When Good Intentions Go Sideways P1400
I have written this article in an effort to help others not get in trouble like I did. Some of my methods are unorthodox. Most of the time these methods produce a win. In this case they cost me both money and some street cred. Whether you agree with my methods or not, it would be appreciated if you look at this as the lessons learned.
This past week I was called to a shop on a vehicle that needed a PCM replacement. It ended up being one that has a rolling code and requires an LSID or Dealer Visit. Since I don't have my LSID I told the customer I could use some new software to clone the PCM and make a Carbon copy that would start and run the vehicle. I have done this before on older Chryslers without issue. I did not anticipate any problems. They agreed to the operation in lieu of having to tow the vehicle to the dealer.
In the process of making a clone, the donor ECU has to be opened up and a resistor connected to the boot pin of the processor chip. Once the processor is opened for programming the resistor is removed and the case can be resealed. The copied OEM file can then be sent to the donor. The whole process went well. The PCM programmed with no errors. I returned to the shop and installed the PCM. The vehicle started right up. I then did an ETC relearn and cleared codes. A new code popped up P1400. It did not illuminate the CEL but would not clear. After doing some research, I found that tuners are running into this code. The strategy was put into the PCM to prevent customers from tuning their vehicles, blowing them up then claiming warrantee. As this vehicle has a salvage title, warrantee is not an issue. I contacted the software company. They told me that they were aware of the problem and working on a fix. How about a warning or disclaimer? I then reprogrammed the PCM with the latest OEM calibration using Witech2. The code remained.
Here is where the story really goes sideways. The previous PCM was condemned due to an P0688 ASD circuit code. The vehicle would start then shut off. After the vehicle started, I warmed it up to make sure all was well. During the warm up, the engine stalled once. Checked codes, nothing stored but the P1400. I restarted the vehicle. It ran for about a half hour then quit. Now it is back to the start / stall situation with the same P0688 ASD circuit code. From my estimation the problem is most likely a short taking out something in the PCM. When the vehicle shut down, there were additional codes P000D camshaft 2 position slow response and P0018 Cam / Crank correlation. Seems that whatever is effecting the ASD circuit is killing other electronics at the same time. It could also be a short in the Camshaft 2 position sensor. After clearing the CAM and Crank codes they did not return. The engine still would not remain running. Since I caused the P1400, it is being blamed for the entire situation. I volunteered to pay for another PCM. They will have the dealer program it. I have offered to help with the diagnostics to help find the source of the problem. The technician working on the vehicle does not want my help. He is convinced that he just got a bad PCM or the software is corrupt. They cannot return it for warrantee with evidence of it being opened up. I expect that the third PCM will fry just like the original and the replacement. should I be happy if it does?
I can make a copy of a rolling code Chrysler ECU and it will start and run the vehicle as the original. This is something I wondered about. It is a win.
The copied ECU has changes in the boot program that are recognized and reported as aftermarket software regardless of being a factory calibration. Not Good.
If you want to tune a 2016 and newer Chrysler be aware that this code may come up. There are quite a few comments on the Diablo site about this issue. Good Bye Warrantee.
Trying to save time and hassle bit me in the backside. I should have had another mobile guy or dealer program the immobilizer. It ended up costing time and money. I tried to be the hero but ended up being a chump.
When you screw up, you own everything else that goes wrong.
Take the time to explain the process when doing out of the box repairs. Explain risks and benefits. A big mistake on my part. Maybe if I explained I would have to open up the PCM, they would have decided to go another direction.
The PCM for this vehicle is $185. A great relief as we know how much some of the PCMs can cost.
Playing with Mother Nature is like playing with fire. Sometimes you get burned.
Great writeup, Michael, and I appreciate your honesty in sharing this. This is truly a great network so far.
I know each and everyone on this network has been there! I truly feel without professionals, like yourself make mistakes, the rest of us say to ourselves, ”oh shit, I‘ve done things similar and messed up too!” Thanks for the great write up. I do have a question about the rolling code on Chrysler . I have programmed many Dodges, Chrysler’s before, using WiTech. I have not, as of yet run into a
Hi Terry, Chrysler rolling codes change multiple times a day. The problem with calling the dealer for a code is that the aftermarket and the OEM tools are set differently. A dealer supplied code will not work on an aftermarket tool. I have personally tried and can confirm this is true, This requires an aftermarket shop to use their LSID. To get an LSID you register with NASTF prove liability
Ok, so You are using an aftermarket pass thru device when doing the programmin? I only use the factory WiTech2 for diagnostics and programming, maybe that’s why I’m not seeing the rolling code problem? It just seems that the more you know, the more you DON‘T know.
I use the Witech2 system as well. As you have experienced when you go to "replace PCM" the routine asks for the SKIM code. For newer vehicles if you put in the code from the dealer, it will report back "invalid skim". If you could log in to dealer connect from your Witech2 device, a dealer code would work. Since your device is registered to you as an independent shop, the login is to Tech
I am somewhat interested in this scenario Michael, last week I had the opportunity to replace the PCM on 2013 Journey. It didnt have A WCM, so there was no "replace PCM" option. So through some tips from others I tried this procedure. - Plug in witech and identify vehicle (orginal pcm installed) - after vehicle is ID'd shut key off and replace pcm with used one (all same part number except
Hi Maynard, The PCM my customer had was a reman from Chrysler. It came essentially blank. I did try the restore vehicle configuration but it did not populate the VIN and still had a SKIM trouble code in PCM. I tried this before moving to the nuclear option. I have heard of your instructions working before but have not ever had it work for me. Obviously it works on the 2013 Journey that you were
Hi Terry: When Fiat got involved with the architecture of the vehicles, the Immobilizer systems changed. (Not all vehicles changed at once.) This started with the 2014 Ram Promaster. Basically, there are 2 codes, one of which is rolling. The rolling code times out. I'd like to say how long before it times out but I've seen multiple documents with different times listed: 2, 12, 24 & 72
Thanks for sharing. We all try to help people and sometimes it just goes sideways. It must be nice that the mechanic who doesn't want your help has never made a mistake, or needed help; so why did they called you in the first place?
UPDATE: The customer called me to do another job today. The shop manager apologized to me and explained that the dealer programmed another PCM which promptly fried. They did not tell me what was causing the problem but told me that it was not my fault the vehicle died. I regret my actions caused the P1400 but my honor is retained.
At least, your reputation remains intact. Your reputation has much higher value than the dollar bills you have in your pocket. Dollar bills you have in your pocket might or might not get you more. But your reputation is something that sure will, or at least has much higher chances to do so. My hypothesis on this, would be that possibly the control unit was designed to always power on along
Hi Paul, Thank you for the information. My understanding in this case is that because the boot loader was opened up, a subroutine within the ECU recognized the change. BitBox inserts a file which keeps the bootloader open. This is normally so that one can tune the vehicle multiple times. From what I have read, the TIPM (Body Control Module) retains the P1400 as well so modules can't be