimised Shift Strategy for up/downhill driving
  • Optimised Warmup Behaviour
  • Optimised Torque Converter Lockup in 1st/2nd/3rd gear
  • Adapted Torque Limits for Tuned engines
  • Kickdown delete in Manual Mode
  • Gear Display in Dash in D/S/M Modes

Stage 2 TCU Tune

  • Optimised D & S Shiftpoints for better acceleration in part and full throttle situations
  • Approx. 25% faster upshifts in D/S/M modes
  • Faster paddle response time
  • Optimised Torque Converter Lockup in 1st/2nd/3rd gear Optimised Warmup Behaviour
  • Further increases in Torque Limits for tuned engines
  • Kickdown delete in D and Manual modes
  • Gear Display in Dash in D/S/M Modes

Stage 3 TCU Tune

  • Optimised D & S Shiftpoints for better acceleration in part and full throttle situations
  • Approx. 25% faster upshifts in D/S modes
  • Approx. 50% faster upshifts in M mode
  • Rev Matched downshifting (Throttle – Blip)
  • True manual mode (no forced upshift at limiter)
  • Instant paddle response time
  • Optimized Torque Converter Lockup in 1st/2nd/3rd gear
  • Optimized Warmup Behaviour
  • Torque Limits set to 1000 Nm (737 ftlb)
  • Kickdown delete in D/S/M
  • Gear Display in Dash in D/S/M Modes

The most popular upgrade for us at the moment is the Stage 3 tune on the BMW 335D – these cars are developing big power now, and were only available with the automatic gearbox. Being able to change that box from something designed for comfortable cruising to a responsive sporty setup makes all the difference for the guys who are using these cars on the track.

So how do you actually install the tune?

We start off by connecting the car up to a battery stabiliser. This is very important as the TCU is sensitive to voltage drops when programming – a voltage drop can cause failure of the TCU unit, and leave the car undriveable. We then hook up the Autel in diagnostic mode, just to check the car out for any existing faults or problems with the gearbox, assuming it passes okay then we’re all ready to program. It’s skipping these simple measures that cause a lot of issues for the DIY installers!

We then hook the Autel diagnostics unit up in programming mode, connect to the car with the XHP software, and unlock the TCU for programming. At this point the car is then able to accept any of the OTS maps, or the JFA Custom maps depending on customers preference.

With the correct map selected, we then begin the programming process. Start to finish, this takes around 30mins to do including all checks, so can be done whilst you wait.

What else can I do to make the gearbox better?

A common request is that we reprogram the paddles, to make them behave like a traditional setup…whilst we don’t have a software solution for this, we are able to do a quick mod on the paddles as pictured. We remove & rewired the paddles, then send them off for a wrap in a colour of your choice with then + and – logos etched into them. With the paddle mod completed pulling the left paddle makes the car downshift, and pulling the right makes it upshift. As standard pulling either paddle will make it upshift, and you have to press the thumb part to downshift!

Is it really worth it though?

Yes, 100%. If you’ve had your engine tuned, you need the gearbox software done – we’ve never had a single customer give anything but 5* feedback on these gearbox tunes, and if you search around a bit on the web you’ll find much the same wherever you look. It really is a game changing mod for these cars.

Can your car use this?

Enter your registration number below and let us tell you how we can improve performance and economy:

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