ECU Socketing Service for 1999.5 and older TDIs


1999.5 and older TDIs cannot be flashed (tuned) through the OBD diagnostics port. Any OBD flash tool like FlashZilla will not work. The chips (containing engine software) inside the ECU (engine control unit) must be physically swapped. Some of these older ECUs have stock chips soldered directly to the circuit board, so we offer socketing service (read the description tab further down this page for more information).

The following vehicles in North America require socketing:

  • 1998-1999 VW New Beetle TDI (ALL)
  • 1999.5 VW Golf and Jetta TDI (ALL)
  • A very small percentage of other pre-2000 TDIs, including 1996-1997 Passat TDI and 1997-1999.0 Jetta TDI.

Tunes are sold separately (contact us). We offer this service for North American ECUs only and will ship within North America only.


The following must be done in order to install a tune:

  • De-solder the stock chips
  • Clean the surface of the circuit board
  • Solder on chip sockets (they allow chips to be swapped without further soldering)

We also power up the ECU on our bench to ensure that new chips are working, before we ship. However, because the ECU cannot find engine sensors while it's powered up on the bench, it normally will store several fault codes in its memory. Therefore, you will need to use any scan tool (even inexpensive eBay ones can work, or ask a local auto shop) to clear codes after you install the freshly tuned ECU in the vehicle. The engine may idle roughly if the codes are not cleared yet.

If you wish to handle the socketing yourself, then contact us and we can simply mail you tuned chips & sockets.

We can also socket ECUs that have a single 44-pin chip (found in some older gas VW/Audi vehicles).

We are looking to buy more 1999.5 and older TDIs, so if you have any for sale, then please contact us!

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