ECU VIN # problems need some input

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  1. #1
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    Default ECU VIN # problems need some input

    They changed the inspection regulations in NY this year. I can not get my car to pass due to my vin on my car dose not match my vin on my ecu. Now I have a 2001 gt with a 03 cobra swap I did back in 05. the engine ecu and harness is an 03. I went to ford yesterday to try an change the vin on the ecu to match my car. but when they wetn through the steps it would not complete the change because there software would say the cobra ecu is not compatible to my vehicle vin. The dealer tried all different things for 2 hours and nothing. I talked to DMV and you cant have a car with two vin or a car with a different vin on the ecu. So I'm f..... my question is anybody that did this swap or has a different ecu that dose not belong in your car what did the do? I know a lot of states are checking the vins now.

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  3. #2

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    Mike (am I right?), you are in a bit of a Catch 22.

    The VIN# is encoded into the CPU at time of manufacture and Ford's encoding software does follow a what's correct with which car using a OEM programatic logic both at the Factory and also at the dealership. To change the VIN from what it is to what you want will require rewriting that VIN field in the CPU. BTW the engine will require the CPU to have loaded both a tune and what is called a Cobra strategy file to run the Cobra engine. The strategy file you want to have loaded is either the AMZ1 or AMZ2 strategy file. How far your tune strays from the OEM is dependent on modifications and your fueling commands.

    Back to the VIN#. Most of the aftermarket suppliers of tuning software, like SCT, use the VIN# to insure you do not use their software (w/o license) on a vehicle other than your own. The dealer versions of the software (the 'ones' licensed for multiple vehicle tuning) will allow the use on an essentially unlimited number of cars.

    There are two ways out for you. One is to go to a tuning shop and explain the car has a 03/04 engine swap and needs the VIN# corrected in the ECU for emissions purposes. Depending on your state's inspection laws the tuner may or may not be able to make that sort of change if he also does inspections. If he doesn't do inspections then the regulatory guys have less control over him. While you are there you should get the engine properly tuned. Even if you have not changed a thing on the new engine you will pick up both power and also reliability / safety if the tune pays more attention to fueling the engine for power rather than emissions.

    If you do this your car will likely have difficulty passing emissions. To avoid the inspection heartache you reload, (I am using SCT as the example here) from your SCT handheld programmer, the factory tune just before inspection time. Get inspected, leave the inspection station, go around the corner and reload your performance tune and you should be good to go.

    NY like CA and some other left leaning states is likely to have other inspection hurdles you have to negotiate. One might be what CA calls the visual inspection. The inspector is required to not only check for emission but also for OEM emissions equipment. If the car is missing emissions equipment for it year, make and model they will not give you a passing mark. You will face a particular challenge if that is the case because the engine you are trying to get to pass the emissions certification never came in your year or model. I am not sure if their is a fix for that problem that makes sense.

    If you go the professional tuner route you will need to spend money on the tune and also buy a SCT handheld. Summit is currently selling the handhelds for essentially $400. Between the two you will be in the neighborhood of $1000 for this phase of your journey. Alternatively you could buy a tuning software package and do the VIN# change yourself. The only package I know of that will allow this is Binary Editor. When you get done with your licenses and tuning paraphernalia you are going to be at about the same price point ~$1000. If you go the DIY route I would highly recommend Don LaSota's book on tuning the Ford ECU. The book is, The Ultimate Ford EFI Tuning Guide <= clickable and costs around $75 plus shipping etc.

    Either way you are probably in the tank for another $1K to $1.5K. The benefit of learning how to tune is each change you make to your engine does not cost you the time and money associated with going off to a tuner to have your tune tweaked. Additionally you will discover the real secrets to making the car more fun to drive are less the stuff you add to the engine and more the amount you become familiar with tuning your engine.


    Ed
    Last edited by eschaider; 06-30-2017 at 12:40 PM. Reason: Spelling & Grammar

  4. #3
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    Sorry I should of said this. I do have sct 4 and chip to pass inspection by a tuner in NH. He told me he can't change the vin. ford has to do it but they can't I got some good new from him maybe. He said I can run a gt ecu and make the cobra motor run and tune it. and I still have my old ecu but have no idea what needs to be done to the harness to make this work any info would be great.

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  6. #4

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    http://www.terminator-cobra.com/svt_documents.htm

    Scroll down..full pc version of 2003 service manual..

    Has full wiring diagrams..

    I think coils are pinned different..not sure but injectors could also..

  7. #5

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    The SCT 4 you already have will be one less thing you need to buy, Mike

    I knew the Mach I and Cobra ECU's had similar DNA. The GT may well also. I think that during a given year Ford might use the same ECU hardware on many vehicles but program it differently depending on the target vehicle. The other thing I think I recall from the Cobra Helms Wiring reference was some differences in pin assignments so you may need the Cobra harness for a Hybrid ECU solution. Best way to check the pinout assignments is just to compare the pinouts on the two different ECU connectors in the Helms doc.

    Not to be a half empty glass advocate but if the ECU hardware is the same, then the distinction that the dealership s/w is seeing (and rejecting) for VIN assignment is the CPU strategy that is in the computer. If that is the case, the only tuning s/w I know that may be able to directly write to the VIN# Identification Block in the ECU is Binary Editor. There could be others. I have a licensed BE copy and I'll check to verify that this evening. Assuming the BE s/w can write the VIN # to the VIN # ID block in the computer, you still have the potential mismatch at the inspection station's VIN # validation step in the inspection process.

    The injector pinning and the coil pinning, that Bill identified, are a few of the differences I had suspected. There are more but you will need the wiring diagrams for both vehicles to hunt down all the differences. Bill's link to the Cobra diagrams is a good first step. Actually if you get just the main connector to the ECU, for each ECU, it will have all the signals mapped out by pin which should turn up the differences fairly quickly.

    My concern with repining a harness from one engine to an ECU from another engine and then loading a strategy for the new engine into the old engine's ECU is several fold;

    ◉ If the inspector's s/w looks for the VIN # and validates it against a factory Strategy Code you will fail inspection,

    ◉ If you re-pin the engine harness to the GT ECU pinouts and the Cobra Strategy code re-assigns ECU pins like on a Cobra, you wasted a lot of time repining — and the engine will not start,

    ◉ When you flash the ECU wth the Cobra Strategy it is unclear what, if anything, will happen to the VIN # identification block in the ECU,

    ◉ There remains the outstanding question about visual inspection of engine compartment emissions systems — this could also be a show stopper,

    ◉ Of course there is always the issue of very different emissions readings coming from a Terminator as compared to the original engine.

    The biggest problem you will face getting passed by the newly enhanced emissions inspection is determining how their diagnostic software validates what it reads from the ECU. Once you know what they do, it is can be possible to spoof their system — but that presupposes you know how it validates what it reads. VW did a pretty good job of it on their diesels — until they got nailed.


    Ed
    Last edited by eschaider; 06-30-2017 at 09:05 PM. Reason: Spelling & Grammar

  8. #6

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    Mike,

    I fired up my BE and took a look inside. I found the VIN # identification block for the ECU. This is the screen showing where you would find it.

    Name:  BE VIN Blk.jpg
Views: 437
Size:  49.1 KB

    As I look at the page it occurs to me this might just be reading the VIN # from the ECU. I will need to do some additional research to see if it reads or writes the VIN # or possibly both. In any event the next paragraphs tell you how to find it and some other information about BE,

    You go to the Home tab and click on the VID button (see red arrow). That will open a window called VID block. At the top of the VID block window on page 1 you will find a VID Number entry field and an Enable VID Check. These items are in the red box in the top right of the pic above. Put a check mark in the Enable VID box, write in the VIN # you need and flash it to you ECU.

    Your SCT X4 will not be of any help in the process. BE flashes directly from the notebook to the ECU. There are two ways to accomplish the flash update. One involves using a Moates product called Quarterhorse. QuarterHorse piggybacks another CPU on top of the OEM CPU and allows you to flash through a USB cable from your computer. It is very fast, seconds fast. The second approach involves using a specialty cable called a Mongoose that allows you to flash the ECU through the OBD II port from the USB port on your laptop.

    The Quarterhorse product has some attractive features. The most attractive is the ability to tune the engine while it is running. No need to shut down then flash and see what happened. With the BE / Quarterhorse combination if you change the idle from 850 to 875 (or anything else) you will see it immediately change because you are tuning in real time. This is very nice when you are getting your feet wet tuning.

    It also has stunning data logging speed that is something like 100x the OBD II port data rate which means you can log more things at higher resolutions simultaneously which can be helpful when you are looking for a gremlin and don't know who he is or where he is hiding.


    Ed
    Last edited by eschaider; 06-30-2017 at 11:46 PM. Reason: Spelling & Grammar

  9. #7

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    http://m.ebay.com/itm/111961403940?r...&ul_noapp=true

    Option b

    Cobra vin number and pcm

    Mine is 305823...this was 305922

  10. #8

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    Hard to go wrong for $45, the old Eaton is worth more than that.


    Ed


    p.s. Wasn't he the guy moping around the dealership after you snapped up yours, Bill?
    Last edited by eschaider; 06-30-2017 at 11:55 PM.

  11. #9

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    Ed..wonder if car was in same dealer lot..

    Iirc I'm #1815. This has to be close without a call to svt..

  12. #10

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    Amazing time and things Bill. It is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Judging from the car condition I'm guessing the occupant(s) did not survive. Even so the engine and transmission are worth way more than $45.

    I think once an insurance company pays out on a total loss like that car, they submit the VIN# to DMV with some sort of explanation that amounts to the vehicle was totaled. DMV enters that into their VIN# database and I am not sure if that VIN is usable again.


    Ed

  13. #11

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    Mike, I contacted the s/w developer and it appears that is just a field reflecting what the tuning s/w read from the ECU. BE does not need it to operate and it can be turned off but that does not help you.

    I am not certain I have an answer for the problem. That said I would contact the tuning s/w company you prefer, explain the issue to them and ask them for a fix. That is probably the short way home. You can not be the first to run up against this conundrum and my bet is they have a fix for it.

    If they do and you accept it please update the rest of us so we can share the knowledge with those like you who get caught in the Catch-22.


    Ed

  14. #12
    Senior Member Array IWRBB's Avatar
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    I know it won't help, but I can't resist- move to a free state! I just send in my money for plates every year and that's that. I could stick a jet engine in it and no one would care.

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    never mind got it to pass. DMV are all a***** they have no idea what they are doing. After wasting time at DMV and hours on the phone I got a person that new what they were doing. You can have a different vin from the vin on the car to the PCM. They had it on file that they have seen I have different vins on my car since back in 06.

    If somebody has this problem this is what you need to do. Go to a inspection station first thing. why because the software only give that business 5 tries a day for different vins. once they hit that you will not pass. Next, the inspection station do not know about this either. once it is time to plug into the ob2 port plug it in and start the car like normal, there screen will say vins do not match "stop" it says. just hit okay a couple of time. then turn off the car and unplug it. it okay again then replug it in and restart the car. The second time it is to conform that the vins are different. Then it will check the monitors. All eight have to be on to pass the new rules. once it dose that and it's happy it prints out the sticker. DMV keeps the different vin on file but they can't add it to your car info so there software would let it go through fine. I will always have to do my inspections like this or anybody that has this problem. Hope this helps people with this problem.

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    Cool..glad you found a way to get it done..

  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWRBB View Post
    I know it won't help, but I can't resist- move to a free state! I just send in my money for plates every year and that's that. I could stick a jet engine in it and no one would care.
    awesome! that is how i remember america. all of this governmental agency overreach has certainly made it difficult to be a modern-day hot rodder/automotive hobbyist.

    don't get me wrong - i'm all for clean air like everybody else - but as long as what is coming out of the tailpipe meets the necessary criteria, what's the difference if it is visually different or has different parts from exactly the way factory built it? carb executive orders and this all this vin nonsense like the op went through... ridiculous imo.

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