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Where to get an ECU?


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For the second time in three years I believe my ECU is headed south. A few weeks ago the truck didn't want to start. I checked the grid heater and had more than the recommended resistance between the terminals. I had power to the relays with the wait to start light just no power coming out. Fusible links are good.

Now the problem as I understand it is I have 12 volts to the relays with the wait to start light on. When the wait light goes out, I should have zero volts to the relays. I have seven. If I have more than zero it sould be the ECU according to the service manual. I now have IAT sensor voltage codes, fuel calibration error codes, etc.

Now the million dollar question. I bought a used ECU the last time and blew in a program with the smarty. I would like something to last longer than a couple of years. I know people have said to stay away from a re-manfactored ECU. Dodge tells me they only sell a reman ECU's now, nothing new. They go for the tune of $1400.00 not programmed. I have heard ECU's going south after a short time from Dodge. What is the difference between a Dodge re-man and a $800.00 model from a company off the net? I know to stay away from a Cardone. Also, what about these companies like Klien Bottle Computer who give you a lifetime warentee if they rebuild your ECU?

Anyone care to weigh in?

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I would base any re-manufacturer by there warranty and how fast they are willing to make thing right. I've seen lots claim 1 year but if there is a problem you get shoved on the back burner.

 

Also remember the ECM is only capable a certain amount of flashes before the PROM gives up. It rated somewhere in the thousands. Unknown how many have been done to a reman ECM.

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I bought new when I couldn't find a used Chrysler one.  Your mileage may vary.  

 

You might check to make certain that there are no weird voltages running around your truck.  No AC spikes, no weirdness. 

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I would base any re-manufacturer by there warranty and how fast they are willing to make thing right. I've seen lots claim 1 year but if there is a problem you get shoved on the back burner.

 

Also remember the ECM is only capable a certain amount of flashes before the PROM gives up. It rated somewhere in the thousands. Unknown how many have been done to a reman ECM.

  

Thanks, I did not know the PROM had a finite life span. Would that stand for changing things with a Smarty? The problem is everyone will tell you they honor their warentee directly before they get your money. Afterward is another story. It would be nice to get some opinions from people who did business with these places. Someone on one of these forums has experience.

I bought new when I couldn't find a used Chrysler one.  Your mileage may vary.  

 

You might check to make certain that there are no weird voltages running around your truck.  No AC spikes, no weirdness.

I checked for AC noise, it is less than 0.1. Batteries are solid, checked the grounds etc. Where did you find a new one? I would love to find a new one but I think the search is futile. I was told I could get a new one for a 2002 and earlier from Cummins. I went over there and they looked at me like I was crazy. Dodge was absolutely no help at all. I almost had to hold a gun on the guy to give me a price.

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Thanks, I did not know the PROM had a finite life span. Would that stand for changing things with a Smarty? The problem is everyone will tell you they honor their warentee directly before they get your money. Afterward is another story. It would be nice to get some opinions from people who did business with these places. Someone on one of these forums has experience.

I checked for AC noise, it is less than 0.1. Batteries are solid, checked the grounds etc. Where did you find a new one? I would love to find a new one but I think the search is futile. I was told I could get a new one for a 2002 and earlier from Cummins. I went over there and they looked at me like I was crazy. Dodge was absolutely no help at all. I almost had to hold a gun on the guy to give me a price.

 

I fried the PROM on the ECM of my 02 during only the second download when I first bought my smarty, problem was I was 40 miles from the closest town in the middle of the prairie when it happened, took a wrecker several hours to get to me to get it back home, Bob Wagner and marco of Smarty were both on the phone with me trying to figure it out, come to find that when my key was turned on there was never a preheater indicator and that is when Marco knew it was the prom, Bob wagner overnighted me a replacement ecm at no cost to me, both stand up guys.

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I bought one from my dodge dealer about 3 years ago.

Rats! Dodge told me all their ECU's are re-manufactured. I should have bought a new one when I could. That is my quandary, what are the differences between re-man ECU's? Is one really better than another? I doubt Dodge is rebuilding them. It would be nice to know who is doing it for them.

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I fried the PROM on the ECM of my 02 during only the second download when I first bought my smarty, problem was I was 40 miles from the closest town in the middle of the prairie when it happened, took a wrecker several hours to get to me to get it back home, Bob Wagner and marco of Smarty were both on the phone with me trying to figure it out, come to find that when my key was turned on there was never a preheater indicator and that is when Marco knew it was the prom, Bob wagner overnighted me a replacement ecm at no cost to me, both stand up guys.

Yup, they built me a recovery file for the used ECU I bought a few years ago problem. I don't change the program a bunch. I change it to stock in the winter and a Catcher program in the summer. I just didn't know the PROM had a finite lifespan. It's almost like you are rolling the dice every time you change your tune.

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Yup, they built me a recovery file for the used ECU I bought a few years ago problem. I don't change the program a bunch. I change it to stock in the winter and a Catcher program in the summer. I just didn't know the PROM had a finite lifespan. It's almost like you are rolling the dice every time you change your tune.

 

One of the small reason I went to a wire tapped module and not a programmer.

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There is  a  pile  of   rebuilders  out there that   will rebuild your  ecm...  a little  cheaper than   outright exchange,  but   down time  is  longer.

I  did  my son's   dodge stealth this way...  sent them  the  box,  and  about  a week later had it  back.  

I see    most   rebuilding services  are  about  450-550  for the  cummins  box.

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There is  a  pile  of   rebuilders  out there that   will rebuild your  ecm...  a little  cheaper than   outright exchange,  but   down time  is  longer.

I  did  my son's   dodge stealth this way...  sent them  the  box,  and  about  a week later had it  back.  

I see    most   rebuilding services  are  about  450-550  for the  cummins  box.

  

The question I have is one better than the other? I have my original ECU and the one in the truck hasn't put me in limp mode yet so time isn't too much of an issue.

The EEPROM in our ECU is good for 30,000 erase/program cucles. Right from the data sheet. Ed

Good to know. So at my current rate of a maximum of four reprogram cycles a year with the Smarty it should last 750 years + on a new ECU. Now to find a new ECU, or at least a lightly used ECU.

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The EEPROM in our ECU is good for 30,000 erase/program cucles. Right from the data sheet.

 

Ed

 

I stand corrected after Ed looked it up. There is another section of the PROM that is limited to 1,000 cycles but not the area the programmer typically changes. Thanks ED for the info!

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The whole reason I love this page is that the information is as factual as is known. Just trying to help with that...... And the owner aint a bad guy, either.

 

The 1,000 read write section, I think is the bootstrap section, which should only get programmed once., as it is the control section of how the chip operates. They can be sourced from suppliers with that part already programmed, or use a BDM cable to program it.

 

Ed

Edited by Yankneck696
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just curious,  but isn't  a  'load' cycle  every time you   hit the  key...  and  the  program is  sent to the prom?    even then,   30k  keyed  events   would  take  a lot of  years

 

 

edit  for   even more   dumb  question:      like in  our  laptops,   a  program  is  just stored   until needed,  then it's loaded  for  'work'.   Correct?

Edited by rancherman
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The question I have is one better than the other? I have my original ECU and the one in the truck hasn't put me in limp mode yet so time isn't too much of an issue.

Good to know. So at my current rate of a maximum of four reprogram cycles a year with the Smarty it should last 750 years + on a new ECU. Now to find a new ECU, or at least a lightly used ECU.

That is  the  million dollar  question.       I went with  claimed  warrantee,    customer reviews..       I searched   high and low  yesterday for  the   rebuilder that did  ours,   I would've  sworn it was  in  Kentucky..     There's  several listed in  Fla,   One in  Tx.,   and  Minn.

 

Don't be surprised  on  warranty  stuff that says   "only work covered is  their  'fix'"       how the  heck would   WE  prove  otherwise?

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OK, the EEPROM (Electronic Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory--- From here on known as "Flash") is what is reprogrammed by a DRB3, Smarty, Hypertech,(Or any "Downloader).

This unit is capable of storing 512KB  or 256KB (Kilobytes [1000 bytes]). It needs special signals to put in "Program mode", erase, verify erase, program & verify the programming. That is a cycle.

 

These flash chips are organized into a "16KB boot block, 2 8KB parameter blocks" (Most likely preprogrammed at the factory & are non accessable 1000 erase write cycles), and the remaining blocks are regular data blocks (30,000 erase write cycles). There is 64k of RAM available, in the 2 32Kx8 SRAM chips.

 

There is a compressed program in the lower 16K (boot block) that gets decompressed into RAM at startup, only if certain conditions are met.

 

The RAM (Random Access Memory) is what we believe to be the failure point in the ECMs. I cannot find the read write limit on them, but what is generally accepted is that as the beginning of the 64KB of RAM gets worn out from repetitive cycles at startup, the FLASH chip looks for a new address to put the startup block. Hence, the delayed WTS lamp. Now, if you do the math, you can only wipe out so much RAM, before it has no space to store the data it must move back & forth between the FLASH & the rest of the ECU.

 

This is why on certain PC softwares, there is a minimum RAM requirement & with intensive video games, you need much more & a high performance video card with Gigs of RAM itself to function.

 

Just as an example, the TRS-80 Model 12 offered 64KB of RAM. THAT WAS IN 1979 !!!!!  That is what our trucks are running on.

 

There's your lesson for the day.

 

Ed

Edited by Yankneck696
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 Like  I  said .....  ask  a  dumb  question..  and    get    educated!         Thanks   yankneck.        this is  why  I  like  THIS   site..        You  guys   are patient,  courteous,    and  willing to  'teach'.   Thanks  again  obiwan. :thumb1:

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