: Did Car Toys Fry My ECM?!



cmgrafmc
03-01-05, 09:19 PM
That ominous "Check Engine Light" came on immediately after Car Toys finished installing my new alarm system. It's a fairly basic install except that I had them wire the trunk so I can pop the lid with the remote. I talked to the install tech, a really nice guy, and he had me bring the car back into the garage and we all looked at it for a while. They checked the fuses, checked their wiring. They suggested that I drive it for a day to see if the light would turn off: they wondered if they'd triggered something in the computer by disconnecting the battery or something. He said he's happy to work with me to find out what's wrong. It's been 3 or so days and the light is still on. I believe with my model that the light remains on until the codes are pulled.

I attempted to pull the codes by grounding terminal B to terminal A. Nothing happened. I took it to my friend's muffler shop and had them connect their scanner...nothing. BEST CASE SCENARIO: The ALDL port/wiring is and has been bad since I purchased the car. I replace it, read and clear the code(s). WORST CASE SCENARIO: Car Toys fried my ECM.

My trusted Cadillac service tech will talk with the installer on Thursday. She seems to think that Car Toys should pay for a diagnostic. My Caddy service tech is a real tiger and if she thinks Car Toys should pay, she'll fight on my behalf to get that done. If a diagnostic indicates that Car Toys did something to casue this problem, I don't know if she'll have any luck in getting them to pay for a new ECM.

So, two questions: Does anyone here have any thoughts as to what Car Toys may have accidentally done that would fry my ECM? (They removed the original grounding screw--the one connecting to the frame--and replaced it with a new one. Any chance..?) And...if the ECM IS fried and I have to pay for it myself, should I just suck it up and have my dealer fix it for about $650?! (Yikes!) I doubt I could do it myself, unless it's as simple as removing some screws and replacing a box or something. I'm not about to go mucking around where I don't know my a$$ from my elbow.

ANY thoughts or advice are appreciated.:banghead:

Spock
03-01-05, 09:42 PM
ECM usually concerns things that effect fuel efficiency/exhaust systems e.t.c.

I suggest that you disconnect your battery to clear the codes and wait to see if they reoccur.

Wouldn't be a huge deal though if the light is on if your car is running just fine...

cmgrafmc
03-01-05, 09:48 PM
Somewhere I read to disconnect the GROUND for the battery for about 30 seconds. I'm not sure if I believe that. Wouldn't I want to disconnect the +? Oh, and yeah, it's not the end of the world if the ECM is out, but, in two years I'll have to go through DEQ again...They won't even test if the light is on. I suppose I could yank the fuse for the light, assuming it's not shared with something important. Thanks for the suggestion, Spok.

FASSTWOOD
03-01-05, 09:50 PM
I doubt your computer is fried. Is the car running rough, or have any hesitation. You mentioned they wired the trunk remote. Located under the dash panel by the glove box is where you would tap in to the trunk wire. Thats near your map and baro sensors maybe they disconnected the hose or electrical connections to one of the sensors.

cmgrafmc
03-01-05, 10:50 PM
Engine seems to be running very well. I've had the car about 2 weeks. The exhaust smells a little rich but not like oil. Anway, since the ALDL isn't working, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's just some bad soldering or pin connections. I was told I could remove the ECM fuse for 30 seconds to clear the codes but it didn't seem to work. I'll have to try the battery tomorrow when it's light out. =P Thanks, guys!

Spock
03-01-05, 11:17 PM
You could just disconnect them both, positive and negative for...the night? Not *everything* needs to happen now :P

On our cars I'd guesstimate that it's the mixture control solenoid.

ocjmakaveli
03-02-05, 02:02 AM
i think car toys was very helpful in checking your car out for you because in my opinion it's very unlikely the car alarm caused the problem.

Now if the light was on from the time that they gave you the car then i would consider them to blame for it but if it happened a few days later it might've been dumb bad luck or the seller could have sold it to you because it was starting to go bad.

A car alarm can cause very few problems but it doesn't have any connections made to the ecm. especially a basic alarm.

even complex alarms only have about 10-15 wires and most are related to door and starter connections etc.

Only reason they could have something done would be if they cut a wire completely but you should have had the light come on instantly.

I don't know if you actually have any evidence that is 100% certain it's their fault try to take it to a couple shops to diagnose the problem and if it could be car toys fault then make them pay for it but if not its just dumb bad luck.

btw if the car aint broke dont fix it :shhh:

Scottie in Alabama
03-02-05, 11:05 PM
That ominous "Check Engine Light" came on immediately after Car Toys finished installing my new alarm system. It's a fairly basic install except that I had them wire the trunk so I can pop the lid with the remote. I talked to the install tech, a really nice guy, and he had me bring the car back into the garage and we all looked at it for a while. They checked the fuses, checked their wiring. They suggested that I drive it for a day to see if the light would turn off: they wondered if they'd triggered something in the computer by disconnecting the battery or something. He said he's happy to work with me to find out what's wrong. It's been 3 or so days and the light is still on. I believe with my model that the light remains on until the codes are pulled.

I attempted to pull the codes by grounding terminal B to terminal A. Nothing happened. I took it to my friend's muffler shop and had them connect their scanner...nothing. BEST CASE SCENARIO: The ALDL port/wiring is and has been bad since I purchased the car. I replace it, read and clear the code(s). WORST CASE SCENARIO: Car Toys fried my ECM.

My trusted Cadillac service tech will talk with the installer on Thursday. She seems to think that Car Toys should pay for a diagnostic. My Caddy service tech is a real tiger and if she thinks Car Toys should pay, she'll fight on my behalf to get that done. If a diagnostic indicates that Car Toys did something to casue this problem, I don't know if she'll have any luck in getting them to pay for a new ECM.

So, two questions: Does anyone here have any thoughts as to what Car Toys may have accidentally done that would fry my ECM? (They removed the original grounding screw--the one connecting to the frame--and replaced it with a new one. Any chance..?) And...if the ECM IS fried and I have to pay for it myself, should I just suck it up and have my dealer fix it for about $650?! (Yikes!) I doubt I could do it myself, unless it's as simple as removing some screws and replacing a box or something. I'm not about to go mucking around where I don't know my a$$ from my elbow.

ANY thoughts or advice are appreciated.:banghead:

There is a wire in front of the engine, sorry don't know what its called or what its for, but it plugs in near the oil fill next to the thermostat. I had a similar problem, plugged it in and whoala! no light. It's possible that while fumbling around in there, they may have unplugged it. Push some of those hoses back gently and see if it is unplugged. Worth a try!

Scottie

cmgrafmc
03-03-05, 04:12 PM
The light came on IMMEDIATELY after they reconnected the battery and started the car. It wasn't on before, the tech and I remember that. He even said it came on after he started the car so that's why he's interested in finding out the problem. He is being very helpful, I agree. It could be dumb luck, yes, but my Cadillac dealer wants to talk with Car Toys and see if anything could have happened.

I disconnected the battery and the light still comes and stays on. I'll probably be able to talk with the Car Toys tech today. I don't know that I blame them, but it IS a coincidence and I think he's as curious about it as I am.

Oh, thanks for the tip, Scottie. I'll check it out.

cmgrafmc
03-06-05, 06:00 PM
So Cadillac service says it's not the ECM. It's most likely a relay switch for the service light...if Car Toys tapped into that to power anything or ground anything, it would cause the light to come on. There are no codes to read so nothing is wrong with the computer or the engine. Tomorrow, Cadillac will take the stereo out (the relay is behind the stereo), following Car Toys' instructions. If someone tapped into the relay then Car Toys will pay for the diagnostic and the repair. =) Glad to know it doesn't seem to be anything serious.

On the downside and not related (that I know of!), I only got 9 MPG this last week. UGH. I'd been around 15. Ca-CHING!

FASSTWOOD
03-07-05, 08:25 PM
Usually when the light is on the car goes into sort of a safe mode "open loop" this would cause the mileage to drop. I never heard of a realy for the check engine light...








'

cmgrafmc
03-08-05, 04:21 AM
Okay. Car Toys looked again and doesn't really know where the problem is. The wiring diagram shows the "remote lamp driver module" feeding to the D pin on the ALDL, which is the SES light. Now, since the ALDL isn't functioning but the computer is okay, I'm wondering if it's the wire from the diagnostic test terminal on the ECM leading to the ALDL test terminal that has some problem. This would account for the ALDL not functioning...I think.

Similarly, if the wires from Pin D are somehow bungled it might trigger the SES light, but I'm not sure why it would cause the ALDL to stop working. So my overall guess at this point is that it's the connection from the ECM to the ALDL that's kaflouey. So where the heck is the ECM? Heh. Anyway, Car Toys was very helpful and even replaced the cheap-o antenna switch they'd put in with one I bought on E-bay from a '75 Brougham--FOR FREE. Looks totally factory now. =) I'll try poking around in there to look for this "Remote Lamp Driver Module," which is apparently behind the stereo. Anyway, Car Toys is still willing to pay for everything if it's their fault. At least they're nice about it.

Stay tuned...or don't. =P

cmgrafmc
03-18-05, 07:45 PM
So now things are going from bad to worse. My A/C doesn't work, though the compressor is fine. It needs some R12 and maybe a power control module (approx. $425 with parts/R12/labor). The light is still on, the ECM throws no codes. The light circut must be grounded somewhere...but wait! My mileage is down from 15 to 9...so is the ECM to blame? Maybe! Who the heck knows? So I'll have to spend some serious moolah just to find out what MIGHT be wrong...then more money to pay to actually fix everything. Anyone want to buy an '89 Brougham in near-showroom condition?

cmgrafmc
04-13-05, 06:39 PM
VERY INTERESTING but I don't know what it ultimately means. I just got back from the garage where they diagnosed and FIXED my problem. My mechanic is a very straight shooter and a great guy. "I can't for the life of me figure out what the hell was done to it or why or how, but your computer looks like it was never even hooked up to begin with!"

How's THAT for comforting? So they rewired my fuse panel and connected a 3 AMP fuse; the computer wasn't even GETTING any power so that's why nothing worked. My MAP sensor, O2, knock sensor, all that stuff was USELESS. I have no idea how long that had been going on, when it started, why, etc. etc. But Car Toys doesn't seem to have played any part in it at all. It was just some cosmic coincidence or perhaps fidgeting around with things finally caused that little light to come on. I was driving around in "Limp Home" mode for a month or so, which I figured was the case. So now, $235 later, it's fixed and I'm excited. I'll nearly double my mileage and that darned amber light isn't on any more! Hallelujah.

Unless anyone has any theories about the computer never having been connected (factory mess up? Previous owner's mechanic a screwball?), I guess this thread can be closed.

Pianoman72
04-14-05, 11:54 AM
Lol. Reminds me of when you are having a problem with something and you look in the manual and it says "STEP 1: Make sure power cord is connected to wall socket"

well DUH

Of course in this case, not so obvious. Never would have guessed that. Glad you got it all working and it's a good story, too.

cmgrafmc
04-14-05, 07:56 PM
Yeah, but the heck of it is, there is no earthly reason WHY the ECM wasn't powered. I mean, we're talking NOT connected even at the factory, quite possibly. I don't know HOW this car could have been on the road since 1989 without the ECM...especially since several functions are monitored or controlled by it. My mechanic was completely astounded and he's worked on classic cars, new cars, every kind of car since 1968! The danged thing was never even wired to the fuse panel to begin with! A TOTAL mystery without any real answer. Where's Scooby and the gang when you need them?

cmgrafmc
04-24-05, 03:46 AM
Just got back from a run to the airport. The drive out was okay, I could do 65 as long as I didn't use cruise control, although it was difficult at times. On the way back, however, with 4 other people and luggage, I had to floor it to maintain 60 MPH. NO surprise there, naturally.

What DOES surprise me is that I'm still only getting about 9 MPG even after the ECM was connected. So what the heck is going on? I'm thinking the ECM was disconnected because it didn't work, so someone bypassed it..? The whole situation makes no sense but no matter how you dice it, my mileage is awful. Worse than awful. Connecting the ECM made no difference, it seems, other than to turn off my CE light. (Yea!)

Could the ECM be faulty without it giving any other indications? Could it be funtioning properly while something else is to blame? Will the Trail Blazers ever win another Championship? Thoughts, comments, insults?

65deville
04-25-05, 07:50 PM
I'm not full of knowledge on Cadillac's, but in my experience wrenching on GM's, it is sometimes possible that the ECM will "feel out" your driving conditions, and adjust its perameters accordingly. Sometimes taking a week or 2. Give it some time, drive it like you would any given day, and see what happens.

cmgrafmc
04-26-05, 04:08 AM
It's been a week so far. I'd heard about the learning curve on the ECM but didn't think it'd take up to two weeks. I have an appointment on Wednesday morning anyway, but maybe I should have given it an extra week. I just kinda wanted to get it back in there ASAP so he'd know it wasn't fixed yet. Maybe I jumped the gun, but, it's fine because the thing sounds like it's pinging even with 92 octane gas. That doesn't jive with it running full/rich...I think. (I know nothing.) I'm a perfectionist but I can't afford perfection right now. LOL On the bright side, I spray painted my cup holder today and it blends in perfectly now. =D

cmgrafmc
05-03-05, 07:59 PM
I'm starting to think that Car Toys disconnected my ECM to hide the fact that when they replaced the vehicle's ground wire, they fried it and all the sensors. I have no proof, no idea why they'd go to that trouble when they could just remove the light bulb in the dash. LOL I'm just flinging accusations because nobody knows how the ECM was disconnected. It worked when I bought the car because my MPG was good and I had no trouble. Car Toys, alarm install, CE light, ECM disconnected, ALDL stops working and all hell breaks loose. Coincidence? I'm so damned sick of trying to figure this crap out, I just wanna drive the damned thing and be happy again! GRRRRRRRRRRR.


Sorry, had to vent.

Pianoman72
05-04-05, 04:22 PM
Ok yeah it looks like you got screwed by somebody at Car Toys. Nobody can admit when they make a mistake anymore. What they don't have insurance in case someone messes up?

Might want to pull that alarm back out and get the factory wiring straightened out.

Plus, if they screwed it up that bad you are going to want somebody to steal it.

cmgrafmc
05-04-05, 08:30 PM
Well, I've gotten the wiring figured out. As far as two independent mechanics can tell, Car Toys did everything exactly right. Car Toys has told me again and again that if they did something wrong, they'll pay for repairs. The computer is reconnected, the alarm works but I'm not convinced that the computer is working correctly. I'm having some more diagnostics done next week.

All I have is the belief that the computer was working before Car Toys worked on it. I didn't notice any problems. The mechanic who worked on it before I bought it said he doesn't remember testing the ALDL but he believes the computer must have been working or else I'd have had these problems all along.

I'll talk with Car Toys again in a couple days but I have NO proof that their installer, a nice guy, disconnected the ECM from the fuse panel. Without any substantive proof I doubt I'll get Car Toys to fess up, if they really DID something wrong.