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Old 28th September 2010, 00:13   #1
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Default ECU malfunction on my Palio 1.2 ELX

It all happened in August when I was driving on the NH45, sedately and well under the speed limit when my Palio suddenly broke down. It was like turning off the ignition. The traffic was sparse, and I managed to change lanes and park. The car wouldnt start despite cranking repeatedly. I somehow managed to find a mechanic who diagnozed the problem to the timing belt or timing gear break down. He offered to tow the car to his garage and asked me to fetch the spares from Chennai to fix the problem.

We towed the car to his garage in Gingee - Tiruvannamalai district, and I took the bus and returned home. The next morning I purchased the timing belt, the timing crank shaft gear, cam shaft seal, and took the bus to take the spares to the garage to fix my car. The mechanic who was in ex TVS technician had already opened up the timing case. Apparently the timing belt was intact but the culprit it seems was the cam shaft seal which got ruptured and resulted in breaking of the timing crank shaft gear. The mechanic started work on my car - fixed the new timing belt, gear and seal. He also found out that the wires to the sensor (dont know what sensor but it was located beneath the timing belt case) were cut, and as a result of that the car wouldnt start at the first crank. Somehow he managed to put things together and started the car. But the car wasnt the same as it was before it broke down. There was a severe loss of power - the engine would buck and sputter when stepped on the accelerator, and it was even worse when the ac was switched on. The mechanic tried all things he knew but in vain. It dawned upon me that there wasnt much I could do to my car at this garage but best to take it back to Chennai and sort it at my regular garage.

Driving on the NH45 back to chennai was a pain but somehow I endured the journey and reached home safely. I took the car to my regular garage, and my mechanic suggested that I change the following:
a) Fuel filter
b) Sensor
c) Spark plugs)
d) Wires/coil connecting the spark plugs

And, Bingo! My problem was solved. The car felt much quieter, drove much smoother and even better than before. But not for long.... Three weeks later, there was a suddenly loss of power while driving. Not much help with turning the AC off. The engine was idling, but irresponsive to the accelerator, and the car finally stalled. I switched off the engine, restarted the car, slotted into the first gear, and the car wouldnt move. I was stuck in the middle of the road, and the cops helped me push the car to the side. And my palio had to be towed back to the garage yet again.

Diagnosis at the garage revealed that the electricals were fine, there was no block in the fuel injector, and finally the problem was diagnozed to be a busted valve and broken timing crank shaft gear. I had changed the timing gear a few weeks back. The head was opened up and sent to the lathe for some machining. A new timing gear, set of head gaskets and stuff were put together and the machined head was fixed back again. The car started and drove too but there was a loss of power and the engine would sputter at low RPM, and it was even worse when the AC was turned on. The drivabilty was very bad. The mechanic did a lot of checking and rechecking and resetting but in vain. All was well but yet the car would not drive well. The only thing that was not checked was the ECU. So the mechanic brought in a ECU from somewhere ( I reckon he borrowed it from another Palio), and fixed it to my car. The car started and all the loss of power issues simply vanished, and it drove well with the AC on.

The mechanic recommends the ECU to be changed to solve the problem, and the price he quoted for the ECU was Rs.8000/- I am ok to spend that money for replacing the ECU to get the car fixed and rolling. But I have a few questions, and request the BHPians and fellow Palio owners to guide me.

1) Can the ECU conk off just like that resulting in problems as listed above?
2) What would be the ideal cost of a used ECU for the Palio 1.2?
3) Is it advisable to go for a new ECU if it is available instead of a used one?
4) What other things if any should I bear in my mind before opting for the ECU change?

Looking forward to your suggestions and advice.

Regards,

Sparkglow
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Old 29th September 2010, 06:21   #2
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sparkglow, sad to hear about the breakdown you had.

ECU is an electrical part and we cant say how long it will last, my matiz had ECU Issues at 75k KM and i had to temporarily fix it and sell it informing the buyer. Tell me how old is your cal and whats your mileage ?

I suggest getting a second opinion regarding ECU from other A.S.S. and dont go for used ECU, its not advisable, ECU is like a mini computer which handles all your car's fuel injection and manages sensors, if you are changing get genuine from A.S.S. only.
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Old 29th September 2010, 07:48   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkglow View Post

1) Can the ECU conk off just like that resulting in problems as listed above?
2) What would be the ideal cost of a used ECU for the Palio 1.2?
3) Is it advisable to go for a new ECU if it is available instead of a used one?
4) What other things if any should I bear in my mind before opting for the ECU change?

Looking forward to your suggestions and advice.

Regards,

Sparkglow
I have a Uno 1.2 SPFI which has the same engine except that its SPFI. I also had my ECU blowing off in the middle of nowhere one fine day. I was told by the *** that the new ECU replacement was needed and a new one was for 12k. But they only procured an old one and I paid 3.5k. Cars been running fine since then and this was April 2008.

BTW the ECU had blown courtesy a short circuit. The primary reason for ECU to blow is short circuit in the wiring. So please thoroughly check the wiring before getting a new/used ECU.

Since your car is having continuous camshaft breaking problems, I suggest checking the timing sensor also as it could be reading wrong data leading to wrong firing pattern and breakage of internals.
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Old 29th September 2010, 09:15   #4
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From what I read you have been taken for a ride. How the cam shaft seal can break the cam pulley off is beyond me.

What is the meaning of a busted valve? Is it burned out are disintegrated? If it is the latter one then quite a bit of damage happens to the affected cylinder and needs more than a head skim. Otherwise you have got a shimming issue.

If the ECU is at fault then it is best to change it. There are different reasons why the ECU can break down. I don't know whether the ECU is the same as the ones in Europe. If it is then it might be a processor that plays up, which was a common fault.

Is your door/ignition key a 'code 2' key? The 'code 2' keys are usually blue and have along the shat embossed 'code 2'.
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Old 29th September 2010, 11:25   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkglow View Post
Somehow he managed to put things together and started the car. But the car wasnt the same as it was before it broke down. There was a severe loss of power - the engine would buck and sputter when stepped on the accelerator, and it was even worse when the ac was switched on.
I had the same problems quoted above in my Matiz. Initially the mechanic checked the belt, fuel pipes, etc, etc and finally after 2 hours was able to diagonise it to the ECU wires.
Some rat had chewed a bit of the wires connecting the ECU to the engine, and after the wires were changed it's running fine. Could be true because my car was parked in a relative's house the previous night.
Check your car in another garage before buying a new ECU.

Last edited by Daewood : 29th September 2010 at 11:27.
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