Competizione TCM Flash - by SniZ

Today I had the pleasure of working with Artem (SniZ) to flash the latest Giulia Competizione TCM firmware on to my 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Sport Q4. He recommended that I try this version, just to see if I like it… well, I think I do. I’ve only driven it for about 20 minutes though, so time will tell.

If you are not familiar with configuring port forwarding on your internet router, you may have to get some assistance or at least know someone who is knowledgeable enough to help. Artem could probably help too, but you’d have to ask him. The process was simple enough for me. Open a couple of TCP ports to grant SSH access to the Pi and of course a root login to the Pi so he can install some bits and pieces to do the work. Whole flash process took about 15-25 minutes. I didn’t pay attention too closely, but it was fairly quick. He said it was going very slow and wondered if I had crappy internet. lol, I do not, but I do have lots of IDS/IPS processing going on to protect my network.

At first, I was going to look for someone who had Artem’s dongle somewhere in the US that wanted to lease it to me, but it turns out that I had the necessary components already. A Raspberry Pi 4 and a PICAN3 CAN hat. I ended up butchering an old OBD reader to use the connector. Super simple wiring only needs ground, 12v+, CAN High, and CAN Low. (See diagram)

First Impressions:
When the vehicle is cold, most of us know that the first shifts are very funky. Backing out of my driveway, putting it into drive once I got into the street, and pulling away was a thousand times better. I didn’t get that weird RPM hanging and lurch into second. It felt much more tame. This could be due to the whole relearn thing that happens after a reset. Time will tell.

In dynamic, the only mode I tested, feels like downshifts during braking happen a little sooner than before. I also feel like it wants to hold a higher gear a little bit longer after a 75% throttle period followed by a steady state cruise throttle input.

Shifts are definitely firmer but could also be related to the whole learning process.

The biggest thing that I noticed, and was also hoping was resolved, is starting from a stop sign/light with partial throttle. Prior to this newer TCM firmware, the transmission would shift to 2nd gear way too soon and was not smooth at all. Now, it is waaaay better. I’m hoping the relearn and settling in of the whole thing doesn’t change back to the way it was. It feels more like a pedestrian level vehicle does when pulling away from a stop on part throttle. By no means does it feel numb. It still has firm and quick shifts when the throttle input increases, so don’t worry, it hasn’t been neutered.

I will follow up with more impressions once I have some more time to drive it. But so far, I am very happy with the results.

Thanks @SniZ!!! You’re the best!@!!@$$@^#@$%&&^4t5

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After another 300 or so miles in mixed traffic, I have to say that this is definitely a worthwhile upgrade.

Cold start and go is a little smoother; the transmission no longer hangs in 1st gear too long before abruptly shifting to 2nd. It’s really nice.

Hot stop is also better. Limo stop is much easier to accomplish. It no longer has that weird transition while it is downshifting off throttle and on the brakes coming to a stop.

Hot start, and even cold start as mentioned above, is much smoother. It no longer short shifts to 2nd which could be a little abrupt at times, at least on my car. Now it shifts more like you would expect it to.

As mentioned before, D mode is a bit better. While braking, it is more willing to downshift, and does so a bit earlier than before. It’s really nice. I feel like I’m in a more proper gear when I have to get back on the throttle.

Cruise Control (ACC) now works much better in D mode. I have added Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to my car as it only came with the standard implementation of CC. If I was in D while using cruise, it would downshift too early when there was a hill, and it would stay in that gear forever, or until I went down a hill. I’d have to blip the + paddle to get it to go back to the higher gear. Now it is completely fixed. It works so well now. Super happy about that.

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