Beware of the Fine Print When Buying a Rebuilt DDEC
Each week I work though a stack of DDEC ecms that need diagnostics and repairs. Most have a thin layer of road grime, small pits in the aluminum and have the faint smell of fuel. This is normal for a fuel injection computer that’s been on the side of an engine block for over a decade and served over 1 million miles. So, when I start coming across freshly polished or painted DDECs that need repairs I take notice. In fact, repairing these newly “remanufactured” DDEC IIIs and DDEC IVs is becoming a growing part of my business. Some look like they’ve never been on a truck before or at least not since they were last sandblasted and painted. Some even have “Do not use” or “Junk” written in paint marker by the ECMs new owner. Without proper testing and diagnostics, damaged and defective DDECs just keep getting cored, bought as cores, painted, sold, found to have problems and then eventually bought as cores again. That’s why these DDECs are so clean, they spend more time being bought and sold then actually in service. Thankfully my test bench can flush out most of these problems. Sometimes the problem is obvious and a DDEC can’t even fire a fuel injector) Sometimes the ECM needs to run for a while before it starts to misfire, and sometimes it doesn’t even turn on. The ECM rebuilders that sell these almost always have a security seal because getting out of having to warranty an ECM with a problem is high on their priority list. So, before I open the case on one of these ECMs I have to make a phone call.
The conversation usually goes something like this: “Hi, This is Fernando from Diesel Control Service, the DDEC you sent me is still under warranty by XXXX and if I open the case to do an internal inspection your warranty with them will be void.” The response I usually get is along the lines of “I’m done with them and their bs. Go ahead and do whatever you can to fix it.”
I’ve seen remanufactured DDECs from most of the big ECM rebuilders out of Texas. Between battery hold down clips made out of old soup cans and acrylic latex being used over old silicone gasket sealer I had long wondered how they stayed in business. Until I read through their policies and fine print.
Let’s look at a few key lines here.
The first is the most important; “absolutely no refunds- exchange only” If they sell you an ECM that ends up being a painted piece of junk your only recourse is to exchange it for another ECM from their inventory of other painted pieces of junk and if they claim water or oil damage on your core you’re out a total of $1500.
Written by Fernando DeMoura, Diesel Control Service LLC.