Programming Fail 2006 Malibu
Yesterday I was called to program a second hand ECU for a 2006 Chevy Malibu. The replacement ECU was from a 2007 Equinox. I was aware that Global A vehicles were a problem, but these are pre-2010 vehicles. revbase.com/BBBMotor/TSb/D…. On previous used GM modules, all I had to worry about was the service number being the same. In this case, I was sorely mistaken.
When doing the ID, the original ECU reported the VIN no problem. When the donor was switched out, the TIS software reported that it could not communicate with the module. When trying to ID the replacement module, it would only ID as a 2007. I took both ECUs back to the office and tried programming on the bench. No luck there. I then tried programming with the "Tech2remote" feature. I was able to update the original but it had and error trying to reprogram the donor. I tried to clone the ECU using Alientech and FGtech. Neither could get into the ECU. Finally I tried HP Tuners. Still no luck getting in to either controller.
It appears that this controller requires a unique seed key to open it up for programming. So the 2006 Malibu key is only compatible with another 2006 Malibu. Even though the service number is identical, it is a no go. I believe the ECU is regarded as an E78. I see the same module used in many late model vehicles. I have spoken to other mobile guys that say that you can use second hand if it is from an identical vehicle.
What I am wondering is if other mobile guys have found this problem and what their remedy is?
I have attached the interchange the salvage industry uses if you were to order a used ECU. A 2007 Equinox is not interchangable, but a 2006 will supposedly work.
When I'm asked to set up a used module I always tell the shop that my standard programming fee will apply and I will attempt the standard routine. If it fails, they pay and I leave. It's not worth wasting a lot of my time to save them $$
The process repeats when they source a new "replacement"
It's a management issue rather than a technical one
I'm not sure on the exact procedure, but SPS will query data from the module to determine if the part number/software number is correct for the VIN of the vehicle.
If not, iirc, you get a 6××× error popup.
I have experienced this a number of times. Some of the fixes I have seen have been listed below.
- Another used module, sometimes it helps getting the module from the exact same type of vehicle ,other times it can actually cause a problem where the calibration is so identical GM gives you the programming warning that it’s the same and DOESN‘T allow the programming to proceed. (There is ways around this) I’ve also had it where it came out of the exact same vehicle and the security will not program. So it’s kinda a crap shoot when going used In this … year range.
- I had a 2008 equinox where the customer brought another 2008 equinox pcm in for a replacement. It would accept the vin and the calibration but the security side would not program no matter what I tried..... and I tried almost every trick in the book for programming. I ended up calling the GM tech line and walking through trying this and that with the tech guy and finally he gave me a VCI number where he requested me to choose BCM programming. After choosing BCM programming the security was happy and it started fine. (So one can say GM has their backdoor option to be able to program these used PCM’s.
- Remove and open up the PCM and find the target device which can be an Eeprom or a Microcontroller or some form of other device either clone over the information from the original or read the donor and alter bin file so the module is happy. you could also swap over the device by de-soldering and re-soldering. (This is called “Eeprom” work)
- Try some of these aftermarket tuner programs that allow you to alter the calibration and security.examples k-tag, kess, efi-live, etc.
- Buy a new module and have it program just fine.
When these modules don’t program you can end up wasting a lot of time trying to get them to program. Now if you know the best fix for the particular type of pcm/issue you are having then each time it gets quicker to get the job completed. Choose your battle wisely!
I have run into this numerous times before with service numbers. From doing some research on this issue, I have determined that the virgin service number PCM communicates using the communication language (for lack of a better term as the communication protocol is almost always the same) from the software within it. This PCM after being programmed may communicate in this same language or a different language as required by the software that was loaded to it. I have seen the same service number with 7 different languages in it. When SPS is programming a new module, it checks for the virgin service number language and when it doesn't communicate, it checks to see if it will communicate in the correct language of an already programmed PCM as GM does not program it's rebuilt PCMs back to the virgin language. I have seen 2006 GM products that have a different language for each different engine in the same platform. There are some solutions that may work in this scenario but it gets really tricky as I have seen some modules that actually communicate on different pins or have a completely different network addresses from what SPS is using after being programmed. Is it really worth the time and effort (not to mention the money made) to pursue this fix?
I tell my customer shops that there are numerous aftermarket reputable module remanufacturers that can provide what they need. Key word is reputable!!
I understand when shops sometimes source used PCMs, like when new is over $800... but these PCMs are only around $250. I would think your troubles to do this will cost more than just doing it with new from the beginning. I agree, this is a management issue of the shop and not yours. I would charge twice to program, once for the failed used programming and once for a new PCM. And then another charge to diagnose when the PCM doesn't fix it like they thought it would :-)
My response isn't going to answer your question. I have a question though. Are you sure that you have the correct part number? I see 2 possible current modules for this beast- … or … and neither of them are listed for any 2007 application.
The tag from the wrecking yard said 2007 Equinox. The vehicle being repaired is the 2006 Malibu. So the wrecking yard could have been wrong on the year. The service number was identical between the two.
Not having the part number being used, all I can offer is speculation. In no particular order:
1: There was a previous part number which has been superseded by the second part number (IIRC) that I listed. More than once, GM has neglected to fully support the module with an updated calibration. (Think what used to be VCI. This requires a call to Delco.)
2: If this is a Bosch module, you can't install a used module. It'll program but.... The VTD will never learn because you can't change the VIN. (Think Keyword on Mazda for conceptual comparison.)
3: The interface/method that you are using isn't properly supported by the calibration. (Think MDI successfully programming a non-Global A vehicle when a Tech 2 will not.) From the FWIW Dep't: On this beast, I probably would've used a J2534 Tech 2. If that didn't work, I would go into Settings and make sure that the old J2534 Tech 2 driver is turned on restart the session to ensure that it is installed. If that don't work, I would try Tech 2 Legacy Pass-Thru. Tech 2 Remote would be last last choice with that tool. The MDI-2 would've been the shot in the dark.
4: Change the year in SPS. (You need to be careful here to ensure that you are still using the same vehicle. (Think Silverado vs. Silverado - Old Style or engine changing due to year change.)
5: Assuming that I must've been in the mood to push a string that day, I may pull the module from the network and attempt programming it directly. (You've already done this.) Is something installed that shouldn't be? Fuel Island Auditing tools and GPS auditing tools are becoming more commonplace. Since they are basically an extension cord, it is easy to overlook that you are not really connected directly to the DLC. This now becomes anther node on the network. (GM has more than one PI addressing this.) I've not seen any vehicle program successfully on ANY vehicle make with them installed. In many …es, you won't even communicate with the module.
Thank you all for the help and information. As many have said it is just not worth your time to mess with trying to make it work for the cheap customer. For me, it is a flaw in my personality. I can't stand failure. It seems that this is a puzzle and there is a key somewhere on how to solve it. I know this is going to happen again and again. So in spending time trying to crack this nut, the goal is to find a solution that will help on future second hand swaps. The information shared has been very educational. Hopefully, it will lead to a solution.
I feel ya, I often spend waayyy too much time on cars. Sometimes they are fixed or diagnosed.... but I need to know more. Time spent learning is invaluable though, every hour spent at work cannot always be billed out... but the more we learn the more we bill long-term.
Michael, we are cut from the same cloth. I too will insist on finding a way to make the impossible happen. I will usually succeed, and when I do, hope to HELL I can make up my losses on future jobs. Not the best business model, I admit, but a better one would not fix the flaw in my personality either.
It would be really great if we could get a database started on this forum. (Like a google doc) We could list the issues and the remedies. This way we could reference the data when things go sideways. Is it my software? Is it my hardware? Is it the vehicle network? or is it an incompatibility with the PCM? It would be a real time saver for those of us who program often.
I appreciate your thoughts on this and have a suggestion for a potential solution. We recently released a new message type here titled "Resource" When one posts a resource type, the message doesn't flow into the main feed of content and is discoverable via search. Essentially, we're creating a resource library which I believe would support what you're suggesting.
Soon, there will be other ways to surface resources through a variety of means. Please have a look and let me know what you think. Looking through this thread, I can see some of the important elements of it being added to a new resource. Guido's comments seem like a good start. You can click through to my profile where you'll see some of the resource examples I've added to the system thus far
Keep in mind, you can always go back and edit the resource item you created and others can respond to it in the same way discussions take place here.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I like your idea and I'd love to see this work.
So more research into this PCM. Information on the hardware is hard to find. It looks like the ECU Hardware is a P05. It was produced only one year for a select few engines. It is very similar in look to the E67 or E83 hardware. The reason HP tuners did not work is that it is such an oddball, it was not worth reverse engineering. That would explain why the Alientech and FG Tech failed as well. I feel comfortable letting this one go. The customer can find the exact same vehicle and engine combination or get a new unit from GM.