When I buy parts for my F350 or my Chevy I usually go Motorcraft and ACDelco. When I don’t I go with a specialist like Timken or South Bend. I go out of my way to buy from companies that have dedicated themselves to being the best at one thing and grown a strong reputation for it. Compared to other areas of the aftermarket parts industry ECM remanufacturers are relatively small and tend to have poor reputations. Their websites are vague and the business owner almost never shows his face. If you’re running an honest business you don’t have any reason to hide. It’s no wonder as to why eBay is where you find the cheapest “reman” ECMs on the market. Anyways, I’ve been specializing in Detroits for almost a year but I still get calls from Cat and Cummins owners looking for an ECM company they can trust. Lately I tell them to go OEM because, based on what I’ve seen over the last few years, the poor reputation the industry I am in is justified and I see examples every day that reinforce that.
Many repair jobs I do are for owner operators who have been burned by bad eBay rebuilders or one of the Texas or Florida based ECM rebuilders. Some repair jobs are directly from these rebuilders and sometimes they are up front about it and sometimes they aren’t. Just last month I had this character give me an address that turned out to be a freight forwarding service down in Miami. I wouldn’t have caught on if I didn’t ask him about his injectors. He got unusually defensive when I did. He told me he was a driver not a mechanic and didn’t know what an injector was. I had another guy tell me his DDEC IV wasn’t turning the glow plugs on in his Series 60 and he wanted to know if I could kindly give him the part number of the internal battery along with a quote on the repair. It’s fun to play along but when I’ve got trucks that are down I hang up the phone. Guys like this are the reason the aftermarket ECM rebuilding industry has a bad reputation. To some of these remanufacturers a rebuild is time in a blast cabinet and a paint job. To others it’s a battery and gasket maker smeared on top of the old gasket material. For this guy it was a service plate, a used battery, a fresh sticker on the case, and nothing else. They didn’t even bother to wipe the road grime off the circuit board or out of the bottom of the case. Notice how clean the back plate is? Whoever sealed it up didn’t know and didn’t care that this DDEC had a digital signal processor issue that made the engine’s throttle run wild. Take a look at these photos. Does this look like a dead battery problem to you? Whoever sealed this up apparently thought so.
Written by Fernando DeMoura, Diesel Control Service LLC..