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Old 11-08-2012, 10:47 AM   #25
Cobb Tuning
Member#: 4803
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Austin, TX

Some points to keep in mind as far as the dealership detecting reflashes:

1. A dealership and/or SOA has the capability of directly or indirectly detecting a currently installed tune (i.e. reflash) regardless of what tuning solution you are using (Cobb, OS, or Ecutek). There are various methods they can employ that we are aware of, but it appears it is not something they do often.

2. There are methods that a dealership can use to indirectly make an assumption about whether you've recently reflashed the ECU or not, even if the factory tune is present when you bring it in. One example is that later models have an obdii parameter that gives you the distance traveled since the ECU was reset. Regardless of the solution, if you reflash a map, you also reset the ECU, so all these learned parameters are cleared. So, a check of that parameter will show that the ECU was recently reset. Other parameters, such as the status of obdii readiness tests can also help someone to infer the same thing. Of course, a battery disconnect could also cause the same ECU reset. Again, not something they appear to do very often.

3. A flash counter already exists on 08+ or so Subarus. It is only incremented by the dealership's tool when they reflash to a newer Subaru ROM image. As such, since the v2 AccessPORT backs up your factory image (assuming you didn't have some other tune on there) when you install the AccessPORT and restores the ROM image when you uninstall, you will not be impacted by this flash counter.

Keep in mind that, generally speaking, the above methods are not usually employed by dealerships unless they suspect abuse as it relates to a warranty claim. Even then, generally they are more concerned with hard parts modifications such as intake or exhaust mods, rather than an ECU reflash. There are certainly some dealerships that are more tolerant of basic mods (including reflashes) than others. In fact, some may sell and install these parts. Finding a mod-friendly dealership is good idea if you are planning on modifying your car during the warranty period. Of course, there is no guarantee against anything - any dealership or SOA can come to any conclusion they want, but being honest about your mods and getting an understanding ahead of time about how a dealership feels about mods is usually a good idea. Regardless, there are federal laws in place to protect the consumer against warranty denials when the aftermarket part (including a reflash) is not the cause of the failure.

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