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VZ starting problem. Possible ECU issue???

Discussion in 'VZ Holden Commodore (2004 - 2006)' started by SpudAD, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. SpudAD

    SpudAD New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Desperately searching for some answers, if anyone can offer some advice it would be greatly appreciated. Monday morning I tried to start my car, wouldn't kick over. The engine turns, displays an ABS Error on the LCD and the engine dies. I've had a scan tool on it and the computer is going no error codes at all, however in diagnostic mode on the dash I get a trouble code "0000000000000000100000000000000". Contacted Holden and they said it could be low battery. Swapped the battery for another full battery, same thing. The engine's getting fuel, the engine's getting spark. I've checked all the ignition relays and fuses, relays and fuses for the ABS, even removed the ABS relays entirely (Holden said no ABS shouldn't prevent the car from starting) and still nothing. Checked ABS sensors on the wheels, they're clean as a whistle. I've been told in passing that the VZ's have a common issue regarding the ECU, BCU or the PIM giving up the ghost. Contacted an auto-elec this morning and picked his brain, he said "yes, the VZ ECU issue is common". Central Coast Holden can't book me in until Monday, the car needs to be towed and I've been quoted that if it's the ECU, i'm looking at around $1,000 to have it replaced.

    The car has 215k on the clock, has been regularly serviced and was very well looked after by the previous owner and has similarly been well looked after by myself. I've had no issues with the car since I bought it in January 2013 until now and it's totally crippled the car. Last time it was driven was Saturday night (just gone) with no issues at all, ran perfectly like it always has.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone? Is this as common as I've been told? Has anyone else experienced this or a similar issue?

    Cheers :bomb:
     

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  2. diysv6

    diysv6 Member

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    Hi,
    My ECU failed in one of the fuel injector firing circuits.
    It ended up being the ECU failure after about 6 weeks of various bad starts and running problems. The guy who sold me the replacement ECU said the early VZ ECUs 2004/2005 had a problem with failing to start after overnight or after a week or two of downtime.

    The replacement ECU cost me $990 with 12 months warranty. The company is in Brisbane, not much help in Gosford area.
    The Brisbane guy does some of the used car yards' ECU work on their trade-ins. Perhaps some yards in your area use such a service as the VZ is seen as a loser in the ECU reliability department. He recommended not buying a second hand unit from the wreckers as the ECU problem could still potentially occur owing to the build quality.

    If I supplied a second hand ECU the fitting/tuning fee was $439 from memory. If it was a dud, then I still paid the booking fee. The new ECU is a later build imported from the USA.
    It took about an hour to program the ECU to my VZ's computer system (BCM TCM etc.) using the Tech2 at my home.
    Has been a dream since the new ECU was installed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  3. 99notout

    99notout Active Member

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    Your DTC in engineering mode should read all zero's of there is a 1 listed, align it with the list below and it will give the DTC(s) Then read the number from the list below.

    Each DTC presented on the instrument cluster screen is allocated a number from 0 to 31. The following table provides
    details on each of these DTCs.


    Best to just hook up a Tech2, but this will give you an idea.


    DTC Trouble Code Locations
    31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16
    15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0


    DTC No DTC Source Description Diagnostic Table
    0 Not Used
    1 Not Used
    2 Not Used
    3 ECM / PCM Fuel type mismatch Vehicle is configured as
    LPG but the ECM is
    reporting a petrol vehicle
    4 ECM / PCM Auto transmission
    mismatch
    The cluster is configured
    as 4/5 speed manual but
    the PCM / ECM reports the
    opposite.
    5 ECM / PCM Fuel invalid flag set Fuel invalid flag in the PCM
    poll response cleared
    6 TPMS
    Only for high level vehicles
    No TPMS poll response
    detected for 10 seconds
    7 ESP No ESP poll response
    detected for 10 seconds
    8 ABS No ABS poll response
    detected for 10 seconds
    9 BCM No BCM broadcast
    detected for 10 seconds
    10 OCC No OCC poll response
    detected for 10 seconds
    11 ECM / PCM No PCM / ECM poll
    response detected for 10
    seconds
    12 SDM No SDM poll response
    detected for 10 seconds
    13 Instrument No instrument poll from
    BCM detected for 10
    seconds
    14 Serial communications No Serial communications
    detected for 10 seconds
    15 Radio No radio poll response
    detected for 10 seconds
    16 Fuel ECM / PCM Loss of ECM poll response
    data or fuel level data at 0
    or 255 for more than 10
    seconds
    17 Not Used
    18 Passenger seat N/A N/A
    19 SDM Incorrect SDM module poll
    response detected
    20 Reserved
    21 Trip switch Trip switch voltage below
    normal operating range
    22 Trip switch Trip switch button or
    buttons pressed for at least
    one minute
    23 Reserved
    24 EEPROM Incorrect EEPROM
    checksum calculated after
    a battery reset
    25 ROM Incorrect ROM checksum
    calculated after a battery
    reset
    Not cleared
    26 Reserved
    27 Reserved
    28 Reserved
    29 Reserved
    30 Reserved
    31 Reserved
     
  4. chriso-k

    chriso-k Motor Mechanic, SYDNEY

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    Mate, the VZ Commodores are renown for cam phaser issues. If the cam phasers don't return to the rest ("0") position when the engine is switched off, then the engine will lack compression at start up. Had a VZ with exactly the same issue two weeks ago. And one before that, and, even a Falcon before that. Yep, even the Fords suffer same issues. If these cars are started and only driven short distances, example, drive it out of the garage then turn it off straight away, then this can upset the cam phasers. Now, why this happens? over time, the cam phasers accumulate soot and sludge, especially if the car has not been serviced regularly, and this upsets free operation of the Variable cam timing wheels. Another theory suggests it's to do with computer software. And I wont get too technical with this. How to fix this problem? Crank the hell out of the engine until compression returns. You'll notice the car will want to kick over and eventually, it will clear up and keep running. If you say you have fuel and spark, then your electronics (Computer/s) are doing the right thing. How have you tested for spark and fuel? What's your definition of this? VZ's have six individual coils. How have you checked for correct fuel delivery to the engine? Another area you can check is the fuel pump. On the VZ, the fuel pump over time, builds resistance and this can cause the fuel pump fuze to keep blowing because it can't handle the high amperage draw from the pump. Had a VZ with this problem only two months ago. If you provide me with specific info I may be able to help you out further in your diagnostic pathway. But don't burn out your starter motor. Let it rest a couple of minutes to cool off and then try again

    QUOTE=SpudAD;2677309]Hi everyone,
    Desperately searching for some answers, if anyone can offer some advice it would be greatly appreciated. Monday morning I tried to start my car, wouldn't kick over. The engine turns, displays an ABS Error on the LCD and the engine dies. I've had a scan tool on it and the computer is going no error codes at all, however in diagnostic mode on the dash I get a trouble code "0000000000000000100000000000000". Contacted Holden and they said it could be low battery. Swapped the battery for another full battery, same thing. The engine's getting fuel, the engine's getting spark. I've checked all the ignition relays and fuses, relays and fuses for the ABS, even removed the ABS relays entirely (Holden said no ABS shouldn't prevent the car from starting) and still nothing. Checked ABS sensors on the wheels, they're clean as a whistle. I've been told in passing that the VZ's have a common issue regarding the ECU, BCU or the PIM giving up the ghost. Contacted an auto-elec this morning and picked his brain, he said "yes, the VZ ECU issue is common". Central Coast Holden can't book me in until Monday, the car needs to be towed and I've been quoted that if it's the ECU, i'm looking at around $1,000 to have it replaced.

    The car has 215k on the clock, has been regularly serviced and was very well looked after by the previous owner and has similarly been well looked after by myself. I've had no issues with the car since I bought it in January 2013 until now and it's totally crippled the car. Last time it was driven was Saturday night (just gone) with no issues at all, ran perfectly like it always has.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone? Is this as common as I've been told? Has anyone else experienced this or a similar issue?

    Cheers :bomb:[/QUOTE
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  5. Benboy

    Benboy Well-Known Member

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    Before you start spending big money on the car, fully charge your battery and then hook another battery via jumper leads onto yours (make sure the engine of second vehicle remains running then start cranking your engine - you might be surprised as it starts to cough and splutter into life. Happened to me. very satisfying when engine finally started - no known error codes etc.
     
  6. SpudAD

    SpudAD New Member

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    One of the first things I tried. Did nothing.
     
  7. SpudAD

    SpudAD New Member

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    I don't have a Tech2 just sitting around. It's been checked with a compatible OBD2 and the computer outputs nothing. The trouble code I'm getting when put against what you've provided would equal 17 (Not Used). This gives me nothing to go on.
     
  8. SpudAD

    SpudAD New Member

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    Fixed it.

    So I found out a very interesting bit of info from a former Holden Racing Team engineer... basically, if you do a lot of short trips over a period of time and don't allow the car to reach regular operating temperature, the computer can default to "think" it's constantly starting or running with cold start conditions, which means it will inject more fuel than usual to crank, which in turn will flood the cyclinders and prevent it kicking over. Because this is one of a few normal operating states, this is why the computer indicated no errors.

    To clear the problem, remove the fuel pump fuse which shuts off the pump, depress the accelerator to the floor and turn the key. This resets the ECU. The engine will turn and flush the fuel out of the exhaust valves while not allowing new fuel to come in (as the pump is off). Do this a few times then put the fuel pump fuse back in. The car kicked over normally for the first time in 7 days after clearing the cylinders and is now running smoothly and as well as it did last weekend before the issue arose.

    So... don't be doing a heap of short trips, always allow your engine to run at proper operating temperature or you'll end up confusing the computer into thinking you're trying to start the damn thing in Antarctica. Sounds, silly but it's the first thing in a week that's worked. What shits me is, Holden know about this but they don't tell you and they would most likely have done this on Monday when I was going to take it down, realise it was the problem but still charged be a grand and said they'd put a new computer in. It's what dealerships do.

    To everyone who's had similar issued and had their ECU replaced... you've been screwed. This info came from a former Holden Racing Team engineer and it worked an absolute charm.
     
  9. Silverbird

    Silverbird (Blake)

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    Firstly - Congratulations!!

    Secondly - Thank YOU for taking the time to let us know. Greatly appreciated. Hope she stays good for you :spot on:
     
  10. SLYYGM

    SLYYGM New Member

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    Was your car cranking over and not starting? Mines doing exactly that, May have to try this
     

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