It’s a fact that the car’s ECM will go wrong as time goes by. The car might have gotten caught in an accident, resulting in a damaged ECM. Eventually, you replaced the ECM and all, but your ECM won’t work the way it’s supposed to without proper VIN programming. Additionally, DEQ emission tests require the exact VIN on your vehicle and ECM.
You’ll never have to waste tons of bucks in giving your car quality time with a mechanic because this guide will teach you how to program VIN into ECM. Hence, your car will work like a brand-new one again. Are you itching to learn? Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Check ECM Compatibility
In some cases, alignment tabs will not match ECM and the vehicle. Forcing them together will cause further damage. You wouldn’t want that, do you?
Also, if you feel that your brand-new ECM doesn’t match the specs of your old one, don’t try to tamper with the warranty seal yet. The next few steps will require you to open the circuit board and only proceed if either you’re sure that the ECM is the right one or you got it from the junkyard.
Therefore, identify your car make, model, engine type, year manufactured, and ECM serial number. Frequently, manufacturers print it on the metal part or the side of the ECM.
Step 2: Program New ECM
Older models such as 1989 vehicles don’t need programming, and swapping EPROMs will swap VIN and immobilizer information. OBDII regulations in 1996 changed manufacturers’ specifications on cars, and today, you can’t just mix-and-match a car’s ECM. You can program an ECM yourself, but it isn’t as easy as plug-and-play.
Tons of ECM tuning software can clone, and K-TAG is easiest. K-TAG is a bench tuner with instructions per car make and model. Moreover, the software will tell you which cables, ribbons, and adapters you’ll need, along with a positioning table. Of course, you have to accurately connect each ground and power supply to the specified pins.
Afterward, you’ll be able to backup both old and new ECM computer programs (Micro MPC, Ext Flash, and EEPROM). Then, overwrite the original ECM with your new ECM. There you have it, and your ECM is as good as new.
Step 3: Reset Immobilizer
Your car now accepts its new ECM. However, the problem doesn’t end there. As a security feature, modern keys contain an RFID chip. The EEPROM inside the car’s ECM contains all acceptable data a corresponding key should have. If the values don’t match, then the engine won’t start. Since you replaced your ECM, your car won’t accept your old key, therefore requiring an immobilizer.
Here is how to solve the issue:
IDS VCM2 is a Ford-dedicated software, and it doesn’t require a separate tool for reprogramming and immobilizer.
For a Toyota/Lexus car, you need to solder wires to the IC900 chip on the circuit board. Connect it to your serial port on the computer through 4.7k Ohm resistors and 5V Zener diodes.
For the next step, you’ll need a serial device programmer, PonyProg. Confirm your connection and chip type through the Options > Setup menu and Devices > Select menu. Once you’re done, click the Read icon on the leftmost panel. The screen will show a couple of hex values, and you’ll notice a couple of values repeated across the dump. The EPROM distributes codes for Master Key 1, Master Key 2, and Valet Key across with a distinct pattern. You can identify these values and “virginize” your keys through trial and error.
There will be separate groups of four that are not repeated in the sequence. Be careful and do not erase them, as these are codes for valet lockout. Erase them, and you’ll limit your programming to only one valet key, and game over. After clicking Edit Buffer Enabled and setting the hex codes to zero (except the valet lockout), return the ECM to the car.
Program your Master Keys and Valet Key one at a time by inserting them in the ignition cylinder. Do not turn on the engine, and a successful operation means that the security lights will stop blinking.
Step 4: Enter New VIN
For newer Toyota and Lexus models, use a Solus Pro Snap-On. You’ll see a VIN Read-Write option. Press “Y” to agree, and enter your new VIN.
For GM ECUs, we recommend HP Tuners VCM editor. First, under the Edit tab, press Change VIN Wizard. Next, enter your current VIN and press Commit. Click on the Write Vehicle icon. Under the drop-down menu, choose Write VIN/Tunerlock/VAT. Lastly, click Write. This may take a while, but after that, you’re all set.
Learn More: How to Unlock a Ford F150 Without Keys?
While the process is complicated and takes a lot of research and knowledge, it’s relatively cheaper than hiring someone to change your ECM. Be warned, though, that failure may cost you more than you intend to save. Ultimately, if you’re not ready for this kind of task, it’s better to hire a professional mechanic.