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Thread: ECU blown?!?

  1. #1
    torrent99's Avatar
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    ECU blown?!?

    Hoping someone with more experience can help here. (sorry for the huge post!)

    I have a 52 plate 1.6 8V Auto Astra roughly 78K. 1 week ago it was scampering about North London, it now appears to be almost dead...

    The story so far:

    Just before Xmas (around 22nd Dec) noticed that the heater wasn't working properly, checked the coolant level, & it was at the bottom of the tank. So topped it up. Everything fine, did the great Xmas migration (London, Liverpool, Manchester, Lincoln, London). No problems not an issue. [ NOT SURE IF THIS IS REALLY RELEVANT BUT JUST IN CASE]

    Used the car on Sat 22nd, checked the levels (oil fine [2nd notch], coolant OK). Approx 10miles around London.

    Sun 23rd a friend borrowed the car for a trip to Southend, on the way back it broke down.

    Symptoms losing power at speed, cutting out, had to be pushed off the motorway.
    Car could start, but very rough idle and cuts out when revved up. Engine management light lit.

    Rescue services called, thought it was fuel related, unable to fix so taken to garage.

    The garage have:
    DAY 1:-
    1) Changed and flushed the oil (said it was very low hmm), flushed engine [ALARM BELLS]
    2) Changed spark plugs. Noted spark plugs "covered in fuel".

    DAY 2:-
    3) Changed coolant sensor. (hmmm)
    4) Have checked fault codes & Changed crank sensor.
    It worked (apparently), so they moved it out of the workshop. Car then refused to start again.

    DAY 3:-
    5) After multiple phone calls with demands to call and no response ,
    finally they call me and say:
    OBD is giving very large numbers of fault codes (won't tell me what they are), indicated all sorts of sensors and relays faulty.
    Immobiliser light coming on.
    Car unresponsive.

    They think the chip in the key is faulty [key is original and worked for last 6 years], and have requested the spare to check. If that doesn't work they want to send it to Vauxhall.

    Now up until Day 3 this sounds like the classic EGR/Throttle body kind of problems. The crank sensor sound plausible too.

    My private diagnosis is a dead ECU (due to the multiple fault codes and non-working immobiliser).


    1) Can anyone advise me what to do next? Having read the horror stories of the amount Vauxhall dealers charge I'm loath to send it to them.

    2) I'm considering buying an ECU (£245 on the bay) and fitting it myself. It doesn't look too difficult. Anyone done this? Was it difficult?

    3) Do you agree with my diagnosis? Any other options? (I've considered the wiring but that's worse than the ECU!)

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    zonedemon's Avatar
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    ECU were built to last, and they record any faults they find.
    the best thing u can do is do as it says, im sure the garage have tried resetting the ecu and its still showing the same codes?

    btw u sure ur mate hasnt tampered with the wiring inside the car, just under the handbreak is a cover a diagnostic machine plugs directly into that for the codes but there is a paperclip test, just saying if u volted it to the ecu that could have damaged the ecu itself.

    as for the immobiliser problem, could be as simple as the ignition transmitter that reads the chip being faulty, have a look at that while ur at it if it aint starting up and has the key warning sign?

    btw if u buy the ecu, make sure it comes with the immobiliser box and the ignition transfer ring, and keys/ignition barrel, the immobiliser is programmed to your ecu only so wont work just changing that part.

  3. #3
    hopperbass's Avatar
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    I'm not by any means an expert but these symptoms are very similar to a problem I had on a Corsa C a couple of years ago. To cut a long story after lots of tests and trying differnet sensors my mechanic took the ecu off and exammined the contents to find a couple of cracked solders. He promptly filled the cracks with solder put it back together and all was back to normal. I guess vauxhall or even some independents would't do this kind of work but it can be done.

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