Close

    • What an M156 (63 AMG) ECU/computer ruined by a tuner looks like and how to fix it

      We are not going to name any names here but chances are there are a few M156 ECU's out there that look exactly like what you see here. This ECU was drenched in epoxy gunk which essentially ruined it without the owner knowing or providing consent for the ECU to be modified in this manner. The only way to remove the material to be able to tune the ECU was to use a CNC machine carefully to remove it over a period of a couple hours. It was a coin flip whether the board would be hit essentially creating an expensive paperweight but the ECU was able to be salvaged and tuned as the material was removed without hitting/damaging the board. Make sure you do not have to go through this ordeal with your ECU and be careful what tuner you go with.








      This article was originally published in forum thread: What an M156 (63 AMG) ECU/computer ruined by a tuner looks like and how to fix it started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 454 Comments
      1. c32AMG-DTM's Avatar
        c32AMG-DTM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
        This thread is not about IP, I just brought it up becuase that is clearly what the tuner in this instance was trying to protect. Whether or not a tuners "tune" is legally considered IP I have no clue whatsoever, maybe Yomamma69 can chime in since he is an internet attorney(I beleive I recall him saying that) and can probably give us more insight on IP law but what I do know is that the vehichle owner owns the physical ECU board and no tuner has the right to physically alter that board in a way thay might render it useless down the road....PERIOD!
        Devil's advocate: I thought you were the "gotta pay to play" guy? Tuning is a calculated risk on both parts (tuner/owner). If a tuner got too aggressive with your tune and popped the motor, you'd shrug it off and say "$#@! happens" and scratch a check for a new motor, or would you get all fired up and say "no tuner should offer a tune that renders the engine useless down the road" ??

        Hell, in the MB tuning scene, quite a few guys buy spare ECUs, especially the M156 guys since every tuner has to physically crack open the ECU at least once and that itself may raise warranty concerns. Albeit expensive, the ECU is a replaceable part.
      1. JRCART's Avatar
        JRCART -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by c32AMG-DTM Click here to enlarge
        Devil's advocate: I thought you were the "gotta pay to play" guy? Tuning is a calculated risk on both parts (tuner/owner). If a tuner got too aggressive with your tune and popped the motor, you'd shrug it off and say "$#@! happens" and scratch a check for a new motor, or would you get all fired up and say "no tuner should offer a tune that renders the engine useless down the road" ??

        Hell, in the MB tuning scene, quite a few guys buy spare ECUs, especially the M156 guys since every tuner has to physically crack open the ECU at least once and that itself may raise warranty concerns. Albeit expensive, the ECU is a replaceable part.
        I am a "pay to play" guy. I fully understand the risks involved in tuning and modding a car but I really don't see what that has to do with this thread???? I do own multiple ECU's, but again I don't see what that has to do with anything here?

        If my motor popped today I would not blame any tuner, my car is pushed to the absolute extreme limits and I beat the $#@! out of it on a regular basis, only a $#@!ing retarded $#@! would mod the $#@! out of a car and then blame a tuner for blowing it up....AGAIN, WHAT DOES ANY OF THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THIS THREAD?????????????????????
      1. JRCART's Avatar
        JRCART -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by c32AMG-DTM Click here to enlarge
        Devil's advocate: I thought you were the "gotta pay to play" guy? Tuning is a calculated risk on both parts (tuner/owner). If a tuner got too aggressive with your tune and popped the motor, you'd shrug it off and say "$#@! happens" and scratch a check for a new motor, or would you get all fired up and say "no tuner should offer a tune that renders the engine useless down the road" ??
        The only way and I repeat the ONLY WAY I would ever be pissed at a tuner if my motor popped was if it was proven that he did something reckless, an extreme lean tune or crazy amounts of timing or something like that. Other than that a popped motor is all on me, if somebody does not have $40,000 sitting in a savings account to replace a blown AMG motor they better not even consider modding their car IMO, better yet take your money that you were gonna spend on that tune and buy an extended warranty and keep the car stock. The last thing I want to hear is some $#@! coming on here because he asked a tuner to push the envelope and the motor went bang and now the customer is looking for restitution.
      1. c32AMG-DTM's Avatar
        c32AMG-DTM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
        I don't agree with that, but I guess we are all allowed to have different opinions, right?
        I guess it's just Merriam-Webster's opinion of what ruin means - you're entitled to your own made-up definition. I'm good with that.

        FWIW, your analogy falls apart in-so-much that aesthetics don't matter with an ECU - it's buried away inside the vehicle, and simply has to function properly. Aesthetics do matter with exterior body panels, as how they look is a significant part of their function. Regardless, to answer your question - if the epoxy could be removed with solvents without compromising the factory clear coat... no, I wouldn't consider the hood ruined. Frankly, even if it did compromise the clear - the hood wouldn't be ruined... but the factory paint job would be.

        ...and for the record, you brought up MHP not me or Sticky.
        True, I did. Glad we got that on record. A casual reader of this thread probably could've figured that out, but I'm fine with making it official. Frankly, the CNC angle is the only new news here - MHP already posted about this freely themselves, in the thread I already referenced.
      1. Yomama69's Avatar
        Yomama69 -
        I am going to chime in. I have a few points to make. @c32AMG-DTM already covered them.

        First off, I agree the title of this thread should be changed to reflect truth, if indeed this is a truthful forum.

        Secondly, owners are sending their ECUs to tuners to tune. Owners have a reasonable expectation that tuners will do whatever they do in order to give them the product they paid for, which is actually just a license. When you purchase a tune, you're merely licensing it from the tuner. You may own the hardware, but the software on the ECU is no longer your property.

        Companies have every right to protect their IP from infringement. Written code can be copyrighted and is in fact IP. Just because the new code was modified from existing code does not change the fact that it is IP. Mercedes (and other manufacturers) encrypt the code to prevent infringement, but they will never sue tuners, because they have sales increased from people to intend to tune the cars, much like yourself. Removable epoxy = encryption.

        I don't know which tuners or how many of them have a practice of using epoxy, but it appears from another post that MHP does this and offers to remove it and put the ECU back to stock if so desired. Really, some of y'all are just moving the hater train up the track more with this thread. I have yet to see anyone post that a tuner epoxied the ECU and refuses to remove it. This is really unwarranted, folks. The entire thread.
      1. c32AMG-DTM's Avatar
        c32AMG-DTM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
        ...if somebody does not have $40,000 sitting in a savings account to replace a blown AMG motor they better not even consider modding their car IMO, better yet take your money that you were gonna spend on that tune and buy an extended warranty and keep the car stock.
        Agree 100%.
      1. JRCART's Avatar
        JRCART -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Yomama69 Click here to enlarge
        I am going to chime in. I have a few points to make. @c32AMG-DTM already covered them.

        First off, I agree the title of this thread should be changed to reflect truth, if indeed this is a truthful forum.

        Secondly, owners are sending their ECUs to tuners to tune. Owners have a reasonable expectation that tuners will do whatever they do in order to give them the product they paid for, which is actually just a license. When you purchase a tune, you're merely licensing it from the tuner. You may own the hardware, but the software on the ECU is no longer your property.

        Companies have every right to protect their IP from infringement. Written code can be copyrighted and is in fact IP. Just because the new code was modified from existing code does not change the fact that it is IP. Mercedes (and other manufacturers) encrypt the code to prevent infringement, but they will never sue tuners, because they have sales increased from people to intend to tune the cars, much like yourself. Removable epoxy = encryption.
        Thanks for chiming in, most of what you said is what I already said in a previous post myself and is pretty much what I expected to be "IP law". I believe a tuners "tune" is IP and they have a right to protect or encrypt it, however where I disagree with you is on your "Removable epoxy = encryption" comment. You stated the "hardware" is the property of the owner, physically applying a physical epoxy barrier is altering the hardaware, you can't see and touch IP, you can see and touch hardware.
      1. Yomama69's Avatar
        Yomama69 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
        Thanks for chiming in, most of what you said is what I already expected and said in a previous post myself. I believe a tuners "tune" is IP and they have a right to protect or encrypt it, however where I disagree with you is on your "Removable epoxy = encryption" comment. You stated the "hardware" is the property of the owner, physically applying a physical epoxy barrier is altering the hardaware, you can's see and touch IP, you can see and touch hardware.
        The hardware is not being "altered" or "destroyed" or anything of that nature. Epoxy serves the same purpose as an encryption. If the epoxy was permanent and could not be removed, altering the hardware, you would be correct.
      1. JRCART's Avatar
        JRCART -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Yomama69 Click here to enlarge
        The hardware is not being "altered" or "destroyed" or anything of that nature. Epoxy serves the same purpose as an encryption. If the epoxy was permanent and could not be removed, altering the hardware, you would be correct.
        Very very fine line here. I am not agreeing with you but I suppose the arguement could be made. Furthermore MHP only just came out a couple weeks ago and posted about the epoxy. I highly doubt any of their customers were made aware of it at the time the work was performed.
      1. benzomannyc's Avatar
        benzomannyc -
        Well its obvious whomever decided to open up this ECU clearly had an intent of stealing the file or something. Now on a second note why don't you post photos of the actually CNC mill working over the ECU with the end mill spinning and cutting? I doubt anyone would because only a fool would even attempt this. For all the skeptics please prove the CNC milled the board to remove the glue or prove this ECU was broken or hurt from the tuner. If you can not prove this then you wasted everyone's time reading it. Makes a nice photo to simply clamp an ECU to a mill but id like to see the action guys, sorry. major electronic manufacture do this to protect their designs and IP. I am involved in pro audio and this is common place for very high end equipment in recording studios and home audio. I think with all the drama these boards have been igniting over tuning is the main reason tuners go to this extreme to stop others. I think this thread is just an attempt to throw someone under the bus who isnt a paying sponsor here anymore.
      1. c32AMG-DTM's Avatar
        c32AMG-DTM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
        Very very fine line here. I am not agreeing with you but I suppose the arguement could be made. Furthermore MHP only just came out a couple weeks ago and posted about the epoxy. I highly doubt any of their customers were made aware of it at the time the work was performed.
        True perhaps, but now you're going down a different path. Most tuners, in my experience, don't fully disclose exactly what they have to do to an ME 9.7 ECU to load their tune on it (or, they downplay it), because they don't want to risk a sale on what they view to be a trivial issue, one which the customer most likely won't fully understand anyway.

        So, you're splitting hairs in a sense. If MHP told all their clients "if for any reason you're unhappy, we'll gladly put you back to the stock ECU map, but it's important that you send the ECU back to us to process your request" - in a way, they've notified their clients of this. They haven't disclosed each and every step to load/unload, add/remove encryption/epoxy/etc, but I don't know of any tuners that do. I.e. it's not SOP or best-practices to do so in this industry. Maybe someday that'll change, who knows?
      1. JRCART's Avatar
        JRCART -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by c32AMG-DTM Click here to enlarge
        True perhaps, but now you're going down a different path. Most tuners, in my experience, don't fully disclose exactly what they have to do to an ME 9.7 ECU to load their tune on it (or, they downplay it), because they don't want to risk a sale on what they view to be a trivial issue, one which the customer most likely won't fully understand anyway.

        So, you're splitting hairs in a sense. If MHP told all their clients "if for any reason you're unhappy, we'll gladly put you back to the stock ECU map, but it's important that you send the ECU back to us to process your request" - in a way, they've notified their clients of this. They haven't disclosed each and every step to load/unload, add/remove encryption/epoxy/etc, but I don't know of any tuners that do. I.e. it's not SOP or best-practices to do so in this industry. Maybe someday that'll change, who knows?
        It's a safe bet that I have owned more modded vehichles than the average person, I have owned cars tuned by Lingenfelter, Dinan, PC and more and none of them ever did anything like this.
      1. Yomama69's Avatar
        Yomama69 -
        /inb4benzomannyc is Andy.
      1. JRCART's Avatar
        JRCART -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Yomama69 Click here to enlarge
        /inb4benzomannyc is Andy.
        You think? LOL
      1. Yomama69's Avatar
        Yomama69 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
        It's a safe bet that I have owned more modded vehichles than the average person, I have owned cars tuned by Lingenfelter, Dinan, PC and more and none of them ever did anything like this.
        Or perhaps you just didn't know they did.
      1. Yomama69's Avatar
        Yomama69 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
        You think? LOL
        Actually, I don't. Writing style is completely different. I just knew that you were going to go there.
      1. JRCART's Avatar
        JRCART -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Yomama69 Click here to enlarge
        Or perhaps you just didn't know they did.
        I am certain that the Dinan and PC were never epoxyed, can't confirm the Lingenfelter, but the fact that the guy that tunes for them is a friends brother I would go out on a limb and say he probably did not epoxy my board.
      1. c32AMG-DTM's Avatar
        c32AMG-DTM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by JRCART Click here to enlarge
        It's a safe bet that I have owned more modded vehichles than the average person, I have owned cars tuned by Lingenfelter, Dinan, PC and more and none of them ever did anything like this.
        I don't see the relevance of your response to my post (#32). Are you saying that those tuners did disclose exactly what steps they go through when tuning your vehicles, in rebuttal to my assertion that tuners typically do not?
      1. Yomama69's Avatar
        Yomama69 -
        I wish people on this forum would stick to discrediting tuners who actually destroy $#@!.
      1. c32AMG-DTM's Avatar
        c32AMG-DTM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Yomama69 Click here to enlarge
        I wish people on this forum would stick to discrediting tuners who actually destroy $#@!.
        People seemingly prefer to discredit those they have an axe to grind with. Personally, professionally, or both.