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Old 06-22-2005, 11:48 PM   #1
z28/sti
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Default AP vs. warranty question? can dealership tell if you have used one?

a buddy of mine is thinking of purchasing an AP for his 04 wagon. He stopped by his local Subie dealership for some minor work and asked the service manager if a AP would void his warranty, he was informed that yes it does void the warranty and that they are able to tell if the computer was ever edited by any software or tuner.....is this true or is the service manager BS'ing up
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Old 06-23-2005, 12:12 AM   #2
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they would only check the ecu if they had a good reason to.. your buddy busted himself out to that dealership
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Old 06-23-2005, 09:51 AM   #3
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If you revert the vehicle to stock then I don't buy it that they can detect if it was ever changed unless someone can prove otherwise, now if they check it while a Cobb map is loaded then yes they'll probably know the difference.
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Old 06-23-2005, 09:56 AM   #4
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they can know.. The newer ecu's have a checksum that changes whenever it is reflashed.. All they need to to is to have a look at it to know that something had been there to reflash the ecu.

just as an fyi, the minute you add anything to these cars that was not there when you picked it up from the dealer, you lose warranty coverage on that and associated parts if a problem should arise.

best thing to do is to do research, and don't get too greedy really
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Old 06-23-2005, 04:53 PM   #5
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The Cobb "revert to stock" function does not put the origonal ROM back onto the ECU, so yes they can tell even if you unmarry it.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunKidd
The Cobb "revert to stock" function does not put the origonal ROM back onto the ECU, so yes they can tell even if you unmarry it.
But a local dealership doesn't have that kind of equipment. They would have to send the car out to SOA with signed permission by the owner.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigga
just as an fyi, the minute you add anything to these cars that was not there when you picked it up from the dealer, you lose warranty coverage on that and associated parts if a problem should arise.
This is not true.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunKidd
The Cobb "revert to stock" function does not put the origonal ROM back onto the ECU, so yes they can tell even if you unmarry it.
Close....

The "ROM" never leaves the computer, its an IC chip within the ECU that can be reprogrammed (in this case, only a certian number of times). I believe that what jigga said about the checksum is correct although I do not know this for a fact. I do not know what kind/style/manuf. of IC EEPROM they use for their chips and couldn't tell unless I disected an ECU.

So, in essence, they can tell that its been reflashed but not to what, assuming you've reverted back to stock. Now, this is my electronic's experience talking. According to Cobb, however, the dealership cannot tell that the ECU has been reflashed/modified:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobb
Q. Can a dealer detect that I have an AccessPORT (AccessECU reflash)?

A. With the tools currently available at Subaru dealerships, it is not possible for them to detect that the ECU has been modified. We own the same service tools used by all Subaru dealerships and have verified that their function is unaltered by the AccessECU. Therefore, your vehicle can be serviced by the dealership in the same way as a stock vehicle.


So, your friend should have not told them that he was going to/did/had already/whatever with the AP. Now the dealership (depending on what kind of a dealership they are) could possibly void many parts of his warranty.

Aaron
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:16 PM   #9
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Now that there is a free tool for reading the original image off of the ECU, I would do this before installing an AccessPort. This way if you ever do want to fully revert to stock, you can just burn your original image back. Well, this is assuming that some free burning tools become published like I expect

EDIT - here is link to the tool, if you're interested:
http://www.openecu.org/viewtopic.php?p=582

-Adrian

Last edited by ahains; 06-23-2005 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazyK1371
This is not true.
Actually, it is. That statement does not, however, account for leaniency of individual dealerships. But technically, modifying any part of the car "voids" the warranty of that part and anything associated it should a problem arise and the dealer choose to be a PITA about it.

Aaron
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinsain
Actually, it is. That statement does not, however, account for leaniency of individual dealerships. But technically, modifying any part of the car "voids" the warranty of that part and anything associated it should a problem arise and the dealer choose to be a PITA about it.

Aaron
No...the dealership would have to prove that the damaged caused to your vehicle was a direct result of the part that you added. Besides it's not up to the dealership to warranty your car it's up to SOA. If the dealer says that it won't fix your car because of some thing then I would tell them that you want to hear it from the SOA rep.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:26 PM   #12
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the dealer can basically guess that your ecu has been flashed, but they have no way to actually prove it. Our ECU's do not, i repeat DO NOT have a flash counter. Some ECU's do, our does not.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:28 PM   #13
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Trust me, Adrian - the tools are on their way. I have been reflashing my own cars for a couple of months now. It's definitely a smart idea to image your stock ecu before reflashing anything with OpenECU / Cobb / EcuTek tools so you can get your ECU back to its true stock form if you need to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ahains
Now that there is a free tool for reading the original image off of the ECU, I would do this before installing an AccessPort. This way if you ever do want to fully revert to stock, you can just burn your original image back. Well, this is assuming that some free burning tools become published like I expect

-Adrian
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:29 PM   #14
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Or you can have the original stock, pristine, unflashed ECU like me.

I bought a new ECU to play with and have my original as a backup.
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazyK1371
No...the dealership would have to prove that the damaged caused to your vehicle was a direct result of the part that you added. Besides it's not up to the dealership to warranty your car it's up to SOA. If the dealer says that it won't fix your car because of some thing then I would tell them that you want to hear it from the SOA rep.
Right, and then the SOA rep comes out and tells you the same thing. Furthermore, it sounds like you haven't actually ever had a warranty issue and needed to work with a dealer. Of course the dealership has to prove that the damage was a direct cause of the mod, but they can say it, deny your warranty, and you are the one who has to prove otherwise, not them. And it also has to get through the dealership, to the SOA rep in the first place - so, in essence, the dealership does decide your warranty fate. And if the dealership is more "mod friendly" the better chance you have to get it repaired w/out hassle.

What's more, common mods (such as exhausts, intakes, MBC's, short shifters) are pretty much in SOA's book as "things that ruin our cars and we can deny warranty work for." Almost anything can be argued, such as an exhaust made more power, destroying your tranny - or that the short shifter ground your gears into dust because it wasn't the "correct geometry." And you have to prove that those things didn't do that....not them.

And as I said before, these are "technicalities" that do not relate to each and evrery dealership.....
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondaeater69
the dealer can basically guess that your ecu has been flashed, but they have no way to actually prove it. Our ECU's do not, i repeat DO NOT have a flash counter. Some ECU's do, our does not.
So, how does it know the limit of times the EEPROM can be flashed? Is it just designed to have a certian amount of reflashes in it? I've never taken an ECU apart and looked at what's inside.....? [read: I've never gotten the time to take one apart... ]
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Old 06-23-2005, 05:49 PM   #17
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go to openecu.org. we have the datasheet on the 68HC916Y3. motorola/freescale claims only 100 cycles, but others have experienced success with many more cycles that this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shinsain
So, how does it know the limit of times the EEPROM can be flashed? Is it just designed to have a certian amount of reflashes in it? I've never taken an ECU apart and looked at what's inside.....? [read: I've never gotten the time to take one apart... ]
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Old 06-23-2005, 06:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinsain
Right, and then the SOA rep comes out and tells you the same thing.
I've never met a SOA rep with this kind of attitude before...have you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shinsain
Furthermore, it sounds like you haven't actually ever had a warranty issue and needed to work with a dealer. Of course the dealership has to prove that the damage was a direct cause of the mod, but they can say it, deny your warranty, and you are the one who has to prove otherwise, not them. And it also has to get through the dealership, to the SOA rep in the first place - so, in essence, the dealership does decide your warranty fate. And if the dealership is more "mod friendly" the better chance you have to get it repaired w/out hassle.
My dealership is not mod friendly but they know what is a federal violation and what is not. It all boils down to money. If the dealer fixed an item and sent that item to SOA along with the bill and SOA turns around and asks how this item was broken and the dealer replys because he had a MBC installed on the car. SOA will most likely not pay the dealer for the warranty work or parts used because they (SOA) was not called prior to the warranty work to verify the condition of the car in its modified state to see if that mod ie MBC could have caused the damage. This is why you will find some dealerships that are not mod friendly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shinsain
What's more, common mods (such as exhausts, intakes, MBC's, short shifters) are pretty much in SOA's book as "things that ruin our cars and we can deny warranty work for." Almost anything can be argued, such as an exhaust made more power, destroying your tranny - or that the short shifter ground your gears into dust because it wasn't the "correct geometry." And you have to prove that those things didn't do that....not them.
Again this is not true. The local dealership may feel this way and it maybe their SOP but it's not SOA SOP. You just need to be forcefull when you deal with a dealership that is giving you a hard time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shinsain
And as I said before, these are "technicalities" that do not relate to each and evrery dealership.....
Dealership yes. SOA no.
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Old 06-23-2005, 06:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colby
go to openecu.org. we have the datasheet on the 68HC916Y3. motorola/freescale claims only 100 cycles, but others have experienced success with many more cycles that this.
I knew someone had taken the damn thing apart! Yay.

Is that the chip part number?
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:40 PM   #20
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I thought I read somewhere that the ECU stores a record of instances of overboosting somewhere that can't be reflashed? Yes? No?
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Old 06-24-2005, 01:16 AM   #21
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The part is actually a 68HC916Y5, but that is basically a custom part with no documentation. The Y3 is a similar, lesser part that is documented. If you are curious about this stuff, head over to openecu.org

Regarding the overboosting, I seriously doubt these values are stored anywhere. The flash is a block erase type, so you can't store single values in flash easily. Similarly the RAM is lost when you disconnect the battery. I haven't discovered any other forms of nonvolatile storage in the ECU yet...
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Old 06-24-2005, 01:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazyK1371
I've never met a SOA rep with this kind of attitude before...have you?



My dealership is not mod friendly but they know what is a federal violation and what is not. It all boils down to money. If the dealer fixed an item and sent that item to SOA along with the bill and SOA turns around and asks how this item was broken and the dealer replys because he had a MBC installed on the car. SOA will most likely not pay the dealer for the warranty work or parts used because they (SOA) was not called prior to the warranty work to verify the condition of the car in its modified state to see if that mod ie MBC could have caused the damage. This is why you will find some dealerships that are not mod friendly.



Again this is not true. The local dealership may feel this way and it maybe their SOP but it's not SOA SOP. You just need to be forcefull when you deal with a dealership that is giving you a hard time.



Dealership yes. SOA no.

not trying to derail this thread, but subaru dealers have a certain dollar limit set on the cost of repairs that they can undertake without contacting the head office for the go-ahead. The dollar amount depends mostly on the size of the dealership and location. Whether the dealer goes ahead to warranty repair your car for you given the problem is worthy of head-office attention is up to the dealership. Mod friendly dealers will help in some situations, while other dealerships will not even touch a modified car in the first place. They will simplly tell you that they cannot help you unless you bring a stock car back to them.

Others will simply pick up the phone and contact head-office to let them know about the mods on the car, resulting in a black flagged warranty that will show up on the car's service history wherever it goes.

If a problem on a car arises where confirmation is needed, one of two things usually happens.

If the dealership in particular itself does not see the problem very often, headoffice will usually give the go-ahead or denial for warranty service over the telephone. Prior to making a decision, the service history of the car is looked at, and headoffice will always ask the manager what his/her opinion is on the situation (this is where a mod-friendly dealer comes in). The manager may tell head office that the problem looks legitimate, in which case, the go-ahead is given for repairs, OR the manager may tell them that you have so and so modifications on the car, and in such case, denial is given if the modifications may have caused the failure in head-office's 'eyes'.

If the issue is something that the dealership may have seen a lot of (ex, broken 2nd gear on tranny), a district rep is usually sent out to have a closer inspection and decide then whether it is covered or not.

Yes, the dealer does not decide directly whether to warranty your issues or not, but they do play a huge role in what happens at the end. For small issues that do not need pre-approval from headoffice, they may warranty your issues (if related to mods) if they are friendly. If not, they may just contact headoffice about your mods instead, who will black flag your car.

Some dealerships may tell you that they won't touch a modded car for one very important reason.... If you take or have taken your car around to different dealerships for repairs, and they see on your service record that warranty repairs were carried out in questionable situations by another dealership OR warranty repairs were carried out on a car that 'should' have received warranty repairs, the dealership in fault can have their franchise pulled by headoffice should word get to them.

Yes, headoffice pays the dealerships for warranty repairs carried out, but you do need to remember that the dealerships need to be careful as to what they repair, and under what situations they do so, or they end up either not getting compensated by headoffice, or even worse, being shut down by headoffice if they find that repairs were knowingly carried out on a car that should not have had a warranty repair due to modification of that aspect of the car by the owner.

This info is from a friend of mine who is also the service manager a the local Subaru dealership. Although i did not purchase my car from his location, I get all service and associated work done there.
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Old 06-24-2005, 03:28 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinsain
So, how does it know the limit of times the EEPROM can be flashed? Is it just designed to have a certian amount of reflashes in it? I've never taken an ECU apart and looked at what's inside.....? [read: I've never gotten the time to take one apart... ]

That 100 flashes only is a good example of misinformation. No such exact number exists. That's more of ball park tuners/engineers have estimated over time. It's not like your ECU will only accept and 100, and at 101 it won't accept any more. Just like you never get exactly 30K out of XYZ spark plug, or 40K out of XYZ tire.
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Old 06-24-2005, 04:19 PM   #24
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It's not a tuner estimate. It come right off of the datasheet for the microcontroller. I'm sure it is quite conservative though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hondaeater69
That 100 flashes only is a good example of misinformation. No such exact number exists. That's more of ball park tuners/engineers have estimated over time. It's not like your ECU will only accept and 100, and at 101 it won't accept any more. Just like you never get exactly 30K out of XYZ spark plug, or 40K out of XYZ tire.
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Old 06-24-2005, 04:36 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hondaeater69
That 100 flashes only is a good example of misinformation. No such exact number exists. That's more of ball park tuners/engineers have estimated over time. It's not like your ECU will only accept and 100, and at 101 it won't accept any more. Just like you never get exactly 30K out of XYZ spark plug, or 40K out of XYZ tire.
The 100 flash maximum is not misinformation, it's the chip manufacturer's recommedation.

BTW, in a few months, Subaru dealers will begin using a new, much more powerful, Subaru Select Monitor. You can read about it at:
http://www.subaru.com/common/news/ar..._corporate_ann
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