My 1990 Lumina Euro 3.1 lost all its power after ECM replacement.


Old 05-30-08, 10:34 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
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My 1990 Lumina Euro 3.1 lost all its power after ECM replacement.

My car started running really rough and then eventually died out on me. I don't know much about it since i've only had it a few months. So i bought a Haynes repair manual and started troubleshooting. I had an idea of where the problem was at but i never thought about the ECM. So, I replaced the fuel pump, the fuel filter, spark plugs, wires, coil packs, the plate behind the coil packs and still no luck. Well i read on in the book and seen that it and an Electronic Control Module. Well i smacked myself in the forehead and went to Advanced and bought one. They said i had to have the car running to get a diagnostics test done on it. Well it wasn't running. I installed it exactly as it was instructed, and uninstalled it as the book said. Well there we go my problems fixed, until i took it down the road. Now my windows don't work, or electric door locks. It isn't shifting the gears right, might be the tranny but never did it before the ecm replacement. My main issue with it though is when i put it to the floor, or even trying to take off it has no torque. It idles at 1k RPM but drops to 500 rpm's in drive. As before none of this has ever happened before i replaced the ECM.

Only ideas i have is i got a crappy ECM, or the MEM-CAL (chip) needs replaced. I really don't know much about cars but i explained it as much as possible.
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Old 05-31-08, 06:10 AM
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Well, this is 20/20 hindsight, but the very first thing you should have done (after buying the manual) was to pull the existing codes. This could have been done whether the car would run or not and have given you a starting point. Now that you've swapped ecm's and driven it you or may not get help by reading the codes, but it's worth a go and is very DIY-able on OBD-I GM stuff. Here's how:

The data link connector will either be under the hood or down above the driver's side floor under the dash.

I think there's a chance you have the wrong ecm for your vehicle. One of the pro's should be along with a more technical opinion.
Old 05-31-08, 09:45 PM
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Look carefully under the cover that you removed to replace the ECM......There is a fuse box there, as well as unrelated wiring. Check the fuses...IGN 1 and IGN2....Aww hell, check em all......Then make sure you didnt knock anything loose hanging the ecm on its bracket.

Dead giveaway......Your power windows and locks are not controlled by the ECM.......But the wire that feeds them also Supplies Critical circuits that are needed to operate fuel and Ignition systems.
Old 06-01-08, 07:59 AM
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Where did you get this ECM? You can't just swap them with a used one without have the dealer reprogram it.
Old 06-01-08, 08:31 AM
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It could just as easily be a ground issue if you forgot to replace one that may have needed to be removed to gain access.
In my personal opinion, although I applaud you for your desire to fix it yourself, you probably spent way more than you would have had you taken the car to a reputable shop to have it properly diagnosed rather than replacing unnecessary parts. Everything that you replaced that didnt fix your problem could have been avoided because there are tests for every one. If you had repalced the ECM and it still did not fix your problem you would have spent even more without a repaired vehicle.
As Tow Guy said, you should have tried to pull code prior to replacing anything. OBDI is quite simple to diagnose. Before you replace anything else you should attempt to properly diagnose before you replace anything else.
Good Luck,
Old 06-03-08, 08:13 AM
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Well the main reason i didn't take it to a professional is because i live about 30-40 miles from the nearest city/town to get it worked on. Don't have a trailer, roll-back, or tow truck nor could i really afford one. The parts i got for it were bought for me and not by me so its not so bad on my wallet lol. Gotta love family.

Tow-Guy was right, i now can't find any trouble codes on the ECM. What do i do now? I'm about to go try what Unclediezel said and go check fuses and wiring.

I'll keep up on info.

Sorry almost forgot, The ECM was brand new and i used my mem-cal chip out of the old one for replacement. I bought the ECM at advanced auto. They have a new one waiting on me in case this one is sour, i will swap them again after i get a proper diagnosis that this is the issue.

Last edited by MetallateM; 06-03-08 at 08:17 AM. Reason: forgot some info.
Old 06-03-08, 12:55 PM
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Well actually any one of the things you have done previous to the ECM could also be causing your problem you have a lot of areas to check for problems. Fuel Pump, Ign module, coil packs make sure the wires arent crossed, make sure you have the wires on the plugs in the back (They are a pain to do so they may not be on tight) Have you replaced the O2 sensor? They are only another $20 and would be a good idea with all this new stuff on there.
Old 06-04-08, 05:10 PM
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Well, I wouldnt just change something else without proper diagnostics just for the sake of replacing parts. Its really hard to say where to go from here. I wouldnt condemn the ECM or your chip so soon as it is actually running now rather than not, as before. Its possible you are on the right track, but you really need to get it diagnosed before you just throw another part at it.

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