Before reading further, if you have not already seen the tests by quarkslab on reverse engineering the Nitro OBD2 performance chip scam, check it out here: https://blog.quarkslab.com/reverse-engineering-of-the-nitro-obd2.html
We point you in this direction because this NitroOBD scam from China has been flooding the internet for a few years now, and has given birth to numerous copies with varying colors and logos. We provide our analysis below of the Gearboxx Performance OBD Engine Tuner and show what is inside. To accurately understand the big picture you should first read the above quarkslab article in its entirety. It is proven based on several different articles and tests that the Nitro OBD module is a verified scam. Don’t just take our word for it!
There are also several youtube videos proving the details of the Nitro-OBD light flasher scam and some of it’s variants:
Reverse engineering the GBPT Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner OBD Performance Chip
Tags: CAN OBD Performance Chip Vehicle Tuning Scams Analysis Reverse Engineering Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner Scam
This article involves reverse engineering and analyzing the OBD performance chip “Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner” in order to identify if it really functions as advertised or not.
The GBPT Gearboxx Performance Engine tuner appears to be the newer of two modules the company ‘quicktune.ca’ sells, and they both bear a STRIKING similarity to the infamous NitroOBD scam. (How many different colors and logos does this come in)? This is a screen grab of the older Quicktune Performance Chip from the company facebook page:
Without going ANY further, do you notice anything in the screen grab above? If not, look below for the comparison:
The circuit board is identical to the known NitroOBD scam module, as well as the quicktune product has the exact same blister pack design case we have seen in previous scams which are derived from the now infamous NitroOBD module. As is common with many of the NitroOBD chip scams, they claim to be made in another country than where they are TRULY made, which is China:
Perhaps the PAPER INSERT is made in Canada, but we know the case and product are not. This is not a good start as the company is reselling known light blinker modules as “Quicktune” modules, but will the newer Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner be different?
The newer Gearboxx tuner is also listed on their facebook page, just to confirm we are talking about the same company:
We also found the newer Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner (GBPT) listed on ebay, bonanza as well as amazon.ca:
The Gearboxx Performance Chip is advertised like this on their ebay listing: “EACH GBPT INDUCTION SYSTEM PERFORMANCE TUNER IS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED AND SOFTWARE CODED FOR THE VEHICLE MANUFACTURER & ENGINE LISTED IN THIS AD REGARDLESS OF MODEL
GBPT INDUCTION SYSTEM PERFORMANCE TUNERS WILL WORKS ON ALL TURBO OR SUPERCHARGED VERSIONS, ALL SUB MODELS, ALL TRIM TYPES AND ADD-ON ACCESSORIES (AFTERMARKET OR FACTORY)
AND WITH ALL AUTOMATIC AND STANDARD TRANSMISSIONS INCLUDING ALL ALL WHEEL DRIVE, 4X4 AND 2X4 VERSIONS OF DRIVE-LINES
COMPLETELY 100% COMPATIBLE WITH ALL AFTERMARKET ADD-ON`S AND INDUCTION SYSTEMS, FULLY ADAPTABLE TO ALL FUEL OCTANE LEVELS AND FUEL ADDITIVES INCLUDING ETHANOL”
Here we have the classic claims as countless times before that each module is “specifically designed and software coded for the vehicle manufacturer & engine listed in this ad”. An attempt to convince the buyer that it is custom programmed (but we know better – the seller receives them already programmed with a generic program from China 😉 ). They go on to say that it is compatible with this and that, yada yada. Wow, it sounds like it is just about compatible with any upgrade a vehicle could have (all transmissions, all add-ons)! What a coincidence!
…And it goes on:
Wow, it is a revolutionary, patented engine control process! (I wonder what the patent number is – HINT: There is none!). It is quite humorous some of the language and scenarios these companies will fabricate to sell the exact same thing to poor unsuspecting people. We have seen this before. Let’s move on.
Remember we said before that most of the time clues are hidden in plain sight? Well here’s another one, right at the top of the ebay listing (another reason to be suspicious of ANY performance product on ebay – most are JUNK and you need to shop elsewhere):
It is hidden in plain sight and is another common trait in many NitroOBD scams – the suspicious dyno graph. Taking a closer look confirms our hunch:
Looking at a larger copy of the suspicious dyno graph reveals the “STOCK” and “GBPT” labels have been added over top of the original graph. They do not line up with the runfile lines as well as having artifacts present around them in a square, showing they were edited onto the graph. This is a dyno graph obtained elsewhere and modified to fool people. Hm, I wonder why they would go to these lengths to make a graph when the product works so well? Why didn’t they just pay for dyno time and produce a legitimate graph? (I think we already know the answer to this question 😉 ).
As with most other products we have reviewed in the past, we have quite a few negative user comments:
While we see there are a few negative feedbacks, there are quite a few positive ones as well, making us wonder if the feedback for this product is more legitimate (at least they are not all positive and no negative):
While this company also sells repair manuals / literature, some of these positive feedbacks could be due to other products sold, but overall most reviews are positive. However, most reviews on amazon are less stellar:
We WERE less skeptical of the ebay feedback but seeing this on the company’s facebook page quickly changed that:
What? Where have we seen this before? Companies trying to bribe / coerce customers to review their products positively or favourably in exchange for money or free products! This is from the previous scam module, the Dragonfire Performance Chip:
The Dragonfire Performance Chip used this exact same tactic but inserted a card with the product. In this latest case, it is on the company facebook page. Hmm, I wonder why you would have to go to these lengths to try to get customers to leave positive feedback. If the product is so great, why wouldn’t the customer leave positive feedback on their own?
The price for the Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner on amazon was 69.95CDN ($54.66 USD).
CASE / PACKAGING
We did not receive a case with our Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner as it came secondhand, but the company’s previous product, Quicktune, bears a striking similarity to the NitroOBD chip scam:
This does lead one to believe this product is similar in it’s origin to many we have previously analyzed. What is actually inside the Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner?
We obtained a Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner Chip and removed the outer plastic shell. Immediately upon opening the case, we saw an all-too-familiar design:
It is the EXACT SAME circuit board design from the previous Chip Your Car scam we analyzed! The components are all in the same locations as the Chipyourcar scam and I think we know why (because it is the same product from the same source – China!):
We see the top circuit board is the same as the Chipyourcar scam module, but does the Gearboxx Performance tuner also use the same microprocessor? It is hard to see, as it is located on the underside of the top circuit board:
Low and behold – not only is the circuit board the exact SAME as the previous chip your car scam module, but the Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner has the same PIC16F59 microprocessor, like in the NitroOBD scams as well!
We know that most legitimate vehicle maps are 512KB or larger, depending on the vehicle model and configuration:
While we know this sized memory cannot contain genuine vehicle map data, it could definitely fit a simple light flashing routine, which is exactly what previous scam modules have been proven to contain.
From these facts, we can clearly see that the Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner is not what it claims to be. Our first suspicions were correct. It appears to be just another of the many light flasher scams with a new colored case!
To confirm this, we connected the Gearboxx Performance Chip to a vehicle and drove for two weeks, going through multiple fill-ups and noticed no difference in fuel economy, performance or any other vehicle behaviour. There was absolutely no noticeable gain, and we didn’t even need a dyno to notice! Most drivers can easily detect an increase of 10HP or more even without additional tools / gauges.
To confirm further that the programming inside the microprocessor is indeed the same as the numerous verified Nitro OBD scams we previously reviewed, we connected both modules to a 12V power supply on the bench and noted the blink intervals of the led lights (OUR BLINK TEST):
Blink Test Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3OoDxJAFV4
Both the Nitro OBD tuning scam (Left) and the Gearboxx Performance Tuner (Right) blinked at EXACTLY the same interval! Same programming, same blinking interval, same scam (but pretty lights though!).
You may have noticed some of the previous scams blinked in a different pattern (like a standby interval). This is explained in the original NitroOBD videos at the top of this article. The NitroOBD has been found to change patterns depending on the activity on the other OBD port pins. It’s job is to fool the user into thinking it is communicating with the vehicle. It has one mode which simulates blinking lights to make the user think it is communicating with the vehicle. When the pin has no activity, it blinks slowly as if in a low power or standby mode (although it has no ability to truly enter a sleep mode, this is just a light pattern change). We showed with the previous scams that they all exhibit the ‘sleep’ light pattern and this latest scam also does this. As with the other scams, it can also enter what we call the fake ‘activity’ pattern, which is what we saw in this latest test. Needless to say, both modules exhibited the same blink pattern, as both the Gearboxx Tuner (right) and the NitroOBD scam (left) both contain the same microprocessor with the same circuit board and the same programming!
From our research as well as testing we find that the Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner is just another light blinking box like the NitroOBD. Our instincts early on were correct. Don’t CHIP in your hard earned money for this – you’re better off to buy a BAG OF POTATO CHIPS!
If after all this, you STILL are considering purchasing this product, here is our response:
Gearbox performance Tuner Review
Gearboxx performance Tuner nitro obd scam
Gearboxx Performance Engine Tuner Chip Review
GBPT INDUCTION SYSTEM PROGRAMMER CHIP TUNER