Degrees in the chip


Senior Member
May 30, 2001
I have read a couple of posts where people state that the hp and torque of their cars on say 22 degrees of timing. From my understanding that comes from the chip right? How do I know what I am running, and does different degrees = different amounts of power? What benefits do different amounts have?
The degrees that people are quoting are usually WOT (wide open throttle) degrees of spark advance. That number is programmed into the chip by the burner. This number is usually arrived at by the mechanical combination of the car, amount of boost it will be running and the octane of the fuel it will be using. That breaks down into two groups: race chips that run on race fuel, and street chips that run on pump gas. Knock is usually what determines how much timing you can run given a certain octane.
With race fuel you usually can run higher levels of boost and more timing “to a point” without knock and that = more HP. (There is a fine line here, knock at these higher levels can do a lot more damage very quickly, so most tune to try and get 0 knock retard)
With pump gas the octane level is much lower, so the amount of boost and timing you can run is lower as well. (knock levels are tolerated a little more here ) Again this is also dependent on the setup of the car; generally speaking 14-17 psi of boost with 18-19 deg of spark advance on 92-94 octane pump gas is the norm. Now depending on the expertise of the chip burner he can raise the bar a little and you can get away with a little more boost. All depends on your state of tune and combination.

I am barely skinning the surface here and there are a lot of more complicated things that come into play… but I hope you get the general idea.

To see what timing you have you will need to identify what chip is in your ECM, record the numbers and post it here where somebody will probably be able to help you.

IMHO I wouldn’t get caught up in HP numbers at this point. If you have no mods, start with the “spring cleanup” found over on and then go to a basic recipe setup. Do a board search here, on chips and you will come up with all sorts of info on who does what and how well.
Invest in a scan tool and knock detector.