One of the worst things to hear when your truck is in the shop with a problem is, “You need a new ECM.” They are expensive and, unfortunately, most shops replace the ECM when they run out of other options to fix your truck. But, if a turbo can be repaired or a set of mechanical injectors can be rebuilt, why can’t an ECM be repaired, too? Well, now it can! We at Pittsburgh Power are pioneering a new path to provide more services to keep you and your truck on the road for less money – including ECM and circuit board repairs.
Recently, an owner operator came to our shop with his 2006 Kenworth T2000 with a Cummins ISX engine. He had a list of things that needed to be fixed, including his engine fan, which was stuck in the “on” position. The engineering team worked with the technicians to track down this problem and came to the conclusion that the ECM itself was causing the fan to stay on. Here’s the part no owner operator wants to hear – “You need a new ECM!” However, in an attempt to help this client, we at Pittsburgh Power decided to try fixing it.
Looking to fix the problem, instead of just replacing the part, our engineering team accepted the challenge of repairing the complicated ECM which had been designed by a large team of Cummins engineers and millions of dollars of research money. The problem was quickly discovered in the fan circuit – in a particular component called TOPFET (Temperature and Overload Protected Field Effect Transistor). This component is used in applications to drive moderate current loads with no external relays or fuses. The ECM directly drives fan solenoids, fuel shut off valves, etc. with no need to have relays in your dash. The ECM was repaired, resealed, and then tested numerous times to verify that the problem was actually repaired. And it was!
That all sounds impressive, but how much did it cost? The part itself was less than ten dollars, but the entire circuit had to be replaced, which was about $20. The whole process only took approximately three hours to complete. So, to total that up, we have three hours of labor and $20 in parts. The price of a new ECM is $1,800 plus the programming. Saving $1,500 or more and getting your truck back on the road quickly is time (and money) well-spent at the right shop.
We at Pittsburgh Power can also repair dashboard circuit boards and other circuit boards, not just the ECM. Now, just like a turbo or a mechanical injector, not all ECMs can be repaired. Sometimes, what is bad is bad, and a replacement is necessary – especially if the ECM has been contaminated with water and the corrosion has caused too much damage to repair. However, time and money spent on a repair is always a good option for an ever-tightening budget in today’s rough economy. Having a failed ECM doesn’t have to be a budget killer – it just needs to be taken to a shop that wants to help you just as much as you want to get back on the road.
Here is an update on our new CL-8 Internal Engine Cleaning System. We performed the cleaning process on six owner operator trucks at the CMC conference recently held in Kansas City, and we had some great results. John Hobbs has a 6NZ Cat with 340,000 miles on an in-chassis and his oil stayed clean for 8,000 miles, while Adam Safford’s oil, in his 2007 ISX Cummins, stayed clean for 6,000 miles (keep in mind that this is an EGR engine). Now, take notice of the results of David Olafson’s C-15 MXS Acert Cat – this engine is original, with 1,120,000 miles on it without a rebuild, and this engine, which was also cleaned at the CMC event, not only gained 10 psi of oil pressure, but the oil stayed so clean, we had to hold the dipstick up to the light to see the oil level!
Before the cleaning of David’s engine, his oil consumption was one gallon every 8,000 miles; after the cleaning, his oil consumption improved to just one gallon every 12,000 miles. He also has the OPS-1 by-pass oil filter on his engine, and now our Filter Mags on the full-flow oil filter, as well. This improvement is amazing. And to think, I was introduced to the CL-8 Internal Engine Cleaning System four years ago, but I hesitated to get involved with it. But, after one trip to the manufacturing facility, I was convinced this was a great system. And with results like this, we may be able to get many more engines into the 1.5 to 2 million mile mark before an in-chassis rebuild needs to be done. David is going to keep in touch with me and we will figure out when his engine will need another internal cleaning.
Now, let’s talk about the Filter Mags. In 1999, I purchased two sets of the Filter Mags – one set for my 1995 Dodge Cummins (which I have been driving for 21 years turned up 150%) and the other set went on my 1996 Saab Aero (which is now a beater car) – and both vehicles have never used oil. Then, the Filter Mags disappeared from the market because of poor marketing. Well, they are back, and I will be talking about them for the next several articles, just to keep you informed as to how well they are working.
The Filter Mags are made of a rare earth magnetic material, which is extremely powerful, that traps and holds the iron particles from your oil inside the oil filter. Never remove the magnets from the filter until it’s time for the oil and filter to be changed. The iron in the oil is from the cylinder walls and cross-hatch, and this metal debris is what causes the other items in your engine to wear out.
When I look at an oil sample, the first two items I look at are the iron and silicone. The silicone is ingested dirt that gets through the air filter, and this will destroy the cross-hatch of the cylinder liners (this is called liner bore polish). As the liners wear, the parts-per-million of iron in the oil increases, which causes accelerated wear in the other parts of the engine that are lubricated with the engine oil. For $299 you can keep the iron particles in the oil filter, and not allow them to do further damage, floating around in the oil throughout your engine.
Please remember, the cleaner we can keep your engine on the inside, the longer it will live and perform for you, delivering optimum performance throughout its life. If you have comments or questions, we can reached at Pittsburgh Power in Saxonburg, PA by calling (724) 360-4080. To contact Bruce directly through e-mail, send your questions or comments to email@example.com.