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My sad story........

  #1  
Old 01-25-2018, 08:55 PM
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Default My sad story........

Well, many years ago we had a 95 Camry with about 65k miles. We drove that thing everywhere. All I had to do was regular maintenance.

A wreck totaled it out.

So we bought an 02 Tacoma, and I put a turbo on it, and its still running strong [boost held under 9psi on the 2.4l stock engine].

We also had a second truck a 90 Mazda that we used to drive, when I got the bug to modify it. The truck became too much of a race car than a street car so we were in the market for something else.

We then came upon an 05 Nissan Altima SE-R for very cheap [its a rare, and unique car]. It was an awsome car with Bose stereo, heated mirrors, and seats.

So I bought the car, and basically restored it. I built an all forged engine with mild cams, 11;1cr pistons, ARP studs everywhere, full length headers, and my own custom built intake manifold which was gutted, and epoxied for better flow. New sensors, new fuse boxes, rebuilt the transmission, and suspension, Koni Yellow struts all around, about a 10k rebuild all told.

I wanted a relatively rare car that would be fun to drive, and I would know what I had in it.

Got it all running, and really enjoyed it for about a year. Lots of power, and good handling through the corners.

A few weeks ago the engine just dies. Since I'm a mechanic I've tested everything, and finally came to the conclusion it was a bad ecu. I ordered another used ecu [Nissan don't have any new units as they have been discontinued].

I installed the used ECU into the car, and pulled it to the dealership where they said that ecu was also bad. So now I'm out over $200, and no guarantee that if I get another used ecm it won't be bad either.

Well today I gave up on the Nissan POS, [I didn't know quality had went down with Nissans after the 2000's.] So now since I can't repair the car, all of that time/money [appox 12k] is going down the tubes as I guess it will just have to sit in the yard.

I found a 93 Camry, 4 cyl, auto with 92k original miles. So now I can drive without have my *** puckered that something expensive is going to fail.

Also, the beautiful thing is that if the ecu goes bad, all I have to do is find another number matching ecu, swap it into the car, and just drive the damned thing, no having mess with the idiots at the dealership.

Since the engine runs great I plan to buy a used ecm to swap out. If the used ecu works then if I ever suspect the ecu of going out, I will have known good ecu to swap back in.

Today's vehicles are just made too damned complicated. IE, the electronic throttle bodies, I hate those damned things. Much simpler to just repair the cable than the buy a whole throttle body [and, I've never had a cable fail for that matter].

Anyway, its good to be back with an old Toyota that I can repair myself, without EVER having to take it to the damned dealership.

As new cars get more complicated I feel sorry for people who can't buy an older 95, and older vehicle due to the lack of mechanical abilities, as there is no telling what you will be paying at the dealer to get your new car repaired.

Rant over, thanks, and good to be back.
 

Last edited by M-train; 01-25-2018 at 08:58 PM.
  #2  
Old 01-26-2018, 02:59 PM
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Thanks for your "rant" and welcome back!

Camry prior to 2002 were some of the best made. Plus easy to repair and lots of low cost parts available.

It is unfortunate many people can't do their own repairs. A lot of money to save here and in many cases getting a better repair.
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-2018, 04:40 PM
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Thanks.

I learned the hard way you can restore a "newer" car, but its mostly a waste of time if you can get the dang thing to run since its over complicated.

Now with the above statement someone reading might just think sour grapes, but when a brake light switch, can keep the transmission from working, or the "electric motor mount" can fail, and take out the discontinued ECM, then its just too much for me.

I think the early electronic fuel injections vehicles were the best. The car makers had to make them simple enough to run, but also simple enough so that their service depts could learn, and repair them.

Like you mentioned the 90's cars were about the best as they were still simple OBD1 setups, but after around 2000 cars got difficult to work on with the anti theft devices coded keys, etc.

I got only ONE key with the car. Today I went to Walmart, and had two extra keys made for around $5, and they both WORKED.

No way I could do that with the keys on the nightmare 05 Altima. Not to mention, I don't think there are even many dealer service depts that actually knows how to work on these new cars, much less a local shop.
 

Last edited by M-train; 01-26-2018 at 04:46 PM.
  #4  
Old 01-27-2018, 11:45 AM
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For all the extra's, a cars basics have not changed that much. Its just different. The extra electrics can be nice until they fail.

Try working on BMW's and such! Factory BMW manuals are not available to the general public.

A "Service Engine Soon" light may trigger 8 different BMW codes and 4 ODBII codes. All which can lead a person a stray of not understanding the cars basics. Then it may come down to something simple like a leaking gas cap.

My sympathies to those who don't understand cars and can't do their own work. Who are at the mercy of repairs shops. Some in my experience creating more problems then they solve.

Many years ago knew an independent Honda only repair shop. The employees knew Honda's inside and out plus were not adverse to finding used parts to save owners money. But think this a rare.
 

Last edited by toyomoho; 01-28-2018 at 09:02 AM.
  #5  
Old 01-27-2018, 04:33 PM
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I hear you on that one. I feel sorry for people who cannot work on their own vehicles.

I've been wrenching for over 35 years now, ran a shop, and now run my own shop building carburetors.

The problem with cars made around 2002, or there so, is that just about everything is integrated into the ecu.
Brakelight goes out, engine won't start. I know that sounds like urban legend, but sadly its true. The ecu saw the brake light being out as something wrong with the brakes ABS, and put the car into limp mode.

Also, ever get one of those 300 codes for random misfire? Yep, it could be just about anything from a vacuum leak, bad maf, bad coil, bad connector, bad injector, and on, and on.

For the record I hate drive by wire. The old cable operated throttle bodies were cheaper, and easier to diagnose/repair than this newer crap.

I know some will disagree, but I'm an old fart, and like things simple.
 
  #6  
Old 01-28-2018, 09:39 AM
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EPA and NHTSA.

A manufacturers drive to be able to market a car requiring in theory less upkeep via now demeaning everything '"life time" and thus no need for maintenance.

Manufacturers wanting to drive vehicle manufacturing costs down to increase profits. Wall Street now telling manufacturers how to run their companies. Management who thinks building cars is the same as building toasters.

Buyers who want it all to create their own world on wheels. Yet many still not knowing know how to drive, hence the push for driverless vehicles.

And more. All have lead to today cars and most every other product.

Fortunately the EPA mandated manufacturers to provide OBDII
diagnostics for all.

Heavy equipment owners are having to use third party hacked software to tap into the machines computer allowing diagnostics. This because the maker refuses to provide any support to third parties to access it claims copyright laws.

Still not sure I would want to drive a 50 to 80's car today. Getting 18 mpg and handling like a boat. Plus being blown away in acceleration by some stock family SUV that's getting 24 mpg while doing it. That's the power of technology.

If a modern car is properly maintained, it will last a good long time. One also needs the tools to maintain it which now includes electronic diagnostic equipment. Amazing how many DIY's are using work around's and bootlegged software to not only be able to repair their cars but mod the ECU.
 
  #7  
Old 01-29-2018, 04:36 PM
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Quote:"Heavy equipment owners are having to use third party hacked software to tap into the machines computer allowing diagnostics. This because the maker refuses to provide any support to third parties to access it claims copyright laws".Quote

I've read that is going to be happening very soon in the automotive world.

There won't be any local shops as an option for you to have your car repaired as the manufacturers won't let tool makers like Snap On have the required programming for their scanners.

Thus, everyone will have to take their new cars to the dealership to be repaired.

Problem with my Altima is that there isn't a tool I can afford to test for a bad ecm. There are even many local shops that can't afford those type scanners.

If you know of a hack so I can just plug in the next used ECM I buy, turn the key, and have it run, I'm all ears. I've got lots of $$$$ in that Altima so I would know for a fact what was in it, and knowing that with everything bought OEM, and new, I "should" have had a reliable car for many years. I didn't count on the ECM issue.

Also, explain this to me. Most of the dealerships are telling me that most used ecms they try to re-program are bad.

Why is this? I can understand if the the issue that brought the car to the salvage yard was a flood, fire damage, but if a car was hit in the rear, like the car I got the last ecu, or maybe a car hit in the side, or the engine blew, hen how would that kill the ecm?

OR, is the dealership just giving us all the run around?
 
  #8  
Old 01-30-2018, 12:07 PM
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There may be third party internet sites listing factory manual links. This would be a place to start.

Then review Altima or Nissan internet support groups. These groups can have a depth of knowledge by DIY'er some whose passion is their Nissan vehicle. Members might even have experienced your problem.

For some makes of cars. Book legged software is available to allow diagnosing all systems. Using a computer or smart phone for the software and a purpose designed interface cable to connect to the ODBII port. Typically the software comes with no directions thus requiring a learning curve.

Unless a design or wiring issue, an ECM seldom fais. Did read about Altima's where dealers first stated it was an ECM issue then later found out it was a wiring issue.

Does the check light illuminate with the ign key, then go out? Can you access the ECM via an ODBII scanner or does the scanner state unable to connect? Would assume there is fuse for ECM power, did the dealer check this?
 
  #9  
Old 01-31-2018, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by toyomoho View Post
There may be third party internet sites listing factory manual links. This would be a place to start.

Then review Altima or Nissan internet support groups. These groups can have a depth of knowledge by DIY'er some whose passion is their Nissan vehicle. Members might even have experienced your problem.

For some makes of cars. Book legged software is available to allow diagnosing all systems. Using a computer or smart phone for the software and a purpose designed interface cable to connect to the ODBII port. Typically the software comes with no directions thus requiring a learning curve.

Unless a design or wiring issue, an ECM seldom fais. Did read about Altima's where dealers first stated it was an ECM issue then later found out it was a wiring issue.

Does the check light illuminate with the ign key, then go out? Can you access the ECM via an ODBII scanner or does the scanner state unable to connect? Would assume there is fuse for ECM power, did the dealer check this?
Yes, I've been a member of a few Nissan sites ever since I bought the cars over 5 years ago, which helped me get as far as I did. I've done all of the work on all of my vehicles for over 35 years now, from painting, metal working, fabrication, wiring, engine building, trans building, differential building, well, everything but machine shop work, however I do have a valve machine so I do my own valve jobs.

My scanner, and Innova 3160G, cannot communicate with the ecm, nor could the dealers "Consult 3" unless they manually entered the type of vehicle. And, yes, the check engine light stays on.

The strange thing is that both ecms [my oem, and the used ecm] are pulling the same code [let me set that straight. I can't get any communication or codes, unless I switch the scanner specifically to Nissan].

The code I'm getting is U1000. Then when I scan the ABS I get a U1000, and a PO726 "control area network line malfunction", which is referring to the CAN bus, I would assume going to the ABS.

I've talked with a couple of Nissan techs online, and both are saying its a fried ecm. However, I find it strange that both ecms are pulling the same exact code.

From all of my testing, I'm getting a mystery 9v instead of 12v [key on] going to the ecm relay. So far I haven't found a wiring schematic that shows where the wire that has the 9v is originating.
 
  #10  
Old 02-01-2018, 02:11 AM
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I just wanted to add a comment. My 1995 Camry LE is not too bad to work on and with some mechanical experience over my life and help from people like toyomoho I have saved myself thousands upon thousands of dollars. That goes for all my other cars and motorcycles. Different forums but great people.

One good example is my daughters car she uses at college 2009 Toyota Avalon or basically a Camry but loaded. Replaced plugs myself. Cost me only the price of plugs. Dealer or shop $400 - $600. The back ones are hard but with some advice and a few nights did not have to disconnect any major parts. Love it!!
Oh, my arms were chopped up some but normal.

My Suburban has room to work and my new RAV4 has room to work. Before I bought it checked every part I knew that may need replacing.
 

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