Running ‘codes’ on an ECOTEC

The ECOTEC in the TR4 is performing like a champ.  However, we had our first ‘oh shait’ moment.  The thing started missing under acceleration and given that is is a four banger, having 25% of all power missing intermittently makes a big deal.  Time to scratch the noggin’…

Well, this is where the thing really gets interesting.  We’ve had plenty of experience with all sorts of fuel injected GM engines – from the humble”throttle body” to the L98 TunedPort to the legendary LT1/LT4 and let’s not forget the awesome LSx family and last but not least the L32 in bowtie6.  Some of these can be fiddled with by changing ‘chips’ (L98 and TunedPort) while others like the LTx and LSx family can be modified with laptops and software.  And the oddball, the L32 – well he is pretty much hosed.  That poor critter is so old school that no software exists to fiddle with him.  Bugger.  🙁

Scanning some of the OBD I engines was simple enough:  jump the appropriate ALDL connector terminals and watch the MIL blink.  Count how many times it flashes and look it up.  Voila!  On L98’s, LTx’s, LSx’s, L32’s…  We’ve used several code readers – the last one we bought was pretty slick but it did not allow for tuning the ECM’s.

Ah, but for the ECOTEC…  Now we are talking!  HPTuners offers one very awesome software package and that is one more advantage about using this particular engine.  And, it can be used on the LTx’s and LS’x too.  So back to my original post…

We hooked up our  trusted laptop running HPTuners and we were able to scan for codes.  Sure enough, the thing showed we had an engine misfire.  But this is where it gets pretty cool:  not only did it confirm the misfire, it was smart enough to tell us which coil was causing the misfire – the coil on number 1 cylinder was the culprit.  We promptly changed it, cleared existing “DTC’s” and off we went.  Problem solved.

The point I’m  trying to make here is that with the proper tools, diagnosing FI is not rocket science.  Folks make this to be a great mystery.  I’ve heard from so many folks through the years that if has a “computer” it is not worth messing with.  Adding insult to injury, I’ve read of folks stripping the FI system off L32’s and replacing that with a “Holley”.  Oh dear…

Leave a Reply