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Joe
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys, Joe here from Albany, OR with a 2001 beetle 1.8 turbo with a bad ECM. Does anyone know how to make a ECM from a different Beetle work in mine after swapping it for one from a wrecking yard? I have an ECM from the same year, engine, manual trans, everything identical to mine and it starts fine but after a couple seconds it shuts down when it realizes it's in the wrong car. I've tried leaving the ignition on overnight and removing both positive & negative battery terminals and touching them together but nothing seems to work. The immobilizer still shuts it off after a few seconds. I'm trying to avoid having it towed to the dealer to have them do it...Has anyone else had success doing this or should I just give up and send the original module in to be repaired? If you're wondering what happened to the original ECM, I was replacing a bad crankshaft position sensor by the oil filter and when I unplugged it one of the wires came out of the plug and grounded on the block and the ignition was on and the battery was still connected..Duh! Not paying attention to what I was doing obviously! So anyways if anyone can help me get that immobilizer to quit killing the engine that would be awesome...Thanks guys!
 

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Well, programming is required for you to use the new/used ecu and that would require special tools like vag tacho and vcds by ross tech.

Here is a video discussing the matching process using vcds by ross tech:

https://youtu.be/J5_51qeEyec

While you could technically do this yourself; you would need to rent or purchase; vcds and vagtacho, learn how to do the whole process yourself, for most people, this programming is best left to others to handle and you save time/money by swapping the ecu yourself.

Another option is to have the programming cloned from the eeprom chip; transferred from the old ecu and have hex data put on the new/used ecu (no programming required by you; all the original immobilizer coding/key matching is intact, plug/play job done).

This can be done by a number of online shops that offer ecu/cluster repair; one that some have used with good results is ian at reflect tuning. You might contact him, discuss your situation and see what he recommends you do and the costs involved.

http://reflecttuning.com

Another programming option; is to delete the immobilizer from the ecu and the car would start fine but the security system would be disabled.

https://youtu.be/R98vKo8y15Q

Lastly, you could ship out your original ecu for repair and if repairable, would still have the original programming intact, plug/play, job done.

Many online vendors, like bba reman; offer this service but cloning the programming to your new/used ecu, maybe easier, assuming your used cluster is good.

https://www.google.com/search?q=vw+ecu+repair+service&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

If you want the least hassle and most cost effective repair process done; I would recommend having Reflect Tuning do the programming swap/cloning if you want to retain the key security system intact or have the immobilizer deleted. This would not require any programming on your end; you would just ship out the two ecu's for the programming to Reflect Tuning and when, you get the good ecu back, reinstall it in the car, plug/play, job done.

So, hopefully, all of the ecu repair/programming options make sense; if you have any more questions, let us know. Thanks.
 

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Joe
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Discussion Starter #3
OK well thanks for the info..I think I'll just send the original to Circuit Solutions/Module Masters in Idaho for repairs, that way I'll have no issues for $150 plus shipping...Thank you bud!
 

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Sounds good, keep us updated; on the ecu repair, who you sent it to and how it works out for you. We are always, looking for solid feedback; on different repair service solutions, for people on this site and that way, we can recommend them, based upon good feedback from actual users (like yourself). Thanks.
 

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Joe
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Discussion Starter #5
Well so far I can tell everyone to stay away from Module Experts in Jacksonville, FL. I already sent my ECM to them for repair and got screwed like many others, paid over $100 for them to keep it for 3 weeks doing nothing with it (supposed to be 3-5 day turn-around) to send it back, after I called wondering what the hold-up was 3 weeks later, no communication, saying that they tested it and found no issues. Then charged $100 for "diagnosing" it plus shipping that was 3 times the shipping that I paid to send it to them. You can see the black sealant has not been bothered so they never even opened the cover. It most definitely does have a problem, no reference voltage coming from ECM to the crank position/engine speed sensor, as I shorted it on the block replacing sensor. BBB shows 50 complaints against them, that's right 50, of the same general issues I had with them. DO NOT USE THEM! Module Masters in Idaho has 0 complaints filed in over a decade of business. And they charge nothing to diagnose them to see if they can repair it or not. If not you only pay return shipping..So please do spread the word so nobody from here gets the shaft from them as many of us have...I'll keep you updated on how business with Module Masters went...
 

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If it was me I’d have the delete done. At that point you’ll have a flashing immo light on your dash cluster. Pull the cluster and either use a bit of black paint to paint the immo bulb or a piece of black electrical tape to cover it. My daughters 01 beetle has had this done due to replacing a dead cluster.

Her car has worked fine for over two years now, I even forget that the immo doesn’t work and technically is flashing because you can’t see it. No one is going to steal an 18 year old car and most potential thieves can’t drive a stick anyway.
 

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Thanks for the info, feedback and on GOOD and BAD vendors, is always welcome! We all try to help each other out and the overall VW community. We have had quite a few members, send their speedo clusters to BBA REMAN; many come back, as "not repairable", so I don't know about that. I used Ian @ Reflect Tuning, for zeroing out a speedo cluster; that swapped out for a bad one, on my new beetle. I have heard, about another long time repair center; called United Radio, never used them, they seem to have a good reputation and they could be another option.

https://www.unitedradio.com/automotive-electronics/repair-remanufacturing/

I had a Jetta 2.0L ecu repaired; it had the common, Bosch ignition driver chip failure and found a shop, who offered repair on ebay and they fixed it fine. I guess, you just have to decide; what is the best and most cost effective route to go and see, if your particular ecu is repairable, swap the coding or as noted, go the immo delete route. I had a long term, no start problem with the immobilizer, kicking on randomly; in my case, I eventually, narrowed things down to a bad speedo cluster, where the immobilizer chip is on the circuit board and I did the swap, coding myself. This was a lot of work and learning curve, using vagtacho, vcds and many hours, trying to figure, everything out. While, I learned allot and finally figured it out; for most people, I would leave the repairs, cloning of programming to others and that way, you can just install the repaired parts and be done with the repairs, plugs/play, job done.
 

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Joe
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Discussion Starter #8
So I ended up taking your advice and sending one of the ECM's to Reflect Tuning to have the immobilizer deleted. They were nice to deal with, no BS. I was disappointed when I got it back and put it in the car and it wouldn't idle and sounded terrible but I took it for a drive and it ran good on throttle but when trying to idle it had problems. I hoped it just needed to learn the car and would start to run well after a few short drives but no such luck, however the next day I came out, started it and it ran just fine. Thanks to everyone for the replies and advice, especially Billymade. You guys are awesome!
 

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Well, that is GREAT news! I am glad you finally; after all that hassle, got things handled! :) I have a feeling, that the idle issue; may have been, the loss of the throttle body alignment settings. This can be reset with a scan tool; like VCDS by Ross Tech but it can many times be reset, by just turning the ignition switch to the "on" position, not starting the engine and leaving it that way for a couple of minutes. It sounds like you may have inadvertently; gotten it to align or "reset" by driving or starting, turning the engine off a number of times, using the car for a couple of days. Regardless, you are "back on the road" and your immobilizer issues, are now gone for good! Thanks for the feedback: again, we are all glad, you are back up and running, driving your new beetle again! :)
 
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