Tag: ECU

By on November 2, 2018

Bob writes:

Hello Sajeev,

My wife’s 2012 Grand Caravan has a quirk: an intermittent no start condition when the key is inserted into the ignition and turned. Dash lights come on, but engine doesn’t crank. Doesn’t seem to matter if I cover the brake or not. Doesn’t seem to matter if the row the gear selector a couple times. After 3 or 4 attempts of turning the key it suddenly starts and drives.

I researched fuse boxes, but the symptoms don’t quite match. I researched the neutral switch device, but once again symptoms don’t quite match. Ignition switch might be the culprit? My red herrings:

  1. The car has stalled, intermittently, a half-dozen times while driving to work at roughly 35 mph. Pull over, and it restarts.
  2. My best friend’s wife has a 2013 Town & Country with the same problem. We were both shocked.
  3. When we first bought the car, we lost the one and only original key. So not wanting to pay the dealership fee of $500+, the internet found a guy who could do it from the back of his car for $200. The keys are Dodge keys, but not Grand Caravan specific. They have worked fine, but I wonder if once in a blue moon the ignition switch decides it doesn’t like the impostor keys? And my friend, who has the same problem, has their original keys?

The van has been a godsend for our three kids and dogs, so the idea of going to a SUV or Mega-truck sounds like a lot of money for less space, but I can’t have her driving around wondering if she will stall in traffic, or — more annoying — just can’t start after loading up to go somewhere with the kids. The dealership is useless unless they can replicate it. And it never does it when you want to show someone.

Perhaps the car is possessed by the ghost of passenger from its prior rental life? (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2016

 

iphone dongle. shutterstock user Zeynep Demir

Dan writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I’m looking for some advice on a reliable, yet affordable OBD-II scanner to look up and clear the check engine light (CEL) on my 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI. While a dedicated Ross-Tech VCDS would be ideal, the price and future ownership of this (or any other VAG) vehicle is not.

(Read More…)

By on January 27, 2016

2015 Smart Fortwo ED

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its Greenest and Meanest cars for 2016 — and it’s bookended by vehicles from Daimler.

That, Europe wants to open up ECU code, Bosch says “You wouldn’t understand, so why bother?” and GayWheels takes aim at a possibly tasteless German Opel advert about, erm, rear-ending … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on December 31, 2015

tdiengine

Volkswagen’s emissions cheating program closely follows a set of parameters that are very similar to those defined by the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), an engineer said this week.

The cheat exists in the ECU’s “main mode,” said Felix Domke, and triggers a normal dosage of urea and other exhaust controls to bring NOx emissions to within acceptable levels.

Domke presented his findings of an unpacked Volkswagen ECU to the 32nd Chaos Communication Congress in Germany.

His findings are mostly in line with what the automaker has already admitted: its 11 million cars worldwide cheated emissions tests by using two different modes for operation, and that its cars could pollute up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides when running normally.

But Domke, who said he owns a Volkswagen Sharan equipped with a 2-liter diesel engine, said his own observations showed a severe change in the ECU’s behavior when it exceeded the bounds of what it considered was an emissions test — more than what’s been reported so far.

(Read More…)

By on October 28, 2015

Honda-Accord-2008-091

Joel writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I am having an issue with my 2008 Honda Accord EX 5MT. I bought it with about 90,000 km (less than 60,000 miles) from a Honda dealer nine months ago. It was in good shape but was not babied. On the upshifts, there is a momentary … what could I call it … overrun? overspeed? Clutch in, accelerator off, the revs don’t drop right away; they almost seem to increase, but only for a moment.

On the downshifts, blipping requires more than a stab; I would call it a prod, a sustained stab of the accelerator.

(Read More…)

By on October 2, 2015

GM-Emissions-Lab

While working on a story about some very old cars, I stumbled upon something relevant to the latest big story in the automotive world.

I ran into a Model T collector who’s also a powertrain engineer for Ford. Seizing the opportunity, I asked him if he could tell me what he was working on (sometimes they say no). He said that he was responsible for developing computerized engine controls. Because of that expertise, I started to ask him some questions about the software program that Volkswagen apparently used to cheat on the EPA’s diesel emissions testing.

What he was willing to say and what he wouldn’t say intrigued me. (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2014

 

diagnosis. Shutterstock user Joyseulay

Evan writes:

Sajeev (Sanjeev need not apply),

My previous car was a MKV GTI that I, in my youthful excitement for all things automotive, chipped. I shelled out the big dollars (on sale) for the name brand company that had a good reputation as being conservative with their programming.

And yet, that car was nothing but trouble from that point on. Sure, I could have turned off the extra horsepower with a couple minutes time in a parking lot, but once you get that extra power going back is really hard. As a nonsmoker, I understand how hard quitting smoking must be now. I just couldn’t do it. So I lived with a car that ate a variety of parts all the way until I sold it, reset and locked into stock mode.

(Read More…)

By on January 18, 2012

TTAC Commentator Tree Trunk writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I comment on TTAC as Tree Trunk from the frozen tundra in interior Alaska and am looking for advice on how to deal with an out of control repair of an old beater. I have a ’95 Isuzu Rodeo with 130K that until recently had been a pretty low maintenance, reliable ride.

Out of the blue the check engine light came on and the engine stalled.  A handy friend checked all obvious things to get it running again without success.  It would start up run for a few min before reving wildly and then die.  Luckily I thought, it broke down close to a reputable shop (NAPA certified) so we towed it there.

Seven weeks and two thousand dollars, not to mention the rental car cost I am back at square one. First they diagnosed bad PCM, a rebuild unit was in five weeks later, two weeks behind schedule.  I made it half a mile down the road before it stalled again.

This time around it was supposedly a slack timing belt hitting the crankshaft sensor causing the engine to stall. Week and another thousand dollars later, after first ordering the wrong parts and then not all the needed parts the engine started up, but wouldn’t you know it stalled again.

In hindsight, I should have scrapped it the moment it broke down.  But short of finding a time machine that is not an option.

Now I am waiting the next call from the shop and need advice from you and the best and brightest. It seems obvious that the one or both of the diagnostics were faulty and some third thing is causing the stalling.

What do I do, keep paying with a smile, demand a full repair free of charge or something in-between?

Sajeev answers: (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2010

Toyota is a customer centric company. It now considers a recall that will please the vociferous crowd that thinks something is wrong with Toyota’s engine computer. Reuters reports that Toyota is discussing with NHTSA whether and how they should fix nearly 1.2 million Corolla and Matrix models. They are at risk of unintended stoppage. They might stall out because of flaws in their computer. (Read More…)

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