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Replacing Airbag ECU - Beginner

Hey Guys - New Alfa owner here in Dublin. I put a post up in the 156 forum and they recommended I throw it up here.

Just 'inherited' a 1998 Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 L TS - Dark green with tan leather.. its my first car so I'm not sure if this has been a mistake but I love it already!

So I have taken it for the NCT and it has failed on a Airbag light and ABS light that is showing. I was able to fix the ABS light - battery was loose. But I brought it to South Dublin Alfa Fiat in Goatstown - it was closest to my place. They ran a diagnostic and has resulted that the Airbag ECU is dead/fried. They have quoted me 450 Euro for replacement and extra for Labour - is this way overpriced?

Anyway I'm thinking - Can I do this myself? How easy is it to replace an ECU and what are the steps? Looking around I think I need to do the following:

1. New ECU - Ebay? What should I be looking for?
2. Download Diag Software
3. Get Modified cable - is this possible to get around here still?
4. Insert new ECU
5. Run Diag and Clear codes on new chip.
...
6. Happy days!

Am I being really naive thinking this is possible and will I save money/time? I'd love to be able to solve this myself - but if it is beyond my reach then that is fair enough!

I've read alot about T1 Autos with Gerry but getting the time off work to make it over will be dificult and only when I can justify a days leave from work i'd say... I could bring it to the Dun Laoighre garage..

Appreciate any help and tips you guys can share.
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Hello user_name_d. Congrats on your inheritance..

I can't answer your question but I'm interested if someone else knows the answer... I noticed no one was saying hello so I said I'd do the honours..

You cant go wrong by checking out this site for the diag software : FiatECUScan - Fiat, Alfa, Lancia ECU Reader / Scanner

And you'll get a cable off eBay.co.uk. Don buy a cheap china one as some of the functions wont work...

I have SnapOn kit with the Alfa/FIAT software..
if you're around Cork sometime I'd be happy to 'talk' to your ECU and reset it. I cant rmeber if the airbag contol unit needs to be matched to the cars ECU.... I'm guessing not. ( might be wrong ).but sure I could figure it out...

I cant see the harm in plugging in a recon unit and bringing you car to an independent garage with diag gear for a reset...

Anyone else here agree/disagree??

Cheers
Cathal

EDIT: disclaimer... Of course with airbag devices if the system is 'in doubt' it may decide to fire the bags... So I'm slightly backtracking here... Proceed with care. I would be disconnecting the battery for an hour before pulling an airbag controller!
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(Post Link) post #3 of 19 Old 04-04-11 Thread Starter
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Hey Cathal - Cheers for the welcome and the offer to take a look!

The more I am reading about it and some tips in the 156 forum the more I think I could manage it myself and at a fraction of the cost! Which sounds great!

Quick question RE: The FiatECUScan - do you reckon I am good to go with the free version of the software? it seems to have some limitations and the one that stands out is the "Reset/Programming Feature"

As i'm new here - thought I would share my new joy - pics attached!

Cheers,
JD
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very nice, and welcome "home". I'd give a call to Gerry at ti autos, he might be able to answer your question, and based on that answer you might still want to check in your car there...
Not sure about the Seat garage in Dun Laoghaire, but iirc Gac had good experience with them...
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Hi JD and welcome along, thats a nice inheritance you got there
Re your little problem I think you might be able to manage it, if I were you I'd get one secondhand in a breakers yard, alternatively ring this chao who often has parts available index he is quite good have used him before. I think Cathal is right be careful about airbag stuff, disconnect the battery for a while. If your happy you know how to replace it go ahead, and do buy the right cable rather than a cheap yoke. I'd say you can get the full software version of the diag somewhere on the web

Dont bend the rules, Rule the bends
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(Post Link) post #6 of 19 Old 04-04-11 Thread Starter
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Cheers lads ... Its good to have somewhere to talk Alfa!

I have looked around the 156 forums and it seems I can pick up a cable from one of the regulars on the UK forum.. so would be delighted with that. I take the advice on the airbag being disconnected for the hour - a wise move.

Stupid question and I could just ring - but do you know if either Ti Autos or the Don Baker parts would be open Saturdays? that would be my best day to pick these things up.

And one other question around ensuring I get the correct sensor - is there a hard and fast rule to ensure you get a sensor for your car? If I went down the route of buying online?

I would be confident enough on the fix but I might rope in the girlfriends dad to give me a hand he has tinkered with cars for a while - but he has stayed away from Alfa's!
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Beware that if you work on the airbag system, and are not qualified, then it can void your insurance in the event of an accident.
It's not exactly an easy thing to test either, to see if it's all working ok., so I'd leave it with someone tbh.
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ti are not open on a saturday but don bakers workshop is beside his house so im sure he could arrange to meet you on a saturday. Re the sensor the first place i would look is ebspares.co.uk as they specialise in alfaparts and you would be sure they will give you the right one. Alternatively ask the uk lads where is best to get that sensor. Also there is a user on here called lancsbreaker, and he runs a breakers yard in lancashire and he posts parts to ireland from stripped cars, try sending him a pm.
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...and just some quick info here... might be of use:

https://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-...r-bag-ecu.html
https://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-...ind-exact.html
https://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-...56-2-5-v6.html


BTW: just seen your new lady (picts above)... green with tan leather.... sweet... never seen one in the flesh with that combo.... enjoy her!
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Welcome along U_N_D, really like that tan leather in the 156 With regards advise I probably cat add to what has been said, but I would recommend calling to Gerry just to get his initial reaction. He does open from 8 in the morning and you can usually pick up your car at around 6 pm if that works for you.
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Cheers All - great welcome! - I am sorting out a cable today from the UK and need to double check my sensor number. I have a recommendation that for my 156 it should be 60658009. I will have a look this evening to see if I can check that number easily..without pulling too much apart.

Take your advice to call Gerry - I reckon i'll give him a shout over lunch and see what he thinks or if he has a part.
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Hey - just to update. Didnt get a chance to call Geryr today as I wanted to have a look at the sensor unit in the Alfa - so I knew what type number to look for.

Managed to squeeze my hand in and grab 2 snaps.. pics attached. Gonna ring Gerry and the Don Baker autos to see if they have the codes to match and possibly have a look in the UK online.

I think I have figured the code to be:

60655033 04 305536 08AB32

Will keep you posted on progress..
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Fix - Part 1 Help!

Hey guys.. Hope ye enjoying this good Friday.. Great day to look after the car

Hoping someone can help. I have put in the New ecu Module and Connected to the Airbag ecu using the FiatECUScan demo that I have.

When I go to clear the codes nothing happens and I get a message saying "NOTE: some errors may not clear if the problem is not fixed"

Have I missed something or is the replacement ECU also faulty!

I will try and get a screen grab of the error but I'm in Kerry and just have my phone to connect to net. The error I am getting is saying, "the ECU indicates a defect in the internal components ... Etc" error code 250.

Anyone have any ideas?
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The best thing to do would be to probably ask in the engines lounge Engines (TS, JTS, JTD & V6) - Alfa Romeo Forum or the 156 lounge Alfa 147, 156 & GT - Alfa Romeo Forum you are bound to get a better response there
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Thanks Gav - I have one up in the Alfa 147, 156 & GT - Alfa Romeo Forum and the lads have been pretty helpful.

Have been on to the breaker who sent me replacement and he is sending on another ECU for me to try. So fingers crossed on this one!
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(Post Link) post #16 of 19 Old 31-05-11 Thread Starter
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Hey All - Just to finalise this thread and end on the good news!

After 2 replacement ECU's sent over to me and none working I finally conceded and brought it in to Gerry in TI Autos - what a legend! He said the 2 sent to me were faulty and he replaced it with one he had lying around and it is now cleared of the dreaded airbag light!

Also had the Timing belts done, variator replaced, handbrake cable fixed, whole new set of spark plugs and a good service and she is running like a beauty!

Only good things to say about Gerry - absolute Gent and he didn't rip me off! Happy days.

NCT June 9th!
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Glad you got sorted
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I'm seriously beginning to think the republic of Ireland forum should be renamed the "gerry is a legend forum"
Everyone seems to have a good story about him, he's the only mechanic I've ever used so I've been spoilt all these years.
He thinks us lot need help giving him all this praise, he's right, as usual.
Delighted that everything worked out ok with the car and she's running as good as ever.
Far too many 156's are being scrapped, they're much too good of a car to suffer that faith.
Good to see people putting a effort into keeping them on the road.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paddy1982 View Post
I'm seriously beginning to think the republic of Ireland forum should be renamed the "gerry is a legend forum"
Everyone seems to have a good story about him, he's the only mechanic I've ever used so I've been spoilt all these years.
He thinks us lot need help giving him all this praise, he's right, as usual.
Delighted that everything worked out ok with the car and she's running as good as ever.
Far too many 156's are being scrapped, they're much too good of a car to suffer that faith.
Good to see people putting a effort into keeping them on the road.
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