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Old 28th March 2012, 10:37   #1
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Question ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

I have a 2006 Innova which has done 1,10,000 kms.

Recently, The car started emitting white smoke during start-up. The smoke then went away after around 30 seconds and then only came when the engine crossed 3000 rpm.
This happened almost at every cold start.

I took the car to the service centre (Shinrai Toyota, Mumbai) and they said that the got a error code saying the fuel pump is not delivering enough pressure. They have deleted the error code and they say that according to Toyota instructions, they need to first flash the ECU. They warn me that the ECU could be bricked while flashing and if that happens I will have to shell out 35,000 Rs. for a new ECU !!
They also say that if the flashing does not solve the problem, they will check the EGR valve and clean the silencer.

Now, the question is, why does the ECU need to be flashed ?
Also, as they are not sure about the problem, how can they flash the ECU and risk it being bricked and ask me to pay for it ?
I asked them to put another ECU and the check if the ECU was indeed the problem and if found so, to go ahead and flash my ECU. But they have bluntly refused to do that.
I feel I am being fleeced here.

What should be my plan of action now?


On a side note, I tried searching on my own for the said problem and found out the injector leakage could be the issue. Please advice.
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Old 28th March 2012, 10:52   #2
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

Injector issues and fuel pump problems should not result in white smoke. My suspicion is on either the turbo or the piston rings.

Is the smoke white or bluish? You can do a simple test. On the first cold start of the day hold a tissue paper near the exhaust for a few seconds and then smell that paper. Does it smell like burnt oil? If it does then the culprit most likely is piston rings.

Another thing, if they are talking about the ECU getting bricked while flashing then they don't know how to do it properly. If done according to proper procedure then there should be no chance of the ECU getting bricked.
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Old 28th March 2012, 11:01   #3
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

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Originally Posted by vikram_d View Post
Injector issues and fuel pump problems should not result in white smoke. My suspicion is on either the turbo or the piston rings.

Is the smoke white or bluish? You can do a simple test. On the first cold start of the day hold a tissue paper near the exhaust for a few seconds and then smell that paper. Does it smell like burnt oil? If it does then the culprit most likely is piston rings.

Another thing, if they are talking about the ECU getting bricked while flashing then they don't know how to do it properly. If done according to proper procedure then there should be no chance of the ECU getting bricked.
Piston rings was my first guess too, but there has been no drop in oil level. Also, the smoke does not smell like oil at all.

On some international forums, it was mentionaed that the white smoke is basically excess fuel. Some engines had their injectors dripping through the night and thus there was fuel in the cylinders and this caused the smoke on start-up. I hope that is not the case cause injectors are damn expensive.

Coming to the ECU flashing, I agree to your point.
But then, suppose it does brick, why should I pay for it ? They should first make sure that the ECU indeed is the culprit. What say ?
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Old 28th March 2012, 11:21   #4
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

You are right, get a working ECU swapped (use a trusted friends ECU, afetr requesting him) to rule out this issue.

Then move to the other areas depending on the results.
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Old 28th March 2012, 11:28   #5
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

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Originally Posted by jalsa777 View Post
Piston rings was my first guess too, but there has been no drop in oil level. Also, the smoke does not smell like oil at all.

On some international forums, it was mentionaed that the white smoke is basically excess fuel. Some engines had their injectors dripping through the night and thus there was fuel in the cylinders and this caused the smoke on start-up. I hope that is not the case cause injectors are damn expensive.

Coming to the ECU flashing, I agree to your point.
But then, suppose it does brick, why should I pay for it ? They should first make sure that the ECU indeed is the culprit. What say ?
I always was under the impression that excess or un-burnt diesel was always black in colour. If the injectors truly are at fault then you can try using some cleaning additive in the fuel and see if that helps. The injectors may just be clogged up by some minor dirt which might be causing the dripping.

If they brick the ECU while flashing then they have to fix it and pay for it. Not you.

You can also try what Dadu has recommended.

Last edited by vikram_d : 28th March 2012 at 11:29.
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Old 28th March 2012, 11:35   #6
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

Get the Fuel Pump checked separately, and the injectors. I had a similar problem a few months back, and the culprit was a mis-timed fuel pump.

I cannot imagine, why someone would want to play with the ECU for soemthing like this. Can somebody enlighten me here?
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Old 28th March 2012, 11:42   #7
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

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Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
Get the Fuel Pump checked separately, and the injectors. I had a similar problem a few months back, and the culprit was a mis-timed fuel pump.

I cannot imagine, why someone would want to play with the ECU for soemthing like this. Can somebody enlighten me here?
Which car did you face this problem in ?

Exactly my point. Why would someone flash the ECU for this ? (In a diesel vehicle, the ECU only controls the injection timing and duration and not much else)

One more thing, the service advisor kept refering to black smoke, I had to correct him many times telling his that it is white smoke and not black smoke.
Is he still mistaken and applying solutions related to black smoke ?
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Old 28th March 2012, 12:00   #8
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

^^ It was a TD2650FTI. :-)
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Old 28th March 2012, 12:02   #9
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

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Originally Posted by jalsa777 View Post
One more thing, the service advisor kept refering to black smoke, I had to correct him many times telling his that it is white smoke and not black smoke.
Ok I did some research about unburnt diesel. Unburnt diesel will come out as white smoke and partially burnt diesel will come out as black smoke.

So looks like your cause may be the injectors dripping as you mentioned earlier. My first suggestion would be use some injector cleaner additive and see if it helps.
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Old 28th March 2012, 12:24   #10
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Default

Use a diesel injector cleaner from STP. I don't remember its name.you have to add the whole bottle to a tank full of diesel . I remember getting it once from reliance auto zone. You can try that as your first shot
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Old 28th March 2012, 12:35   #11
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

Injector cleaning using solvents is a good first step. Since the vehicle has done 1.1 lakh kms it might be a good idea to do a complete clean up and calibration of the the injector and fuel system (if need be).

Side note: ECU getting bricked is a low probability thing if done by professionals, its like updating phone firmware. So an authorized shop doing it with OE equipment and software should not cause bricking.
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Old 28th March 2012, 13:08   #12
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

IMO, White Smoke is mainly due to burnt coolant. Especially if a sweet smell is coming through the exhaust. If so, you might be facing overheating, and head gasket might be the culprit.

Other than that, a mistimed fuel pump will also be the culprit. I had white smoke on my new Jeep, and calibrating the fuel pump did the trick.
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Old 29th March 2012, 07:49   #13
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

If Toyota dealers say that ECU can get bricked, then for sure they have never done that job before or not trained properly. ECU wont get damaged that easily unless something really stupid is done with it.

Regarding smoke, if its not black smoke, then the piston rings are fine, but the problem here could be the gasket. Innova engine wont have a problem at 1.1 lakh kms.
IMO, dhanushs is correct. White smoke = coolant getting burnt.
But at the same time, clean the injectors also. Considering the quality of fuel we get in general, it could help eliminate a doubt.
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Old 29th March 2012, 11:23   #14
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

Are you by any chance using Premium fuel. If so revert to normal.
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Old 29th March 2012, 11:30   #15
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Default Re: ECU Flashing for white smoke problem in Innova ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
Are you by any chance using Premium fuel. If so revert to normal.
The car has always been filled with normal diesel.
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