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Old 01-04-2018, 02:01 PM   #1
GertieGTI
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Fried ECU, difficult shop, switching software.

I had my car bench flashed stage 1 in early 2014 at around 20k miles. All was well for about a year until the radiator fans would come on 100% even from a cold start. A tell tale sign of a faulty ECU. Shop was giving me the run around and saying it wasn't the tune and to flash it to stock and take it into the VW dealer. The dealership said it was the radiator fan module, which I knew was not the case. I called the software tuning company to explore all my options and to get alternative advice. They knew instantly what it was and said it could be fixed and to ship the ECU out. Shop begrudgingly did this as they felt I went behind their back. My ECU was repaired and back in the car and has been fine since sometime in 2015 when this happened.

After getting the ECU recall notice, I decided it was safe to go stage 2 since it was only $50 more and it needed to be reflashed after getting the update from the dealer so I could get my registration completed. All is well again and the car puts smile on my face every time I drive it.

A month ago I go on a trip, get back in the car to start it and it just stumbles and dies. Try to start again and nothing. After failing to jump start it, I have a sneaking suspicion it is the ECU as the radiator fans are coming on with the ignition. Tow it into the shop and am told three days later it's the ECU. They send me an invoice for the cost of a new ECU as they claim its a manufactures defect and they have replaced plenty stock ECU's. I know this is BS in my head because the ECU is covered under the emissions warranty why would anyone pay to have their ECU replaced if VW is able to do it under warranty? I am unfortunately at the mercy of them and they know it. I can not take my car to the dealership because it is tuned and has a downpipe and I am outside powertrain warranty. I call the software tuning company to see explore my options and they are not much help and have since closed US operations. At this point I just need my car back and I opt to have a used ECU installed.

My dilemma is I have really lost faith in this shop. The owner is difficult and not very personable, the first ECU repair they broke my cowling and denied it, just recently broke it again(I understand why it's a PIA), they had my cowl up for a week and didn't take the 2 minutes to shop vac out the clump of leaves, and while I understand they have to charge $50 every time you remove or install the software it just seems silly because it is something that I can do.

Now I have a used ECU in that is working fine and I have to deliberate if it is worth it to tune the car again. Tunes are port flashed now and my understanding was it was the bench flash process that stressed the solder joints on the ECU that caused the problem. Although there are some reports of stock ECU's failing. Also I have to get the car smog checked this summer. $100 to remove and reinstall the tune, and $50 now to install the tune until the summer. I also have a program switcher which is $100. That's $250 which is easily the depreciation value of switching to a COBB accessport which allows me to do it myself. Other option is take DP off and keep stock, or just smile and stay with shop and pay the $50 to tune it again.

If you read through this novel thank you. Please let me know your thoughts.
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Old 01-05-2018, 05:29 PM   #2
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Why not use something like u said Cobb access port or unitronic with uniconnect+ and just flash in ur garage. That would mitigate the process which killed ur last ECU. I'm staying stage 1 for smog reasons and waiting for CAIs to get carb stickers but don't like the neuspeed p-flo. /Shrug.

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Old 01-06-2018, 03:16 PM   #3
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I am hesitant to tune my car again after a $1500 ECU bill. But from what understand it was the bench flashing process which most likely weakened it over time. Now with port flashing there is not much risk.

Since the MK7's have always been port flashed are they seeing any failing ECU's?

Yeah I picked up a used P-Flo since I needed a new air filter anyways. I'll keep it while temperatures are cold but once summer comes I may ditch it. Open filter does not make sense to me.
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:57 PM   #4
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What year car, the 2010's for sure had many issues because they had to open the ecu, the problems of water or broken boards due to stress seemed to happen every other week. I didn't think this was a problem with the port flashed, but obviously yours was opened.

My recommendation, again based on peace of mind and not knowing the year of your car, keep it stock. But if it doesn't have to be opened much less risk.

What was the tune company?
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:21 PM   #5
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if you plan on keeping the car and want to continue to have fun with it, I think a port flashed tune would be fine on a properly working ECU (assuming you can do this). Definitely would not do any sort of bench tune that requires opening the ECU again though.

if you can port flash the car, go get a cobb ap
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:08 AM   #6
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port flashed tune is best imo... no more reason to crack open and bench flash. That being said i see your hesitation with 2 separate times your ECU has failed... I personally have the COBB AP (with stratified flash tune) and i love it... the initial flash took about 10 minutes... but i recently switched files from their exhaust crackles to no exhaust crackles and it took about 3 minutes in my garage.

I kept a trickle charge battery charge hooked up during the process but i dont think it was even necessary for the switching tunes... i would recomend using it though just to be safe... and you can get them for like ~$20.


I havent switched back to stock or anything but i do use it to monitor engine temp and boost pressure while driving and the ability to see/clear engine codes is nice.

My vote is get a cobb AP and then a stratified flash tune... you will not like the COBB off the shelf tunes... they leave quite a bit to desire.
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Old 01-08-2018, 12:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lilonespaz View Post
port flashed tune is best imo... no more reason to crack open and bench flash. That being said i see your hesitation with 2 separate times your ECU has failed... I personally have the COBB AP (with stratified flash tune) and i love it... the initial flash took about 10 minutes... but i recently switched files from their exhaust crackles to no exhaust crackles and it took about 3 minutes in my garage.

I kept a trickle charge battery charge hooked up during the process but i dont think it was even necessary for the switching tunes... i would recomend using it though just to be safe... and you can get them for like ~$20.


I havent switched back to stock or anything but i do use it to monitor engine temp and boost pressure while driving and the ability to see/clear engine codes is nice.

My vote is get a cobb AP and then a stratified flash tune... you will not like the COBB off the shelf tunes... they leave quite a bit to desire.
i know the cobb AP is not that cheap, but once in a while one can get one "unmarried" used from a previous owner for a good price.

but how much does Stratified charge for an initial basic tune?? and how much do they charge for a follow up tune in order to get it refined for one's particular car application
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Old 01-08-2018, 03:01 PM   #8
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i know the cobb AP is not that cheap, but once in a while one can get one "unmarried" used from a previous owner for a good price.

but how much does Stratified charge for an initial basic tune?? and how much do they charge for a follow up tune in order to get it refined for one's particular car application
Well they offer a few ways..

Right now if you buy the AP from them they will include their Flash tune for free.
If you already have a AP the regular flash tune is $100.
If you want a Protune(multiple revisions for non stock turbo or custom set ups)- $250
If you add parts and need your tune refreshed its $50-100 bucks. (Depends on what you added/changed).
Here is a link to their services for us.
http://www.stratifiedauto.com/index....&cPath=209_219


the $50 data log refinement is apart of the basic flash tune. They will review your data log and make an adjustment for additional power if available. I did not do this and was happy with just the regular flash tune provided from them. I did pay the extra $10 for the exhaust crackles.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:10 PM   #9
GertieGTI
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What year car, the 2010's for sure had many issues because they had to open the ecu, the problems of water or broken boards due to stress seemed to happen every other week. I didn't think this was a problem with the port flashed, but obviously yours was opened.

My recommendation, again based on peace of mind and not knowing the year of your car, keep it stock. But if it doesn't have to be opened much less risk.

What was the tune company?
It's a 2012 that was bench flashed at the time. I believe all tuners for the MK6 MED17 ECU's are port flash now.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:21 PM   #10
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if you plan on keeping the car and want to continue to have fun with it, I think a port flashed tune would be fine on a properly working ECU (assuming you can do this). Definitely would not do any sort of bench tune that requires opening the ECU again though.

if you can port flash the car, go get a cobb ap
My car is paid off in two months and I plan to keep it until at least 100k or a third family member is added to the family where a 2dr isn't as practical.

It has been a few weeks now on the used ECU and it has been fine. Are any tuners still bench flash only?

Really interested in COBB because of do it yourself programming, resale of ~90% of purchase price, all inclusive tunes(stage 2, valet, ect.), guages, data logging, code reader, ability for etunes or E30. If you were to take some other tune APR, REVO, ect. you would have to add a $300 P3 guage to get the same functionality.

I called COBB today and the guy was really helpful in answering my questions. They even offered to look at my bad ECU for free and see if they could repair or communicate with it. DSG tunes are in the works but MK6 will be on the trailing end of the roll out.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:28 AM   #11
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My car is paid off in two months and I plan to keep it until at least 100k or a third family member is added to the family where a 2dr isn't as practical.

It has been a few weeks now on the used ECU and it has been fine. Are any tuners still bench flash only?

Really interested in COBB because of do it yourself programming, resale of ~90% of purchase price, all inclusive tunes(stage 2, valet, ect.), guages, data logging, code reader, ability for etunes or E30. If you were to take some other tune APR, REVO, ect. you would have to add a $300 P3 guage to get the same functionality.

I called COBB today and the guy was really helpful in answering my questions. They even offered to look at my bad ECU for free and see if they could repair or communicate with it. DSG tunes are in the works but MK6 will be on the trailing end of the roll out.
So whats stopping you? And yes all the major brands.. APR, Unitronic, COBB, Eurodyne etc are port flash now.
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Old 01-09-2018, 12:12 PM   #12
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So whats stopping you? And yes all the major brands.. APR, Unitronic, COBB, Eurodyne etc are port flash now.
Just the hesitation of tuning it again with the fear of another $1500 bill although I know it wasn't the tune that caused it rather the shop.

Trying to justify $650 and in my head with, "well I can sell the AP for at least $500 and I have to smog my car soon so that would be $100 right there and its $50 to put it back on my car now so that pays the difference in switching tuners."

This is how my brain works with most things [un]fortunate?
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Old 01-09-2018, 01:10 PM   #13
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Just the hesitation of tuning it again with the fear of another $1500 bill although I know it wasn't the tune that caused it rather the shop.

Trying to justify $650 and in my head with, "well I can sell the AP for at least $500 and I have to smog my car soon so that would be $100 right there and its $50 to put it back on my car now so that pays the difference in switching tuners."

This is how my brain works with most things [un]fortunate?
no problem. you gotta do whatever is best for you, no reason to maybe put yourself in a bind with money if you dont need to.
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Old 01-09-2018, 01:17 PM   #14
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Even port flashes aren't guaranteed to not harm your ECU. I've had APR flashed on my car 3 times and at least one of those times it was pretty sketchy. It was the last time I got flashed. My mechanic had everything all ready to go, he pushed the button on the laptop to start the flash, and then it didn't do anything. It just sat at 0% progress. He started warning me right there that my ECU could be bricked and that he didn't like what it was doing. Then he unplugged the laptop from my odb2 to retry it. Then he went back to the laptop to get things set up again, and it entirely skipped the set up process and went straight to flashing my ECU. I was pretty much at the mercy of the ECU gods at that point. The mechanic didn't know if it was gonna go through properly, but since we had already started the only thing we could do was let it finish. He also had no idea what it was actually flashing onto my car since it skipped the set up. It took a while to flash and at one point it looked like it got hung up, it got stuck at one spot for a while but it pushed past it and finished.

I've changed tunes on my cobb ap more than a few times just messing around with things and I feel a lot safer using cobb over w/e it is that APR does on a laptop. I've probably switched tunes on the cobb ap at least 8 times and it's always gone smoothly.
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