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ECU damage/repair

This page is a collection of pages to document ECU damage and repair concerns. We often receive ECUs that have significant corrosion from caps leakage or have severely botched socket jobs. We want people to see these pictures so they can evaluate their own ECU before it's even sent to us. We're hoping this will reduce the shock factor later when the ECU arrives here and we have to break the bad news.

If you see that your ECU has problems, you can schedule an ECU service request here:

Generally speaking, we have to get the ECU in here to do an estimate. Estimates by e-mail just aren't practical because there are too many little things we can't see and not everyone sends decipherable pictures anyway. So expect to have to box the ECU up and ship it in if you want us to provide an accurate estimate.

Botched socket jobs

Often someone will try to do the socket work themselves either to save a buck or to reduce down time. But seriously, if you don't know what you're doing, you could very easily be increasing your costs and down time while compromising your own ECU's working condition all at the same time. It's just not a good idea.

Motto: Friends don't let friends (or incompetent shops for that matter) socket their ECUs.

Corrosion examples

Leaking capacitors and the resulting corrosion are the biggest problems the older ECUs face. This is a major concern for the 1990-1993 ECUs. This is less a concern for the 1994-1995 ECUs, but we've seen leaking caps on those too! It's far less common, but still something we have to check while the ECU is here.

Look at these examples to learn how to identify potential problems yourself.

  • Example #1 - Example of how to identify corrosion
  • Example #2 - Leakage under the heatsink is harder to see, but more expensive to repair
  • Example #3 - A partially disassembled ECU to show just how extensive caps leakage can be
  • Example #4 - Just a collection of corrosion pictures to show more examples of what to look for.
  • Before/after - What an ugly ECU looks like before and then after service here
  • 2G Example #1 - The 2G (1995) ECUs are also starting to show signs of damage!
  • Good Example #1 - Pictures of some nice boards for comparison

Motto: Replace those caps and clean up the corrosive residue!


These are examples of various types of damage (or general problems) we see here. Use this to help get an idea of what might be wrong with your own ECU when you are experiencing difficulties.

  • Blown driver chip - A bad ISC (idle stepper control) motor, for example, can damage the driver inside the ECU
  • Overvoltage - This is what happens when caps leak bad enough to destory voltage regulation inside the ECU.
  • Spaghetti wires - Ever heard of “spaghetti code”? Well, here's the ECU rework equivalent.
  • 1G ECU identification - Every once in a while, someone will send us a strange ECU or an ECU with a mixed bag of parts. This page includes some tips to help ID these goofy things.
  • Reverse power - How to check a 2G DSM ECU for the relatively common problem of having reversed the polarity of battery cables while attempting to jump start the engine.

Other shops

Sometimes people will send us an ECU that some “other” shop has worked on before. Sometimes that's perfectly fine. Other times (more often), it's a miserable mess. Here's where you'll find examples of some miserable messes.

  • Bad work #1 - Clear RTV? Ugh. And what's that big long, ugly wire for!?
  • Bad work #2 - Wow. I have to at least give credit for even attempting this one.
ecurepairhome.txt · Last modified: 2024/03/15 11:16 (external edit)